6 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups in Week 11
Something people may not know about me is how much I go gaga over stand-up comedy. When I find a special that really tickles me, I obsessively quote it to anyone who will listen. I will play clips from that stand-up routine to my wife incessantly, even when I’ve played it before.
It’s really, truly because of how much I admire the effort that goes into creating a stand-up routine. Comedy is genuinely one of the most difficult and incredible styles of performance to pull off, especially since the humor relies on your personal experiences being conveyed to a group of strangers. You have to be vulnerable but cool, balanced but unhinged, opinionated but objective, and each of those is a fine line to walk.
I feel similarly about putting my fantasy football ideas into writing for you all each week. I acknowledge that this job is way easier than getting up at an open mic night, but there is still the potential to flop each time we analyze wide receiver matchups. There is a need to be personable but professional in these intros, a need to be engaging but analytical in the blurbs, and concise but thorough throughout; it’s never easy. Still, the feeling when we have one of those perfect, electric performances for your fantasy teams makes all the research and stress worthwhile.
That said, even if we bomb, we’ll get right back up the next week and try some new material. So, which fantasy wide receivers should make you giggle with glee thanks to their cornerback matchups in Week 11?
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: Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams. There’s not a lot to say about Diggs (25.3), except that Josh Allen continues to throw often and deep, and Buffalo seems to be in plenty of shootouts. Adams (18.6) was the beneficiary of double-digit home favorites Green Bay not being able to just grind out the game, thanks to poor defense and special teams.
Good Stocks: Terry McLaurin, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Allen Robinson, and Emmanuel Sanders. McLaurin (17.2) continues to thrive no matter who’s under center, and Smith-Schuster (22.7) has his groove back and is seeing over a quarter of Pittsburgh’s targets once more. Robinson (10.3) is still one of the better options for Chicago but has a lower ceiling than we’d like. Sanders (1.5) fell to third on the target chart in a game where wideouts were thrown to just 13 times total.
Smoking Craters: D.J. Chark (replaced), Antonio Brown, and Brandin Cooks (replacement on Twitter). Chark (9.6) was back in play with no Jaire Alexander for Green Bay. Brown (13.6) didn’t “go off” as still just the third-highest wide receiver scorer for Tampa Bay, but that’ll still do the trick as TB thrashed the opposition. Cooks (9.9) saw just 39 receiving yards but led the team in targets and receptions, so he got there as a startable option in PPR formats in a down week overall.
Two Lineup Locks
Tyler Boyd vs. Jimmy Moreland – You might be surprised to know that over the last month of the NFL season, Cincinnati Bengals slot receiver Tyler Boyd ranks among the top-10 wide receivers in average targets per game, with 9.3. You might also be surprised to know that he will face Washington Football Team cornerback Jimmy Moreland this week, providing another week of neutral-to-negative game script with a soft matchup.
Boyd hasn’t been a world-destroyer in 2020, with a targets per route run rate of 21% (top-third among Week 11 starting receivers -- data per Pro Football Focus) and a yards per route run rate of 1.7 (top-half). He has been incredibly reliable, however, catching 80% of his looks (a top-12 mark) and running the seventh-most routes among Week 11 starters. Volume and floor make Boyd a steady contributor.
Moreland, on the other hand, has been a wildly mediocre cover corner. He allows a target on 18% of his coverage snaps (top-quarter among Week 11 starting cornerbacks), gives up a 69% catch rate (top-third), and allows 1.3 yards per coverage snap (top-third). His permissiveness should allow Boyd’s high floor to translate to a relatively high ceiling this week as well.
Julio Jones vs. Marshon Lattimore – Julio Jones seems to be banged-up every week, and every week since coming back from injury, the Atlanta Falcons' star wide receiver continues to impress. The dominant veteran has averaged 7 receptions for over 100 yards since Week 6, scoring almost a touchdown per game, and now he gets to play in what looks like a shootout against the New Orleans Saints and cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
Lattimore would normally be a major avoid for us in this column, but this season he just hasn’t been his vintage self. The typically-shutdown cornerback has allowed a 16% target per coverage snap rate and 68% catch rate when targeted – both top-half marks among starters this week. In addition, he’s been vulnerable to the big play, allowing 1.5 yards per coverage snap – a top-quarter mark. Per Player Profiler, Lattimore has been burned on 8.9% of his targets – meaning he was five or more downfield yards from his assignment when targeted. The Lattimore Levee has burst.
Jones remains his typical dominant self, especially with no Calvin Ridley in the picture. Jones has been targeted on 22% of his routes run (a top-quarter mark), catching 80% of them (top-12), and earning 2.7 yards per route run (a top-five production mark). There is no weak point in his game right now, and this contest is lining up to be a shootout (50.0 over/under on FanDuel Sportsbook). Fire up Julio in all places.
Four Good Stocks
Amari Cooper vs. Chris Jones – Many of us have largely gone off the Dallas Cowboys since quarterback Dak Prescott's season-ending injury, but there’s reason to have faith in wide receiver Amari Cooper this week. Backup passer Andy Dalton should return for Week 11, and Cooper has averaged essentially 7 receptions (9 targets) for 71.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per full game with Dalton. For the season, Cooper has a top-25% target rate, top-third catch rate, and top-half yards per route run. Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Jones, on the other hand, has allowed top-quarter marks in target rate and yards per route run, with a top-five catch rate (85%) when targeted. I expect Cooper to bounce back big here.
Jarvis Landry vs. Cre’Von LeBlanc – Since Cleveland Browns teammate Odell Beckham tore his ACL in Week 7, wide receiver Jarvis Landry has seen an average target load of 8. While that might not seem like much, it’s a step up from the average 5.6 he had before that and could’ve been much more, given how horrendous the weather in Cleveland has been the last two outings. Things might not get clearer in the forecast for Sunday, but Landry’s top-12 target rate and top-25 yards per route run are still the only show in town. He’ll square off with Philadelphia Eagles slot cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc, who is allowing top-10 marks in target rate and catch rate, to go with a top-20 yards per route run.
Randall Cobb vs. Jonathan Jones – The one way to attack the New England Patriots secondary reliably has been through slot cornerback Jonathan Jones, who is allowing a top-five target rate and top-20 yards per route run. This is why Houston Texans slot receiver Randall Cobb is in play in Week 11, with a top-12 catch rate and roughly average yards per route run that suggests a stable enough floor for his quarterback to rely on him.
Chase Claypool vs. Chris Claybrooks – The Pittsburgh Steelers’ passing game has pushed Chase Claypool to the side lately, but the rookie could make a strong push in this game. Seventh-round rookie cornerback Chris Claybrooks of the Jacksonville Jaguars draws the start with first-rounder C.J. Henderson hitting the injured reserve. Claybrooks hasn’t allowed much in the way of target rate this year but has given up top-quarter and top-20 marks in catch rate and yards per route run, respectively. Claypool has remained efficient, with top-10 rates in target rate and yards per route run. Add in that Claypool has 4 inches and 50 pounds on his defender, and we could see some big red-zone catches or downfield high-point snares.
Two Smoking Craters
Jalen Reagor vs. Denzel Ward – The absolute worst matchup in my model for the week, Eagles rookie receiver Jalen Reagor has to contend with top Browns cornerback Denzel Ward in this one. Reagor is still not really up to speed, despite flashing potential, earning bottom-quarter marks across the board. Ward, in addition, is allowing bottom-12 marks in target rate (12%) and yards per route run (0.87), with a bottom-quarter catch rate (61%) when targeted. Ward’s 4.32 forty speed can also keep up with the speedy Reagor, so don’t expect big plays to bail out the young Eagle here.
Josh Reynolds vs. Jamel Dean – Speaking of downfield threats being nullified, the Los Angeles Rams’ Josh Reynolds should have a whale of a time trying to beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean. Dean isn’t a true lockdown corner but is allowing a bottom-20 mark in catch rate (59%) when targeted and a bottom-12 yards per route run (0.82). Reynolds is the new hotness, after drawing just as many targets as teammate Robert Woods over the last few weeks, but overall he’s still somewhat underwhelming, with his target per route run rate a below-average 40th-percentile mark (18%). Leave him on the bench for one more week while things sift out.
Week 11 Potential Shadow Situations: Marquise Brown (BAL) vs. Malcolm Butler (TEN), D.J. Moore (CAR) vs. Desmond Trufant (DET), Robert Woods (LAR) vs. Carlton Davis (TB), Jakobi Meyers (NE) vs. Bradley Roby (DEN), D.K. Metcalf (SEA) vs. Patrick Peterson (ARZ), Mike Evans (TB) vs. Jalen Ramsey (LAR).