Join the Footballguys Daily Update
Start your morning with our roundup of the most important stories in football - with the fantasy insight you need to make league-winning decisions. Delivered straight to your inbox, 100% free.
This article attempts to highlight some of the best and worst matchups for wide receivers and tight ends each week. Using player tracking data from various sources (NFL.com, Pro Football Focus, ESPN, etc.) as well as reviews of recent trends, I look for situations to exploit or avoid when setting your weekly lineups. Given that this article is intended to help across all sites (both DFS and season-long), variations in pricing and scoring systems are not taken into account so obviously, the values could shift depending on where you are playing. The main intent of this article is simply to call out some players who could be significantly helped or hurt by their situations each week.
We all saw what happened in week 7 when Lockett squared off against Kirkpatrick. He pulled in 15 of 20 targets for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. Lockett even got the better of Patrick Peterson on a long touchdown as Seattle tried to mix things up and take the shadow coverage off DK Metcalf. Lockett is not going to come close to those numbers again this week, but he is still in line for a very solid day. If there is anyone to pick on in the Arizona secondary it is Kirkpatrick. Look for Lockett to be targeted early and often again this week and make up for the less than stellar production he has had in recent weeks.
The Cowboys were on a Bye last week and we almost forgot how bad their secondary has been so far this year. Trevon Diggs was placed on the IR and Brown has struggled to cover anyone on the outside. Awuzie recently returned from the IR and has played the best from the group, but the combination of Justin Jefferson and Thielen will be too much for this secondary to handle. Thielen is fresh off a 2-touchdown game against the Bears on Monday Night Football and will look to add to those totals this week against Dallas.
WR D.J. Moore, (CAR vs DET) vs Desmond Trufant
The entire Carolina offense should get a bump this week as the Lions defense has not been able to stop anyone. Expect the Panthers to pound the ball up the middle with Mike Davis to set up play action shots to Moore and Robby Anderson on the perimeter. Jeff Okudah has not fared much better on the outside and was recently demoted to a part time role in the defense. Detroit is currently allowing the 5th most fantasy points to outside receivers and that sets up for big game potential for both Moore and Anderson this week.
Picking on the Seattle secondary continues again this week. When these teams met back in week 7, Hopkins went for 9 catches for 84 yards and a touchdown and Kirk went for 5 catches for 37 yards and 2 touchdowns. Griffin and Dunbar missed week 10 due to injury and Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed were not any more effective. Look for Hopkins to continue his high volume of targets in this offense and for Kirk to do damage again this week. Even Larry Fitzgerald has a great matchup in the slot against Ugo Amadi. Fitzgerald caught 8 balls for 62 yards in their week 7 matchup. The entire Cardinals receiving core should be in line for a very productive day this week.
WR Mike Williams, (LAC vs NYJ), Bryce Hall
The Jets woes and projected to continue this week against the Chargers. They did not get any healthier at corner after their Bye week and even cut veteran Pierre Desir. Bryce Hall, a 5th round rookie, should see the bulk of the duty against Williams on the outside. The Jets have allowed the 10th most points to outside receivers this season and the 5th most over the past month. Keenan Allen will still be the go-to guy in this offense but there should be plenty of shot available on the outside with the Jets unproven rookie corners. Jalen Guyton is also a sleeper for a big play deep down the field this week.
Of all the corner matchups in this game and premiere receivers, Kupp has the best one against Murphy-Bunting. Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds have to contend with Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean and that leaves Kupp as the go to guy this week. This could also be the week we see something out of Van Jefferson, but it has the makings of a Kupp week. He could easily approach double-digit targets this week against a stingy Tampa Bay secondary. If you have to pick any receiver from this matchup, Kupp has the easiest path to a big game.
TE Hayden Hurst, (ATL vs NO)
He has not been a big name this season, but Hurst has quietly put together a very productive season. He also has a great matchup against a Saints defense that has struggled against tight ends this season. Hurst has scored 10 plus fantasy points in his past 4 matchups. The Saints are allowing nearly 15 points per game to the position and just let Jordan Reed and a backup quarterback score double-digit points last week. Look for hurst to be targeted often with much of the defensive attention going to Julio Jones.
TE Austin Hooper, (CLE vs PHI)
His return last week was dampened by mother nature and some unreal wind. The forecast looks much better this week and he has a great matchup against a Philadelphia defense that has allowed 6 touchdowns and the 4th most fantasy points to tight ends. With Odell Beckham out and Jarvis Landry banged up, look for Hooper to receive a much bigger target share this week.
After falling short last week in what was a prime matchup, Woods draws the short stick this week against Tampa Bay. We highlighted Cooper Kupp and his easier matchup from the slot, but Woods will face one of the top coverage corners in Jamel Dean this week. Even if he moves to the other side he has to contend with Davis. Woods has also seen his target share take a hit in recent weeks with just 19 in his past 3 games. The emergence of Josh Reynolds and an inconsistent Jared Goff also has something to do with the dip in production. If you have to take a receiver from this team look for Kupp over Woods this week.
Just like woods mentioned above, this is going to be a tough matchup for outside receivers. We can also add Antonio Brown to this list as Evans and Brown will see either Ramsey or Williams depending on what side they line up on. The Rams have been elite against receivers this season allowing the fewest fantasy points overall as well as the fewest over the past 2 months. Ramsey traveled with DK Metcalf last week and shut him down. It seems unlikely he travels this week without a clear #1 option for Tampa Bay, but the defense has been solid enough overall to avoid Tampa’s receiver group this week.
There has been a very long and sorted past between these two players. As divisional opponents they place twice every year with Jones largely getting the better of Lattimore. On 62 career routes run against Lattimore, Jones has 10 catches for 221 yards and no touchdowns. There have been some big chunk plays, but no touchdowns. We highlighted Hayden hurst above in a plus matchup and Calvin Ridley is also back and lining up against Janoris Jenkins. Lattimore has a history of showing up in big games and this defense will have to be solid with Drew Brees out. Jones is in no danger of being shut out this week, but we should temper expectations overall.
It was not a good week for Brown against the Colts with just a single reception for 21 yards. This week he draws even tougher coverage from Marcus Peters and a dominant Ravens defense. Tennessee has been tough to predict all season. Sometimes they pound the ball with Derek Henry and other times they air it out. Coming off a disappointing outing last week, Brown is going to have a tough test again this week. Look for other options if possible.
This matchup is contingent on whether or not Golladay returns from injury. If it is not Golladay then Marvin Jones would find himself in the same spot. While Carolina has not done well against receivers over the past month, Douglas has been their only solid corner. Golladay has been battling a hip injury and will not be at 100% if he returns this week. This unfavorable matchup goes to a less than 100% Golladay or Marvin Jones if Golladay is ruled out.
Jackson has been the top corner for the Bengals by far this season. He has only been targeted on 15% of his coverage snaps and as a team have allowed the 8th fewest fantasy points to outside receivers on the left side. McLaurin lines up here only 47% of the time but Jackson could be a candidate to follow him across the field. Alex Smith will continue to check it down to his running backs and McLaurin could be left out in the cold this week.
TE Robert Tonyan Jr (GB vs IND)
There was all this talk about how Aaron Rodgers had finally found his tight end and that Tonyan was the next big thing. Since that 3-touchdown game he has had a single game with more than 33 receiving yards and has not found the end zone again. Couple that with an Indianapolis defense that is allowing the 3rd fewest fantasy points to tight ends and we have a recipe for another bad game. If you need to stream a tight end this week, look elsewhere.
TE Trey Burton (IND vs GB)
Neither tight end in this matchup is a good play this week. Green Bay has allowed a single touchdown to tight ends so far this year and Burton cannot be relied on to always be on the field. He played just 37 of 70 offensive snaps last week. They like to run the ball with the big tight end in goal to go situations, but we should not be starting a tight end in the hopes that he gets a rushing touchdown. Avoid all tight ends in this matchup this week.