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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Downgrade - Week 8

DeVonta Smith - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Welcome to Week 8 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.

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 8

Click the image for a full-screen view

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

The Steelers' banged-up secondary did a respectable job against the Dolphins in Tua Tagovailoa's first start back from injury, but Tua didn't look sharp. Pittsburgh is still an easy matchup, which bodes well for A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

A.J. Terrell is considered week-to-week, and the Falcons have been shredded through the air in recent weeks. D.J. Moore finally had a decent game last week and is set up for a repeat in Week 8.

Courtland Sutton has been a disappointment so far this year, but this week gets an easy matchup with the Jaguars. It's hard to be confident in him, but last week was one of the toughest matchups a receiver can face with a backup QB against Sauce Gardner and the Jets' stout secondary.

The Colts' receivers were underwhelming in a negative game script against the Titans last week, but Matt Ryan's injury surely played a part in their lack of production. Sam Ehlinger could be horrible, but all three of Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and Parris Campbell have plus matchups.

Keep an eye on the status of Saints CB Marshon Lattimore. If he's out, Davante Adams gets a sizeable upgrade. If he's in, Mack Hollins actually has the easiest matchup of all the Raiders WRs.

Finally, Cooper Kupp gets an upgrade against a 49ers defense ravaged by injuries. San Francisco just gave up a huge game to JuJu Smith-Schuster and Patrick Mahomes, and it's unlikely they'll be able to slow down Kupp.

 

 

WR/CB Matchups to Downgrade

Chidobe Awuzie has been elite this season, and the Bengals have given up the fewest FPPG to opposing WR1s by far. It's a clear matchup downgrade for Amari Cooper.

The Broncos' pass defense has been lights out, and Patrick Surtain II is having an All-Pro season so far. All three of Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Marvin Jones Jr. get downgrades.

Another pass defense that has been tough to produce against has been in Indianapolis. Terry McLaurin had his first good game in a while last week, but it might be tough to repeat against Stephon Gilmore and the Colts.

Tyler Lockett will likely get a bump in targets with D.K. Metcalf dealing with an injury. Unfortunately, he has the toughest matchup possible for RWRs against Adoree Jackson of the Giants. Jackson has been stellar this season.

George Pickens has emerged as Kenny Pickett's favorite target, and it's quite possible he is already a better player than Diontae Johnson. Unfortunately, his matchup is rough this week. Darius Slay and James Bradberry have been the best outside CB duo in the NFL this season.

Robert Woods appeared in this downgrade section last week and put up a dud against the Colts. This week it doesn't get much easier as the primary slot receiver against Desmond King.

Finally, the Jets have been a nightmare matchup for opposing WR groups all year. Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Michael Carter have been terrific, which is bad news for all Patriots WRs.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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