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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.
WR Laviska Shenault (JAX vs IND) vs Rock Ya-Sin
The Colts have played better on defense but continue to struggle against wide receivers. They are currently allowing the 5th most fantasy points to receivers and have allowed more touchdowns (15) than anyone else. Ya-Sin and Xavier Rhodes have struggled against outside receivers all season and will have a difficult time covering Shenault and Marvin Jones this week. Shenault has scored 3 of his 5 career touchdowns against the Colts and could find the end zone again this week in a plus matchup for this receiver group.
The Washington Football Team has not been good against receivers so far this season. They are currently allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to receivers as well as the 3rd most touchdowns and receptions. The elite pass rush up front has not been able to slow down what is happening behind them. William Jackson III is expected back from injury and that should put Fuller on Godwin on the inside. This is a great matchup for Godwin who has seen an uptick in targets with Antonio Brown injured. Look for Tampa Bay to get back on track after the loss to New Orleans and dominate this matchup this week.
The Steelers have had many opportunities to get their receiver group going this season, but this may be the best matchup they have had yet. The Lions pass defense looks to be middle of the pack on paper, but that is because they have faced the fewest WR routes this season. Teams are finding success with the run, but the Steelers need to get the air game going. Claypool has the best matchup on the outside against Oruwariye and will look to build on his elite rookie season. Cooper Kupp, Deebo Samuel, Davante Adams, and Justin Jefferson all scored 19+ fantasy points against this squad and it will be Claypool’s turn this week.
The entire Chargers’ receiver group can be upgraded in this matchup, but Guyton is worth mentioning this week. He has had big games in the past where he blows the top off the defense for big plays, and this is a great week for that to happen against the struggling Dantzler. The Vikings secondary has not been good despite the off-season additions and Justin Herbert will be one of the best quarterbacks they have faced this season. Look for Guyton to slip his coverage and make at least one big play down the field. Lock Keenan Allen and Mike Williams into lineups this week but view Guyton as a cheap sleeper option that could have a big week.
WR Brandon Aiyuk (SF vs LAR) vs Donte Deayon
It has been the Deebo Samuel show so far this season for San Francisco, but with the return of George Kittle things balanced out last week. Aiyuk found himself with better matchups and saw a season high in targets. This week he will have the best matchup against Deayon with Samuel tangling with Jalen Ramsey. The Rams defense looked vulnerable last week, and the 49ers will look to take advantage this week. Aiyuk is finally participating in the offense and should see his role and numbers increase the rest of the season.
WR Terry McLaurin (WFT vs TB) vs Carlton Davis
The season has not gone as expected in Washington, but McLaurin has played like a WR1 all season. On the flip side, the Buccaneers’ secondary has not played well and has been heavily targeted, especially Davis. Davis has been targeted on 25% of his coverage snaps. Davis is allowing over half a fantasy point per route run against him which ranks in the bottom half of the league. There is a chance Logan Thomas comes back this week and takes away some targets from McLaurin, but the matchup is good enough that he should be fired up in almost every format.
TE Noah Fant (DEN vs PHI)
Fant has officially been activated from the COVID list and will be back in the lineup this week.
He draws a great matchup against the Eagles who just allowed 3 different tight ends from the Chargers to finish top 10 in scoring last week. This is a great matchup for the tight end as Courtland Sutton should draw the tough coverage from Slay on the outside. Look for a solid week from Fant against Philadelphia.
TE Dan Arnold (JAX vs IND)
It has taken a few weeks since the trade, but Arnold has become a big part of this offense. He led the team with 7 targets and 4 catches for 60 yards last week. He has a great matchup against the Colts that rank in the bottom 10 against tight ends and are allowing touchdowns at an alarming rate. The tight end position has been difficult this season, but Arnold is looking like a late addition that could help win matchups.
The Broncos just finished putting a beat down on the Cowboys last week, but very little of that had to do with Sutton. This week he draws the tough assignment against Slay who is projected to follow Sutton the entire game. Jerry Jeudy has come back and is taking targets away as well as Noah Fant coming off the COVID list. The last time these 2 met, Slay held Sutton to 3 catches for 23 yards on 7 targets. This looks to be a tough matchup for Sutton, and he should be avoided if possible.
Landry was supposed to get a huge uptick in targets and opportunity with the departure of Odell Beckham, but that just has not happened in this offense. Landry has made uncharacteristic drops since coming back form injury and has struggled to stay on the field. This week he has a tough matchup against Bryant who has been targeted just around 10% of his coverage snaps. For comparison J.C. Jackson has been targeted 24% of the time on the outside as teams have stayed away from Bryant. The Browns may also be without Nick Chubb this week and it could be a tough game for the offense as a whole.
The Titans have been red hot and Brown has played a big role in that. He has seen nearly 36% of this offensive target share since returning from injury but he will have a tough test against Lattimore. The Saints are struggling on the offensive side of the ball right now, but Lattimore has done a great job shutting down the receivers opposite of him. The one real letdown was a long touchdown to D.K. Metcalf on a play where Lattimore fell down. Brown has a chance to escape Lattimore when he travels to the slot, and that happens a little over 1/3 of the time. Brown is too good to bench in season long but should be played with caution in daily fantasy lineups.
The Jets have really found their passing attack in recent weeks and have played very well with Mike White under center. Crowder has emerged as a centerpiece in this receiving group but runs into a tough matchup with Johnson playing slot corner. Despite the letdown last week against Jacksonville, the Bills have been the best defense in the league and will look to get back on track this week. There may be some garbage time yards for the Jets this week, but Crowder should not be relied on if possible.
It has been a tough season for the Chiefs and Hill so far this year. They have struggled on offense and playing this secondary is not going to help. The Raiders are currently allowing the 3rd fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers as well as the 4th fewest to guys lined up outside. Hill has had a very up and down season with some big games and some duds. A matchup against Hayward has been tough for everyone this year, but Hill lines up all over the formation and should be able to escape him some. Hill should not be benched but expectations should be tempered this week in a tough matchup.
Gallup is expected back from injury this week and will run into a tough matchup with Terrell. The second-year corner has made major strides this season after being picked on most of last year. Dak Prescott did not look good last week against the Broncos and may still be dealing with a calf injury. It is hard to predict what Gallup is going to look like in his return but the matchup this week is one you should avoid. Take a wait-and-see approach with Gallup before inserting him back into your lineups.
TE Jared Cook (LAC vs MIN)
Cook had a solid game last week, but he was the 3rd best tight end on his own team against the Eagles. This week he has a tough matchup against a Vikings defense that has allowed the fewest points to tight ends over the past month. The wide receiver group for the Chargers has a great matchup this week, but Cook should be avoided in a tough matchup against a solid linebacker group.
TE Gerald Everett (SEA vs GB)
Everett should see a boost with Russell Wilson back in the lineup but that may not come this week. Green Bay has been one of the best defenses against the tight end position and there is a lot of competition for targets in this offense. Travis Kelce had a bounce-back game against this unit, but he is one of the best tight ends in the league. Look for help elsewhere and avoid Everett this week.