Week 5 WR/CB Matchups You Need To Know (Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Oct 6, 2017

DeVante Parker has one of the best cornerback matchups of the week

The last thing you want to happen in your fantasy matchup is to look back and find out that you lost by just a point or two, then see that you had a wide receiver on your bench who outscored Pierre Garcon by five points. But how could you have known to bench Garcon who had been playing so well over the last few weeks? Simple, he was going to match-up with Patrick Peterson, who had allowed just 22 yards in his coverage coming into the game.

These are mistakes that we don’t want you making, so we have been putting together the top wide receiver matchups to target, as well as those to avoid when possible. You can apply this to both season-long matchups, as well as DFS. It also needs to be noted that just because someone is listed in the matchups to avoid column, it doesn’t mean he should automatically go to your bench, because there are just a few cornerbacks in the league who are in shadow coverage all the time. I’ll always try to note when it’s not a true shadow situation.

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Matchups to Exploit

Jordy Nelson vs. Chidobe Awuzie
There are a lot of top-tier wide receivers who have tough matchups this week, but Nelson is not one of them. He’ll match-up with all three cornerbacks that the Cowboys secondary has, but primarily against rookie Awuzie, who is coming off a multi-week absence because of a hamstring injury. They’ve mixed and matched cornerbacks in both his and Nolan Carroll’s absence, but regardless of who is out there, none of them have had the experience to handle the connection that Aaron Rodgers and Nelson do. Nelson is the best bet at wide receiver on the entire slate.

T.Y. Hilton vs. Rashard Robinson
There have been some bumpy moments with Hilton over the first couple weeks, but he’ll have a chance to break a few long plays this week when he matches up against Robinson. At the NFL Combine, Robinson ran a 4.49 forty-yard-dash, which is among the slower times for cornerbacks. This will not end well when he’s asked to cover the 4.3 speed of Hilton, on turf nonetheless. Robinson has been burned for 14.2 yards per receptions and two touchdowns in coverage already this year.

Devante Parker vs. Adoree Jackson/Brice McCain
You’ve all witnessed it even since Jay Cutler came to Miami, and that is that he targets Parker relentlessly. Matching up with a combination of Jackson and McCain is a gift, as those two have combined to allow five touchdowns in their coverage through just four games. There have been nine pass catchers (WRs or TEs) who’ve been able to post at least 14.2 PPR points against them, so fire up Parker. If you don’t have Parker, even Kenny Stills is in play.

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Terrance Mitchell
If you know anything about the Chiefs and their secondary, it’s that their weakness stems at RCB, where Mitchell is stationed. Perennial Pro-Bowler Marcus Peters stays on one side of the field, which happens to be the side that Hopkins goes to maybe 20 percent of the time. The other 80 percent is up against Mitchell or Phillip Gaines, who have both been tormented in coverage this year. Hopkins should see double-digit targets in this game, making him a must-play everywhere.

Jeremy Maclin vs. T.J. Carrie
The Ravens are having trouble running the ball behind an offensive line that’s lost both of its starting guards, and they are failing to give Joe Flacco time to pass. Maclin has lined up in the slot on nearly 70 percent of his snaps, which is why his average air yards per target sits at just 8.0 yards, the lowest on the team. The Raiders have struggled to defend wide receivers and tight ends over the middle of the field, so look for Flacco to get the ball out quickly to Maclin, who is matched up with Carrie, who has allowed 15 receptions on 20 targets in coverage, though he’s yet to allow a touchdown.

Matchups to Avoid (if possible)

Antonio Brown vs. Jalen Ramsey
If you read the intro, you’d know that just because Brown is here, it doesn’t mean you bench him. Obviously, you aren’t benching him. With that being said, you need to be aware of how tough his matchup is against Ramsey, who has emerged as a top-five cornerback over the last year. He’s always covering No. 1 wide receivers, yet he’s allowed just 42 yards in his coverage on 19 targets. You don’t have to be a mathematician to know that 2.21 yards per target in coverage is lights out. Again, you aren’t benching Brown in season-long leagues, but this is probably a good week to avoid him in DFS.

Sammy Watkins vs. Richard Sherman
Outside of that Thursday night game against the lowly 49ers where he saw seven targets, Watkins has seen a total of just nine targets in the other three games combined. The Seahawks don’t often have Sherman shadow an opposing wide receiver, but it’ll be interesting to see if they do with Watkins. The Seahawks have yet to allow a wide receiver more than 87 yards this season, but they have allowed a wide receiver touchdown in three of four games. Jordy Nelson who saw eight targets, Rishard Matthews who saw 10 targets, and then Donte Moncrief who saw three targets. With how few of targets Watkins has been getting, it’s fair to say that you can probably find a better option this week.

Tyrell Williams vs. Janoris Jenkins
Those who drafted Williams probably want to start him after he just went off for 115 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles, but he should go back to your bench in Week 5. The Giants have used Jenkins in shadow situations when there is a clear-cut favorite perimeter wide receiver. Unless you think Travis Benjamin will get that shadow treatment (he won’t), Williams is likely to be the one. Jenkins has still not allowed 100 yards in coverage, despite covering Dez Bryant, Alshon Jeffery, and Mike Evans through his three games. Williams wasn’t doing well before last week, so use this as your reason to trade him or bench him.

Alshon Jeffery vs. Patrick Peterson
You have to feel bad for Jeffery at this point, as his first five games as an Eagles wide receiver have netted him these cornerbacks in coverage: Josh Norman, Marcus Peters, Janoris Jenkins, Casey Hayward, and now Patrick Peterson. That’s a brutal stretch, so there will be better days ahead. Peterson has been a top-three cornerback in coverage this season, if not the No. 1 cornerback. This is a game where you should be happy if Jeffery walks out of it with five catches for 60 yards. He’s just a WR3 with Peterson shadowing him around the field.

Amari Cooper vs. Jimmy Smith
Even me, the biggest Cooper fan, is looking for a reason not to play him with E.J. Manuel under center. Use this as your excuse to bench him, though there are a lot of other reasons we could talk about. Smith hasn’t done much shadowing this year, but if Crabtree is out, you could see him follow Cooper. On the season, quarterbacks have thrown at Smith just 15 times. The results of those targets are just six catches for 66 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. I’d rather play a high-upside WR4 this week than worry about Cooper.

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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