6 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups in Week 6
On the darkest and longest days of the year, I usually put down close to a pot of coffee all by myself. A few mugs in the morning get my engine sparked, then the rest in a thermos is the fuel that helps me get through the cold, dreary days of winter peak season.
By no means would I recommend an entire pot of coffee to you as the solution for any of life’s problems; that’s a choice I make for myself. Still, you sometimes need a little kick in the pants to keep yourself motivated during the doldrums of the fantasy football season: bye weeks. With matchups getting tougher to navigate due to bye weeks and the season just under a third of the way done, I hope that this column can be the warm cup of “Joe” that wakes you up right. Let’s put a cuppa on, and put you on the path to production in your season-long, dynasty, DFS, and betting pursuits.
Which fantasy wide receivers have the best cornerback matchups in Week 6?
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 15.0 PPR fantasy points (the weekly fantasy average of the WR24 over the last six years) a hit for Lineup Locks, and a score of 9.0 (the average WR48) a hit for Good Stocks. A player with 7.0 PPR fantasy points (the average WR60) or fewer as a Smoking Crater is a hit as well.
Lineup Locks: Cooper Kupp (25.9) and Tyreek Hill (13.0). Both of our targets were in the right range and the process held up, in spite of the injury to Miami quarterback Teddy Bridgewater that severely hampered the quality of Hill’s targets. Both startable and both near the threshold with seven or more targets? I’ll take it.
Good Stocks: Davante Adams (27.4), Courtland Sutton (12.4), Garrett Wilson (5.7), and Robert Woods (7.7). Adams went over the “Stocks” mark with his first catch of the game last week, a 58-yard scoring strike. Sutton continues to be the reliable target in the Denver passing game, for whatever that’s worth right now. On a day the Jets rolled their opponents, Wilson didn’t need to be targeted more than four times. Woods was startable and did see eight targets -- the most on the team -- but he still caught only four for 37 yards in this low-ceiling, spread-out passing attack.
Smoking Craters: Parris Campbell (4.2) and Marvin Jones Jr. (17.4). Campbell remains fourth or fifth on his own depth chart, as even rookie Alec Pierce (team-leading nine targets) has passed him. I just plain got Jones wrong; there was nothing fluky here, as he earned 11 targets and led his team in looks, yards, and points in Week 5 despite Jacksonville not scoring a touchdown via the pass.
Two Lineup Locks
Tyreek Hill vs. Cameron Dantzler – We’re running it back, and by “it,” I mean the juicy matchup that Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill gets in this sequel to Week 5’s projected explosion. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and backup Bridgewater are both injured and unlikely to play in Week 6, which does mean that third-string rookie Skylar Thompson will almost certainly draw the start. That said, Hill saw a 21.9% team target share on 32 attempts last week with Thompson under center -- and that probably won’t slow down in Week 6. Based on time per play and pass rate over expected (PROE) metrics, we expect the Miami-Minnesota contest to be the fastest-paced game on the slate.
One of the primary reasons Minnesota’s contests have been so high scoring on both sides is the play of cornerback Cameron Dantzler. Dantzler -- who played as a reserve safety much of the last two years -- has been tasked with playing solely outside cornerback this season, and the experiment might be soon coming to an end. Dantzler is allowing an 18% target per coverage snap rate (65th percentile among Week 6 starting cornerbacks), gives up a catch on 74% of those targets (75th percentile), and affords his assignments 1.6 yards per coverage snap (77th percentile). In addition, it seems that Dantzler’s height and lack of speed are proving an issue for coverage: he is giving up 2.4 average yards of separation per target, which ranks 78th among qualifying cornerbacks (per PlayerProfiler).
Those are all boons for the speedy and dangerous Tyreek Hill, who should spend the most snaps covered by Dantzler (though perhaps only about 33% to 40% in total). Even a chunk of his day against this matchup should be enough for Hill to put up numbers: Hill has earned a target on 33% of his routes run (99th percentile among Week 6 starting receivers), has caught 76% of his targets (78th percentile), and makes 3.5 yards per route run (97th percentile) out of them. A full week of practice working with Thompson before his first NFL start should only benefit this connection and make Hill a great candidate for a big game
D.K. Metcalf vs. Marco Wilson – Funnily enough, we could’ve just copy-pasted the “Locks” section from last week, because the aforementioned Kupp is still in the top-two matchups this week. I wanted to give a little variety, however, so we’re firing up another NFC West receiver this week in the Seattle Seahawks’ D.K. Metcalf.
Metcalf is on a tear of three straight games with eight or more targets and 17 or more fantasy points, as this Seattle passing attack has finally learned how to cook. Metcalf comes into Week 6 seeing a 27% target rate (90th percentile) -- though catching just 65% (38th percentile) of his downfield bombs -- and is converting his workload into an impressive 2.3 yards per route run (81st percentile). The Arizona Cardinals' secondary is extremely exploitable, and this scoring environment suggests a shootout could be on the way.
That means a tall task for cornerback Marco Wilson, who remains absolutely scorched from his 2021 season to the present day. Wilson permits an 18% target rate (65th percentile), though he does defend the catch point fairly well (59% catch rate allowed; 30th percentile). Where he is beatable, however, is in the big-play department: Wilson’s 1.3 yards per coverage snap allowed (72nd percentile) suggests that Metcalf could afford a low-volume day against him and still produce for fantasy. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like we’ll have to pick between volume and value in Week 6.
Four Good Stocks
Curtis Samuel vs. Kyler Gordon – You don’t need to have faith in the Washington Commanders' offense to have faith that slot receiver Curtis Samuel will get his due in it. Samuel has above-average marks in target rate (67th percentile) and catch rate (66th percentile), and he should be a target vortex in Week 6. The Chicago Bears’ outside corners are competent, but slot defender rookie Kyler Gordon has been getting gotten. Gordon allows 86th-percentile marks across the board, so if the pass-happy Commanders want to move the ball in a likely defensive struggle, it’ll probably be through Samuel.
Randall Cobb vs. Michael Carter II – Was Week 5 the Randall Cobb breakout that Green Bay Packers fans have been waiting for? His Week 6 matchup is a pretty good spot to try to repeat the nine-target outburst. New York Jets defensive back Michael Carter II gives up an 88th-percentile catch rate when targeted and 81st-percentile yards per coverage snap despite being mainly a slot corner. Cobb’s lowest mark across all three metrics is a 66th-percentile catch rate, so the peripherals suggest continued success isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
George Pickens vs. Carlton Davis – The activation of Kenny Pickett Mode by the Pittsburgh Steelers has been a godsend for the fantasy value of wide receiver George Pickens. Over the last two games, Pickens has 12 catches (16 targets) for 185 receiving yards, topping 14 PPR points both times. His peripherals are a mess right now, but he’s starting to tick upward. Pickens also gets an incredibly soft matchup, with Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis projected to tail him most of the day. Davis has allowed a 92nd-percentile target rate and 88th-percentile yards per route run. It might be a battle, but Pickens should end up the victor.
Jauan Jennings vs. Dee Alford – We always have to throw a wild card into the mix, and that one this week is San Francisco 49ers jumbo slot Jauan Jennings. Jennings has a strange profile for a slot receiver, earning a target at a 69th-percentile rate and turning in a 61st-percentile mark in yards per route run. However, his catch rate wallows in the 24th percentile. He might not be a consistent option, but his strengths play right into Atlanta Falcons slot cornerback Dee Alford, who is four inches shorter, 40 pounds lighter, and allows 83rd-percentile marks or higher in target rate and yards per coverage snap. Jennings is worth a dice roll in deep formats or as a DFS punt.
Two Smoking Craters
A.J. Green vs. Michael Jackson – The return of Rondale Moore has made Arizona wide receiver A.J. Green an even dicier play than usual, but you really don’t want to try to overthink this situation despite the shootout potential in this clash. Green is running just over 26 routes per week (yikes), and he has a 19th-percentile target rate as his bright spot. His marks in catch rate and yards per route run are below the fifth percentile. Seattle cornerback Michael Jackson Sr. (who I believe wears two gloves) has also been one of the better perimeter defenders this year, with rates in the 76th percentile or higher across the board. Green is washed, and there’s no reason you need to put yourself on a spin cycle with him.
James Proche vs. Darnay Holmes – The Baltimore Ravens remain a surprisingly pass-positive team versus expectation (sixth by PROE, 19th by pass rate plus PROE), but James Proche is not the beneficiary. Maybe a promotion to the starting lineup will help, but so far (in a limited sample) Proche has fifth-percentile or lower rates across the board and operates out of the slot -- where tight end Mark Andrews hogs targets. His opponent this week will be slot man Darnay Holmes of the New York Giants. Holmes' only profile blemish is a 77th-percentile target rate; he allows a 22nd-percentile catch rate and 37th-percentile yards per cover snap. Don’t start Proche this week.