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Week 8 WR/CB Matchups: Who to target and avoid in NFL DFS lineups

Identifying the best and worst NFL DFS plays at the WR position based on CB matchups for Week 8

Minnesota Vikings v Carolina Panthers Photo by Mike Comer/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 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

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Marvin Jones Jr. (JAX) vs. Sidney Jones (SEA)

Let’s be clear for a minute. Jones was far from great in back-to-back games in Weeks 4 and 5 even though he played 93% of all offensive snaps by the Jaguars. He went on to put up scores of just 5.4 and 3.5 PPR points, just imagine. But that contrasts a lot with Jones’ other four games played this season: 17.9 FPPG and an average 9-6-73 (with nearly one touchdown per game; three in four outings) receiving line isn’t anything to laugh at. Best of all: Jones is coming off his best game of the season (WR9 overall and 23 PPR points with a 10-7-100-1 neatly rounded line) and is expected to have one of the easiest matchups of the week.

Sorry about that last sentence, Sidney. Cold world, mate. Sidney Jones has played all seven games this season, but the results have been dismal for him on coverage when on the field. Although he’s “only” covered 125 routes by WRs to this date, Sidney has averaged a ridiculously high 0.34 FP/Route. Just in case you need context: only seven other CBs with 125+ routes covered have allowed more points per route. Sidney has been targeted 26 times, has allowed 17 completions for a high 100.5 Passing Rating from opposing QBs, and has been scored on once while not intercepting a single rock. The 194 yards-against he’s afforded to rival WRs rank fourth-highest among CBs with no more than 125 routes defended.

Adam Thielen (MIN) vs. Anthony Brown (DAL)

You are going to play Thielen no matter what in re-draft and season-long leagues because studs gonna stud and that’s it. But in DFS, if you had doubts about this play, definitely ditch them and throw some shares of Adam into your lineups. Thielen and MJJr. (read above) have had very similar seasons; clones, you could even say. Both stunk in the W4-W5 span, but other than that they’ve been as good as advertised. Thielen has four top-30 finishes on the season, three top-20, and two top-4 including his Week 6 outing (before going on a Bye) in which he put up a ridiculous 13-11-126-1 line going for 29.8 PPR points on the day.

Anthony Brown, even coming with all of the Cowboys Hype as Dallas D has put together a sound defensive season through seven weeks of play, hasn’t quite been the star of the unit. Brown is one of only 46 CBs with at least 250 routes covered. He’s out there following receivers weekly at a massive rate... only to allow them to rack up the third-most (min. 250 routes defended) PPR points per route run (0.32). Ugh. Brown has been targeted a sky-high 49 times, has seen 30 of those throws end in completions, and has given up 436 receiving yards, which is the fourth-largest yardage among CBs/Ss this year. He’s intercepted two balls, sure, but he’s also getting scored on twice, so there’s the balance.

Top WR/CB Matchups To Avoid

Tennessee Titans v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Tee Higgins (CIN) vs. Bryce Hall (NYJ)

I don’t think I need to bring Ja’Marr Chase to the conversion at this point. Chase has been a freaking performer so far this season, has turned as the clear go-to guy in the Bengals offense, and has left both Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins in the mud more often than not. Tee came back in Week 5 after missing the W3-W4 span, and some fantasy GMs will look at his last outcome (13.2 to the tune of a 15-7-62 line) and think about seriously putting him in their lineups. That’s not bad, and the upside is definitely there, but with Hall on the other end of the field covering Higgins most of the game (as PFF has charted the WR/CB projections) doesn't sound too good for Higgins truthers.

Bryce Hall is a member of the New York Jets. LOL. No, seriously, he is a member of the New York Jets but he’s been definitely not as bad as the team that pays him his bread. That, I know for sure. Hall has been a staple of this D in that he’s already covered 254 routes in six games. Only 22 corners have played to such volume on defense entering Week 8. That’s already a good omen for him talking this matchup. But his actual defensive numbers are what really pops off the page: Hall is giving up a measly 0.21 FP/Route (tied for fifth-fewest among those 22 players), has allowed 60% of his 35 targets to end on the hands of WRs. He has yet to pick a pass, sure, but he’s also just surrendered one touchdown on the year while limiting opposing WRs to fewer than 6 targets per game. Good luck, Tee.

Jaylen Waddle (MIA) vs. Taron Johnson (BUF)

Tua Tagovailoa—as I’m writing this—is still a Miami Dolphin and the starter of this Sunday’s affair with Buffalo. This might be the last time Tua has to showcase himself before Miami tries to move him prior to this upcoming week’s deadline, raising his value while at it. Waddle has been Miami’s WR1 and he will get most of the looks. Now, again, Miami is facing Buffalo this weekend and Taron Johnson is expected to be the CB tasked with limiting Waddle on the gridiron. Waddle has been a little bit up-and-down but the truth is that his last two outings were promising with back-to-back 15+ PPR points including a 29-PPR explosion to the tune of a 13-10-70-2 line against Jacksonville.

Too bad for the rookie, though, is the fact that Taron Johnson is an absolute wall at the position and is building a true DPOY campaign—if only among CBs. Taron has covered 214 routes so far in five games played, and perhaps the only blemish in his season resume is the zero interceptions he’s gotten through Week 7. Other than that, check the stats: 32 targets, 17 completions (53.1%), a measly 148 yards-against, and no touchdowns scored on passes targeted his way. The Passer Rating he’s allowed opposing quarterbacks sits at a silly 65.6 , and the 4.6 Yds/Tgt are the sixth-fewest among CBs with 200+ routes covered. Only Jamel Dean has allowed fewer FP/Tgt than Johnson’s 0.99, with no other CB below the 1.05 mark. Tough day ahead for Waddle.