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2022 Best Ball Strategy - Week 17 WR/CB Matchups to Target and Downgrade

Drake London fantasy football rankings rookies draft sleepers NFL draft

Best Ball is taking the fantasy world by storm. For those unfamiliar, Best Ball contests like the FFPC Best Ball Tourney and Best Ball Mania III on Underdog Fantasy allow you to draft an entire roster of players at any point in the offseason and have that team compete in a large field tournament to take down a huge prize. The FFPC Tourney top prize this year is $200K, and the BBMIII top prize this year is $2 Million, so fantasy analysts everywhere have been digging through the data to figure out the best way to draft. In Best Ball, there is no roster management, so you just draft a team once and your highest scoring players each week will have their scores count. You can read more about the contest here.

It's been fascinating to read and listen to fantasy analysts discuss and debate best ball strategies. One of the hottest topics this summer has been the importance of Week 17.

The tweet above shows how important the final 470-person Week 17 tournament round truly is in terms of expected value. I recommend watching Peter Overzet's video on the topic.

The purpose of this article isn't to explain BBMIII or argue for or against the importance of Week 17. All of my drafted teams so far have emphasized Week 17 correlations, so I have fully embraced that Week 17 is indeed most important, which has led me to target Week 17 running back options for my stacks in addition to as many mini correlations as possible. I have heard some anti-Week 17 bros snarkily ask, "what's next - WR/CB matchups for Week 17?"

To which I thought - why not?

I have been writing WR/CB Matchup articles for two years, helping fantasy players gain an edge on their opponents.

Is it ridiculous to write about Week 17 WR/CB matchups in June when Week 1 is over two months away? Yes. Could this article help someone win $2 Million? Maybe. If you truly believe playoff schedules and correlations are that important, it definitely doesn't hurt to have a closer understanding of each team's projected CB group.

 

WR vs. CB Chart Details

The CB Matchup Chart below is a snapshot of each team's cornerback group as it relates to allowing fantasy points. There are inherent flaws within the data compilation of cornerback play. The first is the fact that quantifying a 1-on-1 matchup in an NFL game is unfair because of zone coverages, mental errors, certain passing concepts, and a million other things. Assigning fantasy points against a cornerback isn't a perfect science.

The purpose of this chart is to give more of a general sense of how defenses are handling opposing WR groups rather than identifying exactly where, when, and how every single encounter happened. Another factor to consider is that players are listed based on where they line up the majority of the time. Most receivers do not line up on the right side on every single snap, so they won't be matched up with the same CB on every snap.

The "Rtng" column is the rating of each cornerback based on film study and analytics. The lower a player is graded, the easier the matchup for the WR, so low ratings are green and high ratings are red. The "PPGA" is the number of fantasy points per game that the player gave up in 2021. Keep in mind that team scheme is a huge factor in points assigned to specific players. For rookies, I kept the PPGA based on how that team defended that WR spot last year. A name in blue means the corner could possibly shadow the WR1. A name in red means that the player is dealing with an injury.

 

Cornerback Ratings and Matchups Chart - Week 17 2022 (Best Ball Tournament Finals)

Click image for full-screen view

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

One of the interesting things about creating this chart at this point in the offseason is that so many teams have CB trios that look solid or better on paper. As we all know, the NFL season is chaotic and filled with injuries, so most of these trios will look much different during the season. In DFS and season-long formats, the single best tip I can give you for evaluating WR matchups is understanding which DBs are injured on opposing defenses. Last year, for example, the Ravens were decimated in the secondary and gave up a ton of fantasy points to opposing WRs as a result. That advice is obviously not applicable to best ball, but given how solid and in some cases terrifying some of these CB trios look right now, the teams that look exploitable in comparison stand out significantly.

We'll start in Atlanta, where many drafters have been aggressively stacking the Cardinals, hoping for a shootout against a bad defense in a dome. The reality is that the Falcons' secondary might actually be pretty good (more on that later), but the Cardinals' CB group might be one of the worst in the league. Byron Murphy isn't bad, but their other two spots are questionable to say the least. Drake London, who should improve as the season goes on, could be an absolute smash and a potential tournament winner in an easy Week 17 matchup. Bryan Edwards also gets a bump. There are worse ways to spend a last-round pick. On the other side of that game, if you're betting on Rondale Moore to win the slot job, he should have the easiest matchup of all the Arizona WRs. Zach Ertz also plays a lot of slot so he's another intriguing piece to correlate with London.

The Seahawks CB group looks absolutely brutal on paper, so all four Jets WRs have the potential for a boom week. Zach Wilson is the obvious question mark, but I think all of Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, and even Braxton Berrios make for good picks at their ADPs. Rashaad Penny or Kenneth Walker III are natural correlation options.

A third NFC West team looks exploitable, which is good news for a promising Las Vegas offense. San Francisco lost slot corner K'Wuan Williams and doesn't have great talent on the outside. It should be a good spot for Davante Adams and an even better one for Hunter Renfrow.

On the other side of that game, the Raiders should be solid at RCB with Trayvon Mullen, but their LCB spot might be a bit weak. The 49ers move their WRs all around the formation, but Deebo Samuel played the most snaps at RWR. Related, Trey Lance's ADP is going to rise when/if he's confirmed as the starter, so it might be wise to get as much Lance exposure as you can now. Raiders/49ers might be my favorite Week 17 game to stack.

The Giants are a popular late-round stack that I personally like a lot with a new coaching staff and mobile quarterback. Their Week 17 opponent, the Colts, should get a very easy matchup against New York's LCB spot, which is currently projected to be manned by Aaron Robinson. That spot has the potential to be a revolving door, and Robinson also has experience playing the slot. The Colts move their WRs around the formation a lot, so all three of Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and Parris Campbell have the potential to smash in an easy matchup.

Malcolm Butler is back in New England, but he is a couple of years removed from truly elite play. The Pats still don't have a great RCB with Jalen Mills currently slated to run it back, so the Dolphins' outside WRs project to have an easy matchup. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have big-play ability and a good Week 17 spot.

The Eagles project to have a solid outside CB duo, but they will likely be weak covering slots once again. Jarvis Landry could be in a for a big Week 17 game as part of a revamped WR group for the Saints.

Finally, Amon-Ra St. Brown projects to have one of the easiest slot matchups in the league against the Bears in a dome in Week 17. St. Brown's ADP is confusing to me as a second-year WR who was incredibly productive down the stretch. Usually those types of players who flash so much as a rookie get steamed up. For some reason, people are really convinced that JAG T.J. Hockenson and an RB are going to severely negatively impact the target share of the Lions' best receiver. Draft ARSB.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Downgrade

To be clear, this section is not advising you to not draft the players mentioned. It could, however, help you break some ties or limit your exposure if you're overweight on a certain player. For example, there's no way around the fact that if Tre'Davious White stays healthy, Ja'Marr Chase has arguably the toughest individual matchup of any WR in the league in Week 17. That does not preclude him from a good game, and White may not even be playing because of the chaos of the NFL, but if you're taking Chase over Justin Jefferson in every single draft, his projected matchup may give you second thoughts.

The Bills have been an elite pass defense for two years now, and were one of the best defenses at limiting opposing fantasy points to opposing WRs for the past two seasons. In addition to Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd also have tough projected matchups.

Circling back to the very intriguing Cardinals-Falcons matchup (DOME GAME!), an underrated move this offseason was Atlanta's signing of CB Casey Hayward. Hayward has been an above average performer throughout his career and is slated to start at RCB. Meanwhile A.J. Terrell will start at LCB and is coming off a breakout year. It's not good news for DeAndre Hopkins or Marquise Brown. The Falcons defense probably won't be great overall, but their outside CB duo could be one of the best in the league.

Another popular Week 17 game stack is Broncos-Chiefs, which currently projects as one of the highest-scoring games based on Vegas totals for Week 17. Tyreek Hill is out in Kansas City, which means the Chiefs lack a clear number one wideout aside from Travis Kelce. Patrick Surtain II was terrific as a rookie, and should continue to be one of the best at limiting opposing fantasy points. A classic Marquez Valdes-Scantling dud is one very possible outcome. The Broncos also have a pretty good LCB in Ronald Darby and slot corner in K'Wuan Williams, which isn't great for Skyy Moore or JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Rams-Chargers is also a Week 17 matchup that people are excited about stacking. Obviously, both offenses project to be outstanding, and in many cases, good offense overrides good defense in terms of game script. However, it's worth noting that the Chargers improved on defense and the Rams return Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, and add Bobby Wagner to an already championship-caliber unit. Specifically in terms of CB groups, the Chargers added J.C. Jackson, who was awesome at limiting fantasy points last year, to play opposite Asante Samuel Jr., who was also stout as a rookie. Bryce Callahan has had some success limiting opposing slots as well. Cooper Kupp is matchup-proof, but I don't love the odds of a ceiling game from Van Jefferson, Allen Robinson, or Odell Beckham Jr., who might sign back with the Rams.

On the other side of the battle for LA, Jalen Ramsey awaits Mike Williams, whose ADP has risen to the top of the third round. The Rams also added veteran slot corner Troy Hill, who had his best seasons in LA previously. It's not great for Keenan Allen either.

Like the Falcons, the Texans have quietly improved their CB group to the point where it might be one of the best in the league. Derek Stingley Jr. has a chance to be the defensive version of Ja'Marr Chase as a rookie, Steven Nelson is coming off a great year, and Desmond King has been a solid slot corner for years. The Jaguars should improve on offense with Doug Pederson, but Week 17 is simply not a great matchup for their WR group.

Darius Slay has been a tremendous player throughout his career, and James Bradberry is looking for a bounce-back year after being one of the best CBs in the league in 2020. While the Eagles are weak at slot corner, this is not a great matchup for whoever plays outside for the Saints. Considering the fact that Jarvis Landry primarily plays slot, Michael Thomas and Chris Olave get the matchup downgrade against Philly.

Thanks for reading and good luck next wee- I mean 36 weeks from now.



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Week 4 is coming to a close and teams are continuing their struggles on offense. Just 10 teams scored over 25 points in Week 4. A lot of that comes from another underwhelming passing week as teams struggle to navigate a higher volume of two-deep coverages. Just four quarterbacks (Jared Goff, Matt Ryan, Justin Herbert,... Read More


Hayden Hurst - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Video: Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5 (2022)

The 2022 fantasy football season continues with our Week 5 tight end waiver wire pickups. Anthony Aniano gives his in-depth fantasy football advice, breaking down some of his waiver wire adds to prioritize and free-agent pickups as we head into Week 5 of the fantasy football season. These players should be targets as injury replacements,... Read More


Zach Wilson - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News

Video: Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5 (2022)

The 2022 fantasy football season continues with our Week 5 quarterback waiver wire pickups. Anthony Aniano gives his in-depth fantasy football advice, breaking down some of his waiver wire adds to prioritize and free-agent pickups as we head into Week 5 of the fantasy football season. These players should be targets as injury replacements, bye-week... Read More


George Pickens - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Video: Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5 (2022)

The 2022 fantasy football season continues with our Week 5 wide receiver waiver wire pickups. Anthony Aniano gives his in-depth fantasy football advice, breaking down some of his waiver wire adds to prioritize and free-agent pickups as we head into Week 5 of the fantasy football season. These players should be targets as injury replacements,... Read More


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