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Week 2 WR and DST Matchup Analysis: Nelson Agholor Breakout Potential

Throughout the season, this weekly column will look at the trends of where we can exploit matchups, mainly for streaming options.

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Cumulative fantasy points allowed by a team are not the only stats which dictate a great matchup for a wide receiver. Some shutdown corners have exploitable corners opposite them giving up yardage and TDs and when shutdown corners get avoided, the ball has to go somewhere.

As always, start your studs unless noted otherwise. Even in bad matchups, chances are that you don't have better options. We are not breaking down Julio Jones' shaky matchup against the Giants because he's Julio Jones and you're never benching him. That analysis is for DFS play and Fake Teams has you covered on that later in the week.

Strong Matchups

Nelson Agholor, Eagles

The 2014 Cowboys were 22nd in receiving yards allowed to #2 WRs and 29th in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders (FO). Against a bad Atlanta defense, Agholor caught only one pass for five yards, as he was only targeted twice, but was mostly covered by Marcus Trufant, a blinding bright spot in that terrible Atlanta secondary.

Why Trufant wasn't on Jordan Matthews is weird, but Trufant was a large reason that the Falcons was 8th in DVOA against #1 WRs in 2014, despite the entire passing offense being 31st. Dallas' defense is built to give up yards while their offense is built to keep their defense off the field. Philly should force the volume to make Dallas' inefficiencies in the secondary benefit Agholor.

Sam Bradford avoided Trufant because the rest of Atlanta's secondary was so exploitable. Bad opportunity for Agholor in Week 1. He has a great opportunity in Week 2. Unless you have a stud for these spots in your lineup, your WR3 and flex spots are about matchups for WRs and Agholor has a nice one.

All of the Cardinals WRs

John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, and--if you're desperate--Michael Floyd have opportunities to crush the Bears, who have  a weak pass rush and no DBs.

Eric Decker, Jets

If I'm not buying into Percy Harvin's 79 yards and a TD from Tyrod Taylor, I have to call the Colts vulnerable to all WRs away from Vontae Davis. Sammy Watkins was blanketed by Davis all game and put up a goose egg in three targets. Assuming Davis will be on Brandon Marshall, Decker will get the matchups which were exploited by Harvin last week. Decker only had three targets to Chris Owusu's six, but he should start getting fed this week with this matchup.

Percy Harvin, Bills

As much as I don't buy Harvin, I buy that Darius Heyward-Bey is far worse. DHB had four catches for 58 yards (and that's without the time he caught a wide open 26-yard TD pass but was standing out of bounds in the end zone) in Week 1 against New England. The Pats give up yards and the short stuff, so Harvin has at least one more fantasy relevance.

Marques Colston, Saints

Colston faces the Buccaneers and Lovie Smith's defense are notorious for dropping linebackers into coverage while the safeties back up to prevent deep plays along the sidelines. Against the Cardinals, five of Colston's seven targets were up the middle. If the safeties take away the outside passes to Brandin Coleman, C.J. Spiller should be huge for Drew Brees, but the WR up the middle could be Colston for a decent PPR flex option.

Nate Washington, Texans

Other than DeAndre Hopkins, it is very tough to trust any offensive weapon in Houston's offense, but Washington has a fantastic matchup on the left side against the Panthers. Blake Bortles went 10/15 for 65 yards and a TD to the left for the most efficient share of his 22/40, 183, TD game. Carolina was 16th in DVOA against the right side, 6th up the middle, but 22nd on the left in 2014, according to FO. That is where Washington is set to lineup , following his 6/105/0 slash line in Week 1.

Rishard Mathews, Dolphins

While we're getting deep, Mathews has the Jags. Kenny Stills is a deep threat with a QB who can't throw deep. Jacksonville was 28th in receiving yards per game allowed to WR3s and lower, according to FO. Jarvis Landry is obviously the #1 guy you want, but Mathews should be a nice PPR play with TD potential.

Weak Matchups

Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs

Thursday Night Football, excluding Week 1, sees four less points per game than other NFL games, according to Sportsline. Alex Smith hasn't thrown a TD to a WR since Siri was a hip new thing and Aqib Talib should keep it that way. The Broncos was 5th in FO's DVOA allowed to #1 WRs, allowing only 51.3 yards per game, in 2014 and Steve Smith was garbage against them in Week 1.

Donte Moncrief, Colts

Moncrief was awesome in the little play he got last season and certainly has the talent and one of the best QBs in the world. The opportunity should be there in a vacuum for Week 2, starting for T.Y. Hilton. But if Darrelle Revis is on him instead of Andre Johnson, Week 2 will be a dud. Stay tuned to the news of who will be on Revis Island. If Revis is on Johnson, Moncrief will be a stud.

Stevie Johnson, Chargers

Johnson is strong PPR play this season, but--across the board--the Bengals are one of the most elite pass defenses in the league when you look at the efficiency data.

Beware of Packers WRs

Aaron Rodgers is risk averse because he's so good that he can be. In 33 pass attempts in the 2014 NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks, Rodgers threw zero balls to Richard Sherman's part of the field. Historically a Cover 3 corner, only playing 16 snaps in the slot last year, he played 13 snaps in the slot in Week 1. This could mean that Randall Cobb may be Sherman proof. If Seattle goes back to tried and true, it's anybody's guess if Sherman sticks James Jones or Davante Adams.

But whomever Sherman is on, Rodgers will go elsewhere with the ball. For that reason, the risks cancel each other out so much that we really can't shift shares of the offense from one WR to another and they stay about the same as WR1 upside, so I only post this because there is high bust potential for one or two of these three. Good luck guessing who. Stay tuned to Rob Demovsky; he knows everything Packers.

DST Matchups to Target

Not a great week for streaming DSTs because the bum offenses are playing widely drafted and still owned DSTs, but there is immense value in streaming your DSTs and the correct way to do it is to ignore the DST itself to target the favorable matchups.


Chicago will accumulate yards and points in many games, but Jay Cutler can be a turnover machine against any defense. Can't stream their opponent the next two weeks because they're universally owned, but they deserve a look every week. (Week 2 opposing DST: Cardinals)


Don't fear Tyrod Taylor. just yet. Still too early. The mobility gives opportunities for sacks and that always opens up opportunity for INTs. (Week 2 opposing DST: Patriots)


Johnny Manziel is starting Week 2. He is a decent QB in fantasy because of his legs, but he holds the ball for a very long time. Also, inexperienced QBs throw more INTs. Johnny Football should be treated like a rookie QB here. (Week 2 opposing DST: Titans)


Jameis Winston was terrible before he was good and then had some nice garbage time. This is what , especially the best, rookie QBs do. The sacks and turnovers are inevitable here. (Week 2 opposing DST: Saints)


Jags gave up the most points by far to DSTs in 2014 and gave up over 20 points to the Panthers in most formats in Week 1. Their Week 2 opponent is widely owned, but they face the Patriots in Week 3, who could be a nice Sunday morning stash to play next week if you have a better Week 2 option. (Week 2 opposing DST: Dolphins)


Mariota struggling is inevitable. Another mobile rookie QB who can get sacked and forced into INTs. Can't trust him to keep the ball away from Joe Haden, either. (Week 2 opposing DST: Browns)


No Desean Jackson makes it even more difficult for this offense to move the ball. If they get behind, can't lean on Alfred Morris, therefore Kirk Cousins will be forced to try to do things he can't without the weapons to do it. This is another case, though, where the Week 2 opponent is widely owned, but their Week 3 opponent--Giants--can be another Sunday morning stash. (Week 2 opposing DST: Rams)