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Week 12 WR/CB Matchups: Who to target and avoid in DFS lineups

Identifying the best and worst DFS plays at the WR position based on CB matchups for Week 12.

Carolina Panthers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

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 12 slate of games.

Top 3 WR/CB Matchups To Target

Tyreek Hill (KC) vs. Sean Murphy-Bunting (TB)

There is no stopping Tyreek Hill, and much less poor SMB. Hill is having quite the season. The wideout has scored 15+ PPR points in all but one game this season for the Chiefs and is averaging 20+ PPR points in 10 matches played. He’s been just unstoppable, and in his last three games, he’s dropped more than 25 PPR points on his rivals each and every time.

Sean Murphy-Bunting, on the other hand... Well, let’s say things have not been wonderful for him. Receivers are averaging 16.4 points on his defended routes, and he’s allowed 10+ PPR points in all but two games this season, needing to be targeted no more than 5 times in those to keep wideouts limited to below-double-digits games.

SMB has yet to finish a game limiting a quarterback to less than a 60% completion rate, has been scored on seven times, has no interceptions in his nine games played, and his season-long statline-against reads 60 targets-45 completions-610 yards. That’s insane.

While Hill is scoring 2.33 PPR per target (and he’s been targeted 10+ times in three of the past four weeks), SMB is allowing the fifth-highest PPR/T at 2.46 through Week 11. Great wideout, horrific corner, and sweet matchup to exploit for a more than probable 30+ PPR-point gain.

D.J. Moore (CAR) vs. Cameron Dantzler (MIN)

Even though Dantzler has played just five games this season, his total 95.0 PPR points allowed in coverage rank the 45th-most among cornerbacks with at least 100 routes defended this season. You might think ranking 45th isn’t bad. The problem is that the corners surrendering more points than him have either played six games or defended at least 20 more routes than Dantzler. No other CB with Datnzler playing time has allowed more than 70 points... and that is 77th-worst Darqueze Dennard. Quite the leap.

As far as Moore season goes, pretty much in the opposite direction as Dantzler’s, it’s been a little bit up-and-down but still averages to 14.4 PPR points per game in 11 matches. Moore has racked up at least 90 yards in six of 11 games and has 50+ yards in three of the other five matches. It is not crazy to think Moore could improve on his already-mental Y/R average mark of 19.7: Dantzler is giving up 11.6 yards per catch and allowing QBs to connect in 70% of their attempts.

Although Dantzler comes from a good performance in Week 11 (2/3-15-0 line against Dallas), his statline from Week 1 to Week 6 reads 28/38-335-5 while giving up 11.9 yards per catch and allowing 77% receptions on his targets. Oh, and no interceptions or even a single pass breakup can be found in his game log.

Sterling Shepard (NYG) vs. LeShaun Sims (CIN)

Shepard has grown into the Giants no. 1 wideout since coming back from injury in Week 7. He has been targeted 6+ times in every game, and 8+ in three consecutive games spanning from W7 to W9. His targets went down to 6 in W10, but he caught all 6 passes for 47 yards in that one game. Excluding the game he had to left early due to injury (W2), Sephard line is at 38-32-266-1 this season, and he has reached at least 10 PPR points in every one of the full five games he’s played.

LeShaun Sims, on the other hand, has yet to finish a game without surrendering fewer than 10 fantasy points to wideouts in his coverage. He’s been atrocious as part of the Bengals secondary, with opposing QBs targeting him in more than 22% of his routes defended and allowing 83%+ of throws to end in receptions in his last four games going back to Week 6.

And it is not that Sims has faced the cream of the crop this season, allowing players like Laviska Shenault, Marcus Johnson, or Rashad Higgins to have great games while primarily covering them when they went against him. Shepard is above all of those, so good things should be coming his way.

Sims is a bottom-20 CB among corners with at least 100 routes defended (there are 130 qualified through Week 11) in both PPR/Route and PPR/Target allowed, and he’s surrendered 4 TDs already to wide receivers this season

Top 3 WR/CB Matchups To Avoid

Allen Robinson (CHI) vs. Jaire Alexander (GB)

While A-Rob has been pretty much quarterback-proof for all of his career, he’s been a little bit hit-or-miss this season against shadow corners. Oh, and it is not that he won’t be tested once more at the task of enduring poor quarterbacking with both Trubisky and Foles in doubt to play next Sunday.

Jaire Alexander projects to shadow Robinson this weekend, and in the four games he’s played that shadow-role he’s excelled all times except against Adam Thielen in Week 1. The other three shadowed wide receiver (Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans, and Will Fuller) saw only four targets at most and none caught more than a single pass for six yards. Jaire shut Evans and Ridley down to 0.0 PPR points in shadow coverage.

Robinson has scored 14+ fantasy points against shadow corners two times this season, but in the other two games he faced such coverage he fell below seven fantasy points. No matter if he plays under Trubisky, Foles, or a third-stringer, he will keep seeing the targets because the rest of the Bears receivers stink.

The Bears quarterbacks throw a lot of tight-coverage passes, and Jaire has allowed a paltry 56% completion rate this season while intercepting one throw and breaking up eight total passes thrown his way. Nightmarish combination worth avoiding Robinson this week.

Marquise Brown (BAL) vs. Joe Haden (PIT)

The Ravens just announced Lamar Jackson has tested positive for COVID, and will most-probably miss this (already delayed) week’s game against Pittsburgh. The matchup looked bad before the COVID-news, but now it just looks straight scary. Brown has been rather meh this year, falling way short of expectations. He’s averaging just 8.7 PPR points per game this season, and he had his season-worst game in Week 11 when in 47 snaps played he put up a goose egg. Ugh.

Joe Haden is leading the Steelers secondary. He’s defended 330 routes in his 10 games played, but even on that heavy usage (only 21 corners have more routes defended through W11), he ranks 7th in PPR/Route and 3th in PPR/Target allowed to his covered wideouts. Quarterbacks avoid him more often than not, as he’s been targeted 65 times but only on fewer than 20% of the routes he’s defended, and he’s allowed just 31 receptions on those 65 targets (49% completion rate). Only Baker Mayfield has thrown for a touchdown against Haden’s coverage.

Pittsburgh and Baltimore faced each other back in Week 8, and Haden’s prime wide receiver was already Marquise Brown. He finished 0-for-2 in receptions. Also, looking at Lamar Jackson’s numbers against Haden back then, he targeted the corner on a paltry 5.7 percent of the routes he defended (two times out of a possible 35) and got just 14 yards on one completion against him.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB) vs. Kyle Fuller (CHI)

MVS is this week’s low-tier wide receiver to avoid, for those of you wondering if you should play him in your FLEX spot. MVS has been good-not-great this season for Green Bay, mostly out of sheer necessity given the injuries of Lazard and other players thorough the year and the lack of additions via trade. Although he came back to earth a bit last week, MVS scored 19.3 and 24.9 PPR points in back-to-back weeks against San Francisco and Jacksonville in W9-W10.

That level of performance should stay low (as it did in W11 against Indy—6.5 PPR points) facing Chicago, and primarily Kyle Fuller. This doesn’t project as a shadow coverage, but given where these two align on the field they should be seeing each other for most of the game. And that is bad for MVS upside this Sunday.

Since Week 4 (included), Kyle Fuller has given up more than 10 PPR points in his coverage just once (against the Rams in Week 7). He has limited receivers to below nine fantasy points in four of his last six games. Also since Week 4, Fuller’s line reads 23/40-270-2, and only the Rams (primarily due to Robert Woods) were able to complete more than 4 passes or top 55 passing yards against Fuller’s coverage.

Another problem for MVS: quarterbacks just don’t risk it against Fuller. While he was targeted in 30% of the routes he defended from Week 1 to Week 3, that average has dropped to 17% in the last seven games, with 8+ targets thrown his way just once (again, by the Rams). He has yet to pick a pass, which is crazy considering he’s played 10 games at an excellent level. Watch out for his first interception potentially coming this weekend.