Exposed (WR/TE matchups) - Week 12

Breaks down some of the best and worst WR and TE matchups this week to help craft your lineups.

This article attempts 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 lineups. Given that this article is intended to help across all sites (both DFS and season-long), variations in pricing and scoring systems are not taken into account so obviously, the values could shift depending on where you are playing. The main intent of this article is simply to call out some players who could be significantly helped or hurt by their situations each week. I will also try to sort them in order of most favorable or least favorable where possible, but obviously, the quality of the player needs to be factored in as well when making your decisions.

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 NO (P.J. Williams) - Thursday matchup

Sanu has been pretty quiet of late but remains a solid possession receiver for Atlanta who averages just under 5 catches per game over the last three weeks. The Eagles couldn’t really take advantage of the matchup last week with Golden Tate but P.J. Williams remains a weak link in this secondary that most teams will want to go after. Regardless, both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the outside don’t appear to face very difficult matchups given how the perimeter corners have played for much of the season.

WR Odell Beckham Jr, NYG vs PHI (DeVante Busby)
The Eagles are quickly running out of cornerbacks due to a rash of injuries at the position, which could force them to start Chandon Sullivan and DeVante Busby outside with Cre'Von LeBlanc in the slot. Even if some of the other corners get healthy in time to play, they probably won’t offer much resistance to Beckham here.

WR D.J. Moore, CAR vs SEA (Shaq Griffin)
The Seattle outside corners have not been a strength for this team all season and have allowed an opposing receiver to top 100 yards for four straight games. With Devin Funchess coming off a miserable outing and dealing with a back injury, Moore should see a steady dose of targets this week. He torched the Lions for 7 catches on 8 targets for 157 yards and a touchdown last week and looks poised for another big game here.

WR Alshon Jeffery, PHI vs NYG (Janoris Jenkins)
Jeffery is coming off an extremely difficult set of matchups the past few games as he faced off against Jalen Ramsey, Byron Jones, and Marshon Lattimore. Jenkins used to be considered a tough matchup but he’s having an off year and was the primary victim when Jeffery posted 8/74/2 against the Giants back in week 6.

WR Doug Baldwin, SEA vs CAR (Captain Munnerlyn)
Baldwin looked great last week against the Packers and looks like he could finally be getting close to full health. While the Panthers have gotten some strong play from their outside corners at times, they have also been inconsistent so Tyler Lockett remains a good boom/bust option. They appear to be particularly vulnerable inside, however, as Munnerlyn and their safeties have given up plenty of points to opposing slot receivers all year.

WR Mike Evans, TB vs SF (Akhello Witherspoon)
Evans came through with a big game against the Giants last year and now gets to face a 49ers secondary that ranks among the best against right receivers and among the worst against left receivers. That’s because Richard Sherman has mostly locked down one side of the field and should primarily be matched up against DeSean Jackson here while Evans should see most of his time working against Witherspoon.

WR John Brown, BAL vs OAK (Rashaan Melvin)
While the matchup looks great for all Ravens receivers this week, it is also tough to trust Lamar Jackson to take advantage coming off a game that saw him run the ball 27 times. Brown and Michael Crabtree should have a clear advantage outside but Brown is the best choice given his big-play potential.

TE George Kittle, SF vs TB
Kittle appears to be matchup-proof and it doesn’t even matter who his quarterback is either. He should be the week’s best tight end option given a matchup against Tampa, which ranks 3rd in average points allowed to the position this year. They are going to be without their top two linebackers and likely their best safety again as well.

UNFAVORABLE MATCHUPS


WR Allen Robinson, CHI vs DET (Darius Slay) - Thursday matchup
Robinson was shut down by Xavier Rhodes last week and now he’ll get a tough matchup with Darius Slay. He was fortunate in week 10 since Slay was inactive and that led to Robinson’s breakout game with 6/133/2 but the Lions should be better equipped to handle him this week. The move to Chase Daniel at quarterback also probably figures to limit his upside as well, while Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller should face easier matchups and see more volume as a result.

WR Davante Adams, GB vs MIN (Xavier Rhodes)
Adams seems relatively matchup-proof as long as Aaron Rodgers is under center, but he will have a tougher than usual matchup with Rhodes this week. Adams caught 8-of-12 targets for 64 yards and a touchdown when the two teams met way back in week 2, but Rhodes has stepped up his game of late with lockdown efforts against Marvin Jones Jr and Allen Robinson in his last two outings.

WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI vs LAC (Desmond King)
Fitzgerald came through with a pair of short touchdowns last week but otherwise was held in check by the Raiders. Now he gets to take on a much tougher secondary that has only allowed one touchdown to an opposing receiver in their last five games. Desmond King has played very well and should keep Fitzgerald in check here despite the size disadvantage. Christian Kirk may also have a tough time with Casey Hayward on the outside, which could force Arizona to rely even more heavily on David Johnson.

WR Tyrell Williams, LAC vs ARI (Patrick Peterson)
Williams was a non-factor against the Broncos last week with just 2 catches on 6 targets for 22 yards. He’ll likely see a primary matchup against Peterson this week, which should be enough for Philip Rivers to look elsewhere. Keenan Allen should be able to avoid him while working primarily out of the slot, which makes him an excellent option here.

WR Dede Westbrook, JAX vs BUF (Taron Johnson)
The Bills defense has gone three straight games without allowing a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver, which includes games against productive passing games like the Patriots and Bears. TreDavious White figures to limit the damage done by the outside receivers while Taron Johnson and the safeties have been excellent against most slot receivers this year. The Jaguars rely heavily on their running game with Leonard Fournette in the lineup and we’ll probably see a similar game plan this week as they may not need much from Blake Bortles to beat the Bills.

WR Kelvin Benjamin, BUF vs JAX (Jalen Ramsey)
There’s probably not much reason to consider a Bills receiver in most weeks, but the move back to Josh Allen at quarterback and a matchup with the Jaguars is enough reason to avoid them all this week.

TE Rob Gronkowski, NE vs NYJ
The Jets have allowed the 2nd-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends all year and it’s not due to a weak schedule. Apart from a 4/71/1 game for Eric Ebron in week 6, the Jets have not allowed any tight ends to hurt them with just 5 total catches allowed to the position over their last 5 games. Gronkowski is expected to return to the lineup this week for the first time since week 8 but it’s not clear if his back issues are truly behind him so he remains a risky option given the matchup.


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