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By the Numbers

NFL Week 2 WR/CB Matchups and TE Analysis

by Ian Hartitz
Updated On: September 12, 2019, 8:24 pm ET

Bills at Giants

Bills Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left John Brown 70 179 4.34 Janoris Jenkins 70 193 4.46
Slot Cole Beasley 68 177 4.54 Grant Haley 69 190 4.44
Right Zay Jones 74 201 4.45 Deandre Baker 71 193 4.52

Projected shadow matchups: John Brown vs. Janoris Jenkins

WR/CB breakdown: Smokey is in another smash spot against a Giants Defense that allowed Dak Prescott to throw for 405 yards and four touchdowns in Week 1. Further analysis revealed that three of Prescott's scores were to wide open receivers, indicating the Giants' already-underwhelming secondary is also struggling with communication.

Both Brown (10 targets) and Cole Beasley (nine) were significantly more involved than Zay Jones (five) last week. Smokey simply holds the higher ceiling of the group thanks to his status as Josh Allen's primary field-stretcher. There's even reason to believe that Brown could boast a higher floor than we've grown used to seeing in past seasons, as the Bills complemented his typical bombs down the field with several shorter high-percentage targets.

TE breakdown: The Bills utilized a three-headed committee at TE with starter Tyler Kroft (foot) sidelined. This is a situation to avoid in fantasy leagues of all shapes and sizes.

Giants Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Cody Latimer 74 215 4.44 Levi Wallace 72 179 4.63
Slot Sterling Shepard 70 194 4.48 Taron Johnson 71 192 4.5
Right Bennie Fowler 73 217 4.52 Tre'Davious White 71 192 4.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Bills didn't have stud CB Tre'Davious White shadow Robby Anderson in Week 1, so it seems unlikely they'll ask him to travel against the Giants' underwhelming crop of receivers. Note that Sterling Shepard is in the concussion protocol and would likely be replaced by recently-signed WR/preseason stud T.J. Jones.

Even if Shepard is active, he's a thin play against the Bills' beastly secondary. They joined the Colts, Jaguars, and Vikings as the only defenses to allow fewer than 30 DraftKings points per game to the WR position in 2018.

TE breakdown: Evan Engram caught 11-of-14 targets for 116 yards and a short touchdown in the Giants' Week 1 loss to the Cowboys. This week's matchup is considerably tougher against a Bills Defense that allowed a league-low 34 yards per game to the TE position in 2018. Still, it's impossible to call Engram anything other than a high-end TE1 as long as he keeps working as the offense's No. 1 pass-game option: Engram has racked up 131 targets, 82 receptions, 1,002 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 career games without Odell Beckham Jr. since entering the league in 2017.

49ers at Bengals

49ers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Deebo Samuel 71 214 4.48 Dre Kirkpatrick 74 186 4.57
Slot Richie James 69 185 4.48 B.W. Webb 70 184 4.51
Right Marquise Goodwin 69 183 4.27 William Jackson 72 189 4.37

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: First, a moment of silence for Dante Pettis truthers and fantasy owners alike.

Okay, let's move on.

The only sure thing in the 49ers' passing game at the moment is George Kittle. The rest of the group was a bit of a mixed bag last week.

Further complicating matters is the potential return of Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back).

James is set up best in the slot against career-journeyman B.W. Webb, but every WR in this offense is best approached with extreme caution until we have any idea as to who is viewed as the lead option.

TE breakdown: Kittle had not one, but two touchdowns negated due to penalty last week. He looked every bit as explosive after the catch as he did during his record-breaking 2018 campaign. The 49ers' best overall receiver is set up well against the Bengals' slow-moving LBs, although FS Jessie Bates (PFF's No. 13 cover safety in 2018) and SS Shawn Williams (No. 16) deserve credit for helping provide a stable back end to the secondary.

Bengals Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Damion Willis 75 204 4.56 Ahkello Witherspoon 75 198 4.45
Slot Tyler Boyd 73 197 4.58 K'Waun Williams 69 189 4.58
Right John Ross 71 188 4.22 Richard Sherman 75 195 4.6

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Yes, John Ross (7-158-2) deserves credit for putting together a career-best performance in Week 1 after totaling a 21-210-7 line in 16 games during the 2017-2018 seasons.

Also yes, Ross' performance appeared to be a bit fluky after taking a closer look at his big plays.

  1. His first touchdown was heavily aided by busted coverage off a flea flicker.
  2. His second touchdown came on a last-second bomb before the half that the safety brutally misplayed despite being in perfect position to intercept the pass.

Ross did drop a few passes that could have helped him produce an even bigger performance, but I wouldn't count on him constantly seeing this level of volume considering Andy Dalton's 51 pass attempts in Week 1 were tied for his third most in a game ever.

Ross has enough speed to threaten Week 1 pick-six brothers Ahkello Witherspoon and Richard Sherman; he holds the week's largest advantage in difference in 40-yard times among all WRs in their projected CB matchups. Still, I heavily lean towards Tyler Boyd working as this pass offense's No. 1 option more weeks than not. Boyd is set up best in the slot against a 49ers defense that finished last season as a bottom-eight unit in fantasy points per game allowed to slot WRs.

TE breakdown: C.J. Uzomah (70% snaps) easily played more than Tyler Eifert (49%), but the disparity between routes was much closer. Overall, Eifert (27 routes) actually worked ahead of Uzomah (26) when it came to actual receiving reps. This situation is still a bit too crowded to expect any meaningful fantasy production from either TE.

Chargers at Lions

Chargers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Mike Williams 76 218 4.59 Justin Coleman 71 185 4.53
Slot Keenan Allen 74 206 4.71 Darius Slay 72 192 4.36
Right Travis Benjamin 70 175 4.36 Rashaan Melvin 74 192 4.47

Projected shadow matchups: Keenan Allen vs. Darius Slay

WR/CB breakdown: Mike Williams is dealing with a knee injury and should be considered questionable. Travis Benjamin (48% snaps) hasn't separated himself from Dontrelle Inman (42%) enough to warrant any level of fantasy consideration.

This leaves us with Allen in one of the week's most high-profile potential shadow matchups. The Chargers lined up Allen in the slot (25 snaps) as often as they did on the outside (27) in Week 1, but it might not matter where he goes against Slay, who has emerged as one of very few high-frequency shadow CBs that will chase their opponent inside.

Ultimately, Allen is good enough to win pretty much any matchup thanks to his pristine route-running ability. He should see even more targets than usual due to the passing game's various injuries.

TE breakdown: Hunter Henry suffered a tibia plateau fracture to his left knee and is reportedly expected to miss at least four-to-six weeks. Virgil Green will step in as the starting TE, but he proved to be a non-existent fantasy factor with Henry sidelined in 2018. Williams (if healthy) is the biggest beneficiary of Henry's extended absence.

Lions Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Kenny Golladay 76 218 4.5 Brandon Facyson 74 197 4.53
Slot Danny Amendola 70 186 4.68 Desmond King 70 201 4.65
Right Marvin Jones 74 200 4.46 Casey Hayward 71 192 4.57

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Chargers curiously didn't deploy Casey Hayward in shadow coverage against T.Y. Hilton in Week 1. It'd be surprising to see them utilize that tactic against a Lions' offense with less of a defined pecking order at WR.

The Lions deserve credit for putting up 385 passing yards and 27 points against the Cardinals last week, but let's keep in mind that this performance came with the benefit of an entire overtime period against one of the league's fastest-paced offenses and worst secondaries.

Each of Kenny Golladay (nine targets) and Danny Amendola (13) worked well ahead of Marvin Jones (four). I'd expect this usage to even out a bit in upcoming weeks, although it's tough to get too excited about any of their prospects against a Chargers secondary that features two elite CBs in Desmond King and Hayward.

TE breakdown: T.J. Hockenson caught 6-of-9 targets for 131 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut on a sterling 73% snap rate, displaying nuanced route-running ability and chemistry with Matt Stafford. The TE position doesn't need to be downgraded against the Chargers as long as Derwin James (foot, IR) remains sidelined, positioning Hockenson as a low-end TE1 on a Lions Offense presently implied to score a middling 22.5 points.

Vikings at Packers

Vikings Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Stefon Diggs 72 195 4.46 Kevin King 75 200 4.43
Slot Chad Beebe 70 178 4.73 Tramon Williams 71 194 4.62
Right Adam Thielen 75 200 4.54 Jaire Alexander 70 196 4.38

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Most anticipated the Vikings to shift towards a run-first philosophy in 2019, but show me a person that predicted Kirk Cousins would attempt *10* total passes in Week 1 and I'll show you a liar.

Of course, the Vikings never needed to change their game plan during their blowout victory over the Falcons, and the Packers present a more-reasonable spot for the passing game to rack up some volume. Still, this sure looks like an offense that will struggle to produce multiple high-end fantasy WRs as long as Dalvin Cook continues to run through everything in his path.

The Packers' improved pass rush was on full display in Week 1, and their fully-healthy secondary also deserves credit for making life difficult for Mitch Trubisky and company. Fire up Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in season-long formats, but this road spot is a situation to avoid in DFS due to the below-average matchup and low-projected volume.

TE breakdown: Yes, Kyle Rudolph played 100% of the Vikings' offensive snaps in Week 1. Also yes, his nine routes weren't far removed from what second-round TE Irv Smith Jr. (five routes) saw in his NFL debut. This remains a situation to avoid as long as both TEs are threats to each other's targets.

Packers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Marquez Valdes-Scantling 76 206 4.37 Trae Waynes 72 186 4.31
Slot Geronimo Allison 75 196 4.67 Jayron Kearse 76 215 4.62
Right Davante Adams 73 212 4.56 Xavier Rhodes 73 210 4.43

Projected shadow matchups: Davante Adams vs. Xavier Rhodes

WR/CB breakdown: The Packers Offense was shut down in their season-opening win over the Bears with the exception of one deep ball to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and a red-zone touchdown to Jimmy Graham.

A return home will certainly help, but this is still a difficult matchup against an always-tough Minnesota defense. The Vikings have made life difficult for Aaron Rodgers ever since Mike Zimmer was named head coach back in 2014.

  • Week 5, 2014: 156 passing yards-3 TDs-0 interceptions
  • Week 12, 2014: 209-2-0
  • Week 11, 2015: 212-2-0
  • Week 17, 2015: 291-1-1
  • Week 2, 2016: 213-1-1
  • Week 16, 2016: 347-4-0
  • Week 6, 2017: 18-0-0 (Rodgers was injured)
  • Week 2, 2018: 281-1-0
  • Week 12, 2018: 198-1-0

Rodgers is always a few well-thrown deep balls away from a blowup performance, but I'm not expecting too big of a explosion from the Packers Offense this week.

The potential exception is Adams, who has managed to find the end zone in his last four matchups against Rhodes and company.

TE breakdown: Jimmy Graham had all of Twitter sending Undertaker GIFs in Week 1, catching 3-of-6 targets for 30 yards and a score while also drawing a long pass interference penalty on stud Bears LB Roquan Smith. The problem with expecting a repeat performance this week is simple: All-World FS Harrison Smith. While Austin Hooper managed to post a 9-77-0 line against the Vikings in Week 1, and Graham himself caught 8-of-12 targets for 129-scoreless yards in two matchups against Minnesota in 2018, I'm hesitant to fully embrace the rebirth of the 32-year-old TE ahead of this tough matchup.

Jaguars at Texans

Jaguars Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Chris Conley 74 213 4.35 Bradley Roby 71 194 4.39
Slot Dede Westbrook 72 178 4.44 Keion Crossen 69 178 4.38
Right D.J. Chark 75 199 4.34 Johnathan Joseph 71 193 4.32

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Gardner Minshew era is now with Nick Foles (collarbone, IR) sidelined for the foreseeable future. The early returns were nothing short of fantastic in Week 1, as Minshew completed 22-of-25 passes (88%) for 275 yards (11 YPA) and a pair of touchdowns vs. just one interception. He deserves credit for not just dinking-and-dunking his way down the field, as he completed several tough throws to D.J. Chark and Chris Conley that required pin-point accuracy into tight coverage.

Minshew's target distribution was as follows:

Westbrook is set up even better than last week against a Texans Defense that released starting slot CB Aaron Colvin on Tuesday. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Colvin's backup won't be a major improvement.

It remains to be seen if the Jaguars will be able to consistently produce at a high level with Minshew under center, but at the very least they seem capable of functioning as an average offense while Foles heals up.

TE breakdown: The Jaguars' two-TE committee shouldn't be relied on for any sort of consistent fantasy production, even in a solid matchup against the Texans' porous secondary.

Texans Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left DeAndre Hopkins 73 214 4.57 Jalen Ramsey 73 209 4.41
Slot Kenny Stills 72 194 4.38 D.J. Hayden 71 191 4.45
Right Will Fuller 72 186 4.32 A.J. Bouye 72 186 4.6

Projected shadow matchups: DeAndre Hopkins vs. Jalen Ramsey

WR/CB breakdown: Oh baby. Anytime Nuk and Ramsey match up, fireworks follow.

Last season Ramsey said that he considered Hopkins the best WR in the NFL, and Nuk responded by stating the Jaguars' lock-down CB is the best defensive back in the game.

Hopkins has "won" their matchups to date, but his production has required a ton of targets.

  • Week 10, 2016: 5 receptions-48 yards-0 TD (13 targets)
  • Week 15, 2016: 8-87-0 (17)
  • Week 1, 2017: 7-55-1 (16)
  • Week 15, 2017: 4-80-1 (13)
  • Week 7, 2018: 3-50-1 (8)
  • Week 17, 2018: 12-147-0 (16)

The Jaguars' expected decision to focus the majority of their defense's attention on Hopkins means Fuller should see plenty of one-on-one coverage against A.J. Bouye. The Jaguars' over-qualified No. 2 CB is far from a pushover, but Fuller is set up well with the week's second-largest 40-yard dash advantage. The fact that Fuller (97% snaps) was a full-time WR while Kenny Stills (42%) and DeAndre Carter (42%) split snaps in Week 1 indicates that the potential return of Keke Coutee (ankle) wouldn't impact Fuller's status as the offense's No. 2 pass-game target.

TE breakdown: Jordan Akins (70% snaps) worked ahead of Darren Fells (51%), although the pair combined for just three targets. Either is capable of scoring a touchdown at some point -- the Texans have averaged 30.6 points in 12 games with each of Watson, Hopkins and Fuller healthy -- but each TE carries a low weekly floor as secondary pass game options.

Ian Hartitz

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