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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Downgrade - Week 10

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

Welcome to Week 10 of the WR/CB Matchup chart. As the year goes on, the PPGA metric will become more and more predictive. Another important data point to be aware of is the injury report. Defenses missing key secondary pieces are far more susceptible to giving up ceiling games than units that are healthy.

Offensive coaches will always look to take advantage of backup players forced into action. Players dealing with an injury are listed in red on the chart, and checking the statuses of players prior to kickoff is advised. There's a reason NFL teams are required to put out an injury report each week, as it directly impacts Vegas lines. There are also some solid CBs getting healthy, which impacts matchup. Trent McDuffie is back for the Chiefs, which makes a seemingly easy matchup more difficult.

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 Shaquil 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 - Week 10

Click the image for a full-screen view

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

We start on Thursday Night, when the Falcons struggling secondary takes on D.J. Moore and the Panthers. Atlanta has been atrocious against WRs all year, but keep an eye on the status of CB A.J. Terrell. Moore and Terrace Marshall Jr. get upgrades, but P.J. Walker will need to play better for either of them to produce the way fantasy managers want.

A.J. Brown has been terrific as the Jalen Hurts' WR1 in Philly. This week he and DeVonta Smith will take on an often-burned Washington CB group. Two weeks ago I chose to use Smith's photo as the cover image for this article. He proceeded to do nothing as A.J. Brown went wild. This week I'm putting Brown as the cover image, so watch Smith be the one to pop off.

The Jaguars are fresh off giving up a monster game to Davante Adams, and this week get the red-hot Patrick Mahomes. It's a great matchup for JuJu Smith-Schuster. All other Chiefs ancillary WRs are boom-or-bust options as well, including Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman.

The Steelers are back in action this week, which gives one of the easiest WR matchups possible to the Saints. Chris Olave is in a great spot.

On the other side of that game, George Pickens has an easy matchup as the primary RWR for Pittsburgh. Saints LCB Alontae Taylor is injured and they've been gashed by RWRs all year.

Finally, the 49ers secondary will get a bump when Jason Verrett returns from injury, and that could be this week. However, they've struggled against slots all year. DeAndre Carter gets a modest bump as Justin Herbert's presumed slot receiver with Keenan Allen still out. If Allen plays, he'd be a solid option on paper.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Downgrade

Tre'Davious White could be activated this week, which would be tough news for Justin Jefferson. Obviously you aren't benching Jefferson, but the Bills should be a difficult matchup for both he and Adam Thielen.

Ryan Tannehill's return will be a welcome sight for the Titans pass-catchers. However, even if he does come back this week, Robert Woods and company will take on the Broncos CB group, which has been shut-down all year.

The Cowboys have a top-ten defense and Trevon Diggs is having a great year limiting opposing WR1s. It's not good news for Allen Lazard, although the targets will be there.

While the Colts have been a laughingstock this week, they still present a tough matchup for opposing WRs. Davante Adams broke out last week, but this is a tough matchup.

Tyler Lockett is approaching matchup-proof territory as one of the most underrated players in the NFL. However, his matchup against Carlton Davis is a tough one this week.

The Chiefs have funneled production to outside WR1s all year, but they just got Trent McDuffie back. They'll be a tough matchup for Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones Jr. this week.

Wan'Dale Robinson has the potential to put up some spike weeks down the stretch, but it might not start this week. Desmond King and the Texans have given up the fewest FPPG to opposing slots this year.

 

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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