The goal of this article will be to break down some of the WRs and TEs who have favorable or unfavorable matchups this week to assist you in setting your weekly DFS lineups. I will try to project WR vs CB matchups, and also look at defesive units as a whole. Best of luck and feel free to reach out with any questions via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or twitter (@a_rudnicki).
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs TB)
Fitzgerald looked great against a normally strong Patriots secondary last week with 8 catches on 10 targets for 2 TDs. He gets a much more favorable matchup this week against Tampa and rookie Vernon Hargreaves, who played every down but moved inside for their nickel packages. The Cardinals like to use a 3WR set with Fitzgerald working out of the slot, so that should match him up directly with Hargreaves quite often.
WR Mike Wallace, BAL (@ CLE)
Wallace looked great against a tough group of Bills corners last weekend, and his deep speed is a perfect match for Joe Flacco. The Browns secondary has some talent and may not be as bad as they were last year, but they just made Carson Wentz look pretty great in his first start. Baltimore likes to move their WRs around so it may not be possible to key on a particular matchup, but I think he has the best chance to take advantage of this matchup.
WR Sterling Shepard, NYG (vs NO)
Odell Beckham is typically matchup-proof, and the Saints secondary is extremely vulnerable after the injury to CB Delvin Breaux. The Saints have almost no experience or depth at corner, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Shepard this week to build on his solid debut a week ago (3/43/1). Nobody will be surprised if Drew Brees helps turn this into another shootout either.
WR Eli Rogers, PIT (vs CIN)
With Martavis Bryant suspended for the year, and other receivers currently disappointing or injured, there is a great opportunity for Rogers to emerge as the #2 or #3 target in the Steelers explosive passing attack. As the primary slot WR, he should match up primarily with Darqueze Denard who missed the opener but returned to practice and is expected to play. He was one of the most generous corners in the league last year, and may not be playing at full strength.
WR Cole Beasley, DAL (@ WAS)
Washington has a very strong pair of outside corners who will have their hands full with Dez Bryant, but there is a big dropoff to Dashuan Phillips and rookie Kendall Fuller. Beasley was targeted 12 times by rookie Dak Prescott a week ago, and he could be in line for another big workload this week. Steelers slot WR Eli Rogers posted 6/59/1 in a similar situation last week, although the TD was a bit of a fluke.
WR Golden Tate, DET (vs TEN)
The Lions like to move their WRs around, but Tate worked the right side of the field most often last week and that should match him up primarily with Perrish Cox. Cox had a very tough year in Tennessee last year, and then missed almost the entire preseason. In a much weaker passing attack, Stefon Diggs posted 7/103 against a very similar matchup last week. I expect Stafford to post another strong game with Tate being the most likely beneficiary.
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI (vs PHI)
Jeffery posted 4/105/1 in the first half last week before the Bears offense went into hibernation for the second half. The Eagles meanwhile lost starting corner Leodis McKelvin to injury so they will have to rely on 7th round rookie Jalen Mills as a starter opposite Nolan Carroll. Neither player should post a difficult matchup for Jeffery, who remains the only reliable target for Jay Cutler.
TE Coby Fleener, NO (@ NYG)
Fleener couldn’t take advantage of a great matchup at home against the Raiders last week, so now he gets another shot on the road against the Giants. This is a defense that gave up over 100 catches and 1300 yards to opposing TEs a year ago, and they haven’t made any significant upgrades at safety or linebacker. Witten posted 9 catches a week ago against them, and this should be a great spot for Fleener to get involved too.
TE Delanie Walker, TEN (@ DET)
With rookie #1 WR Tajae Sharpe likely to be shadowed by Darius Slay, Walker should return to his role as the primary pass catcher in this offense. The Lions gave up 3 touchdowns to the Colts tight ends a week ago, and Walker could fly a bit under the radar after his disappointing week 1 game against the Vikings.
WR Dez Bryant, DAL (@ WAS)
Bryant is coming off a quiet opener that saw him pull in just 1 of 5 targets for 8 yards. Given the lack of weapons in the Dallas passing game, we can probably expect a very good corner (Breeland or Norman) to be on him along with some safety help most of the time. That could force the rookie QB to look elsewhere, as he did last week when Jason Witten and Cole Beasley received most of the targets.
WR Tavon Austin, LA (vs SEA)
Everybody saw the disaster that was the Rams passing game on Monday night against the 49ers, and we probably shouldn’t expect much to change against the Seahawks. Austin works primarily out of the slot so he may be able to avoid Richard Sherman, but Jeremy Lane played great inside and should be able to keep Austin in check.
WR Brandon Marshall, NYJ (@ BUF)
Marshall can be a matchup-proof option at times, but this looks like a decent week to fade him. He’ll be going against one of the best CB tandems in Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby while also playing a road game after a short week. He only managed 3 catches on 8 targets a week ago in a tough loss to the Bengals, while Quincy Enunwa had much more success while primarily working out of the slot where the Bills also happen to be most vulnerable.
WR Mike Evans, TB (@ ARI)
Evans is coming off a strong game against the Falcons a week ago, but he figures to get the shadow treatment by Patrick Peterson this week. Tampa may still try to force the ball to him, but chances are they will have more success going to some of their secondary options this week.
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN (@ DET)
The rookie operated as the team’s #1 WR last week and posted 7 catches on 11 targets, but he should have a tougher time this week. The Lions don’t boast a strong secondary but Darius Slay is underrated and a very good cover corner. If he’s given a chance to shadow Sharpe this week as he often does to the opponent’s top WR, that could slow him down considerably.
WR Stefon Diggs, MIN (vs GB)
The Vikings are opening their new stadium on Sunday night but given their QB issues, it’s likely they will want to rely heavily on Adrian Peterson and the running game. Diggs looks like their best weapon in the passing game, but I expect him to be matched up primarily against fellow 2nd year pro Damarious Randall. The Packers had their issues against the Jaguars passing game last week, but Randall was the lone bright spot.
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND (@ DEN)
Not a big surprise here as everybody realizes the Broncos defense, and particularly their cornerbacks, and a matchup to avoid if you can. Hilton works out of the slot most of the time which should match him up against one of the best shutdown players in the league in Chris Harris. With Von Miller and company likely to put consistent heat on Luck, the Colts should have a much tougher time moving the ball than they did a week ago.
TE Charles Clay, BUF (vs NYJ)
Clay was listed as questionable on the injury report with a knee injury, and he’ll be facing a defense that has given up very little to opposing TEs over the past year or so. The possible injury to Sammy Watkins could make him a bigger factor than normal, but it’s likely the Bills will want to focus heavily on their running game here and he’s a capable blocker.
TE Gary Barnidge, CLE (vs BAL)
Barnidge was shutout last week and was credited with a pair of drops, so there’s concern that last year may have been a fluke. The switch from Robert Griffin to Josh McCown at QB could be the spark he needed to get going as the two had great chemistry a year ago, but the Ravens are also one of the stingiest defenses against opposing TEs in the league. Probably safe to wait to see how he does here, before using him in your lineups.
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