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
Ja’Marr Chase (CIN) vs. Josh Norman (SF)
I know, I know. You have concerns when it comes to betting on Chase. But man, this guy has been amazing all year long... as a rookie! In 12 games played as a freshman playing under a good-not-great quarterback Chase has been good for a strong 958 yards to go with 55 receptions and 13 touchdowns. Now, hear me out. If you don’t think that’s a solid production, you’re not calculating your numbers very well. And yes, the production has gone down a bit of late (from 20.7 PPR per game in his first 7 games to 10.4 in the past five), but this is looking more and more like a get-right weekend for him to destroy that trend: Chase’s topped at a low 13.1 PPR points in the past five weeks and is facing San Fran for the first time in his career. The targets went down to 3 and 6 in two of the past three games. That will change, the Niners have yet to scheme (and prove that D is good at it) a plan against Burrow/Chase, and the expected Norman-Rookie matchup doesn’t look any good on paper for good old Josh Norman...
That’s because Norman is getting cooked more often than not in the year 2021 of our Lord, whether he likes to accept it or not. As many as 104 defenders (corners and safeties) have covered at least 330 routes this year, with Norman making the cut at 334 to date. There have been worse D-man, yes, but he’s still allowed a good 60%+ completion rate to opposing quarterbacks in his 10 games and 46 targets (29 receptions) and he’s gotten scored on 3 times through those double-digit outings. QBs are posting a Passer Rating above 100 (101.1) when they throw the rock Norman’s way, and that is something only 35 of the 104 qualifiers are allowing. Again, not the worst, but definitely in the wrong side of things.
Hunter Renfrow (LV) vs. L’Jarius Sneed (KC)
If you thought Renfrow had a good start to the year, go check his latest games from Week 9 on (when LV came back from its Bye week) and prepare to experience some exciting kind of pleasure. Hunter has, well, been hunting in the past five weeks and that isn’t changing any time soon, much less considering he’s facing a lowly defender in L’Jarius Sneed this week. While Renfrow was good for an average of 12.7 FPPG in his first seven games, he’s been able to put up 16.6 (!) PPR points weekly in the five-game most-recent span only falling below a 16.9 tally once in that series of matches. Oh, and this is the second time Renfrow is facing Kansas City in a month having dropped a 9-7-46-1 receiving line on them for a tasty 17.6 PPR points back on W10. Can’t get much better than that, or can it?
If I tell you L’Jarius Sneed ranks in the 22nd percentile among defenders with 425+ routes covered, what would you think? Nothing good, that’s what. And that’s just in the FP/Route allowed category, but Sneed is actually in a low tier also when it comes to the amount of FP he’s allowing per target (1.80+ on 61 target through W13), completion rate against (72.1%, 8th-worst mark among the group of 53 defenders to have covered 425+ routes), and yards surrendered (481, 14th-most in that same group). Sneed is just getting cooked, and quarterbacks know it. He’s one of only 19 defenders targeted more than 60 times, and that makes all of the sense as he’s giving up 10.9 YPR and 7.9 YPT, the latter mark being the sixth-worst among defenders with 60 or more targets on the year.
Top WR/CB Matchups To Avoid
D.J. Moore (CAR) vs. A.J. Terrell (ATL)
It surely feels like Cam Newton has brought Moore (at least) a little bit back to life. Moore is not balling out like a WR1, sure, but he’s gotten to back-to-back borderline WR2 finishes with 16.0 and 14.3 PPR points in the last couple of games. He’s done it to the tune of scoring a touchdown in W11 and 100+ receiving yards in W12. But are we sure even those low-level tallies are sustainable over time, and even more facing strong defensive opposition in a d-man such as Falcons’ A.J. Terrell? Let me doubt it, folks.
Just for a quick summary, this is Terrell for you: one of 73 defenders with 400+ routes covered, one of 41 with fewer than 55 targets, one of 25 with fewer than 30 receptions allowed, one of 9 with 220 or fewer yards given up, and one of two putting up an average of 1.02 or lower FP/Target against. Lord have mercy for Moore and his fantasy GMs this week. Terrell has been an absolute terror, a menace, and an offensive-upside killer on a weekly basis for Atlanta. Not a lot of positives to be found in the Georgia squad these days, but Terrell has definitely been one of them. Only one other player has allowed 50% or fewer passes to end in the receiver's hands when targeted 50+ times this season, and his lone touchdown-against in such volume has only been done by four other men this year. Insanely great, A.J. Terrell.
Marquise Brown (BAL) vs. Greg Newsome II (CLE)
Betting against the Lamar-Hollywood pair is not the most intelligent thing to do more often than not, am I right? Yes, I am. But this weekend he’s going against a stout defender in Greg Newsome of the Cleveland Browns, and that might cut the wideout’s upside a bit all things considered. Hollywood is averaging 16.5 PPR points per game this season, but he dropped more than three full points against Cleveland on W12 to a 13.1 FP tally. He got tons of targets (10) as is often the case, and he was good for 8 receptions, yes, but all he did was rack up 51 yards and no touchdowns on the day. Brown has been on the low of late with three straight games topping at those 13 PPR points while getting even into single digits back on W10 when he posted a silly 8.7 PPR score. Ugh.
Greg Newsome II projects to be the man tasked with covering Brown this weekend. He’s covered a healthy 328 routes through W13 while playing 10 games for the Browns starting nine of those. In that sample, Newsome has been targeted 42 times and allowed 26 receptions for 302 yards... and no touchdowns at all. You read that right. While Greg has not picked off a single quarterback yet, he hasn’t allowed them to connect for the big haul either, which is something only five corners have been able to do on at least 42+ targets against. And while the per-target numbers look good on Newsome’s resume (he ranks in the 86th percentile when it comes to FP/Tgt among defenders with 325+ routes), his per-route efficiency is even better. Newsome is giving up just 0.17 FP/Route ranking inside the 90th percentile in that same 71-defender group). He’s allowed less than a yard per route covered, is limiting opposing QBs to an 83.6 Passer Rating, and it wouldn’t be crazy to think he could intercept his first pass this weekend.
Update: Newsome seems to be out for Week 14 after suffering a concussion in the last practice on Friday. Brown gets a little bit of upside back, but he’s not performed to true-stud levels of late, so tame your expectations anyway.