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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.
Chicago boasted about a revamped secondary coming into this season but have struggled to the tune of allowing the 5th most fantasy points to opposing receivers. Johnson has been the best of the bunch but is still allowing big plays all over the field. Brown lines up all over the formation and should see Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor as well this week. The entire Ravens’ passing game can be upgraded this week, but Brown has the best chance at doing real damage on the outside. Look for a bounce-back game for Baltimore this week and for Brown to see a heavy workload.
WR Jaylen Waddle (MIA vs NYJ) vs Michael Carter
After a much better than expected start, the Jets secondary has fallen apart in recent weeks. They have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers over the past month. Carter is a 5th round rookie that has been thrust into action due to injuries and he has struggled to the tune of allowing the 12th most points to opposing slot receivers. Waddle should see the biggest jump this week facing off against Carter, but the rest of the unit can be upgraded as well. Tua Tagovailoa is back this week and should have one of his most productive games as a passer against this secondary. Look for Waddle to be involved early and often this week.
The wheels continue to fall off in Pittsburgh. After a tie against the Lions last week, they will have to face the high-flying Chargers’ offense. Justin Herbert and Allen have been locked in over the past month with much of the coverage attention shifting to Mike Williams on the outside. Allen has been left to run free and is seeing a high target share right now. Norwood has struggled in limited action and will be targeted heavily this week. Look for another big game from Herbert and Allen this week.
There are a lot of questions about what is going to happen with the Arizona offense this week. It is worth monitoring whether DeAndre Hopkins or Kyler Murray are going to be active this week. Kirk has been one of the biggest beneficiaries to both being out over the past few weeks and he has a great matchup against a struggling Seattle secondary no matter who is under center. Amadi has struggled against smaller and faster receivers this season and is allowing .28 fantasy points per route run against him. Monitor the injury report in Arizona and fire Kirk up as a top option if Hopkins cannot go this week.
WR Robby Anderson (CAR vs WFT) vs William Jackson III
It has been a tough season for both Anderson and the Washington secondary. Anderson saw a huge drop-off with Sam Darnold and other quarterbacks under center but saw an instant upgrade with Cam Newton back in town. He has the benefit of playing against Jackson this week who has allowed nearly half a fantasy point per route run against him this season. With Chase Young lost for the season this unit is going to have a tough time getting pressure on the quarterback. Look for a solid performance from a suddenly healthy Carolina team and for Anderson to get back on track the rest of the season.
WR James Washington (PIT vs LAC) vs Chris Harris
It has been tough to trust the Steelers offense in any form other than Najee Harris, but the matchup for Washington this week is too good to pass up. Harris started the season playing well but is currently allowing the most fantasy points per route run in the league (.54 per route) amongst qualified starters. Look for a solid start from Washington this week, especially if Chase Claypool is unable to go again due to injury.
TE Pat Freiermuth (PIT vs LAC)
It was not a pretty game against the Lions last week, but we can expect different results this week against the Chargers. Freiermuth has become a big part of this offense and will be taking on a defense that ranks 28th against the tight end position. The Chargers just allowed 2 touchdowns to Tyler Conklin last week and will have their hands full with Freiermuth this week. Look for a solid return from a guy who has been on the waiver wire most of the season.
TE Tyler Conklin (MIN vs GB)
As mentioned above, Conklin had 2 touchdowns against the Chargers last week. This week he has another great matchup against a Green Bay defense that ranks 21st against tight ends. It will be a tough matchup for receivers on the outside and that will open things up for Conklin across the middle. The rapport with Kirk Cousins has been building and Conklin is looking at another solid performance this week.
There is a lot of history here with Bradberry playing in Carolina before heading to New York. He has always had success against Evans and this week should be no different. After a slow start, Bradberry and the outside corners for the Giants have played very well. They are currently allowing the 4th fewest points to opposing receivers and Bradberry is likely to follow Evans. Tampa Bay will look to get back on track this week, but it will likely funnel through different offensive weapons than Evans.
WR Michael Pittman (IND vs BUF) vs TreDavious White
The entire Bills secondary has been elite this season. They allowed a season-high 194 yards to opposing receivers last week with the majority coming during garbage time. White has been known to follow the top opposing receiver and right now that is Pittman. T.Y. Hilton is back from injury but has not played well and Zach Pascal is hit or miss each week. Look for White to look up with Pittman and make for a long day for all of these receivers.
The Vikings and Jefferson looked to be back on track last week but will run into a buzz saw of a Green Bay defense. The entire unit is playing really well right now and has allowed the 3rd fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers over the past month. This is especially surprising considering Jaire Alexander has been out with injury. Jefferson is a lock for any lineup, but the expectations should be tempered this week.
There are a lot of things working against Boyd this week. The emergence of JaMarr Chase, the newfound connection with Tee Higgins, and a commitment to running the ball have all brought a reduction in targets for Boyd. He was the last man standing last year and saw huge jumps but this year he has become a distant third on this team. He also walks into a tough matchup against Hobbs who has played well against opposing slot receivers. The Raiders are vulnerable on the outside, as we saw against Kansas City last week, and Boyd lines up primarily inside. Look for other options this week if available.
It has largely been the Samuel show in San Francisco so far this year, but he draws the tough assignment against Griffin who could follow him all game. George Kittle has returned and is starting to soak up targets again, Brandon Aiyuk is getting into the action again, and the matchup against Griffin is a tough one. Samuel will still lead this team as a receiver this week, but we should lower expectations with the tough matchup and evolving offense going forward.
New England is coming off a game where they absolutely dominated the Browns in almost every aspect of the game. The offense is starting to click, and the defense is looking like the Championship squad it was in years past. Bryant has done a great job against whoever he liens up against and Matt Ryan has struggled with Julio Jones gone and Calvin Ridley stepping away from the game. This offense goes through Kyle Pitts right now and Gage has done nothing to instill confidence, even with increased opportunity. A breakout game is likely to come for Gage at some point, but it will not be this week against the Patriots.
TE Jared Cook (LAC vs PIT)
The tight end room for the Chargers is getting crowded. Donald Parham has been taking away red zone opportunities and has outscored Cook over the past few weeks. The Steelers are not highly rated against tight ends, but there is too much competition for Cook in this offense right now and he should be avoided if possible.
TE Zach Ertz (ARZ vs SEA)
It has been a great trade for Ertz overall, but his numbers have not backed it up. He is seeing a better rate of targets than his time in Philadelphia, but he has not scored a touchdown over the past 3 weeks, he may be without starting quarterback Kyler Murray again this week, and Seattle has been solid against tight ends so far this year. Ertz is worth a roster spot but should be avoided until everyone is back healthy, and this offense is clicking again.