WR vs. CB Matchup Analysis: Week 16
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!
Robbie Anderson vs. Packers
Anderson is likely to see a ton of work against Jaire Alexander this week, who by default has seen the most targets (69) of any Packers DB (he often lines up across from the opponents top pass catcher). Alexander has a very strong 84.75 passer rating allowed in coverage. Anderson in the meantime is coming off a stretch of strong performances and finally flashing the upside we saw around this time last year. The individual CB matchup isn’t spectacular, but he does carry a 5 inch height advantage along with 91st percentile straight line speed that could allow him to get loose for a 3rd straight week. He’s a primary option for many, but I can see a reason to be underweight on the player in GPPs. This is no lock assuming Alexander – a first round talent – is glued to him most of the game.
Deandre Hopkins vs. Eagles
Hopkins is hot, and among the most highly utilized WRs in pro football with a 35% red zone target share and league leading 32.1% share overall. The Eagles are unlikely to leave him one on one with any of their second tier DBs, and instead should deploy help and zone coverage to try to keep him under wraps. I doubt that will be effective, as Hopkins has 681 yards and a 127.9 passer rating when targeted against primarily zone looks. Hopkins is very likely to eat once again in Week 16.
Michael Thomas vs. Steelers
Michael Thomas has seen 59.84% of his targets within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, which is presumably good against a Steelers defense willing to surrender such short area targets in exchange for limiting the deep attack. Joe Haden has been following top WRs often times for the Steelers, and has been effective with just a 69.49 passer rating allowed. Since Thomas doesn’t run deep routes as often as other primary alphas, it’s likely he won’t see quite as much of Haden’s tough coverage. Look for Thomas to have a decent volume, high floor, and plenty of upside potential in GPPs.
Robert Woods vs. Cardinals
Woods has aligned 36% slot left and 53% slot right this season, which should help him avoid any coverage from a currently questionable Patrick Peterson. The Rams should be without Todd Gurley and heavily reliant on Woods and the passing game to do damage this week. With a beatable matchup against slot defenders like Budda Baker, we should be expecting success for him. Baker’s 8.03 YPA allowed is the highest among Cardinals regular defenders. The Rams can’t afford to take this game lightly, and thus we should be less than surprised by an aggressive, pass first game plan featuring Woods as centerpiece.
Alshon Jeffery vs. Texans
With Nick Foles at QB last week, Jeffery emerged from his tomb to deliver 8/160 against the Rams. The Texans are a week removed from getting waxed by Robby Anderson and have from time to time shown weakness in pass defense when the front line fails to pressure the QB. Shareece Wright has been charged with 5 TDs allowed, the most on the Texans by 2 despite seeing far fewer coverage snaps than Tyrann Mathieu, Johnathan Joseph, and Kareem Jackson. Jeffery is in a fine spot to succeed at better than fair DFS price tags across the industry.
Davante Adams vs. Jets
Adams is now the top rated player in my WR rating system thanks to the combination of skills, opportunity, and efficiency. The Jets outside CB tandem has been rather outstanding this season, but gave up production to similarly effective Deandre Hopkins last week as expected. There is no reason not to expect Adams – a 151 target WR with 12 TDs – to shine yet again. I’ve detailed Claiborne’s outstanding play as recently as last week, and I’ll leave the analysis for another day there. I shade towards Adams and his skills over the skills of Claiborne in this excellent matchup.
Adam Thielen vs. Lions
Recency bias may keep people away from Thielen despite a solid matchup with one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Nevin Lawson often aligns against the slot (64.09%) and should be charged with guarding Thielen often. His production allowed this season has been gaudy, with 444 yards and 5 TDs. That includes zero INTs and just 4 passes defended. Thielen saw just 2 targets last week after previously seeing a season low of 7 in prior weeks. The Vikings do want to run the ball more and steam rolled the Dolphins in many ways last week, but the Lions are stout up front assuming Snacks Harrison is available to play. The Vikings may need to throw it a little bit more, and Thielen would have a solid chance to bounce back if that’s the case.
Julian Edelman vs. Bills
Taron Johnson is no longer available and Rafael Bush could be asked to play the slot, where Julian Edelman spends 84% of his time pre-snap. Edelman has double digit targets in four of his last 6 games, and has an important role to play in this game if we are to believe the Bills will lose by two TDs. 59.79% of passes against the Bills are within 0 to 9 yards, the 5th highest rate in the NFL. Edelman receives 53.85% of his targets in that range. It’s a great matchup fit, and the loss of Gordon only enhances his potential.
Amari Cooper vs. Tampa Bay
Using the Advanced Receiving vs. Coverage tool here at Rotogrinders, we can see that Amari Cooper decimates man coverage to the tune of a 137.8 rating and 594 yards on just 52 targets. His rating vs. zone is just 85.4. From Week 1 to Week 6 while Mike Smith was the DC, Tampa saw just the 23rd highest pass attempts in Cover 0, Cover 1, and Man Cover 2. From Week 7 on, it’s been the 6th highest rate in the league with 141 attempts in those coverage types. “Credit Sports Info Solutions for the great breakdown last week to spawn this idea.”: https://sportsinfosolutionsblog.com/2018/12/13/dak-prescott-amari-cooper-face-challenge-with-colts-zone/ If Amari is likely to see more man coverage this week, he’ll have some beatable corners to go against when he does get that look. You have to put him on the GPP radar as a leverage option against the highly owned Elliott.
Late Game Matchups
Tyreek Hill vs. Seahawks
The Seahawks defense has benefitted from some easy matchups lately, but won’t be as lucky against the highly efficient Chiefs pass attack. Shaquill Griffin has a 100.79 passer rating allowed in coverage year to date, but hasn’t recently been challenged by any of the leagues uber-elite. Tyreek is capable of exceptional downfield explosion, and Griffin is allowing 9.55 yards per attempt. With Hill also ranking #6 in air yards and #2 in YAC, the Seahawks defense will be hard pressed to contain him in Week 16.
Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin vs. Chiefs
Kendall Fuller is the best CB on the Chiefs, and he’s currently on the injury report. Neither Steven Nelson or Orlando Scandrick is well equipped to handle the blazing downfield speed of Tyler Lockett, and the mismatch could be problematic. The Seahawks may need to stay aggressive to keep pace with a high scoring Chiefs team, and that could mean their beatable secondary is tested even more than usual. Doug Baldwin also had a great game last week and appears to be returning to form. If the Seahawks are forced to abandoned their run first, ground and pound game plan early… I’d look at the passing game for value since the Chiefs are most certainly going to put up a ton of points vs. this over rated defense.