Wide Receiver vs. Cornerback Matchup Analysis: Week 1

Wide Receiver vs. Cornerback Matchup Analysis: Week 1

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We're ready to kick off the 2019 season. I'm back covering the wide receivers and their cornerback matchups. When it comes to selecting receivers in DFS, it’s important to understand who will cover them. Many times defense-versus-position stats alone don't tell the whole story or overlooked defensive injuries will have a significant effect.

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 and yards per target allowed. We'll be using data from 2018 (minimum 20 targets in coverage), as well as our own knowledge of how good or bad the cornerbacks 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).

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

Note: An asterisk (*) indicates WR or CB plays outside in two-wide sets. 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 receivers 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.

Week 1 - Wide Receiver vs. Cornerback Matchups
Day Tm WR Pos Opp CB M/U Tar % C % YPR YPT FP/T Shad (+/-)
Sun ARI Christian Kirk LWR DET Rashaan Melvin 11 21.5% 57.4% 15.31 8.78 1.80 N +
Sun ARI Larry Fitzgerald SWR DET Justin Coleman 11 13.3% 53.4% 10.10 5.40 1.28 N -
Sun ARI Michael Crabtree RWR DET Darius Slay 11 16.9% 47.6% 11.92 5.67 1.55 N N
Sun ATL Julio Jones LWR MIN Xavier Rhodes 5 17.1% 56.5% 10.85 6.13 1.35 Y -
Sun ATL Mohamed Sanu SWR MIN Mackensie Alexander 5 11.3% 47.2% 11.29 5.33 1.01 N -
Sun ATL Calvin Ridley RWR MIN Trae Waynes 5 13.7% 62.3% 11.94 7.43 1.48 N N
Sun BAL Miles Boykin LWR MIA Eric Rowe 29 14.6% 58.3% 15.14 8.83 2.47 N +
Sun BAL Willie Snead SWR MIA Minkah Fitzpatrick 29 10.9% 47.1% 15.25 7.18 1.19 N -
Sun BAL Marquise Brown RWR MIA Xavien Howard 29 12.7% 44.2% 15.43 6.83 1.70 N -
Sun BUF John Brown LWR NYJ Darryl Roberts 32 9.7% 61.0% 15.12 9.22 1.97 N +
Sun BUF Cole Beasley SWR NYJ Brian Poole 32 11.2% 64.8% 12.46 8.07 1.57 N N
Sun BUF Zay Jones RWR NYJ Trumaine Johnson 32 14.9% 58.2% 14.94 8.69 1.56 N N
Sun CAR D.J. Moore LWR LAR Marcus Peters 22 13.6% 62.3% 15.09 9.41 2.09 N +
Sun CAR Jarius Wright SWR LAR Nickell Robey-Coleman 22 10.6% 51.3% 8.65 4.44 1.57 N N
Sun CAR Curtis Samuel RWR LAR Aqib Talib 22 10.8% 56.5% 14.85 8.39 1.40 N -
Thu CHI Taylor Gabriel LWR GB Kevin King 19 13.5% 50.0% 13.27 6.64 1.71 N +
Thu CHI Anthony Miller SWR GB Josh Jackson 19 12.9% 61.5% 15.50 9.54 1.92 N +
Thu CHI Allen Robinson RWR GB Jaire Alexander 19 17.8% 57.5% 14.29 8.22 1.56 N N
Sun CIN Damion Willis LWR SEA Tre Flowers 21 13.9% 57.3% 16.09 9.23 1.82 N +
Sun CIN Tyler Boyd SWR SEA Ugo Amadi 21 - - - - - N +
Sun CIN John Ross RWR SEA Shaquill Griffin 21 12.6% 62.9% 13.86 8.71 1.84 N +
Sun CLE Rashard Higgins LWR TEN Malcolm Butler 26 16.0% 59.0% 14.67 8.65 2.07 N +
Sun CLE Jarvis Landry SWR TEN Logan Ryan 26 10.6% 58.3% 13.25 7.73 1.61 N +
Sun CLE Odell Beckham RWR TEN Adoree' Jackson 26 19.2% 57.0% 13.05 7.44 1.61 Y +
Sun DAL Michael Gallup LWR NYG Deandre Baker 24 - - - - - N +
Sun DAL Randall Cobb SWR NYG Julian Love 24 - - - - - N +
Sun DAL Amari Cooper RWR NYG Janoris Jenkins 24 14.6% 63.5% 13.69 8.69 1.79 N +
Mon DEN Courtland Sutton LWR OAK Daryl Worley 14 16.1% 61.1% 13.32 8.14 2.26 N +
Mon DEN DaeSean Hamilton SWR OAK Lamarcus Joyner 14 4.4% 63.6% 15.50 9.86 2.17 N +
Mon DEN Emmanuel Sanders RWR OAK Gareon Conley 14 12.6% 50.0% 18.90 9.45 1.87 N +
Sun DET Kenny Golladay LWR ARI Chris Jones 13 - - - - - N +
Sun DET Danny Amendola SWR ARI Byron Murphy 13 - - - - - N +
Sun DET Marvin Jones RWR ARI Tramaine Brock 13 15.5% 46.2% 14.00 6.46 1.26 N -
Thu GB Davante Adams LWR CHI Prince Amukamara 12 13.7% 57.0% 13.51 7.70 1.64 N +
Thu GB Geronimo Allison SWR CHI Buster Skrine 12 16.4% 63.9% 13.00 8.31 1.86 N +
Thu GB Marquez Valdes-Scantling RWR CHI Kyle Fuller 12 16.1% 53.9% 12.00 6.47 1.36 N -
Mon HOU DeAndre Hopkins LWR NO Marshon Lattimore 25 13.3% 64.4% 16.60 10.68 1.88 Y +
Mon HOU Keke Coutee SWR NO Patrick Robinson 25 2.2% 100.0% 5.00 5.00 1.50 N N
Mon HOU Will Fuller RWR NO Eli Apple 25 19.7% 53.8% 14.18 7.62 1.47 N N
Sun IND T.Y. Hilton LWR LAC Casey Hayward 1 10.3% 52.5% 14.58 7.66 1.60 Y N
Sun IND Parris Campbell SWR LAC Desmond King 1 12.1% 66.7% 8.34 5.56 1.33 N -
Sun IND Devin Funchess RWR LAC Michael Davis 1 16.2% 59.6% 11.62 6.93 1.61 N +
Sun JAX Chris Conley LWR KC Bashaud Breeland 30 14.6% 48.0% 16.25 7.80 1.26 N -
Sun JAX Dede Westbrook SWR KC Kendall Fuller 30 14.0% 67.0% 12.25 8.22 1.76 N +
Sun JAX D.J. Chark RWR KC Charvarius Ward 30 24.6% 76.5% 13.15 10.06 1.77 N +
Sun KC Tyreek Hill LWR JAX Jalen Ramsey 2 17.3% 48.9% 14.62 7.15 1.33 Y -
Sun KC Mecole Hardman SWR JAX D.J. Hayden 2 13.8% 62.9% 7.77 4.89 1.12 N -
Sun KC Sammy Watkins RWR JAX A.J. Bouye 2 13.5% 60.3% 10.29 6.21 1.22 Y -
Sun LAC Travis Benjamin LWR IND Quincy Wilson 3 8.5% 52.2% 12.50 6.52 1.43 N N
Sun LAC Keenan Allen SWR IND Kenny Moore II 3 12.5% 61.4% 9.94 6.11 1.33 N -
Sun LAC Mike Williams RWR IND Pierre Desir 3 13.0% 55.2% 15.32 8.46 1.49 N N
Sun LAR Brandin Cooks LWR CAR Donte Jackson 15 11.8% 66.7% 14.63 9.75 2.04 N +
Sun LAR Cooper Kupp SWR CAR Rashaan Gaulden 15 - - - - - N +
Sun LAR Robert Woods RWR CAR James Bradberry 15 18.2% 52.0% 14.42 7.49 1.62 N +
Sun MIA Preston Williams LWR BAL Jimmy Smith 8 16.3% 55.2% 12.63 6.97 1.46 N N
Sun MIA Albert Wilson SWR BAL Brandon Carr 8 14.2% 52.7% 13.95 7.35 1.34 N -
Sun MIA DeVante Parker RWR BAL Marlon Humphrey 8 16.4% 41.9% 12.61 5.28 1.27 N -
Sun MIN Stefon Diggs LWR ATL Isaiah Oliver 20 17.3% 58.6% 11.35 6.66 1.87 N +
Sun MIN Chad Beebe SWR ATL Damontae Kazee 20 3.6% 60.0% 15.58 9.35 2.74 N +
Sun MIN Adam Thielen RWR ATL Desmond Trufant 20 14.5% 57.5% 10.64 6.11 1.39 N -
Sun NE Josh Gordon LWR PIT Steven Nelson 17 16.5% 46.4% 14.73 6.84 1.42 N N
Sun NE Julian Edelman SWR PIT Mike Hilton 17 16.3% 62.1% 11.17 6.93 1.52 N N
Sun NE Demaryius Thomas RWR PIT Joe Haden 17 15.0% 54.8% 9.91 5.43 1.30 N -
Mon NO Michael Thomas LWR HOU Bradley Roby 31 14.6% 64.1% 16.10 10.32 2.13 N +
Mon NO TreQuan Smith SWR HOU Aaron Colvin 31 10.6% 63.6% 9.86 6.27 1.81 N +
Mon NO Ted Ginn RWR HOU Johnathan Joseph 31 17.9% 53.6% 12.53 6.71 1.35 N -
Sun NYG Cody Latimer LWR DAL Byron Jones 7 12.1% 51.4% 13.25 6.81 1.28 N -
Sun NYG Russell Shepard SWR DAL Anthony Brown 7 10.6% 60.5% 14.08 8.51 2.01 N +
Sun NYG Sterling Shepard RWR DAL Chidobe Awuzie 7 16.4% 59.0% 13.33 7.87 1.67 N +
Sun NYJ Robby Anderson LWR BUF Tre'Davious White 4 13.1% 50.0% 11.70 5.85 1.27 N -
Sun NYJ Jamison Crowder SWR BUF Taron Johnson 4 9.8% 45.8% 6.55 3.00 1.01 N -
Sun NYJ Quincy Enunwa RWR BUF Levi Wallace 4 10.0% 45.0% 10.11 4.55 1.21 N -
Mon OAK Antonio Brown LWR DEN Kareem Jackson 18 10.4% 52.5% 12.16 6.39 1.27 N -
Mon OAK Hunter Renfrow SWR DEN Chris Harris 18 15.1% 62.5% 11.08 6.92 1.60 N N
Mon OAK Tyrell Williams RWR DEN Bryce Callahan 18 8.6% 67.6% 10.16 6.86 1.36 N -
Sun PHI Alshon Jeffery LWR WAS Quinton Dunbar 16 19.7% 68.2% 11.07 7.55 2.12 N +
Sun PHI Nelson Agholor SWR WAS Jimmy Moreland 16 - - - - - N +
Sun PHI DeSean Jackson RWR WAS Josh Norman 16 12.1% 60.0% 11.93 7.16 1.66 N +
Sun PIT Donte Moncrief LWR NE Stephon Gilmore 23 14.9% 41.8% 11.63 4.86 1.23 Y -
Sun PIT James Washington SWR NE Jason McCourty 23 14.0% 54.8% 14.60 8.00 1.59 Y N
Sun PIT JuJu Smith-Schuster RWR NE J.C. Jackson 23 16.5% 48.8% 11.81 5.77 1.07 Y -
Sun SF Marquise Goodwin LWR TB Vernon Hargreaves 27 16.2% 66.7% 10.00 6.67 1.33 N +
Sun SF Dante Pettis SWR TB M.J. Stewart 27 17.6% 77.4% 12.75 9.87 2.34 N +
Sun SF Deebo Samuel RWR TB Carlton Davis 27 12.3% 53.2% 14.80 7.87 1.83 N +
Sun SEA DK Metcalf LWR CIN William Jackson 10 11.3% 50.0% 13.18 6.59 1.80 N +
Sun SEA Tyler Lockett SWR CIN B.W. Webb 10 11.4% 50.0% 15.03 7.52 1.35 N -
Sun SEA Jaron Brown RWR CIN Dre Kirkpatrick 10 14.7% 44.6% 14.86 6.63 1.29 N -
Sun TB Mike Evans LWR SF Ahkello Witherspoon 9 18.2% 51.4% 13.61 7.00 1.81 N +
Sun TB Chris Godwin SWR SF K'Waun Williams 9 10.5% 75.0% 10.04 7.53 2.00 N +
Sun TB Breshad Perriman RWR SF Richard Sherman 9 9.4% 53.3% 13.88 7.40 1.54 N N
Sun TEN Tajae Sharpe LWR CLE Greedy Williams 6 - - - - - N +
Sun TEN Adam Humphries SWR CLE T.J. Carrie 6 13.8% 54.1% 12.18 6.58 1.20 N -
Sun TEN Corey Davis RWR CLE Denzel Ward 6 16.0% 47.4% 12.62 5.99 1.38 Y -
Sun WAS Terry McLaurin LWR PHI Ronald Darby 28 17.9% 52.3% 11.41 5.97 1.40 N N
Sun WAS Trey Quinn SWR PHI Avonte Maddox 28 9.3% 38.2% 11.77 4.50 1.01 N -
Sun WAS Paul Richardson Jr. RWR PHI Sidney Jones 28 5.6% 33.3% 10.00 3.33 0.67 N -

Chris Godwin, TB ($6,900 FD/$6,200 DK) vs. K'Waun Williams, SF

He's probably going to be one of the highest owned receivers of the slate—a virtual cash game lock. The O/U is at 50 with Tampa's implied total sitting at 25.5. I don't anticipate the run game being too much of a factor here, so give me exposure to the passing game. You'll see Godwin in the slot, as Bruce Arians's Larry Fitzgerald. Williams spent 97% of his coverage routes in the slot, so he's going to get peppered with targets. He allowed a 75% catch rate and 2.0 fantasy points per target last season.

Mike Evans, TB ($7,900 FD/$7,900 DK) vs. Akhello Witherspoon, SF

Evans is going to be your tournament pivot. He's going to be moved around the field and should see Witherspoon, and even Richard Sherman. Witherspoon was responsible for seven touchdowns last season, allowing 1.8 fantasy points per target.

D.J. Moore, CAR ($6,200 FD/$5,500 DK) vs. Marcus Peters, LAR

This game could go overlooked. This one has an O/U at 50.5 with Carolina's total set at 23.75. The defensive line gets a lot of the press, and why wouldn't it when you have Aaron Donald? The Rams secondary has been a weak spot, especially Marcus Peters. His interceptions have been on the decline since his rookie year. Peters allowed 15 yards per catch while being responsible for six scores last season, resulting in 2.1 fantasy points per target.

Brandin Cooks, LAR ($7,000 FD/$6,500 DK) vs. Donte Jackson, CAR

Staying in the Carolina game, the Rams offense may also going overlooked this weekend. I don't think Jared Goff is going to get fat off his recent contract and he's going to be looking to atone for his play in the Super Bowl. Cooks is going to draw second-year corner, Donte Jackson, on most of his routes. Jackson held his own last year, recording four INTs, however, he did allow near 67% catch rate and 14.6 yards per catch. He was also responsible for four scores and gave up 2.04 fantasy points per target.

Rashard Higgins, CLE ($4,500 FD/$3,200 DK) vs. Malcolm Butler, TEN

If you are a "jam in top RBs" guy, you'll need a salary-saver and Higgins is one of them this week. While I expect Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry to get plenty of targets, Higgins won't need many to achieve value and he has one of the most favorable matchups of the week. Malcolm Butler was the opposing QB's target on 16% of their throws and was responsible for eight scores, resulting in 2.1 fantasy points per target allowed. Higgins saw 19 targets during the preseason, and received 51 in 2018 with a 76.5% catch rate. We'll see how Odell Beckham's usage cuts into Rashard's, but Baker Mayfield has no problem looking towards Higgins.

Kenny Golladay, DET ($6,900 FD/$6,300 DK) vs. Chris Jones, ARI

The Lions will face a short-handed Cardinals secondary this week and Detroit's implied total has hit 25. Golladay is a receiver who moves around, so he's going to see some time on two inexperienced corners—UDFA, Chris Jones, who played just 91 snaps last season and Byron Murphy. Golladay led the team in targets with 118 and now 144 targets have opened up with Theo Riddick and Golden Tate no longer in the Motor City. Some of those targets should get spread around to other guys, but Golladay should pace the offense in targets this week.

Alshon Jeffery, PHI ($6,700 FD/$5,900 DK) vs. Quinton Dunbar, PHI

This isn't the most glamorous game on the slate, but the Eagles have a 27.5 implied team total here. Nelson Agholor might have had more targets last season, but Jeffery was second in targets/snap rate behind Zach Ertz and averaged just over seven targets per game. Jeffery will move around, so he should see time on Josh Norman, but he should spend most of his routes on Dunbar's side of the field. Dunbar was an opposing QB's target nearly 20% of the time and allowed a 68.2% reception rate.  He was also responsible for five scores and gave up 2.1 fantasy points per target.

Update 9/5/2019: Jeffery popped up on the injury report with a biceps issue. I don't like Thursday pop-ups. We'll have to see how the rest of the week goes, but Sega Entertainment is on the radar for this week. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside ($4800 FD/$3400 DK) was a preseason darling where he did all of his damage against Baltimore.

Update 9/26/2019: Alshon Jeffery not on final injury report. Good news and he can be fired into lineups this week. JJAW should only be considered in larger GPP now.

John Brown, BUF ($5,500 FD/$4,300 DK) vs. Darryl Roberts, NYJ

Brown is a great low-owned play along with Josh Allen this week. Last season, Brown had six games of 100-plus air yards and just two games where he didn't have at least a 10-yard aDOT (average depth of target). Brown is a boom-or-bust receiver and should fit in with Allen's deep ball. Darryl Roberts allowed 25 of the 29 catchable targets thrown at him last year to be caught and allowed three scores. Roberts gave up 9.2 yards and nearly two fantasy points per target.

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