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Week 2 WR/CB mismatches and shadow coverages to leverage in DFS & fantasy football leagues

Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 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 snap rate data by alignment, target share, air yard market share, yards per route run and yards allowed per 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.

Jump to a game:


New York Giants @ Washington Football Team

Giants Offense
WR Player Height/ Weight 40 YPRR CB Height/ Weight 40 YPRR
L Kenny Golladay 76 / 218 4.5 1.68 William Jackson 72 / 189 4.37 0.57
R Darius Slayton 73 / 190 4.39 1.97 Kendall Fuller 71 /
0 1.47
S Sterling Shepard 70 / 194 4.48 2.83 Benjamin St-Juste 75 / 205 N/A 2.94

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: First off: Sterling Shepard looks great wearing No. 3. 

Second: Shepard might just be the No. 1 receiver in this offense. Daniel Jones fed the following players multiple targets in Week 1:

Shepard is capable of winning from anywhere, but he’s historically been most effective from the friendly confines of the slot (3.85 career yards per route run) compared to the outside (1.57). The absence of Golden Tate allows him to work inside far more often in 2021 compared to 2020; don’t be surprised if the six-year veteran makes a habit of turning in WR3 performances moving forward. Overall, Shepard is my WR38 on the week, ahead of guys like Will Fuller, Tyler Boyd and even his $72-million teammate.

Still, even Shepard shouldn't be in starting lineups ahead of this tough Thursday night matchup against the Football Team’s reigning third-ranked defense in fewest PPR points per game allowed to receivers. Only the Texans (17.8) are implied to score fewer points than the Giants (18.5) this week. Give Golladay another few weeks to build some chemistry with Jones; otherwise no receiver in this offense needs to be on fantasy rosters.

TE breakdown: Evan Engram (calf) is once again out. Rudolph played a near full-time role (77% snaps) in his absence but isn’t a recommended fantasy option as long as this passing game looks borderline broken when targeting anyone other than Shepard. Expect a more evenly-split committee between the two once Engram returns than most would prefer; neither needs to be on fantasy rosters in most league types.

Football Team Offense
WR Player Height/ Weight 40 YPRR CB Height/ Weight 40 YPRR
L Terry McLaurin 72 / 208 4.35 2.38 James Bradberry 73 /
4.45 1.59
R Dyami Brown 73 / 185 N/A -0.08 Adoree' Jackson 70 /
4.42 0.79
S Adam Humphries 71 /
4.58 0.63 Darnay Holmes 70 / 198 N/A 1.74

Projected shadow matchups: Terry McLaurin vs. James Bradberry

WR/CB breakdown: Bradberry emerged as one of the league’s better shadow corners in recent years and kicked off 2021 in style by holding Courtland Sutton (1-14-0) in check. His presence didn’t limit McLaurin (7-115-1) in their shadow date last season, although just 36 yards of that total came in the direct coverage of the Giants’ No. 1 cornerback.

Ultimately, it’s tough to trust McLaurin as more than an upside WR3 with Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip) sidelined for the foreseeable future. The reason McLaurin was ranked so highly before the season was in large part due to FitzMagic’s history of force feeding his No. 1 receiver. A pass-happy offense doesn’t seem likely with Taylor Heinicke under center considering he dropped back to pass on just 18 of his 34 snaps (53%), which isn’t far off from the mark Lamar Jackson (51%) posted inside the league’s most run-heavy offense last season.

McLaurin is my WR30 in this low-scoring spot: No matchup has a lower game total than Giants-Football Team (40.5). It sucks to have to consider benching someone you likely had to use a top-four round pick to acquire, but don’t be a victim of the sunk cost fallacy by letting a past decision influence a future one now that new information is available.

Nobody else in this receiver room is worthy of fantasy consideration inside of an offense expected to flow through Antonio Gibson.

TE breakdown: Logan Thomas managed to come down with a score last week while playing at a robust 100% snap rate. His three targets weren’t ideal, but his 5-74-0 line on nine targets in last season’s NFC Wild Card loss to the Buccaneers reflects the potential for him to still work as the No. 2 pass-game option in this offense. Tentatively continue to fire up Thomas as a low-end TE1; his ceiling is lower without FitzMagic, but you don’t need two hands to count the numbers of every-down tight ends with Thomas’ receiving ability in the NFL.

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