Week 5 is here and it’s time to look at weekly wide receiver-cornerback matchups for fantasy football. This week’s purpose is to use PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats and metrics to identify which wide receivers have the most favorable cornerback matchups. All three wide receivers mentioned are already in starting lineups, but we believe they each have top-5 upside in fantasy football this week because their opposing coverage is outmatched.
Tyler Lockett (CB Matchup: Jeff Gladney – No. 123)
Tyler Lockett’s two-catch, 39-yard game from last week shouldn’t worry fantasy football gamers. Last week’s game was an outlier for Lockett, who ranks top-12 among qualified wide receivers with 148 (No. 10) Routes Run and a 25.2-percent (No. 12) Target Share. He excels playing on the outside, but he also utilizes his 4.40 (92nd-percentile) speed and 10.96 (80th-percentile) Agility Score to overwhelm nickel backs in the slot. He has a 2.30 Target Separation (No. 8) mark, and only eight wide receivers in the NFL average more yards per reception than Lockett while playing in the slot for at least 60.0-percent of their snaps. He’s also a member of a group of seven qualified wide receivers that average 10.0 or more Slot Fantasy Points Per Target.
Matching up against Lockett this week in the slot is Jeff Gladney, a rookie cornerback taken in the first round of this past April’s draft. Gladney is credited with allowing the most yards per route cover (2.46) according to PFF. Lockett averages 0.54 (No. 14) Fantasy Points Per Route Run and 37 (No. 16) Routes Run per Game. There are 30 cornerbacks with a higher Slot Rate than Gladney’s 25.8-percent mark. Of those cornerbacks, only four allow more than the 14.8 Yards per Reception that Gladney does. Good luck stopping Lockett in the slot.
Keenan Allen (CB Matchup: Patrick Robinson – No. 109)
Seven wide receivers average 10 or more targets per game entering Week 5. Five of those seven are the top-five leaders in Fantasy Points per Game at the position. Keenan Allen is the lowest scoring member of that group, averaging 17.2 (No. 18) Fantasy Points per Game. Not only is Allen ranked No. 5 with 160 Yards After Catch, he also ranks No. 5 with 270 Unrealized Air Yards. The explanation for this is simple. An early quarterback change to rookie Justin Herbert caused the need for the QB-WR duo to build chemistry on the go. This is further seen with Allen’s low 6.89 (No. 67) Target Accuracy mark and 4.7 (No. 84) Target Quality Rating. Don’t worry, Allen fantasy managers. He is receiving volume and has a 36.6-percent (No. 6) Target Rate on the season. Furthermore, his Target Rate with Herbert under center is HIGHER at 39.8-percent.
Check out Keenan Allen on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Matching up on the other side of Allen is Patrick Robinson, who started his first game in two years last week filling in for the injured Marshon Lattimore. In 2019, Robinson allowed the third-highest Passer Rating when targeted, and his 2.24 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Target was top-20 among all cornerbacks. His poor play resulted in a -43.2 Coverage Rating, a bottom-20 rank among all cornerbacks. Last week’s performance was better across the board when compared to last season, but a one-game sample size against Marvin Jones is not the measuring stick that should be used when deciding if Robinson can help contain Allen this week.
DeAndre Hopkins (CB Matchup: Pierre Desir – No. 99)
A preseason hamstring strain caught up with DeAndre Hopkins last week. He barely practiced all week and it resulted in his worst performance of the season: seven catches for 41 yards with zero touchdowns. His other three games were top-10 fantasy performances. On the season, he is top-5 in a number of volume categories with 154 (No. 5) Routes Run 46 (No. 3) targets, and a 34.3-percent (No. 2) Target Share. The big concern going into the 2020 season for Hopkins was his lack of chemistry with his starting quarterback Kyler Murray due to the offseason trade and COVID-19 pandemic. With an 8.53 (No. 5) Target Accuracy mark and a 93.5-percent (No. 9) Catchable Target Rate, that hasn’t been a problem a quarter of the way through the season. Hopkins has practiced in full this week and looks forward to his matchup.
Pierre Desir looked foolish on Thursday Night Football against the Broncos last week. He was responsible for allowing six receptions on seven targets that went for 109 yards total. On top of that, he gave up two touchdowns to the Brett Rypien-led Denver Broncos. Desir allows wide receivers to convert everything thrown at him (13 receptions on 14 targets) because he can’t cover. His 92.9-percent Catch Rate Allowed is the worst among cornerbacks that have been targeted more than three times. Wide receivers covered by Desir average 3.14 yards of Target Separation Allowed when the pass arrives at the wide receiver. That will prove problematic for Desir once again this week with Hopkins averaging 2.04 (No. 23) yards of Target Separation.