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By the Numbers

NFL Week 3 WR/CB Matchups and TE Analysis

by Ian Hartitz
Updated On: September 19, 2019, 1:04 pm ET

And just like that we're on to Week 3. 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.

Titans at Jaguars

Titans Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left A.J. Brown 72 226 4.49 A.J. Bouye 72 186 4.6
Slot Adam Humphries 71 195 4.58 D.J. Hayden 71 191 4.45
Right Corey Davis 75 209 4.53 Jalen Ramsey 73 209 4.41

Projected shadow matchups: Corey Davis vs. Jalen Ramsey

WR/CB breakdown: No Titans WR has even 10 targets through two weeks. That's simply a reality of life inside of the league's ninth-most run-heavy offense.

It's impossible to trust any of these WRs in season-long formats of all shapes and sizes, particularly Davis in his brutal shadow matchup.

To say Ramsey is special is an understatement. He reportedly won't trade be traded until Friday at the earliest.

A.J. Brown flashed in a big way in Week 1 ... but posted a mediocre 3-25-0 line on five targets in Week 2. High-priced free agent addition Adam Humphries has caught 3-of-4 targets this season for a whopping four yards.

Avoid these WRs until we get some sort of clarity in target share or at least get an easier matchup.

TE breakdown: 35-year-old Delanie Walker continues to work as Mariota's featured target. He also carries a low floor in this run-first offense, but he's at least looked plenty healthy on his way to posting 5-55-2 and 4-39-0 lines to start the season. Still, this is far from an easy matchup. While Travis Kelce managed to hang a 3-88-0 line on the Jaguars in Week 1, they allowed the seventh-fewest yards to the TE position in 2018. Try to find a better option than anyone involved in the Titans passing game this week.

Jaguars Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Chris Conley 74 213 4.35 Malcolm Butler 70 187 4.67
Slot Dede Westbrook 72 178 4.44 Logan Ryan 71 191 4.56
Right D.J. Chark 75 199 4.34 Adoree' Jackson 70 186 4.42

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Gardner Minshew's target distribution through roughly seven quarters is as follows:

Minshew, like other air-raid QBs we've seen in the league, tends to spread the ball out and not zero in on any one particular receiver. This is a great strategy in real life, but doesn't help us a whole lot in fantasy football.

Still, Chark has emerged as the group's alpha through two weeks. Overall, his average of 3.1 yards per route run trails only Sammy Watkins (3.2), A.J. Brown (3.6), Antonio Brown (4), Michael Gallup (4.4), DeSean Jackson (4.4) and Hollywood Brown (5.2) among all WRs with at least five targets this season (per PFF).

The Titans haven't asked Adoree' Jackson to travel this season, most likely due to Malcolm Butler playing at a much higher level than we saw in 2018. Chark is the play here out of anyone, but this entire game isn't exactly a fantasy-friendly environment in what's shaping up to be one of the slowest-paced matchups of Week 3.

TE breakdown: Neither James O'Shaughnessy nor Geoff Swaim should be considered as viable fantasy options as long as they're splitting targets and snaps nearly equally in this below-average offense.

Bengals at Bills

Bengals Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Damion Willis 75 204 4.56 Levi Wallace 72 179 4.63
Slot Tyler Boyd 73 197 4.58 Kevin Johnson 72 188 4.52
Right John Ross 71 188 4.22 Tre'Davious White 71 192 4.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Bills didn't ask stud CB Tre'Davious White to shadow against Robby Anderson in Week 1, and there wasn't exactly a viable candidate for his services against the Giants in Week 2.

White should see plenty of John Ross throughout the afternoon, but I don't expect the Bills to go out of their way to make sure they're consistently matched up.

Tyler Boyd probably has the best matchup of the group in the slot against Kevin Johnson or Taron Johnson (hamstring). Still, this Bills secondary has been a unit to avoid for the better part of the last 18 regular season contests, as they've allowed a league-low 181 passing yards per game since Week 1 of 2018. The Vikings are the next-closest defense at 200.

The Bengals' injury-riddled offensive line has had trouble both opening up holes in the run game as well as protecting Andy Dalton (nine sacks through two weeks). They're presently implied to score a putrid 19 points in this brutal road matchup (per FantasyLabs).

I expect to side with the non-Bengals' option in most start/sit questions involving either Boyd or Ross.

TE breakdown: Tyler Eifert (39 routes) and C.J. Uzomah (46) continue to largely split reps as receivers despite the latter TE playing far more snaps. Both are best avoided against a Bills secondary that joins the Chiefs as the only defenses to rank among the top-10 units in fewest PPR allowed to the TE position in at least four of the past five seasons.

Bills Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left John Brown 70 179 4.34 William Jackson 72 189 4.37
Slot Cole Beasley 68 177 4.54 B.W. Webb 70 184 4.51
Right Zay Jones 74 201 4.45 Dre Kirkpatrick 74 186 4.57

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Smokey Brown (18 targets) continues to work ahead of Cole Beasley (13) as Josh Allen's No. 1 target, while Zay Jones (7) has largely been an afterthought.

Allen narrowly missed a wide-open Brown on what would've been a 50-plus yard touchdown in Week 2. This is part of life with the No. 7 overall pick of the 2018 draft: Allen misses some easy throws throughout the game before inevitably making a play or two that only a handful of humans on this planet are capable of pulling off.

The Bengals looked lost on defense more than a few times against Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers in Week 2. That's particularly bad news against a speedster like Brown, who is plenty capable of getting behind any CB in the league.

TE breakdown: Lead-receiving TE Dawson Knox has caught 2-of-6 targets for 19 scoreless yards this season. Don't play him.

Lions at Eagles

Lions Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Kenny Golladay 76 218 4.5 Rasul Douglas 74 209 4.59
Slot Danny Amendola 70 186 4.68 Avonte Maddox 69 184 4.39
Right Marvin Jones 74 200 4.46 Ronald Darby 71 193 4.38

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The list of No. 1 WRs to absolutely roast the Eagles since Week 1 of last season grows longer by the week. In fact, it's alarming.

Unsurprisingly, they ranked dead last in receiving yards allowed per game to opposing No. 1 WRs in 2018 (Football Outsiders).

This is most-relevant news for Kenny Golladay, who has caught 12 of his team-high 19 targets for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns through two weeks. Fire him up in fantasy football formats of all shapes and sizes.

I wouldn't expect Marvin Jones or Danny Amendola to offer much week-to-week consistency in this run-first offense.

TE breakdown: T.J. Hockenson fell back to earth in Week 2, posting a pedestrian 1-7-0 line on just three targets one week removed from racking up 131 yards and a touchdown. Hockenson is a stud and will have better days, but we shouldn't necessarily expect a ton of consistency from a TE that could be Matthew Stafford's No. 4 target in any given week. This matchup vs. Malcolm Jenkins and an Eagles Defense that allowed the fourth-fewest DraftKings PPG to the TE position in 2018 isn't one to target.

Eagles Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left JJ Arcega-Whiteside 74 225 4.54 Darius Slay 72 192 4.36
Slot Nelson Agholor 72 198 4.42 Justin Coleman 71 185 4.53
Right Mack Hollins 76 221 4.53 Rashaan Melvin 74 192 4.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Both Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (abdominal) are tentatively not expected to suit up Sunday. Their availability for next Thursday night in Week 4 is also up in the air.

Stud CB Darius Slay has spent 23% of his snaps in the slot this season and could certainly cover Nelson Agholor in high-leverage situations. Still, it seems unlikely the Lions ask Slay to consistently track the Eagles' normal No. 4 pass-game option.

Carson Wentz was banged up and accordingly erratic in Week 2 against the Falcons. Now he'll face an improved Lions Defense that has largely managed to bend-not-break against both the Cardinals and Chargers through two weeks. Each of Agholor (96% snap rate in Week 2), JJAW (93% snap rate) and Mack Hollins (85%) are discount DFS and waiver-wire options thanks to their new-found opportunity, but this isn't a cake-walk matchup by any stretch.

I'm most inclined to take a chance on the Eagles' second-round rookie WR. Arcega-Whiteside truly seems to be #good at the game and demonstrated a penchant for coming down with contested catches during his collegiate career at Stanford.

TE breakdown: Dallas Goedert (calf) is tentatively expected to join D-Jax and Jeffery on the sideline Sunday afternoon. Zach Ertz racked up 16 targets in Week 2 with the majority of the offense's starting receivers sidelined. Only Larry Fitzgerald (24 targets), DJ Moore (24), Sammy Watkins (24), Keenan Allen (25) and Michael Thomas (26) have more targets than Ertz (23) this season. Continue to fire him up as a top-three TE with confidence.

Jets at Patriots

Jets Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Robby Anderson 75 190 4.41 Stephon Gilmore 72 190 4.4
Slot Jamison Crowder 68 185 4.56 Jonathan Jones 69 186 4.33
Right Josh Bellamy 72 206 4.52 Jason McCourty 70 193 4.35

Projected shadow matchups: Robby Anderson vs. Stephon Gilmore

WR/CB breakdown: The Jets will move forward with Luke Falk under center, as Sam Darnold (mono) and Trevor Siemian (ankle, IR) are both sidelined.

The early returns from Falk were positive for both Anderson and Le'Veon Bell.

Falk and Anderson even managed to connect on the season's most-improbable completion to this point (per Next-Gen Stats).

Alas, the Jets' passing game is running into a buzz saw this week vs. a Patriots Defense that hasn't allowed a touchdown since January 20, 2019. Bill Belichick and company have been Anderson's kryptonite to this point, holding the stud field-stretcher to 2-34-0, 0-0-0, 4-76-0, 1-2-0, 2-22-0 and 3-24-0 lines in six career matchups.

I strongly advise playing anyone other than Bell in a Jets Offense presently implied to score a laughably-low 10.5 points.

TE breakdown: Ryan Griffin played 94% and 90% of the Jets' offensive snaps in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. And yet, he's caught 3-of-5 targets for a whopping 10 scoreless yards. Don't play him, but strongly consider picking up stud second-year TE Chris Herndon if available on your waiver wire before he returns from suspension in Week 6.

Patriots Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Josh Gordon 75 225 4.57 Darryl Roberts 71 187 4.43
Slot Julian Edelman 70 198 4.57 Brian Poole 70 209 4.55
Right Antonio Brown 70 186 4.56 Nate Hairston 72 196 4.52

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Antonio Brown was force fed the ball in his Patriots' debut. Overall, he received eight targets along with a rush attempt off a fly sweep on just 24 snaps.

The nature of AB's targets paint the picture of a high-end fantasy WR with multi-touchdown upside. They were as follows:

  1. 18 yard completion up the seam
  2. 10 yard completion on an out
  3. 8 yard completion on a curl
  4. 20-yard TD on slot fade
  5. Incomplete on an in
  6. Incomplete slot fade in end zone
  7. Incomplete slant in end zone
  8. Incomplete fade in end zone

Brown predictably stole most of Phillip Dorsett's snaps, while Josh Gordon (79% snap rate) and Julian Edelman (92%) continued to work in near full-time roles.

The entire Patriots' passing game is set up brilliantly as the week's second-highest implied offense against an already mediocre Jets secondary that benched presumed No. 1 CB Trumaine Johnson in Week 2 and is dealing with social-media angst from star SS Jamal Adams. Don't be afraid to start multiple Patriots WRs in the same fantasy lineup if you're lucky enough to have them.

TE breakdown: Matt LaCosse has posted a pedestrian 2-33-0 line this season, as the Patriots have trended towards utilizing more zero-TE sets thanks to their abundance of talented WRs and pass-catching RBs. It's fine to ignore the Patriots' TE until Rob Gronkowski inevitably comes out of retirement.

Raiders at Vikings

Raiders Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Tyrell Williams 75 204 4.48 Xavier Rhodes 73 210 4.43
Slot Hunter Renfrow 70 184 4.59 Jayron Kearse 76 215 4.62
Right Ryan Grant 73 191 4.64 Trae Waynes 72 186 4.31

Projected shadow matchups: Tyrell Williams vs. Xavier Rhodes

WR/CB breakdown: Williams is dealing with a hip pointer, but he has already stated that he expects to suit up Sunday.

Derek Carr's No. 1 WR has posted sturdy 6-105-1 and 5-46-1 lines in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, on seven targets in each matchup. Still, a road trip to U.S. Bank Stadium is far from ideal, particularly when it includes a likely shadow date with Rhodes. The Vikings join the Broncos and Chargers as the only defenses that have ranked as top-10 units in fewest PPR allowed to the WR position in at least four of the past five seasons.

Hunter Renfrow racked up a team-high eight targets last week and has the group's coziest matchup in the slot against plus-sized nickelback Jayron Kearse. The likelihood that Carr faces a good amount of pressure and will thus be forced to get rid of the ball quickly also bodes well for his rookie slot receiver's chances at again having a big role this week.

Ultimately, I wouldn't expect too much from anyone involved in a Raiders Offense presently implied to score a mediocre 17.5 points.

TE breakdown: Darren Waller has caught 13-of-15 targets this season for 133 scoreless yards. The Raiders' uber-athletic TE has a very real chance to lead the offense in targets. The matchup against Harrison Smith and company isn't ideal, but Austin Hooper (9-77-0 in Week 1) proved that it's still possible for the TE position to post some solid production with enough short-to-intermediate targets vs. the Vikings' elite secondary.

Vikings Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Stefon Diggs 72 195 4.46 Gareon Conley 72 195 4.44
Slot Chad Beebe 70 178 4.73 Lamarcus Joyner 68 184 4.55
Right Adam Thielen 75 200 4.54 Daryl Worley 73 204 4.64

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Raiders have been absolutely brutal against pretty much every non-slot WR they've faced this season.

Both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are plenty capable of balling out this week ... if they get the opportunity. The Vikings boast a league-high 60% run-play rate through two weeks. This is somewhat skewed by their blowout victory over the Falcons in Week 1, but it's clear this offense revolves around Dalvin Cook and the run game.

I'd probably take the under on Kirk Cousins attempting 24.5 passes this week. Fire up Diggs and Thielen in season-long formats in this cake matchup, but they'll need to continue to make the most of their limited opportunities in this ridiculously run-heavy offense.

TE breakdown: Kyle Rudolph has caught 3-of-6 targets this season for ... nine scoreless yards. Second-round TE Irv Smith Jr. figures to get more involved as the year goes on. Avoid these dudes until further notice.

Ravens at Chiefs

Ravens Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Miles Boykin 76 220 4.42 Charvarius Ward 73 198 4.49
Slot Willie Snead 71 195 4.62 Kendall Fuller 71 187  
Right Marquise Brown 69 166   Bashaud Breeland 71 197 4.62

Projected shadow matchups: Marquise Brown vs. Bashaud Breeland

WR/CB breakdown: Hollywood Brown was injured in the pre-draft process and never ran a 40-yard dash. Still, he reportedly ran a 4.3-flat 40-yard dash at Oklahoma in 2018, and his game tape reveals a player that regularly moves at a different speed than everyone else.

I'm confident in dubbing Hollywood as this week's prime boom candidate in our weekly #SpeedKills matchup analysis.

Brown's Week 1 snap concerns were erased last week against the Cardinals, as he played on 51-of-79 (65%) offensive plays. He's racked up a team-high 18 targets through two games and displayed a fantasy-friendly floor in Week 2 thanks to the Ravens feeding him high-percentage looks on screens and crossers.

Target share is too scarce to fire up either Miles Boykin or Willie Snead, but play Hollywood as a WR2 with confidence in the Ravens' top-flight offense.

TE breakdown: Mark Andrews has caught 16-of-17 targets for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season. Snap concerns have been mitigated by the reality that this passing offense is designed to flow through him and Brown. Andrews might be the best TE in the league outside of San Francisco with the ball in his hands, while Jackson has regularly looked for him on deep fantasy-friendly targets down the seam. He should be approached as an every-week mid-tier TE1.

Chiefs Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Demarcus Robinson 73 203 4.59 Anthony Averett 71 178 4.36
Slot Sammy Watkins 73 211 4.43 Brandon Carr 72 207 4.44
Right Mecole Hardman 70 187 4.33 Marlon Humphrey 72 197 4.41

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Each of Sammy Watkins (92% snaps in Week 2), Demarcus Robinson (91%) and Mecole Hardman (74%) are locked into 3-WR sets ahead of De'Anthony Thomas (5%) and Byron Pringle (5%) while Tyreek Hill (collarbone, out) remains sidelined.

D-Rob's 6-172-2 line last week demonstrated the type of insane ceiling that even the No. 3 or No. 4 receiver can have with Patrick Mahomes under center. Note that Hardman (4-61-1) would've joined Robinson in the Week 2 multi-touchdown club had his 72-yard score not been negated by a holding penalty.

Watkins is locked in as the offense's No. 1 WR after racking up a team-high 13 targets last week. His slot rate ballooned from 52% in Week 1 to 65% in Week 2, which means he should spend the most time of the group across from 33-year-old Brandon Carr.

Matchups don't quite matter when the QB is capable of making almost literally every throw on the field. Fire up any and all members of the Chiefs passing game with confidence. 

TE breakdown: Kelce caught 7-of-9 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown in his first game without Hill since 2015. There's more than enough speed on the outside for him to continue to make defenses pay in the intermediate zones. Attempting to guard Mahomes' trusty TE one-on-one with a SS or LB remains a death sentence. Kelce continues to be locked in as fantasy's overall TE1.

Ian Hartitz

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