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.
Joe Burrow has turned to Boyd as his favorite target and while the Browns have allowed a lot of yards on the ground, the matchup with Boyd and Johnson is too good to pass up. He has 12 total tackles on the year and a single pass defended. The battle for Ohio should be more entertaining and competitive this year, but in this matchup, the advantage goes to Boyd.
The Seattle secondary has been very bad this season all around. They have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers and a whopping 1,472 yards to the position and they have already had their Bye week. DeAndre Hopkins is a must play in this matchup on the outside, but Fitzgerald has a chance to do a lot of damage in the slot. Fitzgerald has lined up in the slot 86% of the time and Amadi has covered the slot 100% of the time. Kyler Murray should have his pick of receivers to throw to this week and Fitzgerald could be a sneaky play this week.
For as good as the Arizona defense has been against perimeter wide receivers (3rd fewest points allowed) and the 11th fewest overall points to receivers as a whole, Murphy is their weakest spot covering the slot. Lockett and Russell Wilson did have not seemed to click since their 3-touchdown explosion in week 3, but he may be the best option this week against Arizona. DK Metcalf will occupy Patrick Peterson and or Dre Kirkpatrick on the outside. Look for Lockett to sneak across the middle out of the slot and do damage this week.
The Jacksonville secondary has been picked on all season to this point. Keenan Allen should be back at full strength and also has a great matchup in this one, but Williams should excel on the other side as well and come at a much cheaper price. Henderson has been average in coverage at best and Tre Herndon should matchup with Allen most of the game. At the rate the Jaguars are giving up yards, look for a homerun play to Williams this week with Justin Herbert loving to air it out.
The Falcons secondary is just bad. They allowed Justin Jefferson to run wild last week and Adam Thielen to find the endzone twice. It is the Lions’ turn this week with Golladay drawing the best matchup on the outside against Sheffield. He is allowing points on nearly every coverage snap and the team has allowed the fiifth-most points to opposing receivers and a league-worst 10.2 yards per target. Matthew Stafford will also have Marvin Jones Jr on the other side against Terrell this week. The first-round pick has been the best of the bad bunch so far this year, but we can still expect an aerial display this week. The Lions may have gone run-heavy last week- but there is no reason to not air it out this week.
All of the quarterback issues for the WFT aside, McLaurin has a great matchup against a porous Dallas defense this week. Dallas had Diggs attempt to shadow DeAndre Hopkins on Monday Night and had it not been for an inaccurate Kyler Murray, it would have been a big night for Hopkins. Diggs is allowing the 4th most points to receivers so far this year and has constantly been left on an island outside. McLaurin could see Anthony Brown on the other side if Diggs does not travel and Jourdan Lewis in the slot. The combination of a bad secondary and the usual volume of targets for McLaurin should put him in line for a big day this week.
TE T.J. Hockenson, DET vs ATL
Hockenson was the choice again last week and he was able to find the end zone against the Jaguars. Unfortunately, they then went run-heavy in the game and he did not get the yards to go with that score. This week he takes on an Atlanta secondary that has surrendered a league-high 7 touchdowns to opposing tight ends and the 2nd most fantasy points. Look for Hockenson to finally put it all together with both a touchdown and the yards this week in what could be his most productive game of the season.
TE Hunter Henry, LAC vs JAX
We continue to pick on the Jacksonville secondary, specifically their coverage of tight ends this year. As a whole, they are allowing more than 15 fantasy points per game to the position and Justin Herbert has relied heavily on his tight ends to this point. Henry ranks 5th across all tight ends in targets per game and Herbert looks towards his tight ends just over 8 times per game. Look for the Chargers to air it out this week with plenty of fantasy points to go around.
Metcalf seems like a different player so far this year, but the Cardinals had his number last year and he will be shadowed by Peterson this week. Metcalf was held to 1 catch on 5 targets for 6 yards last season total against the Cardinals. With Peterson following him around the field it could be a long day for Metcalf. Look for Russell Wilson to find Tyler Lockett across the middle more this week out of the slot. Look for Metcalf to be touchdown dependent this week against the Cardinals.
Slay is one of the few players in the Philadelphia secondary that you can trust. He has already shadowed Terry McLaurin and A.J. Green so far this year and held them to a combined 7 catches for 62 yards. Slay has been consistent in coverage and allowed just 28 catches on 202 defended routes. With Sterling Shepard projected to be out again this week, it should be an all Darius matchup on Thursday night, with the advantage going to Slay.
The Saints have desperately been awaiting the return of a healthy Thomas, but we should temper our expectations this week. Douglas has already shadowed Mike Williams, DeAndre Hopkins, and Allen Robinson this season and allowed a combined 13 catches for 111 yards. He has been locking up against the oppositions’ top receivers and keeping them in check. The Carolina rush defense has also been very soft this season and the Saints could go run-heavy with Alvin Kamara. Thomas will get his targets from Drew Brees, but he draws a tough matchup in his first game back.
While it seems unlikely Ramsey will shadow Robinson this week as they prefer to deploy him in the slot, it is still a tough matchup for Chicago’s’ top wideout. The Rams have allowed the second-fewest receiving yards and second-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers. The Bears have found ways to win this season, but this is going to be a very tough matchup. The Rams defense will be looking for a bounce-back game after being embarrassed last week and Robinson will be in for a long day. Williams should start on Robinson on the outside and then see some Ramsey if he starts to break free.
Just when it looks like Carson Wentz has found his go-to receiver, he draws a potential shadow coverage from Bradberry. Fulgham has been heavily targeted the past 2 weeks and exceeded all expectations. With the status of DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery up in the air this is still a tough matchup to predict. With Zach Ertz already ruled out this week, expect Fulgham to play a major role in the offense and draw the tough coverage this week. Bradberry has been one of the best corners in coverage so far this season and will lock down whoever he is covering.
TE Tyler Higbee, LAR vs CHI
While Higbee led the Rams in receiving last week with 56 yards, it was an all-around dud of a game for that offense. Jared Goff never got going and threw for less than 200 yards total. Gerald Everett has been pushing Higbee for target shares and has had more in the past 2 weeks. The matchup against the Bears this week is also not a good one with the defense allowing 48 yards per game to the position and only 2 tight ends have eclipsed double-digit fantasy points. Pivot off Higbee this week in a tough matchup against Chicago.
TE Jared Cook, NO vs CAR
It is a week to temper expectations with Cook against the Panthers. They have been stingy against the pass all season, in large part due to how they have struggled against the run. Carolina has allowed just 2 touchdowns to tight ends so far this season and an average of 10.5 fantasy points per game. Jimmy Graham, Hayden Hurst, and Rob Gronkowski have all scored less than 9 points against the defense. With Michael Thomas back in the lineup and Alvin Kamara expected to star in a run-heavy attack, it will be a down week for Cook.