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 Ja'Marr Chase (CIN vs BAL) vs Chris Westry
There has been a bit of a second-half slump for Chase this season but that could all quickly change with a matchup against Baltimore this week. Chase torched this Ravens’ defense for 201 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets back in week 7 and that was with Marlon Humphrey in coverage. The Ravens are struggling with COVID right now and are missing players all over the field. Look for Joe Burrow and the entire receiving group for the Bengals to see a major bump this week in a key matchup for the division title.
Detroit has seen a huge surge out of St. Brown over the past 3 weeks and he has quickly become Jared Goff’s new favorite target. He has seen a huge jump in targets with T.J. Hockenson on the IR and he has a great matchup against an Atlanta defense giving up the 4th most fantasy points to opposing receivers. The best cover man for Atlanta is A.J. Terrell, but he rarely travels to the slot where St. Brown lines up the majority of the time. Look for the hot streak to continue for St. Brown again this week.
WR Cooper Kupp (LAR vs MIN) vs Mackenzie Alexander
It may not seem necessary to list Kupp with the season he is having as he is a no-brainer to start. However, he may be worth the high price tag in daily fantasy this week with his matchup against the Vikings. Minnesota has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season as well as over the past 8 weeks. They recently cut Bashaud Breeland and only Patrick Peterson has seen any success on the field. The entire group can be upgraded for the Rams, but Kupp has the best matchup by far and is chasing the receiving yards record with Matthew Stafford. Look for a big game out of Kupp again this week against the worst secondary in the league.
Lockett missed a great matchup last week due to COVID but is expected to be back this week against Chicago. The only viable piece in the Chicago secondary is Jaylon Johnson and he is going to see a lot of DK Metcalf on the outside. Look for Lockett to excel this week against a corner that is targeted on over 20% of routes run against him and is giving up .41 fantasy points per route. Lockett is in a great spot this week against Chicago.
Things have not been going right in Denver and they are currently projected to have Drew Lock back under center this week. That is going to serve a major blow to Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, but Patrick has a great matchup against Facyson on the right side. He is currently being targeted on 27% of routes run against him and is allowing .4 fantasy points per route. The other matchups are much more difficult, and Lock is going to have to throw the ball to someone. Look for Patrick to emerge again this week and continue to cement himself in the Broncos’ plans for the future.
Brown has been activated and is designated to return this week against the 49ers. It would be a much-needed bump for an offense that has struggled over the past few weeks. Brown will immediately walk into a great situation against Thomas. Thomas has been pressed into action due to injuries and is currently being targeted on 29% of coverage snaps and is allowing .89 fantasy points per route run. This is the easiest target on the 49ers defense and is something Ryan Tannehill is going to target early and often.
TE Zach Ertz (ARZ vs IND)
It was not a good week for Arizona against the Lions, but Ertz managed to still produce a respectable line. On the flip side, the Colts allowed Hunter Henry to be a top 10 tight end last week despite the poor performance overall by the Patriots. They are currently allowing the 3rd most fantasy points to the position and Ertz is in a great spot to be a top performer this week.
TE Kyle Pitts (ATL vs DET)
Detroit is playing well right now and coming off a big win against the Cardinals. One of the few places they struggled was against tight ends last week. This puts Pitts in a great spot as one of the few offensive weapons for Atlanta. He has started to fill the role vacated by Julio Jones in previous years and suffers from a lack of touchdowns. However, Matt Ryan has to throw to someone, and Pitts could easily see 6-8 targets this week.
The Patriots are a tough matchup for all opposing receivers. They are currently allowing the 2nd fewest fantasy points to the position and saw success against Buffalo in week 13. Look for Jackson to stick to Diggs for the majority of the game after limiting him to 4 catches for 51 yards when they met before. Diggs has been followed by top corners over the past few weeks and has had limited success. This is going to be a key matchup in the game for a Buffalo team fighting to get into the playoffs.
It is a tough situation in Carolina right now. Cam Newton has not gotten the job done under center and Sam Darnold is set to return this week in a limited capacity. This team is not sure who is going to lead them, and Moore has suffered because of it. He also draws a tough assignment against a Tampa Bay defense that is angry after a loss to the Saints last week. Look for Davis to follow Moore making for an even tougher matchup when coupled with the current quarterback issues.
Philadelphia has quickly turned into a running team that leans on their tight end across the middle of the field. Smith has almost disappeared on the outside with Jalen Hurts taking a run-first approach. In their last meeting, Smith was held to 2 catches for 22 yards with mixed coverage from Bradberry and Adoree' Jackson. Jackson may return from injury this week and could split the coverage with Bradberry. If he does not, look for Bradberry to follow Smith as the top option in the Philadelphia passing game. The Eagles are going to lean on Miles Sanders and the rest of their running backs this week as they look to stay in the wild card playoff race in the NFC.
This is a matchup that is going to happen a lot over the next few years as these teams play twice a year every year. Diggs has not been employed as a shadow corner for most of his career, but the few times he has come against McLaurin. Diggs held McLaurin to 0 catches on 4 targets in coverage earlier this year before McLaurin left due to injury. Look for these guys to be lined up the entire game and their brief history gives Diggs the advantage this week.
Not a lot has gone right for the Giants this season and their stable of receivers has been a major disappointment. Golladay has dealt with injuries, ineffective quarterback play, and a decline in his own skillset this season. Add all of that up and throw in coverage from Slay this week and it is going to be a long game for Golladay. Slay has been a top cover corner since his days in Detroit and has made things difficult for many top receivers this season. If you have not already given up on Golladay this season, this is a good week to cut him in favor of someone else.
We talked about Tim Patrick having the best matchup for the Broncos earlier, and it is Jeudy who draws the short straw against Hobbs in the slot this week. Drew Lock was unable to utilize Jeudy at all last season and was a big reason why he was benched. Not much has changed with this Broncos offense, even with a new coordinator, and Jeudy is going to struggle against Hobbs. The slot corner is currently only being targeted on 12% of route and giving up just .16 fantasy points per route. Avoid the situation in Denver if possible this week.
TE Dalton Schultz (DAL vs WFT)
Schultz may be coming off a huge game in week 15 and that will make it hard to bench him, but Washington held him to under 10 fantasy points just 2 weeks ago and have allowed the 7th fewest fantasy points to the position overall. Dallas is going to have to get other aspects of their game going if they want to make any noise in the playoffs and the ball is going to flow through Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb this week. Buyer beware on Schultz this week.
TE Evan Engram (NYG vs PHI)
Almost every week it looks like it will be a breakout game of Engram. Even this week he has a great matchup against a Philadelphia defense allowing a lot of points to opposing tight ends. The biggest issue here is the emergence of Kyle Rudolph in this offense. Rudolph has poached red-zone targets and is being utilized all over the field instead of Engram lately. The ship has sailed, and Engram needs a change of scenery before the Giants end his career.