News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Week 14 WR/CB matchups and TE breakdown

Nov 8, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs with the ball after a catch against the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

We're on to Week 14! 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.

The following tables denote snap rate data by alignment, target share, air yard market share, yards per route run and yards allowed per coverage snap.

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New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams

Patriots Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Damiere Byrd 69 180 1.44 Darious Williams 69 187 4.55 1.07
R N'Keal Harry 74 228 4.53 1.04 Jalen Ramsey 73 208 4.36 1.67
S Jakobi Meyers 74 203 4.63 2.26 Troy Hill 71 183 4.39 1.5

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: We’ve seen passing yardage totals of 157, 98, 174, 274, 118, 365, 84 and, most recently, 69 out of Cam Newton. There’s a low ceiling and floor inside of the Patriots’ 23rd-ranked scoring offense. Further complicating matters is that this week’s matchup pits New England against the league’s single-best defense in fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers. The Steelers (-0.154) are the only defense that has been better in terms of expected points added allowed per play than the Rams (-0.148); there’s enough reason to be concerned about the Patriots’ ability to move the ball to render all three wide receivers as non-viable fantasy options.

For the DFS showdowners: Jakobi Meyers remains the preferred dart throw. He has a team-high 22 targets since Harry returned in Week 10. Damiere Byrd (17), James White (14) and N'Keal Harry (12) are the only other players with double-digit targets during this four-game span. The Rams’ secondary is tough everywhere, although it ranks ninth in yards per attempt allowed to targets in the slot compared to first out wide.

TE breakdown: Ryan Izzo hasn’t seen more than three targets in a game or scored all season. The only time he cleared 50 yards was thanks to catching a last-second Hail Mary short of the end zone. He’s not a realistic fantasy option in any matchup.

Rams Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Josh Reynolds 75 196 4.52 1.36 J.C. Jackson 73 198 4.33 1.52
R Robert Woods 72 195 4.51 1.75 Stephon Gilmore 73 202 4.51 1.17
S Cooper Kupp 74 208 4.62 2.01 Jonathan Jones 70 190 4.42 1.44

Projected shadow matchups: Robert Woods vs. Stephon Gilmore

WR/CB breakdown: Gilmore’s shadow coverage isn’t as concerning for a wide receiver like Woods as it might be for others due to the nature of his targets; only Curtis Samuel (23) has more targets behind the line of scrimmage than Woods (22) through 13 weeks of action. Samuel and Woods are also the league’s only wideouts who have at least 20 rush attempts. The WR13 in PPR points per game, Woods has earned auto-start treatment — even in tough matchups like this.

Cooper Kupp hasn’t found the end zone since Week 4, although only 13 players in the league have more targets this season. Even this lesser version of the Patriots' secondary is a problem, as it's allowed the sixth-fewest PPR points per game to the position this season. However, New England has yielded the fifth-most explosive pass plays to targets aligned out of the slot; don’t count out Kupp’s potential to bust a big play or two on Thursday night. He’s my PPR WR23 on the week.

The Rams are rotating Josh Reynolds (46% snaps) and rookie Van Jefferson (48%), making each a non-viable fantasy option in this tough spot.

TE breakdown: The Rams are utilizing a ton of two-tight end formations; both Tyler Higbee (84% snaps) and Gerald Everett (72%) out-snapped Kupp (65%) in Week 13. Still, Week 13 marked the first time all season both tight ends had at least five targets in the same game. Neither is anything more than a touchdown-dependent TE2 with this sort of split usage, particularly versus the league’s fourth-best defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars

Titans Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L A.J. Brown 72 226 4.49 2.38 Tre Herndon 71 185 4.42 2.66
R Corey Davis 75 209 2.79 Greg Mabin 73 200 4.38 0.86
S Cameron Batson 68 175 0.79 Josiah Scott 70 175 4.54 0.41

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: A.J. Brown WR1 szn would’ve been far bigger last week if he’d managed to not 1) fumble the ball at the goal line, and 2) drop a well-thrown 40-yard pass down the seam. The Titans’ incredibly talented second-year wide receiver has suffered a few momentary lapses of focus throughout the season, but ultimately, he’s the WR12 in PPR points per game on the season.

I wrote the following in this article last week:

“However, Brown isn’t the only fantasy-relevant wideout in Tennessee these days. We’ve seen Corey Davis emerge as a consistent threat, as he’s scored or gained at least 60 yards in every game this season other than his infamous Week 9 goose-egg. There’s no debate in regard to who is the Titans' best receiver, but Davis stands as the WR27 in PPR points per game this season and has earned weekly upside WR3 treatment.”

Only Davante Adams (3.02) and Justin Jefferson (2.87) have averaged more yards per route run than Davis (2.79) this season. Madness. He’s a legit top-20 option at the position against the league’s fifth-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to opposing wide receivers.

It’s tough to overstate just how bad the Jaguars' defense is, but we’ll take a shot:

  • Yards per attempt allowed: 8.2 (No. 32)
  • QB rating allowed: 113.0 (No. 30)
  • Explosive pass-play rate allowed: 16.6% (No. 29)
  • Pressure rate: 24.4% (No. 30)

There’s less competition for targets than ever with both Adam Humphries (concussion, IR) and Jonnu Smith (knee) banged up. Start Brown and Davis with confidence in fantasy football leagues of all shapes and sizes.

TE breakdown: Both Geoff Swaim (53% snaps) and MyCole Pruitt (44%) worked ahead of Anthony Firkser (42%) in terms of reps with Smith sidelined last week. Still, Pruitt caught just one of his two targets for a score and also picked up AJB’s aforementioned fumble for another score, and Swaim had just one target; Firkser was clearly the lead receiver with five receptions for 51 yards on seven targets. He’s an upside TE2 as the projected No. 3 option in a passing game expected to put up all sorts of points this week.

Jaguars Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L D.J. Chark Jr. 76 198 4.34 1.56 Malcolm Butler 71 190 0.79
R Laviska Shenault Jr. 74 220 4.58 1.54 Breon Borders 72 189 4.49 1.47
S Keelan Cole 73 194 1.18 Desmond King II 70 200 4.58 1.3

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Mike Glennon’s touchdown in Week 13 should’ve been intercepted. Give the human giraffe credit for keeping the Jaguars competitive against the Browns and Vikings over the past two weeks, but we haven’t exactly seen excellent quarterback play. However, that might not even be needed against a Titans defense that looked lost against Baker Mayfield and company last week. Glennon is the only signal-caller in the league with a deep-ball rate over 20%; the man is chucking the rock downfield with reckless abandon.

The problem is that D.J. Chark Jr. was the only wide receiver to play over even 70% of the offense’s snaps last week. Laviska Shenault Jr. (thumb) is banged up, Keelan Cole has surpassed 50 yards once since Week 2, and Collin Johnson as well as Chris Conley are also plenty involved.

I’m comfortable firing up Chark as a borderline upside WR2 against a secondary that doesn’t really have anybody who can compete with his size or speed. Chark has caught 13 of his 15 targets for 198 yards and a score during his past three matchups against the Jaguars’ divisional rival; enhanced volume in this sneaky shootout could produce some big numbers against one of just three defenses allowing at least 43 PPR points per game to opposing wide receiver groups. 

TE breakdown: Tyler Eifert has at least four targets in five consecutive games. Still, the 30-year-old tight end regularly loses snaps and targets alike to James O'Shaughnessy and even Eric Saubert, has scored just twice all season, and has yet to surpass 50 receiving yards in a game. Please try to find a better option with even a semblance of a ceiling.

Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Vikings Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Justin Jefferson 73 202 4.43 2.87 Sean Murphy-Bunting 72 195 4.56 0.34
R Adam Thielen 74 200 2.15 Carlton Davis 73 206 0.77
S Chad Beebe 70 183 0.93 Ross Cockrell 72 190 4.41 0.51

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Both Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen have been absolutely spectacular this season:

  • PFF receiving grade: Thielen: 90.8 (No. 2 among 114 WRs with 25-plus targets); Jefferson: 90.7 (No. 3)
  • Yards per route run: Thielen: 2.15 (No. 20); Jefferson: 2.87 (No. 2)
  • TDs: Thielen: 12 (tied for No. 3); Jefferson: 7 (tied for No. 10)

This is a matchup that looked a lot tougher in September compared to now. Perhaps Carlton Davis is asked to shadow one of these receivers, but it’s tough to be too concerned after Tyreek Hill torched the Buccaneers’ No. 1 cornerback for 269 yards and a trio of scores back in Week 12.

I have both Thielen and Jefferson as top-12 options at the position this week. There’s a scenario where the Buccaneers’ elite run defense forces this Vikings offense to pass more than usual, and it’s tough to see these corners holding up well against Minnesota’s pair of stud receivers. Check out the Thursday edition of The PFF Fantasy Football Podcast with ESPN’s Mike Clay for more thoughts on this passing game’s boom potential.

TE breakdown: Kyle Rudolph has posted 4-63-0, 7-68-0 and 0-0-0 receiving lines in three games with Irv Smith Jr. (groin) sidelined this season. Neither tight end is a realistic fantasy option if both are active, but we can still treat Rudolph as an upside TE2 despite last week’s goose egg. The largest issue for everyone involved in this passing game is typically volume; Kirk Cousins and company should have to keep their foot on the gas for most of Sunday afternoon.

Buccaneers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Mike Evans 77 231 4.53 1.36 Cameron Dantzler 74 185 4.48 1.63
R Antonio Brown 70 181 4.56 1.35 Kris Boyd 71 201 1.23
S Chris Godwin 73 209 4.42 1.87 Jeff Gladney 72 183 0.92

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Tom Brady’s distribution since adding Antonio Brown to the equation in Week 9 has been as follows:

The Buccaneers have had a bye week to get right after an up-and-down start to their new-look offense. Part of the reason for Brady’s porous performances against the Saints (209-0-3) and Rams (216-2-2) might just be the reality that those defenses are really good; the Buccaneers’ QB1 was far more effective against the Panthers' (341-3-0) and Chiefs' (345-3-2) good, not great, units.

The Vikings are the start of a cozy end-of-season stretch that also features the Lions and Falcons (twice). Brady’s well-publicized deep ball issues have been more of a timing issue than a “2015 Peyton Manning noodle arm” situation. So, fire up all three of these wide receivers with confidence against the league’s third-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position. Evans’ red-zone rapport with Brady earns him WR1 honors, but both Godwin and AB are also among my top 25 options at the position this week.

TE breakdown: Gronk has at least six targets in all but three games since Week 3. The Vikings are much tougher on opposing tight ends thanks to the presence of Harrison Smith in the middle of the field, but there have been enough scoring opportunities to go around for him to still warrant TE1 treatment. Overall, Gronkowski’s eight targets inside the 10-yard line is tied for the ninth-highest mark in the league, regardless of position.

Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins

Chiefs Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Demarcus Robinson 73 203 4.59 0.91 Byron Jones 72 205 1.29
R Sammy Watkins 73 211 4.43 1.31 Xavien Howard 73 192 4.46 1.06
S Tyreek Hill 70 185 2.27 Nik Needham 72 203 4.38 1.04

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Through 13 weeks, only D.K. Metcalf (1,119 receiving yards) has been more productive than Travis Kelce (1,114) and Tyreek Hill (1,079) in terms of yards gained through the air. There were three plays that could’ve produced another score and roughly 50 additional passing yards for Hill during the Chiefs’ Sunday night win over the Broncos:

  1. Mahomes overthrew an open Hill streaking behind the defense down the middle of the field. Perhaps Hill could’ve come down with it had he demonstrated better ball-tracking skills, but he’s normally among the league’s very best deep-ball catchers, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
  2. Mahomes hit Hill in the chest in the end zone before the ball deflected up into the air and miraculously found its way into Hill’s hands on the ground. Even the Chiefs’ No. 1 wide receiver didn't think he caught it. The Chiefs punted. Madness.
  3. Mahomes finally connected with Hill on a deep score, but it was nullified by a holding penalty.

The Dolphins boast arguably the best pair of outside corners in the league. Whatever. Only Davante Adams (26.3 PPR points per game) has been more productive than Hill (22.9) on a per-game basis. Nobody has a higher ceiling at the position.

Sammy Watkins hasn’t managed to clear 40 yards in either of his first two games back, while Demarcus Robinson (58% snaps in Week 13) loses a chunk of reps to Mecole Hardman (33%) every week. None are more than upside WR4s; Mahomes has been content all season to simply feed Kelce and Hill.

TE breakdown: You don’t need me to tell you that Kelce is fantasy’s No. 1 option at the position. However, take a second to appreciate just how great the man has been after the catch. Through 13 weeks, Kelce has forced 12 missed tackles — no other tight end has surpassed eight.

Dolphins Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Jakeem Grant 67 169 1.51 Bashaud Breeland 71 195 4.37 0.79
R DeVante Parker 75 216 4.45 1.78 Charvarius Ward 73 200 4.42 1.43
S Lynn Bowden Jr. 71 199 0.91 L'Jarius Sneed 73 193 4.53 1.44

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Tua Tagovailoa’s performance in Week 13 would’ve been far bigger had Jakeem Grant not dropped a perfectly thrown bomb down the middle of the field. Perhaps the Dolphins’ pint-sized, field-stretching wide receiver fixes the mistake this time around, although the Chiefs’ sixth-ranked defense in explosive pass-play rate allowed hasn’t made a habit of surrendering those sort of big-play opportunities all season.

DeVante Parker remains the only recommended fantasy option. He’s been far better with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center compared to Tua this season, but at least the Dolphins found a way to get their No. 1 receiver eight targets in Week 13. It’s tough to treat Parker as more than an upside WR3; just realize the Dolphins' big-bodied, alpha No. 1 is capable of winning a jump ball against any cornerback in the league, and Tua’s newfound spike in passing volume could produce more than a few such opportunities come Sunday.

TE breakdown: Mike Gesicki had a team-high 11 targets last week, ultimately posting a stellar 9-88-1 line against the Bengals’ overwhelmed secondary. He's the TE14 in PPR points per game, and we’ve seen a high-ceiling, low-floor combination from him all season. The position is shallow enough for him to continue to warrant top-10 treatment. However, this passing game might not be polished enough at the moment to consistently enable more than one high-end fantasy asset.

Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers

Broncos Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Tim Patrick 77 210 1.91 Rasul Douglas 74 209 4.45 0.69
R Jerry Jeudy 73 192 4.45 1.6 Troy Pride Jr. 72 190 4.43 0.89
S K.J. Hamler 69 173 1.07 Jeremy Chinn 74 211 4.38 0.73

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Tim Patrick has scored or surpassed 100 yards in all but two games when he didn’t have a practice squad receiver under center since Week 3. Jeudy’s future certainly looks brighter, but at this point, it’s tough to deny that Patrick is the superior fantasy option. Of course, neither should be started with much, if any, confidence this week against a zone-heavy Panthers defense that could cause problems for the ever-erratic Drew Lock.

This isn’t a matchup to overly fear; there’s just a demonstrated lack of a ceiling for everyone involved in this passing game. Lock is incredibly fun to watch play football but has surpassed 250 yards and thrown multiple scores in two of 14 career starts. Aside from DFS tournament darts, these wide receivers aren’t recommended fantasy options this week.

TE breakdown: Noah Fant has played through the pain all season and generally is near the top of the leaderboard when it comes to weekly targets. The second-year tight end is already one of the league’s best players at the position when it comes to picking up yards after the catch, and he’s set up moderately well against one of just eight defenses allowing at least 14 PPR points per game to the position. The floor is low for anyone involved in this volatile passing game, but Fant has earned weekly TE1 treatment when healthy enough to suit up.

Panthers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Brandon Zylstra 74 215 0.59 Michael Ojemudia 73 199 4.46 0.48
R Robby Anderson 75 190 2.26 De'Vante Bausby 74 190 0.97
S Pharoh Cooper 71 208 0.6 Duke Dawson Jr. 70 198 4.38 1.76

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Both D.J. Moore (ankle/COVID-19) and Curtis Samuel (covid) are looking iffy at best to suit up this week. Moore would be an upside WR2 if active; his 1,117.1 air yards are the ninth-highest mark in the league through 13 weeks. Samuel would be more of a low-end WR4 with Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) expected to eat into the versatile wideout’s targets and rush attempts.

That leaves Robby Anderson as potentially the Panthers’ lone viable pass-game option. The ex-Jets wide receiver has impressed all season and is one of just nine receivers with a target share of at least 25%:

Treat Anderson as more of a low-end WR2 if his fellow starting wideouts are active; otherwise, he’ll be a borderline WR1 against a secondary that will be without No. 1 cornerback A.J. Bouye (suspension).

Dart throws on Brandon Zylstra and Pharoh Cooper aren’t recommended; we have no idea how the snaps and targets are going to shake out behind Anderson if Moore and Samuel are ultimately sidelined.

TE breakdown: Ian Thomas hasn’t reached 30 receiving yards in a game this season; please don’t play him under any circumstances this week and beyond.

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears

Texans Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Chad Hansen 74 202 4.53 2.24 Jaylon Johnson 72 195 1.61
R Brandin Cooks 70 183 4.33 1.82 Kyle Fuller 71 190 4.48 0.86
S Keke Coutee 71 180 4.43 1.99 Buster Skrine 69 185 4.46 1.13

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Cooks missed part of Week 13 while in the concussion protocol, but he was cleared and will be good to go for Sunday. He’s truly ranked as one of the league’s more productive receivers since coach BIll O’Brien was fired after Week 4:

  • Targets: 63 (tied for No. 16 among all WRs)
  • Receptions: 47 (tied for No. 12)
  • Receiving yards: 646 (No. 6)
  • Receiving TDs: 3 (tied for No. 23)
  • Explosive pass plays: 15 (tied for No. 10)
  • PPR points: 129.6 (No. 12)

Cooks is my PPR WR20 this week ahead of guys like Amari Cooper, Cooper Kupp and Chris Godwin.

Coutee and Hansen each cleared 100 yards last week; life is good for anybody involved in an offense with Deshaun Watson under center. Don’t expect this sort of production every week from the offense’s complementary receivers, but both (particularly Coutee) are viable low-end WR3s against a Bears secondary that has struggled to contain the Packers and Lions in consecutive weeks.

TE breakdown: The Texans didn’t go out of their way to utilize two-TE formations last week, leaving both Jordan Akins and Darren Fells as borderline TE2 options moving forward. The Bears boast the league’s fifth-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position; just realize Watson is perfectly comfortable getting his WRs and RBs more involved in the passing game than Akins or Fells.

Bears Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Allen Robinson II 75 211 4.6 1.91 Vernon Hargreaves III 70 204 4.49 1.07
R Darnell Mooney 71 175 4.38 1.05 Phillip Gaines 72 193 4.43 1.61
S Anthony Miller 71 190 1.23 Eric Murray 71 199 4.49 1

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: A-Rob has suffered through quite the QB carousel during his short NFL career, but he’s largely made the most of it at every turn:

Robinson also caught college passes from Christian Hackenberger and Matt McGloin. Sad. Keep an eye on his knee injury; the Bears’ No. 1 WR appeared somewhat limited in Week 13. Still, it’s tough to keep A-Rob outside of the position’s top-15 options thanks to 1) a matchup against this mediocre Texans secondary that will continue to be without No. 1 CB Bradley Roby (suspension), and 2) the reality that only Keenan Allen and Stefon Diggs have more total targets on the year.

Mooney has flashed the ability to separate deep throughout the season; he’s ultimately failed to reach 70 yards in a game and has scored just twice. Miller has generally impressed throughout his three-year career, but he’s yet to earn the full trust of the coaching staff and is at risk weekly of hovering close to half of the offense’s snaps. Neither are recommended fantasy options this week despite the winnable spot.

TE breakdown: Jimmy Graham lost his starting job to Cole Kmet weeks ago. Friendly reminder that Graham has a no-trade clause. Kmet converted a career-high seven targets into a stellar 5-37-1 receiving line. The rookie is hardly a must-start fantasy asset, but he’s now the Bears’ TD-dependent TE2 option. Graham doesn’t need to be rostered in literally any fantasy format.

Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants

Cardinals Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L DeAndre Hopkins 73 212 4.57 2.2 James Bradberry 73 212 4.5 0.85
R Christian Kirk 71 200 4.47 1.3 Isaac Yiadom 73 190 4.52 1.34
S Larry Fitzgerald 75 218 4.49 0.99 Darnay Holmes 70 198 4.48 1.45

Projected shadow matchups: DeAndre Hopkins vs. James Bradberry

WR/CB breakdown: Only Keenan Allen (125 targets), Stefon Diggs (117) and Allen Robinson (113) have more raw pass-game opportunities than Hopkins (110). He’s posted underwhelming 5-51-0, 8-55-0 and 8-52-1 receiving lines over the past three weeks, but the latter two performances deserve some slack considering the presence of Stephon Gilmore and Jalen Ramsey didn’t exactly make life easy.

The problem with expecting too big of a bounce back performance from Nuk this week is that Bradberry is also deserving of inclusion in discussions surrounding the league’s top-five corners. The ex-Panthers CB has held up rather brilliantly in shadow coverage all season:

Obviously Hopkins is an auto-start WR1 regardless of the matchup in season-long formats, but expectations for a massive performance should be reigned in regardless.

Kirk hasn’t surpassed 50 yards or scored since Week 9. Fitzgerald is back in action, but that’s probably more of a negative for the offense as a whole at this point of his career. The former receiver is due to bounce back at some point; perhaps that happens this week against the Giants’ 23rd-ranked defense in explosive pass-play rate allowed to outside receivers. Still, Kirk is best approached as a DFS tournament option until we see this passing game get even somewhat on track.

TE breakdown: Yes, Dan Arnold posted a 2-61-2 receiving line in Week 13. Also yes, the performance came on a total of *nine* snaps. Don’t expect a repeat effort against the Giants’ ninth-ranked defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position.

Giants Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Darius Slayton 73 190 4.39 1.44 Patrick Peterson 73 203 4.55 1.27
R Sterling Shepard 70 201 4.48 1.6 Dre Kirkpatrick 74 196 4.51 1.61
S Golden Tate 70 197 4.42 1.31 Byron Murphy 71 190 4.38 1.16

Projected shadow matchups: Darius Slayton vs. Patrick Peterson

WR/CB breakdown: Daniel Jones (hamstring) is tentatively expected to suit up this week. If he doesn’t, none of these WRs are realistic fantasy options because Colt McCoy is averaging a laughably bad 4.3 yards per attempt this season.

Even the return of Jones wouldn’t be much of a boost to these receivers considering the likelihood that the offense embraces the run game with a hobbled QB under center. Peterson hasn’t been a matchup to fear over the past two seasons, but Slayton has busted with fewer than 20 receiving yards and zero scores in three of his past four games. Tate hasn’t reached 50 yards in a game all season.

Shepard is the only realistic fantasy option from this WR room. The man is a virtual lock for six targets week in and week out, however his 48% snap rate in Week 13 was concerning to say the least. Ultimately, anybody involved in the league’s 30th-ranked scoring offense carries a low floor; I’ll generally be picking the other option in start/sit questions regarding Giants players of all shapes and sizes.

TE breakdown: Evan Engram is the only exception to my previous anti-Giant proclamation. The Giants have fed their starting TE at least eight targets in four of their past five games, and Engram is set up well against the Cardinals’ improved-but-still-not-great defense against the position. Perhaps I’m being too optimistic, but Engram is my PPR TE5 this week and worthy of DFS tournament exposure.

Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals

Cowboys Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Michael Gallup 73 198 4.51 1.27 LeShaun Sims 72 203 4.59 0.97
R Amari Cooper 73 210 4.42 1.88 William Jackson III 72 196 1.21
S CeeDee Lamb 74 191 4.5 1.73 Mackensie Alexander 70 192 4.4 1.33

Projected shadow matchups: Amari Cooper vs. William Jackson

WR/CB breakdown: Andy Dalton ranks 37th in passer rate when kept clean and 34th under pressure this season. The ex-Bengals QB has largely been awful outside of four good quarters against the Vikings’ mostly-miserable defense. This isn’t all on the red rocket; the Cowboys’ banged-up offensive line has largely sunk the team’s run and pass game alike since losing Dak Prescott (ankle, IR). Still, there’s no reason to expect improvement this week due to Zack Martin (calf, IR) now also being sidelined. Revenge game storyline aside, it’s tough to expect much of anything from this passing game. The Bengals don’t boast anyone’s idea of a good defense, although they have limited their opponent to 20 or fewer points in four of their last five games. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cowboys become the fifth such victim.

Cooper is the only WR I’d feel confident about starting this week. He’s caught at least five passes in all but one game in this post-Dak offense and is capable of winning against Jackson, who has been up-and-down in shadow dates with T.Y. Hilton (1-11-0), Terry McLaurin (5-84-0), Darius Slayton (0-0-0, dropped potential 70-plus yard TD) and DeVante Parker (4-35-0). Fire up Cooper as a low-end WR2 that’s capable of creating separation against just about anybody.

Lamb’s Week 13 performance could’ve been far bigger if he hadn’t let a Hail Mary at the end of the second quarter go right through his hands. He’s failed to reach 75 receiving yards in a game since losing Dak after clearing the mark in three of the first five games of the season. Gallup is fresh off scoring for the first time since Week 3. Both receivers are undoubtedly talented, but there’s a low floor attached to anyone inside of a Cowboys offense that has been riding the struggle bus for the better part of the last two months. Careful about treating either as more than a low-ceiling WR4.

TE breakdown: Dalton Schultz has at least four catches in five consecutive games but just one trip to the end zone since Week 4. He’s a low-ceiling TE2 in an offense that isn’t feeding him any level of fantasy-friendly targets.

Bengals Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L A.J. Green 76 210 4.48 0.86 Chidobe Awuzie 72 202 4.54 0.89
R Tee Higgins 76 215 1.8 Rashard Robinson 74 177 4.43 2.98
S Tyler Boyd 74 203 4.58 1.78 Jourdan Lewis 70 195 4.53 1.1

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Higgins and Boyd are each talented enough to potentially make the most out of their opportunities, as the latter receiver did in Week 13 by turning a short screen into a 72-yard TD. Just realize this Bengals offense hasn’t looked even remotely competent since losing Joe Burrow (knee, IR) for the season. Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley form the league’s single-worst QB room at the moment. The Bengals join the Eagles and Jets as the week’s only three teams implied to score fewer than 20 points (FantasyLabs). Higgins and Boyd are low-ceiling WR4 options in this broken offense.

TE breakdown: Don’t do it.

Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders

Colts Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Michael Pittman Jr. 76 220 4.52 1.43 Nevin Lawson 69 192 4.55 1.4
R T.Y. Hilton 70 183 4.34 1.57 Trayvon Mullen 74 199 1.31
S Zach Pascal 74 219 4.55 1.16 Lamarcus Joyner 68 191 1.34

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Philip Rivers has fed the following players at least 10 targets since the Colts’ Week 7 bye:

Credit to Rivers for game-managing the Colts to an 8-4 start; just realize he’s spreading the ball around more than just about anybody. The Raiders’ 25th-ranked defense in explosive pass-play rate allowed isn’t a unit to fear; we just don’t know who the ball is going to go to.

Pittman deserves to be the top-ranked WR in this offense. However, that honor doesn’t rank him inside of the position’s top-35 options even in this cozy matchup. The same is true for Hilton: There simply isn’t enough consistent volume in this passing game to feel good about anybody involved.

TE breakdown: Burton, Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle split snaps and targets alike. Burton is the preferred dart throw since the team randomly gives him wildcat snaps near the goal line. Even then, we’re talking about a TD-dependent TE2 at best.

Raiders Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Henry Ruggs III 72 190 4.27 1.5 Xavier Rhodes 73 218 1.02
R Nelson Agholor 72 198 4.42 1.66 Rock Ya-Sin 72 192 4.62 0.7
S Hunter Renfrow 70 184 4.59 2.01 Kenny Moore II 69 190 0.96

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Heroes get remembered, legends never die.

Awful defensive play-call? Absolutely. Excellent downfield pass from Carr? Also true.

Perhaps the big play from Ruggs leads to more opportunities, but this offense has consistently prioritized Agholor as the lead outside WR. He actually broke open deep on the play before Ruggs’ game-winning score, but was overthrown.

Ultimately, this passing game flows through Darren Waller first and foremost. The Colts lead the league in contested target rate and have made life tough on pretty much everyone. Give Carr and company credit for scoring 30-plus points in four of their last five games; this isn’t the spot to expect high-end performances from these WRs.

Agholor is my PPR WR41 and only potential recommended start from the group. Even then, I’d rather play the Colts’ similar boom-or-bust WRs ahead of him.

TE breakdown: Waller’s dominant 13-200-2 performance in Week 13 displayed his typical route-running goodness with some added YAC dominance. Only Travis Kelce deserves to be ranked higher as long as George Kittle (foot, IR) remains sidelined. This is true even in a matchup against the league’s second-best defense in PPR points per game allowed to opposing TEs. Waller ranks seventh in receptions over the past two seasons with 167 regardless of position; he’s anybody’s idea of a No. 1 receiver even if we call him a tight end.

New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks

Jets Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Breshad Perriman 74 215 1.61 D.J. Reed Jr. 69 188 4.51 0.83
R Denzel Mims 75 215 4.38 1.94 Shaquill Griffin 72 198 4.36 1.55
S Jamison Crowder 69 177 4.56 1.89 Ugo Amadi 69 201 4.46 1.27

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Sam Darnold reversed course on getting his outside WRs involved last week, instead feeding Crowder a team-high seven targets. The Jets’ slot WR posted a strong 5-47-2 line, but it’s now been nine weeks since the last time he surpassed 50 yards in a game.

Randomly, the only consistent source of goodness from this offense all season has been Darnold as a rusher.

Perriman and Mims have both flashed throughout the season and are set up as well as possible against the league’s single-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to opposing WRs. Still, Darnold hasn’t surpassed even 230 passing yards in a game this season, and the Seahawks have managed to hold the Eagles (180 passing yards) and Giants (100) in check over the past two weeks.

Don’t play anybody from the league’s 32nd-ranked scoring offense unless you have to. Crowder is my pick to lead the way, but even then we’re talking about a low-floor WR3. Perriman and Mims are nothing more than boom-or-bust WR5 options.

TE breakdown: Chris Herndon posted a 2-32-1 receiving line in Week 11; the Jets haven’t thrown him the ball since. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Seahawks Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L D.K. Metcalf 75 229 4.33 2.24 Lamar Jackson 75 215 4.62 1.07
R David Moore 72 215 1.39 Bryce Hall 73 200 1.05
S Tyler Lockett 70 182 4.4 1.69 Arthur Maulet 70 190 4.38 1.5

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Week 13 was Russell Wilson’s worst game of the season against the Giants’ underrated defense. The good news is that this week’s matchup represents just about the best get-right spot that we could’ve hoped for. The Jets fired DC Gregg Williams after his decision to go with a cover-zero defense in the waning moments of Week 13 resulted in Derek Carr completing a game-winning bomb to Henry Ruggs.

The Jets have largely been one of the worst defenses all season when it comes to limiting opposing passing attacks:

  • Explosive pass plays allowed: 80 (No. 29)
  • Explosive pass-play rate allowed: 16.4% (No. 27)
  • Passing yards per attempt allowed: 7.9 (No. 29)
  • QB rating allowed: 111.7 (No. 29)

This defense largely sells out to stop the run: Only the Buccaneers (3.3) and Saints (3.3) have allowed fewer yards per carry than the Jets (3.8). Perhaps the reason why the Saints have actually resembled a solid overall defense compared to the Jets and Bucs (lately) could be because the former team has had seven or more defenders in the box on just 33% of their opponent’s dropbacks, while the latter have each posted 47% clips. Unfortunately, the Jets simply don’t have the talent to hold up in the back-end with so many resources devoted to the line of scrimmage.

Even if this defense winds up in a better place schematically without Williams involved, nobody in this secondary should be capable of sticking with Metcalf or Lockett for 60 minutes. Fire up both with confidence; this sort of high-end passing game shouldn’t stay asleep for much longer.

TE breakdown: Jacob Hollister and Will Dissly are splitting snaps and targets alike. Neither is more than a TD-dependent TE2 without another injury to the TE room. However, the Jets do boast the league’s single-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position; it’d make sense if this is the week we see one of them find the end zone. My money would be on Dissly, but again it’s a low-floor dart even in this pristine matchup.

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Packers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Marquez Valdes-Scantling 76 206 4.37 1.37 Darryl Roberts 72 182 4.53 1.29
R Davante Adams 73 215 4.56 3.02 Amani Oruwariye 73 205 4.5 1.28
S Allen Lazard 77 227 4.55 2.05 Justin Coleman 71 190 4.49 0.83

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Adams’ consistency this season has been nothing short of remarkable:

  • Week 1: PPR WR1
  • Week 2: WR75 (injured)
  • Week 6: WR30
  • Week 7: WR2
  • Week 8: WR2
  • Week 9: WR2
  • Week 10: WR12
  • Week 11: WR7
  • Week 12: WR16
  • Week 13: WR2

I don’t think there’s a single person in continental America, let alone in Michigan, capable of handling Adams for 60 minutes. Continue to treat the WR1 in PPR points per game as such ahead of this smash spot.

MVS, sheesh.

Valdes-Scantling is a boom-or-bust WR5, Lazard is more of a borderline WR3 that is more of a DFS tournament stacking partner than someone you should actively be looking to start.

This secondary is a mix of bad and injured. Only the Falcons and Jaguars have allowed more yards per attempt this season. Aaron Rodgers is my No. 1 ranked QB of Week 14.

TE breakdown: Robert Tonyan is the TE7 in PPR points per game and has scored in three consecutive games. Even Adams seems to realize Tonyan is the real No. 2 pass-game option in Green Bay. Fire up Tonyan as an upside TE1 with confidence; it’d be surprising if his scoring streak isn’t extended to four.

Lions Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Quintez Cephus 73 207 4.73 1.58 Kevin King 75 200 4.6 1.17
R Marvin Jones Jr. 74 198 1.31 Jaire Alexander 70 196 1.45
S Danny Amendola 71 190 4.58 1.92 Chandon Sullivan 71 194 4.47 1.29

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Jones has performed admirably in eight games with Kenny Golladay (hip) either completely sidelined or limited to fewer than 50% of the offense’s snaps:

  • Week 1: 4 receptions-55 yards-0 TD (8 targets)
  • Week 2: 4-23-1 (6)
  • Week 8: 3-39-2 (7)
  • Week 9: 3-43-1 (4)
  • Week 10: 8-96-1 (10)
  • Week 11: 4-51-0 (6, also had a 50-yard TD nullified on an illegal formation penalty)
  • Week 12: 6-48-0 (12)
  • Week 13: 8-116-1 (12)

This isn’t an easy matchup, but there should be enough volume for Jones to continue to flirt with borderline WR2 production. He’s the only Lions WR that played more than 60% of the offense’s snaps last week; don’t touch any of these other dudes with a 10-foot pole.

TE breakdown: Hockenson’s average of 12.1 PPR points per game is the fourth-highest mark at the position through 13 weeks. The talented second-year TE has failed to score or clear 50 yards just once all season. The floor is the ceiling here; fire up Hockenson as a top-five option at the position, even in a tough spot against one of just seven defenses to allow fewer than 10 PPR points per game to opposing TEs. 

Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers

Falcons Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Julio Jones 75 220 4.34 2.6 Casey Hayward Jr. 71 192 1.19
R Calvin Ridley 73 190 4.43 2.25 Michael Davis 74 196 4.63 1.06
S Russell Gage 72 184 1.42 Chris Harris Jr. 70 199 4.52 1.13

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Jones isn’t operating at close to 100 percent at the moment — and it barely matters. He’s posted 9-157-0, 8-137-2, 8-97-0, 7-137-0, 5-54-1 and 6-94-0 receiving lines in his six healthy-ish games this season; continue to treat the longtime WR1 as such against a Chargers secondary lacking anybody that can match up with Jones’ generational (sorry I hate that word, but it works here) combination of size and speed.

Ridley quite literally has never busted in 15 career games with at least eight targets:

  • 7 receptions-146 yards-3 TDs
  • 6-71-1
  • 8-93-1
  • 8-105-1
  • 5-88-1
  • 8-143-1
  • 6-85-1
  • 8-91-0
  • 9-130-2
  • 7-109-2
  • 5-110-0
  • 8-136-0
  • 5-90-0
  • 6-50-1
  • 5-108-0

The WR8 in PPR points per game, Ridley has earned locked-in WR1 treatment regardless of the matchup.

Gage has started to come on strong in recent weeks, but he’s still the clear No. 3 option in this passing game. Perhaps that continues against the league’s fourth-worst defense in yards per attempt allowed to receivers aligned in the slot; just keep ceiling expectations contained for the Falcons’ low-aDOT slot WR.

TE breakdown: Hayden Hurst has struggled to maintain anything resembling high-end involvement in this passing game with Jones and Ridley both healthy this season, limping to 1-9-0, 4-48-0 and 0-0-0 receiving lines since the team’s Week 10 bye. Hurst has enough speed to make the most out of his opportunities, but his status as the TE19 in PPR points per game leaves him as a borderline TE1 at best with everyone healthy at the moment in this passing game.

Chargers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Mike Williams 76 220 1.4 Darqueze Dennard 71 200 4.5 1.7
R Jalen Guyton 73 202 0.83 A.J. Terrell 73 190 4.43 0.9
S Keenan Allen 74 211 4.58 1.96 Isaiah Oliver 72 210 4.51 1.86

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Herbert had his worst game as a pro against the Patriots in Week 13. Reminder: The rookie previously had thrown for at least 300 yards and/or accounted for three scores in every game. Don’t let one (BAD) performance overshadow what has largely been one of the more productive Year-1 campaigns that the position has seen.

The Falcons boast the league’s second-worst defense in fantasy points per game against opposing WRs. They’ve played a bit better since their Week 10 bye, although that’s been aided by two matchups against Taysom Hill and an emotionally drained Raiders squad. Now the Falcons are the ones on the wrong end of a cross-country trip; both Allen and Williams are recommended starts in a matchup with plenty of shootout potential.

This last statement is particularly true for Allen (my PPR WR5 this week), but Williams (WR42) is also deserving of the nod ahead of similarly ranked assets such as Allen Lazard, CeeDee Lamb, Sterling Shepard and the Bengals WRs.

TE breakdown: Hunter Henry has surpassed 50 receiving yards just once since Week 2; he’s more of a low-end TD-dependent TE1 than a legit locked-in top-eight option. Of course, this prime matchup seems like the sort of spot to yield a surplus of fantasy-friendly scoring opportunities; just realize their isn’t a huge yardage ceiling here.

Washington Football Team at San Francisco 49ers

Football Team Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Terry McLaurin 72 208 4.35 2.08 Jason Verrett 70 188 4.45 1
R Cam Sims 77 214 1.6 Richard Sherman 75 195
S Isaiah Wright 74 220 0.86 Dontae Johnson 74 200

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: McLaurin has busted against the Rams (3-26-0) and Steelers (2-14-0) this season. Otherwise the talented second-year receiver has caught at least four passes and surpassed 60 yards in every game. We haven’t seen much real upside for anybody involved in this painfully low-aDOT passing game, although this style of attack has actually helped McLaurin rack up plenty of fantasy-friendly YAC. Overall, only Alvin Kamara (628), Cooper Kupp (486) and Travis Kelce (463) have more yards after the catch than McLaurin (456) this season. This sort of role makes McLaurin somewhat impervious to tough matchups such as this; fire him up as a top-10 option at the position with confidence.

Sims has flashed some elite YAC ability himself this season, but is the clear No. 4 option in this passing game behind McLaurin, J.D. McKissic and Logan Thomas. Wright (40% snaps in Week 13) loses too much work to Sims (31%) and Dontrelle Inman (14%) to be a realistic fantasy option. Gladly pass on all of these complementary WRs.

TE breakdown: Thomas has caught his last 13 targets for 118 yards and a pair of scores. Noting that Thomas used to play QB is the new “Chris Hogan used to play lacrosse,” but either way the Washington TE1 has demonstrated an actual ceiling and joins Trey Burton as the only real dual-threat players at the position. It’s time to promote him from upside TE2 to legit TE1, although keep boom expectations in check against the league’s single-best defense in PPR points per game against opposing TEs.

49ers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Brandon Aiyuk 73 206 4.5 1.71 Kendall Fuller 71 198 1.11
R Deebo Samuel 71 214 4.48 2.26 Ronald Darby 71 193 4.64 1.43
S Kendrick Bourne 73 203 4.68 1.38 Jimmy Moreland 70 179 4.45 1.7

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Samuel is essentially used as a receiving-friendly RB; he has more yards after the catch (401) than receiving yards (391) this season. Aiyuk is the offense’s preferred downfield threat. The rookie has displayed high-level route-running ability and is always a threat to make something special happen with the ball in his hands. Overall, Aiyuk has gained over 100 yards and/or scored in five consecutive games.

Both of the 49ers’ top two WRs can be treated as upside WR3s at the absolute worst for the remainder of the season. Only the Rams have been stingier against the position in terms of PPR points against, but the reality that coach Kyle Shanahan is a borderline wizard when it comes to play-calling makes this secondary less of an issue.

TE breakdown: Ross Dwelley and Jordan Reed have been splitting targets and snaps alike. They join other offenses such as the Texans, Vikings and Seahawks that employ multiple players at the position that are capable of providing top-12 production on their own but are better treated as lower-end TE2 darts when everyone is healthy. Pass.

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

Saints Offense

WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Michael Thomas 75 212 4.57 2.17 Darius Slay 72 190 1.18
R Emmanuel Sanders 71 180 4.4 1.83 Avonte Maddox 69 180 4.31 1.12
S Tre'Quan Smith 74 210 4.49 1.05 Nickell Robey-Coleman 68 180 4.5 1.41

Projected shadow matchups: Michael Thomas vs. Darius Slay (knee)

WR/CB breakdown: I broke down the impact Hill has had on the Saints offense prior to their Week 13 win over the Falcons. The main three takeaways were:

  1. The Saints aren’t as good with Hill as they are with Drew Brees (ribs/lung, IR), but they’re still an above-average unit thanks to a large increase in rushing efficiency with the former QB under center.
  2. Hill himself is an excellent fantasy asset thanks to this willingness to run.
  3. The lack of goal line rushes and targets has turned Alvin Kamara from a world-beating fantasy football cheat code to more of a ho-hum borderline RB1.

Hill joins Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins and Deshaun Watson as the only QBs with at least 70 fantasy points over the past three weeks. He deserves credit for completing a number of tight-window passes in Week 13, particularly on third down. Still, two dropped interceptions and a trio of fumbles are inexcusable; there is going to be a floor game if the Saints defense ever stops resembling the best unit in the league.

However, we shouldn’t expect this week’s spot against the flailing Eagles to bring out the worst in this offense. Thomas is dominating target share and has posted 9-104-0, 4-50-0 as well as 9-105-0 receiving lines in three games with Hill under center; he’s back in the WR1 conversation against a defense that curiously refrains from giving Slay much help against alpha WR1s. Sanders is a desperate WR5 at best; don’t expect Hill to consistently enable more than one fantasy-relevant pass-catcher.

TE breakdown: Jared Cook posted a 3-28-1 line in Week 13 to snap his three-game streak with fewer than 10 yards. The Saints deployed a three-TE committee between Josh Hill (54% snaps), Cook (36%) and rookie Adam Trautman (35%) in Week 13; none are realistic fantasy options. 

Eagles Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Alshon Jeffery 75 218 4.48 0.22 Marshon Lattimore 72 192 4.48 1.03
R Jalen Reagor 71 195 4.47 1.14 Patrick Robinson 71 191 4.63 1.17
S Greg Ward 71 186 0.96 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson 72 208 4.47 1.02

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Jalen Hurts is an unknown under center and the Eagles curiously decided to form a five-man committee at WR between Reagor (71% snaps), Ward (71%), Jeffery (56%), Travis Fulgham (40%) and even fooking John Hightower (29%) last week. Throw in the reality that 1) there are four combined TEs and RBs that are also viable pass-catchers, 2) this will almost certainly be more of a run-first offense with Hurts under center, and 3) the Saints have fielded the league’s second-best defense in EPA/play since their Week 6 bye, and it’s clear that you should stay the hell away from this WR room.

TE breakdown: Dallas Goedert posted an 84% snap rate with a 5-66-0 receiving line on seven targets in Zach Ertz’s (2-31-0, 4 targets, 44% snaps) first game since Week 6. It seems likely that Ertz’s role increases to some extent, and the change under center lowers the floor of both. Try to find a better option for the fantasy playoffs, although Goedert is still deserving of borderline TE1 consideration purely based on his status as an absolute great real-life talent at the position.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills

Steelers Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Diontae Johnson 70 183 4.6 1.7 Levi Wallace 72 179 4.5 1.51
R Chase Claypool 76 227 4.42 2.04 Tre'Davious White 71 192 4.58 1.72
S JuJu Smith-Schuster 73 215 4.54 1.26 Taron Johnson 71 192 1.25

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Big Ben has racked up 49, 32, 42, 46, 46, 51 and 53 passing attempts in his past seven games. Perhaps things slow down a bit with James Conner (covid) good to go for Week 14, but it’s tough to see this passing game taking their foot too far off the gas at this point.

The problem is that Claypool (44% snaps in Week 13) is losing plenty of work to James Washington (54%), who to his credit has generally made the most out of his opportunities all season. Nobody has instilled more fear in opposing secondaries downfield than Claypool, but he’s ultimately better treated as a boom-or-bust WR3 due to the newfound potential to play fewer than half of the offense’s snaps.

Johnson leads the league in drops. Good thing it doesn’t matter in fantasyland! He’s caught at least six passes in every non-injury-impacted game this season; fire up the Steelers’ target hog as a top-20 option at the position thanks to volume and volume alone.

JuJu resembles old man Larry Fitzgerald these days, as the fourth-year WR is averaging pedestrian marks in yards per reception (8.2) and yards per target (6.4) alike. Everything has been difficult this season, and he appears to be playing at far less than 100 percent. The Bills have been far stronger in yards per attempt against the slot (No. 11) than the outside (No. 27); I’d refrain from expecting much from JuJu in this sneaky-tough spot.

TE breakdown: Eric Ebron entered the NFL in 2014. His ranks in drop rate by year: No. 16, No. 6, No. 1, No. 6, No. 5, No. 3 and No. 1. Once again: It doesn’t matter! Ebron has caught seven passes in consecutive games and ranks third on the team in total targets. Fire him up as an upside TE1 against the Bills’ bottom-four defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position.

Bills Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Gabriel Davis 75 212 4.54 1.31 Cameron Sutton 71 188 1.69
R Stefon Diggs 72 191 4.46 2.25 Joe Haden 71 195 4.45 1.47
S Cole Beasley 68 174 2.21 Mike Hilton 69 184 1.13

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: I wrote the following last week:

“Some have wondered if Allen’s up-and-down performances this season have been correlated with John Brown missing Weeks 5, 7 and 12. He was admittedly not great in these performances, but he posted similar-to-worse efficiency numbers in Weeks 1, 6, 8 and 10. How about Week 3 when Brown played just 29 snaps and had two catchless targets, yet Allen threw for 311 yards and four scores against the fooking Rams?

Continue to treat Diggs as the upside WR1 he’s been all season, Beasley is a high-floor WR3 with Brown sidelined, and Davis offers boom-or-bust WR4 potential as a full-time replacement in three-WR sets.”

Expectations deserve to be reigned in a tad against the Steelers’ third-ranked defense in yards per attempt, but don’t be afraid to fire up the Bills’ top-two receivers despite the tough matchup. Through 13 weeks, Diggs and Beasley rank as the WR6 and WR26 in PPR points per game, respectively.

TE breakdown: Dawson Knox has turned in 1-2-1 and 4-27-1 performances over the past two weeks on a combined five targets. The ceiling here is low; try to find a better option than someone likely to see plenty of Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is PFF’s fifth-ranked safety this season.

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

Ravens Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Miles Boykin 76 220 1.02 Terrance Mitchell 71 191 4.54 0.99
R Devin Duvernay 71 210 4.39 1.24 Kevin Johnson 72 185 4.52 1.14
S Marquise Brown 69 170 1.63 M.J. Stewart 71 200 4.52 1.05

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Brown has turned in 4-85-1 and 5-39-1 performances over the past two weeks. I’d be hesitant in trusting the streak to continue; the first score was largely courtesy of busted coverage (although credit to Brown for breaking Minkah Fitzpatrick’s ankles on his way to the end zone), while the second involved pinpoint accuracy from Lamar Jackson in a brilliant off-script moment. We still haven’t seen Brown and Jackson establish any sort of consistency when it comes to beating defenses downfield. The artist known as Hollywood is my PPR WR35 this week and the definition of a boom-or-bust WR; just keep an eye on the status of speedy No. 1 CB Denzel Ward (calf) before expecting the former outcome.

Boykin started in Week 14 after Dez Bryant caught covid. The second-year WR scored on broken coverage, although was a better ball away from a second score. Either way, we’ve seen enough of a floor from this passing game throughout the season to ignore everyone other than Hollywood. Boykin and Duvernay aren’t realistic fantasy options this week and beyond.

TE breakdown: Mark Andrews (covid) is good to go for Monday night. He’s had 4-54-0, 4-31-1, 6-93-2 and 5-58-2 receiving lines against this Browns defense in four career matchups with Jackson under center; only Travis Kelce and Darren Waller deserve to be ranked higher at the position.

Browns Offense
WR Player Height Weight Speed YPRR CB Height Weight Speed YPRR
L Donovan Peoples-Jones 74 208 4.48 2.41 Davontae Harris 71 200 4.41 1.07
R Rashard Higgins 73 198 4.64 2.08 Marcus Peters 72 195 4.37 1.05
S Jarvis Landry 71 196 4.77 2.28 Marlon Humphrey 72 197 4.53 1.66

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Landry and Baker Mayfield hooked up for a b-e-a-utiful score during the Browns’ Week 14 win over the Titans.

Landry has posted 8-143-1 and 8-62-1 lines in two matchups not doomed by terrible weather since the beginning of November. He’s actually been rather dominant against this secondary in recent matchups, hanging 5-69-0, 5-102-1, 8-167-0, 7-74-0 and 5-61-0 receiving lines against the Ravens since joining the Browns in 2018. Treat the Browns’ undisputed No. 1 pass-game option as a borderline WR2 at worst in this winnable spot, particularly with Jimmy Smith out (groin).

It’s tougher to expect repeat-solid performances from Higgins and Peoples-Jones. It’s unlikely Mayfield will be afforded the same sort of time he consistently had last week, and the Ravens’ blitz-happy defense could compel the Browns to embrace Nick Chubb as well as Kareem Hunt on the ground. Credit to both complementary WRs on their great performances last week (Peoples-Jones ran a filthy double-move for a long score), but wait until Week 16 against the Jets before thinking about firing them up as anything more than WR5s.

TE breakdown: Austin Hooper simply hasn’t been involved since the Browns’ Week 9 bye, totaling just 11 combined targets over the past four weeks despite playing at least two-thirds of the offense’s snaps in every game. He’s not a recommended start as the likely No. 4 (at best) pass-game option in this run-first offense.

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