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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.
The rookie Moore has taken the league by surprise over the past few weeks and is in line for another big game this week against Houston. The Texans are currently allowing the most fantasy points to outside receivers and the 3rd most over the past 2 months. Both Moore and Corey Davis have a great matchup this week as the Jets look to build this offense with Joe Flacco under center. Look for Moore to be targeted early and often this week against a struggling Houston secondary.
The Vikings have been downright bad against wide receivers so far this season. They have allowed the most points to opposing receivers over the past month and Breeland has not played well at all. The 49ers have also committed to playing Samuel all over the offense and makes it tough for any one player to cover him all of the time. He is deployed in the back field, inside, outside, and all over the place. The Vikings struggled to stop anyone when they knew where they would be and will have an especially hard time against Samuel. Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle can all be upgraded this week against a very poor Vikings secondary.
The Buccaneers finally started deploying Johnson on the outside to go along with all of their other weapons. Indianapolis has struggled greatly against opposing receivers. Antonio Brown has not been activated to this point and that will bring extra snaps for Johnson. The Colts have allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing receivers as well as the 5th most to outside receivers. Look for Johnson to take advantage of the matchup with Ya-Sin with Mike Evans tangling with Xavier Rhodes on the other side. Chris Godwin draws the short straw this week with the Colts ranking 10th against slot receivers. Look for Tom Brady to push the ball outside and for Johnson to take advantage.
The Bengals have started to work Boyd back into the offense in an effort to be more balanced. His 6 receptions last week were his 3rd most of the season and he looked to be in sync with Joe Burrow. This week he should see a lot of Norwood who was just taken advantage of by Keenan Allen last week. The slot has been a big area of weakness for the Steelers secondary and that should play to the strength of Boyd and this offense. When they met earlier this season, Boyd had 4 catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. Look for similar numbers this week.
WR Robby Anderson (CAR vs MIA) vs Byron Jones
It has been an instant upgrade for Anderson with Cam Newton back in town. He had been a mere after thought with Sam Darnold and others under center, but that has quickly turned around. The Dolphins have also struggled at the corner position this season despite paying more money to the position than anyone else in the league. The rapport between Anderson and Newton seems to have never left and he is even being targeted in the red zone. Look for the numbers to get better each week with Newton at the helm and for the disparity between D.J. Moore and Anderson to keep closing.
WR Brandin Cooks (HOU vs NYJ) vs Michael Carter
It was a nice ride for Jets corners to start the season, but almost any positive play has evaporated over the past month. The lost starter Brandon Echols last week to injury and will have an undrafted rookie and a 5th round pick from last season rounding out their starters. Cooks is the best option in this offense and should see the biggest jump after being held in check last week against the Titans. Nico Collins can also be upgraded against this inexperienced group of corners. The Texans are playing better football right now and have a great matchup for their receivers to try and take another win on the season.
TE Rob Gronkowski (TB vs IND)
Even with all of the weapons in Tampa Bay, Tom Brady still loves to throw to his big tight end. Gronkowski has missed a chunk of the season due to injury but that does not change that he has 4 touchdowns across his past 5 games. He is also walking into a matchup with a Colts defense that has allowed the 2nd most receiving yards to opposing tight ends. This is a great spot for Gronkowski as Antonio Brown may still not be back from injury, Chris Godwin has a tough matchup in the slot, and the Colts are soft against the tight end. Look for solid numbers from Gronkowski this week and a potential top 5 tight end finish in week 12.
TE Pat Freiermuth (PIT vs CIN)
It was tough to watch Eric Ebron get a touchdown over Freiermuth last week, but he made up for it later in the game. The rookie tight end has 4 touchdowns in his past 4 games and continues to be one of the more reliable targets in this offense. The Bengals have allowed the most touchdowns to opposing tight ends over the past month and that is a great recipe for a big game from the rookie. Fire him up this week in what is a great spot for another touchdown.
The Saints have been terrible against receivers so far this season. They have allowed the 9th most fantasy points and the 5th most yards overall. However, that has more to do with the rest of the defense as Lattimore has been asked to follow some of the top receivers in the league with solid results. Diggs has played well in recent weeks and has started to find the end zone again, but he will have the toughest test of any receiver this week. Josh Allen should have no problem finding Emmanuel Sanders or Cole Beasley this week Temper your expectations for Diggs on Thanksgiving as Lattimore has been one of the better cover corners this season.
We have not seen the same elite lock down numbers from Bradberry this season, but he has played well enough to still slow Smith and this Eagles passing attack. While he struggled against Terry McLaurin and Calvin Ridley this season, the Giants have allowed the 6th fewest fantasy points to outside receivers so far this year. There are a lot of other things that have gone wrong for this Giants team this year, but the play of Bradberry is not one of them. Smith can still be trusted in season long lineups, but he should be avoided in daily fantasy in what is a tougher than usual matchup.
Corners seem to grow on trees in New England as Jackson has emerged as a top option this season. Brown left the Titans loss last week due to injury and could be hampered again this week. He is the only real option in this offense right now with injuries to Derrick Henry and Julio Jones. Brown does travel to the slot on occasion and could escape coverage from Jackson there but expectations for Brown and this offense should be lowered this week.
WR Jerry Jeudy (DEN vs LAC) vs Chris Harris
It is a revenge game of sorts for Harris as he will play his former squad in the Broncos. Jeudy has come back from injury and played well. He has 6 catches in each of his last 2 games and he has cut into the target share of Courtland Sutton. However, he should draw the tougher coverage from Harris this week and there will be other options open on the field. Noah Fant walks into the best matchup and could see a high volume of targets this week. The Broncos have struggled since their 3-0 start and those struggles will likely carry over to Jeudy in this tough matchup.
It has not been the season most expected in Cleveland. Odell Beckham forced his way out, Baker Mayfield is playing injured, and Landry has struggled to get involved in the offense. Add in a tough matchup with the Ravens defense and coverage from Young and it will be a long game for Landry. There is no doubt that Landry should be the top option in this offense right now behind Nick Chubb and the running game, but the chemistry isn’t there, the play calling isn’t there, and the struggles at quarterback and with injuries have made this a tough season in Cleveland.
Normally this would be a spot where we talked about Slay following Golladay or the top receiving option for the Giants, but no one has stepped into hat role and there does not look to be a spot where he would follow anyone this week. Golladay is the top receiver by default or because of his large contract and certainly not because of his play so far this year. Kadarius Toney was on the injury report this week and the Giants fired their offensive coordinator. The Eagles have played well against receivers all season despite the brief let up in garbage time to the Saints last week. Look for another rough outing for Daniel Jones and Golladay.
TE Tyler Higbee (LAR vs GB)
It has been a tough year for Higbee on the stat sheet. The Rams offense has been great, but that has more to do with all of the elite talent around him. Higbee did find the end zone against the 49ers, but he also caused a bad interception shortly after. The matchup against Green Bay is not great either as they allow the 5th fewest points to opposing tight ends. This game will be a duel between Aaron Rogers and Matthew Stafford, and Higbee is not going to play a very big role.
TE Jared Cook (LAC vs DEN)
With Mike Williams getting back into the mix, Cook is going to have a hard time standing out. Justin Herbert has been great at spreading the ball around and that includes to the other tight ends on the team. Cook has lost red zone targets and has not seen the field as much this season. He has less than 50 yards receiving in 8 out of 10 games and has a tough matchup against a good Broncos defense. Denver has not allowed a top 10 tight end this season and that streak should continue again this week.