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Thread: Fantasy football: Best, worst wide receiver matchups for Week 11

  1. #1 Fantasy football: Best, worst wide receiver matchups for Week 11 
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    Fantasy football: Best, worst wide receiver matchups for Week 11

    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 11 matchups, as well as the corresponding fantasy impact.


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



    Click here for this week's cheat sheet.


    Advantageous matchups

    Chiefs' Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill vs. Rams' Marcus Peters, Sam Shields and Troy Hill


    The Rams have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers during the past two months. Peters continues to be an issue, as receivers in his coverage are averaging a massive 0.56 fantasy points per route. The Rams are also weak on the other side of the field, with Shields and Hill underwhelming in place of the injured Aqib Talib.


    Watkins (63 percent perimeter) and Hill (58 percent) primarily work outside and will see plenty of both corners on Monday Night Football. Both will see some of Nickell Robey-Coleman in the slot as well, and expectations should be tempered a bit on those routes because Robey-Coleman has been one of the league's top slot corners. Upgrade Hill and Watkins in what is arguably the NFL's game of the season.


    Saints' Michael Thomas and Tre'Quan Smith vs. Eagles' TBA cornerbacks


    The Eagles' secondary is a disaster. Safety Rodney McLeod went on injured reserve after Week 3, top corner Ronald Darby joined him earlier this week, slot CB Sidney Jones has been out since Week 6 with a hamstring and Jalen Millsmissed Week 10 with a foot injury. This is obviously a major issue when you consider that even with healthy cornerbacks for much of the season, Philadelphia has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers (fourth-most to perimeter receivers).


    Enter a red-hot Saints' offense that has scored six touchdowns in back-to-back games. Thomas, Smith, Keith Kirkwood, Austin Carr and perhaps newcomer Brandon Marshall will run their routes against the likes of Mills and Jones (if they return), Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox and Chandon Sullivan. Upgrade Thomas significantly, and Smith is a flex option despite being shut out in Week 10.


    Lions' Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Panthers' Donte Jackson (shadow), and Lions' Kenny Golladay vs. Panthers' James Bradberry (shadow)


    Bradberry and the rookie Jackson have often been used as shadow cornerbacks, so matching up the speedy Jackson with Jones and the bigger Bradberry against 6-foot-4 Golladay makes sense. Bradberry has been the slightly more effective player, but Carolina has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to wideouts during the past eight weeks, including the ninth-most to perimeter receivers. Jones (84 percent perimeter) and Golladay (70 percent) primarily work outside, so we should expect them to be matched up on Jackson and Bradberry often.


    Upgrade both receivers, though keep an eye on Jones' injury status, as he's questionable with a knee injury.


    Packers' Davante Adams vs. Seahawks' Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin


    Seattle has been blasted for the fourth-most fantasy points to outside receivers over the past month. That's not a recipe for success with Adams (82 percent perimeter) on the slate in Week 11. Adams is fourth at the position in fantasy points and second with nine touchdown catches. Though Adams should certainly be upgraded, keep in mind that Seattle held him in check when these teams faced off last season. Griffin aligned against Adams on 20 of his 44 routes. Adams was held to three catches for 47 yards and no touchdowns on seven targets, with all of that coming against Griffin.


    If Randall Cobb (hamstring) returns, downgrade him vs. Seattle slot corner Justin Coleman and upgrade Marquez Valdes-Scantling opposite Adams against Flowers and Griffin. If Cobb is out again, MVS will work inside against Coleman and should be downgraded, whereas Equanimeous St. Brown will be a sleeper opposite Adams. Seattle has allowed the fewest fantasy points to the slot over the past eight weeks.


    Other notables:


    -The Bengals have surrendered a ton of fantasy production to wide receivers (top-seven against both the perimeter and slot), but Ravens receivers Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead IV will be tough to trust if Baltimore turns to rookie Lamar Jackson at quarterback. Jackson has upside, but he's obviously very risky (especially as a passer) in what would be his first extended NFL action. If Joe Flacco is healthy enough to play or Robert Griffin gets the start, the Baltimore receivers will be safer plays in a great matchup. All three cleared eight targets and 10 fantasy points when these teams met in Week 2.


    -Upgrade the Giants' Sterling Shepard vs. the Buccaneers' M.J. Stewart or Javien Elliott


    -Upgrade the Eagles' Nelson Agholor vs. the Saints' P.J. Williams


    -Upgrade the Jaguars' Dede Westbrook vs. the Steelers' Mike Hilton


    -Upgrade the Cardinals' Christian Kirk vs. the Raiders' Daryl Worley


    -Upgrade the Cowboys' Cole Beasley vs. the Falcons' Brian Poole


    Tough matchups

    Steelers' Antonio Brown vs. Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye


    The Jaguars have struggled this season, but the pass defense remains one of the league's best. In fact, Jacksonville has allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, including only 17.4 points per game to perimeter receivers (second-fewest). Brown has run 81 percent of his routes from the perimeter this season.


    These teams faced off twice last season. In Week 5, Brown was covered by Ramsey and Bouye on 48 of his 55 routes but rolled to 10 catches for 157 yards on 19 targets, with most of that coming on 20 routes against Ramsey. In the playoff meeting, Ramsey and Bouye were on Brown on all 50 of his routes. Brown went off again with seven catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets. This time, Bouye was the primary culprit.


    So, yes, technically this is a tough matchup, but Brown is borderline matchup-proof, so he doesn't need to be downgraded much. JuJu Smith-Schuster, by the way, will draw D.J. Hayden in the slot and can be upgraded.


    Texans' DeAndre Hopkins vs. Redskins' Josh Norman (shadow)


    Think Norman has been busy the past three weeks? In Week 8, he shadowed Odell Beckham Jr. In Week 9, he traveled with Julio Jones. Last week, he chased Mike Evans. This week? Logic suggests Norman will shadow Hopkins.


    These two have faced off once in their careers, a Week 2 meeting back in 2015. Then with Carolina, Norman shadowed Hopkins on 49 of his 58 routes. Hopkins was held in check with five catches, 53 yards and no touchdowns on 11 targets.


    Norman has been terrific all season long and has been targeted on an extremely low 12 percent of his coverage snaps. Of course, Hopkins has been targeted on a massive 29 percent of his routes. Hopkins' gigantic role means he should only be downgraded slightly.


    By the way, the Redskins have surrendered the most fantasy points to perimeter receivers during the past eight weeks, so Demaryius Thomas should be upgraded.


    Bears' Allen Robinson vs. Vikings' Xavier Rhodes (shadow)


    Minnesota has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers as a whole and also to perimeter receivers over the past two months. Rhodes, who has shadowed the likes of Davante Adams, Brandin Cooks, Alshon Jeffery and Marvin Jones Jr., has been a big part of the success. Rhodes has been targeted often, but hasn't allowed much fantasy production. Robinson has aligned in the slot on 40 percent of his routes this season, so he will dodge Rhodes' coverage (3 percent slot) quite a bit this weekend.


    These two faced off back in 2016 when Robinson was with the Jaguars. Rhodes shadowed Robinson on 23 of his 39 routes, including 22 of 26 perimeter routes. Robinson was held to one catch for 17 yards on three targets.


    Robinson should be downgraded slightly.


    Colts' T.Y. Hilton vs. Titans' Adoree' Jackson (shadow)


    With Malcolm Butler struggling badly this season, the Titans successfully used Jackson to shadow Josh Gordon in Week 10. Jackson also shadowed vertical threat John Brown in Week 6 and shadowed often last season, including once against Hilton in Week 12. Hilton ran 36 routes in that game and was held to 15 yards on five targets. None of that came on 20 routes aligned against Jackson, though keep in mind Andrew Luck was out.


    Jackson has been targeted on a hefty 22 percent of his coverage snaps this season but is allowing a solid 0.27 fantasy points per route. Hilton should be downgraded against a defense that is allowing a league-low 1.7 touchdowns per game.


    Chargers' Keenan Allen vs. Broncos' Chris Harris Jr.


    Allen's role as the Chargers' primary slot man generally allows him to avoid No. 1 cornerbacks, but that won't be the case in Week 11. Allen, who has aligned inside on 54 percent of his routes this season, will see one of the league's best slot corners in Harris (63 percent slot) on roughly three-quarters of his routes.


    Allen has run 199 career routes against Denver and has aligned across from Harris on 71 of those plays. Allen has 57 targets, 32 catches, 379 yards and six touchdowns in the seven games but only a 22-11-94-2 line against Harris. Allen cleared 15 fantasy points in four of the six games, including in one of two last season.


    Downgrade Allen slightly, but he'll still be Philip Rivers' top target.


    Broncos' Courtland Sutton vs. Chargers' Casey Hayward (shadow), and Broncos' Emmanuel Sanders vs. Chargers' Desmond King


    Hayward has faced Denver four times during his two-plus seasons with the Chargers and shadowed Demaryius Thomas in all four games. Thomas, of course, is gone, but Sutton has replaced him as Denver's top perimeter receiver (80 percent). With the likes of DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick ticketed for No. 3 duties, it's fair to expect Hayward to travel with Sutton, at least when Sanders is in the slot.


    Speaking of which, Sanders has aligned in the slot on 63 percent of his routes this season and will primarily see King, who has been one of the league's best corners since entering the league last season. The Chargers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to slot receivers.


    Both Sutton and Sanders should be downgraded against a defense allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to wideouts during the past two months.


    Vikings' Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs vs. Bears' Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara and Bryce Callahan


    We need to break this one down into two sections.


    First, we have Thielen, who has aligned in the slot on 62 percent of his routes, up against Callahan (89 percent). Callahan has been outstanding this season. He's one of Pro Football Focus' top-graded corners, targeted on only 12 percent of his coverage snaps and allowing 0.15 fantasy points per route, and Chicago is allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to slot receivers.


    Next, we have Diggs, who aligns outside on 76 percent of his routes and will thus see Fuller (99 percent) and Amukamara (99 percent) on most of his routes. Chicago has actually allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to outside receivers, though Fuller has been outstanding (his PFF grade is equal to Callahan's), and Amukamara, who has been solid, has missed one game and a chunk of two others.


    In conclusion, we have two great receivers facing one of the game's best cornerback trios. Both receivers need to be downgraded but should obviously be in season-long lineups.


    Other notables:


    -Downgrade slightly the Falcons' Julio Jones vs. the Cowboys' Byron Jones


    -Downgrade the Bengals' John Ross vs. the Ravens' Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey


    -If the Lions' shutdown CB Darius Slay returns from injury this week, expect him to shadow Panthers WR Devin Funchess. That would be grounds for a significant downgrade for Funchess, who has already seen a dip in targets in recent weeks.
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  2. #2  
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    This was a very good piece.. thank you and keep it coming
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  3. #3  
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    Is there a cheat sheet for TE vs LB or RB ?
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