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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Downgrade - Super Bowl LVII

AJ Brown - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Welcome to the Super Bowl LVII edition of WR/CB Matchup chart. Most season-long fantasy leagues are over, but there are still plenty of opportunities to play other types of contests for the big game. The Super Bowl is the final round for most fantasy playoff formats and drafts. This article can help you identify advantageous matchups and make decisions accordingly.

As a reminder, the process for assigning points to a specific matchup has to do with how the entire defense defends the player who lines up at one of the three spots (LWR, RWR, slot) the most. For example, in Week 1, Jahan Dotson scored a TD from the LWR spot and the right slot, but all of his points were assigned to Shaquill Griffin because Griffin played primarily LCB and Dotson was the Washington receiver with the most snaps at RWR.

Keep in mind that NFL teams are moving receivers around more than ever in today's game. It is difficult to pinpoint which CB each WR will be matched up against. The chart is designed to give a 1-vs-1 matchup for each player, but the reality is that most NFL WRs will see a mix of all the DBs they face each week. For example, in Week 1, A.J. Brown played 27 snaps in the slot and 21 snaps at LWR. However, Quez Watkins played more snaps in the slot and no Eagles WR played more snaps at LWR than Brown, which explains the chart.

The chart is best used to understand how teams are defending outside versus inside receivers if teams are shadowing, and how much emphasis they put on slowing down the opposing WR1.

 

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 one 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 has given up on average this year. Keep in mind that team scheme is a huge factor in points assigned to specific players. 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 - Super Bowl LVII

Click the image for a full-screen view

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

The Chiefs move their receivers around the formation a lot. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney, Justin Watson, and Skyy Moore have all played a significant number of slot snaps this season. When out wide, their splits are generally close to even in terms of left and right. Also, keep in mind that Travis Kelce plays the slot 44.4% of the time as well.

Philadelphia's corners have much more defined alignments. In most games, James Bradberry plays the right side and Darius Slay plays the left side. Avonte Maddox, if healthy, will be the slot corner in nickel packages, while safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson will also play some slot corner in certain looks.

The Eagles' primary cover men are all above average skill-wise. Philly has been susceptible to slot production more than outside production, in part because their outside corners are so good. Expect Travis Kelce to get the biggest upgrade as the No. 1 target who gets the most looks inside. Whoever else plays the most slot for the Chiefs also gets a boost. I expect that to be Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs' deployment of corners will come down to the health of L'Jarius Sneed. Sneed and rookie standout Trent McDuffie play RCB and slot corner depending on the matchup. For example, in KC's divisional-round win over the Jaguars, Sneed played slot corner to match up with Jacksonville's best receiver, Christian Kirk. In this matchup, I fully expect Sneed to play outside to match up with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, while McDuffie plays the slot.

Based on season-long data, the chart shows the easiest matchup for the Eagles' primary LWR. That's A.J. Brown. However, keep in mind that a lot of that production came earlier in the season when Sneed was playing the slot and McDuffie was injured. The Chiefs have been much better against opposing WR1s in recent weeks.

It's also important to note that A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith switch sides a lot. They'll also play the slot for a handful of snaps each game. The bottom line is that Brown gets a boost, but the Eagles could very easily gameplan for Smith to have the more advantageous matchup on any given snap.

The Chiefs are also exploitable inside. I wouldn't rule out a big play from a slot route for either of the Eagles studs or Quez Watkins. In large-field DFS tournaments, Zach Pascal is also viable.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Downgrade

Both secondaries are above-average, but there's a reason both of these offenses made it to the Super Bowl. Philadelphia has stifled outside receivers all year, so it's not a great matchup for JuJu Smith-Schuster or whoever plays the most outside snaps for the Chiefs. However, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are still an elite duo in game with a 50.5 total.

On the other side, Kansas City has been solid against primary RWRs, and DeVonta Smith has played more snaps at RWR than any other Eagles' WR. Just to put that in perspective, that's still only 42% of his snaps. Smith will not have a disadvantageous matchup on more than half of his routes. As helpful as this data can be, the edge in this game is small because of the deployment and skills of these receivers.

Thanks for reading all season and good luck this week. I will be back next week with NFL Draft content.



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