Wide Receivers With the Best and Worst Cornerback Matchups in Week 10
Exploiting key matchups is one of the best ways to give your fantasy team an edge over your opponent. Poor cornerback play should be exploited whenever possible, as even subpar receivers can produce in positive situations, while elite receivers can hand in career games.
These mismatches can be found in every game on every team if you dig deep enough. Here’s a look at the wide receivers with the best and worst matchups in Week 10.
Matchups to Target
After Week 4 at the Miami Dolphins, Keenan Allen has seen a slew of tough defenses, including the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers. He can finally get some relief in Week 10, as he draws Lamarcus Joyner and an Oakland Raiders defense that ranks 30th in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play.
The Raiders also boast the top-ranked passing offense, according to our metrics. This game could turn into a potential shootout with the way each offense should be able to move the ball, which would lead to more targets for Allen in the slot. Look for him to bounce back from his slump this week.
One of the benefits of playing in the NFC South is getting to play against the Atlanta Falcons secondary twice a year. Michael Thomas has capitalized on this throughout his career, as he is averaging 7.5 receptions, 96 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns against his division rival.
Resume for @Cantguardmike thru 8 games:
- 73 catches for 875 yards (both easily NFL highs), 4 TDs
- Caught 73 of 89 targets (82%)
- 2 games w/ Brees: 21 catches, 235 yards, TD
- 5-plus games w/ Bridgewater, averaged: 8.7 catches, 107 yards, .5 TDs
Michael Thomas MVP resume, ctd. pic.twitter.com/cYKfGHL3Ty
— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) October 31, 2019
Thomas will likely crush those career marks Sunday, as he currently ranks first in the NFL in target share, receptions, receiving yards, and catch rate. And that's with only two full games of Drew Brees throwing him the ball. The Falcons also have a depleted defense with no Desmond Trufant and no Keanu Neal, meaning Thomas should see plenty of Isaiah Oliver. Without their star playmakers in the secondary, Atlanta tops only Miami in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
With extra time to game plan coming off their Week 9 bye, the New Orleans Saints should smash their division foe.
Golden Tate has firmly grasped the top receiver role in New York with Sterling Shepard still battling his concussion. He has turned that into 42 targets in his five games this season, but that role could expand even more.
The New York Giants are considering placing Shepard on IR and Evan Engram is in a walking boot following a foot injury. Without those two target hogs, Tate and Saquon Barkley would be the only viable options in the Big Apple. The Giants may struggle to establish the ground game against a New York Jets defense that ranks fourth against the run, but they rank 26th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. Tate should be trusted in this favorable matchup.
The Jets couldn't take advantage of a tanking Dolphins team without Xavien Howard, as they only targeted Robby Anderson four times in the loss. This is very concerning, as the Dolphins have given up an explosive pass on 13 percent of attempts, which is the third-highest rate in the league, according to Sharp Football. If they aren't coached well enough to utilize their most explosive receiver against a defense that struggles against explosive receivers, Anderson can't be trusted.
Dolphins CB Ryan Lewis has one of the worst coverage grades at @PFF this season. He shadowed Robby Anderson yesterday and Anderson posted a 2-33-0 receiving line on 4 targets.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) November 4, 2019
The good news is the Giants secondary gives up explosive pass plays at the exact same rate as the Dolphins and no team has allowed more yards to receivers. Anderson is once again set up nicely, but if he doesn't fire this week, it's time to cut bait.
Chris Godwin had the ideal matchup against Jamar Taylor in the slot last week. He also received nine targets in a game where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were trailing throughout the contest. Knowing this, you'd think he would have crushed it. Instead, he was held to 61 scoreless yards while his teammate, Mike Evans, racked up 180 yards and a touchdown on 12 receptions. Let's chalk that one up to good process, bad results.
The process is telling us to play Godwin again against the 31-year-old undrafted journeyman, Tramaine Brock. Brock has been kicked into the slot with the return of Patrick Peterson on the outside. While Peterson hasn't played like the former All-Pro we all thought he was, Godwin still has the superior matchup to Evans.
Matchups to Avoid
In his first game back from his turf toe injury, Davante Adams was targeted 11 times. He was only able to turn that into 41 receiving yards as the Los Angeles Chargers dominated the Packers offense. Things don't get easier in Week 10, as the Carolina Panthers rank third in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
The big-bodied James Bradberry is a big part of that, as he has traveled with opposing alpha receivers for most of the season. He's performed well, ranking top-10 in yards per target, yards per reception, passer rating, and pass breakups, according to PlayerProfiler. Adams will likely get there on volume, but don't expect a monster week in this tough matchup. Just be sure Bradberry's groin injury isn't too serious.
Both D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel have operated on the perimeter this season, meaning they'll be against the Packers' young, athletic cornerback duo this week. They've shut down opposing passing games throughout the season, ranking sixth in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
NFL Leaders - Passes Defended
1. Jaire Alexander GB (9)
2. Jonathan Joseph HOU (7)
3. Kevin King GB (6)
3. Harrison Smith MIN (6)
3. Janoris Jenkins NYG (6)
3. Logan Ryan TEN (6)
3. James Bradberry CAR (6)
3. Justin Coleman DET (6)
3. Cory Littleton LAR (6)
— IKE Packers (@IKE_Packers) October 7, 2019
Kyle Allen has also looked poor these past two weeks, throwing four picks after zero interceptions through his first four starts, so the offense will likely be running through Christian McCaffrey yet again. These defenses rank 31st and 32nd against the run, so expect the ground game to be established in this contest.
Odell Beckham finds his way onto the "Matchups to Avoid" section yet again, this time against Tre White. White shadowed Terry McLaurin last week, limiting the rookie to four receptions for 39 yards. Beckham is obviously in a different tier, but Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens don't seem to think so. Beckham has seen double-digit targets in only three games this season and has garnered 13 combined looks over his last two games. Until they start feeding him, or a softer matchup comes, OBJ should be avoided.