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Week 13 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 12

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/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

Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Justin Jefferson (MIN) vs. Amani Oruwariye (DET)

Justin is a bonafide star these days. Long gone are his surprising rookie outings, as he’s just a weekly massive performer now for the Vikings even though Minny is stubborn in blocking him from postseason play. Jefferson is coming off his worst game since W8, yes, but he still was able to dump 13.3 PPR points on San Francisco last weekend while getting a 9-4-83 receiving line... right after he put up a season-high 37.2 PPR-tally facing Green Bay in W11 when he logged a monster 10-8-169-2 against the Packers. With four top-25 finishes in a row and three of those as a top-12 player, Jefferson will only succeed this week facing a secondary that boasts a bunch of sucky players.

Oruwariye is one of only 46 secondary defenders with 400+ routes defended through Week 12. That makes sense as he’s backing up season-long injured Jeff Okudah. Other than that, it definitely makes no sense. That’s because Oruwariye is giving up a sky-high 2.03 FP/Target and 0.26 FP/Route, both of those marks ranking among the ninth-worst in that group of 46 players. Ugh. Oruwariye is getting targeted on monster volume (53 times already) and allowing 66% of those looks to end in receptions for 488 to date. Of the 35 completions he’s allowed, four ended in TDs and the only thing saving him a bit is his five INT on the year (11 games played). The Lions have yet to win a game, and although the offense has a lot to do with that, it’s not that the defense is making things any easier...

D.K. Metcalf (SEA) vs. Josh Norman (SF)

There are concerns regarding Metcalf. It is reasonable. More, even. DK has dropped back-to-back-to-back duds in the past three weeks, all of them after Seattle’s Bye in W9. Metcalf was averaging 18 PPR points per game prior to that vacation but he returned from that week off stripped of his powers: 5.6, 7.1 and lastly 2.3 PPR is all Metcalf has done in the past three games. Yikes. That should change this weekend if only because of the cover man he is projected to face in veteran Josh Norman.

Norman is not Norman anymore, I’m afraid. With 136 players defending 250+ this season and Norman one of them, the 49ers corner has only been able to limit wideouts to 0.24 FP/Route and 1.79 FP/Target. Just for context, Josh ranks in the 35th percentile on a per-route basis, and a similarly below-average 39th percentile on a target by target basis. Norman has been good for a measly one interception in 38 targets he’s seen, while he’s gotten scored on twice those times. Norman is allowing opposing quarterbacks to get an average 96.4 Passer Rating while his covered-man are putting up the 20th most YPR (13.3) among CBs with at least 250 routes defended.

Top WR/CB Matchups To Avoid

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Keenan Allen (LAC) vs. Mike Hilton (CIN)

Allen has not been bad all year long. It is what it is, as much as Mike Williams made his best effort to look like the Chargers' true no. 1 WR in the early part of the season. Allen, though, has only fallen below 13.5 PPR points twice this season, and even then he put up double-digit numbers. It’s been a month and a half since that happened, though, as he’s strung five games in a row of 15.5+ FP with four of those five at 17.8+ points. Will that keep going this weekend, though? This matchup gives me pause, to say the least.

Hilton has not been a stud, let’s get rid of that for a start. His 0.23 FP/Route allowed is definitely not the lowest mark ever, but it’s not bad at all, and he’s much better on a per-target basis as his 1.57 FP/Target rank in the 71st percentile among secondary defenders with 350+ routes covered. Hilton has been targeted a bulky 52 times and although he’s allowed a 73.1% completion rate (38 receptions) he’s done so while surrendering only 315 total yards for an average of 8.3 YPR. That YPR mark is the third-lowest (third-best, in other words) among CBs with those 350+ routes covered, which is magnificent if you ask me.

Jerry Jeudy (DEN) vs. L’Jarius Sneed (KC)

After getting rocked all the way back in W1 and missing every game until his Week 8 comeback, Jeudy has been a little bit disappointing for the Broncos. Good, not great, let’s say. Jeudy has played four games already and those have turned into an average of 8.9 PPR points with a floor of 4.5 (last weekend) and a ceiling of 12.9 (W9). The targets have fluctuated between 3 and 9 with no middle ground (4-8-9-3 in the last four games) and Jeudy has yet to score a touchdown this year. That might change through the remainder of the season, and maybe Jeudy goes on to put four or five consecutive WR1 outings... but I’d be surprised if the streak starts this weekend against the Chiefs and namely L’Jarius Sneed.

Sneed is the only secondary-Dman of the Chiefs with 350+ routes defended along with Tyrann Mathieu, and while he hasn’t been as stout as The Honey Badger on defensive duties, it’s not that he has been bad at his role. Sneed has been targeted 59 times and allowed a 72.9% completion rate to Mathieu’s 74.2% on 31 targets. Both have a couple of interceptions on the year, and the only blemish on Sneed’s resume compared to Mathieus’ are the 3-to-0 TDs surrendered on the year. Sneed ranks middle-of-the-pack in FP/Target with a 1.83 average while also boasting top-tier marks of 8.0 YPT and 11.0 YPR against his coverage. Only 19 other corners are keeping up (or besting) those latter two marks this year, and only five of those are doing so while having seen at least Sneed’s number of targets (59).