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Week 11 WR/CB mismatches and shadow coverages to leverage in DFS & fantasy football leagues

Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) breaks tackles as he takes a reception 82 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of the NFL Week 7 game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11 is here! 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 tight end group.

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The following tables denote every player’s: most frequent alignment, height (inches), weight (pounds), 40-yard dash (seconds) and yards per route run/coverage snap. Note that wide receivers regularly move all around the formation; these are just their primary alignments. Additionally, shadow matchups almost never feature a true 100% matchup rate; general practice in fantasy land is to start your studs as opposed to overweighting a perceived tough matchup.

NE @ ATL | MIA @ NYJ | NO @ PHI | GB @ MIN | SF @ JAXDET @ CLE |

New England PatriotsAtlanta Falcons 

Patriots Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR Cornerback H + W 40 YPRR
L Nelson Agholor 72 + 198 4.42 1.19 Fabian Moreau 72 + 200 4.35 0.95
R Kendrick Bourne 73 + 203 4.68 2.19 A.J. Terrell 73 + 190 4.42 0.34
S Jakobi Meyers 74 + 203 4.63 1.44 Avery Williams 69 + 195 N/A 1.44

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Jakobi Meyers found the end zone for the first time in his career last week. It was awesome. The Patriots’ No. 1 receiver enters this Thursday night matchup with the week’s single-best WR/CB matchup advantage rating. It’s not a given that Meyers will find the end zone more often moving forward, but his floor is about as high as they come in fantasy land. Overall, Meyers joins Travis Kelce, Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill and D.J. Moore as the only players with at least four catches in nine-plus games this season. My PPR WR30 on the week, Meyers is a recommended start against the Falcons’ bottom-12 defense in QB rating and EPA per play allowed on targets to slot receivers.

Both Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne should have to spend a decent portion of the evening across from A.J. Terrell — PFF’s second-highest-graded cornerback behind only Jalen Ramsey. There are worse dart throws than Bourne, who is usually the recipient of reverses and trick plays in this offense, but he’s still nothing more than a low-floor WR4. Try to avoid going after too many receiving options inside the league’s 28th-ranked offense in pass-play rate in non-garbage time situations.

TE breakdown: Hunter Henry is a low-end TE1 without Jonnu Smith (shoulder), but more of a touchdown-dependent TE2 option when the Patriots have the entire Boston TE party. Credit to Henry for scoring seven touchdowns in his last seven games; the problem is he’s seen four or fewer targets in five straight contests and has surpassed 50 yards just once all season. Fantasy folks can do worse than 30 yards and a score; just realize there’s an awfully low floor here if/when Henry stops finding the promised land quite so often.

Falcons Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR Cornerback H + W 40 YPRR
L Tajae Sharpe 74 + 194 4.55 1.11 Jalen Mills 72 + 191 4.61 1.02
R Olamide Zaccheaus 68 + 190 N/A 1.03 J.C. Jackson 73 + 198 4.46 1.36
S Russell Gage 72 + 184 N/A 1.04 Myles Bryant 69 + 185 4.62 0.83

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: This passing attack looks bleaker than ever with Calvin Ridley (personal, IR) and Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle) both tentatively expected to miss this Thursday night matchup. Try to avoid going after any parties involved. Tajae Sharpe has just one target in back-to-back games, Olamide Zaccheaus hasn’t played even half of the offense’s snaps since Week 5, and Russell Gage has goose-egged in two of his last three games despite playing a full-time role. Don’t get cute with any option involved against the league’s seventh-best defense in PPR points per game allowed to opposing wide receivers.

TE breakdown: Kyle Pitts is a tight end in positional designation only; the rookie has lined up in the slot or out wide on a whopping 72% of his snaps this season. Perhaps more pure inline usage would benefit the 21-year-old talent considering he’s averaged 1.85 yards per route run when covered by cornerbacks (87th among 142 qualified players) compared to 3.04 against safeties and linebackers (11th). Either way, Pitts joins the likes of Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, Darren Waller and T.J. Hockenson as essentially the NFL’s only six tight ends with a better than good shot at leading their offense in targets during any given week. This sort of volume locks in Pitts as a top-six option at the position regardless of the matchup.

Baltimore RavensChicago Bears 

Ravens Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR Cornerback H + W 40 YPRR
L Rashod Bateman 74 + 210 N/A 1.83 Jaylon Johnson 72 + 195 4.5 1.18
R Marquise Brown 69 + 170 N/A 2.11 Kindle Vildor 71 + 180 4.44 1.3
S Devin Duvernay 71 + 210 4.39 0.73 Duke Shelley 69 + 180 N/A 1.84

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Sammy Watkins cut into Rashod Bateman’s snaps and targets alike in Week 10, but the rookie still was Lamar Jackson’s preferred No. 2 wide receiver. Jackson has fed the following players at least five targets in four games with Bateman active:

Hollywood has busted on three occasions this season; otherwise the speedy third-year talent has done nothing other than post top-20 fantasy finishes. Still cemented as Jackson’s No. 1 pass-game option, Brown continues to warrant weekly upside WR2 treatment. This is especially true in this week’s sneaky-solid spot against the league’s sixth-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position.

Duvernay has flashed the sort of high-end ability that made the Ravens draft him in the first round in the first place, but ultimately it’s tough to expect too much out of the first-year talent as the passing game’s No. 3 option more weeks than not. Fire up Bateman as a solid WR3; I’d start him ahead of guys like Elijah Moore, Kenny Golladay and Jarvis Landry, but behind the likes of Michael Gallup, Corey Davis and Brandon Aiyuk.

TE breakdown: Only Travis Kelce (16.7) has averaged more PPR points per game than Andrews (14.9) among all tight ends. Credit to the Bears for working as one of just five defenses to allow fewer than 9.0 PPR points per game to the position, but Andrews earned matchup-proof TE1 treatment a long time ago. One of just five players at the position averaging more than 2.0 yards per route run, fire up Andrews as an easy top-five play at tight end this week.

Bears Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR Cornerback H + W 40 YPRR
L Marquise Goodwin 69 + 180 4.27 1.21 Marlon Humphrey 72 + 197 4.41 1.32
R Allen Robinson II 75 + 211 4.6 1.26 Anthony Averett 71 + 178 4.36 1.62
S Darnell Mooney 71 + 175 4.38 1.61 Tavon Young 69 + 185 4.46 1.06

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Justin Fields is 22 years of age; he’s allowed to get better with more experience. This has been the case through his first seven starts:

  • Week 3: 50.2 PFF passing grade (No. 31 among all quarterbacks with 10 dropbacks)
  • Week 4: 75.5 (No. 12)
  • Week 5: 54.5 (No. 31)
  • Week 6: 59.5 (No. 22)
  • Week 7: 38.0 (No. 29)
  • Week 8: 68.4 (No. 18)
  • Week 9: 85.9 (No. 2)

The latter performance was particularly impressive. Fields made a number of throws that showed off the sort of tantalizing upside that made him a consensus top prospect in the first place.

And yet, truly getting behind either Allen Robinson or Darnell Mooney remains incredibly difficult. Week 9 marked the first time that A-Rob (WR32) finished inside the position’s top-45 options, while Mooney has at least finished at 30th or better in four of his last six games.

It’s great to see this Bears passing game go from “my eyeballs are bleeding” to “hey sometimes cool stuff happens.” Don’t get carried away with suddenly trusting Robinson or Mooney as more than a WR4 in fantasy land. The Bears rank dead last in pass attempts and pass yards on the season; neither A-Rob nor Mooney are recommended starts against the Ravens’ eighth-ranked defense in PPR points per game allowed to opposing wide receivers.

TE breakdown: Cole Kmet plays a near every-down role and has caught at least three passes in four consecutive games. There isn’t much of a ceiling here; the second-year talent has yet to find the end zone and cleared 50 yards in a game for the first time in Week 9. Ultimately, Kmet is a low-end TE2 as long as Jimmy Graham (who has a no-trade clause) continues to siphon away a chunk of snaps as well as a target or two per game. I’d rather stream guys like Dan Arnold, Tyler Conklin or C.J. Uzomah.

Green Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings 

Packers Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR Cornerback H + W 40 YPRR
L Davante Adams 73 + 215 4.56 2.82 Cameron Dantzler 74 + 185 4.64 1.04
R Marquez Valdes-Scantling 76 + 206 4.37 1.11 Bashaud Breeland 71 + 195 4.62 1.87
S Randall Cobb 70 + 192 4.46 1.28 Mackensie Alexander 70 + 192 N/A 1.3

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Aaron Rodgers was rather brutal in his first game back from the covid list, but this week’s get-right spot features a defense he shredded for seven total touchdowns in eight quarters of action last season. The continued absence of Danielle Hunter (pec, IR) leaves this group without a true difference-making pass-rusher, which is particularly problematic given the Vikings’ cornerback room has emerged as a massive liability:

Failure to get after Rodgers will result in this group of underwhelming corners attempting to contain Davante Adams. Good luck, Minnesota. Adams is my No. 1 receiver on the week and overdue for a true blowup performance.

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The Packers have been rotating both Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Randall Cobb with Allen Lazard, rendering each as low-floor WR4 options at best in an offense normally content to simply feed Adams all the volume he can handle. MVS would be my pick as a contrarian DFS play and/or desperation FLEX against the Vikings’ slow-footed outside corners; just realize there’s no guarantee for more than three or so targets for any of these auxiliary options.

TE breakdown: The Packers are rotating three tight ends in the absence of Robert Tonyan (ACL, IR); none are realistic fantasy options due to usage concerns.

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