It’s time for Week 4 WR-CB Matchups! First, let’s review last week’s results. Fading Curtis Samuel last week was a correct call as he finished with a Julian Edelman like stat line of seven receptions for 48 yards and zero touchdowns. Samuel finished Week 3 as the WR38. A touchdown by D.K. Metcalf saved his fantasy day as he caught less than half of his targets and finished as WR18 with 17.4 points. This put the Week 3 WR-CB Matchups article at 1-1.
Sterling Shepard finished with 10 targets and 98 Air Yards in Week 3, but unfortunately, his five receptions for 49 yards and zero touchdowns put him way below the WR30 mark as a recommended start. And finally, D.J. Chark was a big whiff. The game script did not go in his favor, and he finished as WR59 in Week 3. A rough 1-3 record for the series last week. With that out of the way, it’s time to look forward towards Week 4 and WR-CB Matchups to PLAY and FADE.
Let’s recap what I’m looking to accomplish in this series:
- I’m targeting players who are STARTING in over 50-percent of Sleeper Leagues to FADE. I believe that these WRs will finish outside the top-30 wide receivers for the week.
- I’m targeting players ROSTERED in less than 50-percent of Sleeper Leagues to PLAY. These are your desperate WR2 and/or FLEX plays. I believe these wide receivers will finish inside the top-30 WRs for the week.
- Players I recommend playing I would play OVER players I recommend fading.
FADE – Marquise Brown (CB Matchup: Jaycee Horn – No. 9)
Marquise Brown is coming off of his second-best fantasy football performance of his career. On the season, he’s top-10 in receiving yards, fantasy points per game, and snap share. He’s also No. 3 in targets and receptions. So why bench Marquise Brown?
The Carolina Panthers have a talented secondary led by Jaycee Horn. Horn’s Target Rate is top-20 among cornerbacks, and he has a +24.0 (No. 19) Coverage Rating. In short, Horn is not targeted much, and it’s rare that he’s on the losing side.
It’s not only the cornerback matchup that is a problem for Marquise Brown; the Panthers have a good pass defense. Only two defenses have been targeted more than Carolina AND allowed fewer passing yards. When focusing specifically on wide receivers, the Panthers are the ONLY defense to allow 70+ targets to wide receivers and allow less than two touchdowns to wide receivers.
FADE – Terry McLaurin (CB Matchup: Trevon Diggs – No. 11)
Terry McLaurin surpassed the century mark with receiving yards for the first time this season last week. He’s top-15 in Snap Share, top-10 in Air Yards, and No. 3 in Routes Run. However, his Target Share is 16.5-percent (No. 56). McLaurin’s Target Share has NEVER been below 23.0-percent in his career. Carson Wentz has no shame in opting to check down to Curtis Samuel (No. 96 in Average Target Distance) this season. So far, he certainly isn’t forcing the ball to McLaurin.
In McLaurin’s two games against Trevon Diggs and the Dallas Cowboys last season, McLaurin combined for three receptions and 40 yards (zero touchdowns) on 43 routes run. Diggs is susceptible to allowing big plays, but so far this season he has a strong Coverage Rating (+11.1, No. 34) for a third-straight season.
McLaurin is No. 47 in Target Separation (1.76) while Diggs is no. 14 in Target Separation (1.1). Diggs is No. 2 in Pass Breakups with an interception. On the other side, McLaurin is No. 30 in Contested Catch Rate. McLaurin’s best game this season saw him finish as WR24 for the week, so betting on McLaurin to finish outside the top-30 WRs in Week 4 is a reasonable bet to take.
PLAY – Nico Collins (CB Matchup: Michael Davis – No. 76)
Nico Collins, the second-year wide receiver, is this week’s under-rostered WR with top-30 upside at the position. His 15.5-percent (No. 60) Target Share is lower than one would want to see for a dart throw, but Collins does have a nine-target game this season where he exceeded 120 Air Yards. Collins is top-20 in Average Depth of Target and Yards Per Reception. All he needs is a defense susceptible to giving up big plays to wide receivers that go for touchdowns. Speaking of which…
Only three defenses have allowed more receiving touchdowns to wide receivers than the Los Angeles Chargers. Only eight defenses have allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers. The Chargers are the No. 6 defense for opposing WRs to face. They are allowing 5.7 MORE fantasy points per game than the league average.
J.C. Jackson has been limited in practice from offseason ankle surgery, and the Chargers defense took an even further blow when Joey Bosa went on IR. Michael Davis has been a subpar replacement in the secondary. His -22.7 Coverage Rating is No. 88 and his 132.0 Passer Rating Allowed is No. 76. The Texans are a home underdog team that is expected to have to pass to keep up. At 6-4 with 90th-percentile Speed Score and 95th-percentile Catch Radius, Collins is your high-upside dart throw in a favorable matchup this week.