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Fantasy Football: Week 6 WR/CB shadow matchups and biggest mismatches

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:

  1. Which cornerbacks shadowed in Week 5
  2. Projected Week 6 shadow matchups
  3. Notes on why certain cornerbacks aren’t expected to shadow

Week 5 shadow report

The following seven 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 6 shadow matchups

Jaguars WR Marvin Jones vs. Colts CB Stephon Gilmore

This is what the Colts rolled with back in Week 2. The coverage certainly helped shut down Jones (3-33-0), but Christian Kirk (6-78-2 on 6 targets) and Zay Jones (3-23-0 on 4 targets) were then free to have their way with Kenny Moore and Brandon Facyson. Perhaps the Colts decide not to bother with this specific shadow matchup this time around, but don’t expect Gilmore (1 snap as a slot corner all season) to follow either Kirk (65% slot rate) or Zay (32%) for any significant amount of time. Kirk and Zay Jones deserve upgrades based on the potential for Gilmore (PFF’s fourth-highest-graded cornerback in coverage) to eliminate Marvin Jones from the equation.

Browns WR Amari Cooper vs. Patriots CB Jonathan Jones

Jones tracked Tyreek Hill (8-94-0) in Week 1 and Romeo Doubs (5-47-1) in Week 4. The Patriots also had Jalen Mills track Diontae Johnson (6-57-0) in Week 2. Similar to their backfield: It’s always tough to figure out exactly what Bill Belichick and company will do next. Cooper should certainly hope for the latter matchup: Mills is PFF’s single-lowest-graded cornerback in coverage among 102 qualified players, while Jones ranks seventh. Unfortunately, it seems more likely that Cooper fetches Jones than Mills, making this week’s spot a small downgrade for fantasy’s PPR WR18 through five weeks.


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