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Week 15 WR/CB Matchups: Who to target and avoid in NFL DFS lineups

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Identifying the best and worst NFL DFS plays at the WR position based on CB matchups for Week 15

Buffalo Bills v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/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

Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Mike Evans (TB) vs. Marshon Lattimore (NO)

If you haven’t kept track of Mike Evans’ exploits this season, let me quickly summarize them for you: 13 games, 63 receptions, 885 yards, 11 touchdowns. Those are great numbers no matter how you look at them, but now let’s put them in context. Second-most touchdowns, top-15 yards, top-13 catch rate, second-most snaps played,... and WR9 on the year through Week 14. Not bad if you ask me. Other than a little bit of a stinker in Week 12 at Indy, Evans has racked up top-20 finishes in the slates he’s been part of with at least 14.2 PPR points in all of those games. He’s coming off back-to-back games in which he dropped at least 16.9 fantasy points, including Week 14 6-6-91-1 effort for a spicy 21.1 PPR pops. And now, as if he needed a boost, Evans is about to face one of the worst performers at the cornerback position in Marshon Lattimore. Start Evans, lick your chops, reap the rewards.

And that’s all because Lattimore just sucks these days. As simple as that. Only 30 corners have defended 490+ routes through Week 14. That’s alright. That means that almost one corner per team should be doing it, and also means that the man tasked with such a heavy workload should be the best defender of all rostered by that franchise. Not in Lattimore’s case, brothers. Marshon has been targeted 85 times in his 494 covered routes... and he’s allowing the highest FP/Route average among those 30 CBs at 0.31. Lattimore is surrendering the most PPR points per game to receivers (13.0), he’s allowed 47-of-85 targets to end on the wideout’s hands, and his 725 lead the group easily. We can say that quarterbacks are feasting on Lattimore, and if you know something about Tampa Bay is that, well, the Bucs have the GOAT QB playing for them these days. Uh, oh.

Tyler Boyd (CIN) vs. Kyle Fuller (DEN)

We all know that this hasn’t been the Year of the Boyd, but more the Year of the Void for Tyler, if you know what I’m saying. Boyd is averaging just 10.1 PPR points per game for the Bengals in 2021, but he’s had a couple of very strong, very promising outings earlier this season that clearly showed his ceiling. Those took place in W4 (20.8 fantasy points) and W8 (19.7), and those are the ones we’re betting on repeating this weekend. See, Boyd has topped at scoring 13.5 fantasy points since Cincy’s W10 Bye, and could only finish with a score of 9.3 PPR points last weekend against San Fran. That’s not great. What is great, though, is the fact that the Broncos will (expectedly) deploy underperforming Kyle Fuller on Boyd come Sunday, and that means Boyd will have a fantastic chance to flex on his fantasy doubters once for all.

Kyle Fuller is definitely not Kendall Fuller, let alone Jordan Fuller. I’m saying that because Kyle, same as Kendall and Jordan, has covered 385+ routes this season but he’s giving up more FP/Route and more FP/Target than his two buddies. That’s correct. Kyle is handing receivers 1.83 FP each time he’s targeted, and he’s also giving up 0.27 FP per route he covers (387 and counting). The opposing quarterbacks are hitting passes at a 60.7% clip when they target Fuller, so it’s reasonable that they have done so 56 times (4 times per game). I mean, this man is allowing them to put up Passer Ratings above 109 on average... and has been scored on 4 times while intercepting all of zero passes to date.

Top WR/CB Matchups To Avoid

Tennessee Titans v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Diontae Johnson (PIT) vs. Kristian Fulton (TEN)

See, Fulton hasn’t played that much this season. Not a small sample, though, with nine games starting for the Titans but a “low” 322 routes covered. But in the time he’s been out there on the gridiron, oh boy has he cooked wideouts slowly but surely. While Fulton’s per-route numbers are good but definitely not great (0.21 FP/Route allowed, pretty much middle of the pack value), the truth is that Fulton is doing great on actual plays he’s targeted in. Fulton is giving up just 1.44 FP per target, which ranks in the 80th percentile and is basically translating from 22-of-46 receptions allowed on the year for a measly 324 yards-against. He is depressing passer ratings to a 67.7 mark and he’s got as many interceptions (2) as times he’s allowed a pass to connect for a touchdown.

Diontae, on the other end of the field this week, has truly been a steady performer for the Steelers. Can’t argue with that, folks. Now, entering this tough matchup, I’d consider tempering the expectations if only a bit. The targets from Big Ben will probably go his way because it’s been that case all year long with just 2 of 13 games failing to hit double-digit targets. Johnson is on a five-game streak of getting 10+ targets, and he’s caught at least 5 of those every single time for a minimum of 76 yards. That said, though, Johnson got a 13.3 PPR tally back in Week 10 when he finished 7-13-83 with no touchdowns then. Consider that close to Johnson’s ceiling this week assuming Fulton tries to put his clamps on Diontae for most of the game as snap/charting projections suggest.

Marquez Callaway (NO) vs. Jamel Dean (TB)

Jamel Dean has been so ridiculously incredible this season that I don’t think I can really describe his defensive exploits properly. Dean ranks first in FP allowed per target with 0.95 (only two CBs are below the 1.00 mark). Dean ranks tenth in FP allowed per route defended (min. 400). His season-long receiving line-against sits at a stupid 47-22-226-0. Check that out again, please. The completion rate is at 46.8%, he has intercepted a couple of throws while conceding no touchdowns on his coverage, and he’s limited his prime assignments to a paltry 3.7 PPR points per game. Yikes.

Callaway is never a top-tier wideout option, I know. But I just wanted to include him in this week’s column because he’s playing for a depleted offense that only features Alvin Kamara as a viable weapon, and so he’s been one of the most used last-slot-fillers of the season. Callaway has been bad of late, but he’s shown a 20+ PPR-point ceiling this year when he went for a season-high 24.5 tally back on Week 5. He’s getting 4+ targets per game, and you might think the volume is good enough for him to see a slight uptick and put on some reasonably good numbers. Forget about it. With Dean around, it’s just not going to happen.