Exposed (WR/TE matchups): Week 3

Breaks down some of the best and worst WR/TE matchups this week to help you build DFS lineups.

This article will try to highlight some of the best and worst matchups for wide receivers and tight ends each week. Using player tracking data from various sources (NFL.com, Pro Football Focus, ESPN, etc.) as well as reviews of recent trends, I look for situations to exploit or avoid when setting your weekly DFS lineups. Given that this article is intended to help across all DFS sites, variations in pricing and scoring systems are not taken into account so obviously the values could shift depending on where you are playing. Main intent of this article is simply to call out some players who could be significantly helped or hurt by their situations each week.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via email (rudnicki@footballguys.com) or twitter (@a_rudnicki)

 

FAVORABLE MATCHUPS


WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL (vs DET)
Julio Jones will almost certainly be facing shadow coverage from Darius Slay this week, and that should make Sanu against Quandre Diggs in the slot a very inviting target for Matt Ryan. He caught 5 of 6 targets for 85 yards against the Packers last week and seems like a clear #2 option in this potent passing attack.

WR Devin Funchess, CAR (vs NO)
Funchess is coming off a productive outing against the Bills (caught 4 of 7 targets for 68 yards) and should find things even easier this week. Funchess lines up on the right most of the time, which points to an expected matchup with P.J. Williams who has given up a lot through two games. Kelvin Benjamin should have a tougher matchup with 1st round rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

WR A.J. Green, CIN (vs GB)
The Packers cornerbacks didn't have much success against Julio Jones last week, and now they have to deal with a similarly talented receiver in A.J. Green. Whether he's matched up against Damarious Randall or Davon House, he should see plenty of targets as the Bengals try to turn things around under a new offensive coordinator.

WR Rashard Higgins, CLE (vs IND)
The Browns have been very disappointed in the play of Kenny Britt thus far and just placed Corey Coleman on injured reserve. That points to Higgins as a possible focal point of the offense after he was elevated from the practice squad a week ago. He looked great in the slot against a tough Ravens defense last week and should find little resistance from Colts slot corner Nate Hairston.

WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN (vs BUF)
Thomas and the Broncos passing attack came to life last week against Dallas and will look to keep it going against a questionable Bills secondary. Even though Cam Newton was often under siege and generally ineffective, Kelvin Benjamin still posted strong numbers in week 2 (caught 6 of 8 for 77 yards) while matched up primarily against E.J. Gaines. Thomas should not have much difficulty here, and the tough Bills run defense could force the Broncos to throw regularly.

WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (vs NYJ)
Juston Burris gave up two of the three touchdowns scored by Michael Crabtree last week and the third came against Buster Skrine. The Raiders strength is their outside receivers, but the Dolphins continue to rely heavily on Landry over the middle. He posted an amazing 13 catches on 15 targets last week, even though he only converted them into 78 yards. I expect him to have another strong showing against Skrine and the Jets this week, but Davante Parker is a strong consideration as well since he's likely to see a lot of Burris here.

TE Jared Cook, OAK (vs WAS)
Last week, it was Rams #2 TE Gerald Everett that exploded against this matchup instead of their starter Tyler Higbee. In any event, the matchup still looks favorable. Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland will certainly have their hands full with the Raiders outside receivers, but this looks like a great spot for Cook. He has been a reliable target on short routes but has a chance to break a big play or two against the weak safeties in Washington.

TE Jack Doyle, IND (vs NYJ)
The Browns are starting two young safeties this year, and have not had any success slowing down opposing tight ends. They gave up two touchdowns to Jesse James in the opener and followed that up by allowing Ben Watson and Maxx Williams to collect 12 catches for 112 yards in week 2. Meanwhile, Jack Doyle was a favorite target for Jacoby Brissett in week 2 with 8 catches for 79 yards last week. Doyle will likely be highly owned this week and with good reason.


UNFAVORABLE MATCHUPS

 

WRs Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, BAL (vs JAX)
This game may not be on most slates this week since it kicks off early on Sunday in London. However, you are probably best avoiding the Ravens outside receivers anyway. The Jaguars have two of the best cover corners in the league, and its likely Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye should help funnel plays to Jeremy Maclin or Ben Watson. Ramsey is dealing with an ankle injury, so if he's hobbled or scratched you could probably bump Wallace up slightly.

WRs Jordan Matthews, BUF (vs DEN)
It's always a good idea to avoid receivers going up against the Broncos, but especially when they have Tyrod Taylor throwing to them without the protection of his LT Cordy Glenn. The Bills will need to rely on their run game to try and stay in this one. Matthews draws the toughest matchup against Chris Harris Jr in the slot.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs NE)
The narrative for the Patriots is that Belichick is great at taking away the opponent's best weapon. In that case, he should be prepared for Hopkins here as the Patriots are well set up with Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore outside.

WR Alshon Jeffery, PHI (vs NYG)
The Giants missed Janoris Jenkins last week in a loss to the Lions but should get him back here in a key divisional matchup. Jeffery is coming off a very productive game against the Chiefs that saw him catch 7 of 13 targets for 92 yards with a touchdown. Assuming he's healthy, Jenkins figures to shadow Jeffery this week and that should help keep him in check.

WR Mike Evans, TB (vs MIN)
Evans is clearly an elite receiver and his size makes him difficult for any corner to match up with in man coverage. Meanwhile, Xavier Rhodes emerged as a very capable shutdown corner for the Vikings last year and he's also helped by a very potent pass rush up front. Rhodes has been playing through a hip injury but he was a full participant in practice this week and will likely shadow Evans on Sunday. That could open up more chances for DeSean Jackson against Trae Waynes.

TE Delanie Walker, TEN (vs SEA)
The Seattle defense typically leaves Earl Thomas deep to prevent any big plays and then crowds the middle of the field with guys like Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor. It's typically done a great job at limiting the options for opposing tight ends. Walker is one of the more reliable fantasy options at the position, but the Titans do have more options this year so they won't need to force anything to him.

TE Eric Ebron, DET (vs ATL)
The Falcons were one of the weaker defenses against tight ends in 2016 but have turned things around and now look like a tough matchup for the position. They did a great job against Zach Miller in week 1 and kept Martellus Bennett in check until they moved to their prevent defense in week 2. They have been using more man coverage schemes thanks to their strong cover corners and improved pass rush, which should make it easier for them to contain Ebron.


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