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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

Falcons at Colts

Falcons Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Julio Jones 75 220 4.39 Rock Ya-Sin 72 192 4.51
Slot Mohamed Sanu 74 211 4.67 Kenny Moore 69 185 4.52
Right Calvin Ridley 73 189 4.43 Pierre Desir 73 198 4.59

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: All Julio Jones has done since his infamous touchdown drought is ball out to the highest of levels. His receiving lines in the Falcon's last 11 games are as follows:

  • 7-121-1
  • 7-107-1
  • 6-118-1
  • 11-147-0
  • 2-18-0
  • 8-106-2
  • 6-82-1
  • 4-28-1
  • 9-138-1
  • 6-31-1
  • 5-106-2

Life has also been good for Calvin Ridley lately, as the Falcons' over-qualified No. 2 WR has caught 12-of-16 targets for 169 yards and a pair of scores through two weeks.

Jones and Ridley should be locked into season-long lineups. Still, the Colts have been significantly stronger against the pass (No. 15 in DVOA) compared to the run (No. 30) this season and could be without difference-making LB Darius Leonard (concussion). Their zone-heavy defense has done a great job limiting chunk plays through the air over the past two seasons, so we probably shouldn't expect the world's most-dominant performance from the Falcons' aerial attack.

TE breakdown: Austin Hooper has caught 13-of-15 targets this season for 111 scoreless yards. He's positioned well this week against a Colts Defense that allowed the most receiving yards per game to the TE position in 2019. Hooper at $3,600 on DraftKings is the cheapest TE that I would feel comfortable rostering in cash games.

Colts Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Deon Cain 74 202 4.43 Isaiah Oliver 72 201 4.5
Slot Chester Rogers 72 185 4.56 Damontae Kazee 70 184 4.54
Right T.Y. Hilton 69 183 4.39 Desmond Trufant 72 190 4.38

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Jacoby Brissett threw 27 and 28 passes in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. Andrew Luck had 28 or fewer pass attempts in just two games in the entire 2018 season.

The Colts have fully shifted towards a run-first offense and accordingly don't appear capable of supporting multiple fantasy-relevant receivers. This is particularly true as long as Deon Cain and Chester Rogers continue to split snaps with Zach Pascal and Parris Campbell.

T.Y. Hilton has posted 8-87-2 and 4-43-1 lines to start the season and carries a solid weekly floor as the Colts' undisputed No.1  pass-game option. He remains locked in as a WR2, but the offense's run-first philosophy undoubtedly lowers his weekly ceiling.

TE breakdown: Eric Ebron has surpassed 50% snaps in just one of his eight games with Jack Doyle active over the past two seasons. Ebron's touchdown in Week 2 came on a fluky shovel pass. I'm not touching either TE until we see some type of evidence that they could command even five targets in any given week. 

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Broncos at Packers

Broncos Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Courtland Sutton 75 218 4.54 Kevin King 75 200 4.43
Slot DaeSean Hamilton 73 203 4.57 Tramon Williams 71 194 4.62
Right Emmanuel Sanders 71 180 4.41 Jaire Alexander 70 196 4.38

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Manny Sanders has overcome all odds as a 32-year-old WR that is less than one year removed from suffering a torn Achilles. He's already earned Joe Flacco's undying loyalty, as the Broncos' No. 1 WR is one of just 16 players with at least 20 targets through two weeks.

Courtland Sutton (11-160-0 on 15 targets) has also been plenty involved in this new-look Broncos' offense.

The problem is that the Broncos have unsurprisingly operated as a bottom-five scoring offense with Flacco under center. They're yet to find the end zone prior to the fourth quarter, as both Sanders and Sutton have largely racked up their production once Denver has fallen behind by multiple scores.

Volume remains king in fantasy football, but I'm inclined to fade the duo in this week's sneaky-tough matchup against talented outside CBs Kevin King and Jaire Alexander. Only the Bears (5.1 net yards allowed per attempt), Titans (4.9), Patriots (4.4) and Bills (4.4) have been stingier against the pass than the Packers (5.2) on a per-attempt basis this season.

TE breakdown: First-round TE Noah Fant could offer value in this offense eventually ... if teammate Jeff Heuerman wasn't also heavily involved. Fant (8 targets and 72% snaps) is nothing more than a dart throw fantasy option until he can truly separate from Heuerman (5 targets and 41% snaps) as the offense's undisputed lead pass-game TE.

Packers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Marquez Valdes-Scantling 76 206 4.37 Isaac Yiadom 73 190 4.52
Slot Geronimo Allison 75 196 4.67 Kareem Jackson 70 196 4.48
Right Davante Adams 73 212 4.56 Chris Harris Jr. 69 194 4.48

Projected shadow matchups: Davante Adams vs. Chris Harris Jr.

WR/CB breakdown: Harris largely eliminated Allen Robinson (4-41-0) in Week 2 and offers heightened shut-down ability as a shadow CB thanks to his ability to thrive in the slot.

Of course, Adams is plenty capable of winning any matchup thanks to his unparalleled chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. He's scored a touchdown or surpassed 100 receiving yards in 32-of-43 games (74%) with Rodgers since 2016.

MVS and Geronimo Allison have traded solid weeks to start the season. I'm hesitant to expect much consistency from anyone other than Adams in an offense that hasn't showed much promise in coach Matt LaFleur's highly-anticipated new-look scheme. The Packers might be 2-0, but their average of 4.3 yards per play is ahead of only the Jets (3.9) and Dolphins (3.6) through two weeks.

TE breakdown: Jimmy Graham followed up his impressive 3-30-1 start to the season with a goose egg in Week 2. He's one of the most touchdown dependent players in the league in the Packers' slow-paced and underwhelming passing offense.


Dolphins at Cowboys

Dolphins Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Preston Williams 76 211 4.66 Byron Jones 73 199 4.48
Slot Jakeem Grant 66 165 4.42 Anthony Brown 71 192 4.33
Right DeVante Parker 75 209 4.45 Chidobe Awuzie 72 202 4.43

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Don't do it.

TE breakdown: Move along meow.

Cowboys Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Devin Smith 72 196 4.42 Eric Rowe 73 205 4.45
Slot Randall Cobb 70 192 4.46 Jomal Wiltz 70 180 4.48
Right Amari Cooper 73 211 4.42 Xavien Howard 72 201 4.58

Projected shadow matchups: Amari Cooper vs. Xavien Howard

WR/CB breakdown: Cooper should be able to escape Howard's coverage by moving into the slot, where he's spent 22% of his snaps this season. Still, it's a rough matchup against the Dolphins' best player, as Howard has generally won his high-profile shadow matchups dating back to the 2017 season.

The above full-game lines represent the reality that Howard doesn't track a single WR for every snap of the game, but only Hopkins managed to score a touchdown in his direct coverage. None of the above WRs surpassed 50 yards in a game on plays with Howard as their primary defender.

The absence of Michael Gallup (meniscus, out 2-4 weeks) means Devin Smith will slide into 3-WR sets. The former 2015 second-round pick offers elite field-stretching ability when healthy and couldn't ask for a better matchup against a Dolphins Defense that joins the Raiders, Cardinals, Jets, Ravens and Steelers as the only units to allow double-digit completions of at least 20 yards this season.

Cobb could see enhanced target share from the slot during Gallup's absence and has the best matchup of the group against former undrafted free agent Jomal Wiltz, who has played a total of 57 NFL snaps.

TE breakdown: The Cowboys seem determined to feed Jason Witten red-zone targets until he inevitably breaks Dez Bryant's touchdown record. Sigh. Anyone involved in this high-octane Dallas offense carries some fantasy value, but Witten shouldn't be considered more than a low-floor and extremely touchdown-dependent dart throw.


Giants at Buccaneers

Giants Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left T.J. Jones 72 188 4.48 Vernon Hargreaves 70 204 4.5
Slot Russell Shepard 72 196 4.46 M.J. Stewart 71 200 4.54
Right Bennie Fowler 73 217 4.52 Carlton Davis 73 206 4.53

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Daniel Jones era is now. He was ridiculously efficient in the preseason, averaging a robust 12.3 YPA. The next-closest first-round QB over the past two preseasons was Baker Mayfield at just 8.1 YPA.

However, Jones' reward for beating out Eli Manning is the league's single-worst group of WRs. Each of Sterling Shepard (concussion), Cody Latimer (concussion) and Darius Slayton (hamstring) should be considered questionable ahead of Week 3. The entire offense should benefit from Jones' mobility and willingness to throw downfield, but the injury-riddled WR room makes it difficult to predict who will emerge as his top option on the outside.

Jones showed strong chemistry with T.J. Jones and Bennie Fowler in the preseason, but this pass offense is expected to continue to flow through Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley. Hold off on rostering any Giants WRs until there's some clarity among the backups or the starters get healthy.

TE breakdown: Engram has caught 17-of-22 targets for 164 yards and a score to start the season. The only players with more targets, regardless of position, are Zach Ertz (23), Jamison Crowder (23), Sammy Watkins (24), D.J. Moore (24), Larry Fitzgerald (24), Keenan Allen (25) and Michael Thomas (26). Engram is locked in as fantasy's TE4 behind only Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Ertz.

Buccaneers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Breshad Perriman 74 212 4.3 Deandre Baker 71 193 4.52
Slot Chris Godwin 73 209 4.42 Grant Haley 69 190 4.44
Right Mike Evans 77 231 4.53 Janoris Jenkins 70 193 4.46

Projected shadow matchups: Mike Evans vs. Janoris Jenkins

WR/CB breakdown: Evans is a prime buy-low candidate after missing a pair of touchdowns by mere inches during the Buccaneers' Week 2 win over the Panthers. He possesses a massive size advantage over Jenkins, who has lost each of his shadow matchups against Amari Cooper (6-106-1) and John Brown (7-72-0) to start the season. Note that Smokey was overthrown by Josh Allen on what would've been a 50-plus yard touchdown as well.

Chris Godwin continues to make a strong case as the most fantasy-relevant receiver in this Bruce Arians offense. He's more than capable of dominating any matchup, particularly one against a Giants Defense that has allowed 9.9 net yards per pass attempt this season. Only the Dolphins (11.1) have been worse.

Breshad Perriman (quad) remains an extremely thin fantasy option as long as the Buccaneers continue to run the ball at a top-10 rate.

TE breakdown: If O.J. Howard can't ball out against the Giants ... sheesh. The G-Men were one of just 10 defenses to allow an average of at least 60 yards per game to the TE position in 2018, and that was before they downgraded from Landon Collins to Jabrill Peppers. Howard played 80% and 92% of the offense's snaps in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. Targets *should* come at some point. Please.


Panthers at Cardinals

Panthers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left D.J. Moore 72 210 4.42 Chris Jones 72 200 4.57
Slot Jarius Wright 70 180 4.42 Tramaine Brock 70 195 4.54
Right Curtis Samuel 71 196 4.31 Byron Murphy 71 190 4.55

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Cam Newton (foot) is tentatively expected to be replaced by Kyle Allen after failing to practice on Tuesday or Wednesday.

This probably shouldn't be viewed as much of a downgrade for any of the Panthers' skill-position players: Only the Dolphins and Bears have had a higher percentage of uncatchable targets this season than the Panthers (PFF).

Moore has managed to produce despite Newton's erratic passing thanks to a heavy dose of short high-percentage targets.

Samuel is the wild card of the group, as just a bit more accurate passing in Week 2 could've led to a massive performance. He's plenty capable of dominating any of the Cardinals' underwhelming CBs.

TE breakdown: I have a hard time believing Greg Olsen (10-146-0 on 18 targets) will continue to produce at a high level without his long-time BFF under center. There's certainly a chance OC Norv Turner keeps the 34-year-old TE (who continues to battle a bad back) involved, but this offense won't reach its ceiling unless the unit's skillful RB and WRs get more involved in the passing game

Cardinals Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Damiere Byrd 69 180 4.32 Donte Jackson 71 178 4.32
Slot Larry Fitzgerald 75 225 4.48 Javien Elliott 71 176 4.68
Slot Christian Kirk 71 201 4.47 Ross Cockrell 72 191 4.56
Right KeeSean Johnson 73 201 4.6 James Bradberry 73 211 4.45

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk are locked in as high-volume WRs in the league's third-most pass-happy offense. Their respective statuses as slot WRs further helps matters, as both Fitz and Kirk should avoid their opponent's No. 1 CBs more weeks than not. The Cardinals also boast the league's second fastest-moving offense in situation neutral pace (Football Outsiders), so Kyler Murray and company should continue to have plenty of opportunities to make things happen.

Damiere Byrd is also emerging as a viable streamer option. Overall, Byrd (93% snaps in Week 2) was locked into 3-WR against the Ravens while KeeSean Johnson (32%) and Michael Crabtree (32%) split reps as the offense's No. 4 WR.

Murray is just the second QB in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards in each of his first two starts. He surpassed all reasonable expectations last week by racking up 349 yards on the road against the Ravens' perennially tough secondary. Invest in his WRs while their stock remains somewhat low.

TE breakdown: Maxx Williams (24% snaps this season) and Charles Clay (20%) barely play in the Cardinals' base 4-WR offense. Don't roster them in fantasy formats of all shapes and sizes.

Ian Hartitz

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