Best and worst wide receiver matchups for fantasy football Week 16
Mike Clay

By utilizing our play-by-play data, we're able to identify where each wide receiver and cornerback lines up on each play. By tracking matchups between the two positions, including potential shadow situations, we can offer the best projections, rankings and fantasy advice each week this NFL season.

Below are the receivers with the best and worst Week 16 matchups, as well as the corresponding fantasy impact.

To view the primary defenders and the top three wide receivers that each team will see this weekend, be sure to check out our weekly WR vs. CB cheat sheet.

Downloadable cheat sheet PDF

Because of the size of the chart in the PDF, here is a key to help you get the most out of it each week:

Rt = Number of routes run by each player during the 2017 season
LWR/Slot/RWR = Percentage of the player's routes run from left wide receiver, the slot and right wide receiver, respectively
T/R = Percentage of a player's pass routes on which he's targeted
F/R = Fantasy points per pass route
Green suggests an advantage for the offensive player, while red indicates an advantage for the defender
An "S" indicates projected shadow coverage

Advantageous matchups

Raiders' Michael Crabtree vs. Eagles' Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills

Darby is a solid cornerback, but it can't be ignored that receivers aligned against him have been targeted on 30 percent of his 175 coverage snaps and are averaging 0.43 fantasy points per route. Those marks are highest and third-highest, respectively, among corners expected to play a "top three" role this week. Mills, meanwhile, sports 23 percent and 0.36 marks, both of which also rank among the worst corners in the league. Receivers aligned across from Mills have been targeted an NFL-high 117 times and have scored seven touchdowns. Crabtree will run roughly 80 percent of his routes against Darby and Mills. He's a terrific play during league championships and Amari Cooper also should be upgraded if he returns from injury.

Jaguars' Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole vs. 49ers' Ahkello Witherspoon and Dontae Johnson

With Marqise Lee out and Allen Hurns unlikely to play, Westbrook and Cole (who will hand off slot duties to Jaydon Mickens) will man the perimeter against the 49ers this weekend. Both receivers will run roughly half of their routes against Johnson, who has been picked on throughout the year. Players lined up against him have scored 176 fantasy points, which is third-most in the league. He's Pro Football Focus' third-worst graded corner. Witherspoon -- a third-round rookie -- has been solid since being promoted to a starting job earlier this season, but is allowing 0.41 fantasy points per route, which is exactly identical to Johnson's poor mark. Westbrook is a viable WR3 and Cole a championship-week sleeper.

Vikings' Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs vs. Packers' Damarious Randall and Davon House

The Packers continue to struggle with injuries and inefficiencies at corner this season and their issues have led to the seventh-most fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. House missed Week 15 with a shoulder injury and if he's out again this week, Josh Hawkins, who also has struggled this season, would replace him opposite Randall. With Jarius Wright battling a foot injury, Thielen figures to work the slot a bit more this week, so it's hard to know exactly who will be matched up with whom, but Green Bay's struggles across the board makes both Thielen and Diggs strong fantasy bets. Diggs was out, but Thielen caught nine of 12 targets for 96 yards and no touchdowns when these teams met in Week 6.

Seahawks' Doug Baldwin vs. Cowboys' Anthony Brown and Xavier Woods

Dallas hasn't been able to solve the slot corner spot since Orlando Scandrick went down a few weeks ago and it has showed up on the stat sheet. With Woods and Brown manning the spot, the Cowboys have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to slot receivers over the past eight weeks. Enter Baldwin, who has lined up inside on 77 percent of his routes this season. Granted most of the production came when he was working the perimeter, but receivers have scored 158 fantasy points when lined up against Brown this season (fifth most). Now handling primary slot duties, Brown will be on Baldwin during most of this week's game. Russell Wilson's top target is a fringe WR1.

Buccaneers' Mike Evans vs. Panthers' James Bradberry and Buccaneers' DeSean Jackson vs. Panthers' Daryl Worley

Carolina has allowed a league-high 34.4 fantasy points per game to wide receivers since Week 8. Bradberry has shadowed Evans during the past two meetings between these teams, one of which came in Week 8 earlier this season. Evans caught five of 10 targets for 60 yards in that game and posted a 10-5-65 line with a touchdown in the Week 17 meeting last year. Bradberry has struggled badly in coverage this season. Receivers lined up against him have been targeted 110 times (second most), racked up 934 receiving yards (most) and have scored 195 fantasy points (most). With Bradberry on Evans, expect Worley to travel with Jackson or, if his ankle injury holds him out, rookie Chris Godwin. Worley has been serviceable this season and held Jackson to three catches for 37 yards on eight targets in the Week 8 meeting. Evans is a fringe WR1 and Jackson a flex play this week. Godwin will be a deep-league sleeper if Jackson is out.

Dolphins' Jarvis Landry vs. Chiefs' Steven Nelson

The Chiefs' season appears to be back on track, but this team continues to struggle against slot receivers. Kansas City has allowed the second-most fantasy points to players lined up in the slot. Nelson has been the culprit. He has been targeted on 21 percent of his 222 coverage snaps and is allowing a generous 0.33 fantasy points per route. Expect Landry, who has lines up inside on 64 percent of his routes, to feast on Nelson this weekend.

Tough matchups

Falcons' Julio Jones vs. Saints' Marshon Lattimore

When these teams met in Week 14, Lattimore shadowed Jones on 18 of his 24 routes. Jones was solid in the game, totaling five catches for 98 yards on 11 targets (8-4-79 when on Lattimore). Lattimore has been terrific this season, so expect New Orleans to use its top corner in a shadow capacity again this weekend. Jones was solid two weeks ago, but should be downgraded -- even if just slightly -- in this one. The Saints' No. 2 corner Ken Crawley has taken a big step forward this year and will be on Taylor Gabriel often. Mohamed Sanu has the best matchup among the teams' top wide receivers with P.J. Williams and Kenny Vaccaro handling the slot for the Saints. He can be upgraded.

49ers' Marquise Goodwin vs. Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye

Goodwin has been great since Jimmy Garoppolo took over at quarterback, but the speedster is going to have his hands full against the league's top cornerback duo this week. Led by Ramsey and Bouye, the Jaguars have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. They're allowing 18.8 points per week to players lined up on the perimeter -- fourth lowest -- where Goodwin aligns on three-quarters of his routes. If Jacksonville's two corners simply play their side of the field, Goodwin will see Bouye on roughly half his routes, Ramsey on one quarter and slot corner Aaron Colvin on the other 25 percent. It's also possible Ramsey shadows him after he traveled with DeAndre Hopkins last week. Receivers lined up against Ramsey have been targeted 100 times this season, but have caught only 53 passes. Goodwin is seeing enough work that he belongs in the flex conversation, but he's best left on benches in this extremely tough matchup.

Bills' Kelvin Benjamin vs. Patriots' Stephon Gilmore

Benjamin did not play when these teams met in Week 13. Malcolm Butler shadowed Deonte Thompson, Gilmore shadowed Zay Jones and Jordan Matthews worked the slot. The three receivers combined for five receptions on 18 targets for 57 yards and zero touchdowns on 100 pass routes. That's ... not good. Benjamin's return figures to help the team's efficiency, but life won't be easy against probable shadow coverage from Gilmore. Gilmore has been terrific this season and has been targeted on only 16 percent of his coverage snaps. Butler figures to again follow Thompson, who has been working opposite Benjamin on the perimeter. Jones has replaced Matthews (injured reserve) as the team's primary slot man, aligning inside on 25 of his 36 routes over the past two weeks. Jones should be upgraded against struggling Eric Rowe, as the New England has allowed the most fantasy points to the slot this season.

Bengals' A.J. Green vs. Lions' Darius Slay

Slay has shadowed in 10 of 14 games this season and has been a lock to travel with any clear-cut No. 1 perimeter wide receivers since midway through the 2015 season. That said, expect him to shadow Green in Week 16. Although Slay is terrific, quarterbacks aren't afraid to go after him. Receivers lined up against him have been targeted 107 times this season, which is third-most in the league. Green is coming off a down game in which he was limited to two catches for 30 yards against Xavier Rhodes' shadow coverage. Despite the down game, the superstar receiver still sits 11th at the position in fantasy points and has scored eight touchdowns. Downgrade Green slightly this week, but he's still a solid season-long and DFS tournament option.

Packers' Davante Adams vs. Vikings' Xavier Rhodes

Adams suffered a concussion in Week 15, so his status is up in the air in this one. If he plays, he can expect shadow coverage from one of the league's top corners in Rhodes. When these teams met in Week 6, Rhodes traveled with Adams on 33 of his 40 routes (0 of 5 in the slot). Adams totaled five catches for 54 yards and one touchdown on nine targets in the game. Jordy Nelson, meanwhile, was primarily covered by Trae Waynes and caught six of 10 targets for 60 yards. Assuming the same plan this weekend (albeit without Aaron Rodgers under center), Adams would need to be downgraded to WR3 territory and Nelson, even with the better matchup, shouldn't be in lineups. If Adams is out, Rhodes is a great bet to shadow Nelson. Nelson has run 50 career routes against Rhodes and has seven catches for 89 yards and no scores on 12 targets. Considering Nelson's struggles this season, he'd be tough to start against Rhodes even if Adams is out. Randall Cobb also should be downgraded against Terence Newman. Minnesota has allowed the fewest fantasy points to the slot this season.

Jets' Robby Anderson vs. Chargers' Casey Hayward

Bryce Petty targeted Anderson 12 times in his first start of the season Sunday and has now directed 28 percent of his 177 career passes at Anderson. That's some great volume, but it's also a number that figures to drop following the team's Week 16 meeting with the Chargers. Especially with Jermaine Kearse now handling slot duties, Anderson is an extremely strong bet to be shadowed by Hayward this week. Hayward has shadowed in nine games this season and has terrific numbers despite facing the opposing team's top receiver most weeks. Though Anderson should be significantly downgraded, he will get free of Hayward the 28 percent of the time he lines up in the slot. Hayward sticks outside and has traveled to the slot on only 2 percent of his coverage snaps this season. Facing Desmond King will be easier on Anderson, but not by much. Led by the rookie, the Chargers have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the slot over the past two months. Anderson is a risky flex and Kearse shouldn't be in lineups this week.

Eagles' Alshon Jeffery vs. Raiders' Sean Smith

The Raiders have not been very good this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but Smith has does a nice job keeping opposing receivers off the fantasy scoreboard. Smith has been targeted on 17 percent of his coverage snaps and is allowing 0.24 fantasy points per route, both of which are better than average. He has lined up at right corner on 88 percent of his 307 coverage snaps and the Raiders have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to that spot over the past two months. Smith shadowed Demaryius Thomas in Week 12 and Dez Bryant in Week 15, so it's logical to assume he'll travel with Jeffery, who lines up on the perimeter 83 percent of the time. Jeffery should be downgraded a bit, but doesn't need to be completely faded.

Redskins' Jamison Crowder vs. Broncos' Chris Harris Jr.

The Broncos passed the Jaguars this past weekend and have now allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Harris has been a huge part of the success while managing the slot in nickel situations. This week, that means he'll work primarily against Crowder. Crowder has been responsible for a hefty 26 percent of the team's targets since Week 8, but lines up in the slot 75 percent of the time. He's a player you should be looking to bench this week. Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant need to be downgraded as well and shouldn't be in lineups with your championship on the line.

Other notes

The Jets' Morris Claiborne has shadowed during 11 of his 13 games this season, but even when shadowing, he rarely covers the slot. The Chargers' Keenan Allen lines up inside on half of his routes, so expect Allen to face off with Buster Skrine on those plays and Claiborne when he's on the perimeter. Allen should be upgraded in this matchup.

Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals shadows most weeks, but he doesn't when the offense's top receiver primarily works from the slot. That will be the case against Sterling Shepard (84 percent slot) and the Giants in Week 16. Shepard will do most his work against Tyrann Mathieu, who has been better as the season has progressed, but is inferior to Peterson in coverage. Shepard doesn't need to be downgraded. Peterson should see a fairly even share of Tavarres King and Roger Lewis.