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6 Fantasy Football WR/CB Matchups to Know (Week 17)

6 Fantasy Football WR/CB Matchups to Know (Week 17)

We have made it. The nearly four-month slog towards this point is over. Fantasy managers have had to endure unprecedented injuries, a significant amount of coaching firings, franchise decisions to bench playmakers, suspensions, and much more. A fantasy season has not seen this much turmoil since the 2020 COVID-19 hit season when players were going on a special IR just hours before games.

However, we are finally here. And, if you are reading this, you are probably fighting for one, or more fantasy championships this week. This means these WR/CB matchups are more crucial than ever. All three of the challenging matchups I highlighted last week saw the wide receiver score significantly under their projected totals. That is why knowing these matchups can help you gain that important edge in your fantasy championship matchup.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and see what matchups are worth knowing about this week.

WR/CB Matchups: Week 17

Advantageous Wide Receiver Matchups

Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR) vs. Cordale Flott (CB – NYG)

Kupp might not be the league winner people drafted in the summer due to his constant battle with injuries this season. However, if you have a championship team with Kupp in it this week, he could be a Kingmaker for you in Week 17.

Kupp has a great matchup this week against Flott and the New York Giants. According to FantasyPoints Data, Flott is allowing the joint fifth-most fantasy points per route run against him of all cornerbacks in the NFL this season. Flott is allowing 0.40 fantasy points per route run against him.

The Giants are also allowing the fifth most fantasy points to wide receivers. Their 31.2 fantasy points per game allowed is only bettered by the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, Los Angeles Chargers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While Kupp is only 13th in the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) in PPR and 0.5pt PPR scoring at the time of writing, he has significant WR1 upside and is a must-start in all lineups.

Calvin Ridley (WR – JAC) vs. Donte Jackson (CB – CAR)

Ridley has had an up-and-down season for fantasy managers. However, he did return two touchdowns last week against the Buccaneers, even if one of them came in garbage time with the game all but over.

A lot of Ridley’s outlook this week will depend on the health of quarterback Trevor Lawrence who is dealing with multiple injuries right now. He didn’t look particularly healthy against the Buccaneers. But he still kept Ridley fantasy relevant.

Ridley is up against Jackson and the Carolina Panthers. Jackson has been the pick of the cornerbacks for the Panthers so far this season, only allowing 0.28 fantasy points per route run against him, compared to Jaycee Horn (0.39) and Troy Hill (0.38).

However, given the season-ending injury to Christian Kirk and an ongoing injury to Zay Jones, not to mention a run game that has stalled significantly over the past few games, expect Ridley to see a significant amount of targets against the Panthers. The Jaguars have only rushed as a team for 37 yards, 75 yards, and 58 yards in their last three games. This should mean Ridley has WR2 appeal in all formats this week.

Noah Brown (WR – HOU) vs. Tre Avery (CB – TEN)

Brown is currently listed as questionable with a long-standing injury so do keep an eye on this one. However, at the time of writing, I would expect him to play this week. Brown should also welcome back quarterback C.J. Stroud who has missed the last two games with a concussion. He is also trending in the right direction towards playing at the time of writing.

This week Brown has a great matchup against Avery and the Tennessee Titans. Avery is allowing the joint most fantasy points per route run against him, at 0.45 fantasy points. He is tied with Derwin James for this honor. The Titans also allow the 7th most fantasy points to wide receivers in the NFL with 30.4 fantasy points conceded on average per game.

Brown has been relevant with and without Nico Collins, who is also currently on the injury report as well. If Stroud and Brown are healthy, this is a matchup to really exploit and Brown should be worthy of a flex spot in your fantasy lineups, unless you have better options on your bench.

Challenging Wide Receiver Matchups

Rashee Rice (WR – KC) vs. Mike Hilton (CB – CIN)

Rice has been a sensation in recent weeks, running more routes and scoring more points than he was earlier in the season, to emerge from the pack as the WR1 on the Chiefs.

However, while the ECR has him as a WR1 this week, his matchup against Hilton and the Bengals means I just cannot see him ending up in the top 12 of the position this week. Hilton has been mightily impressive all season, allowing only 0.16 fantasy points per route run against him. This is the joint-ninth least allowed of any cornerback coming into Week 16.

Rice is a start option this week in most formats. However, the upside is not there for him so be careful if you are relying on him to hit his projected points total in your preferred format this week.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – BAL) vs. Jalen Ramsey (CB – MIA)

Beckham Jr. has been unwell the last couple of weeks and appears to be suffering from an illness. He might be someone on the fringes of a flex spot for fantasy managers due to his heroics in getting fantasy managers into the playoffs with a good run from Week 11 – Week 14.

However, Beckham Jr. has a tough matchup against Ramsey and the Miami Dolphins this year. His 0.16 fantasy points per route run allowed is the joint-ninth least allowed of all cornerbacks. The Dolphins’ defense is a neutral matchup as they allow the 16th most fantasy points to wide receivers. But Ramsey is the stalwart in this defense so fantasy managers should sit Beckham Jr. this week and start someone else in their flex.

Tee Higgins (WR – CIN) vs. L’Jarius Sneed (CB – KC)

Higgins is the lead receiver on the Cincinnati Bengals after the season-ending injury to Ja’Marr Chase. However, despite Higgins being a leading fantasy target over the past couple of weeks, he will struggle to hit his projected points total in Week 17.

That is because he has a difficult matchup against Sneed and the Chiefs. Sneed is only allowing 0.17 fantasy points per route run against him which is tied for the 12th least among cornerbacks in the NFL. And, with the Bengals lacking other significant threats other than perhaps Tyler Boyd, the Chiefs can afford to add extra coverage on Higgins.

Higgins is a volume-dependent WR2 in PPR formats and a low-end WR2 in 0.5pt PPR and standard scoring formats this week. He is still someone fantasy managers will need to start. Just be aware of the ceiling, as it will be capped this week.

Thanks for reading this week’s column. Happy holidays! This is my final installment of the column for the fantasy championships. I will not be writing one for Week 18. For more from me, check out my archive and follow me @Murf_NFL.

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