Exposed (WR/TE matchups) - Week 17

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 T.Y. Hilton, IND vs TEN (Adoree' Jackson)
This is one of the biggest games of the weekend and Hilton has said he will play despite missing practice during the week. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since week 11 against the same Titans defense, when he blew up for 9/155/2 while being shadowed by Jackson. Since then, Hilton hasn’t exactly struggled either with an average of 7 catches per game and at least 75 yards in all 5 games.

WR Robert Woods, LAR vs SF (K'Waun Williams)
Woods is averaging nearly 10 targets/game over the last month and has been the most reliable receiver since Cooper Kupp went on I.R. The match up isn’t clear since Williams aggravated his knee injury last week, but Woods should have a clear edge over him or his most likely replacement D.J. Reed. The Rams are in danger of losing a first round bye with a loss this week, so they don’t figure to rest their starters here either.

WR Julian Edelman, NE vs NYJ (Buster Skrine)
On a quiet day for Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game, Edelman still posted 6/70/1 against the Bills last week. It marked his third straight game with at least 6 catches and 70 yards, so we should probably expect more of the same this week. The Jets secondary has struggled mightily of late and Buster Skrine has been a weak spot all year long. Give Edelman a boost, but Chris Hogan is also a strong consideration now that Josh Gordon has been suspended.

WR Mohamed Sanu, ATL vs TB (Javien Elliott)
Sanu came through with a strong 5/81/1 game on 8 targets despite playing just 32 snaps against Carolina last weekend. He’ll get another excellent matchup this week as Tampa has allowed the most fantasy points to slot receivers this season. They have gone through a rotation of nickel corners all year long, but haven’t really had much success at slowing down interior receivers or tight ends. With Julio Jones still banged up, Sanu could once again be the primary target for Matt Ryan.

WR Doug Baldwin, SEA vs ARI (Budda Baker)
Baldwin may not be playing at full strength but you couldn’t tell by looking at his recent production. He’s scored 4 touchdowns over his last three games and posted a huge 7/126/1 game against the Chiefs last week. Since he works primarily out of the slot, he should be able to avoid Patrick Peterson and match up primarily with safety Budda Baker.

WR Kenny Golladay, DET vs GB (Jaire Alexander)
Golladay has faced one of the most difficult stretches you will find for a receiver over the past month, including Patrick Peterson, TreDavious White, and Xavier Rhodes over his last three games. While he had success against the Bills, he was held to just 6/58/0 on 15 targets last week. If his target share remains high, he could be in line for a big week here against the rookie Alexander. While Alexander shows a lot of promise, he’s been inconsistent and plays an aggressive style that can give up big plays.

WR Dede Westbrook, JAX vs HOU (Tyrann Mathieu)
The Texans defense has allowed the most points to slot receivers and perimeter receivers over the last 4 games. The question is whether the Jaguars are capable of taking advantage of a secondary that is clearly struggling. The best option is likely Westbrook, who only turned 7 catches into 45 yards last week but has been the most reliable target of late.

TE Jared Cook, OAK vs KC
Cook has cooled off with just 2 catches for less than 25 yards in each of his past two games. He faces a Chiefs defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in the league this year. They have given up 7 touchdowns to the position in their last 5 games with lesser lights like Nick Vannett and Maxx Williams getting into the end zone. When these two teams met back in week 13, Cook lit them up for 7/100/1 on 8 targets. While the return of Eric Berry should help, he’s still shaking off the rust at this point.

UNFAVORABLE MATCHUPS

WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU vs JAX (Jalen Ramsey)
Hopkins is relatively matchup-proof but he figures to draw one of the tougher matchups this week among the elite receivers. The two met back in week 7 before the Jacksonville season went down the drain and Ramsey held him to 3/50/1 on 8 targets. While the Texans have a lot more to play for here, the Jaguars pass defense has been excellent with no touchdowns allowed to receivers in 4 games and no receiver breaking 100 yards since two Steelers did it in week 11.

WR Robby Anderson, NYJ vs NE (Stephon Gilmore)
Anderson comes into the game as one of the hottest receivers in the league with a touchdown in 3 straight games. He lit up the Packers last week for 9/140/1 on 13 targets, but figures to find things much tougher this week against the veteran Gilmore. The two teams just met in week 12 and Anderson was held to just 2 catches for 22 yards while being shadowed by Gilmore for most of the game.

WR Allen Robinson, CHI vs MIN (Xavier Rhodes)
Vikings need a win or Eagles loss to clinch a playoff spot and their pass defense has been playing great of late. Xavier Rhodes hasn’t always played up to his high standards but he’s a capable shutdown corner and the presence of free safety Harrison Smith along with a great pass rush up front help as well. Regardless of the matchup, there appears to be a good chance that Robinson will get some rest this week to try and make sure he’s fully healthy heading into the playoffs.

WR Jarvis Landry, CLE vs BAL (Brandon Carr)
While the strength of the Ravens pass defense lies on the perimeter, they are pretty good against slot receivers as well. They held Keenan Allen to just 5/58/0 last week and Carr has allowed catches on just 54% of targets all year long with no touchdowns. Landry has been pretty quiet the past two weeks with fewer than 50 yards in each game, and the Ravens defense should be motivated since a win clinches the division for them.

WR Courtland Sutton, DEN vs LAC (Casey Hayward)
Sutton had some success (3/78/0) against Hayward when these two teams met back in week 11, but he’s mostly been a disappointment since then. While Sutton has a chance to make a big play or two, he’s unlikely to see much volume against one of the league’s toughest cornerbacks. Hayward has allowed 2 or fewer catches in 10 of his last 11 games.

TE Eric Ebron, IND vs TEN
With 12 touchdowns in 15 games, Ebron has produced like an elite tight end for much of the year. He’s done very little the past two games, however, and missed the second half of last week’s game with a concussion. If he’s able to play, he’ll find a tough matchup as the Titans have yet to allow a single touchdown to an opposing tight end this year. Only one opposing tight end has gone over 50 yards against them in their last 11 games and that was Evan Engram in week 15.