6 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups in Week 7
How do you know you’re getting old?
Is it when you’re totally exhausted for a day if you didn’t get eight or more hours of sleep the night before? Is it when one adult beverage makes you loopy? Is it when random aches and pains just start cropping up out of nowhere and don’t go away for weeks?
I’m mere weeks away from my 28th birthday, and all of these symptoms of age have started to reach for me with their icy fingers. Still, growing old isn’t so bad. I always worried that when I got to this point in my life, I might start to be less goofy without gaining any real wisdom. As it turns out, I still have a bizarre sense of humor and I know more about life. #adulting #blest
In a way, that’s what we’re looking for with our fantasy football starters too. We want them to have the wise stability of a seasoned veteran while still maintaining the explosive upside of a young prospect. It’s not easy to do, but on a week-to-week basis we can find players who fit that bill thanks to their matchups with certain cornerbacks.
A veteran might get more ceiling thanks to a cornerback giving up big plays, or a boom-or-bust speed guy might gain a real floor thanks to a defender giving up a ton of catches. That’s our hope; let’s see what we can find!
Here are six wide receivers with timeless cornerback matchups in Week 7.
One of the things I try to do is reflect on my process and focus on the successes and fix the failures, so that I can give you all the best fantasy football advice possible. Each week, we’ll look at the previous one’s hits and misses.
I consider a PPR fantasy score of 14.0 (the average points of fantasy’s WR12 last season) a hit for my Lineup Locks, and a score of 10.0 (the average points of fantasy’s WR48 last season) a hit for my Good Stocks. A player with 8.0 PPR fantasy points or fewer as a Smoking Crater is a hit as well.
Lineup Locks: DeAndre Hopkins, Robert Woods, and Davante Adams. Nailed it. Woods did a lot of his best work with Cooper Kupp (knee) ailing, Adams exploded on Monday Night Football in a complete shootout game script, and Hopkins was the most unassuming among them but still posted a good line against an even better cornerback than we assumed he’d face.
Good Stocks: Mohamed Sanu/Calvin Ridley, Albert Wilson, Christian Kirk. Nailed it, times two. Wilson was the most stunning, taking two big plays to the house on ridiculous yards after catch action. Kirk remained his team’s top receiving option, and Sanu did enough work to get above a startable threshold (Ridley took a backseat in this one, though).
Smoking Craters: Antonio Callaway and Allen Hurns. Nailed it, times three! Callaway not only was blanketed in coverage, he continued his drop-fest and lack of efficiency. Hurns was blanked for 0.0 points.
Three Lineup Locks
Julio Jones vs. Janoris Jenkins – This is another week where Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is in a great spot to succeed thanks to an excellent cornerback matchup. This time he will be shadowed by New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who has been a liability more often than not since leaving Los Angeles.
This year alone, Jenkins has been targeted on 23 percent of his routes defended (per PlayerProfiler.com), giving up a 70 percent catch rate and 14.8 yards per reception. Those latter two rates rank 16th- and 18th-most, respectively, among the 77 qualifying cornerbacks in the NFL this year. Jenkins has also given up 4 touchdowns this year on just 40 targets (10 percent rate), thanks likely to his 11th-highest Burn Rate allowed (percent of targets where the cornerback was 5 or more yards from his man). Julio should continue his yardage onslaught and – hey – maybe this is the week he’ll catch a touchdown too!
Jarvis Landry vs. M.J. Stewart – Six words: always target the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This motto has done us well so far, and we’re going to continue the roll here by recommending Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry as he faces off against Bucs corner M.J. Stewart. We’re all familiar with the young Mr. Stewart at this point, but I want to highlight a few reasons why he and Landry are a perfect fit for Week 7.
Working 42 percent of his snaps in the slot, Stewart gets targeted on a whopping 30 percent of his coverage routes, allowing a ridiculous 85 percent catch rate, with 12.6 yards per reception and a 9.1 percent touchdown rate. Landry gets targeted on 28 percent of his team’s pass plays (sixth-highest in the league) and converts those into a 2nd-most 1.6 yards after catch per target. Landry’s playmaking ability with the ball in his hands, added to the volume of targets he should see against Stewart, and the likely amount Stewart should allow him to catch, mean Landry’s Week 7 floor is high and his ceiling is big too.
Adam Thielen vs. Parry Nickerson – The New York Jets have not found a way to make their defensive secondary bulletproof since Revis Island sank into the ocean like the lost city of Atlantis. This week, they turn to rookie sixth-round cornerback Parry Nickerson to try to lock down Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen – a task that even an early-round veteran would have a tough time of these days.
For Nickerson, that task will appear monumentally difficult: he is allowing a dangerous 69 percent catch rate, with a shockingly large 14.2 yards per reception from the slot. Defenses are noticing Nickerson as the weak link, too, targeting him on 31 percent of the routes he’s in coverage. Sure, Nickerson has allowed just 1 touchdown on 32 targets, but there’s a good chance Thielen should get quite a few catches over on him and possibly a big gain or two even if a score isn’t in the picture.
Three Good Stocks
John Brown vs. Ken Crawley – This game is projected to be a shootout by PaddyPower.com’s odds, one of just five games this week with an over/under of 50 total points. That means that downfield Baltimore Ravens receiver John Brown should be a valued asset here, especially while facing New Orleans Saints cornerback Ken Crawley. Crawley has allowed an 84 percent catch rate (3rd-highest), gives up the 15th-most yards per reception, and has a Burn Rate allowed ranking 6th-highest. All of these indicate that big plays for Brown are in order.
Brandin Cooks vs. Ahkello Witherspoon – Speaking of high over/unders, the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers have a similar matchup this week, which gives us hope for wide receiver Brandin Cooks against cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. Witherspoon doesn’t allow a very high catch rate, but when he gives up a catch, it usually becomes a big one. He allows 18.0 yards per reception, allows an average separation of 2.0 yards to his assignments, and has given up 4 touchdowns on just 26 targets (15.4 percent). Cooks has upside here.
Jermaine Kearse vs. Mackensie Alexander – The Jets have done a lot of damage with their slot receivers this year, and Jermaine Kearse should continue that run against Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander. Alexander allows a minimal 11.1 yards per reception (21st-fewest), but gives up the 6th-highest catch rate in the league, and has a Burn Rate allowed sitting at 8th-highest. This is definitely a longer shot, but there is some value for Kearse in this contest due to the upside Alexander allows.
Two Smoking Craters
Allen Robinson vs. Stephon Gilmore – This is a game we at numberFire are expecting to be relatively high-scoring, but the numbers indicate it might not be Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson who benefits. Robinson is going up against New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who has allowed the 6th-lowest yards per reception among cornerbacks this year. His catch rate allowed is just the 47th-lowest, but part of his defensive value comes in not allowing his man to escape him. He gives up the 12th-lowest average separation and hasn’t been burned once this year. Robinson will not get easy opportunities in Week 7.
Josh Reynolds vs. Richard Sherman – You probably weren’t banking on being able to start Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds this week anyway, but in case you were looking at him as a cheap DFS play, I’d strongly encourage you not to. 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman has been targeted on just 19 percent of his routes defended and is allowing a minimal 48 percent catch rate this year. His 10.3 yards per reception would rank top-20 if he qualified based on snap count, and his 0.57 yards of separation would be top-10. Reynolds is going nowhere this week as long as he’s on Sherman’s side of the field.
Week 7 Shadow Situations: Julio Jones (ATL) vs. Janoris Jenkins (NYG); Allen Robinson (CHI) vs. Stephon Gilmore (NE), Taylor Gabriel (CHI) vs. Jason McCourty (NE), Anthony Miller (CHI) vs. Jonathan Jones (NE); Demaryius Thomas (DEN) vs. Patrick Peterson (ARZ); Robby Anderson (NYJ) vs. Xavier Rhodes (MIN); Alshon Jeffery (PHI) vs. James Bradberry (CAR); Mike Evans (TB) vs. Denzel Ward (CLE); Corey Davis (TEN) vs. Casey Hayward (LAC).