A struggle for fantasy football managers early in the season is the lack of courage to sit a player that they drafted in the early or middle rounds. Understanding that fantasy football is a game of matchups will help us make the best lineup decisions for our teams. This new weekly series will look into wide receivers that we would consider starting that are set to face coverage from top cornerbacks. If there’s an alternative WR option on the roster to start, then it’s advisable to start them over the following players that this article will recommend fading.
FADE: Amari Cooper (CB Matchup: Denzel Ward – No. 1)
TARGET: CeeDee Lamb (CB Matchup: Tavierre Thomas – No. 98)
Amari Cooper is matched up with Denzel Ward, PlayerProfiler’s No. 1-ranked cornerback, this week. Ward has allowed 46 (No. 8 among qualified cornerbacks) receiving yards through three games this season, with a 38.9-percent (No. 2) Catch Rate Allowed. Ward only allows 0.44 (No. 3) yards of Target Separation, so good luck to wide receivers attempting to shake him and gain that separation. Despite allowing a 13-target game last week against A.J. Green, he has a +66.8 (No. 2) Coverage Rating. On the season, Ward has been targeted 18 (No. 18) times, but his low 63.7 (No. 6) Passer Rating Allowed implies that he will win more battles with receivers than he loses.
Pivoting to CeeDee Lamb is the smarter play for fantasy managers this week. Lamb leads the NFL with 153 Slot Snaps. Despite being a slot receiver, Lamb has logged 119 (No. 6) Routes Run. He will be covered in the slot by Tavierre Thomas, a special teams contributor who has been thrust into Cleveland’s slot corner role due to injuries. To say that Thomas has struggled in 2020 is an understatement. His 23.1-percent Burn Rate is fourth-highest among all cornerbacks, while his 139.1 Passer Rating Allowed is only better than 11 cornerbacks in the league. Lamb averages 1.90 (No. 46) Fantasy Points Per Target, while Thomas allows 2.50 Fantasy Points Per Target. Cooper may receive more targets than Lamb this week, but Lamb will do more with each of his targets than Cooper will against Ward.
FADE: Marvin Jones (CB Matchup: Janoris Jenkins – No. 19)
TARGET: Kenny Golladay (CB Matchup: Marshon Lattimore – Rank No. 64)
Marvin Jones has faced tough cornerback matchups to start the season. Kyle Fuller and Jaire Alexander both rank in the top-12 on PlayerProfiler’s cornerback rankings. Patrick Peterson is no slouch either, being ranked in the top-40. Jones has failed to put up even a fantasy WR3 performance against any of the aforementioned cornerbacks despite receiving volume in Weeks 1 and 2 with Kenny Golladay out with injury. Jones has failed to separate, averaging 0.65 (No. 105) yards of Target Separation, or produce when targeted, averaging 1.76 (No. 59) Fantasy Points Per Target. Janoris Jenkins allows 1.30 (No. 13) Fantasy Points Per Target, also ranking in the top-20 with 10.2 (No. 14) Yards per Reception Allowed and 6.8 (No. 19) Yards per Target Allowed (6.8). In 2020, Jenkins has seen his Targets Allowed increase each week, but at the same time, his Yards Allowed has decreased each week.
After missing the first two games with a hamstring injury, Golladay returned last week to catch six passes and scored a touchdown. An 82.8-percent Snap Share and 28 Routes Run shows that Golladay is past his hamstring injury. There will not be any limitations when going against Marshon Lattimore. It feels weird to say that Lattimore is the cornerback matchup to target here, but his 2020 season has been downright horrible. His 145.8 (No. 71) Passer Rating Allowed is second-worst among qualified cornerbacks, and his 2.60 (No. 68) Fantasy Points Allowed Per Target is fifth-worst. Golladay secured a 22.6-percent (No. 20) Target Rate in his first game back from injury and averaged 2.53 (No. 16) Fantasy Points Per Target. Lattimore allows 18.6 (No. 69) Yards per Reception. On the other side, Golladay averaged 18.3 (No. 4) Yards per Reception last season. This is a wheels up situation.
FADE: A.J. Green (CB Matchup: C.J. Henderson – No. 34)
TARGET: Tyler Boyd (CB Matchup: D.J. Hayden – No. 121)
A.J. Green has struggled in his age-32 season. Despite a 20.6-percent (No. 26) Target Share, he has a -45.8 (No. 89) Production Premium, the worst mark among qualified wide receivers. Green’s 0.21 (No. 98) Fantasy Points Per Route Run and 0.88 (No. 107) Fantasy Points Per Target are also towards the bottom among qualified wide receivers.
Green’s matchup this week is with Jacksonville’s rookie first-rounder C.J. Henderson. His athleticism has allowed him to hold his own against a pair of former first-rounders in DeVante Parker and Corey Davis, as well as T.Y. Hilton. He has held his last two coverage assignments to under 50 yards and leads the league with six Pass Break-Ups. After being targeted 12 times in Week 1, Henderson has been targeted nine combined times over the past two weeks. NFL teams respect him as a starting corner by not throwing to him as much, which is smart since he has a +12.2 (No. 31) Coverage Rating. Don’t rely on an aging Green to produce in fantasy. Instead, look for his teammate Tyler Boyd to dominate in the slot.
Check out Tyler Boyd on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Boyd ranks No. 3 among all wide receivers with 34 Slot Snaps and 141 Route Run, and he has 26 (No. 9) targets on the season. He is coming off back-to-back fantasy WR1 performances against PlayerProfiler’s No. 98-ranked cornerback in Tavierre Thomas and the No. 89-ranked Cre’Von LeBlanc. D.J. Hayden ranks No. 121 out of 125 cornerbacks. He has a 141.7 Passer Rating Allowed and gives up 3.50 Fantasy Points Per Target, both in the bottom-10 among all cornerbacks. Hayden is incapable of keeping the wide receiver in front of him; he allows 2.20 yards of Target Separation and has given up a league-high three touchdowns.