WR vs. CB Matchup Analysis: Week 10
One of the keys to NFL DFS success is locating the highest upside at the wide receiver position. Which wideouts have the easiest matchups against the opposing secondaries? Which receivers will fly under the radar and make the difference in large-field tournaments? Each week this NFL season, ChrisGimino will explore his favorite WR plays on the slate, with the sort of insight and knowledge that only he can provide!
Michael Thomas vs. Bengals
Michael Thomas absolutely broke the slate last week with an 83.3% share of team air yards on just a 34.8% share of targets. The matchup with the Bengals is essentially no issue for him despite a matchup with the competent DB William Jackson. In my other Article called Stat Factors, I revealed how the Bengals are a top 10 matchup in terms of success rate allowed in both 0-9 yard passing and 10-19 yard passing. The Saints are likewise a top success rate producer in those ranges. Michael Thomas has seen 87% of his targets in that depth range, and it seems likely he’ll be producing at a high level yet again this week. Jackson may not be the typical weak DB we highlight in articles like this, but he is simply not good enough (with a 105.8 rating allowed when targeted) to deter us from dialing up Thomas.
Jarvis Landry vs. Falcons
The Falcons defense doesn’t lend itself well to big plays in the passing game, opting instead to allow production to fall within the 0-19 yard range. Landry leads the league in routes run thanks to some overtime games, and 85% of his targets on those routes are coming less than 20 yards downfield. Brian Poole is no shutdown corner, as evidenced by his #85 coverage rating on PlayerProfiler.com and #72 player grade per PFF. My expectation is that Landry continues to see a dominant target share, and will see those targets against a scheme that favors his style and a slot DB that is incapable of curbing his production.
Josh Gordon vs. Titans
The Titans have allowed just 24 explosive passes this season, but 9 of those explosive plays were produced with 15+ air yards and in the direction of Malcolm Butler. On those passes, Butler gave up 309 yards and 5 TDs. We have Josh Gordon pegged as the most likely coverage assignment vs. Butler. Lest you forget, Gordon’s head coach willingly benched Butler in the Super Bowl and seemed happy enough about parting ways with the DB shortly thereafter. Chances are Coach Belichick doesn’t think Butler is very good, and I’d be a little surprised if they don’t try to manufacture and exploit that matchup with deep targets for Gordon. It’s a very exciting situation for DFS.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. Dolphins
Almost 41% of targets for Valdes-Scantling come more than 10 yards downfield. That’s a nice proposition when his opponent is a second year undrafted player with a 131.1 passer rating allowed like Torry McTyer. It’s also nice to have Aaron Rodgers as your QB when exploiting a solid matchup like this. McTyer is being charged with over 15.3 yards per attempt by Sports Info Solutions, which is the stone nut high for any CB with over 25 cover snaps. MVS is priced to move across the DFS industry, and the matchup can hardly get any better for him.
Tyler Boyd vs. Saints
P.J. Williams has allowed 5 TDs this season and 358 yards on just 212 cover snaps. That’s good for a 127.14 rating in coverage allowed and 10.23 yards per attempt. He’ll be tasked with covering a red hot Tyler Boyd, who may benefit from a modest increase in targets thanks to the loss of A.J. Green. Even if his volume stays static, the quality of the matchup still gives him a fighting chance of paying off his rapidly rising price tag. If price wasn’t a thing, we wouldn’t think twice about this spot. At minimum, that should be a green light to see if you can make it work in a GPP lineup. There are certainly big enough games in his range of outcomes.
The Rams defense is tough, as they generate a ton of pass rush. However, they have allowed 34 explosive passes (4th most) this season. Marcus Peters has allowed 517 yards (3rd most) and 6 TDs (2nd most) this season, and is one of the primary drivers of their struggles preventing the deep ball. Lockett is one of the most efficiency receivers in the NFL this season with a +47.0 Production Premium per PlayerProfiler.com. Much of this efficiency has come via the deep ball, including a 39 yard TD Week 5 with Peters in coverage. It looks like this is just a bad matchup for Peters, and that makes Lockett an excellent play in LAR/SEA game stacks.
Julio Jones vs. Browns
Julio finally got a TD last week, and still won’t be that popular in DFS Week 10. Greg Williams runs a decent amount of zone coverage, which is a style Julio has been very successful against in terms of yardage production. Only two team defenses have seen more pass attempts than CLE in zone coverage (defined as Cover 2, Cover 3, Cover 4, Cover 6, Tampa 2, and Prevent). As for Julio, there are 23 WRs in the NFL who have more routes run vs. zone coverage than he does, but only one (Mike Evans) has more than his 459 yards receiving. T.J. Carrie is absolutely nothing to fear here, and Julio looks like a potential spot to pay up to be contrarian.
Keenan Allen vs. Raiders
The entire passing game looks to be in a strong situation vs. the Raiders, and the biggest concern when rostering Keenan Allen is the high potential for the Chargers to lay a beat down on the obviously season-punting Raiders. Leon Hall will be his individual matchup, and per PlayerProfiler.com Hall is ranked #81 in coverage rating. He’s ranked #85 in fantasy points allowed per target and #89 in passer rating allowed in coverage (143.8 rating allowed). These are wheels up signals we can use in combination with Allen’s steady role in the offense to dial him in GPPs without the expectation of extreme ownership.
Corey Davis vs. Patriots
This is a classic situation where we need to bite the bullet and roster a guy despite a very tough matchup. Stephon Gilmore has been incredible this season, allowing just 4.31 yards per attempt in his coverage. The reasons to feel comfortable rostering Davis despite the match up is simple though: opportunity is > efficiency in fantasy football, and there is no guarantee that even the toughest DB can prevent efficiency if the volume is there on a consistent basis. Very few receivers can claim 2 games in their last 5 with over 47% of the teams air yards share. Davis has that, as well as a 3rd game with a 39% share. If the highly leveraged targets continue to flow in his direction at this high of a rate, you’ll have to ask a lot more than the $4,500 tag on DK for me to fade him against just about anyone.
T.Y. Hilton vs. Jaguars
Whenever we see Jalen Ramsey, it is very fair to get concerned about the player he is shadowing. We expect Ramsey to do that against Hilton, and in their matchups last season Hilton was held to 2/21 and 3/51. There are times like we mentioned above where I don’t mind taking a WR in a tough matchup due to projected volume, but this is not one of those cases. I’ll pass on Hilton Week 10.