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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or twitter (@a_rudnicki)
WR D.J. Moore, CAR vs TB (Ryan Smith)
Devin Funchess is questionable this week, but he may be phased out of the offense soon given how productive Moore has been of late. With 15/248/1 over his last two games, Moore has emerged as the primary downfield threat for the Panthers. While the Buccaneers’ secondary has shown improvement of late, they are running out of cornerbacks as starter Carlton Davis has been ruled out this week and fellow starter Brent Grimes is listed as questionable. That may force them to rely heavily on Ryan Lewis, who looked solid against the 49ers last week but has mostly struggled when asked to handle starting duties.
WR Chris Conley, KC vs OAK (Nick Nelson)
Leon Hall was placed on injured reserve, which pushes the rookie Nelson into full-time nickel duties for the Raiders. He’s been seeing more and more playing time over the past few games but still has limited experience and will likely be picked on by the Chiefs here. Tyreek Hill remains a strong play against any matchup but with Sammy Watkins ruled out, Conley should be in line for another big week after he posted 7/74/2 on 8 targets last week against the Rams.
WR Adam Thielen, MIN vs NE (Jason McCourty)
Thielen saw more time out of the slot last week against the Packers and that trend should continue again this week. If so, that should result in Stefon Diggs seeing a much tougher matchup against Stefon Gilmore while Thielen will have a clear edge over whoever the Patriots line up inside. Jonathan Jones struggled there for much of the year so the Patriots have been using McCourty inside more often, although he has spent nearly his entire career lined up outside. If Gilmore is able to limit the damage done by Diggs outside, Thielen should see a steady dose of targets once again.
WR Quincy Enunwa, NYJ vs TEN (Malcolm Butler)
WR Robby Anderson, NYJ vs TEN (Adoree' Jackson)
The Jets are close to getting Sam Darnold back but he’s a game-time decision this week and it appears that Josh McCown may get another start. If so, that’s likely enough reason to consider all Jets receivers this week as the Titans secondary has not had much success slowing anybody down of late. Anderson was held in check by Stephon Gilmore last week but is still a potent deep threat who should be able to get behind these corners for some big plays. Enunwa could draw the easiest matchup, however, as Malcolm Butler has been picked on all year and has been cleared from the concussion that took him out of last week’s game.
WR David Moore, SEA vs SF (Akhello Witherspoon)
With Tyler Lockett expected to matchup against former teammate Richard Sherman on the right, that should create more targets for Moore against Witherspoon who has been one of the weakest corners in the league. Moore came through with a huge game against Carolina last week as he went over 100 yards and scored a touchdown on just 5 targets.
WR Josh Doctson, WAS vs PHI (Rasul Douglas)
The Eagles secondary will likely be without their top four cornerbacks this week, which points to a great matchup for the Washington receivers. Doctson had the most productive game of his young career last week with Colt McCoy under center and should be in line for another productive outing here given how poorly Philadelphia has defended outside receivers even before injuries decimated their secondary.
TE Cameron Brate, TB vs CAR
The Panthers defense has allowed a league-leading 9 touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season, and two of them went to O.J. Howard when they played Tampa Bay back in week 9. Now that Howard is on I.R., Brate will have minimal competition for playing time and should see enough targets here to make him a strong starting option.
WR Julio Jones, ATL vs BAL (Jimmy Smith)
Jones is one of the most matchup-proof receivers in the league and has gone over 100 yards receiving in 6 straight games. The Ravens are a tough matchup, however, as they have perhaps the best group of cornerbacks in the league and an offense that should be able to control the game and limit the opportunities for Matt Ryan. Jones lines up primarily to the left, which points to a primary matchup with Jimmy Smith who has played at an elite level over the past month, including an excellent showing against the Steelers in week 9. Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr are certainly capable of playing shutdown defense as well, which suggests Jones will have a tough matchup no matter where he lines up this week. Same should hold for Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu as well.
WR Davante Adams, GB vs ARI (Patrick Peterson)
Adams had a solid outing against Xavier Rhodes last week with 5/69/1 on 8 targets and he’ll have another tough matchup this week. Expect him to be shadowed by Peterson, who has given up two touchdowns in his last four games but has only been targeted 3 times/game in that same span. Look for Aaron Rodgers to target Marques Valdes-Scantling on the opposite side of the field, where he’ll likely be matched up against newcomer David Amerson after Bene Benwikere was cut earlier this week.
WR Brandin Cooks, LAR vs DET (Darius Slay)
Cooks has gone over 100 yards in 3 straight games and always remains a big play threat due to his speed, but he likely warrants a downgrade this week if Slay shadows him as expected. The Lions secondary is not getting any help from the other corners, so look for Jared Goff to rely heavily on Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds with easier matchups against Nevin Lawson and Mike Ford.
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND vs JAX (Jalen Ramsey)
These two teams just met in week 10 and Hilton was limited to 3 catches for 77 yards on 8 targets, but none of those catches came against Ramsey. He has gone over 100 yards in the two games since then and both these teams come into the week headed in opposite directions. The Jaguars defense seems to be slipping and giving up many more big plays than usual so Hilton will still have a chance to keep his momentum going, but he should still be downgraded here.
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