Wide Receivers With the Best and Worst Cornerback Matchups in Week 7
Exploiting key matchups is one of the best ways to give your fantasy team an edge over your opponent. Poor cornerback play should be exploited whenever possible, as even subpar receivers can produce in positive situations while elite receivers can hand in career games.
These mismatches can be found in every game on every team if you dig deep enough. Here’s a look at the wide receivers with the best and worst matchups in Week 7.
Matchups to Target
It has not been pretty for Jared Goff and the Rams' offense. Behind a busted offensive line, Goff is averaging 0.05 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, which ranks 21st among quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs. This has tanked their downfield passing game, as Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods have been fighting for scraps while Cooper Kupp has dominated short targets in the slot.
This will change in Week 7, as the Falcons' defensive line ranks dead-last in adjusted sack rate on Football Outsiders. They also rank 31st in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play and could be without their top cornerback, Desmond Trufant, who missed Week 6 with a toe injury. Goff should have all day to throw to his open receivers streaking down the field, meaning Cooks and Woods are due for a massive bounce back.
With Amari Cooper highly questionable after leaving Week 6 with a quad injury, Michael Gallup would take command of the Dallas Cowboys' receiver corp. He's averaging nearly 97 yards per game in his four games with Cooper this season, so his absence would funnel targets to Gallup.
PFF's yards gained per route is one of the most predictive receiver metrics out there.
Over his last eight games dating back to last year, Michael Gallup has averaged 2.27 YPRR -- which would have ranked 9th-best over Odell Beckham (2.26) last year.
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) October 11, 2019
He'll be up against Rasul Douglas, who just allowed a previously lifeless Stefon Diggs to have a monster game. The Philadelphia Eagles rank sixth in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, so if Ezekiel Elliott gets shut down on the ground, Dallas will be airing it out often. Lock Gallup in regardless of Cooper's status.
In 14 regular season games against the Houston Texans, T.Y. Hilton has 76 catches for 1,445 yards and nine scores. Even with Jacoby Brissett throwing him passes in 2017, Hilton managed to post 175 yards and two touchdowns against Houston in Week 9. T.Y. will be fully rested coming off a bye, so his quad injury should be well behind him. The 36-year-old Johnathan Joseph hasn't been able to keep up with Hilton even when his legs were younger. Don't expect him to be able to now trying to return from a hamstring injury.
The Cincinnati Bengals rank 27th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play and will be down their top corners in Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson III. You should be starting any Jacksonville Jaguars passing game weapon, but D.J. Chark should be a top priority. Chark ranks third among receivers in Reception NEP per target while Dede Westbrook ranks fifth-to-last.
To compensate for their missing pieces, the Bengals will be starting Torry McTyer and Tony McRae on the outside with B.W. Webb in the slot. No matter where Chark decides to line up, he is an obvious mismatch against this unit.
Matchups to Avoid
The Rams have not been the best against opposing receivers, but they also haven't had Jalen Ramsey on their team. The two-time Pro Bowler should bring an instant boost to the squad, and he'll likely be tested right away. Expect the Rams to ask Ramsey to stick to Julio Jones all day in man coverage, as it might be difficult for him to learn LA's new zone schemes on the fly in time for Sunday. We haven't seen much from Ramsey lately due to his back issues, but if he's cleared to play, Julio might be in for a tough time.
Marshon Lattimore has been matched up with Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, and D.J. Chark over the last three weeks. None have topped 50 receiving yards or scored in those contests. It seems as though the New Orleans Saints have figured out their scheme, and Lattimore is playing like he did in his Pro Bowl rookie season.
DJ Chark said one of the ways the Saints confused them was running man 2 all day which they didn't expect. Look at the way they disguise it with pre-snap movement.
It's so simple but vs a rookie QB that's huge. pic.twitter.com/2dS993QRRb
— Tyler McLatchy (@TyMcLatchy) October 16, 2019
Allen Robinson is next in Lattimore's crosshairs. Robinson has been steady on the year, recording at least six catches and 60 yards in four of five games. He found the end zone twice in Week 5 with Chase Daniel under center, but Mitchell Trubisky should be back this week. It's hard to determine which passer would be better for Robinson, but this is a matchup we should be fading anyway.
Stephon Gilmore makes his weekly appearance here, this time matched up with Robby Anderson. Anderson exploded with Sam Darnold back, dropping 125 yards and a score on Chidobe Awuzie as the New York Jets upset the Cowboys. While that is promising for the future, the New England Patriots are allowing -0.25 Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play on the season.
Stephon Gilmore in coverage, last 22 regular/postseason games:
54.3 passer rating
That’s going against the likes of
— Tucker Boynton (@Tucker_TnL) October 11, 2019
A big part of that is their defensive front, as they rank second in adjusted sack rate on Football Outsiders. This should give Darnold minimal time to find his deep receivers, meaning Anderson could be held to under 30 yards like he was in both matchups with the Pats last season.