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Fantasy Football: Week 4 WR/CB matchups and TE breakdown

We're on to Week 4! 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.

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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.

Denver Broncos at New York Jets

Broncos Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L K.J. Hamler 69 173 1.03 Blessuan Austin 73 195 1.09
R Tim Patrick 77 210 0.98 Pierre Desir 73 198 4.59 0.69
S Jerry Jeudy 73 192 4.45 1.94 Brian Poole 69 213 1.33

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Brett Rypien’s target distribution in one drive of action in relief of Jeff Driskel was as follows:

This isn’t meant to tout Patrick or to fade Jeudy; just realize we have a minuscule sample size on the Broncos’ new-look quarterback. It’s a bit early to trust any of these receivers as reliable fantasy options. Hamler has caught six of 12 targets for 78 yards since debuting in Week 2, although Jeudy has a team-high 24 targets on the season. I lean toward the latter receiver continuing to function as the passing game’s primary option, but playing in a matchup with the week’s lowest game total isn’t exactly the most fantasy-friendly spot.

TE breakdown: Fant didn’t find the end zone in Week 3, but his 10 targets and 84% snap rate reinforced the reality that he’s a top-two option in this passing game without Courtland Sutton (knee, IR) involved. The Jets hardly contained the likes of Jordan Reed (7-50-2) and Mo Alie-Cox (3-50-1), so continue to fire up Fant as a fantasy TE1 despite the team’s revolving door under center.

Jets Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Chris Hogan 73 210 0.79 Michael Ojemudia 73 199 4.45 1.51
R Josh Malone 75 205 4.4 0.36 Bryce Callahan 69 188 0.78
S Braxton Berrios 69 190 1.98 Essang Bassey 70 190 4.46 0.76

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Braxton Berrios has now caught two touchdowns over the past two weeks, both of which involved some true play-making ability from Sam Darnold. However, Jamison Crowder (hamstring) won’t be sidelined forever, meaning the Jet’s pint-sized slot receiver could be relegated to a bench role as early as this week.

Even if Crowder remains sidelined, why start anyone from the league’s single-worst passing game by EPA per play? Darnold has thrown for fewer than 225 yards in six consecutive starts, the Jets remain all sorts of banged up at receiver and the Broncos are at least well-coached on the defensive side of the ball.

The Jets join the Football Team, Giants, Chargers and Eagles as the week’s only offenses implied to score fewer than 20 points. While some of those offenses have skill-position talents with enough volume to make the most of their respective not-great situations, nobody in this Jets’ passing game can say the same at the moment. We’ll need to see Crowder for a week without limited snaps before trusting him as a WR3.

TE breakdown: Chris Herndon set season-high marks in snaps in the slot (12) and overall routes (33) last week. He’s second in the league in total pass-blocking snaps, but the offense’s plethora of injuries at receiver has potentially forced Adam Gase to utilize his talented tight end more heavily in the passing game. Alas, the more fantasy-friendly snap counts led to a minuscule 3-21-0 receiving line on five targets. Herndon remains nothing more than a low-ceiling TE2.

New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions

Saints Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Deonte Harris 66 170 1.05 Amani Oruwariye 73 205 4.47 0.86
R Emmanuel Sanders 71 180 4.4 0.99 Jeffrey Okudah 73 199 4.48 3.03
S Tre'Quan Smith 74 210 4.49 1.36 Darryl Roberts 72 182 1.18

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Drew Brees’ target distribution in two games without Michael Thomas (ankle) has been as follows:

Credit to Sanders for scoring a touchdown and to Smith for posting a 9-128-0 line over the past two weeks, but this is the Kamara show at the moment. Nobody has figured out how to guard the Saints’ RB1; only DeAndre Hopkins (356 receiving yards), Calvin Ridley (349), D.K. Metcalf (297) and Stefon Diggs (288) have been more productive through the air than Kamara (285). Don’t expect the Lions’ 30th-ranked defense in PFF coverage grade to bring out the worst of Brees and company.

Treat Smith as a low-ceiling WR3 as long as Thomas remains sidelined, while Sanders is more of a boom-or-bust WR4. None of these cornerback matchups are particularly fearful; there’s just not much room for anyone else to eat with Kamara soaking up so many targets. Only Hopkins (37%) and Keenan Allen (33%) have a higher target share than Kamara (31%) this season.

TE breakdown: Jared Cook hasn’t been awful this season, posting 5-80-0, 2-13-1 and 2-21-0 lines in the Saints’ checkdown-heavy offense. The PPR TE18 now faces a Lions defense that allowed both Jimmy Graham (3-25-1) and Robert Tonyan (2-25-1) to find the end zone, but it’s tough to continue to treat Cook as a fantasy TE1 with so few explosive plays occurring in this offense at the moment outside of Kamara. Fire him up as more of a touchdown-dependent TE2 for the time being.

Lions Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Kenny Golladay 76 213 4.5 2.04 Marshon Lattimore 72 192 4.36 1.35
R Marvin Jones Jr. 74 198 1.08 Janoris Jenkins 70 190 1.23
S Danny Amendola 71 190 4.58 1.62 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson 72 208 4.48 0.69

Projected shadow matchups: Kenny Golladay vs. Marshon Lattimore; Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Janoris Jenkins

WR/CB breakdown: Golladay put up a plenty solid 6-57-1 line on seven targets in his 2020 debut, although his 73% snap rate trailed both Jones (91%) and, surprisingly, tight end T.J. Hockenson (82%). The likes of Danny Amendola (45%), Quintez Cephus (15%) and Marvin Hall (9%) were all part-time players.

The Lions’ No. 1 wide receiver didn’t appear to be functioning quite at 100% last week, and now he has a tough matchup against Lattimore. The Saints’ No. 1 cornerback hasn’t dominated during every stretch throughout his four-year career, but he has been particularly solid in matchups against some of the league’s more physical receivers like Golladay:

    • 2019 Week 5 vs. Mike Evans: 0 receptions-0 yards-0 TD (2 targets)
    • 2019 Week 6 vs. D.J. Chark: 3-43-0 (7)
    • 2019 Week 10 vs. Julio Jones: 3-79-0 (9)
    • 2019 Week 16 vs. A.J. Brown: 1-34-0 (2)
    • 2020 Week 1 vs. Evans: 1-2-1 (4)

Never sit your studs — and Golladay is a stud. Still, I’d keep expectations in check for a true welcome-back blowup for the artist known as Babytron. His sidekick Jones also isn’t set up all that well; Jenkins is PFF’s No. 26 overall corner through three weeks and has allowed a stellar 58.5 passer rating on passes thrown into his coverage.

Ultimately, Matthew Stafford isn’t throwing downfield with enough regularity to put up the same gaudy numbers we saw last season. Perhaps, this is the week that everything comes together, but be careful in treating Golladay or Jones as more than a boom-or-bust WR2 and WR3, respectively.

TE breakdown: Yes, Hockenson’s 4-53-0 performance in last week’s flowchart matchup against the Cardinals wasn’t ideal. Also yes, the Lions’ talented second-year tight end set year-high marks in targets (7), snaps (54) and routes (35). Only, Hockenson is one of eight tight ends to average at least 2 yards per route run among 37 players at the position with at least five targets this season. PFF’s Dwain McFarland and I discussed Hockenson’s potential for a breakout on the PFF Fantasy Football Podcast this week.

Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chargers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Jalen Guyton 73 202 0.56 Jamel Dean 73 206 4.3 0.91
R Mike Williams 76 220 1.15 Carlton Davis 73 206 4.53 0.75
S Keenan Allen 74 211 4.58 2.25 Sean Murphy-Bunting 72 195 4.42 1

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Davis didn’t shadow Allen Robinson II in Week 2 after having all sorts of success checking Michael Thomas in Week 1. Allen spends enough time in the slot that even a change in strategy wouldn’t result in him seeing the Buccaneers’ No. 1 cornerback for more than half his snaps.

Regardless, Allen has the sort of target share at the moment to warrant matchup-proof usage. Rookie Justin Herbert’s target distribution through two weeks is as follows:

Allen and DeAndre Hopkins each have six targets on screens this season; no other wideout has more than three. The Chargers are feeding their long-time No. 1 wide receiver a truly massive role, and Allen remains more than talented enough to generate top-12 production with the opportunity.

Williams (hamstring) left early in Week 3 and is a candidate for limited snaps ahead of this far-from-easy matchup. Nobody behind Allen, Ekeler and Henry is a recommended fantasy play in this offense against the Buccaneers’ second-ranked defense in DVOA.

TE breakdown: Henry is the TE10 through three weeks despite not having found the end zone. He’s playing a near every-down role and has received at least seven targets per game despite the turnover under center. Both Jared Cook (5-80-0) and Noah Fant (5-46-0) managed to put up respectable numbers against this defense. Expecting a huge game from anyone involved in an offense implied for fewer than 20 points is probably wishful thinking, but Henry remains anyone’s idea of a top-eight tight end.

Buccaneers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Mike Evans 77 231 4.53 0.99 Casey Hayward Jr. 71 192 0.75
R Scotty Miller 71 174 2.11 Michael Davis 74 196 1.17
S Justin Watson 73 215 1.42 Desmond King II 70 200 0.22

Projected shadow matchups: Mike Evans vs. Casey Hayward

WR/CB breakdown: The Chargers will be without Chris Harris Jr. (foot, IR), meaning Evans will be able to avoid an elite corner from the friendly confines of the slot whenever the Buccaneers please. Already showing fantastic red-zone chemistry with Tom Brady, Evans has posted 1-2-1, 7-104-1 and 2-2-2 receiving lines this season. Treat him as a top-10 option at the position despite the presence of Hayward. Only Josh Norman (+8.3) allowed more fantasy points above expectation in shadow matchups than Hayward (+8) in 2019.

Scotty Miller had a 2-11-0 dud in Week 2 with Chris Godwin (hamstring) sidelined, as Justin Watson (2-48-0) was more productive out of the slot. Still, Watson (shoulder) is banged up, and Miller has otherwise displayed solid deep-ball chemistry with Brady.

Consider:

    • Player A: 16 targets, 14-yard average target depth, 224 air yards
    • Player B: 13 targets, 17.2-yard average target depth, 224 air yards

A is Will Fuller V, and B is Miller. Both have low floors, but Miller’s ceiling — particularly with Godwin sidelined — remains underrated so long as TB12 continues to throw deep at a top-10 rate.

TE breakdown: It turns out Bruce Arians and company were being coy when they anointed Rob Gronkowski as a block-first tight end. Overall, Gronk caught six of seven targets for 48 yards while playing a season-high 93% of the offense’s snaps last week. O.J. Howard (3-49-0) was also plenty involved. Expecting season-long TE1 production from Gronk seems like a stretch, but at least his zero-point floor appears to be a thing of the past. Getting into better playing shape every week, Gronkowski remains a touchdown-dependent TE2, but the arrow is pointing up.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals

Jaguars Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Chris Conley 75 205 4.35 1.26 William Jackson III 72 196 4.37 0.96
R Laviska Shenault Jr. 74 220 4.58 1.38 Darius Phillips 70 190 4.54 0.88
S Keelan Cole 73 194 1.49 Mackensie Alexander 70 192 1.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Jaguars’ passing game looked lost without D.J. Chark Jr. (back). Yes, Chris Conley should’ve had an easy 30-yard score with a better ball from Gardner Minshew, but the Jaguars’ under-qualified No. 1 outside wide receiver didn’t help his cause with two drops.

The Laviska Shenault Jr. hype train reached a fever pitch last Thursday, but his 5-33-0 receiving and 1-1-0 rushing lines reinforced the reality that he’s not close to having a consistently fantasy-viable role at the moment.

Keelan Cole has posted 5-47-1, 6-58-1 and 4-43-0 lines over the past three weeks, making him the team’s preferred fantasy option. Still, there’s a low floor associated with anyone involved on either offense, considering the likelihood that both teams finish far below .500 when this season is over.

Minshew and company will have better days; just realize this isn’t exactly an exceptionally talented offense to begin with, so the loss of a true difference-maker like Chark is more worrisome than the loss of a No. 1 wideout on a more well-rounded team. I’m fine with continuing to fire up Chark as a top-30 option if we get some assurance he’s healthy, but otherwise, I’d attempt to look elsewhere in fantasy land.

TE breakdown: Tyler Eifert gets plenty of fantasy-friendly looks near the goal line, but his 1-8-0 and 2-11-0 lines in Weeks 1 and 3, respectively, demonstrate his near-zero floor. Surprisingly, James O'Shaughnessy has more receptions (8 vs. 6) and yards (69 vs. 55) than Eifert. Neither are recommended fantasy plays in leagues of all shapes and sizes.

Bengals Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L A.J. Green 76 210 4.48 1 Tre Herndon 71 185 0.86
R Tee Higgins 76 215 0.8 C.J. Henderson 73 191 4.39 1.62
S Tyler Boyd 74 203 4.58 1.62 D.J. Hayden 71 190 4.4 2.17

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The obstacles Joe Burrow has had to overcome can’t be understated. Overall, Burrow ranks 10th in pressured dropback rate despite having the ninth-quickest release. Just 40% of his pass attempts have targeted a receiver that PFF has deemed open — the fifth-lowest mark in the league among 33 qualified signal-callers.

And yet, nobody has taken more dropbacks than Burrow (164) through three weeks. The Bengals' offensive line has been atrocious, and No. 1 wide receiver A.J. Green has struggled mightily to separate, but Burrow has just three turnover-worthy plays and sits as a fantasy QB1 after three weeks of action.

The good news is that this muddled receiving room is starting to have some clarity. John Ross was a healthy scratch in Week 3, paving the way for Tee Higgins (79%), A.J. Green (76%) and Tyler Boyd (75%) to work in three-receiver sets.

Higgins won’t post a 5-40-2 receiving line every week, but his increased usage is the real story from Week 3. Like Justin Jefferson, we can more confidently project Higgins going forward thanks to his starting role in a high-volume passing attack. He’s worthy of upside WR4 treatment in this spot.

Boyd (21-230-1) has been far better than Green (13-116-0) despite being out-targeted, 26 to 28. And yet, Green is second in the NFL — behind only Calvin Ridley — in air yards. Facing a Jaguars secondary that has been shelled by Ryan Tannehill and Ryan Fitzpatrick over the past two weeks, both of the Bengals’ top two receivers are worthy of being ranked inside this week’s top-25 receivers.

TE breakdown: PSA: Stop making sample size jokes with Drew Sample. We get it. Anyway, the Bengals’ starting tight end posted a 1-1-0 line with a near every-snap role. Burrow might be in a pass-happy offense, but the 61 attempts that led to Sample seeing nine targets in Week 2 obviously won’t be the norm. He’s nothing more than a low-ceiling TE2.

Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans

Vikings Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Justin Jefferson 75 192 4.43 3.4 Vernon Hargreaves III 70 204 4.5 1.57
R Adam Thielen 74 200 1.91 Bradley Roby 71 194 4.39 0.87
S Chad Beebe 70 183 0.64 Eric Murray 71 199 4.49 0.39

Projected shadow matchups: Adam Thielen vs. Bradley Roby

WR/CB breakdown: Olabisi Johnson joined Thielen in three-receiver sets during the first two weeks of the season. This left Justin Jefferson in the slot, which produced meager 69% and 54% snap rates inside of this two-tight end heavy offense.

Things changed in Week 3, as Jefferson set season-high marks in both snaps (78%) and targets (9) while supplanting Johnson as the offense’s second outside receiver.

Oh, and the rookie looked absolutely spectacular.

Kirk Cousins has thrown 25, 26 and 27 passes over three games in which the Vikings have allowed 43, 28 and 31 points, respectively. However, this offense has attacked defenses downfield often, as only Aaron Rodgers (24) has more deep-ball attempts (20-plus yards) than Cousins (19) through three weeks.

Jefferson’s ascension could potentially lead to Thielen functioning as more of a WR2 than a WR1, considering the potential for his top-five target share to decrease. Still, the presence of another highly talented receiver could also theoretically open things up more for Cousins’ long-time No. 1 target.

Roby has done a solid job in shadow coverage this season against Tyreek Hill (5-46-1) and Marquise Brown (5-42-0), although Thielen remains capable of winning pretty much any matchup with enough volume. Continue to treat him as a top-10 fantasy option at the position, while Jefferson is better left as a boom-or-bust WR3 until we see a bit more evidence of consistent volume.

TE breakdown: Credit to Kyle Rudolph for his one-handed touchdown catch in the back of the end zone last week, but he has just six targets all season. Meanwhile, Irv Smith Jr. has five. This is basically a middle-class man’s version of the Eagles’ tight end room; either Rudolph or Smith would be in the TE1 conversation if the other misses time, but they’re not realistic fantasy options as long as they continue to split targets and snaps alike.

Texans Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Brandin Cooks 70 183 4.33 1.53 Holton Hill 74 196 4.49 2.07
R Will Fuller V 72 184 4.32 1.82 Kris Boyd 71 201 4.45 1.93
S Randall Cobb 70 192 4.46 1.92 Jeff Gladney 72 183 4.48 2.93

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Deshaun Watson’s hellacious start to the season that featured matchups against the Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers is mercifully over. Somehow, he still managed to post upside QB2 production inside of the Texans’ post-Nuk offense.

We’ve continued to see Watson operate as anyone’s idea of a high-end passer without his long-time No. 1 wideout:

    • 2017: 7.4 yards per attempt, 62.1% adjusted completion percentage
    • 2018: 7.7, 73.7%
    • 2019: 7.6, 74.4%
    • 2020: 8.2, 74.7%

Now, Watson and company get to be unleashed against the Vikings, Jaguars (x2), Titans, Packers and Browns for the next six weeks. It remains to be seen if the 0-3 Texans will be able to get back into playoff contention, but this won’t be a consistently disgraceful offense as long as Watson remains under center.

Each of Will Fuller (12-166-1 on 15 targets this season), Brandin Cooks (10-138-0 on 18) and even Randall Cobb (11-177-1 on 13) is worthy of firing up in a prime bounce-back spot for this passing game. The Vikings’ normally sound pass defense has been ravaged by an array of injuries, ultimately getting shredded by Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill alike. I'm still leaning toward Fuller as the prime fantasy option in this offense, but the spread-out nature of things could make both Cooks and Cobb sneaky upside WR3s in more weeks than not moving forward.

TE breakdown: Sigh. Jordan Akins has caught 11 of 12 targets for 122 yards and a score through three weeks, but his near every-down role slipped to a 68% snap rate in Week 3. This directly correlated with red-zone vulture Darren Fells playing a season-high 51% of the offense’s snaps. This situation is more muddled than previously thought; neither Akins nor Fells are realistic starts as long as they eat into each other's targets and snaps.

Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins

Seahawks Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L D.K. Metcalf 75 229 4.33 2.5 Xavien Howard 73 192 4.58 0.92
R David Moore 72 215 1.39 Noah Igbinoghene 71 200 4.48 1.70
S Tyler Lockett 70 182 4.4 2.16 Jamal Perry 70 190 1.14

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: I appreciate Howard’s game, and perhaps Byron Jones (groin) will be back this week.

Either way, nobody is stopping this Russell WilsonD.K. Metcalf downfield connection anytime soon.

Both Metcalf (No. 4) and Lockett (No. 8) rank among the league’s top receivers in air-yard target share. Lockett joins DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and Adam Thielen as the only players in the league with at least 30% of both their team’s target and air-yard shares.

Lockett and Metcalf, fantasy’s PPR WR2 and WR4 through four weeks, respectively, are both auto-starts regardless of the matchup and more than worthy of continued DFS cash and tournament usage.

TE breakdown: Greg Olsen is the team’s fourth-leading receiver in targets, with just 11. This prolific passing game is truly a two-man show. Olsen will still have some usable weeks, but he’s not a recommended start as long as Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister continue to steal snaps.

Dolphins Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Preston Williams 76 210 0.75 Tre Flowers 75 203 4.45 1.63
R DeVante Parker 75 216 4.45 2.01 Shaquill Griffin 72 198 4.38 1.96
S Isaiah Ford 74 189 4.61 1.27 Ugo Amadi 69 201 4.51 0.81

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: DeVante Parker’s snaps (37%, 88%, 92%) have been trending up for three straight weeks, and concerns about his health seem misguided considering he’s caught 14 of 17 targets for 169 yards and a score this season. Presently averaging a career-high 9.9 yards per target, Parker still seems plenty capable of erupting with gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. The potential absence of both safety Jamal Adams (groin) and cornerback Quinton Dunbar (knee) further boost this matchup for Parker.

Fitzpatrick threw the ball just 20 times last week thanks to extremely positive game script, explaining why Preston Williams (2 targets) and Mike Gesicki (3) were so underused despite each finding their way into the end zone. The problem is that Williams (57% snaps), Gesicki (49%) and Ford (44%) are all pretty much rotating as the lineup’s No. 2 and No. 3 receivers. Jakeem Grant (13%) steals some of the shine, as well.

This potential shootout lends itself nicely to Fitzpatrick having plenty of pass attempts. I’m fine taking DFS stabs at Williams and Gesicki, but it certainly would feel better if Ford wasn’t so involved. The Seahawks have allowed league-worst marks in receptions (76) and yards (1,136) allowed to opposing WRs through three weeks; if there’s a time to start these complementary options, it’s meow.

TE breakdown: Gesicki truly isn’t a TE in the real-life sense of the word. He’s played 14 total snaps as an inline TE through three weeks. It’s unfortunate because both Durham Smythe (69% snaps) and Adam Shaheen (39%) were receiving similar playing time to Gesicki last week. Of course, he still leads the team in targets, and the talented third-year TE is plenty capable of big performances when they’re forced into a negative game script (like this week).

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

Steelers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Diontae Johnson 70 183 4.6 1.8 Malcolm Butler 71 190 1.58
R Chase Claypool 76 227 4.42 2.96 Johnathan Joseph 71 186 4.31 1.8
S JuJu Smith-Schuster 73 215 4.54 1.43 Kristian Fulton 72 200 4.46 1.12

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Johnson is in the concussion protocol and should be considered questionable for a game that is expected to occur on either Monday or Tuesday due to a COVID postponement.

James Washington will replace Johnson in three-WR sets if the Steelers’ No. 1 WR is ultimately ruled out.

Smith-Schuster (4-43-1) scored the easiest TD of his life in Week 3 on an unguarded crosser, but he truly doesn’t appear to be operating near 100% at the moment. Not practicing due to a knee injury, JuJu is toughing it out, but it’s concerning to see his snaps hit a season-low 72% mark in Week 3, and his 6.3 targets per game are a far cry from the 10.4 pass-game opportunities per week he had back in 2018.

Complicating matters for the upside of this passing game is the reality that Big Ben isn’t operating as the same gunslinger we’ve seen for the better part of the last decade:

  • 2020: 7.6-yard average target depth
  • 2019: 8.1
  • 2018: 8.4
  • 2017: 10.1
  • 2016: 9.6
  • 2015: 10.5
  • 2014: 9.3
  • 2013: 8.9
  • 2012: 8.9
  • 2011: 10.2
  • 2010: 10.5

The potential for this game to be completely postponed to another week is concerning enough. Throw in the potential for the Steelers' offense to continue to lean heavily on the run and refrain from too many less-fantasy-friendly downfield opportunities, and I’d lean towards the other option for start/sit questions regarding pretty much every receiver in this offense if the projections are fairly close.

TE breakdown: Ebron has started and played at least 75% of the offense’s snaps in consecutive weeks, catching eight of 12 targets for 95 yards and a score along the way. Weekly TE1 production is unlikely, and Vance McDonald remains involved, but Ebron’s disappointing 1-18-0 is in the rear-view mirror. Don’t plan on starting him this week due to the aforementioned uncertainty of the game, but fire up Ebron in showdown slates if we get some extra football next Monday or Tuesday night.

Titans Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Kalif Raymond 68 182 4.21 Steven Nelson 71 194 4.49 1.34
R Corey Davis 75 209 2.12 Joe Haden 71 195 4.52 0.71
S Adam Humphries 71 195 1.72 Mike Hilton 69 184 2.27

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: A.J. Brown’s (knee) return doesn’t seem to be particularly imminent, which is a shame because Ryan Tannehill has been trusted to throw more than ever; his 43 pass attempts in Week 1 and 37 throws in Week 3 represent his highest- and third-highest-volume games, respectively, in his 17 appearances with the Titans over the past two seasons.

Jonnu Smith (13 targets), Humphries (13) and Davis (11) are the only players with more than five targets over the past two weeks with AJB sidelined. The Steelers defense hasn’t started off quite as hot as their overall talent level and 2019 success might’ve suggested, but this is still anyone’s idea of a troubling matchup in an offense that has kept their auxiliary receivers plenty involved throughout the season.

The latter point is the biggest problem with bumping up any of these receivers in fantasy: Cameron Batson (60%) and Raymond (27%) are heavily eating into the workload of both Davis (73%) and Humphries (52%). I’m largely passing on Hump in this tough spot, while Davis is better approached as a boom-or-bust WR3.

TE breakdown: Smith played 88% of the offense’s snaps in Week 3. He’s averaging a team-high 3.54 yards per route run to go along with a stupid 7.5 yards after the catch per reception. Only Travis Kelce has more fantasy points through three weeks; Smith is locked in as a fantasy TE1.

Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys

Browns Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Odell Beckham Jr. 71 198 4.43 1.99 Daryl Worley 73 205 4.64 0.84
R KhaDarel Hodge 74 205 1.11 Trevon Diggs 74 207 1.8
S Jarvis Landry 71 196 4.77 1.93 Jourdan Lewis 70 195 4.54 0.36

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Cowboys present a fantasy-friendly mixture of a high-powered offense and awful defense, but the Browns are clearly content to try and win games with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Two of Mayfield’s bottom-five volume games of his career have come this season.

The good news for OBJ is that he’s being featured well ahead of Landry. The ex-Giants receiver’s 29% target share trails only DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Alvin Kamara, Tyler Lockett, Adam Thielen and Darren Waller. Further equipped with an elite 43% air-yard share, Beckham is playing the fantasy-friendly Stefon Diggs-role in Kevin Stefanski’s offense, and the talented WR is making the most of his opportunities through three weeks. The potential for enhanced volume in this high-total matchup has me treating OBJ as a borderline WR1 against a Cowboys defense without starting CBs Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) and Anthony Brown (ribs).

Landry has caught 12-of-13 targets this season for 143 scoreless yards. Averaging a career-low 3.4 yards after the catch per reception, it’s fair to wonder if the Browns are purposely not heavily utilizing their slot WR following offseason hip surgery. This spot presents more potential than most for enhanced pass-game volume; just realize this offense is heavily trending toward the OBJ show after being much more of a 1a/1b situation in 2019.

It’s hard to understate just how bad the Cowboys’ secondary has been — and yet they’ve been lucky. Through three weeks, nobody has had a higher opponent drop rate than Dallas (10.5%). Mayfield-OBJ-Hunt and Mayfield-OBJ-Landry stacks could be a fun time in DFS tournaments this weekend.

TE breakdown: Austin Hooper (86% snaps in Week 3) and Harrison Bryant (63%) are the Browns’ version of Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. Hooper (10 targets on the season) is also losing pass-game work to Bryant (6). He’ll find the end zone sooner rather than later, but it’s clear he’s the No. 4 pass-game option in this run-first offense behind both OBJ, Landry and Hunt.

Cowboys Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Michael Gallup 73 198 4.51 1.71 Terrance Mitchell 71 191 4.63 0.68
R Amari Cooper 73 210 4.42 1.87 Denzel Ward 71 190 4.32 0.76
S CeeDee Lamb 74 191 4.5 1.92 Tavierre Thomas 70 205 1.2

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Cowboys’ high-flying offense is complemented by a defense that can’t slow anybody down; expect to see weekly shootouts from Dak Prescott and company.

The game plan against the Seahawks was intriguing, as each of Gallup (85% snaps), Cooper (79%), Lamb (60%), Noah Brown (35%) and Cedrick Wilson (29%) saw a good chunk of reps. We shouldn’t expect the latter receiver’s two-TD day to be replicated in Week 4, but it’s good to know Wilson has that sort of ceiling if any of the Cowboys’ top-three receivers miss time.

Lamb’s drop in usage was puzzling and begs the question if he’s a bit banged up at the moment. Cooper and Gallup are the preferred DFS stacking partners right now against a Browns defense that could again be without starting CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) and features a banged-up version of Ward (groin).

This week Cooper is my PPR WR7, and Gallup my WR23. Don’t sit either in season-long leagues ahead of this potential blow-up spot. Not even if there’s a fire.

TE breakdown: The Cowboys’ decision to not utilize TE Dalton Schultz (67% snaps) as heavily in Week 3 could be a sign of things to come considering the success that Wilson had. However, the volume for Schultz through the first three weeks of the season is tough to ignore; he’s one of just nine players at the position with at least 20 targets. Let’s not quite anoint Schultz as a top-12 fantasy TE, but there are worse options to have than a complementary piece of the Cowboys’ eighth-ranked scoring offense.

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

Cardinals Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L DeAndre Hopkins 73 212 4.57 2.83 Donte Jackson 70 180 4.32 1.15
R KeeSean Johnson 73 201 4.6 0.83 Rasul Douglas 74 209 4.59 0.6
S Larry Fitzgerald 75 218 4.48 0.78 Jeremy Chinn 74 211 4.45 0.84

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Nobody has more targets (37), receptions (32) or receiving yards (356) than Hopkins through three weeks. He’s on pace for a Julio-esque 171-1,899-5 season-long line. With Davante Adams (hamstring) and Michael Thomas (ankle) banged up, Nuk deserves to be the consensus overall WR1 in Week 4.

Andy Isabella (4-47-2 on 4 targets in Week 3) continues to make the most of his opportunities, but Johnson (71% snaps) worked ahead of Isabella (40%) with Christian Kirk (groin) sidelined. It’s tough to expect consistent production from anyone in this passing game other than Hopkins at the moment. Isabella is worth a bench spot in deeper leagues due to the potential for his talent to eventually win out, but none of the team’s complementary WRs are recommended fantasy opinions against a Panthers defense that Kyler Murray and company should be able to run the ball against as much as they want.

TE breakdown: Both Darrell Daniels (58%) and Dan Arnold (48%) split snaps; neither is on the fantasy radar in this four-WR-heavy offense.

Panthers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L D.J. Moore 71 215 4.42 2.19 Patrick Peterson 73 203 4.31 0.97
R Robby Anderson 75 190 2.76 Dre Kirkpatrick 74 196 4.5 1.23
S Curtis Samuel 71 195 4.31 1.16 Byron Murphy 71 190 4.55 1.22

Projected shadow matchups: D.J. Moore vs. Patrick Peterson

WR/CB breakdown: Peterson hasn’t been someone to fear in shadow coverage for the better part of the last two seasons:

Moore’s 26% target share and 50% air-yard share rank No. 2 and No. 11, respectively, among all players through three weeks. The Panthers have arguably outperformed early-season expectations on offense, considering they boasted less continuity than any passing game entering the year. Moore is as locked in as ever as the offense’s No. 1 pass-game option while Christian McCaffrey (ankle) remains out, and he’s presently averaging a career-best 17.1 yards per reception. The Panthers’ WR1 is a prime buy-low candidate and due for an explosion.

Anderson continues to demonstrate the ability to work as a true every-down receiver and not just a field-stretching option. I wouldn’t be on him maintaining his present position as the PPR WR10 for the entire season, but this pass-happy offense could certainly enable two top-24 receivers. Anderson (23 targets) is being used way ahead of Samuel (13); the latter player is unfortunately droppable after Mike Davis dominated snaps in the Panthers’ backfield last week.

TE breakdown: Ian Thomas (69%) needs to fully overtake Chris Manhertz (47%) before getting back on the fantasy radar. The trendy offseason sleeper has posted a 3-25-0 line on four targets all season.

Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears

Colts Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Ashton Dulin 73 215 4.43 1.5 Jaylon Johnson 72 195 4.5 0.99
R T.Y. Hilton 70 183 4.34 1.68 Kyle Fuller 71 190 4.49 0.82
S Zach Pascal 74 219 4.55 0.89 Buster Skrine 69 185 1.24

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Philip Rivers has thrown 25 and 21 passes over the last two weeks in blow-up wins for the Colts. This week’s matchup in Chicago doesn’t project for quite the same sort of game script, although the veteran QB’s insistence on keeping the team’s RBs and TEs heavily involved hurts the chances for anyone other than Hilton to emerge from this banged-up WR room.

Hilton seems healthy enough; he’s just not been needed over the past two weeks. The reality that the Colts boast a great run game and defense means that we shouldn’t necessarily expect the offense to face pass-friendly negative game scripts all that often. Still, Hilton is one of the more locked-in No. 1 pass-game options with both Parris Campbell (knee, IR) and Michael Pittman Jr. (calf, IR) out for the foreseeable future. The $5,300 tag on DraftKings is far too cheap, in my humble opinion.

TE breakdown: Mo Alie-Cox continues to ball out and leads the position in yards per route run at the moment. His 60% snap rate in Week 3 surpassed Doyle (53%). The (wait for it) former basketball player has a chance to function as the No. 2 option in this passing game during any given week with this sort of usage; just don’t expect this consistent dominance to continue much longer in this run-first offense.

Bears Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Allen Robinson II 75 211 4.6 2.15 Xavier Rhodes 73 218 4.43 0.68
R Darnell Mooney 71 175 4.38 1.37 T.J. Carrie 72 204 0.16
S Anthony Miller 71 190 1.58 Kenny Moore II 69 190 1.01

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: How on earth did it take so long for Nick Foles to get this job?

Foles’ target distribution upon taking over for Mitchell Trubisky midway through the third quarter was as follows:

The Bears continue to rotate five receivers if you also count RB Cordarrelle Patterson being A-Rob. This passing game certainly looks improved, but for now, refrain from starting anybody other than Robinson against a Colts secondary that has allowed a league-low 396 passing yards through three weeks.

TE breakdown: I guess we have to start giving Graham some respect. The soon to be 34-year-old TE has posted 3-25-1, 1-18-0 and 6-60-2 receiving lines this season; there’s a low floor here. Still, the team’s puzzling WR usage combined with the absence of Cohen (ACL) moving forward could lead to the Bears’ 2020 training camp MVP functioning as the passing game’s No. 2 option. I wouldn’t count on consistent top-12 production, but the veteran is settling in as an upper-end TE2.

Baltimore Ravens at Washington Football Team

Ravens Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Miles Boykin 76 220 4.42 1.01 Kendall Fuller 71 198
R Marquise Brown 69 170 1.88 Ronald Darby 71 193 4.38 1.3
S Willie Snead IV 71 205 4.62 1.39 Jimmy Moreland 70 179 1.88

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Brown was two better passes away from having a massive Monday night performance.

The artist known as Hollywood ranks 18th in target share and ninth in air yard share through three weeks; big games are ahead — keep him in the starting lineup. Brown is my overall WR22 facing a Washington secondary that might not benefit from such a ferocious pass rush with No. 2 overall pick Chase Young (groin) sidelined.

After Brown (18 targets) and Mark Andrews (17), Boykin (10) is the only other player with double-digit targets in this run-first offense. The Ravens are two-TD favorites; don’t expect this spot to yield fantasy-friendly negative game script for the offense’s complementary targets.

TE breakdown: Andrews dropped a would-be TD in addition to a chunk play down the seam in Week 3; don’t expect one of the game’s more-talented receiving TEs to go much longer without a big game. This secondary didn’t have an answer for Dallas Goedert (8-101-1) or Zach Ertz (3-18-1) back in Week 1; fire up Jackson-Brown-Andrews stacks to your heart’s desire this weekend.

Football Team Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Terry McLaurin 72 208 4.35 2.4 Jimmy Smith 74 210 4.42 0.45
R Dontrelle Inman 75 205 0.86 Marcus Peters 72 195 4.53 1.5
S Isaiah Wright 74 220 1.33 Marlon Humphrey 72 197 4.41 0.95

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Haskins is at risk of being benched with another dreadful performance.

The good news is McLaurin just keeps on keeping on. The talented second-year receiver has posted 4-57-1, 5-130-1, 7-86-0, 5-61-0, 7-125-1 and 4-83-0 performances in his last six games with Haskins under center. The Washington offense can’t do much of anything right at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped McLaurin from functioning as the PPR WR13 through three weeks. This is a tougher matchup than usual against a Ravens secondary that has basically shut down everyone except the Chiefs over the past 12 months, although McLaurin has reached auto-start treatment as the engine of this (bad) Washington offense.

Credit to Inman for scoring two times last week, but please don’t touch anybody else in this WR room with a 10-foot pole in fantasy land.

TE breakdown: Logan Thomas‘ 24 targets trails only Travis Kelce (25) and Darren Waller (27). Unfortunately, those opportunities have yielded a pedestrian 12-94-1 line through three weeks, but the Football Team continues to feature Thomas as an every-down TE and their No. 2 pass-game option. At some point this efficiency has to improve. In this miserable spot I’m treating Thomas as a boom-or-bust TE2, although Haskins improving, or a QB change, could lead to the team’s undisputed No. 1 TE emerging as a consistent top-12 option at the position.

New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams

Giants Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Darius Slayton 73 190 4.39 1.58 Jalen Ramsey 73 208 4.41 0.68
R C.J. Board 73 181 1.35 Darious Williams 69 187 0.91
S Golden Tate 70 197 4.42 1.26 Troy Hill 71 183 4.55 1.85

Projected shadow matchups: Darius Slayton vs. Jalen Ramsey

WR/CB breakdown: The Rams were shelled by Josh Allen in Week 3, but it’s tough to take Daniel Jones and company seriously on their West Coast road trip after the performance they put forward in Week 3. Despite facing a 49ers defense playing without numerous game-changers across the defensive line and in the secondary alike, Jones completed just 17 of 32 passes for 179 scoreless yards.

As expected, we did see a more condensed passing tree with Saquon Barkley (knee, IR) and Sterling Shepard (toe, IR) sidelined: Slayton (7 targets), Tate (7) and TE Evan Engram (5) were the only players with at least five pass-game opportunities. Still, the brutal lack of execution from the Giants’ 31st-ranked scoring offense makes it tough to trust any either of the offense’s top-two receivers as more than boom-or-bust WR3s at best, particularly against the Rams’ 12th-ranked defense in pass DVOA that made life difficult for Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz in Weeks 1-2.

TE breakdown: The general dysfunction from this unit has me dropping Engram to the lower-TE1 range. He’s playing nearly every snap and doesn’t appear to be operating at less than 100%; better days will be ahead once this offense finds any sort of rhythm. I just wouldn’t count on that day being next Sunday.

Rams Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Josh Reynolds 75 196 4.52 1.72 Isaac Yiadom 73 190 4.52 2.06
R Robert Woods 72 195 4.51 2.14 James Bradberry 73 212 4.5 1.25
S Cooper Kupp 74 208 4.62 2.59 Darnay Holmes 70 198 4.48 2.1

Projected shadow matchups: Robert Woods vs. James Bradberry

WR/CB breakdown: Jared Goff has thrown 31, 27 and 32 times during the first three weeks inside of the Rams’ run-heavy offense. The good news is that this offense is built in a way to maximize the production of its top-two receivers. Kupp is working in two-WR formations after being taken off the field far too often down the stretch in 2019; he’s 12th in target share through three weeks. Woods has a fairly modest 19 targets through three weeks, but his 7-63-1 rushing line has helped him function as the PPR WR9.

The Giants’ 30th-ranked defense in pass DVOA has only looked competent when facing Mitch Trubisky in 2020. Don’t expect Sean McVay to take his foot off the gas in the run game, but the condensed nature of this passing attack still locks in Kupp and Woods as upside WR2s.

Reynolds continues to split targets and snaps alike with rookie Van Jefferson; neither are realistic fantasy options in this run-first offense. 

TE breakdown: Gerald Everett (41% snaps in Week 3) was more involved than usual last week, but Tyler Higbee (72%) was still on the field more often. I wouldn’t expect Everett (2-34-0) to be as productive as Higbee (2-40-0) too often moving forward; we’re just two weeks removed from Higbee visiting the end zone on three separate occasions in the same game. Don’t be surprised if he reunites with the painted grass this Sunday against this porous secondary.

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

Patriots Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Damiere Byrd 69 180 1.02 Charvarius Ward 73 200 0.74
R N'Keal Harry 74 228 4.53 1.73 L'Jarius Sneed 73 193 4.37 0.71
S Julian Edelman 70 198 2.91 Tyrann Mathieu 69 185 4.5 0.65

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Edelman ranks 10th in target share and first (!!!) in air yard share through three weeks. His 8-179-0 explosion against the Seahawks has been sandwiched by two disappointing 5-57-0 and most-recently 2-23-0 efforts, but the former Super Bowl MVP remains the undisputed No. 1 pass-game option in New England.

We might not see the same level of consistent WR1 production in this run-heavy offense, although Edelman still seems plenty capable of posting top-24 numbers at the position. He’s hung 8-95-1, 7-96-0 and 4-54-1 lines on the Chiefs in their last three matchups; treat the Patriots’ No. 1 WR as a fantasy WR2 ahead of Week 4. 

TE breakdown: Ryan Izzo leads all Patriots TEs with five targets; they’re all well off the fantasy radar.

Chiefs Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Demarcus Robinson 73 203 4.59 0.57 J.C. Jackson 73 198 4.46 1.14
R Sammy Watkins 73 211 4.43 1.53 Stephon Gilmore 73 202 4.38 1.62
S Tyreek Hill 70 185 1.87 Jonathan Jones 70 190 4.33 1.3

Projected shadow matchups: Sammy Watkins vs. Stephon Gilmore, Tyreek Hill vs. Jonathan Jones

WR/CB breakdown: The Patriots have historically tasked Gilmore with wiping away Watkins in order to devote consistent double-coverage toward Hill. It’s been an up-and-down strategy; nobody is capable of containing Hill for an extended period of time.

  • 2017 Week 1: 7 receptions-133 yards-1 TD
  • 2018 Week 6: 7-142-3
  • 2018 AFC Championship: 1-42-0
  • 2019 Week 14: 6-62-0

The artist known as TyFreak has scored in every game this season and also chipped in a 3-34-0 rushing line. Obviously you’re never benching Hill, and he’ll probably carry unwarranted low DFS exposure simply due to general (potentially outdated) fear of the Patriots defense.

It’s early, but Watkins is again looking like a fade candidate in pretty much any non-Week 1 regular-season contest. He was just one yard away from finding the end zone in Week 3 and continues to play a near every-down role; just keep expectations in check for the Chiefs’ No. 3 (at best) pass-game option.

Mecole Hardman had himself a fun Week 3.

Unfortunately, Hardman (39% snaps) continued to spit reps with Robinson (55%). Neither are worthy of more than boom-or-bust WR5 treatment as long as this continues. Hardman remains arguably the only true handcuff at the WR position worth stashing on fantasy benches.

TE breakdown: Travis Kelce has posted 6-50-1, 9-90-1 and 6-87-1 receiving lines and is well on his way to capturing his fifth-consecutive overall PPR TE1 crown. Continue to treat him as a matchup-proof top-two option at the position as long as George Kittle is banged up.

Buffalo Bills at Las Vegas Raiders

Bills Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L John Brown 71 178 4.34 1.55 Damon Arnette 72 195 4.56 2.39
R Stefon Diggs 72 191 4.46 2.46 Trayvon Mullen 74 199 4.46 0.73
S Cole Beasley 68 174 2.56 Lamarcus Joyner 68 191 4.55 1.45

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Brown (calf) is banged up, meaning this four-WR heavy offense could lean on the likes of Isaiah McKenzie and Gabriel Davis more than usual in Week 3.

This should be the Diggs show. The Bills’ No. 1 WR is on pace for a sterling 107-1,536-11 line with a whopping 149 targets. The likes of Robby Anderson (6-114-1) and Tre’Quan Smith (5-86-0) had all kinds of success against this mediocre secondary. Playing in a sneaky shootout spot, Diggs is worthy of true WR1 treatment with Allen playing the best ball of his life.

Beasley also deserves to be on the fantasy radar due to Brown’s absence. Of course the pint-sized slot receiver isn’t going to soak up many of Smokey’s air yards, but Beasley has surprisingly reached the century mark in three of his last eight games, catching at least four passes in all but one contest along the way. Don’t count out the potential for Beasley to have a plus game against Joyner, who has allowed the fifth-most receptions in slot coverage this season.

Davis is the Bills’ fourth-round pick and has caught all seven of his targets this season for 103 yards and a score. The Central Florida product averaged 17.2 yards per reception in his final year in college; there’s big-play potential here against a Raiders secondary that could be without Arnette (finger). Davis isn’t on the re-draft radar, but Josh Allen stacks can certainly include the near-minimum priced rookie.

TE breakdown: Allen loves feeding his tight ends around the goal line, leading to Tyler Kroft (4-24-2) and Lee Smith (1-1-1) finding all kinds of success with Dawson Knox (concussion) sidelined in Week 3. I wouldn’t count on the same sort of production in Week 4, and there’s a low ceiling for each man involved as the offense’s likely No. 4 (at best) pass-game option.

Raiders Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Nelson Agholor 72 198 4.42 1.48 Levi Wallace 72 179 4.63 1.11
R Zay Jones 74 200 4.45 1.38 Tre'Davious White 71 192 4.47 0.73
S Hunter Renfrow 70 184 4.59 2.06 Taron Johnson 71 192 4.5 1.79

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Both Henry Ruggs (knee) and Bryan Edwards (ankle) are sidelined, meaning Renfrow is the only potentially fantasy-viable WR in an offense that loves getting its various TEs and RBs involved in the passing game.

Renfrow is set up well against a Bills defense that has been steamrolled by slot receivers this season:

The Raiders’ slot WR is a perfectly fine flex option and discount in DFS; just don’t expect true No. 1 WR treatment from a clear auxiliary option. The potential for Darren Waller and the backfield to see plenty of pass-game opportunity, combined with the extra attention on Renfrow this week, makes him more of a fun side piece than player that I’m actively looking to build lineups around.

TE breakdown: Bill Belichick and the Patriots took Waller completely out of the game in Week 3, because of course they did. The Raiders’ No. 1 receiver is still playing a near every-down role and has a position-high 27 targets through three weeks; continue to fire up Waller as a weekly top-five option at the position.

Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers

Eagles Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L John Hightower 74 183 4.43 0.23 Emmanuel Moseley 71 184 1.02
R DeSean Jackson 70 175 4.35 1.42 Jason Verrett 70 188 4.38 0.32
S Greg Ward 71 186 1.42 K'Waun Williams 69 185 0.85

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: What a mess. D-Jax (hamstring) should be considered questionable for Sunday night and is better off avoided due to the enhanced potential for re-aggravation. TE Dallas Goedert (ankle) is sidelined, meaning Carson Wentz faces the familiar problem of hardly having any healthy and/or competent receiving options.

Of course, Wentz isn’t helping his own cause with consistently sporadic play. His average of 4.8 yards per attempt against the Bengals’ borderline awful defense was a new low.

Credit to Ward for catching eight of 11 targets for 72 yards and a score in Week 3, but he offers minimum upside as the likely No. 3 option in this passing game behind Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders. The 49ers proved against the Giants that they’re plenty capable of still playing high-level defense despite a ton of injuries; don’t expect the Eagles in their present form to put up a much bigger fight.

TE breakdown: Ertz has played three games with Goedert either completely sidelined or limited to fewer than 10 snaps, posting plenty solid 8-72-0, 4-64-0 and most-recently 7-70-0 performances. Of course, at some point defenses can just double Ertz if there aren’t any other targets to worry about, but usually trusting high-end volume in fantasy football works out just fine. Treat Ertz as a top-four option at the position poised for weekly doses of double-digit targets for the foreseeable future.

49ers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Brandon Aiyuk 73 206 4.5 1.57 Trevor Williams 71 191 0.6
R Kendrick Bourne 73 203 4.68 1.67 Darius Slay 72 190 4.36 0.76
S Trent Taylor 68 180 4.63 0.77 Nickell Robey-Coleman 68 180 1.58

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: George Kittle (ankle) is expected to be full go this week. Deebo Samuel (foot) is targeting a return in Week 5, meaning Aiyuk should get to serve as one of the offense’s top volume hogs for another week.

The 49ers’ rookie receiver played great in Week 4, posting 5-70-0 receiving and 3-31-1 rushing lines against the Giants’ futile defense. Aiyuk would be a weekly upside WR3 or higher with this sort of consistent role; I just question whether or not he’ll be quite as involved once Kittle and/or Samuel are healthy.

The Eagles aren’t a matchup to fear even if Slay winds up traveling with one of these receivers. He’s rarely ventured into the slot this season despite doing so in 2019; Kyle Shanahan should be able to create whatever matchup he desires without too much trouble.

The lack of overall pass-game volume makes Aiyuk the only recommended start from this group of WRs.

TE breakdown: The loss of S Malcolm Jenkins has hurt the Eagles against the TE position; both Tyler Higbee (5-54-3) and Logan Thomas (4-37-1) had big days in their respective matchups. Kittle is healthy, meaning we need to treat him as the top-two fantasy TE that he’s been for the better part of the last three seasons.

Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers

Falcons Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Olamide Zaccheaus 68 190 1.06 Kevin King 75 200 4.43 0.98
R Calvin Ridley 73 190 4.43 2.75 Jaire Alexander 70 196 4.38 0.83
S Russell Gage 72 184 2.14 Chandon Sullivan 71 194 4.6 1.45

Projected shadow matchups: Calvin Ridley vs. Jaire Alexander

WR/CB breakdown: Ridley has at least eight targets in 11 career games. He’s posted the following stat lines:

  • 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

The overall fantasy WR1 through three weeks has an absurd 550.9 air yards. That’s more than the Jets (550), Rams (520) and Saints (514). Alexander has stretches where he looks like the next-big thing at the CB position, but it’s not fair to expect any mere mortal to slow down Ridley as long as he keeps getting fed the league’s most fantasy-friendly workload.

It’s impossible to know how healthy Julio Jones (hamstring) is at the moment. If active, he needs to be in fantasy lineups. Jones has demonstrated the ability to play through the pain at a high level over the years, and there’s simply too much volume upside to keep him on the bench if he wants to give it a go.

With that said: It’s fair to rank Ridley over Julio if both are active this week. 2020, man. Madness.

Gage (concussion) should be considered questionable. Zaccheaus has caught eight of 12 career targets for 166 yards and a score. Yes, a 93-yard TD is responsible for most fo that yardage, but credit to Zaccheaus for getting loose and making that big play. If Jones and Gage are again out, treat Zaccheaus as a volume-based WR3 who should finish as a top-three target behind Ridley and potentially TE Hayden Hurst.

TE breakdown: Hurst has posted good-not-great 3-38-0, 5-72-1 and 1-1-1 lines through three weeks of action. The PPR TE12 through three weeks has room for his targets to grow exponentially if Gage is out. I have him as the PPR TE13 this week, but he’d be a top-10 option if we get word that the Falcons will be without two of their top three receivers.

Packers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Malik Taylor 75 220 Isaiah Oliver 72 210 4.5 1.8
R Marquez Valdes-Scantling 76 206 4.37 1.96 Darqueze Dennard 71 200 4.51 1.48
S Allen Lazard 77 227 4.55 2.62 Kendall Sheffield 72 193

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Aaron Rodgers had the following target distribution with Davante Adams (hamstring) sidelined in Week 3:

Expect Jones to be more involved if Adams remains sidelined. Lazard deserves to be treated as a borderline WR2 in Adams’ absence thanks to his increase in target share and growing chemistry with Rodgers. Still, don’t sleep on MVS having a bounce-back week. His field-stretching role is going to be a bit volatile with or without Adams in the lineup; I love the potential for Valdes-Scantling to pay off in a big way on the showdown slate.

The Packers’ league-best scoring offense faces the Falcons’ league-worst scoring defense. Get ready to see some points. Obviously Adams needs to be in starting lineups of all shapes and sizes if active, but both Lazard and MVS would still be in the flex conversation with the return of the team’s No. 1 WR. This offense is humming, and the Falcons aren’t the defense to stop them.

TE breakdown: Tonyan’s success in Week 3 seems fluky; his 63% snap rate was eaten into heavily by both Lewis (32%) and Sternberger (32%). Credit to Tonyan for catching seven of eight targets for 75 yards and a pair of scores on the season, but he’s nothing more than a TD-dependent TE2 option at the moment.

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