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
Chris Godwin (TB) vs. Landon Collins (WAS)
Antonio Brown got off the boot earlier this week, but he’s still a no-go for the Bucs to put out there in the gridiron. Rob Gronkowski is still recovering from his injury. And Tampa’s offense will remain, at least for another weekend, a two-man army made of Godwin and Mike Evans. Looking as far back as to W4, when Brown was still active, Godwin wasn’t looking so great. He put up 8.5 PPR points back then, raised the bar to 14 in W5, and finally with Brown out in the last two games (W7 and W8) Godwin finally exploded for 25.1 and 28 PPR points respectively. He has back-to-back games with 11+ targets, and he’s in fact gotten 11 or 12 targets in three of the last four matches (Godwin went 5-for-5 in Week 6, though); not to mention the two games in a row scoring a touchdown for Chris. Tampa Bay is also coming off its Bye week, rested, and facing one of the worst defenses in that of Washington this Sunday.
And if the Footies boast one of the worst defenses of the whole NFL, well, that’s in part because of the putrid outings coming from Landon Collins as part of Washington’s secondary. Collins is tasked with manning the slot, and he’s been quite active at it this year. Collins has covered 260 routes in 8 games, and he’s been targeted 37 times (14%) in passes that he’s allowed to end in completions 25 times for a quite-high 67%+. That’s not the most concerning thing if you get to stop the receiver the second he gets the rock, but Collins has allowed 138 YAC and five touchdowns when he’s gotten targeted by opposing QBs. The result? An opposing QB Pass Rating of 137.3 (third-worst among secondary defenders with 25+ targets) and a ridiculously high 0.35 FP/Route and 2.43 FP/Target surrendered (both inside the bottom five in their category).
A.J. Brown (TEN) vs. Paulson Adebo (NO)
Last weekend I highlighted the Brown/Ramsey matchup as one to definitely fear, thus advising fading (or at least taming our expectations about) Brown. Welp. The Titans receiver put up a 9.2 PPR-point dud going for a low 11-5-42 receiving line. I earned the mini-point, but it’s time to forget about that and focus on what is ahead: big-time eating for Brown facing a not-so-good corner in Paulson Adebo. Brown, mind you, had been stellar prior to last week's game against the Rams. He had stringed three games hitting 16+ PPR points, and in his last two matches prior to W9, he went for 27.3 and 31.5 FP with 9-8-133-1 and 11-10-155-1 lines. Damn, son. Talk about a D-murderer right here.
Adebo, in case you’re not aware, is this man playing for the Saints in the secondary that basically only knows how to give up goodies to opposing WRs. That might sound a bit harsh, right? It’s not. Pretty much a couple of defenders per team (59) have covered 300+ routes this season and Adebo is one of them with 305. Well, Adebo has the fifth-worst mark in FP/Route with 0.30 FP against every time he covers a route. He’s also allowed 1.93 FP/Target in 48 passes thrown his way. That’s the 17th-worst mark among those 59 defenders. Adebo has surrendered 30 receptions on those 48 targets for 385 receiving yards while getting scored on 4 times already Yes, he’s got 2 INT in eight games, but he’s one of only six defenders with 385+ yards against him and 4+ TDs allowed to have covered 300+ routes this season.
Top WR/CB Matchups To Avoid
Jamison Crowder (NYJ) vs. Taron Johnson (BUF)
Mike White seems to be the quarterback of the near future for the Jets with Zach Wilson still recovering from his injury and New York not looking to force his way back. Jamison Crowder hasn’t been any sort of fantasy machine this season after debuting late in W4, but he’s been a steady producer and has a couple of WR2 finishes playing for both QB (19.1 PPR points in W4, then 16.4 FP in W8). This weekend, though, looks like a tough one for the slot receiver. The volume has always been there (6+ targets every game, 9 and 7 in the past two) and the only thing he’s missed on is scoring touchdowns (only one all season long), but even with that healthy diet of chances odds are he ends putting up a dud come Sunday because the man tasked with covering him has been a true dog on D this year.
Enter Taron Johnson. TJ has been so good that I don’t even know where to start. Let’s see. Johnson has 266 routes covered and he’s been targeted in 35 of those and he’s allowed 19 passes to end on the receiver’s hands. That means he’s limiting QBs to completely barely above 50% of their passes (54.3%). Not bad for a start. Not happy with that, Taron Johnson has allowed a measly 120 (!!!) yards on the year, which means he’s surrendering around six receiving yards per reception (6.3) and a ridiculously low 3.4 per target. Good, right? Well, now for the very scary stats: Johnson is giving up 0.12 FP/Route and 0.89 FP/Target. You might have fainted already, but if you have not that might be because you lack the proper context: of the 49 defenders with 250+ routes covered and 35+ targets, Johnson ranks as the no. 1 D-Man in FP/Route, no. 2 in FP/Target, no. 1 in total receiving yards allowed... and oh, he’s not allowed a pass to end in a touchdown through his seven games played. No joke, Taron.
Jerry Jeudy (DEN) vs. Avonte Maddox (PHI)
Jeudy only lasted 31 snaps before being forced out of the gridiron back in W1 until he reappeared for the Broncos in W8 after a lengthy injury-recovery period spent on the shelf. He has yet to put on a fireworks-worthy performance, but he’s not been bad all things considered: 13.2 PPR points, 7.9 in his comeback game, and finally, 12.9 in W9 is what Jeudy has done to date. The targets have always been at 4+, he’s finished all games with 4+ receptions and 39+ yards, and he’s again a fundamental weapon of Denver’s offense. In all honesty, if the Broncos want to qualify for the playoffs and have a chance at a postseason run, they better trust Jeudy and feed him as much as possible.
Not that that will always work, of course, let alone in matchups such as the one he’ll be facing this Sunday. If you look at Avonte Maddox’s volume stats in isolation you won’t be very impressed: 35 targets and 28 receptions allowed for a sky-high opposing-QB completion rate of 80% so far through nine games played. Oh, I forgot to say that those 28 receptions turned into a ridiculously low 170 receiving yards and no touchdowns at all. Better now? Well, it actually gets better when looking a little bit under the hood. Maddox has allowed just 1.29 FP/Target (top-10 in the league among backfield defenders with 35+ targets). Cool. But he has a midget (seriously, it’s tiny) 0.18 FP/Route mark so far, which is tied for the 10th-best among CBs with 250+ routes covered. Maddox is one of only three corners with 250+ routes defended, no touchdowns allowed, and at least one interception this season. That’s the level of play poor Jeudy is facing this weekend. Good luck, mate.