It’s Week 7, which means it’s time to talk about which wide receivers have the best cornerback matchup in games this week. This is not a start/sit article because these three wide receivers are automatic starts for their fantasy managers. However, if an opponent has these players in their lineups, prepare for a rough week because they are positioned to go off.
Calvin Ridley (CB Matchup: Jeff Okudah – No. 115)
Calvin Ridley leads all qualified wide receivers with 828 Air Yards, having an almost identical amount of Completed Air Yards (431) and Unrealized Air Yards (397). This is a product of Atlanta averaging 43.0 (No. 4) Team Pass Plays Per Game, attributing to the defensive struggles the Falcons have endured this season. Ridley averages 2.48 (No. 14) Yards Per Route Run and 0.55 (No. 12) Fantasy Points Per Route Run. Despite an in-season coaching change, his role in the offense remained unchanged. He ran 38 routes last week, which was the second-most he has run in a game this season, and finished as WR10 despite teammate Julio Jones receiving more targets and finishing as WR2 on the week.
Jeff Okudah is the equivalent of an open door to wide receivers he covers. On the season, he has allowed 294 receiving yards on 138 Routes Defended. To put in perspective how bad he has been this season, there are only four cornerbacks that have more Routes Defended that have allowed more yards per route defended than Okudah’s 2.13 mark. Ridley is not unstoppable. He was held without a catch against Jaire Alexander in Week 4 and finished as WR25 the week prior while matching up with Kyle Fuller. Both of those cornerbacks ranked in the top-20 of PlayerProfiler’s cornerback rankings though. Ridley has finished as a top-10 wide receiver in each of the four other games the Falcons have played, and Okudah is near the bottom of the cornerback rankings.
D.K. Metcalf (CB Matchup: Dre Kirkpatrick – No. 113)
D.K. Metcalf was called a draft bust before the season. Metcalf averages an absurd 22.5 yards per reception, which leads qualified wide receivers, and has a 44.0-percent (No. 3) Air Yards Share on an unleashed Russell Wilson passing offense. He has recorded 92 receiving yards or more in each game this season and made defending NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore look pedestrian back in Week 2. His 132.2 Air Yards Per Game ranks No. 2, and he has a +43.1 (No. 4) Production Premium. Metcalf’s impressive season is a result of an increase in his efficiency, not his volume. His 7.8 targets per game ranks No. 18, but he’s in the top-12 with 2.74 (No. 7) Yards Per Route Run, 0.55 (No. 12) Fantasy Points Per Route Run, and 2.55 (No. 7) Fantasy Points Per Target.
Metcalf’s primary coverage, Dre Kirkpatrick, allows 0.23 (No. 11) Fantasy Points Per Cover Snap and 6.8 (No. 8) Fantasy Points Per Game. Kirkpatrick has allowed a 16.5-percent (No. 14) Target Rate on 176 (No. 33) Routes Defended. In the four games where he has played 65-percent of the snaps or more, Kirkpatrick has been the primary coverage for Dontrelle Inman, Kenny Golladay (first game back from injury), Jeff Smith, and Amari Cooper (first game with Andy Dalton starting at quarterback). In other words, Kirkpatrick has yet to face a great wide receiver in a position to succeed. Kirkpatrick only allows 4.8 targets per game, and Metcalf is not a target hog. Still, he has scored 19.2 (No. 12) and 14.6 (No. 26) fantasy points in the two games where he’s drawn fewer than eight looks.
Robby Anderson (CB Matchup: Patrick Robinson – No. 92)
Matt Rhule, the former Temple coach, has unlocked his former Temple player Robby Anderson, who has excelled in his high-volume role this season. Anderson has converted 53 (No. 7) targets into 40 (No. 4) receptions, 567 (No. 2) receiving yards, 348 (No. 7) Completed Air Yards, and 219 (No. 4) Yards After Catch. Anderson is also efficient with his volume, averaging 0.49 (No. 22) Fantasy Points Per Route Run and 2.74 (No. 8) Yards Per Route Run. He has drawn eight or more targets in four games, recording over 90 Air Yards in each and finishing no lower than WR18 for the week. One performance was back in Week 2 while being covered primarily by Carlton Davis, PlayerProfiler’s No. 13-ranked cornerback.
Check out Robby Anderson on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Patrick Robinson is far from being on Carlton Davis’ level as a cornerback. In the New Orleans Saints’ last game, Robinson’s primary coverage was Jalen Guyton, who turned seven targets into five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Robinson has only played significant snaps in the last two games for the Saints this season. Wide receivers have had their way against him in those games. Among cornerbacks with at least 50 Routes Defended, he ranks bottom-30 with 0.47 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Cover Snap, 2.20 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Target, and 15.1 Yards Per Reception Allowed. Robinson, as mentioned earlier, struggled to contain Guyton and his 4.44 (83rd-percentile) 40-Yard Dash speed. Good luck stopping Anderson and his 4.41 (91st-percentile) 40-Yard Dash speed.