WR vs. CB Matchups to Exploit & Avoid in DFS - Week 12
When it comes to selecting receivers in DFS, it’s important to understand who will cover them, as sometimes defense versus position stats alone don't tell the whole story. In addition, there can many times be defensive injuries that will have a significant, and perhaps hidden, effect on a receiver's matchup. Below we'll take a deeper look at the matchups that should help in your WR decisions for Week 12. Enjoy the Thanksgiving slate everyone! Those three games should be very interesting from a DFS perspective.
Note: Any unlisted matchups -- especially those of prominent WRs -- should generally be considered a push.
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving)
Avoid: I am going to miss watching Calvin Johnson on Thanksgiving and with Detroit’s matchup against the Vikings, I’m avoiding the Lions receivers this week. Xavier Rhodes allowed a QB rating of 0.0 on seven balls thrown his way last week and produced a pick-six. He should draw Marvin Jones in coverage. Jones’ targets have slowly declined and is no longer a reliable option. Terence Newman lines up on Golden Tate’s side of the field 68 percent of the time, so he should be on him primarily. Newman is allowing just 0.15 points per route.
Update: Terence Newman is looking doubtful for Thanksgiving, which bumps up Golden Tate's matchup in favorability. I still think Rhodes shadows Jones and Trae Waynes would draw Tate. Waynes hasn't been good and he's being targeted at an average of nearly 13 yards downfield.
Exploit: Quandre Diggs is Detroit’s primary slot corner and could be carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey by Stefon Diggs. Quandre has been abused in coverage this year, allowing nearly 0.40 points per route and 10 yards per target. I’d target Stefon the early game as long as he’s active.
Update: According to reports, Diggs is unlikely to play. I do like Kyle Rudolph against a soft Detroit defense that's 6th an aFPA to opposing tight ends. Tahir Whitehead has been one of the worst cover linebackers and has been a primary target for opposing QBs on nearly 27 percent of their throws. Adam Thielen should see more targets, however, he's likely to be covered by Darius Slay for most of the game, although the Lions do play a lot of zone.
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys (Thanksgiving)
Exploit: Continue to target Orlando Scandrick from the slot. With how hot Jamison Crowder has been playing, Scandrick has tough sledding this week. Crowder’s three targets in Week 11 were his lowest since Week 5, but he’s still producing a 14-percent target per snap rate and 2.5 points per target. Scandrick has been the primary target for opposing QBs on nearly 20 percent of their throws and is giving up 0.40 points per route.
Exploit: Anthony Brown should be lined up on DeSean Jackson’s side for most of the game. The only thing you’ll need to monitor on Jackson is his shoulder injury, as he’s been limited in practice, but that could just be cautionary. Brown has been targeted an average of nearly 13 yards downfield and is giving up 0.42 points per route. If Jackson is active, this is a great matchup for him.
Be cautious: Josh Norman will probably shadow Dez Bryant. Norman has still been one of the top corners this season, as he’s allowing fewer than 50 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught. He’s allowing just six yards per target and 0.22 points per route, so this is going to be a fun matchup to watch between two elite players. Bryant is a tournament play, especially with how well the Dallas offense has been clicking lately.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts (Thanksgiving)
Exploit: At this point, I don’t see how Vontae Davis will be ready for this game, so I think you can fire up Antonio Brown with confidence. Davis was burned by Tajae Sharpe and you could see him limping. He’s been seen in a walking boot, so I don’t think Davis plays, which significantly upgrades Brown’s matchup.
Be cautious: Not because Pittsburgh’s secondary has been lockdown, but mainly because Scott Tolzien is starting over Andrew Luck. I think Tolzien downgrades the Colts receiving group. William Gay has been solid in coverage and should lineup in the slot with T.Y. Hilton. I do like Donte Moncrief’s matchup on Artie Burns, as Burns is allowing 0.38 points per route and 10 yards per target. The Colts receivers are tournament plays only this week.
Update: Moncrief was a late addition to the injury report and is listed as questionable. Late additions like this aren't a good sign. If Moncrief is out, Phillip Dorsett will move up the to WR2 role and draw Burns. Chester Rogers becomes a GPP dart to differentiate as he should see more snaps.
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