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Week 3 WR/CB Matchups: Who to target and avoid in DFS lineups

Identifying the best and worst DFS plays at the WR position based on CB matchups for Week 3

Tennessee Titans 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

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Cooper Kupp (LAR) vs. Ross Cockrell (TB)

As many as 59 corners have defended at least 50 routes entering the Week 3 slate of games. That’s roughly two-thirds of the starters out there for each team (would have been 96 if that was the case, considering sideline and slot corners). Cockrell is one of them, and I’m positive Tampa Bay isn’t that happy about that. But what can the Bucs do... Cockrell’s two games played saw him targeted a total of 14 times on 54 routes, one of the highest rates in the league at 25.9%. It should be higher if you ask me. This man has surrendered 11 receptions (78.6%), 112 yards (11th-most), and 2 TDs so far this season. He’s yet to break up a pass, let alone intercept a throw. Things aren’t looking so good for poor Ross these days...

Kupp, on the other hand, and end of the field, can’t be happier about the arrival of his new QB Matthew Stafford. The connection has been sublime, to say the least. Kupp leads all WRs in PPR points through the first two weeks of the season with 60.6 for an average of 30.3 FPPG. Even on a crowded offense and manning the slot, Kupp is 16-of-21 catching the rock for 271 yards and 3 TDs. Only Kupp and Lockett have posted up those yardage/scoring marks so far this year, though the former is still outperforming the latter two games into the season.

Tyler Lockett (SEA) vs. Bashaud Breeland (MIN)

Lockett, as mentioned above in Kupp’s blurb, is one of only four players with 270+ receiving yards (278) through Week 2 games and the only one along with Kupp to score 3 TDs while at it. But Lockett has always been defined by one trait, which is bonkers efficiency in the passing game. All Lockett has needed to reach his 278 yards have been 12 completions on 16 targets. His 23.6 YPR are second only to DJ Chark’s 23.9 (although on just 4 receptions) among WRs targeted 16+ times, and his YPT of 17.4 yards is by far the leading mark (Deebo Samuel is second already down at 14.1 yards per target). With DK Metcalf’s slow start, it’s all been down to Lockett to keep Seattle above water hitting the last weekend of September.

Breeland has been far from horrid, but that has more to do with the low volume he’s had to face than anything else. QBs have targeted Breeland just five times this season, though all of those passes ended in the receivers’ hands as Bashaud surrendered 49 yards on a 5-for-5 perfect 100% completion rate to throwers. That plain sucks, and it’s not that Lockett needs any help given his marvelous efficiency is through the roof already. To make matter worse, Breeland has given up 31 YAC to his main-coverage men and allowed opposition QBs to finish games with a 107.5 Pass Rating—the 26th-worst mark among CBs with 5+ targets among 94 qualifiers.

Deebo Samuel (SF) vs. Kevin King (GB)

This is a bit of a long throw hard to hit, but it could very well turn into a fantastic chance to add Deebo to your lineup and to watch him thrive. Per PFF’s matchup chart, Deebo and King should meet each other 19+ times this weekend. That’s not a lot, I know, but it’s reasonable considering Samuel has started his routes on the left and the right of the field 33 times each with 35 snaps from the slot position through the past two weeks on top of that. He’s a jack of all trades, so opponents either shadow him or he’ll get to eventually face every corner out there. Even with that low 19-snap projection, though, King has the largest mark among all Packers’ CBs when it comes to Deebo’s assignments this weekend.

After a ridiculous Week 1 in which Samuel torched Detroit for 189 yards on 9 receptions (12 targets) including 1 TD, he came down to earth a bit in W2 with a more reasonable 8-6-93 line without a touchdown. That still had the WR as a borderline WR2 on the slate, which is nothing to hate. King, his projected main cover-man come Sunday, has been targeted seven times so far this season and eaten alive by opposing quarterbacks. King has been torched for 153 yards on 6 receptions (85.7% completion rate) and already allowed 1 TD on the two games he’s played. Even better for Samuel’s upside entering W3: King has surrendered 112 air yards to go with 41 YAC, pretty much Deebo’s specialty. Can’t wait for this matchup to unfold and for Samuel to hand us the fantasy rewards of trusting him.

Top WR/CB Matchups To Avoid

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Terry McLaurin (PHI) vs. Tre’Davious White (BUF)

Bills corner Tre White is a menace, and quarterbacks around the NFL should know better. For some reason, White has been tested on the outside quite often this season, as his 13 targets already show. Of those, only 7 turned into actual receptions and allowed his covered WRs to reach 79 total yards. The yardage isn’t mind-blowing, the completion rate of quarterbacks is super-low at just 53.8% when targeting White, and Tre’Davious has yet to allow a receiver to connect for a touchdown. White is not projected to shadow T-Mac, but in the four times he did shadow last season he proved to be a stud, only suffering against DK Metcalf. The other three times he limited WRs to below-10 PPR points. Uh, oh.

McLaurin had a bad debut going 4-for-4 for 62 yards in W1, then improved quite a lot with a 14-11-107-1 line against the Giants last weekend. That’s fantastic, and that also happened with Heinicke as the starting quarterback. I’d temper my expectations when it comes to Scary Terry this weekend, as it’s fairly probable that his score went down from the mark he reached last weekend. Of the 17 CBs with 80+ routes defended so far, White is limiting WRs to the fifth-fewest FP/Rt at 0.18 while McLaurin comes with a rather high 0.50 average that will definitely suffer a hit this weekend.

Nelson Agholor (NE) vs. Bradley Roby (NO)

Remember: studs gonna stud every week no matter what. When it comes to lower-tiered players such as Agholor, though, you better check this type of thing (WR/CB matchups) in order to fade/play players considering all of the information at hand we have. Agholor is New England’s WR1 or WR2 depending on your opinion on Jakobi Meyers. I have seen his name pop up in some internet corners with fantasy GMs betting hard on him weekly this year. I have to say that I am the first to praise Agholor’s upside, and he proved me right in W1 with a 7-5-72 line to go with a touchdown for 18.2 PPR points... only to bag a dud in W2 with a ridiculous 5.1 fantasy points. Yikes. At least he went 3-for-3, I guess...

The Pats are facing the all-or-nothing Saints this weekend, including recently acquired CB Bradley Roby. He was out serving a suspension in W1, but he graced the field for New Orleans for the first time last weekend, putting the clamps on Robby Anderson/Terrace Marshall Jr., finishing with 2 targets, 1 completion, and just 11 yards against while only surrendering just 7 YAC on the day. Roby is one of the best to do it, and although the sample from this season is tiny, it already shows Roby’s WR-shutdown prowess. The 26 Roby defended turned into a ridiculously low 2.1 total PPR points, or 0.08 FP/Route, which is as good as it can get. Roby shadowed receivers five times last season—allowing a low-average 5-3-41 receiving line to his men in those five outings—and is expected to do so this week against Agholor.

Calvin Ridley (ATL) vs. Adoree’ Jackson (NYG)

Watch out for what happens in this game, because we don’t really know what the Giants are going to do when it comes to covering the go-to WR Ridley this weekend. Ridley has launched his routes from the L/Slot/R spots 53/12/35 times respectively in the past two games. He’s pretty much an outside wideout often deployed to the left of QB Matt Ryan. New York, on defense, has used both Jackson and James Bradberry outside with Darnay Holmes manning the slot. Holmes is not going to cover Ridley, but who does between the two of Jackson and Bradberry is yet to be seen as they have 39 and 46 snaps played at the Right CB position respectively, and 45 and 36 at the LCB. It’s a toss-up.

History would say it’s going to be Bradberry the man leading the unit against Ridley, and perhaps even shadowing Ridley as the lone threat on Atlanta’s offense. Will he, though? Bradberry has been atrocious to start the year, conceding 12 receptions on 15 targets through two games for 102 yards and a touchdown. He picked Heinicke off last week, but the production hasn’t been that great as in years past. Jackson, on the other hand, has allowed 6-of-13 targets to connect for 77 yards and one touchdown. Neither Teddy Bridgewater nor Heinicke posted Pass Ratings above 95.8 throwing his way, and Jackson’s 0.24 PPR/Rt allowed rank 7th among CBs with 85+ routes defended projected to be the main men (in terms of snaps played a WR) for W3. PFF is penciling Jackson in as the man tasked with blocking Ridley from having a booming performance this weekend, and by the looks of the past two games, he could very well limit his production.