The goal of this article will be to break down some of the WR and TE matchups from a defensive perspective to help identify some of the most favorable or unfavorable matchups this week. I will try to project WR vs CB matchups, and also look at defesive units as a whole to hopefully assist you in setting your weekly DFS lineups. Best of luck and feel free to reach out with any questions via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or twitter (@a_rudnicki).
WR John Brown, ARI (vs NYJ)
The Jets have been most vulnerable on the outside, as we saw last week when Sammie Coates Jr went off for 6/139/2 against them. Whether it’s Marcus Williams or the shell of Darrelle Revis, this should be a great matchup for Brown. Carson Palmer returns to the lineup, and the two hooked up for 10 catches on 16 targets the last time out.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (vs NO)
Cam Newton should be back under center, and the Saints defense could be just what this offense needs to get back on track. The Saints corners are still a mess, so Benjamin should have little difficulty matching up against Ken Crawley or Sterling Moore.
WR Terrelle Pryor, CLE (vs TEN)
Pryor splits his time evenly between the left and right, but he should have a big advantage over Perrish Cox when lined up on the right. While the Titans had surprising success shutting down the Dolphins passing game last week, they gave up 7/81/1 to Will Fuller V, 8/102/0 to Michael Crabtree, 8/118 to Marvin Jones Jr, and 7/103/0 to Stefon Diggs in the other games. The return of Josh McCown should also help spark the Browns passing game.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL (vs GB)
The strength of the Packers defense this year has come against the run, so that could force Dallas to open up their passing game more than they have thus far. Williams has looked much more comfortable the past few weeks, and he could make a nice value option this week while facing the struggling Damarious Randall.
WR Will Fuller V, HOU (vs IND)
We can probably expect Vontae Davis to focus primarily on DeAndre Hopkins this week, which should leave Fuller against Patrick Robinson on the other side. He looks like the clear weak link in this secondary so far, so look for Osweiler and Fuller to take advantage with some big plays.
WR Allen Robinson, CHI (vs JAX)
T.Y. Hilton just gouged the Bears defense for 10/171/1 last week, and now they get to face Robinson coming off a bye week. He moves around the formation so likely won’t be keyed on any particular matchup, but the Bears are very banged up at the corner position. Tracy Porter and Bryce Callahan both missed practice on Wednesday, so the team could be forced to rely heavily on Jacoby Glenn and Cre’von LeBlanc. Both corners played a role in Hilton’s big day.
WR Tavon Austin, LA (vs DET)
Things didn’t work out so well last week for Jordan Matthews in this matchup, but the Lions remain vulnerable over the middle to slot WRs and TEs. Austin picked up 7 catches on 10 targets last week and should have success working primarily against Quandre Diggs inside.
WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (vs PIT)
The Dolphins are probably going to be playing the vast majority of this game from behind, so we should expect a heavy dose of Tannehill to Landry. Rookie safety Sean Davis has spent time as the team’s nickel corner, and that looks like a matchup that Miami will try to take full advantage of.
WR Julian Edelman, NE (vs CIN)
In Brady’s return last week, most of the production went to Martellus Bennett before the Patriots took their foot off the gas in the second half. The Bengals have enough offensive firepower to make this a high scoring affair, and that should result in a strong game for Edelman. Darqueze Denard continues to struggle as the team’s slot corner, and Edelman seems long overdue for a breakout game.
WR Willie Snead IV, NO (vs CAR)
Snead has been the most productive Saints WR when he plays, and he gets the best matchup this week against a Panthers team that is looking for answers. For some reason, Tampa came out with a run-heavy offense last week and it served them well but the Panthers also gave up 300 yards to Julio Jones just 2 weeks ago. None of their corners look capable of playing shutdown defense, and the pass rush doesn’t figure to have much luck getting to Drew Brees either.
WR Odell Beckham, NYG (vs BAL)
It took Beckham until late in week 5 to score his first TD of the year, but now he faces a Ravens secondary that has been giving them away to WRs in bunches. They have allowed 9 TDs to opposing WRs in the last 4 games, including a hat trick to Michael Crabtree in week 4. Jimmy Smith should see him most of the time, Shareece Wright has been particularly vulnerable on the right.
WR Amari Cooper, OAK (vs KC)
The Chiefs continue to get incredible play from Marcus Peters on the left side, which means Cooper should be able to avoid him. Phillip Gaines is a much more inviting target, so look for Carr to feed Cooper early and often this week. Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins both had big games against this matchup, and Cooper is coming off a 6/138/1 game so he’s heating up.
WR Antonio Brown, PIT (vs MIA)
Brown is obviously matchup-independent, but the Dolphins have one of the worst cornerback groups in the league. Seems very unlikely that Brown has a bad outing here, but there is a concern the Steelers could run out the clock for most of the second half.
TE Delanie Walker, TEN (vs CLE)
We just saw Martellus Bennett kill them a week ago, but Jordan Reed also posted 9/73/2 the week before and Pitta put up 9/102 against them in week 2. This is a choice matchup, and Walker is the Titans #1 weapon in the passing game so he figures to be a very popular choice.
TE Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs ATL)
Graham has now posted back to back 6-catch, 100-yard games so he’s finally looking comfortable in the Seahawks offense. Meanwhile, the Falcons are decimated at LB to the point they had to start a backup safety at OLB last week. This defense has also given up 5 TDs to opposing TEs in 5 games, so this should be a great play (unless the weather becomes a huge factor).
WR Julio Jones, ATL (vs SEA)
The Seahawks don’t ask Richard Sherman to shadow opposing WRs very often, but they will use that strategy on special occasions. A matchup with Julio Jones certainly qualifies, however, so I think it would be wise to downgrade expectations on Jones slightly. A pending rainstorm with high winds could make things even more difficult, so he’s probably not worth the high price week.
WR Robert Woods, BUF (vs SF)
The Bills passing game looked great against the Patriots 2 weeks ago, but then regressed against the Rams last week. Expect a run-heavy game plan from both offenses this week, which should limit the opportunities for Woods and company. Plus, he’s expected to matchup with Rashard Robinson who has been playing great all year and giving up very little to opposing WRs.
WR Cameron Meredith, CHI (vs JAX)
Meredith is coming off a breakout performance after he replaced Kevin White, but that came against a tired Colts team returning from London. He gets a rested Jacksonville team this week who will also welcome back Prince Amukamara from injury and Aaron Colvin from suspension. That should provide a big boost to their coverage, and potentially turn Meredith into a one-week wonder.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs IND)
Hopkins is off to an underwhelming start this year, but it has been offset somewhat by his 3 TD catches in 5 games. This week, he figures to be matched up almost exclusively with Vontae Davis, a shutdown corner who is rounding into form after starting the season injured. He’s held his own against Alshon Jeffery and Allen Robinson the past two weeks, so don’t expect a big game from Hopkins here.
WR Brandon Marshall, NYJ (vs ARI)
The Jets placed Eric Decker on IR this week, so that should leave Marshall with plenty of targets. However, the matchup this week suggests he may have trouble converting many of them into catches. Patrick Peterson should be able to limit the damage that Marshall can do, which will likely force the Jets to use other players more than they might prefer.
WR Michael Crabtree, OAK (vs KC)
Crabtree is one of the most productive WRs it the league this year, but he’s headed for a fall. He figures to lock up with budding superstar Marcus Peters this week. With 4 INTs in 4 games, it would probably be wise for QBs to stop throwing in his direction.
WR Jeremy Kerley, SF (vs BUF)
Kerley has been a very pleasant surprise for the 49ers and has helped keep their passing game from becoming completely irrelevant. However, he gets a pretty tough matchup this week as the Bills have been getting improved play from their nickel corner Nickell Robey-Coleman to go along with their good outside corners. The switch to Colin Kaepernick at QB also figures to take a bit off the passing game and
TE Jordan Reed/Niles Paul, WAS (vs PHI)
The Eagles have given up remarkably little production to opposing TEs this year (8 rec, 52 yards, 0 TDs). While it’s true they haven’t faced any of the better TEs in the league, their system and personnel do work well to limit TE opportunities. Jordan Reed has been diagnosed with a concussion so may not play anyway, but it should be a tough matchup for his backup Niles Paul too.
TE Zach Miller, CHI (vs JAX)
While MLB Paul Posluszny can struggle in coverage, the Jaguars are able to offset that with the players around him. No opposing TE has put up more than the 42 yards that Dennis Pitta had in week 3, so this could be a disappointing week for Miller.
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