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.
It was a tough week 1 for Robinson as he was held to 6 catches for 35 yards with a long of just 9 yards. This week he has a much better matchup against a Cincinnati secondary that gave up the 3rd most fantasy points to receivers against the Vikings with 22 catches for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. Robinson still has the downside of Andy Dalton throwing him the ball, but with Trae Waynes out again this week it is going to be a long game for Eli Apple. Look for both Robinson and Darnell Mooney to have better showings this week against a Cincinnati secondary that is projected to struggle all year.
Chicago’s secondary did not look good in week 1. They were torched by a former foe in Matthew Stafford with his new team and things do not look to get any easier against the high-flying Cincinnati offense. Christian is a safety that is being asked to cover slot corner duties right now and that did not go well as he allowed 5 catches for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns while in coverage. Boyd lines up in the slot nearly 92% of the time and should have a field day this week. Both Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase are also in line for solid games on the outside but look for Joe Burrow to do his damage over the middle with Boyd this week.
Despite the opening week loss, the Vikings receiver group torched the Bengals for 22 catches, 250 yards, and 2 touchdowns. The touchdowns came from Thielen who looks to play a bigger role than last season. After breaking out a few years ago he has been cast in the shadow of Justin Jefferson’s breakout season last year. The Cardinals did a great job limiting Julio Jones in week 1, but A.J Brown still managed to have a big day. Jefferson is going to get his targets but look for Thielen to be a consistent weapon in the red zone and on 3rd down this season. He is looking at a great follow up opportunity to his big week 1 game against the Cardinals.
It may feel like a stretch for Green after having only 2 catches for 25 yards in week 1. He has dealt with injuries the last several years and his prime seems to be back in Cincinnati. However, Breeland was picked on all day last Sunday to the tune of 38% when in coverage. He allowed 6 catches for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. It is also interesting to note that the Cardinals aligned Green and Hopkins on the same perimeter 93% of the time in week 1 and the Vikings had Peterson and Breeland on the opposite perimeter 100% of the time. Green is going to see a lot of Breeland this week and should be a great matchup to try and take advantage of.
The Broncos looked like a totally different team with Teddy Bridgewater under center. This did not benefit Sutton initially as he was held to 1 catch for 14 yards. However, an unfortunate injury to Jerry Jeudy and a matchup against a poor Jacksonville secondary should right the ship in week 2. Griffin was routinely picked on when he played in Seattle as that entire secondary was historically bad. This should be a great matchup for Sutton as he looks to return from injury and firmly plant himself back in the Broncos’ receiver pecking order. Look for a better showing this week out of Sutton and the Broncos receivers as a whole.
WR Robby Anderson (CAR vs NO) vs Bradley Roby
Roby is a corner we have avoided in the past, but this is a unique situation. The Saints and Texans just completed a deal for the former 1st round pick a week ago and he is still learning the new system. Anderson may have only had a single catch in week 1, but it was for 57 yards and a touchdown. Sam Darnold looked great in his debut for Carolina and the rapport with his receivers will only continue to get better. Take advantage of Roby starting in a new defense and roll with Anderson again this week.
TE Noah Fant (DEN vs JAX):
Mentioned above was the injury to Jerry Jeudy and the void it will create in the Broncos’ target share. Fant had 8 targets last week and fits Teddy Bridgewater’s short and accurate passing attack. The Jacksonville defense is better than a year ago, but there are still holes across the middle that the big tight end should be able to settle into for nice gains. Look for a bounce back season from Fant if he can stay healthy and a top 5 tight end performance from him in week 2.
TE Tyler Higbee (LAR vs IND):
We saw the love affair between Matthew Stafford and T.J Hockenson last year and he looks to be building a new one with Higbee. Higbee was second to only Cooper Kupp in targets during the week 1 win over Chicago and he brought in 5 catches for 68 yards. Former teammate Gerald Everett torched the Colts for 2 touchdowns last week so look for Higbee to be involved early and often.
Bradberry is one of the best cover corners in the league and the Giants added Adoree’ Jackson on the other side. Even if Bradberry does not travel with McLaurin it is a very tough matchup. The Giants allowed the 3rd fewest points to outside receivers last week and held Courtland Sutton to 1 catch for 14 yards. McLaurin had success against the Giants last season, but that came against different coverage. McLaurin is the top target in this offense and will still see his share, but temper expectations on his overall production this week.
There was just something off about the Buffalo offense in week 1 against the Steelers and things are not going to get any easier for Diggs this week against Howard. He had some success last year with 7 catches and over 70 yards in their week 17 meeting, but coverage was shared on Diggs. Look for Howard to stay matched up with Diggs across the field. If you are looking for a Bill to start this week, Cole Beasley on the inside vs Nik Needham is the most opportune matchup in this game.
Pascal was a great story in week 1 hauling in 2 touchdowns in a Colts loss to the Seahawks. However, this week will be a much tougher test against a Rams defense that allowed the fewest points to slot receivers last week. Ramsey lines up all over the field but saw a little over half of his snaps inside. Pascal moved into flex consideration after a big week 1, but a tough matchup this week should move him back to the bench in most leagues.
Wilson has been viewed as a sleeper pick coming into this week as the projected fill in for Michael Gallup. Dallas clearly favored throwing the ball last week and will look to do the same against the Chargers. However, Harris lined up on the inside 86% of the time in week 1 and has been one of the best cover corners against the slot his entire career. This sleeper pick sounded great until it ran into Chris Harris Jr in coverage.
This is not a call to bench Hopkins by any means, but he is going to have one of his toughest matchups of the season. He will primarily be lined up against Peterson this week. Peterson was only targeted 3 times across 30 coverage snaps in week 1 and is by far the best corner for the Vikings. Hopkins is still a must start in any league but temper your expectations and look for other options when playing daily fantasy.
TE Mike Gesicki (MIA vs BUF):
Last week was very hard to watch with Gesicki. He laid a big goose egg on 2 targets and to make things worse he has a tough matchup against the Bills this week. Buffalo held Eric Ebron to a single catch last week and will look to rebound from a season opening loss. Gesicki is still a big and athletic tight end with a high ceiling but hold off this week until he gets more involved in the offense.
TE Zach Ertz (PHI vs SF):
It was easy to play into how much Jalen Hurts liked throwing to Ertz at the end of last season, but Dallas Goedert has outplayed him to this point. Throw in that Ertz is now dealing with a hamstring issue, and it is an easy choice to look for other options this week. The tight end situation in Philadelphia is murky at best and will be hard to predict from week to week. Avoid it all together unless you have to right now.