By leveraging our play-by-play data, we are able to identify defensive schemes and where each wide receiver and cornerback line up for each game. By tracking these WR / CB matchups, including potential shadow situations, we can offer the best projections, rankings, sit / start decisions and fantasy advice every week. Fantasy football is a weekly game, so knowledge of matchups can also help you make the best waiver thread picks.
Below are the recipients with the best and worst match 2 in week 2 as well as the corresponding fantasy effect. To see the primary defenders and the top three wide receivers for each team will see this weekend, check out our weekly WR vs. CB Cheatsheet. Note that unless otherwise stated, references are adjusted to where the teams rank in statistical categories, per. Struggle to avoid distortion due to bye weeks.
Bears ‘Allen Robinson II and Darnell Mooney vs. Bengals’ Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple
The Bengals upset the Vikings in Week 1, but that was despite allowing a 22-250-2 receiving line to Minnesota wide receivers. Yes, the 59 fantasy points allowed for the position (third most) were partly related to heavy volume in an overtime game, but even if we adjust for it, the sixths were the worst.
Trae Waynes was put on the sidelines for that game and is expected to be out again in Week 2, meaning Awuzie (6-83-0 receiving line allowed in Week 1) and Apple (7-79-1) will once again handle perimeter tasks, with Mike Hilton (7-58-1) in the castle. Hilton is a quality vending machine corner, but he was targeted at a hefty 31% (10 in total) of his coverage photos in Week 1. Robinson (57% circumference) and Mooney (62%) align themselves across the formation and will see plenty of all three corners. Both need to be upgraded.
Bengals ‘Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd vs. Bears’ Jaylon Johnson, Kindle Vildor and Marqui Christian
Concerns about Chicago’s cornerback room were expressed in this column last week, and there was so much uncertainty that two of the expected top-three corners ended up not playing a single snap in the team’s Week 1 loss to the Rams. That game did not go so well for the group as the Bears handed over the fifth most fantasy points to the wide receiver position in the opening week.
It included the fifth most for slot recipients, this is where Boyd (92% slot in week 1) will meet Christian – a security who has been tasked with manning the slot machine to Chicago. Christian was covered for 21 plays on Sunday night and allowed a terrible 5-85-2 receiving line on six goals. Chase (90% circumference) and Higgins (69%) will work from the outside against young Johnson and Vildor. All three Bengals wideouts should be upgraded and are viable fantasy starters.
Packers ‘Davante Adams, Allen Lazard & Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. Lions’ Amani Oruwariye, Ifeatu Melifonwu & AJ Parker
The Packers’ offense comes from a very tough Week 1, but is well positioned for a rebound at home against Detroit this week. The Lions came into the season with one of the league’s most shocking corner kick situations, and we saw the matches in play in Week 1 as they allowed the third biggest fantasy points for perimeter receivers. And that was with Jeff Okudah in the lineup. The election in the first round in 2020 tore his Achilles and is out of season. It moves third-round rookie Melifonwu (12 career-snaps) into a completely downward role against Oruwariye, who struggled poorly in Week 1. The Lions only faced 61 passing routes and 16 goals at the 49ers’ wideouts, but allowed a 12-219- 2 receiver line. Udrafted rookie Parker was not targeted in coverage in his pro debut, but is still a big question mark. Adams (63% circumference), Valdes-Scantling (52%) and Lazard (54%) were Green Bay’s biggest wideouts in Week 1 and will benefit in style in Week 2.
The Cardinals’ AJ Green vs. Vikings’ Bashaud Breeland
It is rare these days to find a team that adjusts its wide receivers in the same position throughout the majority of the game. The Cardinals are an exception, with Green adjusting on the right perimeter receiver 93% of the time in Week 1 and DeAndre Hopkins on the left side on 81% of his routes. Minnesota, meanwhile, adjusted Patrick Peterson in the right corner and Breeland in the left corner on 100% of their coverage snaps in Week 1. This week it will mean a showdown between Hopkins and Peterson (revenge play!) On the one hand and Green and Breeland on the other. other. Breeland was selected early and often in Week 1, when Joe Burrow targeted him 38% of the time he was in coverage. Breeland did not turn out well, allowing a 6-122-2 receiving line on nine goals. That equates to 30 fantasy points – most among defenders for the week. Maybe Breeland will play better in his second game with the team, but Green looks like an exciting sleeper. Peterson, meanwhile, was only targeting three of his 30 coverage shots and allowed a 2-24-0 receiving line in Week 1. We never bench Hopkins, but this seems to be a tougher matchup than usual.
Other notable upgrades:
Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr. and Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. Texans’ Vernon Hargreaves III and Terrance Mitchell
Vikings ‘Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen vs. Cardinals’ Marco Wilson and Robert Alford
Patriots ‘Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne vs. Jets’ Bryce Hall, Michael Carter II and Brandin Echols
Seahawks ‘DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett vs. Titans’ Janoris Jenkins, Kristian Fulton and Elijah Molden
Bills’ Stefon Diggs Vs. Dolphins’ Xavien Howard (shadow)
Bills ‘Emmanuel Sanders vs Dolphins’ Byron Jones (shadow)
When these teams met in Week 17 last season, Howard Diggs overshadowed 20 of his 26 routes, including all 17 perimeter routes. Diggs did not have the big problems in the game and put a 7-76-0 receiving line on eight goals (5-55-0 on five goals against Howard). Despite Digg’s success in the small test, he still has to face one of the league’s best corners in Howard. Miami had some trouble with New England’s crowded WR room in Week 1, allowing the seventh fewest imaginations to point to the position. Howard was fantastic, allowing a 2-11-0 receiving line on 36 cover shots. Expect Diggs to see plenty of Howard this week and lower expectations a bit. Sanders was Buffalo’s clear No. 2 perimeter receiver in Week 1 (his 50 routes followed Cole Beasley with three for most of the team’s wideouts), and he adjusted outside 68% of the time. With Howard on Diggs, Sanders will see Jones on about two-thirds of its routes. He should also be downgraded, whereas Beasley can upgrade inside against Nik Needham.
WFT Terry McLaurin and Dyami Brown vs. Giants ‘James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson
When these teams met last season, Bradberry McLaurin overshadowed the second half of the Week 6 meeting and throughout the Week 9 game. McLaurin sent good receiving lines (7-74-0 and 7-115-1) in both games, though much of it came in two big games against Blake Martinez. McLaurin was covered by Bradberry on 40 of his routes and posted a 7-58-0 receiving line on seven goals. McLaurin may not be in the shadows this week since the Giants upgraded to Jackson on their second corner. McLaurin adjusted outside on 68% of his routes in Week 1, so he will see plenty of Bradberry (87% circumference) and Jackson (97%) in this one. It’s a tough matchup, especially after the Giants allowed the third-best fantasy points to the perimeter in Week 1 (Courtland Sutton was held to a 1-14-0 receiving line on 31 routes). Lower expectations for McLaurin, as well as rookie Brown on the other hand.
There are not many clear, sharp perimeter matches this week, but week 2 will definitely be highlighted by lots of exciting showdowns in the slot machine. So instead of forcing some extra hard matchups, here’s a quick look at the biggest downgrades (as well as some upgrades) in the slot machine.
Downgrade Rams ‘Cooper Coup vs. Colts’ Kenny Moore (slot)
The Colts’ primary castle corner is also their best corner. Moore adjusted within 79% of the time and was targeted at just 13% of his coverage snaps against Seattle. Coup (63% slot) will have their hands full and should be downgraded.
Downgrade Colts ‘Zach Pascal vs. Rams’ Jalen Ramsey (slot)
Pascal is fresh on a two-TD debut in Week 1, but the Colts’ player (inside 92% of the time) will see plenty of Ramsey in Week 2. Ramsey moves everywhere, so it will not be a full-time matchup, but he adjusted internally on 50% of this coverage snap against Chicago. No team handed out fewer points to the spot than the rams in Week 1. Consider avoiding Pascal in your flex this week.
Downgrade Jaguars’ Laviska Shenault Jr. vs. Broncos’ Bryce Callahan (slot)
Shenault scored eight goals in Week 1, but we will have to lower expectations against Denver. Underrated Callahan (100% slot) was his usual productive self against the Giants, as the Broncos allowed the second most fantasy points to the perimeter, but sixth least to the slot machine.
Downgrade Browns ‘Jarvis Landry vs. Texans’ Desmond King (slot)
Houston allowed the eighth most fantasy points to wide receivers in Week 1, but much of it was in garbage time. King has been one of the league’s best cornerbacks since joining the league and allowed just four catches for 28 yards on 45 cover shots in Week 1. Landry (50% slot in Week 1) will work more inside if Beckham is back this week .
Downgrade Giants’ Sterling Shepard vs. WFT’s Kendall Fuller (slot)
Shepard came up big with a 7-113-1 receiving line in Week 1, but he has a tough showdown with Fuller in Week 2. Granted, Fuller struggled a bit on his return to the spot last week, but we know he’s one of The better corners of the league. Shepard (69% slot) will see plenty of him on Thursday.
Downgrade Cowboys ‘Cedrick Wilson vs. Chargers’ Chris Harris Jr. (castle)
Wilson stepped in for an injured Michael Gallup and adjusted in the slot machine on 84% of his routes in Week 1. Harris, meanwhile, remains Charger’s primary player and worked inside 86% of the time in Week 1. The 32-year-old is a of the best game receivers in the league over the last decade, as far as news of Wilson’s sleeping appeal is concerned.
Upgrade Charger ‘Keenan Allen vs. Cowboys’ Jourdan Lewis (lock)
On the other side of the game, we have Allen (68% place in week 1) facing Lewis (92%). Dallas battled the slot machine in Week 1, handing the seventh most fantasy points to the position as well as the sixth most to receivers overall. Allen will see a bit of Anthony Brown, and although he may be overshadowing Mike Williams, perhaps Trevon Diggs. Incidentally, Diggs shut down Mike Evans in a shadow role in Week 1, so Williams is in danger of a downplay.
Upgrade Falcons ‘Russell Gage vs Buccaneers’ Ross Cockrell (slot)
Sean Murphy-Bunting is on injured reserve, which means Cockrell is the next man up in the slot machine. Although Jamel Dean was the one Dak Prescott most often chose in week 1, Cockrell is the inferior player, so we should also expect an increase in production for Gage (57% slot in week 1) and maybe Kyle Pitts (16 if his 30 routes were towards corners in week 1).
Upgrade Steelers ‘JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. Raiders’ Nate Hobbs (slot)
Hobbs manned the pitch for Las Vegas Monday night football. The fifth-round rookie was only asked to handle 16 cover shots, but that number is rising against the ’11 ‘-happy Steelers. It’s a good place for Smith-Schuster (76% place in week 1).