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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Downgrade - Week 18

Chris Olave - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Welcome to Week 18 of the WR/CB Matchup chart. Most season-long fantasy leagues are over, but there are still plenty of opportunities to play other types of contests in Week 18. The most important factor in Week 18 is which teams are playing their starters less than normal. Make sure to stay on top of the news as it comes in throughout the week.

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 18

 

Click the image for a full-screen view

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

Mike Evans eviscerated the Panthers last week, and without Jaycee Horn, Carolina has one of the worst CB groups in the NFL. It's a dream matchup for Chris Olave.

Christian Watson and Allen Lazard weren't needed in last week's romp against Minnesota, but this week's matchup against the Lions could play out differently. All Packers WRs get boosts in an easy matchup.

Jalen Hurts should be back for the Eagles this week, and the Giants have been an easy matchup for opposing WR1s down the stretch. A.J. Brown is in a good spot.

The Steelers have been an easy matchup for opposing WR1s all year. Amari Coooper could have a big game for the second week in a row.

The Jaguars are favored over the Titans in the battle for the AFC South, and both teams have been easy matchups for opposing WRs all year. Marvin Jones Jr., Zay Jones, and Christian Kirk all get upgrades.

The split between WR1 and WR2 production against the Cowboys has been drastic all year. The Cowboys have typically been stout against WR1s, but bad against WR2s. It's a smash spot for Jahan Dotson.

This article highlighted Richie James in an easy matchup last week, and he delivered. This week he gets another easy matchup against the Eagles, who have given up the fourth-most FPPG to opposing slots this year.

One of the most exploitable matchups in the league the past few weeks has been opposing slots against the Kenny Moore-less Colts. Chris Moore might not be viable depending on contest and format, but he has a great matchup.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Downgrade

Jaylen Waddle has had his fair share of duds over the course of the season, and against D.J. Reed, Sauce Gardner, and the Jets, it's not a great spot. The same goes for Tyreek Hill, but you obviously aren't benching him under any circumstances.

The Seahawks still have an outside chance at a playoff spot this week, and their corners have been great all year. It's not a good spot for underwhelming Rams receivers like Van Jefferson and Tutu Atwell.

The Colts have been stingy against outside WRs all year. It's not the best spot for a Brandin Cooks boom game.

On the other side of that game, the Texans have been putrid against the run but solid against the pass. Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and Parris Campbell get downgrades.

The Broncos have had a horrible year on offense, but the defense has been solid. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are viable plays, but both have tough matchups.

Isaiah Hodgins has been terrific for the Giants, but this week will see a ton of Darius Slay, who has played at an All-Pro level this year.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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