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By the Numbers

NFL Week 14 WR/CB Matchups and TE Analysis

by Ian Hartitz
Updated On: December 5, 2019, 4:30 pm ET

We're on to Week 14! I'll be breaking down the WR/CB matchups all season long with a focus on figuring out who could be facing shadow coverage as well as the best and worst overall situations. We'll also briefly touch on each team's TE group.

Physical data is courtesy of NFL.com and PlayerProfiler.com, alignment information is from Pro Football Focus while each WR's target share and air yard market share is provided by the fine folks at AirYards.com.



Cowboys at Bears

Cowboys Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Michael Gallup 73 205 4.51 21% 27% Prince Amukamara 72 206 4.48
Slot Randall Cobb 70 192 4.46 15% 17% Buster Skrine 70 186 4.48
Right Amari Cooper 73 211 4.42 21% 27% Kyle Fuller 72 190 4.49

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Cooper (knee) suffered a brutal low hit in Week 13, but he practiced in full all week and is fully expected to start on Thursday night. The outlook is a bit less optimistic for Amukamara (concussion), who failed to get in consecutive practices to start the week. Be sure to monitor our Week 14 Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation along with estimated and official game statuses for ever injured player.

The Cowboys have featured an eerily similar target distribution between Cooper, Cobb and Gallup since their Week 8 bye:

  • Cooper: 26 receptions-350 yards-2 TD (42 targets), PPR WR15
  • Cobb: 23-395-2 (33), WR16
  • Gallup: 22-375-2 (41), WR17

Cooper's recent history in road games has been well-documented for good reason. The Cowboys' No. 1 WR has been awful away from Jerry World:

  • 6 receptions-75 yards-0 TD (10 targets)
  • 3-36-0 (5)
  • 4-32-0 (7)
  • 5-31-0 (11)
  • 6-65-1 (9)
  • 4-44-1 (5)
  • 5-48-0 (8)
  • 1-3-0 (2)
  • 4-80-1 (7)
  • 3-38-0 (8)
  • 0-0-0 (2)

Further complicating matters is the fact that the Bears Defense is far from a pushover. They've allowed the seventh-fewest PPR per game to opposing WRs and are one of just nine defenses allowing fewer than six net yards per pass attempt.

Cooper needs to be locked in as a high-end WR2 at worse considering his unique ability to absolutely blow up when things go right. Gallup and Cobb should be slightly downgraded to upside WR3s in this below-average spot. 

TE breakdown: Jason Witten doesn't have much of a ceiling considering he's yet to surpass even 60 yards in a game this season. The Cowboys' 37-year-old TE caught his first touchdown since Week 2 on Thanksgiving, something that certainly has the potential to happen again this week against a Bears Defense that has allowed the eighth-most PPR per game to opposing TEs. Treat Witten as a touchdown-dependent borderline TE1 in this spot.

Bears Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Allen Robinson 74 220 4.56 25% 35% Byron Jones 73 199 4.48
Slot Anthony Miller 71 201 4.55 15% 20% Jourdan Lewis 70 195 4.54
Right Javon Wims 75 215 4.53 6% 10% Chidobe Awuzie 72 202 4.43

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Both A-Rob and Miller played the majority of their snaps in the slot last week. Expect to see Robinson on the outside more in Week 14 now that the Bears don't have to actively avoid stud Lions CB Darius Slay.

The Bears' No. 1 WR has been truly remarkable considering the up and (mostly) down year that Mitchell Trubisky has experienced.

Still, Robinson finds himself in a fairly tough matchup this week against a Cowboys Defense that is one of just seven units to allow fewer than 30 PPR per game to opposing WRs. Treat him as a mid-tier WR2.

And then there's Miller, who has ripped off 6-54-0, 6-77-0 and 9-140-0 performances against the Rams, Giants and Lions over the past three weeks, respectively. Only Robert Woods (99 targets), Leonard Fournette (81) and Mike Williams (69) have had more pass-game opportunities than Miller (63) without catching a touchdown. This is particularly surprising given the Bears' second-year WR scored seven touchdowns on just 54 targets as a rookie in 2018. Miller is an upside WR3 this week with the potential for more. 

Wims has posted 4-56-0, 0-0-0 and 5-56-0 lines in three games with Taylor Gabriel (concussion) sidelined this season. The second-year WR has flashed some solid route-running ability, but it's tough to expect much from the clear-cut No. 3 WR in the league's 27th-ranked scoring offense.

TE breakdown: Trey Burton (calf, IR), Adam Shaheen (foot, IR) and Ben Braunecker (concussion) are all banged up. I'd consider it a personal insult if you play either J.P. Holtz or Bradley Sowell in literally any fantasy format. 


Panthers at Falcons

Panthers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left D.J. Moore 72 210 4.42 25% 32% Isaiah Oliver 72 201 4.5
Slot Jarius Wright 70 180 4.42 9% 11% Kendall Sheffield 71 193 4.4
Right Curtis Samuel 71 196 4.31 19% 33% Desmond Trufant 72 190 4.38

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Moore has emerged as anyone's idea of a true No. 1 WR in just his second season:

  • Targets: 115 (No. 5 among all WRs)
  • Receptions: 74 (tied for No. 5)
  • Yards: 980 (No. 4)
  • PPR: 197 (No. 9)
  • PPR per game: 16.4 (No. 11)

Somehow, Moore is just 22 years old.

Week 13 saw Samuel continue to add incomplete deep balls targets to his highlight film.

Only Odell Beckham Jr. (17) and Kenny Golladay (17) have more deep ball targets than Samuel (16) that were deemed un-catchable this season (PFF).

The Falcons produced a career-worst performance from Kyle Allen back in their dominant 29-3 victory over the Panthers in Week 11. It's unclear if we should expect the Panthers to play more or less inspired after coach Ron Rivera was fired on Tuesday.

This probably shouldn't be considered a smash spot, but continue to fire up Moore as a WR1. Samuel is more of a boom-or-bust WR3. Wright has more than 40 yards in just one game this season.

TE breakdown: Greg Olsen (concussion) is tentatively expected to miss this game after seemingly being knocked out cold on the field in Week 13. This means Ian Thomas should step into a near every-down role. He functioned as the PPR TE6 with Olsen sidelined from Weeks 14-17 last season and is rightfully one of John Daigle's top waiver-wire additions of the week at the TE position.

Falcons Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Julio Jones 75 220 4.39 22% 34% James Bradberry 73 211 4.45
Slot Russell Gage 72 184 4.55 11% 10% Ross Cockrell 72 191 4.56
Right Calvin Ridley 73 189 4.43 17% 28% Donte Jackson 71 178 4.32

Projected shadow matchups: Julio Jones (shoulder) vs. James Bradberry

WR/CB breakdown: Christian Blake will replace Jones in three-WR sets if the Falcons' No. 1 WR is again sidelined.

Bradberry is never an easy matchup for anyone. This includes Julio, who has posted relatively tame 6-118-0, 5-80-0, 5-64-0, 4-28-1 and most-recently 6-91-0 lines in five shadow dates with Bradberry since 2017.

Of course, Jones still needs to be treated as an every-week WR1 if active. The eruption possibility is simply too high, particularly while he's in the middle of the single-longest scoreless drought of his career.

And then there's Ridley, who has been nothing short of spectacular in eight career games with at least eight targets:

  • 2018, Week 3: 7 receptions-146 yards-3 TD (8 targets), PPR WR1
  • 2018, Week 9: 6-71-1 (9), WR11
  • 2018, Week 12: 8-93-1 (13), WR10
  • 2019, Week 2: 8-105-1 (10), WR8
  • 2019, Week 5: 5-88-1 (9), WR13
  • 2019, Week 11: 8-143-1 (8), WR3
  • 2019, Week 12: 6-85-1 (14), WR8
  • 2019, Week 13: 8-91-0 (10), WR19

Ridley has never played the Panthers and not scored a touchdown. The Panthers have been much better against the pass (No. 7 in DVOA) than the run (No. 32) this season, perhaps making this more of a plus spot for Devonta Freeman. Still, they've proven to be a below-average defense against No. 2 WRs, ranking as the league's third-worst secondary in yards per game allowed to opposing second receivers. Fire up Ridley as a borderline WR1.

Gage has posted 8-76-0 and 5-52-1 lines over the past two weeks. Still, the expected return of Austin Hooper (knee) would likely soak up most of Gage's underneath target share. He's nothing more than a low-ceiling WR4.

TE breakdown: Hooper is tentatively expected to suit up this week for the first time since Week 10. The only concern for the PPR TE1 from Weeks 1-10 is whether or not he can continue to boast such a lofty ceiling in a game that the Falcons have a chance to lead. Overall, Hooper has caught 45 passes for 527 yards and five touchdowns with the Falcons trailing this season compared to 11 receptions for 81 yards and one score when they've been tied or ahead on the scoreboard.


Colts at Buccaneers

Colts Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Ashton Dulin 73 215 4.43 0% 0% Ryan Smith 71 189 4.47
Slot Zach Pascal 74 219 4.55 13% 21% Sean Bunting 70 195 4.42
Right Marcus Johnson 73 204 4.44 N/A N/A Carlton Davis 73 206 4.53

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Coach Frank Reich said he's hopeful to get T.Y. Hilton (calf) back at some point this season. The Colts' No. 1 WR re-aggravated his injury at practice last week. Parris Campbell (hand) is again shaping up as a true game-time decision. Limited snaps are a very real possibility for both players if they're ultimately able to suit up.

It's a shame that the week's best matchup against the Buccaneers' league-worst defense in most PPR per game allowed to opposing WRs will be wasted on the Colts, who join the Vikings, Broncos, Raiders, Ravens and 49ers as the only teams to feed their WRs fewer than 175 combined targets through 13 weeks.

Pascal is the only realistic fantasy WR in this offense at the moment. He seemed to benefit from playing a season-high 26 snaps in the slot last week, as the Colts' primary receiver (at the moment) caught 7-of-10 targets for 109 scoreless yards. Treat Pascal as an upside WR3 in this amazing spot.

Johnson is mildly intriguing as a low-salary punt on DraftKings, where he costs just $3,600. He's played a near every-down role in each of the past four games, but has showed off minimal upside with a low floor during his 1-9-0, 4-38-1, 0-0-0 and 4-55-0 performances.

Dulin has one target on 58 snaps this season and figures to work as this run-first offense's No. 4 pass-game option at best.

TE breakdown: Eric Ebron (ankle, IR) is done for the season.

Last week I said this:

"We actually have the entire 2017 season as evidence of what Jack Doyle is capable of achieving as the offense's undisputed No. 1 TE with Brissett under center. Overall, Brissett featured both Hilton (57-966-4 on 109 targets) and Doyle (80-690-4 on 108 targets) equally as the focal points of the passing game. Doyle finished 2017 as the overall PPR TE7 and should accordingly be treated as an upside TE1 moving forward."

Doyle went on to catch 6-of-11 targets for 73 yards and a touchdown -- good for the PPR TE2 of the week. Only the Cardinals have allowed more receiving yards per game to the TE position than the Buccaneers (Football Outsiders).

Buccaneers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Mike Evans 77 231 4.53 25% 37% Pierre Desir 73 198 4.59
Slot Chris Godwin 73 209 4.42 22% 23% Kenny Moore 69 185 4.52
Right Breshad Perriman 74 212 4.3 10% 13% Rock Ya-Sin 72 192 4.51

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Godwin and Evans are the PPR WR2 and WR3 through 12 weeks. Clearly they need to be treated as high-end WR1s regardless of the matchup.

Their production hasn't always come together, but Jameis Winston has proven capable of enabling both to big games at least a few times this season:

  • Week 1: Evans (PPR WR80); Godwin (WR32)
  • Week 2: Evans (WR49); Godwin (WR5)
  • Week 3: Evans (WR1); Godwin (WR64)
  • Week 4: Evans (WR10); Godwin (WR1)
  • Week 5: Evans (WR106); Godwin (WR6)
  • Week 6: Evans (WR9); Godwin (WR3)
  • Bye
  • Week 8: Evans (WR1); Godwin (WR41)
  • Week 9: Evans (WR2); Godwin (WR24)
  • Week 10: Evans (WR30); Godwin (WR25)
  • Week 11: Evans (WR33); Godwin (WR21)
  • Week 12: Evans (WR41); Godwin (WR1)
  • Week 13: Evans (WR47); Godwin (WR51)

Perriman put together his best performance of the season in Week 13, catching 5-of-6 targets for 87 scoreless yards. It marked the first time all year that the Buccaneers' field-stretching WR managed to clear even 50 yards. Don't chase this production in Week 14.

Maybe coach Bruce Arians decides to jam the ball down the throats of a Colts Defense that has been better against the pass (No. 10 in DVOA) than the run (No. 21) this season. Still, the Colts' group of CBs are both undersized and slower than each of the Buccaneers' top-three WRs.

TE breakdown: O.J. Howard had his second-most productive game of the season in Week 13, catching 5-of-6 passes for 61 scoreless yards while posting a robust 83% snap rate. Cameron Brate has just two targets over the past two weeks while playing a part-time role. Ability has never been the issue with Howard; he's the only player on the Buccaneers to average double-digit yards per target since they drafted Jameis Winston in 2015. Treat the frustrating fantasy commodity as an upside TE2 this week. 


Dolphins at Jets

Dolphins Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Allen Hurns 73 198 4.55 9% 10% Blessuan Austin 73 198 4.74
Slot Albert Wilson 69 202 4.43 11% 6% Brian Poole 70 209 4.55
Right DeVante Parker 75 209 4.45 21% 33% Maurice Canady 73 193 4.49

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Ryan Fitzpatrick took over for Josh Rosen midway through Week 6. Parker wasn't awful with Rosen under center, but he's taken his game to another level with Fitzmagic consistently giving the man Jay Cutler lovingly dubbed "Faster Alshon" double-digit targets per game:

  • Week 7: 5 receptions-55 yards-1 TD (10 targets), PPR WR15
  • Week 8: 6-59-0 (8), WR33
  • Week 9: 4-57-1 (6), WR21
  • Week 10: 5-69-0 (10), WR31
  • Week 11: 7-135-0 (10), WR10
  • Week 12: 6-91-0 (11), WR21
  • Week 13: 7-159-2 (10), WR1

Parker has earned weekly WR2 treatment, particularly against a Jets Defense that has been railroaded by WRs for the better part of 2019. Each of Darius Slayton (10-121-1), Golden Tate (4-95-2) and Preston Williams (5-72-2) managed to score multiple touchdowns on the Jets since Week 9.

Neither Hurns nor Wilson have managed to reach even 55 yards in a game this season. They're complete dart throws as the No. 3 and No. 4 pass-game options in this offense.

TE breakdown: Mike Gesicki is the real No. 2 receiver in Miami. The second-year "TE" has lined up in the slot or out wide on 78% of this snaps this season, giving Fitzpatrick another big-bodied contested-catch artist to play with. Gesicki has posted 6-95-0, 3-28-0, 4-18-0, 3-28-1 and most-recently 5-79-1 lines since October ended. Treat him as a low-end TE1 *if* stud safety Jamal Adams (ankle) is ultimately sidelined.

Jets Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Robby Anderson 75 190 4.41 17% 35% Ken Webster 71 203 4.43
Slot Jamison Crowder 68 185 4.56 22% 23% Jomal Wiltz 70 180 4.48
Right Demaryius Thomas 75 224 4.41 16% 20% Nik Needham 71 194 4.67

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Anderson had a season-high 10 targets in Week 13 with Thomas appearing hobbled at times due to his nagging hamstring injury. We've seen Anderson's ceiling before and it's beautiful. Still, his enhanced target share seemed to be more a result of Darnold throwing a season-high 48 passes than a true changing of the guard.

Crowder posted a brutal 2-8-0 line on nine targets, but he's still been the most-consistent WR in this Jets Offense during Darnold's nine starts this season:

  • Week 1: PPR WR12
  • Week 6: WR19
  • Week 7: WR64
  • Week 8: WR67
  • Week 9: WR10
  • Week 10: WR11
  • Week 11: WR14
  • Week 12: WR73
  • Week 13: WR90

I don't like Crowder's bounce-back potential this week: I love it. The Dolphins have already been steamrolled by primary slot WRs such as Jarvis Landry (10-148-2), JuJu Smith-Schuster (5-103-1) and even Crowder (8-83-1) himself back in Week 9.

TE breakdown: Ryan Griffin has showed off an enhanced floor in recent weeks, catching at least five passes in three of the Jets' last five games. Still, the PPR TE15 on the season has the toughest matchup of any pass-game option on the Jets, as CB/S Eric Rowe has actually shadowed and limited each of Eric Ebron (5-56-0) and Zach Ertz (3-24-0) this season. Treat Griffin as more of an upside TE2 in this spot.


49ers at Saints

49ers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Deebo Samuel 71 214 4.48 17% 22% Eli Apple 73 199 4.4
Slot Kendrick Bourne 73 203 4.68 10% 13% P.J. Williams 72 194 4.57
Right Emmanuel Sanders 71 180 4.41 19% 27% Marshon Lattimore 72 193 4.36

Projected shadow matchups: Deebo Samuel vs. Marshon Lattimore, Emmanuel Sanders vs. Eli Apple

WR/CB breakdown: Perhaps Lattimore will track Samuel instead of Apple. Still, the Saints have been fairly consistent about utilizing their No. 1 CB on their opposition's perceived No. 1 WR. Samuel balled out in Weeks 10-11 with Sanders playing limited snaps due to injury, but the veteran WR has out-targeted the rookie in three of his four games when playing a near every-down role.

Of course, it remains to be seen if either WR will see anything resembling a WR2-caliber workload. Jimmy Garoppolo has kept seemingly the entire offense involved behind George Kittle since getting his stud TE back over the past two weeks:

Kyle Juszczyk, Matt Breida (ankle, probable) and Dante Pettis (knee, doubtful) are additional capable pass catchers that could disrupt the offense's already-volatile target share.

Both Samuel and Sanders have flashed high-end ability when given the chance this season. Unfortunately, they find themselves in a crowded run-first offense that will have its work cut out on the road against the Saints' ninth-ranked defense in pass DVOA. Treat both as boom-or-bust WR3s.

TE breakdown: Kittle's 2-17-0 dud in Week 13 marked just the third time all season he finished with fewer than six receptions. The overall PPR TE6 through 13 weeks, Kittle earned matchup-proof TE1 treatment a long time ago.

Saints Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Michael Thomas 75 212 4.57 30% 36% Emmanuel Moseley 71 184 4.47
Slot Tre'Quan Smith 74 203 4.49 6% 8% K'Waun Williams 69 189 4.58
Right Ted Ginn 71 180 4.43 11% 30% Richard Sherman 75 195 4.6

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The absence of Sherman (knee) would be a boost for the Saints Offense, as PFF's No. 3 overall CB has largely regained his elite form in his ninth season.

Still, it's not like Thomas should be treated as anything other than a top-three WR regardless of who is lining up across from him. Week 13 marked just the first time all season that he finished with fewer than 50 yards, as Thomas caught 6-of-8 targets for 48 scoreless yards in a game that saw the Saints run just 50 total plays on offense.

Through 12 games Thomas has caught 110 passes for 1,290 yards and six touchdowns. His 16-game pace is a riveting 147-1,720-8 line, which would break Marvin Harrison's single-season record for 143 catches.

Smith hasn't cleared 15 yards or three targets in a game since returning in Week 10. Ginn has more goose eggs (3) than games with over 50 yards (1) this season. Neither are realistic fantasy options as the offense's No. 4 and 5 pass-game options in this tough matchup.

TE breakdown: Jared Cook had a bad case of the drops in Week 13, ultimately costing himself a chance to extend his touchdown streak to three games. Still, he managed to catch three passes for 85 yards anyways. Only Mark Andrews has more PPR than Cook since the Saints TE returned from injury in Week 10. Continue to lock Cook into lineups as a TE1 despite the tough matchup against the league's second-best defense in fewest PPR per game allowed to opposing TEs.

Ian Hartitz

All things NFL. Great day to be great. You can follow Ian on Twitter @Ihartitz.