6 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups in Week 7
Sometimes all it takes is someone else’s offhanded comment to change how you see things.
I was listening to a podcast hosted by our own head honcho, JJ Zachariason, where he mentioned that he can’t drink coffee anymore because of what it does to his system. I have experienced similar issues from drinking coffee, and while JJ has talked about this before I never associated the two things for myself. On this particular episode I was listening to, however, he mentioned that he also got a particular kind of acid reflux that I myself experience constantly, and all of a sudden it clicked. Now I’m a few weeks into my own version of a low-coffee, low-acid diet – and it’s helping immensely.
One detail of another person’s perspective can help you see a situation differently, even in fantasy football. Maybe you’re staring down a potential shootout game script, certain that it’s going to be a high-scoring slugfest, but someone reminds you that the weather is going to be windy and rainy that day. It clicks, and your thought process – even if it doesn’t flip 180 degrees – is improved by this added information.
That’s all I hope to do every week in this column: provide additional information about wide receiver vs. cornerback matchups that you can take into your DFS lineups and start/sit dilemmas that will hopefully help shift how you see things. So, which matchups in Week 7 will leave a good taste in your mouth?
One of the things I do is reflect on my process, analyzing the successes and fixing 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 17.5 PPR fantasy points (the weekly fantasy average of the WR24 over the last five years) a hit for Lineup Locks, and a score of 9.0 (the average WR48) a hit for Good Stocks. A player with 7.5 PPR fantasy points or fewer as a Smoking Crater is a hit as well.
Lineup Locks: Tyreek Hill and Calvin Ridley. I didn’t factor in the horrific weather conditions when recommending Hill (5.5 PPR fantasy points), and KC leaned on the run instead of the pass. Though he took a slight backseat to his returning teammate, Ridley (18.9) still assumed a massive role in one of the league’s most prolific passing offenses.
Good Stocks: DeVante Parker, Laviska Shenault, Jamison Crowder, and Randall Cobb. Parker (6.5) saw eight targets on the day but turned only three into catches, while Shenault (4.1) saw seven targets but caught just three for only 10 yards; sometimes the process is right, but the results aren’t there. Crowder (11.8) remains the focal point of a terrible offense. Cobb (10.7) saved his fantasy day with a touchdown but was a distant third among his team’s receivers. Sometimes the process is wrong, but the results still hit.
Smoking Craters: DaeSean Hamilton and Marvin Jones. Hamilton (0.0) saw only two targets, earning fewer points than teammate and return specialist Diontae Spencer. Similarly, Jones (2.8) saw five targets, catching just two for 8 yards.
Two Lineup Locks
Calvin Ridley vs. Jeffrey Okudah – The Atlanta Falcons remain one of the most voluminous passing attacks in the NFL, while they also have one of the most suspect pass defenses. They may just meet their matches in Week 7, as they take on the Detroit Lions in a game with the week's third highest over/under at FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Lions are a top-10 team in schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers, largely thanks to a full overhaul of their secondary this past offseason. That included the selection of cornerback Jeff Okudah in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and -- while he has tremendous potential -- he hasn’t yet lived up to the lofty draft position. Okudah has allowed a target on 20% of his coverage snaps (top-12 among Week 7 starting cornerbacks, per Pro Football Focus), has given up a catch on nearly three-quarters of his targets (top-20), and permitted 2.4 yards per coverage snap (top-three).
Although teammate Julio Jones is also in a great spot this week (now that he’s healthy), Calvin Ridley draws primary coverage from the rookie in Week 7. Ridley has been targeted on 23% of his routes (top-20 among Week 7 starting receivers), has caught 67% of his targets, and turned in 2.4 yards per route run (top-10). Keep leaning on this Falcons passing attack; that’s their path to success this year.
Kenny Golladay vs. Kendall Sheffield – On the flip side of the same matchup, we will “run it back” -- as the DFS cool kids are saying -- thanks to the vulnerability of the Atlanta secondary and potency of the Detroit passing game. Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay gets the best matchup against a Falcons cornerback as he will see Kendall Sheffield for Week 7.
If you thought Detroit was porous against fantasy receivers, Atlanta looks like a complete sieve; they rank top-five in schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game vs. the position. Sheffield has to take a good portion of the blame, as he gets targeted on 26% of his coverage snaps (tops among Week 7 starting corners), allows a 71% catch rate (top-30), and gives up 2.8 yards per coverage snap (top-three).
Golladay has to be licking his lips in anticipation of this matchup. Although he missed a few weeks with injury, he has exploded since his return to the lineup. He draws a target on 24% of his pass routes (top-10), has caught 67% of his looks, and turned those into 2.6 yards per route run (eighth best). Play a little smooth jazz for Kenny G as you lock him into lineups this week.
Four Good Stocks
CeeDee Lamb vs. Jimmy Moreland – Things look very different for the Dallas Cowboys with quarterback Andy Dalton under center, but wide receiver CeeDee Lamb should still get his in a matchup with Washington Football Team cornerback Jimmy Moreland. Lamb is catching 73% of his targets and turning them into 2.1 yards per route run (top-20 mark among Week 7 starters). Moreland has been very vulnerable in the slot, giving up top-20 rates in all production categories, including the sixth-highest amount of targets per coverage snap.
Dontrelle Inman vs. Trevon Diggs – The good options to target in Week 7 are all clustered in the same games, so we’ll make do by running it back yet again with another Football Teamer and Cowboy. Here, it’s wide receiver Dontrelle Inman taking on rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs. Inman isn’t anything special on his own -- his best mark is a 63% catch rate, good for a bottom-30 clip -- but the matchup against Diggs is tantalizing as a sneaky play. Diggs is getting targeted on 20% of his coverage snaps (top-11 mark) and allowing 1.8 yards per coverage snap (top-eight mark). Inman and teammate Terry McLaurin should both chew up the rookie.
Hunter Renfrow vs. Sean Murphy-Bunting – Las Vegas Raiders slot receiver Hunter Renfrow has been the perfect “Mendoza line” between PPR and non-PPR scoring this year -- his low yardage ceiling makes him unusable in formats that don’t reward catches. That said, he has had a high-floor and been reliable in PPR, catching 77% of his targets for 2.0 yards per route run (top-20 and top-30 marks, respectively). Against cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week, maybe his ceiling lifts a shade. SMB has allowed a 90% catch rate (second highest rate) and 1.5 yards per coverage snap (top-15), which is good news for PPR managers.
Keenan Allen vs. Tre Herndon – Speaking of unsexy slot options, Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen finds himself in a solid spot against Jacksonville Jaguars corner Tre Herndon here. Herndon allows a 71% catch rate (top-30) and 1.1 yards per coverage snap (top-half), which is more daunting than some other corners highlighted so far. That said, Allen gets targeted on 31% of his routes (tops among Week 7 starters) and has earned 2.4 yards per route run (top-12). He should be able to make this matchup work for fantasy.
Two Smoking Craters
Michael Gallup vs. Kendall Fuller – While Dallas-Washington looks good in the slot, things are a little less ideal for boundary receiver Michael Gallup against cornerback Kendall Fuller. Fuller is our top coverage corner this week, allowing a league-low 27% catch rate when targeted, preventing targets on all but 11% of his snaps, and allowing just 0.5 yards per cover snap -- all bottom-seven marks or lower. Gallup’s production metrics all fall in the bottom-third of Week 7 starters, including a very poor 11% rate of targets per route run. He’s a guy to avoid in this narrowed Cowboys target tree.
Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk vs. J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore – Put simply, this is going to be a low-scoring, ugly game between the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots. Pats outside cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore each allow a target on just 13% of their coverage snaps (bottom-20 marks), and both give up about 1.1 yards per coverage snap. Though much fault is due to quarterback play, San Fran receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk haven’t been much to write home about yet in 2020. Week 7 shouldn’t be the week they break out.
Week 7 Potential Shadow Situations: Allen Robinson (CHI) vs. Jalen Ramsey (LAR), Davante Adams (GB) vs. Bradley Roby (HOU), Will Fuller (HOU) vs. Jaire Alexander (GB), Travis Fulgham (PHI) vs. James Bradberry (NYG).