Wide Receiver vs. Cornerback Matchups to Target: Week 15

by Jesse Reeves ·

Among all positions in fantasy, wide receiver remains the hardest to evaluate on a week-to-week basis. Wide receivers compete with more of the same position on the field at one time. Unlike running back and quarterback, they see far less opportunity in a game. Understandably, this makes the wide receiver landscape substantially more difficult to project week in and week out. Small nuance in the way gamers evaluate week to week match-ups can be monumental. With that said, evaluating wide receiver match-ups against total team defense is obsolete. Where the true value lies is in deciphering the wide receiver versus cornerback battles that ensue from week-to-week. Using advanced stats, metrics and analytics, this series will break down the top wide receiver vs cornerback match-ups each week. Identifying these marquee match-ups will give fantasy gamers an automatic edge in their line-ups.

Julian Edelman, NE vs Darqueze Dennard, CIN

Despite New England’s recent struggles on offense, Julian Edelman has been a constant stream of fantasy production this season. He’s logged double-digit targets in eight straight games and hasn’t recorded less than 13 fantasy points since Week 4 against Buffalo. Heading into week 15, Edelman’s 27.3-percent (No. 5 among qualified wide receivers) Target Share, 90 (No. 3) Receptions, and 1,010 (No. 8) Receiving Yards rate among the best in the league. Now is not the time to overthink playing him. In fact, his matchup against Darqueze Dennard elevates him into a top-shelf play in a do or die week.

Check out Julian Edelman on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

With a plethora of injuries in the secondary, Dennard has been Cincinnati’s nickel back for the back end of this season, and a giving one at that. Dennard has 55 (No. 50) Receptions Allowed for 630 (No. 43) Yards Allowed on 335 (No. 61) Routes Defended in six games. Those 55 receptions came on 74 (No. 24) Targets Allowed culminating in a 74.3-percent (No. 85) Catch Rate Allowed to opposing wide receivers. A hefty amount of per-play production that’s earned Dennard a -24.6 (No. 84) Coverage Rating grade by PlayerProfiler standards.

From a fantasy perspective, this matchup is the perfect mixture of circumstance and opportunity that gamers look for to maximize output. Edelman averages 0.50 (No. 21) Fantasy Points Per Pass Route and 18.0 (No. 4) Fantasy Points Per Game. Dennard is only giving up 7.9 (No. 18) Fantasy Points Per Game Allowed, but that’s a skewed result of not giving up any scores in his six games played. With that said, Edelman has 15 (No. 1) Red Zone Receptions and six (No. 13) Receiving Touchdowns this season, giving him an elevated ceiling in this matchup. Lock him into your lineups and prepare for Week 16.

DeVante Parker, MIA vs Deandre Baker, NYG

The DeVante Parker breakout season is firing on all cylinders, right in time for the fantasy playoffs. Leading up to week 14, Parker had logged three straight games with 10-plus targets and 90-plus receiving yards, culminating in three straight top 24 fantasy finishes. Prior to that, he’s hit double-digit fantasy points in nine straight games, averaging 13.8 (No. 27) Fantasy Points Per Game. Consistency from Parker is a focal point this week. However, news of Janoris Jenkins‘ departure from the Giants has left Parker slated to match up against Deandre Baker and a struggling New York secondary in an outstanding matchup.

DeVante Parker Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Baker has had an inconsistent rookie season. On 339 (No. 47) Routes Defended, he’s given up 46 (No. 43) Receptions Allowed for 719 (No. 65) Yards Allowed and 6 (No. 68) Touchdowns. His 15.6 (No. 73) Yards Per Receptions Allowed on all catches have notched him a 60.5-percent (No. 31) Catch Rate Allowed. In fantasy terms, that’s amounted to 0.45 (No. 59) Fantasy Points Per Cover Snap Allowed and 2.03 (No. 67) Fantasy Points Per Target Allowed.

Given Parker’s recent surge to fantasy dominance and Baker’s propensity to allow production, this is another matchup that’s easy to get behind. However, capitalizing on the circumstance that brings Baker to the forefront is what drives this matchup. Janoris Jenkins allowed for far more flexibility on the back end of the Giants defense. So much so that Baker was only seeing an average of 54-percent of snaps over the last three games. In games where Baker has seen 80-percent or more of snaps, he’s averaging 13 fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. In short, Baker crumbles under increased playing time. With Jenkins out of the picture, Baker makes Parker a lock button play this week.

Chris Godwin, TB vs Darius Slay, DET

Without the risk of a Mike Evans smash week, Chris Godwin is an absolute lock play. Coming into Week 15 with 112 (No. 11) Targets and a 22.6-percent (No. 23) Target Share, Godwin is a weekly must-start based on opportunity alone. However, this week, he has a heightened level of viability due to an unfortunate injury to Evans. Already averaging eight targets per game, Godwin is now the only true alpha in Tampa Bays offense and the easy candidate to garner a large portion of Evans’ 23.8-percent (No 16) Target Share being left behind. He’ll do so against a struggling Darius Slay.


Slay has long been considered among the league’s elite cover corners. Earlier in the season, that notion was backed by unshakable data. More recently, however, Slay has been among the worst corners in the league. In the last four games, he’s seen an average of 10 targets thrown his way and allowed 86 yards per game on that opportunity. In fact, in the five games this season that Slay has seen 10 or more targets in his direction, he’s given up double-digit fantasy and no less than 68 yards to opposing wide receivers.

It’s easy to be excited about Slay’s overall profile from 2019. His 55.6-percent (No. 17) Catch Rate and +29.5 (No. 13) Coverage Rating are among the best at the position. Furthermore, his 45 (No. 41) Receptions Allowed for 675 (No. 59) Yards Allowed looks great on the surface. Canceling out some of the noise from earlier in the season though, gamers can see that Slay didn’t see enough volume to be exploited. Godwin’s situation without Evans coupled with Slay’s propensity to fold under increased volume make this a top play in Week 15.