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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.
It should go without saying that the league’s leading receiver is a must-start in all formats, but his matchup this week makes him worth the price tag in daily contests. The Titans may be getting Kristian Fulton back this week, but they have struggled against the slot. Molden has taken over slot duties this season, and the Titans have allowed the most fantasy points to the position over the course of the season as well as over the past month. Kupp has had no issues this season with Matthew Stafford under center, but this is quickly turning into his best matchup of the season
WR Russell Gage (ATL vs NO) vs Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
With Calvin Ridley taking time away from football, the offense is going to go through Gage in Atlanta. He stepped up in his last game against Miami with 4 catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. He has always been known for the big play over the top, but he should see his target share increase with the departure of Ridley. He also has a great matchup this week against a Saints team that was torched by Chris Godwin last week. It is unlikely Marshon Lattimore would be put on Gage this week and that should make him the most appealing option this week.
What was supposed to be the biggest strength of the Miami defense has quickly turned into their biggest weakness. This secondary has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers as well as the most to outside receivers. Cooks survived the Houston trade deadline sell-off and is still the focal point of this offense. There is a chance Tyrod Taylor is back at quarterback this week and that would also give Cooks a bump. Continue to pick on the Miami secondary until they start to turn things around.
The elite defense on paper that Minnesota was supposed to be has quickly fallen apart. Patrick Peterson is on the IR, Danielle Hunter was lost for the season last week, Bashaud Breeland has struggled, and things just continue to fall apart. Bateman has come in after his injury and played well opposite Marquise Brown. He is seeing a large target share and has the talent to run any route. Look for another solid week as he works himself into this Baltimore offense and has a solid matchup against a struggling Minnesota defense.
WR DeVante Parker (MIA vs HOU) vs Vernon Hargreaves
It has been a tough season for Houston corners this year. Desmond King was benched last week for disciplinary reasons and Hargreaves was inserted back into the starting lineup. Houston has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to outside receivers while allowing the 6th fewest to the slot. Parker lines up nearly 86% of the time outside and should see a healthy dose of Hargreaves. This offense has not been clicking this season, but this is one of the best matchups Parker is going to have all season.
Things continue to fall apart in New York right now. They have been without their big free agent receiver in Kenny Golladay, they have a COVID outbreak that will sideline Saquon Barkley, and the defense has struggled all season. Enter Tony who has also had his ups and downs with penalties and injuries, but he has a great matchup this week against the Raiders. Facyson has struggled in coverage this season and has been heavily targeted across from Casey Hayward. He has allowed the most fantasy points in this secondary and will have a tough test with the talented Toney lined up against him. The Giants will have to throw the ball to someone this week and Toney should see the biggest bump of anyone.
TE Mike Gesicki (MIA vs HOU)
Gesicki continues to play more like a receiver than a tight end right now. HE has been one of the most consistent weapons in this offense and is making plays all over the field. Jaylen Waddle has a tough matchup in the slot and DeVante Parker has dealt with injuries recently. Look for Gesicki to have 6-8 targets this week and do some serious damage against this Houston defense.
TE Dallas Goedert (PHI vs LAC)
Goedert is finally the main guy in Philadelphia with Zach Ertz in Arizona. He caught 6 passes for 72 yards last week and has a great matchup against the Chargers this week. Los Angeles has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Their defense has been great against opposing receivers, but tight ends have run all over the field. Look for Goedert to be targeted early and often this week in a prime matchup against the Chargers.
The Eagles have played extremely well against receivers this season. They have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points and Slay has often traveled with the top outside receivers for the opposition. Justin Herbert and Williams have connected often this season, but he draws a tough matchup this week against Slay. Keenan Allen will handle the slot duties and Slay does not travel to the slot. Look for Williams to be tangled with Slay outside all game. Williams has been too good to outright bench, but we should temper expectations this week with a tough matchup.
WR Marvin Jones (JAX vs BUF) vs TreDavious White
The Bills have been a tough matchup for all receiver units so far this season. They are the only defense that has allowed fewer points than a team’s average to receivers this season. The highest scoring receiver so far was Mecole Hardman with 16.6 points. They have allowed the fewest points overall as well as the second-fewest to outside receivers. White has often shadowed the top target for the opposition and should draw Jones this week. It is a tough spot for any Jaguar receiver this week and they should all be avoided if possible.
WR D.J. Moore (CAR vs NE) vs J.C. Jackson
The Patriots’ defense has been much better than most give them credit for this season. Jackson has been tasked with following the top outside receiver often this year and has held the majority to under 15 points. Jackson has been heavily targeted this season (23% of his coverage snaps) but has performed very well. Robby Anderson has done nothing to instill confidence on the other side and the offense will continue to run through Moore. Moore can be downgraded this week with a tougher than usual matchup against Jackson and the Patriots.
While Ramsey is listed as a slot corner, the Rams like to use him all over the field. He typically aligns opposite the top option and has played at an elite level this season. Julio Jones has been a shell of himself, Derrick Henry is out for the season, and the only guy left is Brown. Look for Ramsey to work against Brown a lot this week as the Rams look to limit the top option for the Titans. Brown should still be in season-long lineups but should be avoided in daily fantasy with a tough matchup this week.
It is a revenge game for Gilmore as he takes on his old team in the Patriots. After making the Super Bowl saving play one year, he was benched in another and the exit from New England was messy. Gilmore had an interception in his first game back from injury and played well for the Panthers. He should line up opposite Agholor for the majority of the game this week and will look to make a statement. The passing game has not been very good for New England so far this season and a tough matchup should keep Agholor off the radar this week.
After being the only weapon in the offense last season, Boyd has taken a back seat to JaMarr Chase and Tee Higgins this season. He had a better game last week but has not been seeing the targets he saw a year ago. Boyd also draws the tough slot matchup against Hill this week. Cleveland may have a lot of drama going on right now, but Hill has been one of the best slot corners in the league this year. He has had 168 routes run against him and only been targeted 11% of the time. Look for another down week from Boyd in the Ohio rivalry game this week.
TE Tyler Higbee (LAR vs TEN)
The Rams’ offense has been dynamic all season, but it has not benefitted Higbee. He runs short routes and there is too much competition to warrant a large target share. Cooper Kupp has been the go-to receiver with Robert Woods and Van Jefferson splitting the majority of the rest of the targets. Higbee has found the end zone just twice this season and has a tough matchup against Tennessee. A breakout game is likely to come with this high-powered offense, but do not look for it this week against the Titans.
TE Zach Ertz (ARZ vs SF)
Ertz has played well since coming over to the Cardinals. He had scored in each of his first 2 games before struggling against the Packers last Thursday. There is no competition at the tight end position for targets, but Kyler Murray likes to force the ball down the field to DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk more than standing in the pocket and looking for Ertz. This week he takes on a San Francisco defense that ranks 10th against tight ends and will be a tough matchup. Ertz plays in a great offense and will have better days, but the matchup this week will be a tough one.