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Week 5 WR/CB Matchups: Who to target and avoid in NFL DFS lineups

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Identifying the best and worst DFS plays at the WR position based on CB matchups for Week 5.

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/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 New York Jets Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

Josh Reynolds (TEN) vs. Tyson Campbell (JAX)

Not what you came here expecting, am I right? Studs are always gonna stud, so you are probably better off starting them than not because the matchups are not that important in their cases. But for a secondary player like Josh Reynolds they can mean the world. Reynolds, if you weren’t paying attention, was the main Titan covering for A.J. Brown/Julio Jones' absences last weekend, and all he did was to log 76 offensive snaps (80%) to finish with a 9-6-59 receiving line. Now, was that incredible? Not entirely, no.

Last weekend marked only Reynolds’ second game of the season and he just lined up in 11 snaps back in W2, so the rapport with Ryan Tannehill should keep growing. And it is not that Tennessee signed him this past offseason for nothing (before snatching Julio). On the other end, Tyson Campbell has been one of the worst defenders through four weeks of play. PFF has Campbell projected to face Reynolds 36 times this weekend, and that’s a ridiculously high volume of plays to exploit. Why? Well, because Campbell is surrendering 2.58 (!!!) Yds/Route, allowing a high 68% completion rate to rival QBs, and the most FP/Route (0.47) among CBs with at least 100 routes defended this season. Campbell is also the second-worst corner of that 100-route CB-cohort by PFF Grade.

Jaylen Waddle (MIA) vs. Ross Cockrell (TB)

It’s been a kinda-bouncy season for rookie Jaylen Waddle, who has put up games of 16.1, 8.8, 16.8, and lastly 6.3 PPR points so far this year. But given the fact that the Fins have been without Tua for stretches (an ongoing situation, by the way) and that the team is missing players all across the board (Will Fuller being the last one to hit IR), it’s not that Waddle hasn’t done enough to at least consider him a viable fantasy play. Waddle sandwiched his first and last outings with two performances in which he went for 8-6-48 and 13—12-58 receiving lines. That, folks, you can’t hate.

The Bucs have a rather meh corner in Ross Cockrell. He’s got a fine PFF Grade as the guys over them see it, but the truth is that Cockrell is giving up the third-most FP/Route (0.36) of all CBs with 100+ defended routes this season, allowing 58% of the passes thrown his way to end in receptions, and 1.27 Yds/Route (sixth-worst). Given the slim receiving corps of Miami, the role Waddle has played this season when it comes to his performing levels, and the ceiling he’s shown here and there (he’s just missing on scoring touchdowns) this surely looks like a good matchup for him to thrive this weekend.

Top WR/CB Matchups To Avoid

Denver Broncos Training Camp Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) vs. Bryce Callahan (DEN)

This matchup has all of the ingredients for JuJu truthers to eat an ‘L’ come Sunday. JuJu has scored 10+ PPR points just once this season, in Week 2, when he logged a nice 7-6-41 line... which was boosted by a fluky three-yard rush that ended in a touchdown for the WR. Had it not been for that carry, Smith-Schuster would still be looking for his first double-digit fantasy tally on the season. On top of that, he’s coming off his worst game of the year (8-2-11) with a measly 3.1 PPR points against the Packers.

Working for JuJu will be hydro-washed-up QB Ben Roethlisberger. Bad. Working against JuJu will be bonafide-star-cornerback Bryce Callahan. Worse. Callahan’s numbers are simply overwhelming in man coverage. He’s been on the field to cover 116 routes from his assignments, has allowed a stupid 27% of QB-passes to end in completions, is allowing a ridiculous 0.38 Yards/Route (Troy Hill is second already at 0.79, just imagine)... and for our fantasy purposes, he’s limited his covered wideouts to an almost-inexistent 0.07 FP/Route. JuJu has underperformed wildly this season. That won’t change this Sunday.

DeVonta Smith (PHI) vs. Donte Jackson (CAR)

DeVonta has shown two very different faces so far in his rookie campaign. He’s gone for 19+ PPR points twice (W1 and W4) but in the other two matches, he was a complete disaster finishing with 3.6 and 5.8 fantasy points. The targets, though, were more or less the same as he’s getting 6+ looks per game, but the receptions sucked (2 and 3 in those two duds) while the receiving yardage also stunk (16 and 28 yards). I love QB Jalen Hurts, I love WR DeVonta Smith, but I for the love of God can’t put DVS in my lineup this week considering his ultra-bouncy nature and the man projected to spend most of the day in front of him.

Donte Jackson, he of the now-fearsome Panthers, has aligned as the right-corner in almost 70% of the snaps he’s played while Smith has played 50% of his down the left side. The matchup is definitely going to happen. And that’s quite bad news for the young receiver here. Jackson’s PFF Grade is sublime and the fourth-best among CBs with 100+ defended routes. Makes sense, considering Jackson is giving up just 1.02 Yards/Route on a 58% completion rate for only 0.25 FP/Route surrendered to his main cover-wideouts. Also, he’s been burned for just one TD in four games, and it’s not that Smith poses quite the biggest threat on that department.