Week 2 WR-CB Matchups – Start/Sit WR Decisions

by Aaron Stewart · Matchups Start/Sit

Here in the RotoUnderworld, we don’t play for 4th place. We don’t play it safe. We play to win. If I analyze a player and I don’t like his matchup and he doesn’t project as a winner for the week, I’m not scared to sit him. In the tweet below, Eric is a “start your studs” type of guy. Google “lazy analysis” and that quote will show up in the top results. I don’t care if it’s Saquon Barkley or a wide receiver that the public loves, if that player doesn’t project as a winner, don’t play him. Start your winners.

Last week’s Week 1 WR-CB Matchups article had one massive correct call: sitting Robert Woods (WR46). He was my only recommended SIT in the article, but if you follow me on Twitter (@aaronstew09) you’ll receive bonus START/SIT receivers. For Week 1, my bonus SIT receiver was Chase Claypool (WR61). With momentum, I’ll be providing two receivers to sit in Week 2, along with START recommendations that can be found in the majority of fantasy football leagues’ free-agent pools.

Diontae Johnson (PIT) – SIT

Diontae Johnson was a top-10 WR in Week 1 in Target Share (31.3-percent), Hog Rate (25.0-percent), and Target Rate (37.0-percent). However, Johnson will face stiff coverage from Casey Hayward (No. 17-ranked CB) in a game that the Steelers are projected to handle with ease.

Overlooked in the Monday Night Football upset, Hayward had an excellent start to his season. On 36 (No. 22) Routes Defended, he had an 8.33-percent (No. 19) Target Rate. He blanketed the opposition and had a 29.86 (No. 9) Passer Rating Allowed.


Ben Roethlisberger in 2021 has name recognition and that’s it. In Week 1, his 62.1-percent (No. 30) True Completion Percentage and 5.9 (No. 28) Air Yards Per Attempt show a declining arm. JuJu Smith-Schuster in the slot against rookie fifth-rounder Nate Hobbs (No. 87) is the matchup I see Roethlisberger targeting instead.

The 32 (No. 21) pass attempts in Week 1 are eight fewer attempts than Roethlisberger averaged in 2020. Volume is key to fantasy points scored. In 2020, Johnson averaged 19.44 fantasy points in seven games he ran 40-plus routes. In six games (excluding injuries) that he ran under 40 routes, he averaged 14.0 fantasy points.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB) – START

Marquez Valdes-Scantling‘s 1,100 (No. 32) Air Yards and 28.6-percent (No. 31) Air Yards Share in 2020 carried over into 2021. In Week 1, His 142 Air Yards and 47.2-percent Air Yards Share rank in the top-10 among wide receivers after the opening week.

What is different was his involvement in the passing game. His 21.9-percent (No. 29) Target Share nearly doubled his 2020 share, and his 23.3-percent Hog Rate and 30.4-percent Target Rate rank inside the top-15.


The Green Bay Packers have the second-highest Implied Vegas Points this week with 29.8. Their opponent, the Detroit Lions, lost their top cornerback Jeff Okudah to a ruptured Achilles. Lions do not have a cornerback ranked inside the top-80 in the Cornerback Rankings.

Yes, the Game Script should favor the running game. But NFL teams that score more points also score more fantasy points. There is room in the receiving game to support a top-30 wide receiver this week even behind Davante Adams and Aaron Jones in the receiving pecking order.


Tee Higgins (CIN) – SIT

Similar to last week with Robert Woods, Tee Higgins finds himself matched up with Jaylon Johnson (No. 20-ranked CB). Johnson gave Woods trouble last week and saw a 14.29-percent (No. 36) Target Rate and 0.33 (No. 8) Target Separation. Can Higgins separate against Johnson? Last season, Higgins averaged 1.14 (No. 101) yards of Target Separation.


Meanwhile, Higgins’ Week 1 performance was saved by his touchdown reception. Has Ja’Marr Chase relegated Higgins to the 1B passing option with Tyler Boyd as a target-stealing No. 3? Possibly. Chase more than doubled Higgins’ 48 (No. 58) Air Yards, while Chase’s 26.9-percent (No. 12) Target Share dwarfed Higgins’ 19.2-percent (No. 41).

Back to the Bears secondary. Johnson matching up with Higgins means Chase and Boyd will face rookie Kindle Vildor (No. 77-ranked CB) and Marqui Christian (No. 120), respectively. Against a lesser cornerback in Bashaud Breeland last week, Higgins secured a 10.0-percent (No. 73) Hog Rate. Joe Burrow will not force-feed targets to him if he can’t beat Johnson.

Sammy Watkins (BAL) – START

Sammy Watkins finished Week 1 inside the top-40 wide receivers in Week 1 with a 4-96-0 stat line. The game against the Raiders was projected as a low-scoring game, but Watkins showed what his upside can be in a high-scoring game in a consolidated target system. Watkins finished Week 1 with a 30.8-percent (No. 5) Target Share and a 38.8-percent (No. 12) Air Yards Share. As more of a possession-style receiver, he finished Week 1 with 39 (No. 12) Yards After Catch.

Sammy Watkins Week 1 Opportunity Metrics

Charvarius Ward (No. 24) will be matched up with Watkins, but Watkins’ teammate Marquise Brown drew the tougher cornerback matchup against L’Jarius Sneed (No. 4). The total score for the game is set at 55.5 points, with Baltimore having 26.0 Implied Vegas Points. Also, Brown has dealt with an ankle injury this week and missed multiple days of practice.

A home team projected to play from behind is the perfect Game Script to find a top-30 wide receiver. We saw this last week with Brandin Cooks and Sterling Shepard. Factor in that this game projects as a top-2 scoring game and you have the recipe for success for Watkins.