When it comes to season-long leagues, your lineup will always feature your top wideouts. You just have to go with your best players no matter what. In DFS contests, though, you better keep an eye on some of the upcoming WR/CB matchups if you want to really identify the best and worst plays of the upcoming slate of games.
With wide receivers being the second-highest scoring position only behind quarterbacks, it’s critical to pick the best possible players at the position if you want to rack up big-time points every week. One important point to consider that most people forget about: different wideouts face different cornerbacks, and different cornerbacks have wildly varying defensive levels.
I’m here to highlight three of the best WR/CB matchups to target, and three of the worst WR/CB matchups to avoid for the Week 6 slate of games.
Top 3 WR/CB Matchups To Target
Justin Jefferson (MIN) vs. Isaiah Oliver (ATL)
Justin Jefferson is a rookie. Actually, Justin Jefferson is a very good rookie. After playing two games with a secondary role during the first two weeks of the season, Jefferson exploded for 30.5 PPR points in Week 3 and showed the world what he’s capable of. Minnesota wasn’t expecting this, but Jefferson looks like an instant replacement for the departed Stefon Diggs. He’s caught 19 of 25 targets for 371 yards and a touchdown, and surpassed the 100-yard mark in two consecutive weeks against Tennessee and Houston.
At the other end, Jefferson is expected to face Isaiah Oliver. The corner has played in all five of Atlanta’s games this season, allowing 71.8 percent of the passes thrown his way to end in completions (28 of 39) and surrendering four touchdowns against no interceptions on the year. Oliver has given up the second-most PPR points to WRs through Week 5 and is giving up 2.13 fantasy points per target (11th-worst among players targeted at least 20 times).
Tyreek Hill (KC) vs. Taron Johnson (BUF)
Of the 67 cornerbacks targeted at least 20 times this season, Johnson is one of only 10 players to have allowed at least 75 percent of the passes that have targeted him to be completed. His per-game stats aren’t that bad, with only 10.2 PPR per game surrendered to wideouts, but he’s allowed the seventh-most YAC through five games and although he’s missed just one tackle of the 35 he’s attempted, Hill doesn’t profile as a player he could stay stuck to on this one.
It is not that Tyreek Hill needs any boost in opportunity to thrive, but Sammy Watkins is out for Week 5 and that will add even more upside to Hill’s potential performance. Hill has racked up 15+ PPR points every game this season, topping at 21.8 in Week 2 and following that with 21.2 fantasy points in Week 3. He has yet to miss on scoring a touchdown in a game (four receiving, one rushing), and he’s topped 64 yards from scrimmage in four of his five games. This matchup ranks as the third most-unbalanced in favor of the WR in PFF’s chart for this week’s slate.
T.Y. Hilton (IND) vs. LeShaun Sims (CIN)
This could be the key to your weekend provided how Hilton has fared so far this season. T.Y. Hilton has been plain bad playing under Philip Rivers. He has scored 12+ PPR points only once (last weekend) in five games and although he’s catching a very healthy those of targets (19 of 32 through W5), he’s just not producing on the field with a measly 231 receiving yards combined (WR39) and has yet to score a touchdown.
The Bengals might mark the get-right game of Hilton, though. Cincinnati has been plain horrid this season on the defensive side of the ball, and Sims has been one of the main reasons during the past three weeks, all of which he’s been on the field. Sims has been so bad, indeed, that he’s one of only two CBs to have surrendered more than 50 PPR points in fewer than four games played, averaging 17 per game and 2.13 (!) per target. Those marks are the fourth- and 11th-worst among CBs with at least 20 targets. He’s also allowed Carson Wentz, Gardner Minshew, and Lamar Jackson to finish with an average QBR of 111.6 through his three games (12th worst).
Top 3 WR/CB Matchups To Avoid
Terry McLaurin (WAS) vs. James Bradberry (NYG)
It is hard to go against Terry McLaurin considering how slim are Washington’s receiving corps. Other than McLaurin, only Dontrell Inman has led the team in PPR in a single game this season for the Football Team and he did with 17.8 PPR points to McLaurin’s 12.6 in Week 3. Even playing under middling quarterbacks, McLaurin’s 15.3 PPG rank 22nd in the NFL and he has racked up the ninth-most receiving yards already while being on the field for the fourth-most snaps among WRs (308). It’s Terry’s world and Washington is just living in it.
The problem with having such heavy usage and being a one-man wrecking crew, though, is that he will often be shadowed and tightly covered. Even more if the guy he’s facing is James Bradberry (probably the only bright thing out of the Giants...), who has shadowed three receivers already this season. Bradberry absolutely demolished Allen Robinson (7 targets-3 receptions-33 yards), Kendrick Bourne (4-2-32), and Amari Cooper (3-1-8), and McLaurin will probably come next. Quarterbacks are only completing 56.7 percent of their passes targeting Bradberry, and neither of Kyle Allen or Alex Smith should be the ones to overwhelm Bradberry.
Michael Gallup (DAL) vs. Dre Kirkpatrick (ARI)
In such a stacked offense like Dallas’, there was always going to be a loser. Enter Michael Gallup. After having a good 2019 season, the addition of rookie CeeDee Lamb has pushed Gallup a little out of the spotlight. Gallup has just one 12+ PPR game (Week 3, 25.8) but other than that he’s yet to finish a match with more than four receptions, 73 yards... or a touchdown. Perhaps new starter Andy Dalton changes that, but odds are this is not the week for Gallup to explode.
Why? Because he’s facing one of the best corners of the season so far in Dre Kirkpatrick, among other things. Dre has only shadowed one receiver this season (Drontrelle Inman, W2) and he limited him to just 3.7 PPR points on four targets. He won’t be shadowing Gallup, but he’ll be his main cover. Kirkpatrick has surrendered just 7.3 PPR per game in five matches, and although he’s allowed 17 of 24 completions he’s yet to be scored on.
Greg Ward (PHI) vs. Marlon Humphrey (BAL)
With Philly’s receivers ravaged by injuries, it will all be about Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham this week (yes, Ertz plain sucks these days). Ward has the most PPR points combined over five games (55.6) but even on a clear WR1 role he’s still ages behind most No. 1 receivers in PPG (10.1). Ward is getting all of the targets and then some (31), but has turned those in just 172 yards through the year, and only has one game over 13 fantasy points (W3, 20.6 PPR) this season when he needed to be targeted all of 11 times—and to score a touchdown—to reach that mark.
Things won’t get easier this weekend. Ward is getting into a bottom-10 matchup against slot-corner Marlon Humphrey, and the Raven has been hella stout this season. Cornerbacks manning the slot don’t usually rank high in PFF grading system, but Humphrey has the eight-best grade through W5 among all CBs, and second-best among slot-CBs. Although QBs have not stopped throwing his way (40 targets), he’s only allowed 25 completions, no touchdowns, and already has one interception to his name. Oh, and 1.2 PPR points surrendered per target rank third-best among CBs targeted at least 20 times.