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Fantasy Football: Week 5 WR/CB shadow matchups and biggest mismatches

  • D.K. Metcalf is back in the position’s top-15 regardless of the matchup with Marshon Lattimore.
  • Michael Pittman might not flirt with a blowup performance due to his matchup, but his combination of elite talent and gaudy volume floor make it tough to downgrade him more than a spot or two.
  • Tough matchup be damned, continue to fire up Courland Sutton as a borderline WR1 thanks to his status as Russell Wilson’s undisputed No. 1 target.
Estimated reading time: 24 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:

  1. Which cornerbacks shadowed in Week 4
  2. Projected Week 5 shadow matchups
  3. Notes on why certain cornerbacks aren’t expected to shadow


Week 4 shadow report

The following nine 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:


Projected Week 5 shadow matchups

Colts WR Michael Pittman vs. Broncos CB Patrick Surtain II

Surtain has held up fairly well in shadow coverage this season, limiting D.K. Metcalf (7-36-0) before more recently at least making Davante Adams (9-101-0) need 13 targets to clear the century mark. Expect a similar outcome in this one: Pittman might not flirt with a blowup performance due to this tough matchup, but his combination of elite talent and gaudy volume floor make it tough to downgrade him more than a spot or two.

Broncos WR Courtland Sutton vs. Colts CB Stephon Gilmore

Sutton’s 35 targets are tied for the 10th-most in the league through four weeks of action. More impressive have been the air yards at hand: Only Chris Olave (677), Tyreek Hill (472) and Davante Adams (465) have more than Sutton (458) this season. Tough matchup be damned, continue to fire up Sutton as a borderline WR1 thanks to his status as Russell Wilson’s undisputed No. 1 target.

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