Wide Receiver-Cornerback Matchups to Target: Fantasy Football Week 9

by Aaron Stewart · Matchups Start/Sit

For Week 9, we’re back to looking at favorable wide receiver-cornerback matchups. Last week’s slate of games was a reminder that weather must be considered when projecting game flow and the volume of pass plays. Other considerations taken into account for Week 9 are the Implied Vegas Points of NFL teams and which wide receiver on a team has the more favorable cornerback matchup in high-scoring games.

Will Fuller (CB Matchup: Sidney Jones – No. 32)

A safe bet for fantasy production is to look at the O/U in a given game. This week, the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars have a projected total exceeding 50 points. Last week, Jaire Alexander contained Will Fuller to three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown on six targets. The 12.5 fantasy points are the lowest that Fuller has scored this season besides a Week 2 performance in Baltimore where he got injured in the game and finished without a target. He has a WR3 floor that he lacked in previous seasons, and has the upside in a high-scoring matchup to log his third top-10 wide receiver fantasy performance in his last five games.

Remaining injury-free to this point of the season has allowed Fuller to reach his fantasy football potential. His dominance is represented in his +26.7 (No. 6 among qualified wide receivers) Production Premium and 28.4-percent (No. 18) Dominator Rating. His 4.32 (99th-percentile) 40-Yard Dash speed is on full display this season. He has 408 (No. 9) Completed Air Yards and a 37.3-percent (No. 8) Air Yards Share of the Houston Texans offense. Along with dominating opposing cornerbacks through the air, he has seen his red-zone usage increase. His 24.2-percent (No. 17) Red Zone Target Share doubles his 14.3-percent mark from last year.

Check out Will Fuller on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

Sidney Jones has started the last three games for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the results have been mixed. In Week 6, he allowed seven receptions for 114 yards on 10 targets. He had his best performance the week before that, allowing two receptions for 12 yards on six targets as Fuller’s primary coverage. Jones’ sample size is too small for his stats to qualify among cornerbacks, but his 14.5 Yards Per Reception Allowed is a problematic stat when matching up with a deep threat such as Fuller.

Among qualified cornerbacks, Jones has allowed a 26.0-percent (No. 29) Target Rate. Quarterbacks aren’t afraid to throw the ball towards him and test him. This is due toe presence of C.J. Henderson, who will be Brandin Cooks‘s primary coverage, on the other side of the field. Henderson has 196 (No. 51) Routes Defended to 73 for Jones. Despite this, Henderson’s 0.30 (No. 30) Fantasy Points Allowed Per Cover Snap and 7.2 (No. 20) Yards Per Target Allowed are better than his cornerback teammate. Henderson’s 19.9-percent (No. 41) Target Rate is 6.1-percent less than Jones’ mark. In a high-scoring game between AFC South rivals, Fuller has better odds of producing the most fantasy points in the Texans passing offense.

Marvin Jones (CB Matchup: Kris Boyd – No. 103)

I have to admit that I have PTSD from mentioning Marvin Jones in this article based on his performance this season, especially during the first two weeks. A touchdown in Week 2 prevented him from scoring under 10.0 fantasy points in each of the first five games despite Kenny Golladay missing the first two. Since then, he has scored 13.0 or more fantasy points in both of his games and had his two best showings as it relates to Air Yards. Golladay is out for this game. The O/U is set at 52.5 points, with the Lions playing in a dome as four-point underdogs. Will Jones capitalize on the vacated targets left behind by Golladay? If so, why didn’t he in Weeks 1 and 2?

Addressing the latter of the two questions, it’s important to put context to Jones’ Week 1 and Week 2 matchups. In Week 1, his primary coverage was Kyle Fuller. In Week 2, his primary coverage was Jaire Alexander. Both cornerbacks are ranked inside the top-20 in PlayerProfiler’s cornerback rankings. Fortunately for Jones, Minnesota’s primary coverage for him is Kris Boyd, who draws the start with the Vikings missing most of their cornerbacks due to injuries. Boyd has not registered enough snaps to qualify in cornerback rankings stats, but his -17.3 Coverage Rating, 2.50 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Target, and 13.4 Yards Per Reception Allowed are near the bottom among all cornerbacks.

Kris Boyd 2020 Opportunity, Productivity & Efficiency Metrics

A proper evaluation of this wide receiver-cornerback matchup must mention the potential lack of Matthew Stafford in this game. Stafford, who is on the COVID-19 list due to close contact, would be replaced by Chase Daniel, who displayed passing tendencies in 2019 that would favor Jones for this game. In 2019, Daniel started back-to-back games in Weeks 4 and 5 for the Chicago Bears. In those games, he threw 60 passes, with 15 (25-percent Target Share) going to his 6-2, 220-pound split end wide receiver, Allen Robinson. This weekend, Daniel would throw to a 6-2, 200-pound split end wide receiver in Jones.

The 2019 Chicago Bears had little wide receiver competition for Robinson, similar to the Detroit Lions in this game. Robinson and Jones compare to each other athletically with similar Speed Scores, Agility Scores, and Catch Radii. Robinson finished with two top-20 performances in the two games started by Daniel. Jones showed last year that he can produce when peppered with targets. He had four performances in 2019 with a Target Share of 24.0-percent or greater, finishing with three top-12 performances in those games.

Adam Thielen (CB Matchup: Desmond Trufant – No. 119)

As previously mentioned, the Lions-Vikings game is projected to be high-scoring and will be played in a dome. Adam Thielen’s primary coverage, Desmond Trufant, missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. On top of that, this is Trufant’s second hamstring injury on the season. His health will be an issue when it comes to stopping Thielen, who averages 17.5 (No. 13) Fantasy Points Per Game.

At a first glance, Minnesota’s 29.1 (No. 32) Team Pass Plays Per Game does not bode well for their pass-catchers. However, Thielen dominates the targets with a 29.1-percent (No. 6) Target Share. Not only does he have a large Target Share, but he also has a 43.0-percent (No. 3) Air Yards Share. What he lacks in volume with 53 (No. 20) targets, he makes up for with efficiency, averaging 0.60 (No. 4) Fantasy Points Per Route Run.


On 36 Routes Defended this season, Desmond Trufant has allowed a 36.1-percent Target Rate and -80.2 Coverage Rating. He hasn’t played enough this season for his stats to qualify, but if they did, both aforementioned stats would be bottom-10 among all cornerbacks. Trufant’s cornerback teammate Amani Oruwariye projects to defend the other Minnesota starting receiver, Justin Jefferson. Oruwariye has a mark of 0.29 (No. 26) Fantasy Points Allowed Per Cover Snap and a 58.7-percent (No. 20) Catch Rate Allowed. By no means is he a shutdown cornerback, but Kirk Cousins is less likely to throw towards him versus throwing towards Trufant and his lingering hamstring issues.