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By the Numbers

NFL Week 3 WR/CB Matchups and TE Analysis

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.

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.

Steelers at 49ers

Steelers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Diontae Johnson 70 183 4.53 Ahkello Witherspoon 75 198 4.45
Slot JuJu Smith-Schuster 73 215 4.54 K'Waun Williams 69 189 4.58
Right James Washington 71 213 4.54 Richard Sherman 75 195 4.6

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Ben Roethlisberger (elbow, IR) will miss the remainder of the season.

Mason Rudolph's target distribution in relief was as follows:

Note that Rudolph and Washington went to college together and maybe even shared a shower once or twice. They've been a dynamic combination in each of the past two preseasons, but there's an underrated chance that Washington continues to work as the No. 3 or 4 pass-game option in this crowded offense.

JuJu is best approached as a WR2 moving forward. He's expected to be flanked by some new teammates, as each of third-round rookie Diontae Johnson (47% snaps in Week 2) as well as Washington (60%) played more than Donte Moncrief (32%), Ryan Switzer (23%) and Johnny Holton (11%).

The Moncrief era in Pittsburgh might as well of ended when he let a perfectly thrown ball slide through his hands, off his helmet and directly to Seahawks S Bradley McDougald.

TE breakdown: McDonald played 72% and 91% of the offense's snaps in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. He's locked in as an every-down TE and emerged as a trusted check-down option with a 7-38-2 line last week. Still, McDonald is best treated as a lower-end TE1 until we have a bit more clarity surrounding Rudolph's pecking order.

49ers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Deebo Samuel 71 214 4.48 Steven Nelson 70 197 4.49
Slot Richie James 69 185 4.48 Mike Hilton 69 178 4.6
Right Marquise Goodwin 69 183 4.27 Joe Haden 71 193 4.62

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: It remains unclear when either of slot WR Trent Taylor (foot) or rookie Jalen Hurd (back) will be ready for game action.

There's a bit of uncertainty in the 49ers' WR room after each of Marquise Goodwin (51% snaps in Week 2), Dante Pettis (49%), Richie James (46%), Deebo Samuel (40%) and Kendrick Bourne (32%) each played a decent portion of snaps during the team's blowout win over the Bengals last week.

I lean towards Samuel as the most-likely WR to emerge as the offense's No. 2 pass-game option. He's consistently been the recipient of some of coach Kyle Shanahan's most-elegantly designed screens, while the 49ers have fed him rush attempts throughout the preseason into Week 2 in an effort to get the ball into his hands.

TE breakdown: George Kittle hasn't broken out just yet, although his Week 1 line would've certainly been better without *two* touchdowns negated by penalties. I'm approaching him as the overall TE3 this week due to Zach Ertz's expected increase in target share with the Eagles' WR room riddled with injuries, but Kittle still possesses plenty of upside. The Steelers ranked 31st in DVOA against the TE position in 2018 and don't have much time to incorporate former-Dolphins CB/S Minkah Fitzpatrick into the defense.


Saints at Seahawks

Saints Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Michael Thomas 75 212 4.57 Tre Flowers 75 202 4.45
Slot Tre'Quan Smith 74 203 4.49 Jamar Taylor 71 192 4.39
Right Ted Ginn 71 180 4.43 Shaquill Griffin 72 194 4.38

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Saints are expected to utilize some sort of two-QB system featuring both Teddy Bridgewater as well as Taysom Hill during Drew Brees' (thumb, out) absence.

Bridgewater's target distribution certainly seems to bode well for Michael Thomas continuing to work as a top-flight fantasy WR:

Thomas is plenty capable of racking up production against a Seahawks Defense that has already yielded solid days to each of John Ross (7-158-2), Tyler Boyd (8-60-0) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (5-84-0) this season.

The biggest concern with a Bridgewater-led offense is the potential for defenses to pack the box and take away some of the unit's token high-percentage looks to both Thomas and Kamara. Only one of Bridgewater's 30 pass attempts in Week 2 traveled over 20 yards in the air (PFF). Drew Brees hasn't made a habit of throwing deep in recent seasons, but it's safe to say the future first-ballot HOF has earned a bit more respect from opposing defenses than Teddy Two-Gloves to this point.

TE breakdown: Cook might've finished with the offense's second-most targets with Bridgewater under center, but his 2-25-0 line represents what life could look like for auxiliary pass-game options in a non-Brees' led offense.

Seahawks Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left D.K. Metcalf 75 228 4.33 Marshon Lattimore 72 193 4.36
Slot Tyler Lockett 70 182 4.4 P.J. Williams 72 194 4.57
Right Jaron Brown 74 205 4.45 Eli Apple 73 199 4.4

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: D.K. Metcalf has almost exclusively lined up as the offense's left WR as he continues to expand his role inside of the Seahawks' run-first offense. The good news is he boasts a fantasy-friendly average target depth of 17 yards and will continue to offer weekly upside as long as defenses continue to focus their attention on Tyler Lockett.

The Seahawks' featured slot WR feasted on the Steelers last week, catching a career-high 10 passes for 79 scoreless yards. Lockett has high-end WR2 potential if he can complement these types of short high-percentage targets with his elite downfield ability. He's set up brilliantly inside again vs. P.J. Williams, who was a liability for most of 2018 and presently ranks 37th in QB rating allowed this season among 42 qualified CBs.

TE breakdown: Will Dissly has scored four touchdowns on just 21 targets in his six career games. Still, we should approach Dissly (59% snaps in Week 2) as more of a TE2 as long as Nick Vannett (42%) continues to be plenty involved, particularly in a matchup against a Saints Defense that was one of just four units to allow fewer than 40 receiving yards to the TE position in 2018.


Texans at Chargers

Texans Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left DeAndre Hopkins 73 214 4.57 Casey Hayward 71 192 4.57
Slot Keke Coutee 70 181 4.43 Desmond King 70 201 4.65
Right Will Fuller 72 186 4.32 Brandon Facyson 74 197 4.53

Projected shadow matchups: DeAndre Hopkins vs. Casey Hayward

WR/CB breakdown: Hayward deserves to be on the short list of the league's top shadow CBs. Still, Nuk is the most matchup-proof WR in the league. He dominates everybody.

Meanwhile, Fuller is again set up well with a massive speed advantage against a CB that he should be plenty capable of roasting. I'm going back to the well with Fuller despite the underwhelming start to the season.

The return of Keke Coutee (44% snaps in Week 2) predictably impacted Kenny Stills (38%) more than either Fuller (91%) or Hopkins (94%).

TE breakdown: Jordan Akins and Darren Fells have combined to catch 4-of-9 targets for 51 scoreless yards this season. Neither possesses the type of role that we should target in fantasy.

Chargers Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Travis Benjamin 70 175 4.36 Lonnie Johnson 74 213 4.52
Slot Keenan Allen 74 206 4.71 Bradley Roby 71 194 4.39
Right Mike Williams 76 218 4.59 Johnathan Joseph 71 193 4.32

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Keenan Allen's 36% target share is matched by only Hopkins, while his 54% share of the Chargers' air yards is bested by only Robby Anderson 55% (per Rotoworld's John Daigle). He dominated a tough matchup in Week 2 against stud CB Darius Slay and is plenty capable of doing even more damage this week against Bradley Roby.

Mike Williams (knee) played just 61% of the offense's snaps last week, but appeared to make it through the matchup unscathed and practiced in full on Wednesday. There's no reason why he can't dominate this spot against both Lonnie Johnson and Johnathan Joseph, particularly while Philip Rivers continues to feed him fantasy-friendly targets with Hunter Henry (knee, out) sidelined.

Williams is a baller and you can't convince me otherwise.

TE breakdown: Virgil Green caught 1-of-2 targets for nine scoreless yards last week. The Chargers simply don't incorporate him as a pass catcher even with Henry out.


Rams at Browns

Rams Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Brandin Cooks 70 189 4.33 Greedy Williams 74 185 4.37
Slot Cooper Kupp 74 204 4.62 T.J. Carrie 72 206 4.48
Right Robert Woods 72 201 4.51 Denzel Ward 71 183 4.32

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Rams don't make a habit of moving their WRs around the formation, so we can reasonably expect the above matchups to take place for the majority of this Sunday night matchup.

The Browns have enough speed on the outside to handle Brandin Cooks, but they're less sound in the intermediate areas of the field where Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods make their respective livings.

Of course, Jared Goff has been anything but consistent on the road during the Sean McVay era.

  • Goff in 18 home games since 2017: 64% completion rate, 5,421 yards, 8.4 YPA, 34 TDs, 8 INTs
  • Goff in 18 away games since 2017: 62% completion rate, 4,282 yards, 7.5 YPA, 30 TDs, 13 INTs

TE breakdown: Tyler Higbee is dealing with a lung contusion and should be considered questionable for Week 3. Gerald Everett is immediately in play as a streamer option if Higbee is ultimately sidelined. Everett possesses the type of size (6-foot-3 and 239-pounds), athleticism (85th-percentile SPARQ-x athlete) and basketball background to make any fantasy football analyst go from six to midnight.

Browns Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Odell Beckham Jr. 71 198 4.43 Marcus Peters 72 197 4.53
Slot Jarvis Landry 71 205 4.65 Nickell Robey-Coleman 67 169 4.53
Right Rashard Higgins 73 196 4.64 Aqib Talib 73 202 4.44

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Baker Mayfield didn't target a single Browns player more than nine times in a game after Freddie Kitchens took over in Week 9 last season.

OBJ racked up 11 and 10 targets in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively.

Fire up Beckham as a high-end WR1 at home, although it's tough to get behind Jarvis Landry and company as long as Mayfield continues to struggle. Overall, his average of 6.4 adjusted yards per attempt ranks 24th among 35 QBs with at least 20 pass attempts this season.

TE breakdown: David Njoku (wrist, concussion) is reportedly at risk of missing up to a month of action. Demetrius Harris is a worthy waiver wire addition after playing 50 snaps in relief last week. Harris has the size of a TE (6-foot-7 and 230-pounds) but the speed of a WR (4.57-second 40-yard dash).


Bears at Redskins

Bears Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Allen Robinson 74 220 4.56 Josh Norman 72 197 4.66
Slot Anthony Miller 71 201 4.55 Jimmy Moreland 70 179 4.51
Right Taylor Gabriel 68 167 4.45 Quinton Dunbar 74 201 4.49

Projected shadow matchups: Allen Robinson vs. Josh Norman

WR/CB breakdown: A-Rob is plenty capable of winning this shadow matchup, but the entire Bears Offense will continue to carry a low floor as long as Mitch Trubisky continues to function as a bottom-tier QB.

Seriously: Trubisky has been the league's worst QB (excluding those with a fish on their helmet) through two weeks:

  • Completion rate: 58% (28th among 35 qualified QBs)
  • TDs: 0 (tied for 30th)
  • QB rating: 65 (33rd)
  • Yards per attempt: 4.8 (34th)
  • Adjusted yards per attempt: 4.2 (33rd)
  • Yards per game: 174 (30th).

Nobody outside of Robinson should be considered as a viable fantasy option as long as Midwest Bortles remains in this brutal funk.

TE breakdown: See previous sentence.

Redskins Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed CB Height Weight Speed
Left Terry McLaurin 72 208 4.35 Prince Amukamara 72 206 4.48
Slot Trey Quinn 71 203 4.55 Buster Skrine 70 186 4.48
Right Paul Richardson 72 175 4.4 Kyle Fuller 72 190 4.49

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Terry McLaurin followed up his breathtaking NFL debut by catching 5-of-9 targets for 62 yards and a touchdown despite seeing plenty of stud CB Byron Jones. Case Keenum's willingness to throw McLaurin shots down the field, combined with the rookie's incredibly-polished route-running ability, gives him an underrated floor in the Redskins' meh offense.

Neither Trey Quinn nor Paul Richardson have been bad this season, but they don't possess the type of target share to be realistic season-long options in this tough matchup. RB Chris Thompson has a team-high 18 targets through two weeks.

TE breakdown: Jordan Reed (concussion) reportedly isn't making much progress, meaning Vernon Davis is once again tentatively expected to work as the offense's starting TE. Davis remains a viable streaming option, particularly for season-long owners that are waiting for Chris Herndon to finish up his suspension.


Source URL: https://www.rotoworld.com/article/numbers/nfl-week-3-wrcb-matchups-and-te-analysis