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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 A.J. Green (ARZ vs DET) vs Ifeatu Melifonwn
The Cardinals took a major blow by losing DeAndre Hopkins for the rest of the regular season this week. Green was going to be a beneficiary of additional targets, but he also gets a great matchup against a struggling Detroit secondary. Detroit falls in the middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to receivers, but that has more to do with game script and teams not throwing as much when leading. Detroit is dealing with injuries and a lack of talent in the secondary and that leads to a major mismatch this week with Arizona. Upgrade all Arizona receivers this week in what should be a great matchup.
WR Allen Robinson (CHI vs MIN) vs Bashaud Breeland
It has been a tough season for the Minnesota secondary. They have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season and things are not going to get any easier down the stretch. Breeland is slated to cover Robinson who has had a down season and dealt with injury over recent weeks. However, Robinson had 6 targets last week and seems to be back in favor with Justin Fields and the Chicago offense. Darnell Mooney has played well on the opposite side and Chicago showed an affinity for the big play last week against Green Bay. Look for Robinson as a cheap option with a high ceiling against a divisional foe he has torched in the past.
The Atlanta secondary has not been good outside of A.J. Terrell and it shows when you consider they have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers as well as the second-most to outside receivers. After a rocky start to the season, Aiyuk has found his place in the offense again and is a goal-line weapon to go along with George Kittle. Terrell is set to tangle with Deebo Samuel and may move all over the formation and that leaves Aiyuk on the outside against a heavily targeted Fabian. Look for the 49ers to spread the ball around this week in what is a plus matchup for any receiver not lined up against Terrell.
WR Marvin Jones (JAX vs HOU) vs Desmond King
There is a lot on the line in this matchup this week with the potential #1 overall pick at play. The Jaguars fired Urban Meyer Thursday morning and the team could look totally different on the field this weekend. Jones is one of the best offensive weapons on the team and has one of the best matchups against King. Look for Jacksonville to lean into their weapons this week and rally as a team after their toxic head coach was fired. Jones could easily see 6-8 targets this week and have one of his most productive games of the season. Look for Jacksonville to be an entirely different team on the field this week.
WR Stefon Diggs (BUF vs CAR) vs C.J. Henderson
The recent struggles for the Buffalo offense could end this week in a great matchup against the Carolina defense. Diggs has the best matchup on the field against a struggling Henderson that is allowing 0.57 fantasy points per route run against him. This is especially high considering he is only targeted on about 21% of those routes. Diggs is the easy name to trust on this team, but he has not produced anywhere near what he did last season. Look for that to change this week in one of the best WR/CB matchups of the week.
WR CeeDee Lamb (DAL vs NYG) vs Jarran Williams
Williams has been thrust into starting role and it has not gone well yet. He has only had 34 routes run against him so far this year and he is allowing an astounding 0.84 fantasy points per route right now. It is a small sample, but it is tough to ignore in a defense that has played well otherwise. Lamb has been the most targeted Cowboys’ receiver this year and was already a lock in lineups of any format. Lamb’s matchup is so good this week that he could be the highest-scoring receiver with the Cowboys leaning into the pass with their stable of running backs banged up. Consider Lamb one of the top plays this week in what should be a prime matchup.
TE Zach Ertz (ARZ vs DET)
All pass catchers against the Lions have to be upgraded as the defense has not played well at all. The Cardinals are playing for a potential #1 seed and the Lions have already gotten their big win against the Vikings a few weeks ago. Ertz has shown TE1 ability this season and was heavily targeted by Kyler Murray last week. The Lions have allowed the most points to tight ends over the past month and with injuries to DeAndre Hopkins and James Conner, Ertz could see even more targets this week.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones (WFT vs PHI)
The Eagles have allowed the most points to tight ends over the entire season and we are starting any tight end against them the rest of the season. Washington is without Logan Thomas and Seals-Jones is the vacuum that will get those targets going forward. Chase the points this week with Seals-Jones being a cheaper tight end option in a great matchup against Philadelphia.
This is a matchup we have seen twice a year since 2017 and Lattimore has had the upper hand in most of them. Evans has sprinkled in a few big games, but for the most part, it has been Lattimore coming out victorious. When these teams met back in week 8, Evans posted a 2 catch for 48 yards and a touchdown line. Lattimore was great outside of the touchdown catch and covered Evans on 30 of 41 routes run. Look for this matchup to continue and for Lattimore to be locked in on Evans all over the field. Evans is too good to bench in season-long leagues, but he can be avoided in daily fantasy this week in a tough matchup.
WR Michael Pittman (IND vs NE) vs J.C. Jackson
Pittman has been a nice surprise this season for Indianapolis, but he is about to walk into the buzz saw that has been Jackson this season. New England is allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers and Jackson has limited almost every receiver he has followed this season. Even if the Colts try and move Pittman to the slot, Jackson has followed in key situations this season. The entire Colts receiving group can be downgraded this week due to the tough matchup with the New England secondary.
Diggs may have the most interceptions this season, but he has also allowed a handful of big plays by trying to play the ball and not the receiver. That was not the case against Golladay earlier this season. With Diggs in coverage, Golladay failed to catch any of his 3 targets in week 5. Throw in the rash of injuries at quarterback the funk this offense has been in and it is not projecting to be a very effective game for Golladay. The Giants do not have many fantasy assets right now (even Saquon Barkley) and they should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
Slay has followed McLaurin in the past and is projected to do so again this week. McLaurin has not found success with Slay in coverage and sees most of his production due to volume of targets rather than sustained success. McLaurin has lines for 5 catches for 61 yards and 7 catches for 41 yards in their meetings last season. Look for Philadelphia to try and limit the best offensive weapon for Washington by using their best defensive weapon in Slay. McLaurin is still going to get his targets and catches this week, but expectations should be tempered on his overall line.
Things are a mess in Cleveland right now and there is a chance that Landry does not even play this week against the Raiders due to COVID. He is vaccinated and would only require 2 negative tests 24 hours apart, but with the game on Saturday, the window is quickly closing. Even if Landry suits up, he would have a tough matchup against Hobbs in the slot. Hobbs has only been targeted in 12% of coverage snaps and is allowing just .16 fantasy points per route run. Landry could also be without quarterback Baker Mayfield who also tested positive for COVID this week. It is an easy choice to avoid Landry even if he is active this week.
Davante Adams was in this exact spot last week due to the matchup with Johnson. The final line of that game made it seem like a bad choice, but Johnson played extremely well in the first half and limited Adams to a single catch. The wheels fell off in the 2nd half and Adams exploded for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Jefferson has a similar skill set, but he has Kirk Cousins throwing to him instead of Aaron Rodgers. There is no benching Jefferson, but he may not be worth paying for in daily fantasy this week with Johnson expected to follow him around the field.
TE Kyle Pitts (ATL vs SF)
It may be hard to bench Pitts in a season-long league, but the Atlanta offense has been so inconsistent that he cannot be trusted right now. Throw in that San Francisco has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends over the past month and this is an easy matchup to avoid. Pitts is going to get his time and will be a TE1 option for most of his career, but this is not the week to count on him with the fantasy playoffs on the line.
TE Gerald Everett (SEA vs LAR)
The Rams defense looks to be back on track after a stellar performance against Arizona. Seattle has been all over the place on offense and has struggled to find any consistency. The Rams have allowed the sixth-fewest points to tight ends over the past month and Everett has not been a big part of the Seattle offense. He may be appealing because he is cheap this week, but that cheapness is for good reason. Avoid Everett if possible.