Exploiting key matchups is an easy way to give your fantasy team an edge over your opponent. Bad cornerbacks should be taken advantage of whenever possible, as even subpar receivers can dominate their coverage.
These mismatches can be found in every game on every team if you dig deep enough. Let’s take a look at the wide receivers with the best and worst matchups in Week 3.
Matchups to Target
Mike Evans/Chris Godwin v Janoris Jenkins/Deandre Baker
The New York Giants are the fourth-most generous fantasy defence when it comes to opposing receivers. According to Pro Football Reference, their cornerback tandem of Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker have allowed 18 receptions on 23 targets for 326 yards and a touchdown.
Baker, the rookie out of Georgia, has been particularly bad at defending the deep ball. He is allowing 21.1 yards per target in his coverage with an average target distance of 14.8 yards. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston has thrown 11 passes over 20 yards. While he hasn’t been on the same page with Mike Evans yet, they have been trying to consistently hook up deep, as evidenced by their 231 intended air yards.
The Giants’ secondary should be a boon to their efficiency. They rank 31st in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play through two weeks, meaning the Buccaneers’ passing game might start clicking in this matchup.
Jarvis Landry v Nickell Robey
Jarvis Landry might want to reconsider how much he loves having his former college teammate in town. Through two games, Odell Beckham has out produced Landry in targets (21 to 14), receptions (13 to 7), and yards (232 to 99).
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 17, 2019
This disparity has plummeted Landry’s fantasy stock, but Landry could have a day this week. Beckham has only travelled to the slot on 15 per cent of his snaps, compared to Landry’s 65 per cent. This means Beckham will be contending with Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, two aggressive and physical corners.
Meanwhile, Landry is going to be matched up with Nickell Robey in the slot. Baker Mayfield could be targeting Landry often to mitigate the Rams’ stout pass rush. This game also has strong shootout potential with the second-highest total on Sunday.
Kenny Golladay v Ronald Darby
The Philadelphia Eagles rank 26th in pass defence through two weeks, giving up 0.53 Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. They are brutal against number-one receivers, allowing Terry McLaurin and Julio Jones to go for over 100 yards and score in back-to-back weeks.
Top-12 WRs in total air yards, per https://t.co/jftk2C6DkP:
Keenan Allen 329
DeVante Parker 310
DeAndre Hopkins 306
Kenny Golladay 295
Terry McLaurin 277
Larry Fitzgerald 273
Curtis Samuel 259
Marquise Brown 243
John Brown 243
Will Fuller 243
Sammy Watkins 238
Julio Jones 238
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) September 16, 2019
Enter: Kenny Golladay. “Babytron” ranks fourth in intended air yards with 295, per airyards.com. He is also averaging nearly 10 targets per game, meaning he’s primed for a massive week against Ronald Darby, who has already allowed over 200 yards and two touchdowns in his coverage.
Tyler Lockett v P.J. Williams
After just two targets in Week 1, Tyler Lockett saw 12 looks from Russell Wilson against the Pittsburgh Steelers, catching 10 for 79 yards. He should be busy again in Week 3 with a nice matchup against slot man P.J. Williams and the New Orleans Saints’ defence.
This game won’t likely be a shootout with the absence of Drew Brees, but New Orleans ranks 28th in total defence, allowing 0.31 Adjusted Defensive NEP per play. They have also been prone to big plays in the passing game, surrendering 50-yard bombs to Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks over the last two weeks.
Matchups to Avoid
Robby Anderson v Stephon Gilmore
Robby Anderson has had tough matchups with Tre’Davious White and Denzel Ward to start the season. It doesn’t get any easier in Week 3, as he’ll be taking on Stephon Gilmore and the New England Patriots.
Sam Darnold has mono and will miss Monday's game against the Browns, per Adam Gase. pic.twitter.com/b3rUSCVFNM
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 12, 2019
Gilmore is making his case as the league’s best cover corner, allowing a 21.7 passer rating with three pass breakups. Those are both top-four figures, per PlayerProfiler. Anderson also has Luke Falk throwing him the football for the next few weeks, so that would be that.
Tyrell Williams v Xavier Rhodes
Tyrell the Gazelle has been prancing in the end zone for two straight weeks, but he’s about to run into Xavier Rhodes. While Rhodes struggled to contain Davante Adams last week, Williams isn’t on the same level as the Green Bay Packers’ superstar receiver. Unless the Oakland Raiders bump up his slot snaps against the Minnesota Vikings, Williams will have a long day.
Emmanuel Sanders v Jaire Alexander
Emmanuel Sanders tore his Achilles in Week 13 last season. Through two weeks, he ranks fifth in PPR fantasy points per game. Some things just can’t be explained in life.
Emmanuel Sanders is so good and I can't believe he's *this* good after that Achilles injury. Unreal.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) September 15, 2019
Sanders may be superhuman, but so is Jaire Alexander’s coverage. He is a big reason that the Packers rank third in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. Sanders did just post 98 yards on 11 receptions against a premiere Chicago Bears defence, but this is a matchup to avoid wherever possible.