Wide Receiver vs. Cornerback Matchup Analysis: Week 1

Sep 10, 2021
Wide Receiver vs. Cornerback Matchup Analysis: Week 1

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We are kicking off Week 1 after having a relatively normal offseason, complete with training camp and preseason games. COVID is still an issue, but there are protocols and safety procedures, so we'll have to monitor COVID results once again. However, I'm back covering the wide receivers and their cornerback matchups for 4for4.

Below is a chart detailing each wide receiver versus cornerback matchup for Week 1, target rates, cornerback yards per target and reception, catch rate allowed, yards and fantasy points per target allowed. We'll be using data from 2020 (minimum 20 targets in coverage), as well as our own knowledge of how good or bad the cornerbacks are actually for the first few weeks of the season. The two most important columns are fantasy points per target and the last one (+/-), which indicates whether the matchup is an upgrade or downgrade for the receiver (N indicates a neutral matchup).

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After the chart, I also provide key notes such as veteran receivers that will square off against rookies, how a wide receiver matchup might affect the team's tight end, etc. There are some key injuries to watch throughout the rest of the week and this chart will be updated to reflect breaking news.

Week 1 Wide Receiver vs. Cornerback Matchups

I've called out rookies, so those are matchups you may want to exploit. N' in the Upgrade/Downgrade (+/-) column indicates neutral matchup. Click header to sort. Outside of shadow situations, LWRs and RWRs generally match up with both outside cornerbacks over the course of a game, as almost every wide receiver moves around the offensive formation to varying degrees, and almost every defense plays zone coverage on at least half of its snaps.

M/U = aFPA ranking vs. WR. Tar % = targets per snap in coverage. C% = catch rate allowed. YPR = yards per reception allowed. YPT = yards per target allowed. FP/T = PPR fantasy points per target allowed.

Wide Receiver vs. Cornerback Matchups Week 1
Day Tm WR Pos Opp CB POS M/U Tar % C % YPR YPT FP/T Shad (+/-)
Sun ARI DeAndre Hopkins LWR TEN Kristian Fulton RCB 29 9.8% 66.7% 11.75 7.83 1.95 N +
Sun ARI Christian Kirk SWR TEN Elijah Molden (Rookie) SCB 29 - - - - - N +
Sun ARI A.J. Green RWR TEN Janoris Jenkins LCB 29 14.2% 55.6% 14.40 8.00 1.61 N N
Sun ATL Olamide Zaccheaus LWR PHI Steven Nelson RCB 27 13.0% 50.7% 13.06 6.62 1.68 N +
Sun ATL Russell Gage SWR PHI Avonte Maddox SCB 27 14.1% 61.5% 15.63 9.62 1.73 N +
Sun ATL Calvin Ridley RWR PHI Darius Slay LCB 27 14.4% 71.8% 13.33 9.58 1.93 N +
Mon BAL Devin Duvernay LWR LV Casey Hayward Jr RCB 21 15.1% 49.3% 17.47 8.61 1.61 N N
Mon BAL Sammy Watkins SWR LV Damon Arnette SCB 21 12.1% 76.0% 15.58 11.84 2.18 N +
Mon BAL Marquise Brown RWR LV Trayvon Mullen LCB 21 12.3% 57.4% 13.10 7.51 1.50 N N
Sun BUF Emmanuel Sanders LWR PIT Justin Layne RCB 20 7.3% 71.4% 13.60 9.71 1.69 N +
Sun BUF Cole Beasley SWR PIT Cameron Sutton SCB 20 11.5% 54.5% 11.67 6.36 1.32 N -
Sun BUF Stefon Diggs RWR PIT Joe Haden LCB 20 13.7% 46.4% 14.22 6.59 1.38 N -
Sun CAR D.J. Moore LWR NYJ Brandin Echols (Rookie) RCB 18 - - - - - N +
Sun CAR Terrace Marshall SWR NYJ Javelin Guidry SCB 18 7.2% 85.7% 8.33 7.14 1.57 N N
Sun CAR Robby Anderson RWR NYJ Bryce Hall LCB 18 13.0% 69.8% 11.13 7.77 1.75 N +
Sun CHI Allen Robinson LWR LAR Jalen Ramsey RCB 1 10.3% 46.7% 10.36 4.83 1.25 Y -
Sun CHI Damiere Byrd SWR LAR David Long Jr SCB 1 9.9% 57.1% 14.25 8.14 2.24 N +
Sun CHI Darnell Mooney RWR LAR Darious Williams LCB 1 11.2% 45.2% 14.96 6.76 1.22 N -
Sun CIN Ja'Marr Chase LWR MIN Bashaud Breeland RCB 24 12.0% 46.0% 14.22 6.54 1.59 N N
Sun CIN Tyler Boyd SWR MIN Mackensie Alexander SCB 24 12.6% 61.7% 12.24 7.55 1.50 N N
Sun CIN Tee Higgins RWR MIN Patrick Peterson LCB 24 10.2% 62.7% 13.79 8.64 2.03 N +
Sun CLE Donovan Peoples-Jones LWR KC Mike Hughes RCB 5 11.7% 66.7% 12.63 8.42 2.01 N +
Sun CLE Jarvis Landry SWR KC L'Jarius Sneed SCB 5 16.6% 51.3% 9.85 5.05 1.17 N -
Sun CLE Odell Beckham RWR KC Charvarius Ward LCB 5 11.3% 55.8% 12.76 7.12 1.73 N +
Thu DAL CeeDee Lamb LWR TB Jamel Dean RCB 17 12.1% 56.9% 10.03 5.71 1.66 N +
Thu DAL Michael Gallup SWR TB Sean Murphy-Bunting SCB 17 10.4% 72.9% 13.40 9.76 2.21 N +
Thu DAL Amari Cooper RWR TB Carlton Davis LCB 17 15.1% 58.6% 12.98 7.61 1.69 N +
Sun DEN Jerry Jeudy LWR NYG Adoree' Jackson RCB 12 14.0% 76.9% 14.30 11.00 3.25 N +
Sun DEN K.J. Hamler SWR NYG Darnay Holmes SCB 12 9.5% 50.0% 13.36 6.68 1.17 N -
Sun DEN Courtland Sutton RWR NYG James Bradberry LCB 12 11.0% 56.7% 11.37 6.45 1.48 N N
Sun DET Tyrell Williams LWR SF Jason Verrett RCB 14 11.9% 66.1% 9.81 6.48 1.42 N N
Sun DET Amon-Ra St. Brown SWR SF K'Waun Williams SCB 14 8.3% 64.3% 5.89 3.79 1.02 N -
Sun DET Kalif Raymond RWR SF Emmanuel Moseley LCB 14 17.8% 54.9% 13.71 7.53 1.77 N +
Sun GB Davante Adams LWR NO Marshon Lattimore RCB 13 14.6% 53.9% 14.49 7.82 1.79 Y +
Sun GB Randall Cobb SWR NO Chauncey Gardner-Johnson SCB 13 13.8% 47.1% 11.36 5.36 1.09 N -
Sun GB Marquez Valdes-Scantling RWR NO Ken Crawley LCB 13 - - - - - N +
Sun HOU Chris Conley LWR JAX C.J. Henderson RCB 23 17.4% 62.2% 13.86 8.62 2.02 N +
Sun HOU Anthony Miller SWR JAX Tyson Campbell (Rookie) SCB 23 - - - - - N +
Sun HOU Brandin Cooks RWR JAX Shaquill Griffin LCB 23 13.8% 61.3% 12.80 7.85 1.88 N +
Sun IND Zach Pascal LWR SEA Tre Flowers RCB 31 12.9% 74.5% 12.00 8.94 1.76 N +
Sun IND Parris Campbell SWR SEA Marquise Blair SCB 31 8.9% 75.0% 17.33 13.00 2.05 N +
Sun IND Michael Pittman RWR SEA D.J. Reed LCB 31 11.6% 58.1% 11.48 6.67 1.39 N -
Sun JAX Marvin Jones LWR HOU Terrance Mitchell RCB 26 12.6% 54.9% 15.33 8.41 1.76 N +
Sun JAX Laviska Shenault SWR HOU Desmond King II SCB 26 8.1% 66.7% 10.42 6.94 1.69 N +
Sun JAX D.J. Chark RWR HOU Vernon Hargreaves III LCB 26 15.9% 68.6% 13.15 9.02 1.94 N +
Sun KC Demarcus Robinson LWR CLE Greg Newsome (Rookie) RCB 25 - - - - - N +
Sun KC Tyreek Hill SWR CLE Troy Hill SCB 25 10.4% 60.7% 10.51 6.38 1.34 N -
Sun KC Mecole Hardman RWR CLE Denzel Ward LCB 25 14.7% 49.3% 11.91 5.87 1.43 N N
Sun LAC Mike Williams LWR WAS Benjamin St-Juste (Rookie) RCB 3 - - - - - N +
Sun LAC Keenan Allen SWR WAS Kendall Fuller SCB 3 13.9% 49.3% 12.51 6.17 1.53 N N
Sun LAC Josh Palmer RWR WAS William Jackson III LCB 3 13.1% 46.3% 15.45 7.15 1.36 N -
Sun LAR Van Jefferson LWR CHI Jaylon Johnson RCB 6 13.1% 50.8% 15.45 7.85 1.75 N +
Sun LAR Cooper Kupp SWR CHI Duke Shelley SCB 6 9.9% 61.5% 9.75 6.00 1.68 N +
Sun LAR Robert Woods RWR CHI Kindle Vildor LCB 6 15.2% 78.6% 10.18 8.00 2.44 N +
Mon LV Bryan Edwards LWR BAL Marlon Humphrey RCB 7 15.8% 59.1% 9.85 5.83 1.30 N -
Mon LV Hunter Renfrow SWR BAL Tavon Young SCB 7 17.4% 50.0% 20.00 10.00 1.50 N N
Mon LV Henry Ruggs RWR BAL Anthony Averett LCB 7 15.7% 69.2% 11.59 8.03 1.65 N +
Sun MIA Preston Williams LWR NE Jalen Mills RCB 10 - - - - - N -
Sun MIA Jaylen Waddle SWR NE Jonathan Jones SCB 10 16.7% 60.6% 10.21 6.18 1.65 N +
Sun MIA DeVante Parker RWR NE J.C. Jackson LCB 10 14.5% 55.7% 15.15 8.44 1.83 N +
Sun MIN Justin Jefferson LWR CIN Chidobe Awuzie RCB 19 14.4% 60.0% 18.05 10.83 2.20 N +
Sun MIN Dede Westbrook SWR CIN Mike Hilton SCB 19 11.5% 51.6% 11.31 5.84 1.29 N -
Sun MIN Adam Thielen RWR CIN Eli Apple LCB 19 11.1% 100.0% 7.00 7.00 1.70 N +
Sun NE Nelson Agholor LWR MIA Byron Jones RCB 22 11.1% 60.4% 15.53 9.38 1.88 N +
Sun NE Jakobi Meyers SWR MIA Justin Coleman SCB 22 10.5% 75.9% 12.23 9.28 2.31 N +
Sun NE Kendrick Bourne RWR MIA Xavien Howard LCB 22 13.7% 45.5% 16.09 7.31 1.50 N N
Sun NO Marquez Callaway LWR GB Jaire Alexander RCB 2 13.3% 42.3% 11.13 4.70 1.06 Y -
Sun NO Lil'Jordan Humphrey SWR GB Chandon Sullivan SCB 2 10.8% 56.0% 10.79 6.04 1.40 N N
Sun NO Deonte Harris RWR GB Kevin King LCB 2 10.7% 62.8% 15.22 9.56 1.72 N +
Sun NYG Kenny Golladay LWR DEN Patrick Surtain II (Rookie) RCB 4 - - - - - N +
Sun NYG Sterling Shepard SWR DEN Bryce Callahan SCB 4 11.9% 52.3% 7.70 4.02 0.93 N -
Sun NYG Darius Slayton RWR DEN Kyle Fuller LCB 4 10.9% 53.7% 11.83 6.36 1.44 N N
Sun NYJ Jeff Smith LWR CAR Donte Jackson RCB 8 13.8% 51.9% 12.11 6.29 1.73 N +
Sun NYJ Elijah Moore SWR CAR Myles Hartsfeld SCB 8 7.6% 57.1% 16.50 9.43 1.51 N N
Sun NYJ Corey Davis RWR CAR Jaycee Horn (Rookie) LCB 8 - - - - - N +
Sun PHI DeVonta Smith LWR ATL Fabian Moreau RCB 30 12.4% 53.8% 18.00 9.69 1.97 N +
Sun PHI Quez Watkins SWR ATL Isaiah Oliver SCB 30 12.0% 61.5% 15.53 9.55 2.12 N +
Sun PHI Jalen Reagor RWR ATL A.J. Terrell LCB 30 14.4% 61.9% 13.60 8.42 1.82 N +
Sun PIT Diontae Johnson LWR BUF Levi Wallace RCB 11 14.3% 55.4% 13.97 7.73 1.65 N N
Sun PIT JuJu Smith-Schuster SWR BUF Taron Johnson SCB 11 12.6% 62.3% 11.95 7.44 1.47 N N
Sun PIT Chase Claypool RWR BUF Tre'Davious White LCB 11 10.6% 50.9% 13.71 6.98 1.53 N N
Sun SF Brandon Aiyuk LWR DET Amani Oruwariye RCB 28 13.4% 56.0% 17.14 9.60 1.76 N +
Sun SF Mohamed Sanu SWR DET A.J. Parker (Rookie) SCB 28 - - - - - N +
Sun SF Deebo Samuel RWR DET Jeff Okudah LCB 28 17.6% 75.6% 15.79 11.93 2.08 N +
Sun SEA DK Metcalf LWR IND BoPete Keyes RCB 16 - - - - - N +
Sun SEA Tyler Lockett SWR IND Kenny Moore II SCB 16 10.6% 58.3% 11.49 6.70 1.35 N -
Sun SEA D'Wayne Eskridge RWR IND Rock Ya-Sin LCB 16 14.2% 62.3% 12.85 8.00 1.65 N +
Thu TB Mike Evans LWR DAL Trevon Diggs RCB 32 17.6% 55.4% 15.51 8.59 1.82 N +
Thu TB Chris Godwin SWR DAL Jourdan Lewis SCB 32 10.3% 63.3% 9.97 6.31 1.63 N N
Thu TB Antonio Brown RWR DAL Anthony Brown LCB 32 14.2% 70.0% 13.07 9.15 2.07 N +
Sun TEN A.J. Brown LWR ARI Robert Alford RCB 15 - - - - - N +
Sun TEN Josh Reynolds SWR ARI Byron Murphy SCB 15 12.3% 58.6% 12.03 7.05 1.50 N N
Sun TEN Julio Jones RWR ARI Marco Wilson (Rookie) LCB 15 - - - - - N +
Sun WAS Terry McLaurin LWR LAC Michael Davis RCB 9 15.8% 58.9% 12.26 7.22 1.51 N N
Sun WAS Adam Humphries SWR LAC Chris Harris Jr SCB 9 8.2% 57.7% 17.13 9.88 2.49 N +
Sun WAS Dyami Brown RWR LAC Asante Samuel Jr. (Rookie) LCB 9 - - - - - N +

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Patrick Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota's secondary didn't improve much heading into 2021. This is not the Arizona Patrick Peterson from 2012. Peterson draws one of the up-and-coming receivers in Tee Higgins. Higgins ran the majority of his routes on the right last season, so he should draw Peterson for well over half of his snaps. Peterson allowed a near 63% catch rate on total targets, but an 82% catch rate on catchable targets. Peterson was responsible for six scores and just over two points per target.

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings vs. Chidobe Awuzie, Cincinnati Bengals

Staying in this game, this appears to be one to stack. The Bengals added Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple, which is a good thing for opposing WRs. Awuzie gives up chunk plays at a high rate, which plays right into Jefferson's strengths. Last season, Jefferson lined up as the left receiver on 387 snaps, so he should line up on Awuzie's side of the field for the majority of his routes. I don't think Cinci can roll a safety over the top for help with Adam Thielen on the other side. Over 245 coverage snaps, Awuzie allowed three scores and 2.2 fantasy points per target.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers vs. Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions

I like Brandon Aiyuk, as well, but I really like Deebo's matchup opposite Jeff Okudah. Samuel was San Francisco's primary right receiver, but he did move around and should draw some snaps in the slot opposite A.J. Parker. Okudah struggled as a rookie. He was only responsible for a score, but he allowed an 86% catch rate on catchable targets and 537 total yards in coverage, resulting in 2.1 fantasy points per target.

Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots vs. Justin Coleman, Miami Dolphins

Meyers should avoid Miami's outside corners this week on most of his routes. New England added Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, so they should be their primary outside receivers. Meyers draws the best matchup of this game, running his routes on Justin Coleman. Miami brought in Coleman from Detroit, so maybe they can help coach him up, but they'll have some work to do. Coleman struggled in Detroit for two seasons after showing some promise with Seattle. Coleman dealt with injuries last season and ended up appearing in 11 games. Over his 276 coverage snaps, he allowed a 91.7% completion rate on catchable targets. Three of the receptions he allowed went for scores and yielded 2.3 fantasy points per target.

Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns vs. Mike Hughes, Kansas City Chiefs

Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham and Nick Chubb are going to get plenty of run, but Donovan Peoples-Jones is going to go overlooked in this offense and he shouldn't. He won the WR3 job and had himself a fantastic offseason. He was pretty evenly split on the outside, running a few more routes on the right side. He should see opportunities to run routes on Mike Hughes. Hughes appeared in four games last season and allowed just over two fantasy points per target. We'll see how rusty he is this week.

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