Pro Football Focus WR vs. CB Breakdown- NFL Week 13
Based on this week’s matchups and projected shadow situations from Pro Football Focus, let’s take a look at some of the most important wide receiver vs. cornerback matchups for this weekend’s daily fantasy slate. If you’re a fan of this article, make sure you’re also checking out our WR v. CB Chart and the Shadow Matrix.
Notes: Any references to statistical and graded rankings for cornerbacks is out of all 97 cornerbacks to play at least 300 snaps, unless otherwise stated.
Dez Bryant vs. Xavier Rhodes – Rhodes has been, arguably, one of the best cornerbacks in the league this season. Among all cornerbacks, he ranks best in both fantasy points allowed per route in coverage and fantasy points allowed per target – which is an incredible feat. He’s allowed one touchdown all season and has intercepted four passes. When opposing quarterbacks are targeting Rhodes in coverage, they’re averaging a 35.2 passer rating, which also ranks best in the league. We expect Rhodes to shadow Bryant this week, pushing him out of play in both tournaments and cash games.
Stefon Diggs vs. Orlando Scandrick – Diggs put in a full practice on Wednesday and is likely to play in Thursday’s game. Although he has been far less effective in weeks he was listed on the injury report, he’s worth serious consideration in a dream matchup against Scandrick. Dallas is allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers out of the slot. Scandrick, Dallas’ starting slot cornerback, is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per route in coverage. Diggs has 49 targets over his last four games.
Julio Jones vs. Phillip Gaines and Kenneth Acker – Marcus Peters is an absolute monster. He was the fastest defender to reach 13 career interceptions in the last 27 years. Opposing passers are averaging a 64.4 passer rating when targeting him, which ranks seventh-best. Peters just sticks to his side and doesn’t shadow, so Atlanta will do their best to move Jones around to pick on Kansas City’s slot cornerback (Gaines) and right cornerback (Acker). Last week, Gaines allowed 209 yards into his coverage, which is the fifth-most yards any cornerback has surrendered in one regular season game since 2007. He also gave up two touchdowns. Peters’ meanwhile was targeted just four times, allowing only two receptions for 19 yards. Jones runs 46 percent of his routes from the left and 27 percent of his routes from the slot, while Peters mans the opposite side of the field on 92 percent of his routes in coverage. Kansas City allows the most fantasy points per game to wide receivers who align to the left. Jones is arguably the top wide receiver play of the week.
Doug Baldwin vs. Leonard Johnson – Baldwin disappointed in a great spot last week, but so did every player on Seattle. He should spend the majority of his time against Carolina’s starting slot cornerback, Johnson. Since his first snap of the season, in Week 8, Johnson is our sixth-worst graded cornerback out of 107 qualifying. He’s allowing a whopping 82.1 percent of balls thrown his way to be caught. He was our ninth-worst-graded cornerback in 2013 (out of 110 qualifying), and he has not posted a positively graded season since. If the Seahawks get their offense back on track this week, Baldwin is in a great spot to return value.
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Kendall Fuller – Fitzgerald scored just 9.3 (PPR) fantasy points last week, in his worst game of the season. This means he’ll likely go under-owned this week despite ranking third at the position in targets and sixth in fantasy points for the season. Fitzgerald also has the benefit of squaring off against a guy we’ve picked on to great success all season. Fitzgerald runs 65 percent of his routes from the slot, which means he should spend the majority of his day against Fuller. Since being named a starter, in seven games, Fuller has seen 49 targets, allowing 38 receptions, 511 yards, one touchdown, and has not recorded an interception. Fuller is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per snap, the third-most yards per target, the third most yards per snap in coverage, the fifth-highest completion percentage (77.6), and the eight-highest passer rating (116.9) among cornerbacks. It is possible Norman moves to the slot to cover Fitzgerald on some snaps, but any more than a handful seems highly improbable.
Willie Snead vs. Quandre Diggs – After Michael Thomas’ big game last week, everyone is going to want to play him in GPPs this week. (Hopefully you played him last week based on our recommendation). With everyone else expecting a bounce-back game for Brandin Cooks, there’s a good chance Snead winds up being the lowest-owned receiver on New Orleans, despite having the best matchup. Snead runs 76 percent of his routes from the slot, which means he should spend the majority of his time facing off against Detroit’s slot cornerback, Diggs. Diggs has been targeted 44 times in coverage this season and has allowed 40 receptions. That 90.9 completion percentage obviously leads the league, with no other cornerback (min. 35 targets) hitting even 80 percent. He’s allowing the third-most yards per target, the ninth-most fantasy points per snap, and the seventh-highest opposing passer rating (125.5). Snead quietly ranks 28th among wide receivers in fantasy points per game, and could go low-owned despite the fact that the Saints are sporting the highest implied point total of the week.
Davante Adams vs. A.J. Buoye – Since Week 5, Adams ranks first among wide receivers in receiving yards and third in (PPR) fantasy points. Although his play hasn’t necessarily backed this up in real football terms (he’s barely graded positively for the season), he’s at least become someone we have to look at every week in DFS. Unfortunately for him, this week, he draws a brutal matchup against our fifth-highest-graded cornerback, Buoye. Adams runs 51 percent of his routes from the left, which is Buoye’s side of the field. Opposing passers are averaging a 69.6 passer rating when targeting Buoye, which ranks 12th-best. He’s also allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points per target. Adams is not a strong play this week despite recent success. Randall Cobb has the more attractive matchup in the slot against Kareem Jackson, who is allowing the 11th-most fantasy points per snap.
Jacksonville Wide Receivers vs. Denver Cornerbacks – This season, Aqib Talib is our highest-graded cornerback. Chris Harris Jr. is our second-highest graded cornerback. Both rank top-10 in fantasy points allowed and fantasy points per route in coverage. Their one weak link, Bradley Roby, is our sixth-worst-graded cornerback. Allen Hurns runs 71 percent of his routes from the slot, which easily puts him out of play against Denver’s slot cornerback, Harris. Allen Robinson should spend the most time against Roby, considering he runs the highest percentage of routes (45 percent) from his side of the field. Although he has historically performed much better against both poorly graded cornerbacks and cornerbacks he’s at least four inches taller than (like he would be against Roby), he’s still probably not in play given last week’s poor performance in an even better matchup.
Malcolm Mitchell vs. E.J. Gaines – Mitchell is a sneaky play this week in a great matchup against Gaines. Mitchell runs 61 percent of his routes from his quarterback’s left, which is Gaines’ side of the field. Los Angeles is allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers lined up to the left. Gaines is our fourth-worst-graded cornerback and ranks bottom-12 in both fantasy points allowed per target and fantasy points allowed per route in coverage. Mitchell has seen 12 targets over the past two weeks, catching nine passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Although he still projects to play only about 50 percent of the teams’ snaps, Mitchell is still worth serious consideration in tournaments.