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We're in the home stretch of the NFL season. The fantasy football playoffs are upon us, and injuries continue to rack up. Picking on the backups that precede starting defensive backs is a common strategy among DFS players, simply because it's a solid process. Fortunately, we have plenty of data to break down those matchups and pick the best ones to target for the coming week.

Nothing is more important than matchup analyzation when it comes to fantasy football. Playing your teams’ best players on a regular basis is important, but picking apart the top matchups on a week to week basis can win you a championship, or even better, some cold hard cash in DFS. Matchups for the wide receiver position aren’t always as black and white as they can be for other positions. Receivers need to be broken down even deeper by analyzing the potential cornerback matchup they’re going to draw. This is especially true in potential shadow coverage cases such as any time an X receiver plays against Patrick Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals. Some analytical data used here such as fantasy points allowed per route covered, and percentage of routes run on the left side, right side, and in the slot is courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Now, here are the top WR vs CB matchups for Week 15. Use these to set season-long lineups, as well as gain a competitive edge in the Daily Fantasy realm.

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WR/CB Matchups to Target

JAX WR Dede Westbrook Versus WAS CB Greg Stroman

Dede Westbrook has seen a bump in efficiency since moving to the slot full-time this year. He leads the team in virtually every receiving category over their last three games (he's gone for 13/157/2 over that span), and he also leads the corps in target share and air-yards distribution. While I'm not exactly in love with his quarterback situation, I'm rather fond of this matchup against Greg Stroman.

Stroman has allowed the second-most receiving yards AND fantasy points per route in coverage this season, with 2.27 and 0.51 averages in those categories, respectively. Westbrook is a great salary-saver at just $4,500 this week, which combined with the other two receivers in this column could be the cheat-code to smash both Saquon Barkley AND Ezekiel Elliott into your lineups.

 

DAL WR Michael Gallup Versus IND CB Pierre Desir

As far as Michael Gallup is concerned, the concept behind rostering him has more to do with recent usage than it does the matchup. Pierre Desir hasn't been bad by any means this season, but it's not like he's flashing impenetrable coverage, either.

Despite the thunderous performances Amari Cooper has delivered as of late, I was astonished to learn that Gallup actually leads the Dallas Cowboys in air-yards over the last three weeks. It's no fluke either, as Gallup has also drawn a respectable 20-percent target share over that span. He's only $3,600 on DraftKings this week, and his recent usage has him pegged for an explosion sooner rather than later.

 

TEN WR Taywan Taylor Versus NYG CB Janoris Jenkins

Taywan Taylor is another receiver who's seen some eye-opening usage over the last couple of weeks. Since returning from a minor injury, Taylor leads his receiving corps with a 21-percent target share, as well as just over 40-percent of the teams total air-yards. Considering he's on the same team as Corey Davis, who's been a usage freak this season, I found this rather surprising. Taylor actually has an ADoT just south of 20 yards over that same span, which has me thinking that he's a lock for a smash-game, relative to his DK price.

Taylor will have the privilege of running against Janoris Jenkins, who's allowed the seventh-most receiving yards in coverage this season. Jenkins has also surrendered seven touchdown (T-most in the NFL) compared to just two interceptions. Taylor is capable of cooking Jenkins deep, which makes him more than worth the price of admission at $3,800.

 

CAR WR Curtis Samuel Versus NO CB P.J. Williams

I usually like to include at least one 'showdown' play in this weekly column, and this weeks winner of that prestigious honor is Curtis Samuel. It's been kind of difficult choosing between him and D.J. Moore on a weekly basis, but last week, the former logged a season-high in slot routes run. Against P.J. Williams and the New Orleans Saints, I'll gladly chase slot usage. Samuel actually leads the team in air-yards distribution over the last three games, and he trails Moore in receiving yards by just 17 over that same span.

As far as Williams is concerned, he's surrendered the 11th-most yards in coverage to go along with six allowed touchdowns. Combining Samuel's surging usage with this cupcake matchup has me extremely excited for the game with the weeks third-highest implied total.

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