6 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups in Week 10
There has got to be a better way, I thought to myself after the umpteenth pass of the rusted and gnarled blade of my shovel scraped my driveway clean of dense, wet snow. The sun hadn’t yet risen, and already my hands were numb, my cheeks were chapped, and I still wasn’t halfway done with my task. I leaned on the handle and surveyed the barren landscape painted white, wondering how on earth I was going to finish this job without straining my back in half, when my wife leaned out the garage door and pleasantly chipped in, “Hey, looks great, but why don’t you just use the snowblower?”
There is always a better way. Whether it’s using a machine to make your homemaking task easier or living below the 37th parallel north so you don’t have to deal with early November blizzards at all, there is always a way your work can be made easier – or at least quicker.
When it comes to figuring out your wide receiver options for fantasy football, this column is that better way. I can’t say we’ll always scour your fantasy driveway perfectly, but we’ll at least make sure you don’t pull a muscle when crafting your lineups. Think of us this article series as the tool to improve your own process: the advice I give will make your work easier, but you’ve got to remember to get us out of the shed.
So, press the priming fluid and pull the ripcord: which wide receivers will snow in their cornerback matchups in Week 10?
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: Tyler Lockett and Keenan Allen. Lockett (8.0) stunningly remains the third-most prolific receiver in this passing attack, and I’m beginning to think this is more permanent than a mirage. He basically split targets with David Moore, 7 to 6, and is back to deep-ball specialization. Oh, right: Allen (25.3) blew the doors off.
Good Stocks: Cole Beasley, Diontae Johnson, Hunter Renfrow, and Danny Amendola. Beasley (6.9) ran the third-most receiver routes, but ended up targeted fourth-most, scoring the fifth-most points among them. Johnson (14.1) was solid, despite a resurgence by JuJu Smith-Schuster and an insurgence by Chase Claypool. Renfrow (8.0) was close to relevant, but this passing game ran through the tight end. Amendola (14.9) was exactly what we’d hoped.
Smoking Craters: Michael Pittman Jr. and Darius Slayton. Pittman (9.6) was shockingly targeted the most on the team, despite running fewer routes than Marcus Johnson and playing behind Zach Pascal most weeks. Slayton (1.8) got shut down by Kendall Fuller, as expected.
Two Lineup Locks
Stefon Diggs vs. Patrick Peterson – This isn’t overreaction: The Buffalo Bills are truly roaring right now. Their aggressive passing attack runs primarily through wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who will get to square off with Arizona Cardinals' veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson, in what will likely end up as a Week 10 shootout.
To this point, the speedy Diggs has dominated looks in the Buffalo offense, averaging 10.1 targets a game (third-most among wide receivers) and has the seventh-highest target share in the NFL (per Player Profiler). Diggs holds a target per routes run rate of 26% (a top-five mark this week per Pro Football Focus; PFF) and he has earned 2.4 receiving yards per route run (top-eight). Only his catch rate is just above average at 72%, but we’ll forgive him for being mortal. Diggs also has the versatility to move to the slot if needed, where Peterson has played just 11% of his snaps this season. Diggs should baffle the Arizona defensive game plan.
Luckily for him, Peterson in 2020 is a mere specter of the lockdown cover corner he once was. P2 is allowing a fairly low target rate of 13% to his assignments (bottom-20) and allows a catch on just 61% of targets in his area (bottom-third). When a coverage assignment does get the ball, though, Peterson has allowed a fairly average 1.1 yards per coverage snap among Week 10 starting cornerbacks. In particular, he’s had trouble defending quicker receivers in his age-31 season, allowing an average 13.0 PPR fantasy points to Terry McLaurin, Robby Anderson, Jeff Smith, and DeVante Parker. Peterson is vulnerable, especially to Diggs’s skill set.
Davante Adams vs. Sidney Jones – You know the drill at this point. The Green Bay Packers are on a revenge tour, yada yada yada. Wide receiver Davante Adams is the only show in town for a future Hall of Fame quarterback to throw to, yada yada yada. This week, though, Adams get an even juicier matchup than usual, with Jacksonville Jaguars' cornerback Sidney Jones squaring off against him for most of the day.
Jones is part of a defense that has given up the fourth most schedule-adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. Unfortunately, he’s a large part of that equation, seeing a target on 19% of his coverage snaps (top-10) and giving up 1.8 yards per coverage snap (eighth-most). He’s actually been incredible at catch prevention when targeted, allowing just a 50% rate (bottom-five). Still, with the number of looks he draws and the yardage he gives up, it’s only a matter of time for a receiver to break one on him.
That’s exactly what Adams is looking to do this week. Adams currently maintains otherworldly 32% target per snap and 3.3 yards per route run rates (both tops among Week 10 starters), but his 79% catch rate still ranks in the top quarter of the league. His target share is 33.1% of his team’s looks (by far the best in the NFL) and he’s seeing 40% of the team’s red zone targets to boot. Fire up Adams in every format, everywhere, in Week 10.
Four Good Stocks
Terry McLaurin vs. Desmond Trufant – At this point, Detroit Lions' corner Desmond Trufant is a bigger name than he is defensive presence. Even though he’ll likely be shadowing Washington Football Team receiver Terry McLaurin, I wouldn’t be too concerned. Trufant ranks in the top-20 for target rate and in the top-third in yards per coverage snap, while still maintaining an above-average catch rate allowed. McLaurin is top-20 in both target rate and yards per route run himself, so plenty of targets and a pile of yards are within reach despite the quarterback upheaval in Washington.
JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. LeShaun Sims – Guess who’s back with a brand-new rap? It’s Pittsburgh Steelers' slot receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster; that’s who. Despite averaging just 25.7 receiving yards and under five targets a game from Weeks 3 to 6, over the last three games the man with four names has averaged nearly 10 targets per game and 81.7 yards receiving. He comes into Week 10 just average in target rate and bottom-third in yards per route run, but with a top-eight catch rate and a top-20 volume of routes run. The real sell here is a matchup with Cincinnati Bengals' corner LeShaun Sims, who allows a top-10 target rate, a top-three yards per coverage snap rate, and a top-20 catch rate.
Allen Robinson II vs. Kris Boyd – I cannot understand how Chicago Bears' receiver Allen Robinson has continued to excel despite the level of talent around him his entire career. Nonetheless, his incredible perseverance further solidifies my faith in him in a pretty good matchup with Minnesota Vikings' cornerback Kris Boyd. Boyd is bottom-half of the league in catch rate allowed, but he’s giving up top-10 marks in both catch rate when targeted and yards per coverage snap. Robinson is drawing a top-20 target rate among Week 10 receivers and has earned top-third marks in yards per route run.
Emmanuel Sanders vs. Emmanuel Moseley – The duel of the Emmanuels: it’s wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders of the New Orleans Saints… against cornerback Emmanuel Moseley of the San Francisco 49ers. Who will win? I believe Sanders. He has sneaky top-quarter marks in both target rate and yards per route run, while the latter Emmanuel (Moseley) allows top-quarter rates in both of those categories as well. A perfect fit for the perfect fight.
Two Smoking Craters
D.J. Chark vs. Jaire Alexander – Despite the Jaguars making a switch to Jake Luton under center in Week 9, wide receiver D.J. Chark still went H.A.M. Nevertheless, a matchup with shadow cornerback Jaire Alexander of the Packers looms, wherein Chark’s bottom-quarter catch rate and average yards per route run marks become suspect. Alexander is allowing a bottom-five target rate and yards per coverage snap to his opponents, meaning Chark – despite potential volume – is a potential fade candidate.
Antonio Brown vs. Rasul Douglas – I hate fading guys who are potential boom candidates, because there’s a much higher risk for the same reward. Still, I can’t shake the fact that the Buccaneers’ Antonio Brown was third on the team in targets last week, despite a ridiculous 18.5 targeted air yards (per Next Gen Stats). He’s bottom-20 in all categories among Week 10 starting receivers, has a quarterback who likes to spread the ball around, has two elite receiving teammates, and is facing the Panthers’ Rasul Douglas – who allows a bottom-20 mark in both target rate and yards per coverage snap. Wait another week on AB in most leagues.
Week 10 Potential Shadow Situations: DeAndre Hopkins (ARZ) vs. Tre'Davious White (BUF), Stefon Diggs (BUF) vs. Patrick Peterson (ARZ), D.J. Chark (JAX) vs. Jaire Alexander (GB), Travis Fulgham (PHI) vs. James Bradberry (NYG), Terry McLaurin (WAS) vs. Desmond Trufant (DET).