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We've reached that point in the year where teams are getting banged up, and whoever stays the healthiest playing a key role in virtually every matchup. 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 7. 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

BAL WR John Brown Versus NO CB Ken Crawley

John Brown has struggled with efficiency over the last three weeks, catching just nine of 24 targets. Regardless, he leads his team in air-yards over that span with a whopping 40 percent of the share. The usage is still there, and it's not like Brown's price has gotten unreasonable. He's sub-$6,000 on DraftKings for Week 7 despite logging double-digit fantasy points in four of six games this season.

Brown will run the majority of his routes against Ken Crawley, who's been one of the worst defensive backs in the NFL since the start of the season. Both him and P.J. Williams are allowing nearly two yards per coverage snap this year, and the former has also allowed four touchdowns. It's tough not to pick on Crawley this week, especially with Baltimore possessing the fifth-highest implied team total for Week 7.

Pivot: Devin Funchess

Devin Funchess has a similar price point to Brown, and he also has just as good a matchup against Ronald Darby. Funchess' usage has been through the roof this season, and I don't expect that to change against a very beatable Philadelphia secondary.

 

CLE WR Jarvis Landry Versus TB CB M.J. Stewart

If Jarvis Landry can't get it going in this matchup, then it's never going to happen.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB M.J. Stewart has allowed 25 catches (10th-most), 308 receiving yards (16th-most), and five touchdowns(tied for most) despite only starting four games as the nickel corner for Tampa Bay. Things have gotten so bad for the Buccaneers that they've even gone as far as firing defensive coordinator Mike Smith after their Week 6 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Stewart has been roasted by several receivers far beneath Landry's talent level. I expect CLE to pick on this matchup out of the gate in Week 7.

Landry is still leading the team in usage, drawing a 22 percent share of the target market and 21 percent of the team's total air-yards over the last three weeks. Like I stated with Brown, volume isn't the issue. Efficiency is, and Landry couldn't have a better matchup to explode.

Pivot: Stefon Diggs

Landry has been difficult to trust, and I wouldn't blame anybody for pivoting off him to Stefon Diggs, who's $100 less on DK. Dalvin Cook remains sidelined for Week 7, so both Diggs and Adam Thielen should be in for more monstrous usage through the air.

 

LAR WR Brandin Cooks Versus SF CB Jimmie Ward

Both Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are in play this week, but I'm expecting the ownership to shift in Woods' favor being that he's the player that slid into Cooper Kupp's slot role last week.

With that in mind, I will be extremely overweight on Brandin Cooks, who's seen a 23 percent target share and nearly 40 percent of the teams air-yards when he's been on the field over the last three games. Keep in mind, he left the Week 5 matchup in the first quarter due to a concussion. He suited up last week, so this shouldn't be an issue for Week 7.

Cooks will also draw coverage from Jimmie Ward, who's been San Francisco's worst defensive back this season. Ward has allowed the most receiving yards among all of his teammates and has surrendered a passer rating of 141.9 when targeted in coverage this year. Cooks is in line for some generous usage and has a golden matchup to flourish in, making him one of my favorite hybrid options on the entire slate this week.

Cooks is one of the weeks best plays, regardless of ownership. Leverage him with some shares of Woods and Diggs, and move on.

 

SF WR Marquise Goodwin Versus LAR CB Marcus Peters

Nobody on the 49ers is even remotely close to Marquise Goodwin in terms of downfield usage over their last two games. Goodwin has amassed nearly 70 percent of his team's total air yards over that span, which transformed into a 32 DK point showing against the Packers last Monday night. Goodwin is far too cheap at $4,600 based on his absurdly high ceiling and extensive role as his team's downfield threat.

Goodwin's 49ers are 10-point home underdogs against the Rams this week, despite this game having the highest implied total on the main slate. If that weren't enough to cement Goodwin's status as a smash-play this week, he'll be running against Marcus Peters. Peters still isn't fully healthy, and teams have been brutalizing him over the last several weeks. Peters has allowed a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when targeted over his last three starts and leads the NFL in touchdowns allowed over that span. He's notorious for getting burnt deep as well, which is Goodwin's bread and butter.

This is another play where ownership could be an issue, but $4,600 is a borderline cheat-code given the spot in Week 7.

Pivot: Chris Godwin

Chris Godwin is a strong pivot off Goodwin based on price point, and he's also in a strong spot against the Cleveland Browns. Mike Evans will likely draw a shadow from Denzel Ward, which could lead to additional usage funneling Godwin's way. This is a tournament-only play, given that Godwin's role is far from solidified.

 

NYG WR Sterling Shepard Versus ATL CB Brian Poole

Sterling Shepard has been a great spot-start on most occasions this season. And while he won't be a part of the main slate, he's a lock for me in the showdown slate against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. He's also a strong hammer play in full-week slates.

Shepard has been flirting with a near-20 percent target share over his last three games, even with teammates Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley being the usage hogs they are. He also draws a matchup against the struggling Brian Poole, while Beckham will do battle with Desmund Trufant. Poole has allowed a team-high 1.3 receiving yards per coverage snap this season, along with a passer rating of 121.1 when thrown at.

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