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WR/CB Matchups to Target or Avoid - Week 9

With several weeks of data, situations are becoming more crystalized and teams are game-planning to exploit clear-cut coverage weaknesses. Compiling this data and writing this article each week has made it clear that a receiver's talent and target share are more important than his opposition. With that said, fantasy managers should be aware of how stingy certain cornerbacks and pass defenses have been thus far. Jaire Alexander, Tre’Davious White, Darius Slay, and Jason Verrett are lockdown stars, while the Chiefs, Chargers, Rams, Bears, and Washington Football Team have been outstanding at limiting fantasy production to opposing WRs.

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 being 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.

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. 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. WRs highlighted in bright green have an easy matchup. WRs highlighted in light red have a tough matchup.

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Cornerback Ratings and Matchups - Week 9

click image for full-size view


WR/CB Matchups to Target

Carolina's WRs were unable to take advantage of what had been the easiest CB matchup in the league against the Falcons. This week, Drew Lock and Denver travel to Atlanta where K.J. Hamler and Jerry Jeudy make for interesting options. One or both could have big games.

Cowboys rookie CB Trevon Diggs has been tasked with shadowing opposing receivers and has been hit-or-miss to put it gently. Whether it's Chase Claypool or Diontae Johnson, the Steelers should have their way on the outside. However, it will be difficult to predict which of the two will have the bigger game as they have been negatively correlated all year. Further muddying the picture is the fact that JuJu Smith-Schuster also has an advantageous matchup in the slot against Jourdan Lewis. In a projected blowout, one or more of these WRs may bust despite the easy matchups across the board.

Detroit has been below average against outside receivers, specifically RWRs. Justin Jefferson gets more of a boost than Adam Thielen based on his base alignment, but either or both could have a big day.

On the other side of the ball in that same game, the terrible outside corners for Minnesota make Marvin Jones Jr. and Marvin Hall appealing options. If Jones plays more LWR with Kenny Golladay out, he will draw the coverage of arguably the worst CB in football in Harrison Hand. Keep an eye on Matthew Stafford's status, however, as he has been quarantined due to possible COVID exposure.

Stefon Diggs and John Brown will get the Seahawks outside cornerbacks likely without Shaquill Griffin. Tre Flowers is easily exploitable, which should lead to a big day for one or both Buffalo outside receivers. Diggs and Brown switch sides and play both LWR and RWR.

Tennessee's secondary will look different with the release of Jonathan Joseph and addition of Desmond King in a trade with the Chargers. Chris Jackson is the projected starter at LCB, which is good news for Darnell Mooney. The Titans have been gashed by outside WRs all year, so Allen Robinson is also in a good spot.

Mike Evans won his matchup against Giants lockdown CB James Bradberry last week. Previous to that game, Evans had been terrible and Bradberry had been amazing. The two also had a history, with Bradberry usually having the upper hand. This week the script is somewhat similar, as Evans has historically struggled a bit against Saints CB Marshon Lattimore. However, Evans now looks 100% healthy and Lattimore has had a rough 2020. WR2s have struggled against the Saints, but WR1s have flourished. This could be another good showing for Evans.


WR/CB Matchups to Avoid

Patrick Peterson has been terrific this season, most recently shutting down D.K. Metcalf. This week he projects to shadow DeVante Parker, which is bad news for the Dolphins WR1.

Metcalf will have to deal with arguably the best CB in the league in Tre'Davious White. Metcalf is a beastly nightmare for any CB and has the MVP throwing him the rock, but it's still a tough spot.

A.J. Brown and Corey Davis have to deal with the Bears stingy secondary. Both have been terrific with Ryan Tannehill spinning it, but it won't be easy on Sunday.

James Bradberry was exposed a bit by Mike Evans on national TV this past week. Terry McLaurin is supremely talented and the clear-cut WR1 in Washington, but this is not an easy spot.

The Giants receivers did a great job getting separation against Tampa Bay's tough secondary on Monday night. Unfortunately, Daniel Jones was horrible and failed to capitalize on multiple open deep routes. This week, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton get the elite duo of Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby which is not ideal.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.

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