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.
It has been a shaky start to the season for the Steelers offense, but it looks like Ben Roethlisberger has found the deep ball again. Couple that with a Seahawks secondary that is allowing the 6th most fantasy points to receivers this season. They have allowed 194-plus yards to wideouts in 4 straight games and 48-plus points to receivers in 3 straight games. Pittsburgh will be without Juju Smith-Schuster for the rest of the season and Claypool should see his target share continue to grow. Reed has struggled with receivers on the outside and will be picked on regularly this week.
It would be easy to write off Metcalf due to the injury to Russell Wilson, but Metcalf and Geno Smith clicked in the second half last week and walk into a great matchup against a Steelers secondary that has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to receivers so far this season. Joe Haden continues to play at an average level, but Pierre on the other side has allowed the most fantasy points to left outside receivers this season. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett will move around the formation and split time between the 2 corners, but Metcalf should see the biggest bump this week. Do not worry about Geno Smith at quarterback this week with the plus matchup for Metcalf and the rest of the receivers.
The Chiefs’ defense is in total disarray right now and cannot seem to cover anyone in the secondary. Ward was picked apart by Josh Allen and the Bills last week and will draw a tough matchup against the speedy McLaurin this week. McLaurin beat the shadow coverage from James Bradberry earlier this season and always has big play ability every time he runs a route. Until the Chiefs’ defense proves they can stop anyone they should be picked on with the opposition’s top receiver every time. Look for McLaurin to have a very productive day.
Do not let the matchup with Jenkins worry you at all. The Titans have still allowed the most yards and fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. They have allowed the 2nd most touchdowns with 8 and the 6th highest yards per target this season. This unit has downright struggled this season and will have to contend with a high-powered Bills offense this week. Diggs will continue to lead the pack and should see about a 50/50 split of coverage from Jenkins and Kristian Fulton. The Titans need to do something to address this secondary, but it will most likely happen after the onslaught of the Bills offense this week.
Chase has looked like an entirely different player since the lights switched from preseason to regular season games. He has quickly become one of Joe Burrow’s favorite targets and has regularly blown the top off the defense. Chase gets a great matchup against a very bad Lions’ secondary this week. Their overall points allowed may not look very bad on paper but that is due to lack of volume. Detroit is allowing the highest yards per catch and yards per target in the league so when they give up a catch it is a big play. The entire receiving core for the Bengals can be upgraded this week, but Chase has the best big play ability and has been scoring touchdowns at a high clip.
After blowing up the first 3 weeks of the season, Cooks has cooled down as teams have been able to take away the only weapon for the Texans right now. That should all change this week with a plus matchup against the Colts secondary. Xavier Rhodes and Ya-Sin on the outside have not done much to instill fear in opposing receivers this season. Even with David Mills at quarterback, Cooks should see more than enough volume this week to put up solid numbers.
TE Dawson Knox (BUF vs TEN)
It has been an amazing start to the season for Knox and the Buffalo offense. He torched Kansas City for 4 catches and 117 yards last week with a touchdown and could see a big game again this week. The Titans’ defense has not been friendly to tight ends, but they have allowed a lot of yards to receivers. The Bills offense is running so well with Josh Allen that Knox could easily fall into the receiver category. Look for Knox to extend his hot start to the season this week against Tennessee.
TE Mike Gesicki (MIA vs JAX)
This is a tough matchup to watch every week. Miami never seems to include him in the offense until the second half when they remember they have him to throw to. The upside is he has at least 8 fantasy points in the past 3 matchups and is taking on a very soft Jacksonville defense. With DeVante Parker dealing with injury there should be a larger target share for Gesicki this week.
The addition of Julio Jones has not had the positive effect on Brown that everyone had hoped for. Add in he is going to draw coverage from White this week and it is going to make for a very long day. White has had a hand in shutting down Terry McLaurin, Brandin Cooks, and Travis Kelce at times this season. Brown may be able to evade him by moving to the slot at times during this game, but even there the Bills are allowing the 7th fewest fantasy points to receivers. This all adds up to a rough day for Brown and fellow Titan receivers.
It has been difficult to predict Sutton this season. He has 2 top 10 fantasy point games and 3 single-digit duds so far. This week he draws a tough assignment against Heyward who has traveled with receivers in the past this season but not in the past 2 weeks. Regardless of if Heyward travels with Sutton, the Raiders have allowed the 5th fewest points to opposing receivers and the 3rd fewest to outside receivers so far this season. This is going to be a tough matchup for both Sutton and Tim Patrick who align on the outside more than 75% of the time. The Broncos have been a tough offense to predict but this should be a down week for Sutton and his fellow receivers.
The matchup against the Chiefs and Tyreek Hill are behind this group and the numbers are still great for the defense. Slay and company are allowing the 4th fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers. Philadelphia has played a zone heavy defense the majority of this season and that should help to slow the high-powered Tampa Bay offense. Tom Brady will still find the open man, but this type of scheme will benefit Antonio Brown more than anyone else. Temper your expectations on Evans this week as he will draw the tough matchup against Slay on the outside.
The Dallas offense has been firing on all cylinders, but the Patriots defense has been stingy against opposing receivers. They may have been aided by the weather, but the New England defense shut down Tom Brady and the high-powered Tampa Bay offense a few weeks ago. Jackson has a good chance to follow either Cooper or CeeDee Lamb this week and has had success doing so this season. Look for Dallas to lean on the run game this week and to temper expectations for both Cooper and Lamb against this solid secondary.
Just when things were getting back on track with Woods in this offense, he is going to run up against Bradberry this week. The Giants’ defense has not been great as a whole, but Bradberry has been one of the best cover corners over the past few years. The Rams do move Woods all over the formation and he will see snaps away from Bradberry, but there are so many options for Matthew Stafford in this offense that Woods may take a back seat again this week. With a poor Giants’ offense, the Rams may get up early and lean on the run game. Woods is not the normal top option this week that he usually is.
Consider last week an anomaly for this secondary. Tampa Bay blew Miami out last week with Antonio Brown and Mike Evans putting up huge games. This Jacksonville offense is nowhere near that of a Tom Brady led group and Jones has been underperforming. There are so many issues in Jacksonville both on and off the field. Avoid this matchup as both Howard and Byron Jones get back on track as 2 of the highest paid corners in the league.
TE Robert Tonyan Jr (GB vs CHI)
It has been a very disappointing season for Tonyan so far in 2021. He is riding the touchdown high 2020 campaign but has just a single game is 14.2 points driving this season. Tonyan was mentioned last week as being potentially droppable and or unstartable in daily fantasy. He has done nothing to change that designation and draws a tough matchup against a solid Chicago defense. Look for tight end points elsewhere this week.
TE Evan Engram (NYG vs LAR)
Evans has not been able to overcome injuries or step up when this team has needed it. Mike Glennon may be under center this week for an injury riddled Giants’ offense and that does not bode well for anyone. The Rams defense has allowed just a single touchdown to opposing tight ends this season and it looks to be a long day for Engram and everyone else in the Giants’ offense.