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6 WR/CB Matchups to Know: Week 5 (2023 Fantasy Football)

6 WR/CB Matchups to Know: Week 5 (2023 Fantasy Football)

This is the first week of the season in which fantasy managers need to be concerned about bye weeks, meaning those start/sit decisions become even more difficult due to a depleted pool of players. With the Chargers, Buccaneers, Browns, and Seahawks each getting the week off, that takes five of the top 38 wide receivers in fantasy football this year off the board. Therefore, the margin for error is even smaller than usual.

There are still some great matchups that can be exploited this week. There are also some games of which fantasy managers need to be more cautious. So, without further ado, let’s get into them.

WR/CB Matchups: Week 5

Advantageous Wide Receiver Matchups

Zay Flowers (WR – BAL) vs. Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace (CB – PIT)

A few years ago, Peterson was one of the best corners in the NFL. However, just like everyone, Father Time has caught up with him. On the other hand, Flowers is just starting his NFL journey and the rookie has been both explosive and impressive in the first four weeks of the season.

According to the FantasyPoints Data Suite, Peterson is giving up the 5th most fantasy points per route run against him so far this season, giving up 0.43 fantasy points per route run. Wallace is also in the top 10 for most fantasy points per route run against him. He is currently ranked 9th with 0.40 fantasy points per route run against him.

Flowers, as the 1st or 2nd read for Lamar Jackson on most plays, has the opportunity to exploit a porous Pittsburgh Steelers secondary. He has lined up in almost equal measure on the right side (37%), left side (30%), and the slot (33%) as the Baltimore Ravens look to exploit Flowers in man coverage and matchups. Therefore, he won’t be exclusively on one corner, hence why I have looked at this matchup as a pair. Either way, it should be a good day for Flowers.

Romeo Doubs (WR – GB) vs. Jakorian Bennett (CB – LV)

Doubs is fast becoming the favorite target for Jordan Love in this Green Bay Packers offense. Doubs is being targeted on 28.6% of the routes he runs and has amassed an impressive 0.54 fantasy points per route run.

On the other side of the ball, Bennett is currently giving up the 8th most fantasy points per route run against him. He is currently allowing 0.41 fantasy points per route run against him. And, although Jimmy Garoppolo has just cleared the concussion protocol, he has not practiced for almost two weeks. He will be a little rusty in an offense he is still getting used to, having missed time in the offseason due to injury.

Expect the Packers to be efficient with their possessions and try and exploit the lack of match fitness of Garoppolo to force pressure and turn them into additional possessions. This matchup could see Doubs appear in the top 24 in the position this week.

Josh Reynolds (WR – DET) vs. Donte Jackson, C.J. Henderson (CB – CAR)

Reynolds has been dealing with injuries for the past couple of weeks. However, if he is fully healthy for this one, he will be licking his lips at this matchup. Jackson has not had a good start to the season, giving up 0.38 fantasy points per route run against him so far this season. This ties him for the 11th most amongst all eligible cornerbacks.

Carolina will likely see Reynolds on Jackson as a potential mismatch, so will look for help with Henderson swapping sides with Jackson on occasion. Carolina has done a lot of that this season. Henderson is also giving up the same fantasy points per route run as his teammate Jackson (0.38). Whilst Reynolds is averaging 0.46 fantasy points per route run.

With Amon-Ra St. Brown doubtful to play this week, expect Reynolds to see the targets and exploit this matchup. He looks to have a decent chance of finishing inside the top 24 wide receivers in fantasy scoring this week.

Challenging Wide Receiver Matchups

Jordan Addison (WR – MIN) vs. Joshua Williams (CB – KC)

Addison has had a solid start to his NFL career. However, this will be one of his toughest matchups to date. Because, whilst Addison is scoring a solid 0.37 fantasy points per route run, he is only being targetted on 16.1% of the routes he runs. That is not enough to sustain a decent fantasy score unless he has a great matchup to exploit.

However, this week he faces Williams, who has been superb this season. Williams is only being targeted on 10.9% of the routes run against him. That is because he is only conceding a staggering 0.07 fantasy points per route run against him, which is currently the second lowest among all cornerbacks in the NFL.

Addison if you can afford to, looks like someone you need to fade in this matchup, despite the gamescript suggesting that Minnesota will be throwing the ball more as they try and chase the game. I would personally stay clear of Addison this week if you can.

DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI) vs. Ahkello Witherspoon (CB – LAR)

Smith is always going to be a bit boom and bust due to the low passing volume of Jalen Hurts and having A.J. Brown on the other side. Some weeks he will put up high WR1 numbers. In other weeks he will return WR3 or worse numbers. Expect this week to be one of those weeks.

And that is because Witherspoon and the whole Los Angeles Rams secondary have been superb this season. Witherspoon, alongside teammate Derion Kendrick, is currently tied for 6th for the least fantasy points per route run against him with just a measly 0.12 fantasy points per route run against them.

Whilst you won’t have the luxury to sit Davonta Smith this week, it’s worth tempering expectations about his prospective fantasy finish this week.

Christian Kirk (WR – JAC) vs. Taron Johnson (CB – BUF)

It would be wrong of me to leave off the London game, seeing as I’m English and I will be at this game. This is the matchup I will be focusing on in person. Kirk has been extremely impressive in the last two games for the Jaguars. Especially against the Atlanta Falcons in London last week.

However, Taron Johnson was an absolute beast against the Miami Dolphins last week as they restricted them to only 20 points, the week after they put 70 on the Denver Broncos. Johnson is currently ranked 2nd in the fewest fantasy points per route run against him with just 0.07 fantasy points allowed per route run. However, what is more impressive is he is only being targeted on just 4% of the routes run against him. Doug Pederson, the Jaguars Head Coach, almost exclusively used Kirk last week and restricted Calvin Ridley.

I wonder if that was because he saw this matchup on the horizon and planned to do the opposite this week. I would temper expectations on Kirk this week. However, you should still start him and hope he becomes a volume play WR2 this week.


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Adam Murfet is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Murf, check out his archive and follow him @Murf_NFL.

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