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Week 16 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 16

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/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

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET) vs. Richie Grant (ATL)

Three games in a row hitting 15+ PPR points? A rookie? Playing for the stupidly bad Detroit Lions!? Check, double-check, triple-check! Yessir! ASB is straight balling of late and has seen at least 11 targets in all three of the Lions' last games for WR6, WR28, and WR6 finishes in the past three weeks of play. On a per-game basis, ASB is putting up an average 12-9-83 receiving line and he’s gotten to score a couple of touchdowns in that span going 1-0-1. Goff has been sitting on the COVID shelves this week, but if he plays then everything will be there for St. Brown to have himself a very big Christmas delivery.

Is Richie Grant a bona fide starter in Atlanta’s secondary? No. He’s played 13 games but none as the “starter” or one of the two featured corners on the Falcons’ lineups. He’s defended “only” 110 routes, but that has probably more to do with his lowly outcomes rather than anything else. Just peep the numbers: 21 targets, 15 receptions allowed, a completion rate against above 71%, 172 yards surrendered to go with a touchdown... and a ridiculously high 111.6 Passer Rating from opposing quarterbacks. DUDE. Grant’s main covers are putting up 1.82 FP/Tgt and 0.35 FP/Route. For context, just nine CBs are in that very select and bad group of players so far this season. Ugh.

Keenan Allen (LAC) vs. Desmond King II (HOU)

Yes, Keenan Allen missed a game as late as Week 14 just two weekends ago, but he came back to the gridiron last Week against the Chiefs to have another top-10 finish among players at the WR position—and it’s been four such games for him on the season and the past six weeks already. Actually, Allen has not finished outside the top-20 players at the position in any of the last seven slates he’s performed into. Allen has gotten 10+ targets in six of the last seven games catching 6+ passes in all of those for at least 77 yards while scoring four total touchdowns from Week 8 on. Lowest PPR tally? 115.5 FP. Highest? 22.4 (twice) FP. Not bad, this Keenan.

There have been almost 100 players that have already faced 400+ routes on pass plays. Desmond King II is one of them. He’s also one of the worst of them, mind you. Among those in that group, DK2 ranks second-worst in FP/Route against (0.32) and in the bottom half when it comes to FP/Target (1.74). The only thing “saving” King’s season is the fact that he’s just surrendered four TDs in his 78 targets (and 53 receptions). I said “saving” because most corners targeted so heavily are already at around six/seven scores allowed compared to King’s four. Even then, though, it’s been a nightmarish season for the corner and a very tasty one for opposing QBs who are posting a 96.5 Passer Rating through Week 15 when targeting him.

Top WR/CB Matchups To Avoid

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

Jakobi Meyers (NE) vs. Taron Johnson (BUF)

Miraculously, Jakobi Meyers scored his first touchdown ever this season back in Week 10 against the Browns. Quite a feat, honestly. Meyers hasn’t been bad for the Patriots, but he’s been quite a bouncy player putting up numbers as high and as low as they get. He’s got six games of 11+ PPR points while having six more below double-digits... without counting the zero-point outing against Buffalo as recently as on Week 13. Ugh. Meyers rebounded a bit with a 12-target, 6-reception, 44-yard game against Indy last weekend, but he’ll have a terrible matchup to beat this time out with Taron Johnson expected to be his corner for the game against the Bills... which already clamped him with gusto.

Taron Johnson has appeared on 13 games for the Bills while defending 459 routes this season. Yes, that means he’s run 35+ routes per game on defense. Opposing QBs have targeted Taron on just 57 of those 459 for around 8 targets per game, and of those 57 targets, Taron has only allowed completions at a 54.4% clip (31 total). The yards surrendered can’t get much lower as he’s only given up 284 on the year while intercepting one pass and allowing just one measly touchdown through Week 15. Johnson’s 5.0 YPT allowed are the fourth-best mark among CBs with at least 50+ targets faced this season (112 total players).

Marquise Brown (BAL) vs. Eli Apple (CIN)

Joke has it Tyler Huntley only has two passing buttons in his quarterback-controller: one for Marquise, and one for Mark Andrews. Could be the case, given those two racked up targets in bunches last Week. Now, no matter whether the backup or Lamar is the one manning the pocket this weekend, odds are Brown keeps his tallies up mostly because Hollywood is perhaps the only viable/good offensive weapon doing it as a WR in Baltimore. Brown, though, had a much better first half of the season (18.7 FPPG through Week 9) compared to a lowly second one (11.1 FPPG from Week 10 on) as he’s struggled of late. Six games in a row without a touchdown, and only one above 55 receiving yards. The targets and the receptions have stayed kinda up, but the actual yardage accrued is far from great these days for the wideout.

Entering Week 16, just 11 secondary defenders have defended at least 575 routes, Eli Apple among them. That might lead you to believe that, if only because of the massive volume, Apple must be giving up FP in bunches to his main covered men, right? Wrong. Totally wrong. Apple has been targeted in 68 of those 575 routes (ridiculous below-12% rate) and he’s allowed only 40 receptions on the season (58.8 CMP%). The quarterbacks he’s faced are averaging a stupid 79.8 Passer Rating, which is borderline nonsensical. He’s picked as many passes as he’s surrounded touchdowns (two against two) and only Malcolm Jenkins is averaging both better FP/Route and FP/Target marks against. Apple, mind you, is just giving up 0.18 of the former and 1.51 of the latter. In other words, Hollywood is facing a best-case scenario of what, 12 PPR points? Not liking that.