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WR/CB Matchups to Target in DFS (Week 5)


We've reached that point in the year where teams are getting banged up, and whoever stays the healthiest playing a key role in virtually every matchup. Picking on the backups that precede starting defensive backs is a common strategy among DFS players, simply because it's a solid process. Fortunately, we have plenty of data to break down those matchups, and pick the best ones to target for the coming week.

Nothing is more important than matchup analyzation when it comes to fantasy football. Playing your teams’ best players on a regular basis is important, but picking apart the top matchups on a week to week basis can win you a championship, or even better, some cold hard cash in DFS. Matchups for the wide receiver position aren’t always as black and white as they can be for other positions. Receivers need to be broken down even deeper by analyzing the potential cornerback matchup they’re going to draw. This is especially true in potential shadow coverage cases such as any time an X receiver plays against Patrick Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals. Some analytical data used here such as fantasy points allowed per route covered, and percentage of routes run on the left side, right side, and in the slot is courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Now, here are the top WR vs CB matchups for Week 5. Use these to set season-long lineups, as well as gain a competitive edge in the Daily Fantasy realm.

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WR/CB Matchups to Target

TEN WR Taywan Taylor Versus BUF CB Ryan Lewis

Taywan Taylor has seen an uptick in usage over the last two weeks, and all everybody wants to talk about is how Corey Davis finally broke out. He needed overtime to do it, but he exploded nonetheless. Taylor has quietly earned himself a 21-percent target share over the last two weeks, while totaling close to 30-percent of the Titans' total air-yards. With Corey Davis likely to see a shadow from Bills CB Tre'Davious White, Taylor is in a smash-spot for DFS.

Taylor will run against Ryan Lewis on the majority of his routes. Lewis has been Buffalo's worst CB over the past two weeks, allowing 10 catches for 135 yards in coverage. He's allowed a passer rating when targeted of 95.1, which is the highest among all BUF CBs. It's not unreasonable to expect the field to chase Davis' smash-game from Week 4, which is why I love Taylor so much as a low-owned, low-priced cheat code to unlock some of the higher priced studs on the slate.

Pivot: Albert Wilson

I'm as confident in Taylor as I was in Taylor Gabriel last week. I recommend being overweight on him, but just in case his ownership trends upward by Sunday morning, it's good to be prepared. Albert Wilson is in a pretty good spot in what could be a sneaky game to shoot out against the Cincinnati Bengals. He's $100 cheaper than Taylor, and he has deep-threat upside against a vulnerable CIN secondary.

 

MIN WR Stefon Diggs Versus PHI CB Jalen Mills

I'm actually hoping Stefon Diggs' $8200 price tag scares the field off him a bit. Many will be paying up for Antonio Brown and Julio Jones, and Juju Smith-Schuster is priced within $200 of Diggs.

Despite teammate Adam Thielen vacuuming targets, there's still plenty of volume to spread around on a Vikings offense that throws more than 70-percent of the time. Diggs is averaging more than 11 targets per game, and he's hauled in a touchdown in three of his four starts this season. He's going to go underowned, and I'm salivating at this matchup.

Diggs will line up against Jalen Mills, who's Philadelphia's worst-graded CB through the first four weeks. Mills was gashed for six catches and 112 receiving yards last week, and he's allowed the sixth-most receiving yards among all CBs in 2018. Diggs is the most talented WR he's squared off again since getting manhandled by Julio Jones in Week 1. Mills is playing some of the worst football we've ever seen from him in his career, so I want to pick on him before his level of play picks up.

Pivot: Juju Smith-Schuster

Smith-Schuster is going to be heavily-rostered on this slate, and for a good reason. This matchup against the Atlanta Falcons has an implied total trending near 60, so there should be a boatload of fantasy goodness throughout the contest. He's got a good matchup as well, so I don't blame you for eating the chalk and rostering Smith-Schuster.

 

LAR WR Brandin Cooks Versus SEA CB Tre Flowers

Brandin Cooks is in by far the best spot among all LAR WRs this week in his matchup against Tre Flowers. Flowers has allowed a team-high 189 yards in coverage this season on 13 catches. He's also responsible for a touchdown as well. Flowers is currently allowing the ninth-most receiving yards per snap in coverage among 83 qualified CBs. Opposing QBs are targeting him more than any other defensive back on his team.

Cooks leads his team with a 26-percent share of the target market, and he's responsible for 32-percent of his teams air-yards this season. He trails team-leader Robert Woods in that category by just six-percent. This could easily be Cooks' last week as a sub-$8000 play, so I suggest rostering him on the cheap while you still can.

Pivot: Tyler Lockett

This is a clear game-theory pivot, as I expect the Seahawks could deliver their best offensive showing of the season against the aerial juggernaut in the Rams. Lockett has a good matchup against Sam Shields, and he's going to be virtually zero-percent owned. If he was about $700 cheaper, he'd be a stone-cold lock for me. He's a hair too expensive at $6600, but I definitely want some exposure.

 

CAR WR Devin Funchess Versus NYG CB Janoris Jenkins

There was a time not long ago where WRs versus Janoris Jenkins were an easy fade in DFS. That's not the case now, however. Jenkins is ice-cold, surrendering 17 catches for 220 yards and a touchdown in coverage over his last three games. He's expected to shadow Devin Funchess this week, which means the 6'4" receiver is in a spot to smash.

Funchess is priced reasonably at $6200 on FanDuel, and the opportunity has been there over his last two games. Funchess owns a 24-percent share of the target market, as well as a 34-percent chunk of his teams air-yards over their last two contests; both of which are the highest on his team across that span. He's a great pivot off Christian McCaffrey, who's sure to be one of the highest-owned players on the Sunday slate.

Pivot: Sterling Shepard

Lightning could legitimately strike three times in a row for Sterling Shepard. He has a great matchup against Captain Munnerlyn, and he's seen nearly 25-percent of his teams targets over the last two weeks. He's the same price as Funchess this week, and I'm not opposed to stacking the two to help free up some salary for a Todd Gurley-Melvin Gordon stack.

 

CIN WR Josh Malone Versus MIA CB Torry McTyre

This is about as deep a punt play as they come, but Josh Malone is actually in a great spot to meet value this week. John Ross has already been ruled out, and we're expecting a shadow from Xavien Howard on A.J. Green. To make things more interesting, Tyler Boyd will matchup against Minkah Fitzpatrick, whose been nothing short of dominant over the past two games.

Malone will be the teams third WR in 11-personnel, which means he'll draw coverage from Torry McTyre. McTyre has been a weak point in MIAs secondary this season, allowing a team-high 118.8 passer rating when targeted over that span. Malone only needs about 18 fantasy points to obliterate value in Week 5.

Pivot: A.J. Green
This slate is loaded with strong WR plays, so Green could easily go under-owned given the expected shadow from Howard. Despite drawing praise as a breakout-CB this year, Howard has been cooked on more than one occasion over the last two games. With many players likely to chase Boyd once again, I don't hate the concept of stacking Green and Malone in a tournament for some genuinely unique lineup diversity.

 

WAS WR Jamison Crowder Versus NO CB P.J. Williams

Having a worse start to this season than Saints CB Ken Crawley is hard to do, but nickel corner P.J. Williams has somehow accomplished that. In two games as the teams full-time slot CB, Williams has surrendered an unfathomable 13 catches for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Imagine surrendering three touchdowns your first two starts of the season.... You genuinely have to feel for the guy after such a rough pair of performances

This is a great spot for Jamison Crowder, who's ran over 80-percent of his routes out of the slot this season. Crowder isn't on the main slate, but he's a sure-fire lock for the primetime slate for anybody that plays.

Pivot: Paul Richardson

I will actually be rostering both Crowder and Paul Richardson on the showdown slate, as I'm expecting a shadow from Marshon Lattimore on Josh Doctson. If the pace for this game is as high as I'm expecting, Washington will have to throw more than they've had to all season. Quarterback Alex Smith was one of the league's best passers last year, despite a rough patch late in the season. He's capable of keeping pace with Drew Brees in a shootout in New Orleans.

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