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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.
The Minnesota defense looked great on paper coming into the season but that just has not been the case on the field They continue to deploy Patrick Peterson solely on the right side and a combination of Breeland and Cameron Dantzler on the left. The left side has been a black hole with Breeland allowing the most fantasy points of any corner. Lockett lines up all over the field but should see more than 50% of his snaps against Breeland of Dantzler. With the running game not being a main focus for Seattle right now the hot streak to start the season should continue for Lockett.
All is not right in the Tennessee secondary right now. They have allowed the most points to opposing receivers by far and have been ineffective both outside and in the slot. Pascal has been a bright spot early for the Colts with three touchdowns and could see a bump if Parris Campbell remains injured this week. The lone downside would be a first career start for Jacob Eason with Carson Wentz injured, but this is still a great secondary to take on in a first start. Even with the rookie quarterback, it is safe to fire up both Pittman and Pascal against this Titans secondary.
This should easily be the best game of the weekend slate and a potential preview of a playoff matchup later this winter. Kupp is currently the top fantasy wide receiver and should be able to keep that throne after a matchup against Cockrell in the slot. Tampa Bay has allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers due to the high volume of throws they have been facing. Cockrell is filling in for an injured Sean Murphy Bunting and has been picked on at a higher rate than Carlton Davis or Jamel Dean on the outside. With the potent Tampa offense making teams play from behind, these corners are going to face a lot of targets this year. Kupp should see the biggest bump over Robert Woods and Van Jefferson this week.
The early favorable schedule for the Broncos continues with a home game against the Jets. Sutton showed he was back last week with 9 catches for 159 yards in week 2. The injury to Jerry Jeudy in week 1 has opened things up for Sutton and a new hip injury for Tim Patrick may make the offense rely on him even more. The Jets defense had its hands full after the offense turned the ball over 4 times last week and Hall has been picked on relentlessly. This is another great matchup to take advantage of this week before the Broncos start facing their tougher divisional foes.
The bad luck in Detroit continues on the defensive side of the ball. Jeff Okudah was lost for the season with an Achilles injury and then his replacement Ifeatu Melifonwu was added to the IR in week 2. This leaves Oruwariye to cover Brown this week in what is a great matchup for all Baltimore receivers. Brown has been doing a lot of damage on the inside so far this year with Sammy Watkins and Devin Duvernay taking outside duties. Brown is setup to have another big game and add to his 12 catch, 182 yards, and 2 touchdown line so far this season.
It was a coming-out party for Moore last week against the Vikings and he gets another great matchup against Campbell and the Jaguars this week. Moore became a go-to look for Kyler Murray during his scramble drills and burned the Vikings deep for a long touchdown. He has a great combination of speed and route running to add another dangerous weapon to this offense. DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk will get the bulk of the targets and also have a great matchup this week, but Moore is a great sleeper pick that can be had for cheap for another week.
TE Dallas Goedert (PHI vs DAL)
It has been a very up and down season for Goedert so far. After a solid week 1, he did not see many targets in week 2. This week the misfortune for Zach Ertz landing on the COVID list again spells good luck for Goedert. He will have a bigger slice of the target share pie and should be able to take advantage. Dallas has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends, and it would be even higher if a touchdown for Jared Cook wasn’t called back last week against the Chargers. Look for Goedert to resume control of the tight end position for Philadelphia this week.
TE Rob Gronkowski (TB vs LAR)
Normally we avoid the Rams defense in situations likes this, but Gronkowski has 2 touchdowns in back-to-back games and has been a red-zone machine. That trend could continue against a Rams defense that has allowed the third-most red-zone targets to tight ends so far this season. There are a lot of weapons for Tampa Bay and a lot of solid defenders on the Rams defense. If anyone is going to get open it is going to be Gronkowski this week.
This is a matchup we saw a lot of in the past 2 years with Peterson having varied success against Metcalf. The offense has gone through Tyler Lockett so far this season and that trend is going to continue with his great matchup against Bashaud Breeland. Metcalf is too good of an athlete to be held down all season but do not look for the breakout week to come against Peterson and the Vikings defense in week 3.
Bradberry and Ridley have a small history going back to his NFC South days where he allowed 3 catches for 64 yards on 13 routes covered. After being burned last week by Terry McLaurin for 11 catches, 107 yards, and a touchdown, Bradberry will look to get back to form as he follows Ridley across the field. The Falcons offense is spiraling without Julio Jones and lacks a true identity so far this season. Despite the down week, Bradberry is still one of the premier lockdown corners in the NFL and should keep Ridley In check.
There are a lot of things working against Parker this week and that includes the tough coverage from Hayward. Miami will be without Tua Tagovailoa this week due to a rib injury, Will Fuller is expected to be back in the lineup to take some of the targets away, and Hayward has had success covering Sammy Watkins and Chase Claypool so far this season. In their limited history, Hayward held Parker to 2 catches for 31 yards on 7 targets. This is a situation to altogether avoid if possible, for Parker owners.
It is tough to predict where Ramsey is going to be on the field as he plays all over the place as needed. However, with Godwin being the most productive Buccaneers receiver so far this season it is a safe bet that he will see a lot of Ramsey. Even in the slot where Ramsey has now lined up 55% of the time and allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points. The Rams defense does not have enough pieces to cover all of the offensive weapons for Tampa Bay this year, but Godwin can be downgraded against tough coverage from Ramsey.
WR Terry McLaurin (WFT vs BUF) vs TreDavious White
McLaurin beat the odds last week when he drew coverage from James Bradberry, but this week he will face a much tougher test overall. Even if he does not get followed by White, the Bills defense as a whole has allowed the lowest yards per target and a single touchdown to wide receivers. White has been asked to follow top receivers in the past and could again this week. Downgrade McLaurin and all WFT pass catchers this week.
It has been a tough start to the season for the Jets. After a disastrous game against the Patriots defense last week, Crowder and the Jets offense have to travel to Denver. Callahan has done a great job in coverage against the slot and the defense as a whole is getting healthy and playing well. Zach Wilson has not played well at all to start the season and even the garbage time yards projected for Crowder have not been there. Avoid the Jets offense in all situations right now until they can find some sort of rhythm.
TE Mike Gesicki (MIA vs LV)
It has been a very down season for Gesicki so far. After putting up a goose egg in week 1, he did not look much better in week 2. The Dolphins will be without their starting quarterback this week and the return of Will Fuller is going to take targets away from everyone else. Gesicki is not only un-startable right now but getting to the point of being released to free up a bench spot in most leagues.
TE Hunter Henry (NE vs NO)
Much like Gesicki above, Henry has done next to nothing in New England. Jonnu Smith has been the go-to tight end when Mac Jones has thrown to the position, but even his numbers have not been great. This is a bad situation for everyone involved right now and should be avoided at all costs until there is a little more clarity.