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 7 slate of games.
Top 3 WR/CB Matchups To Target
Davante Adams (GB) vs. Bradley Roby (HOU)
I don’t think it’d take a lot to convince you of playing Adams this weekend—or any week, for that matter—as he’s averaging 20.1 PPR points per game (WR3), but this matchup against Roby is making this a must-play.
So far this season, Adams is generating the most (0.38) fantasy points per snap played, and the 25th-most (2.62) FP per target among receivers with 30+ targets through Week 6. He’s caught 23 of 30 of those passes for 253 yards (76.7% catch rate) and he’s the no. 1 WR—and arguable skill-position player too—of Green Bay’s offense.
Roby, playing his second season in Houston this year, hasn’t finished a season as a top-20 corner (per PFF Grades) since all the way back in 2015. That doesn’t mean he’s cooked for good these days. He still ranks 29th in 2020, but his performances have been far from great. He’s shadowed no. 1 receivers in the last five games, and although he didn’t start back, he surrendered 22.6 PPR points to both Adam Thielen (nine targets/seven receptions/ 96 yards/one touchdown) and A.J. Brown (7/5/56/2). Between Marquise Brown (W2) and D.J. Chark (W5) they combined for seven receptions on eight targets for 53 yards, too.
While definitely not the worst NFL corner, Roby is allowing 71% of targets to become completions and has been scored a touchdown on three times already.
Calvin Ridley (ATL) vs. Jeff Okudah (DET)
Tough career start for the rookie corner, and booming season for Julio Jones future (present?) replacement as WR1 of the Falcons. You won’t believe this, but even dropping a goose egg in Week 4 scoring zero PPR points, Ridley still leads all wideouts with 121.0 points over the season and is at 20.2 PPR per game. Ridley has been absolutely crazy on offense, he’s caught 35 of 57 of his targets, and is currently fourth in total yardage with 546. Oh, and I forgot to mention that he’s also third among NFL wide receivers with five touchdowns.
If you’re a hater and want to project Ridley for another putrid game, you can always go ahead. But let me tell you, Okudah won’t boost your forecast chances of becoming true.
While Detroit had high hopes for Okudah this past draft and entering the season, he’s been a mess through six weeks of play. He’s lucky he’s only been targeted 29 times, but that is also related to the fact that he’s been in the gridiron for just four games to this point. Of those 29 passes, Okudah allowed 22 to hit the receiver for a 75.9% completion rate against.
The only bright stat on his line comes from the touchdown department, as he has yet to surrender a score when targeted. Other than that, though, he’s currently allowing 13.5 PPR points per game to his receivers, and averages of 14.5 and 11.0 yards per reception and target respectively.
Hunter Renfrow (LV) vs. Sean Murphy-Bunting (TB)
Las Vegas is coming back from its bye week to face one of the strongest defenses in the whole league. That is an average statement, though, as sophomore Sean Murphy-Bunting is dragging the value of those D-corps down each passing week. With the Raiders featuring pretty much a one-man wrecking crew (TE Darren Waller), Renfrow has been forced to step up as a viable secondary option behind the tight end. So far, so good for Hunter, though.
While on a very small role, Renfrow is one of only 22 wide receivers to have been targeted 20 times and to be averaging 0.25+ PPR points per snap, and 2.75+ PPR points per target. He’s at just 9.4 points per game, sure, but there is a great chance he hits his ceiling (20.3 PPR in W3) once more facing Murphy-Bunting this weekend.
Why? Well, for a start, Murphy-Bunting has surrendered the 8th-most PPR points to opponents through Week 6. He’s playing every single game, allowing a ridiculously high 85.7% completion rate against, and has already given up 338 receiving yards on the season (sixth-most among cornerbacks). All of that has translated to an impossible 127.7 QB rating from the passers he’s faced when he’s been targeted, which is the fourth-worst mark among CBs targeted 30+ times...
Derek Carr isn’t your No. 1 MVP candidate, but if he’s doing something that is completing passes at a high rate while keeping things simple. Murphy-Bunting average aDOT of 7.8 makes him a prime target for a QB with Carr’s profile, so Renfrow should rack up fantasy points with gusto this week.
Top 3 WR/CB Matchups To Avoid
Allen Robinson (CHI) vs. Jalen Ramsey (LAR)
A-Rob might be quarterback-proof, but I doubt he’s corner-proof too, much less against mighty Jalen Ramsey. In fact, Robinson has been shadowed three times this season, and he has finished those games with lines of 7/3/33, 11/8/62, and 7/3/35 scoring no touchdowns in any of those games.
Every time he’s been shadowed by a top corner (all of James Bradberry, Carlton Davis, and Rasul Douglas are giving up fewer than 9.0 PPR per game, or fewer than 1.5 PPR per target), he’s struggled. He also was meh in W1 (12.3 PPR) against top-tier CB Amani Oruwariye.
While Ramsey has not been tasked with shadowing any top WR this season through Week 6, he doesn’t have a problem following whoever, wherever—yes, that means including the slot. In six games, Ramsey has been targeted only 28 times and allowed 15 completions (53.6% catch rate against).
Jalen Ramsey is limiting opposing QBs to a middling 78.9 QB Rating, has only surrendered one touchdown, and his per-game averages come down to an NFL fourth-best 1.24 PPR/Target and 5.8 PPG (min. 6 games played).
Brandon Aiyuk (SF) vs. Stephon Gilmore (NE)
This matchup might change a bit depending on how New England approaches it, and even more on how San Francisco plays around on offense trying to trick the Pats D. That means both Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel will get shares of Gilmore through the game, but Samuel should avoid him for the most part given his hybrid RB/WR role and schemed plays. Aiyuk, on the other hand, usually plays on the left side out, precisely where Gilmore finds his place on the field most often (right-side corner).
In his four games this season, Aiyuk has shown good traits. He’s caught 14 of 25 targets, sure, but the volume is there weekly with four plus targets in each of his last four games and five plus in three of them. He’s reached 44 yards or scored a touchdown in three games since Week 2, too. His only game of 14+ PPR points came in Week 3 against the Giants, though, when he faced a below-average corner in Isaac Yiadom and proceeded to burn him to the tune of a 21.1 PPR performance translating to an 8/5/70 receiving line and adding 31 yards and another score on three carries.
Forget about that type of performance against Gilmore, folks. Even covering some of the best WRs of the league this season, only D.K. Metcalf (19.2) was able to hang more than 6.1 PPR points on Stephon Gilmore, with DaeSean Hamilton being his last victim (Week 6) in shadow coverage. Poor Hamilton had to be happy seeing one target all day... that he didn’t get to catch.
Among corners targeted 25+ times so far this season, Gilmore is allowing the 15th-lowest PPR per game (7.6), has surrendered a shade under 200 yards (192), and quarterbacks have a shaky 52% completion rate when targeting him. Hard to project an Aiyuk explosion this week.
Tee Higgins (CIN) vs. Denzel Ward (CLE)
I hate to put Higgins in my fade side of the column, but this is how things go this weekend. Higgins has been stellar as a rookie for the Bengals. He has basically replaced veteran A.J. Green in the pecking order and is already the WR34 in PPR leagues with 69.4 points through Week 6 for an 11.6 PPG average.
After a couple of rough outings when Joe Burrow was still a Green-Believer, Higgins has seen up to seven targets in each of the last four games catching four passes in all of them. He’s caught passes for 62+ yards three times in those four games, and he scored two touchdowns in the other one (while getting to 40 yards). Barring his 6.5 Week 2 PPR score, all Higgins games when he’s targeted have finished in the 10-to-21 clip.
Higgins, though, had his worst game of the season precisely when facing... Denzel Ward! Ward has not shadowed any receiver in 2020. Actually, Ward has been all around the place and quarterbacks have tried to pick him on weekly, only to have zero success at it. Ward’s 37 targeted passes so far rank as the 15th-most among CBs, which is crazy considering he’s just allowed 20 receptions (54.1% catch rate) and 250 yards over six games. The only blemish on his resume is his four touchdowns surrendered, although given his average targeted-aDOT of 12.0 yards downfield that makes sense.
Ward in Week 2 and Marcus Peters in Week 5 have already shown how they have everything to cut Higgins upside in half. While Ward isn’t the best corner around (20th-best PFF Grade in coverage), he’s been playing very sound football and he’s poised to dry Higgins up once more this weekend.