Exposed (WR/TE matchups): Week 9

Breaks down some of the best and worst WR/TE matchups this week from a defensive perspective.

The goal of this article is 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 defensive units as a whole to hopefully assist you in building your weekly DFS lineups by targeting some matchups to avoid or exploit. Best of luck and feel free to reach out with any questions via email (rudnicki@footballguys.com) or twitter (@a_rudnicki).

 



GOOD MATCHUPS

WR Julio Jones, ATL (vs TB)
Tampa just gave up 500+ yards to Derek Carr and all 3 Raiders WRs put up strong numbers. Looks like a good week to consider paying up for Jones, as he should have a clear edge over Vernon Hargreaves here.

WR Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (vs LA)
The Rams pass defense has been a sieve in recent games, due in part to a weakened pass rush and ineffective corners. Bejmain should match up primarily against Troy Hill or E.J. Gaines here, and he has a huge size advantage over either player. This same defense gave up 4 TDs to 4 different Lions receivers back in week 6, so Benjamin should find things much easier than last week's showdown with Patrick Peterson.

WR Davante Adams, GB (vs IND)
Aaron Rodgers has been looking to Adams a lot the past two games, and that has led to him posting 25 catches on 30 targets. With Jordy Nelson likely to face a tough matchup against Vontae Davis, look for Adams to be a popular target once again as he works against the disappointing Patrick Robinson.

WR Tyreek Hill, KC (vs JAX)
Hill has given the Chiefs a much-needed spark at the WR position, and he broke out last week with 5/98/1 against the Colts. The Jaguars have given Davon House more time in the slot of late and he has been one of the worst cover corners in the league this year. If you're looking for a low cost WR with some clear upside, Hill is a good option this week.

WR Kenny Britt, STL (vs CAR)
The Panthers secondary is in rough shape, and has given up some big games to opposing WRs in recent weeks. Kenny Britt was held in check by the Giants back in week 7 when Tavon Austin posted 10 catches on 17 targets. We did see Larry Fitzgerald piled up 10 catches last week working mainly out of the slot, but outside WR J.J. Nelson blew up for 8/79/2 outside. We can probably expect a similar trend here with Austin working the chains, but Britt having a better chance to hit big plays.

WR Jarvis Landry, MIA (vs NYJ)
The Jets have the defense that should be able to control Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins newly dominant rushing attack. That should force the Dolphins to rely more heavily on their passing game, and Landry remains their primary option. It’s expected the Jets will ask Darrelle Revis to shadow Landry this week, but that’s actually a good thing these days as Revis has been remarkably beatable all season.

WR Antonio Brown, PIT (vs BAL)
Not a surprise to see Brown listed here, but early signs suggest that Ben Roethlisberger could be back this week in a divisional matchup. Meanwhile, the Ravens may be without CB Shareece Wright (who has been pretty bad all year), but his replacement Will Davis is not likely to be a significant upgrade.

WR Sterling Shepard, NYG (vs PHI)
The Eagles are going to focus heavily on slowing down Odell Beckham, which likely means that the outside corners will get safety help. That should free up the slot receiver Shepard to take advantage of rookie Jalen Mills inside.

TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs DET)
The Lions have been a great matchup for tight ends in just about every game this year. That should help make Rudolph a very popular target for DFS players this week as we’ve seen lesser lights like C.J. Fiedorowicz, Vernon Davis, and Lance Kendricks have all produced against them lately. Rudolph has seen a dropoff in his production of late, but that has been driven primarily by some difficult matchups and he’s likely to bounce back here.

TE Virgil Green, DEN (vs OAK)
If you are looking for a low cost option at TE this week, consider Green as he’s the clear #3 option in the Broncos passing game and facing a great matchup against the Raiders. They haven’t given up a ton of yards and catches, but have allowed 4 TDs to opposing tight ends in the past 4 games.



BAD MATCHUPS

WR Golden Tate, DET (vs MIN)
Tate has come back to life with 21 catches (on 31 targets) over the past 3 weeks. He gets a very tough matchup with the Vikings this week, who rank as one of the toughest units for opposing WRs in the league. Tate figures to be matched up across from the veteran Terrence Newman, who has played extremely well all season. Probably not a great week to go to Marvin Jones Jr either, who figures to go up against Xavier Rhodes.

WR Jordy Nelson, GB (vs IND)
Nelson figures to get shadow treatment from Vontae Davis this week, who has rounded back into form and is playing shutdown defense again. Aaron Rodgers has made heavy use of Davante Adams and Randall Cobb in recent weeks when they had more favorable matchups, so we may see another down week from Nelson if that trend continues.

WR Allen Robinson, JAX (vs KC)
The Chiefs pass defense has some holes that Robinson may be able to exploit, but he just hasn’t looked very good of late and is not quite in sync with Blake Bortles. He lines up frequently on both sides of the field, which means he could wind up facing Marcus Peters roughly half the time and that’s likely a matchup worth avoiding. Hurns may be the most likely player to target here as he works out of the slot against Steven Nelson.

WR Mike Evans, TB (vs ATL)
Evans will likely have Desmond Trufant following him around the field all night. Tampa’s offensive weapons are very banged up, so they don’t have many other options but that also suggests that Evans will often have a safety over the top as well.

WR Rishard Matthews, TEN (vs SD)
Matthews has done surprisingly well this year despite limited targets, but he figures to be in tough against Casey Heyward this week.

TE Travis Kelce, KC (vs JAX)
The Jaguars have had plenty of issues this year, but defending tight ends has not been one of them. The only TD they gave up to the position came back in week 2, and only one tight end all year has gone over 42 yards. Kelce woke up last week against the Colts, but also has a tendency to disappear at times so he’s more susceptible to down games when the offense relies heavily on the running game.

TE Julius Thomas, JAX (vs KC)
Thomas has scored for 2 weeks in a row, but also has just 6 catches for less than 50 combined yards in those two games. Now he gets one of the toughest defenses in the league for the position, as the Chiefs have a strong group of safeties and have not allowed any TEs to go over 44 yards with just 1 TD allowed all year.


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