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Knowing when an NFL wide receiver has an advantageous or disadvantageous cornerback matchup is critical for fantasy football start-sit decisions. This article details six players who either be started with confidence or avoided at all costs, thanks in part to their primary defensive counterpart for Week 1.
3 Wide Receivers to Target
Wide receiver Calvin Ridley (82.3 PFF preseason offense grade) makes his Jacksonville debut against a ramshackle Indianapolis defense that lost starting perimeter cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (81.1 PFF 2022 coverage grade) and Brandon Facyson (56.0 PFF 2022 coverage grade) this offseason. Ridley’s 76.5% wide-right per-snap alignment rate indicates second-year undrafted cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. (71.3 PFF preseason coverage grade) will take his first career regular-season snaps opposite Ridley. Ridley will play a key role in Jacksonville reaching FanDuel’s sky-high 25.0-point implied team total.
Ridley’s sterling preseason showing points toward a Week 1 fantasy football eruption after his gambling-related year-plus hiatus.
The table below ranks in parentheses Ridley’s preseason receiving data among 160 NFL wide receivers with at least 15 receiving snaps and five targets.
|NFL Preseason WR Receiving||Calvin Ridley|
|PFF Receiving Grade||85.8 (No. 3)|
|TPRR – YPRR||31.3% (No. 11) – 4.44 (No. 4)|
|Catch % – Contested Catch %||100.0% (T-No. 1) – 100.0% (T-No. 1)|
Baker’s 2021 coverage profile in his final college season at Georgia Southern was potentially the single-worst coverage performance among Group of Five cornerbacks.
The table below ranks in parentheses Baker’s 2021 coverage data among 126 Group of Five cornerbacks with at least 250 coverage snaps.
|2021 Group-of-Five CB Coverage||Darrell Baker Jr.|
|PFF Coverage Grade||54.9 (No. 118)|
|Targeted %||24.6% (No. 126)|
|Yards Allowed per Cov. Snap||1.73 (No. 119)|
|15+-Yd Pass Plays Allowed %||3.9% (No. 113)|
Ridley’s matchup against Baker is the largest talent discrepancy among all Week 1 wide receiver-cornerback matchups.