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WR/CB Matchups to Target & Avoid - Week 6

amari cooper fantasy football rankings NFL DFS lineup picks

It's Week 6 and with a larger sample size, the CB Matchup Chart is becoming even more meaningful. This week's chart will give the most accurate landscape of CB matchups yet, as I spent time reviewing alignment percentages for WR and CB groups and updated the chart accordingly.

The main idea of the chart was previously to assign points based on defenses scheming to take away their opponent's "WR1." This was somewhat arbitrary and didn't take into account where that "WR1" was lining up. Or the "CB1" for that matter.

I'm excited to present this week's chart which reflects actual alignments in terms of LWR vs RCB and RWR vs LCB. All the numbers are updated accordingly.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

WR/CB Matchups Chart

The 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 being 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.

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 has given up. 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. WRs highlighted in yellow have an easy matchup. WRs highlighted in pink have a tough matchup.

The analysis below will help contextualize the chart, as in most cases a receiver did not score 100% of his points against the same player. However, the chart is a useful tool in getting a sense of the weakest links among corners. This weekly process has made it clear to me that the WR talent and his target share are more important than his opposition.

 

Cornerback Ratings and Matchups - Week 6

click image for full-screen view

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

Each week, this space starts with attacking Atlanta's terrible CB play. Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson should feast against the Falcons.

Chase Claypool is an example of why gathering CB data is tricky. Last week, he scored from various alignments, including the slot matched up with a linebacker despite his primary home for stat-gathering being at RWR. James Washington subbed in at LWR when Diontae Johnson left with an injury. So, while Claypool was the beneficiary in terms of targets and designed plays, he did not actually slot in Johnson’s position. In Week 6, Claypool at RWR has an on-paper matchup versus the highly-skilled Denzel Ward, who has played almost exclusively at LCB for Cleveland. The better matchups for the Steelers are actually at LWR and in the slot. It would make sense for Claypool to play more on the left side to take advantage of Terrance Mitchell. Whoever plays LWR - whether it’s Claypool, Diontae Johnson, or James Washington – has an easy matchup.

Dallas’ corner situation is a mess as they have been shredded by all three receiver spots at different times this season. Odell Beckham Jr. dominated Trevon Diggs in Week 4, while Darryl Worley was assigned zero points due to no Browns WR2 recording a catch. Last week, Darius Slayton torched Worley, but the Giants' non-existent WR2 situation assigned a zero to Diggs. This is a perfect example of what has become abundantly clear to me doing this work – the WR matters more than the matchup. In the case of Dallas’ secondary, start all your WRs against them regardless of position. DeAndre Hopkins is in line for a monster game, and all of the other Arizona WRs have the potential to put up good numbers. I wouldn't mind taking a flier on Christian Kirk this week.

Detroit has been terrible against outside WRs. Laviska Shenault Jr. let managers down in Week 3, but he might be worth a look again. If D.J. Chark is out, that could mean even more targets. If Chark is in, Shenault is still not a bad play because the offense just seems to be better with their No. 1 healthy. Chark is a fine play if he starts.

D.K. Metcalf just torched the Vikings' outside corners, who have been consistently terrible since Week 1. Julio Jones (if healthy) and Calvin Ridley are in boom spots.

The RCB spot in San Francisco has been a problem for a defense decimated by injuries. Whether it's Akhello Witherspoon or Brian Allen, the Rams should have no issue taking advantage on Sunday night. Robert Woods is in a great spot.

DeVante Parker also has a cake matchup against the New York Jets. He and Preston Williams play both right and left, so we don't know exactly who will draw more of RCB Bless Austin's subpar coverage. The good news for both is that Pierre Desir is arguably worse than Austin.

As for slot WRs this week, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Randall Cobb get upgrades. The chart lists Tyreek Hill as the primary slot for Kansas City, but they use all of their receivers in the slot in different formations. Buffalo has been gashed by slots all year, so Hill and Mecole Hardman get a boost.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Avoid

A.J. Green has looked like a shell of himself and will likely see a lot of Xavier Rhodes in Week 6. If Green is out, or the Bengals choose to use Tee Higgins as the LWR, the rookie would have to deal with Rhodes. Regardless, T.J. Carrie has been stellar as the LCB, so Higgins has a tough matchup no matter what.

The Rams' pass defense has been terrific at limiting wide receiver production. Jalen Ramsey is a household name, but both Darious Williams and Troy Hill have also been excellent this season. Downgrade all the 49ers receivers, including Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, and Deebo Samuel. One of them may have a decent game based on volume, but it's going to be tough.

Darius Slayton just enjoyed some success against the pitiful Dallas secondary, but this week he's up against Kendall Fuller. Washington's shutdown RCB has been outstanding this season.

Kendall's brother Kyle will face off against the red-hot Robby Anderson in a very interesting matchup of two guys having great years. Anderson has been tremendous for Carolina but this could be his worst game as a Panther.

Finally, there are three possible shadow situations that aren't highlighted in the chart. First is with Arizona's Patrick Peterson who would cap Amari Cooper's upside if the Cardinals choose to shadow with Peterson. If Peterson stays at LCB, Michael Gallup gets a downgrade. The second is with Jaire Alexander in Green Bay. The Packers could choose to stick him on Mike Evans. Using one of their bigger corners on Evans might make sense. It's a tough matchup for Evans regardless. The third shadow situation to look out for is Darius Slay on Marquise Brown. The Ravens' speedster finally scored a touchdown last week but may have a tough assignment in Week 6.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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