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 may seem like a no-brainer to start Hopkins every week, but there is some added incentive this week against his former team. Hopkins may not be targeted as heavily this season (6 targets in 2021 compared to 9.9 targets in 2020) but he has a great matchup against Hargreaves on the outside. Hargreaves has been benched once this season already and is giving up the most fantasy points to left outside receivers. This week has revenged game written all over it as Hopkins wants to show Houston what they gave up on. Game script may play a role this week as Arizona may be up early, but Hopkins should have more than enough opportunity against one of the worst secondaries in the league.
The Washington defense has simply not looked good so far this season. The secondary looked like it would be a strength coming into the season, but it is currently allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers. A lot of this has to do with volume and that is only going to be made worse with Aaron Rodgers coming to town. Adams is a must-start every week but this week he is going to be worth the heavy price tag in daily fantasy. This secondary has been targeted early and often this year and that should continue this week against Green Bay. Consider a Rodgers and Adams stack this week as the Packers offense should have no problem with this Washington secondary.
The Atlanta Falcons have been a mess this year. The secondary has not shown improvement outside of A.J Terrell and teams are taking advantage. Waddle has become a major weapon for the Dolphins and is lining up all over the formation. Despite the quarterback issues and all of the trade rumors, Miami has a great matchup this week and should get things back on track. DeVante Parker has been dealing with injuries and Waddle has become the go-to receiver in this offense. Look for another productive week for Waddle in this great matchup.
Something has been off in Kansas City. Whether it has been drops or deflected interceptions there has not been anyone immune to it. Hill has been the definition of boom or bust this season with 3 top 10 WR weeks and 2 outside of the top 45. This week he has a great matchup against an injury-riddled Titans’ secondary. Molden is slated to handle slot duties after injuries to Kristian Fulton and Caleb Farley. This is a great week for a boom game from Hill and the rest of the Chiefs’ wide receiver group. Fire up Hill without worry this week with a chance at a top 10 WR finish against this secondary.
The Miami secondary has not been as fierce as it has in the past this season. Both Byron Jones and Howard have been dealing with injuries and this has allowed more big plays. Ridley is the main weapon for this Atlanta offense and is going to see his target share increase the rest of the way. Kyle Pitts is starting to draw more coverage on the inside and this is going to open things up for Ridley on the outside. Look for the connection with Matt Ryan to pick up and for Ridley to have one of his more productive games of the season this week.
The Saints are coming off a Bye week and Seattle is reeling due to injuries all over the field. Callaway has been viewed as a bust so far this season, but he has a great matchup to turn things around this week against Reed on the outside. Jameis Winston has played surprisingly well and has been pushing the ball down the field. Callaway should come cheap this week and should continue to see a healthy target share until Michael Thomas returns from injury. If you are struggling with Byes this week, fire up Callaway with one of his best matchups of the season on tap.
TE Dallas Goedert (PHI vs LV)
Goedert was just reinstated from the COVID list and is projected to start this week. We will finally get to see how he functions as the TE1 on this team and not losing snaps to Zach Ertz. The Raiders have allowed 4 touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers so far this season. So, with a bigger target share and a favorable matchup, Goedert is a must-start this week.
TE Mike Gesicki (MIA vs ATL)
Things seem to have finally turned around for Gesicki in the Miami offense. He has no less than 6 targets and as many as 12 in the past 5 games. Atlanta has struggled in the secondary and Miami is dealing with injuries at the receiver position. Look for Gesicki to continue his massive target share in this offense as one of the few people Tua Tagovailoa seems to trust.
Bradberry was able to shake off the bad start against Terry McLaurin earlier this season and has been playing much better. He is projected to follow Moore across the field this week and will make for a long day. The 3-0 start for the Panthers seems like a long time ago at this point and the offense is starting to struggle with Sam Darnold under center. They have not been able to get the running game going and Moore has been the only major weapon. With a tough matchup against Bradberry this week we should temper expectations for Moore.
There are a lot of things going wrong in Seattle right now, and Metcalf has not looked like himself this season. He is working with Geno Smith at quarterback right now and has spent more time beefing on social media than preparing for his weekly games. Lattimore is a top cover corner and held Davante Adams to 2 catches for 37 yards on 5 targets in week 1. Metcalf is too good of a player to outright bench, but he is someone to avoid in daily fantasy this week.
Johnson has been one of the few bright spots for this Chicago defense. He has played 87% of his snaps as the right outside corner and the Bears are currently allowing the fewest fantasy points to receivers lined up there. Johnson had a solid showing against Davante Adams in week 3 where he allowed just 5 targets on 23 routes run. The Tampa Bay offense has so many targets and Rob Gronkowski is expected back this week. Look for a dip in targets for Evans as he will draw the tough coverage from Johnson this week.
Meyers is becoming one of the top targets in the New England offense. His sure hands and route-running ability have separated him from the rest of the group. Unfortunately, this week he is taking on a Jets secondary that has played well so far this season. Hall has taken positive steps this season after being picked on all of last year. Mac Jones continues to look like a rookie and is still making mistakes all over the field. Meyers has been a nice breakout sleeper, but he is going to have a tougher test than usual with this New York secondary.
It has been a tough couple of weeks for the Philadelphia offense and Smith. Jalen Hurts has not developed as many hoped and the passing game has suffered because of it. Smith was brought in to lead this group of receivers and has had a hard time getting open. This week he will draw coverage from Hayward who has been particularly stingy to opposing receivers. Zach Ertz has been traded and Dallas Goedert is back from the COVID list. Smith had his chance to step up and fill the targets void earlier this season and was not able to do so. Look for another down week for Smith and fellow Eagles’ receivers.
TE Evan Engram (NYG vs CAR)
Engram continues to disappoint in this New York offense. There have been several injuries all over the field that should have led to increased targets, but he has yet to score more than 9.5 fantasy points in any of his 4 games this season. He also has a tough matchup against a Carolina defense that has not allowed more than 10.1 fantasy points to any tight end so far in 2021. Engram should be avoided again this week as the Giants have yet to figure out their offense.
TE Jonnu Smith (NE vs NYJ)
Things continue to shift in the New England offense with Hunter Henry emerging as the TE1. Smith has just 4 combined targets in his past 2 games while watching Henry score a touchdown in the past 3 contests. Smith has seen a pass thrown on just 45% of his snaps so far this season and should be kept on the sidelines unless truly desperate.