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.
WR Robby Anderson, (CAR vs MIN) vs Cameron Dantzler
Just when it looked like the Vikings were getting back on track in their secondary, they got exposed by a Dallas offense that has not been very good. They have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to opposing receivers and cannot agree on who to start. Dantzler should see a lot of Anderson this week with a combination of Kris Boyd and Chris Jones on D.J. Moore, and Jeff Gladney on Curtis Samuel. With Christian McCaffrey expected to miss another week and Teddy Bridgewater expected back to face his former team, this entire receiver group has the potential for a big game. Look for Anderson to lead the way and for Moore and Samuel to not be far behind.
When these 2 teams met back in week 7, Dallas had a healthy Trevon Diggs shadow McLaurin, and it did not go well. McLaurin finished with 7 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. With digs on the IR, McLaurin will see some combination of Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. This does not bode well for the Dallas secondary that has allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season and the 4th most over the past month. Do not expect anyone to travel with McLaurin this week as he plays all over the field and it will just be a matter of how Alex Smith gets him the ball. Look for McLaurin to feast on Thanksgiving Day.
This spot would normally be reserved for Adam Thielen, but he is currently on the COVID list and is at risk of not playing this weekend. Carolina was solid against receivers early in the year but have fallen completely flat as of late. They have allowed the 11th most fantasy points to receivers over the past month and the most to players lined up on the outside. Jefferson has slid right into the Stefon Diggs role from a year ago and has been one of the best rookie receivers in this class. If Thielen is out this week, Chad Beebe could be a sneaky play in big tournaments as well as Olabisi Johnson.
WR DeVante Parker, (MIA vs NYJ) vs Bryce Hall
It has been a very tough season for the Jets defense. They recently placed Bless Austin and Brian Poole on the IR and cut Pierre Desir. The Jets have allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing receiver including the 2nd most over the past month. They have struggled against outside receivers and that is where Parker lines up nearly 77% of the time. This secondary allowed Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to have 20 catches for over 220 yards and 2 touchdowns last week. Look for Parker to have a big day, especially if Ryan Fitzpatrick is back under center, and Jakeem Grant to be relevant this week.
We will continue to pick on Herndon like most opposing teams do this season. The Jaguars secondary has not been very good at all this season, especially against slot receivers. Landry has not quite stepped up since Odell Beckham Jr went down with injury, but this is his best matchup since that happened. Cleveland is going to run the ball heavily as usual but look for Landry to be open across the middle and behind the linebackers who have come up to stop the run. Baker Mayfield is good for a few really good games a year and the lowly Jaguars are a good candidate for that. Look for Landry to vastly improve on his recent performances against Jacksonville this week.
The biggest detriment to this matchup will be the play of Carson Wentz this week. Fulgham has emerged as the top option in this offense and should benefit from Miles Sanders being back and at 100%. The Seattle secondary has been the worst in the NFL and has been picked on all season. Griffin has missed time with injury and is still in the bottom 5 of points allowed by a corner this season. Tre Flowers and Ugo Amadi have not been much better, and we could see Greg Ward and Jalen Reagor emerge this week as well. Continue to bet against this secondary until they prove they can stop someone.
TE Hunter Henry (LAC vs BUF)
Henry finally got back on track and even found the end zone last week. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in each of his last 2 games and has had 6 or more targets in 2 of his last 3. He also will benefit from taking on a Buffalo defense that has struggled against tight ends. They have allowed 6 touchdowns this season, the 3rd most fantasy points, and 3 different tight ends to score 20 or more points. Justin Herbert has been hot this season and look for him to spread the ball to his tight end again this week.
TE Evan Engram (NYG vs CIN)
It has been a very difficult season for Engram so far this year, but it is finally seeming like he has turned things around. He has double-digit fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 games and found the end zone. The Bengals defense has been very giving to opposing tight ends allowing 6 touchdowns this season and nearly 15 fantasy points per game. The tight end position has been very unreliable this season, but Engram should be a top 10 option this week in a plus matchup against Cincinnati.
The Patriots defense has not been nearly as dominant as they have over the past few seasons and even Gilmore himself has struggled at times. These two have a history going back to 2017 and Gilmore has followed Hopkins several times in the past. Hopkins has had mild success but has always been held under 100 yards and out of the end zone against Gilmore and the Patriots. He is in a much different system and seeing a lot of targets, but we should temper expectations as Gilmore likes to show up in big time matchups. It is not an avoid Hopkins so much this week as he just has a very tough matchup.
Teams continue to throw their best at Metcalf, and he has been finding a way to produce lately but expect Slay to make things difficult as he travels across the field with him. During their regular season matchup last season, Metcalf was held to 3 catches for 35 yards. Slay has been asked to follow Terry McLaurin, A.J. Green, Darius Slayton, and Michael Gallup so far this year. The Eagles have also been much better against wide receivers over the past month allowing the 2nd fewest points and the 2nd fewest points to receivers lined up outside. Much like Hopkins above, Metcalf is still going to get his targets, but he is going to have to contend with Slay following him across the field.
Rhodes was a staple of this side of the article dating back to his early days in Minnesota. His ability to lock down the opposition’s top receiver was a thing of beauty. He has fallen off in recent years but is starting to play much better right now. Rock Ya-Sin will be lined up on the other side and there will be nowhere for Davis to escape. It has been an up and down season for Davis so far. He filled in admirably when A.J. Brown was out early in the year but has since come back to earth. With the way Rhodes has been playing in recent weeks avoid Davis in all formats.
Both Samuel and Aiyuk found the end zone when these teams met earlier this season, but the rest of their stats were nothing special. Samuel has been dealing with injuries all season and Aiyuk has just returned from the COVID list. Both line up on the outside more than 75% of the time and the combination of Ramsey and Williams have allowed the 3rd fewest fantasy points to outside receivers and receivers as a whole. The Rams are playing great defense right now and have exceled against Seattle and Tampa Bay in recent weeks. Look for both Samuel and Aiyuk to struggle this week against tough matchups.
The Saints were able to step up on defense last week and make a statement with Taysom Hill under center. Lattimore exceled against Julio Jones, despite Julio being injured several times during the game. This week it is Jeudy that will draw the matchup with Lattimore and if we throw in an inconsistent Drew Lock it will make for a long day for Jeudy and his fellow receivers. The rookie has been great at times this season but look elsewhere this week with a tough matchup against the Saints.
There is a clear height mismatch here, but the advantage would still go to Alexander in this matchup. There is no guarantee that he will follow Robinson, but Alexander has been Green Bay’s top corner and Robinson is Chicago’s top receiver. Kevin King has been asked to follow some of the taller receivers, but he has been mediocre so far this year. Even if Green Bay just plays sides with their corners, Robinson should still be downgraded when he aligns on Alexander’s side nearly 50% of the time. Throw in the struggles of Chicago quarterbacks this season and this is a matchup to avoid.
TE Jared Cook (NO vs DEN)
Cook has more or less disappeared in this offense in recent weeks. He has just 6 targets over the past 3 weeks and Taysom Hill under center is only going to make things worse. Hill targeted Michael Thomas on 52% of his pass plays last week and expect that trend to continue. The Broncos rank in the top 10 against tight ends and Cook has not been producing. Look for other options this week if you have them.
TE Jimmy Graham (CHI vs GB)
It is always fun to root for a revenge game, but Graham has just not been consistent this season. He has come away with 5 touchdowns but that is about it in regard to production. He has 8.5 points or less in his last 5 contests and he takes on a Green Bay defense that has allowed the 3rd fewest points to opposing tight ends. The tight end position has been very thin so far this year, but this is a week to avoid Graham.