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Week 6 WR/CB mismatches and shadow coverages to leverage in DFS & fantasy football leagues

Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) runs with the ball against Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Myles Jack (44) in the third quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Week 6 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 every player’s: most frequent alignment, height (inches), weight (pounds), 40-yard dash (seconds) and yards per route run/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.


Tampa Bay BuccaneersPhiladelphia Eagles

Buccaneers Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR CB H + W 40 YPRR
L Mike Evans 77 + 231 4.53 1.83 Steven Nelson 71 + 194 4.49 1.02
R Antonio Brown 70 + 181 4.56 2.75 Darius Slay 72 + 190 4.36 0.65
S Chris Godwin 73 + 209 4.42 1.63 Avonte Maddox 69 + 180 4.39 0.7

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Eagles had Darius Slay shadow D.J. Moore in Week 5, although he wasn’t asked to do so against the Falcons, Cowboys or Chiefs despite each offense certainly boasting the sort of firepower at wide receiver to warrant the assignment.

Either way: All of Tom Brady’s big-three receivers are once again looking like must-start options in most fantasy leagues. Mike Evans (9 targets per game), Chris Godwin (7.6) and Antonio Brown (7.3) have essentially served as 1.A/1.B/1.C pass-game options all season long; this passing game is truly unfair when everything is clicking.

Credit to the Eagles for being one of just six defenses to allow fewer than 30 PPR points per game to opposing wide receiver rooms this season; there isn’t a defense on the planet capable of truly shutting down TB12 and company on the right night. That certainly seems to be in play this Thursday, as only the Bills and Chiefs are implied to score more points than the Buccaneers in Week 6.

Evans (my WR10 in Week 6) deserves to be treated as the No. 1 option thanks to the reality that the Eagles don’t have a single starting corner capable of matching up with him physically, but each of Godwin (WR15) and Brown (WR23) should also be in starting lineups of most shapes and sizes.

TE breakdown: Rob Gronkowski (ribs) is expected to miss another week, meaning Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard should again split snaps. Each is nothing more than a low-end TE2 at best; Brady has shown a willingness to simply get his wide receivers and running backs more involved in the absence of Gronk as opposed to featuring the actual backups at the position.

Eagles Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR CB H + W 40 YPRR
L DeVonta Smith 73 + 175 N/A 1.56 Jamel Dean 73 + 206 4.3 0.63
R Jalen Reagor 71 + 195 4.47 0.84 Richard Sherman 75 + 195 4.54 1.21
S Quez Watkins 74 + 190 4.5 2.02 Ross Cockrell 72 + 190 4.56 1.29

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Jalen Hurts isn’t the most polished passer in the world, but that hasn’t stopped him from throwing for 300 yards in four of his nine career starts.

Enter undisputed No. 1 WR DeVonta Smith, who has ripped off 7-122-0 and 7-77-0 receiving lines over the past two weeks on 18 combined targets. Note the performances could have been much larger with a little help from the zebras: Smith has had two scores nullified due to at least somewhat questionable penalties over the past two weeks.

The truly good news is Smith has established himself as this offense’s go-to threat. He finds himself in some elite company in terms of receivers with at least 40% of their offense’s air yards:

Smith is a legit WR2 option this week against the NFL’s second-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position. I have Smith (WR24) ranked ahead of guys like Chase Claypool, Adam Thielen and Brandin Cooks, among others.

Neither Jalen Reagor nor Quez Watkins have the sort of solidified target share to warrant fantasy consideration this week. I lean toward Watkins as the preferred DFS dart; at this point, he’s seeing more consistent usage than the Eagles’ 2020 first-round pick.

TE breakdown: Dallas Goedert (covid, IR) is tentatively expected to miss Thursday night, meaning Zach Ertz should step into a featured role. Usually if a team has two close to equally used real-life tight ends, they produce zero high-end fantasy assets at the position; removing Goedert from the equation sets up Ertz as a legit top-10 fantasy option. This is especially true against a Bucs defense that didn’t exactly slow down the likes of Dalton Schultz (6-45-0), Tyler Higbee (5-40-1), Kyle Pitts (5-73-0) and Hunter Henry (4-32-1) through five weeks.

Related content for you: Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 6 waivers, trades and drops via Dwain McFarland

Miami DolphinsJacksonville Jaguars

Dolphins Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR CB H + W 40 YPRR
L Preston Williams 76 + 210 N/A 1.35 Chris Claybrooks 72 + 170 N/A 3.23
R Albert Wilson 69 + 186 4.43 0.39 Shaquill Griffin 72 + 198 4.38 1.18
S Jaylen Waddle 70 + 182 N/A 1.26 Tre Herndon 71 + 185 N/A 2.6

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Shaquill Griffin shadowed for the first time all season in Week 5 against A.J. Brown, but he’s largely refrained from following anybody into the slot (18 total snaps) this season, meaning Jaylen Waddle should be just fine regardless of whether or not the Jaguars attempt to track him with their No. 1 corner. The performance side of things also shouldn’t sound alarms: Griffin has only worked as PFF’s 59th-highest-graded corner in coverage grade this season, while Chris Claybrooks has been the single-worst graded cornerback among 128 qualified players.

Yes, Waddle has underwhelmed through five games, failing to reach 60 yards or find the end zone since his solid Week 1 (4-61-1) performance. His 4-yard average depth is more akin to a running back, and so far his patented big-play ability has been nowhere to be found.

Also yes, Waddle is tentatively expected to get his starting quarterback back in the lineup this week. His average target depth in Week 1 (10.2) with Tua Tagovailoa is easily his highest mark of the season; in an ideal world, the 2021 NFL Draft’s No. 6 overall pick will start to see a blend of both quick-hitting and downfield targets. There’s little evidence that Waddle can’t function as a bigger threat down the field; the Dolphins just haven’t used him that way to this point, as shown by his three total targets over 10 yards downfield.

The continued absences of DeVante Parker (hamstring) and Will Fuller (finger, IR) *should* lead to more condensed target share for Waddle; fire him up as a WR3 set up sneaky well for a true coming out party now that he’s reunited with his starting quarterback and facing anyone’s idea of a smashable secondary: Only the Lions have allowed more yards per attempt to wide receivers than the Jaguars through five weeks. Credit to Preston Williams for flashing on multiple occasions in Week 5; it’s just tough to get behind more than one primary wide receiver in the league’s 31st-ranked scoring offense.

TE breakdown: Mike Gesicki is still being called a tight end despite playing *checks notes* 13 total snaps inline this season. For reference, Taysom Hill (27 inline snaps) has literally doubled Gesicki’s usage as a “real” tight end. Alas, fantasy leagues continue to label Gesicki as such, meaning managers can roster a wide receiver and play him at their tight end position. Don’t get carried away if Parker returns this week, but cautiously get back to treating Gesicki as a weekly low-end TE1 option thanks to the likelihood that he works as the No. 2 pass-game option in this offense more weeks than not.

Jaguars Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR CB H + W 40 YPRR
L Laviska Shenault Jr. 74 + 220 4.58 1.71 Xavien Howard 73 + 192 4.58 1.7
R Marvin Jones Jr. 74 + 198 N/A 1.36 Byron Jones 72 + 205 4.49 1.34
S Jamal Agnew 70 + 190 N/A 1.48 Nik Needham 72 + 203 N/A 1.34

Projected shadow matchups: Laviska Shenault vs. Xavien Howard, Marvin Jones vs. Byron Jones

WR/CB breakdown: Trevor Lawrence offered the following target tree in his first full game with D.J. Chark (ankle, IR) sidelined:

Sheesh. It’s impossible to trust any of these options, even if Viska continues to make the most out of his opportunities. Seriously, it’s coaching malpractice to play a 60 minute football game and fail to get this man more than one touch.

Alas, Urban gonna Urban. Jones and Shenault are better fired up as upside WR4 plays as opposed to legit top-36 options; there’s simply too low of a floor here as long as Lawrence is comfortable spreading the ball around to the offense’s alleged complementary receivers. Throw in a likely bounce-back campaign for both Howard and Jones after each was torched by the Buccaneers last week, and this is a situation I’d prefer to stay away from in fantasy land.

TE breakdown: Arnold’s snaps spiked from 32% in his Jaguars debut to 73% in Week 5. He managed to reel in six of his eight targets for 64 scoreless yards; the offense had no issue continuing to go his way despite the ex-Saints/Cardinals/Panthers talent losing a fumble within two minutes of the game starting.

Ultimately, Arnold carries a low weekly floor like the rest of this offense’s pass-game options, but his near full-time role and status as a converted wide receiver makes him a discount Ricky Seals-Jones in fantasy land. Fire up Arnold as an upside TE2 as long as this role persists. Check out the Tuesday edition of The PFF Fantasy Football Podcast for full thoughts on Arnold and the rest of the week’s waiver wire options.

Minnesota VikingsCarolina Panthers

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