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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Downgrade - Week 12

Michael Pittman Jr. - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Welcome to Week 12 of the WR/CB Matchup chart. On this Thanksgiving weekend, make sure to prioritize the things that really matter in life. Your fantasy matchup is far more important than family, so prepare accordingly.

The WR/CB Matchup chart typically becomes more predictive as the season goes on. Another huge factor in WR/CB Matchups is health, as injured CB groups can be taken advantage of. That applies this week to Giants-Cowboys, where the Giants could be down both starting outside corners.

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 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 12

Click the image for a full-screen view


WR/CB Matchups to Target

The Bills have been torched by opposing WR1s in the past few weeks, and Thursday's matchup against the Lions in a dome should feature a lot of scoring. Josh Reynolds plays primarily LWR and has an upgraded matchup. Keep in mind that Amon-Ra St. Brown also plays snaps outside. One last note on this game - if Tre'Davious White is cleared to play, the matchup becomes a little more difficult for Lions' WRs.

The Cowboys didn't need CeeDee Lamb in their blowout win over the Vikings, but a bounce-back could be in store this week against the Giants. New York has an extremely banged-up CB group which is good news for Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Dak Prescott.

Demarcus Robinson appears to be emerging as Lamar Jackson's preferred WR target, and this week gets one of the easiest CB matchups in the league. The Jaguars have been particularly porous against LWRs this year.

The Rams have the best CB in the league, but it's not difficult to scheme away from Jalen Ramsey, as LA has been gashed by opposing WR1s all year. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, the Chiefs WR is murky to say the least. If JuJu Smith-Schuster is cleared, he gets an upgrade. If not, I expect one of Marques Valdez-Scantling, Skyy Moore, or Justin Watson to have a big game.

The Steelers have been the easiest matchup in the league for opposing WR groups. It's great news for Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and Parris Campbell this week.

The Titans have talented CBs, but Kristian Fulton is dealing with an injury and Roger McCreary is still going through some growing pains. They are also dominant against the run, which makes them a pass funnel overall. If Ja'Marr Chase is back, he gets an upgrade. Regardless of Chase's status, Tee Higgins also has a plus matchup.

On the other side of that game, Treylon Burks started showing signs of dominance in Tennessee's win over the Packers last week, and his profile suggests he could be a big-time performer down the stretch. From a matchup standpoint, the Bengals are much better against LWRs than RWRs, although Chidobie Awuzie, who is now on IR, was a big reason for that. All three of Burks, Robert Woods, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine get upgrades, but it's tough to pinpoint which one will pop off given that they all play all over the formation.

The Cardinals pass defense was pitiful against Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers on Monday, and this week match up with Justin Herbert and the Chargers. Mike Williams may not play after re-aggravating his ankle injury, which would open up a path to big targets for Josh Palmer. Palmer gets a boost, as the Cards have been terrible against RWRs.

Deebo Samuel finally had a big game as well, and this week gets another upgraded matchup against the Saints. New Orleans has been torched by outside WRs all year and Deebo and Brandon Aiyuk are both in good spots based on the data. If Marshon Lattimore plays, Aiyuk's matchup gets a slight downgrade.

A.J. Terrell is back for the Falcons, which theoretically should push some production away from opposing LWRs. It has to go somewhere considering Atlanta's anemic pass rush, and the Falcons have been horrible against slots all year. Curtis Samuel gets a bump.


WR/CB Matchups to Downgrade

Wan'Dale Robinson looked like he was emerging as a potential top target for Daniel Jones, but unfortunately tore his ACL and is out for the season. That means Darius Slayton will be the Giants' WR1 for the rest of the season. However, his matchup is a tough one against Trevon Diggs and the Cowboys stout defense this week. Dallas has given up the second-fewest FPPG to opposing LWRs this year.

Chase Claypool has been a non-factor so far for the Bears. Meanwhile, the Jets outside CB duo has been dominant. I don't expect a big game from Bears' outside WRs.

The Browns have been bad against the run but solid against WRs all year, and now have Denzel Ward back. It's not a great matchup for Mike Evans or Chris Godwin, but keep an eye on the status of Greg Newsome.

Diontae Johnson has been underwhelming to say the least, and this week has to deal with Stephon Gilmore and the Colts, who have been a tough matchup all year. George Pickens also gets a downgrade.

DeVonta Smith has the toughest matchup of the week for RWRs against Rasul Douglas and the Packers. Smith plays all over the formation, but the Packers aren't an easy matchup for opposing WRs.

On the other side of that game, Allen Lazard should see plenty of Darius Slay, which gives him a downgrade. The Eagles give up the second-fewest FPPG to opposing RWRs.

Finally, Rondale Moore was undoubtedly responsible for some nightmare scenarios last week as he put up negative fantasy points and left the game due to injury against the 49ers. If he's back this week, he'll be greeted by one of the tougher slot corners in the NFL in Bryce Callahan. If Moore can't go, Greg Dortch will be a popular play with projected target volume, but would also have a tough matchup. Keep in mind that Dortch is dealing with an injury of his own.


Thanks for reading and good luck this week.

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