We're officially on to Week 1! 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.
I’ll include snap rate data by alignment, target share and air yard market share starting Week 2; for now the following matchups are projected based on where the receivers and corners spent most of their time in 2019. Depth charts have been harder than ever to come by without the benefit of first-team preseason snaps, so it wouldn’t be surprising if some of the listed corners or complementary receivers don’t see a full game’s worth of snaps. Yards per route run and yards allowed per coverage snap data is from last season.
|Left||Brandin Cooks||70||189||4.33||1.29||Charvarius Ward||73||198||4.49||1|
|Slot||Randall Cobb||70||192||4.46||1.77||Tyrann Mathieu||69||186||4.5||0.71|
|Right||Will Fuller||72||186||4.32||2.03||Rashad Fenton||71||193||4.52||0.75|
Projected shadow matchups: None
WR/CB breakdown: The Chiefs haven’t really come close to guarding Fuller in recent matchups. Sure, his overall statline in his last eight quarters against Kansas City isn’t anything amazing, but a look beneath the hood reveals that the Texans’ No. 1 WR has left a ton of production on the field.
Will Fuller last two games against the Chiefs:
*3* dropped TDspic.twitter.com/HhJM3NRGaU
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) September 8, 2020
Fuller has averaged a 4.3-66-0.6 line in 22 games with Watson under center, good for a robust average of 14.7 PPR per game. He needs to be in starting lineups of all shapes and sizes when healthy, regardless of the matchup.
Cooks just might be able to beat Fuller in a race. The former 2014 first-round pick averaged more than 15 yards per reception with each of the Saints, Patriots and Rams from 2016-2018 before falling off in 2019. This was largely due to uneven play from Jared Goff and a lack of opportunity; Cooks had just 72 targets in 14 games. Tom Brady (7.96 YPA with Cooks; 7.46 without), Drew Brees (7.59 vs. 7.49) and Goff (7.95 vs. 7.33) were all more efficient with Cooks than without.
Historically, receivers that are traded to a new team during the offseason don’t immediately function as high-end fantasy options, although Cooks has already bucked this trend twice himself. The larger issue is a quad injury that reportedly had his reps managed throughout August. The potential for limited snaps to start the season has me in wait-and-see mode with Cooks.
Cobb put together his best season in half a decade with Dak Prescott and company, averaging a robust 10 yards per target on his way to posting a 55-828-3 receiving line. He provides a reliable underneath threat that has been missing from this offense for most of Watson's career. While Cobb was one of just four WRs to drop at least nine passes last season, he's undoubtedly an upgrade over Keke Coutee. This could mean a fairly robust role: Coutee has received 91 targets in 16 games since 2018 (including playoffs).