Best, worst wide receiver matchups for Week 2 in fantasy football

Mike Clay
ESPN PLUS


By utilizing our play-by-play data, we're now 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.

Below are the receivers with the best and worst Week 2 matchups, as well as the corresponding fantasy impact.

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

Advantageous matchups

Steelers' Antonio Brown vs. Chiefs' Steven Nelson and Orlando Scandrick

The Chiefs have major issues at cornerback and it's anyone's guess how they plan to stop Brown in Week 2. Nelson and Scandrick were both shredded by Chargers receivers on Sunday. Kansas City allowed 45.9 fantasy points to perimeter receivers, trailing only the Saints in Week 1. Brown aligned outside on 80 percent of his Week 1 routes. Brown is almost always an elite play in all formats, but this matchup makes him a really strong DFS option.

Kendall Fuller is the Chiefs' best corner, but he was limited to nickel/slot duties last week. That role will mean a showdown with JuJu Smith-Schuster this week. Smith-Schuster aligned inside on 86 percent of his routes in Week 1 against Cleveland. Smith-Schuster should be downgraded slightly.

Chargers' Keenan Allen vs. Bills' Rafael Bush

Tre'Davious White is by far the Bills' No. 1 corner, but he's unlikely to see more than the occasional coverage snap against Allen this week. White rarely travels to the slot and didn't shadow Allen in the 2017 meeting between these squads. Allen, meanwhile, aligned inside on 60 percent of his 48 routes in Week 1. The Bills are light at cornerback behind White, with Phillip Gaines on the other side of the field and Bush and rookie Taron Johnson handling slot duties. Johnson is dealing with a shoulder injury, so we should expect Bush (or possibly Gaines if Vontae Davis is activated) to cover Allen most often. Regardless, it's an A-plus matchup for Allen.

Meanwhile, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin should also be upgraded, though it's hard to trust any of the three for consistent volume. They're best viewed as DFS tournament plays.

Eagles' Nelson Agholor vs. Buccaneers' M.J. Stewart

If you read this column (or watched the Bucs) last season, it shouldn't surprise you that Tampa Bay allowed the most fantasy points to slot receivers in Week 1. Vernon Hargreaves III was the primary slot corner last week, but a shoulder injury is expected to cost him the rest of the season. That means rookie M.J. Stewart is the likely next man up in the slot, with Brent Grimes (or Ryan Smith if he remains out) and rookie Carlton Davis on the perimeter.

This all bodes well for Agholor, who aligned inside on 54 percent of his Week 1 routes against Atlanta. Agholor won't be short targets with Alshon Jeffery still out and in a great matchup. Mike Wallace and deep sleeper DeAndre Carter also stand to benefit from light matchups on the perimeter if Grimes remains sidelined.

Falcons' Julio Jones vs. Panthers' James Bradberry and Donte Jackson

Bradberry shadowed Jones in Week 9 last season and Jones ripped off six catches for 118 yards on 11 targets. Carolina didn't shadow in the Week 16 meeting and Jones managed seven catches for 149 yards. It's possible Bradberry and second-round rookie Jackson turn into a solid duo, but they're unlikely to be able to slow down Jones, who is coming off a 19-target Week 1 effort against the Eagles. Jones also will run a quarter of his routes in the slot against Captain Munnerlyn, who struggled in Week 1 after a rough 2017. Mohamed Sanu is a sneaky bet for a bounce-back this week.

Other notables:

Bears' Allen Robinson vs. Seahawks' Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers

Tough matchups

Packers' Davante Adams vs. Vikings' Xavier Rhodes (shadow)

With Jordy Nelson long gone, Adams is now clearly the Packers' No. 1 wide receiver. That likely will mean shadow coverage from the Vikings' top corner Rhodes. Rhodes shadowed Adams in Week 6 last season. Adams was limited to 54 yards on nine targets, but he bailed out fantasy investors with a touchdown. Rhodes was his usual intimidating presence in Week 1. He was targeted only once and had an interception against San Francisco. Adams should be downgraded, and Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison will have a chance at added volume away from Rhodes' coverage.

Bills' Kelvin Benjamin vs. Chargers' Casey Hayward (shadow)

As expected, Hayward didn't shadow against Kansas City last week, but he did shadow during 11 of the Chargers' games last season. These teams met in 2017, but Benjamin left early with an injury (Hayward had been shadowing him early on). Then with Carolina, Benjamin was shadowed by Hayward in one game back in 2016 and was limited to one catch for 11 yards on four targets.

That said, arguably the league's best corner is a strong bet to travel with Benjamin in Week 2. That's more trouble for Benjamin, who was limited to one catch for 10 yards on six targets during an atrocious display by the Buffalo offense in Baltimore last week. Combine the Bills' quarterback woes with a brutal matchup against Heyward, and Benjamin needs to be on the bench.

Patriots' Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett vs. Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye

Ramsey may have had a little bit of trouble against one of the game's top wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. last week (five catches, 75 yards on seven targets), but life figures to be much smoother against Hogan and Dorsett in Week 2. Ramsey will team up with Bouye (who was his usual dominant self, allowing only one 10-yard catch in Week 1) to cover New England's top receivers this week.

Ramsey and Bouye combined to allow five receptions for 73 yards on eight targets in the 2017 AFC Championship Game against New England. Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks fared well in that game, but Hogan (two catches for 20 yards on four targets) and Dorsett (three routes) weren't factors. Dorsett should be on the bench, and Hogan is a risky flex in Week 2.

Browns' Josh Gordon vs. Saints' Marshon Lattimore (shadow)

I know, I know. Lattimore was lit up by Mike Evans in Week 1. That, of course, was the case for the majority of the Saints' defense, though this unit is too talented to expect anything less than a big rebound. Lattimore was one of the league's best corners as a rookie, and he has shadowed in seven consecutive games. Lattimore rarely travels to the slot, which is why he figures to follow Gordon (89 percent perimeter in Week 1) and not Jarvis Landry (69 percent slot in Week 1). Landry, by the way, also has a rare tough matchup vs. slot man Patrick Robinson. Both receivers should be downgraded and avoided in DFS cash games.

Other notables:

Panthers' Devin Funchess and Torrey Smith vs. Falcons' Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford