- Ramsey vs. Metcalf Part 2: Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey struggled to slow down D.K. Metcalf (8-127-1) last week in the veteran corner's second shadow matchup of the season.
- Williams' health key in Week 14 matchup: The health of Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (ankle) is a far bigger concern than a matchup with Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard, who has already come up on the losing side of several premiere shadow matchups this season.
- No shadows for Sauce: Stud New York Jets CB Sauce Gardner hasn't shadowed anybody this season – including Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Shadow matchups are when a defense assigns a particular cornerback to follow one specific wide receiver all over the field.
Of course, wide receivers often can overcome difficult one-on-one matchups thanks to good ole’ fashioned volume. It’s also rare that a cornerback follows a single receiver around the field for each and every route. This leads to situations where Jalen Ramsey “shuts down” Justin Jefferson in their direct coverage (3-25-0), but Jefferson’s full game line (8-116-0) reflects the reality that fantasy managers were still better off playing him.
What follows is a breakdown on:
- Which cornerbacks shadowed in Week 12
- Projected Week 13 shadow matchups
- Notes on why certain cornerbacks aren’t expected to shadow
Week 13 shadow results
The following five defenses deployed at least one of their cornerbacks in shadow coverage last week. Note that receiving production refers to what the player achieved during the entire game, not just specifically in the referenced cornerbacks’ direct coverage:
- Houston Texans CB Steven Nelson and Desmond King helped make life difficult for Amari Cooper (4-40-0) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (3-44-0), respectively. Still, Deshaun Watson’s overall erraticness was a far bigger issue for a Cleveland Browns offense that managed to only produce a pair of field goals in 60 minutes of action.
- Dallas Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs hasn’t been consistently shadowing the opponent’s No. 1 receiver this season, but he did last week and accordingly shut down Michael Pittman (2-16-0). We won’t talk about how one of his snaps away from Pittman on Ashton Dulin went. OK fine: Diggs got sent to the shadow realm, but just realize the Cowboys’ notorious boom-or-bust corner has been far more contained in 2022 compared to 2021 and accordingly grades out as PFF’s 21st-best corner in pure coverage this season.
- Detroit Lions CB Jerry Jacobs decided to match Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marvin Jones (1-17-0) despite him working as Trevor Lawrence’s No. 3 option for more weeks than not. Jacobs tracked Stefon Diggs back in Week 12, so it’s not easy to know exactly how they’ll use him next.
- Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey registered just his second shadow matchup of the season against long-time rival D.K. Metcalf (8-127-1). It didn’t go well, as Metcalf scored the game-winning touchdown directly in front of Ramsey. The 28-year-old corner has now allowed seven touchdowns into his direct coverage this season – tied with Atlanta Falcons CB A.J. Terrell for the most in the league.
- New York Giants CB Fabian Moreau was tasked with shadowing stud Washington Commanders WR Terry McLaurin (8-105-1) with Adoree’ Jackson (knee) still sidelined. Moreau is the latest cornerback to be absolutely toasted while attempting to shadow McLaurin; the position must be happy that the Commanders’ No. 1 receiver has a Week 14 bye.
Projected Week 14 shadow matchups
Ramsey didn’t register a single shadow matchup during the first nine weeks of the season despite facing seemingly-viable candidates, such as Stefon Diggs, Marquise Brown, CeeDee Lamb, D.J. Moore, Deebo Samuel and Mike Evans.
However, things have changed over the past month. First, Ramsey was deployed against DeAndre Hopkins (10-98-0) in a largely unsuccessful effort in Week 10. Most recently, the 28-year-old corner was shredded by D.K. Metcalf (8-127-1).