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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Downgrade - Fantasy Football Week 6

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

Welcome to Week 6 of the WR/CB Matchup chart. As the year goes on, the PPGA metric will become more and more predictive. Last week, this article highlighted a lot of good matchups that resulted in big performances and some tough matchups that resulted in duds. Last week's article gave matchup boosts to Gabe Davis, Khalil Shakir, and Tyler Lockett.

Meanwhile, the downgrade section predicted poor performances for almost every WR mentioned, including Christian Kirk, Brandon Aiyuk, Darnell Mooney, Romeo Doubs, Hunter Renfrow, and all the Colts' receivers. While it's not advised to use the matchup chart as a start/sit cheat sheet, it can be a useful tool.

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 6

Click image for full-screen view


WR/CB Matchups to Target

We start with the premier matchup of the season thus far, when the Bills travel to Kansas City for a rematch of last year's playoff classic against the Chiefs. Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, and Khalil Shakir had productive games against Pittsburgh's league-worst secondary, and the stats should continue to accumulate in this matchup with a 54-point total. The Chiefs have given up the most FPPG to opposing WR1s by far this season, which means Diggs has the easiest matchup of the three. Keep in mind that he and Davis do move all around the formation.

Tom Brady has his WRs back, so I expect the Bucs offense to improve as the season goes on. This week, Tampa's receivers will have the easiest matchup in the league against the Steelers' porous secondary. All Bucs WRs get a bump, including Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage.

The Rams did a good job limiting Cooper Rush and the Cowboys last week, but Dallas' defense was so dominant they didn't even have to pass that much. Although Jalen Ramsey is a stud, the Rams' other DBs are susceptible to getting beat, which gives D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson matchup upgrades this week. However, I wouldn't blame anyone for feeling uneasy about playing them with P.J. Walker at QB.

The Saints are fresh off giving up a huge game to Tyler Lockett, and this week take on the Bengals, who have struggled on offense through the first five weeks. Tee Higgins was unable to play a full complement of snaps last week, but he has the best on-paper matchup of all RWRs in the league against New Orleans. If beat/practice reports indicate that Higgins will receive his normal snap count, he's in a great spot. If not, expect Ja'Marr Chase to line up plenty at RWR and take advantage of Bradley Roby.

Atlanta has given up the second-most FPPG to opposing slots this season, and although Jauan Jennings is listed as the starting slot, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Ray-Ray McCloud all get a handful of snaps a game inside as well. Someone for the Niners will likely take advantage of that matchup.

K.J. Osborn has the easiest matchup of all three Vikings WRs. However, keep an eye on the practice reports for Dolphins CB Xavien Howard. If he's unable to play, Justin Jefferson gets a boost as well.

CeeDee Lamb didn't do much against the Rams, but the Eagles have funneled WR production to opposing slots all year. While Darius Slay does shadow outside receivers, he has not traveled inside all year.

Finally, the Bears' passing game has been anemic all year but this could finally be the week for Darnell Mooney. Mooney has transitioned to the primary slot in Chicago's "offense," and could have his best game of the year on Thursday night. It's definitely not a slam dunk, but the Commanders give up the most FPPG to opposing slots in the league.


WR/CB Matchups to Downgrade

Sauce Gardner has been terrific so far and the 3-2 Jets have one of the best CB trios in the entire NFL. Slot corner Michael Carter II has actually been the toughest statistical matchup so far, which means Randall Cobb gets a downgrade.

Michael Thomas should be back for the Saints, but his matchup this week is as tough as it gets. The Bengals have given up the fewest FPPG to opposing WR1s this year.

Trevon Diggs gave up his fair share of yards last year, but with the way I compile data, Dallas has been excellent against opposing WR1s since Diggs' breakout in 2021. That has continued this year, which gives A.J. Brown a downgrade.

The Colts have been a tough pass defense so far this year, and they have particularly stymied opposing LWRs. It's not good news for Zay Jones.

Cameron Dantzler has been balling out for the Vikings and made the game-winning strip last week against Chicago. The Vikings have funneled production away from opposing LWRs, which is where Jaylen Waddle plays most of his snaps.

George Pickens has come to life since Kenny Pickett took over for the Steelers, but this week will have to deal with Carlton Davis. The Bucs are top-eight in the league at limiting opposing RWR production.

Keenan Allen could be back this week for the Chargers. Unfortunately, the Broncos are by far the toughest matchup in the league for opposing slot receivers.

On the other side of that game, Chargers nickel corner Bryce Callahan has also been stingy against opposing slots. It's not good news for Jerry Jeudy. Enjoy another riveting display of the Broncos' offense on primetime.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.

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