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 some of the best WR/CB matchups to target, and some of the worst WR/CB matchups to avoid for this weekend slate of games.
Top WR/CB Matchups To Target
Terry McLaurin (WAS) vs. Isaac Yiadom (GB)
It’s been two rough weeks in a row for T-Mac, but that could very probably be about to change come Sunday. The Footies are facing at tough squad in Green Bay’s, sure, but McLaurin is going to face Isaac Yiadom in most of his snaps as PFF sees it. While it’s been back-to-back poor weeks from the receiver (8.6 PPR points in W5, just 6.8 FP last weekend), the truth is that McLaurin has a much higher ceiling than that and even his floor can be considered a safer bet than what he did in those couple of outings. Terry had scored at least 10 fantasy points in all games up to Week 5 with two explosions for 27.7 and 30.3 PPR points in which he scored his first, second, and third touchdowns of the season.
And Yiadom is here to make that happen once more and help McLaurin in reaching his true ceiling after a couple of middling games. Yiadom has only covered 33 routes for the Pack this season, and it’s not that he’s excelled in defensive duties so far this year. Among corners with at least 30 routes defended, Yiadom has allowed the 17th-highest FP per target (of 177 qualifiers) at 2.17 FP/Tgt and the ninth-most FP per Route defended (0.39). Over six games (only one played in full) Yiadom has allowed 5-of-6 targets to end in completions (83.3% rate) for 80 yards (16 Yds/Tgt and 13.3 Yds/Rec). Call it a day for T-Mac.
Cooper Kupp (LAR) vs. AJ Parker (DET)
Parker has covered so many routes already (129) in defense for the Lions even though he’s only started two games in Detroit’s secondary. That’s the main reason why his FP/Route allowed aren’t that high at “just” 0.23. Digging deeper, though, you find a more illuminating fact: Parker has been targeted 15 times and 12 of those passes ended on his covered WR’s hands for an 80% completion rate against. Ugh. Those 12 receptions have translated into 119 yards against and a TD, allowing a Passer Rating of 121.9 to opposing QBs.
It’s not that Kupp needs any help. He’s been beastly this season, and he’s most definitely in clear contention for the OPOY award when all is said and done—both in real and fantasy football. Kupp’s rapport with offseason-acquisition QB Matthew Stafford couldn’t have been better through six weeks, and barring a Week 4 dud (11.4 PPR) he’s thrived with at least 7 receptions every other game and never falling below the 10-target mark this season. Everything points toward another booming day for Coop, and AJ Parker will only make things easier for Kupp.
Top WR/CB Matchups To Avoid
Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET) vs. Jalen Ramsey (LAR)
ASB has been a steady contributor for the past three weeks. The Lions, as you know, stink when it comes to their receiving corps. Somehow, the rookie St. Brown and Jared Goff have connected of late and that has made ASB a waiver-wire target of sorts and an oft-picked WR during the past two to three weeks of play. The truth is that the volume is healthy enough (8, 8, and 7 targets) and the receptions high (6, 7, and 5) for most GMs to bank on St. Brown here and there, but that is about to change this weekend.
The winless Lions are facing the Rams, and the Rams are this team from Los Angeles that happens to deploy a certain defender in the slot who goes by the name of Jalen, the surname of Ramsey. Not someone new to this corner of the internet, of course. You already know Ramsey, so let me just highlight some of his numbers from the 2021 campaign to date: one of only seven CBs to have covered 250+ routes, one of only three CBs on that defensive volume allowing 0.21 or FP/Route, the absolute leader in FP/Tgt against at a measly 0.30 in 44 targets (he’s allowed just 27 completions for 244 yards in six games, has 1 INT and only 1 TD against). In other words: reconsider betting on Amon-Ra St. Brown if only for this weekend.
Tyler Lockett (SEA) vs. Marshon Lattimore (NO)
Lockett started the season riding a freaking rocket: 26 and 31.8 PPR outings against Indy and Tennessee with a combined 16-12-278-3 receiving line was to good to pass on. Then, the dry spell—and it’s been four weeks running. Lockett has put up four games of fewer than 11 PPR points with outcomes as low as 7.1, 6.4, 10.7, and 5.5 fantasy points. He’s not finished above the WR38 in any of the past four weeks. Good for Tyler, he kind of regained his target volume in the past two games with 10 and 7 passes thrown his way... but half of those were thrown by backup QB Geno Smith after Russell Wilson fell down injured. There must be a bounce-back coming at some point, but that is not going to happen this week.
Lattimore has been incredible in covering duties for the Saints. The corner, who has defended 184 routes in his four games played, is giving up just 0.24 FP/Route and 1.42 FP/Target so far this season. For context, only 11 other CBs are surrendering fewer fantasy points on a per-route and per-target basis while having defended 180+ routes. Lattimore has been targeted 31 times and has allowed 13 receptions—yes, that comes out at a measly 41.9% completion rate against, the second-lowest/best among those 11 CBs only behind Jamel Dean from the Tampa Bay Bucs. To be honest, I wouldn’t blame Geno if he straight avoids Lattimore this weekend and doesn’t dare challenge his defensive prowess while covering Lockett’s routes. Not liking this matchup just one bit for the wideout.