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Fantasy Football: Week 7 WR/CB matchups and TE breakdown

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) pulls down a long reception against Minnesota Vikings cornerback Holton Hill (24) in the fourth quarter during their football game Sunday, September 13, 2020, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. Green Bay won 43-34. Apc Packersvsvikings 0913202535

We're on to Week 7! 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.

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Giants Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Darius Slayton 73 190 4.39 1.87 Darius Slay 72 190 4.61 1.28
R Austin Mack 74 215 4.59 0.07 Nickell Robey-Coleman 68 180 1.95
S Golden Tate 70 197 4.42 1.11 Will Parks 73 194 4.47 0.67

Projected shadow matchups: Darius Slayton vs. Darius Slay

WR/CB breakdown: I would like to petition that the nickname “Big-play Slay” goes to whoever wins this Thursday night shadow date.

Slayton has certainly been the only Giants player consistently creating big plays all season. The PPR WR18 through six weeks, Slayton boasts a league-best 45% air-yard share and should continue to see all the targets he can handle as long as Sterling Shepard (toe, game-time decision) remains sidelined.

It’s tough to truly get behind any of these receivers if Shepard is active. The Eagles’ ferocious pass rush figures to have its way with PFF’s 32nd-ranked pass-blocking offensive line. Slay and company have also usually held up their end of the bargain this season; Tyler Boyd (10-125-0), Chase Claypool (7-110-3) and Tee Higgins (5-40-2) are the only receivers to eclipse 14 PPR points against this secondary.

Slayton is my PPR WR27 and Tate is my WR52. I’d want to see what Shepard’s snap share looks like before treating him as a realistic fantasy option. I’d probably go with most other options in related start/sit questions.

TE breakdown: Evan Engram has been rendered to a low average depth of target chain-mover who has just five targets over the past two weeks combined. Reminder: Engram (6-foot-3 and 234pounds, 4.42-second 40-yard dash) is built more like a wide receiver than a tight end. The reality that Engram doesn’t have a single target on a pass thrown more than 20 yards downfield this season is just sad.

Jason Witten (2) has more receptions than Engram (1) on passes thrown 10 yards downfield this season. Obviously, we’d love to fire up a talent like Engram against the Eagles’ 29th-ranked defense in PPR points allowed per game to the position, but the floor here remains scarily low. He’s a low-end TE1. I’d be incredibly hyped if the Giants traded Engram to literally any team.

Eagles Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L DeSean Jackson 70 175 4.35 1.42 Ryan Lewis 72 195 4.48 1.71
R Travis Fulgham 75 215 4.58 2.99 James Bradberry 73 212 1.78
S Greg Ward 71 186 1.1 Darnay Holmes 70 198 4.31 1.18

Projected shadow matchups: Travis Fulgham vs. James Bradberry

WR/CB breakdown: D-Jax is back in action, meaning John Hightower’s time as the offense’s lead field-stretching wideout is likely over. Alshon Jeffery (foot) and Jalen Reagor (thumb) remain sidelined, meaning Fulgham and Ward should continue to fill out three-receiver sets.

Carson Wentz actually played much better over the past two weeks in brutal matchups against the Ravens and Steelers.

Unfortunately, Wentz now faces the familiar problem of going to war without most of his top skill-position weapons. Getting Jackson back helps, but his No. 1 wide receiver Fulgham has his hands full with PFF’s No. 5 overall cornerback. Bradberry has won all three of his shadow matchups this season in style:

Fulgham has averaged a position-high 21.5 PPR points per game this season. He’s deserving of WR2 consideration even in this tough spot, while D-Jax and Ward are better approached as low-floor WR4 types in this non-cake matchup.

TE breakdown: Zach Ertz (ankle) is expected to miss three to four weeks, while Dallas Goedert (ankle) remains out indefinitely. Joshua Perkins (upper body, IR) is also sidelined. This leaves ex-Packers tight end Richard Rodgers to run up the seam for Wentz. Rodgers hasn’t been bad this season, catching nine of 10 targets for 99 scoreless yards. Still, the Giants are one of just seven defenses to allow fewer than 10 PPR points per game to opposing tight ends. There are probably higher-upside TE2 options on the waiver wire if you’re hurting at the position.

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

Panthers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L D.J. Moore 71 215 4.42 2.23 Marshon Lattimore 72 192 4.36 1.67
R Robby Anderson 75 190 2.79 Patrick Robinson 71 191 4.46 0.96
S Curtis Samuel 71 195 4.31 1.32 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson 72 208 4.48 0.58

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: It’s not D.J. Moore or Robby Anderson; it’s Moore *and* Anderson. Both Panthers wide receivers find themselves near the top of the leaderboard in target share and air-yard share through six weeks:

  • Anderson: 27% target share (No. 8 in the NFL); 37% air yard share (No. 9)
  • Moore: 24% target share (No. 15); 42% air yard share (No. 5)

Perhaps the Saints will have Lattimore shadow one of the receivers, but this truly couldn’t be less of a concern at the moment. The Saints’ No. 1 cornerback has been routinely toasted ever since helping lock down Mike Evans in Week 1, as he’s allowed 15 catches on 19 targets into his coverage for 254 yards and three scores with zero interceptions — good for a perfect 158.3 passer rating against.

I have Anderson as more of a borderline WR1 and Moore on the WR2 borderline in this spot, but both should be priority starts. Expect to see a heavy dose of two-tight end sets if Curtis Samuel (knee) remains sidelined considering replacement slot receiver Keith Kirkwood (collarbone, IR) is out for the foreseeable future. I’d prefer to lose money before firing up Seth Roberts in any sort of fantasy lineup.

TE breakdown: Ian Thomas continues to split snaps with Chris Manhertz. He has fewer than 20 yards in every game this season with just one score and remains well off the fantasy radar.

Saints Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Michael Thomas 75 212 4.57 0.55 Rasul Douglas 74 209 4.45 0.6
R Emmanuel Sanders 71 180 4.4 2 Donte Jackson 70 180 1.2
S Tre'Quan Smith 74 210 4.49 1.18 Jeremy Chinn 74 211 4.36 1.08

Projected shadow matchups: Michael Thomas vs. Rasul Douglas, Emmanuel Sanders vs. Donte Jackson

WR/CB breakdown: Thomas (ankle, discipline) is expected to return to action for the first time since Week 1. He hasn’t exactly dominated the Panthers, posting 7-49-0, 5-29-0, 10-101-1 and 4-37-0 performances in his four most recent matchups against them, but the absence of James Bradberry should make all the difference in the world.

You don’t need me to tell you to start Thomas whenever he’s healthy enough to suit up. However, I do love the idea of pouring in exposure on Thomas in GPP DFS contests; it wouldn’t be surprising if he carries reduced ownership during his first game back.

There’s a solid chance that Thomas and Alvin Kamara account for 20 targets alone this week. Sanders has impressed with 4-56-1, 6-93-0 and 12-122-0 lines over the past three weeks, but expect more bust than boom now that he’s back to being the No. 3 pass-game option (at best) inside of this low-average depth of target passing game. Neither he nor Smith is a recommended season-long start.

TE breakdown: Jared Cook’s targets by game: seven, five, three and three. He’s posting robust marks in yards per reception (15.1) and yards per target (9.2) alike, but there simply isn’t enough target volume for anybody behind Kamara and Thomas to produce consistent high-end fantasy goodness. Continue to fire up Cook as the borderline TE1 he’s been since joining the Saints.

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Bills Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L John Brown 71 178 4.34 1.2 Lamar Jackson 75 215 4.58 2.88
R Stefon Diggs 72 191 4.46 2.48 Pierre Desir 73 198 4.59 1.61
S Cole Beasley 68 174 2.25 Brian Poole 69 213 1.02

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Josh Allen hasn’t been quite the same baller in recent weeks as we saw during the first four weeks of the season, but it’s still hard to treat him as anything other than a top-five fantasy quarterback. The man has made a number of fantastic plays that some other signal-callers would only dream of even attempting.

Up next is a matchup against a Jets defense that has struggled to contain Allen (particularly as a rusher) over the years.

    • Week 14, 2018: 18-for-36, 206 pass yards, 0 TD, 2 INT; 9-101-1 rushing
    • Week 1, 2019: 24-for-37, 254 pass yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 10-38-1 rushing
    • Week 1, 2020: 33-for-46, 312 pass yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 14-57-1 rushing

Stefon Diggs is the PPR WR6 through six weeks of action and caught eight of nine targets for 86 scoreless yards against this secondary in Week 1. Continue to treat him as a high-upside WR1. The man is truly one of the best talents at the position in the league.

Cole Beasley has reached 100 yards and/or scored in 10 of his past 17 games. Ann under-the-radar PPR WR27, Beasley warrants legit upside WR3 consideration if John Brown is ultimately ruled out. This secondary hasn’t exactly been boat-raced by slot receivers this season, but c’mon, the league’s 29th-ranked scoring defense is hardly a matchup to overthink.

Brown (knee) started off his week with a DNP and didn’t look healthy in Week 6. Gabriel Davis would slide into three-receiver sets if Brown is ultimately sidelined. He’d be a solid DFS punt play, but I wouldn’t get too carried away in season-long formats with going after any skill-position player on the Bills other than Diggs and Beasley this week.

TE breakdown: Tyler Kroft (57% snaps) barely played more than a part-time role in Week 6 with Dawson Knox (calf) sidelined. Neither is a realistic fantasy option ahead of a matchup that could allow the Bills to run the ball to their collective heart’s desire.

Jets Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Breshad Perriman 74 215 0.99 Josh Norman 72 200 0.91
R Jeff Smith 73 195 0.84 Tre'Davious White 71 192 0.91
S Jamison Crowder 69 177 4.56 2.29 Cameron Lewis 71 185 4.5 0.95

Projected shadow matchups: Breshad Perriman vs. Josh Norman

WR/CB breakdown: Jamison Crowder’s season-worst 7-48-0 performance in Week 6 was still good for WR3 production because full PPR scoring doesn’t properly translate real-life football into fantasy. Alas, this is the game we play, and Crowder continues to warrant every-week starter treatment due to one of the more absurd workloads you’ll ever see. Somehow, Crowder leads the league with an average of 11.5 targets per game. I don’t get it and you don’t get it, but Adam Gase thinks he gets it — and that’s really all that matters in fantasy land. Crowder is my overall WR16 on the week, and yes, it was a painful experience to make that decision.

Expecting consistent production from anybody other than Crowder in this offense is probably a pipe dream. Still, Perriman stands out as a more-than-viable punt play. He’s truly been anyone’s idea of a great wide receiver since 2018; his average of 9.9 yards per target ranks 12th among 139 players with triple-digit pass-game opportunities over the past three seasons.

Each of Crowder (89% snaps), Perriman (89%) and Smith (85%) were full-time players in Week 6, but Perriman was easily the preferred downfield threat. Overall, Perriman’s 131 air yards were the eighth-highest mark in Week 6, as Joe Flacco routinely missed available opportunities. Credit to Norman for playing somewhat better thus far in 2020, but it’ll only take one connection for Perriman to meet value at his more-than-affordable DFS price.

TE breakdown: Ryan Griffin is being used ahead of training camp MVP Chris Herndon in the passing game. I’m going to go cry for a bit.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

Browns Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Odell Beckham Jr. 71 198 4.43 1.8 William Jackson III 72 196 4.37 0.81
R Rashard Higgins 73 198 4.64 0.96 LeShaun Sims 72 203 4.53 1.96
S Jarvis Landry 71 196 4.77 1.99 Mackensie Alexander 70 192 1.18

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Baker Mayfield (ribs) will continue to start as long as he’s healthy enough to do so, but it’s tough to expect any sort of boom in either volume or efficiency while he’s playing through the pain. His best performance of the season came against the Bengals in Week 2; that yielded a fantasy QB20 finish and just nine combined targets for OBJ and Jarvis Landry.

Beckham roasted William Jackson III for a 43-yard touchdown on a filthy double-move that day; he’s plenty capable of winning any one-on-one matchup. Still, the regular high-end volume that we pretty much always saw with the Giants simply hasn’t been there.

    • 2020: OBJ has 3 games with fewer than 8 targets
    • 2019: 8
    • 2018: 1
    • 2017: 1
    • 2016: 2
    • 2015: 2
    • 2014: 3

OBJ has fewer than 100 receiving yards in 15 straight games; he never went more than five games without hitting triple digits while with the Giants. He’s a boom-or-bust WR2 who has been dealing with far more of the latter over the past two seasons.

Landry (hip) continues to play through the pain. Unfortunately, he’s just not being used as the high-volume threat we’re used to seeing. Landry averaged 9.3 and 8.6 targets per game in 2018 and 2019, respectively, but is sitting at just 5.5 through six weeks. This isn’t the matchup to expect a boom in volume from Mayfield. Landry is a low-end WR4.

Rashard Higgins (60% snaps in Week 6) isn’t a full-time player and has yet to see more than three targets in a game this season. Credit to him for scoring in consecutive weeks, but he's not a realistic fantasy option.

TE breakdown: Austin Hooper has posted 5-34-1, 5-57-0 and 5-52-0 receiving lines after a slow start to the season. He’s played at least 70% of the offense’s snaps in every game, earning upside TE2 treatment ahead of this week’s spot against the league’s sixth-worst defense in PPR points allowed per game to the position.

Bengals Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L A.J. Green 76 210 4.48 1.07 Terrance Mitchell 71 191 4.63 1.15
R Tee Higgins 76 215 1.75 Denzel Ward 71 190 4.32 0.96
S Tyler Boyd 74 203 4.58 1.71 Kevin Johnson 72 185 4.52 0.65

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Joe Burrow has been most efficient when targeting Auden Tate (9.3), Tee Higgins (8.9) and Tyler Boyd (8.7) this season. Boyd has posted 7-85-1, 5-75-0, 5-59-0 and 7-72-1 receiving lines against the Browns in their past four meetings, while Higgins has done nothing except impress since Week 2 with an average receiving line of 4.4-67.8-0.4 on 7.6 targets per game. I have both Boyd (WR30) and Higgins (WR34) as top-35 options at the position this week, but there’s just one problem.

A.J. Green remains a thing: He had the sixth-most air yards in Week 6 and managed to post an 8-96-0 receiving line on a team-high 11 targets against the Colts’ overrated secondary. Reminder: Green caught just 3-of-13 targets against the Browns in Week 2 for 29 scoreless yards. It’s tough for any NFL receiver to consistently fail when given double-digit targets per game, but Green remains a low-ceiling WR3 at best. His average of 4.8 yards per target ranks 89th among 96 players with at least 25 targets this season.

Burrow has more dropbacks than any quarterback this season, but his efficiency hasn’t exactly been top-notch. There’s enough volume here for all three receivers to theoretically ball out; I’m just hesitant in treating any as a true top-24 option as long as this passing game continues to largely stay relevant thanks to volume and volume alone.

Denzel Ward hasn’t been asked to travel with a receiver since Week 1 of 2019. Only the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys managed to clear the 300-yard mark through the air against this secondary; this isn’t a cake matchup by any stretch of the imagination.

TE breakdown: it's a small sample size, but Drew Sample hasn’t found the end zone all season and has two or fewer targets in four of five games since C.J. Uzomah (Achilles, IR) was lost for the year. There are more than 20 players at the position this week that I’d rather start than Sample.

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team

Cowboys Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Michael Gallup 73 198 4.51 1.33 Kendall Fuller 71 198 1.7
R Amari Cooper 73 210 4.42 1.86 Ronald Darby 71 193 4.62 0.19
S CeeDee Lamb 74 191 4.5 2.11 Jimmy Moreland 70 179 1.25

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Andy Dalton’s target distribution through 5.5 quarters of action has been as follows:

  • Lamb (13)
  • Cooper (13)
  • Ezekiel Elliott (11)
  • Gallup (9)
  • Tony Pollard (6)
  • Dalton Schultz (5)
  • Cedrick Wilson (3)
  • Noah Brown (2)
  • Blake Ball (1)

Dalton was forced to throw 54 times in Week 6 after the Cowboys quickly fell behind 21-0 roughly 25 minutes into the game.

This sort of pass-game volume will inevitably continue to enable Cooper and Lamb to fairly high-end production. Of course, the ceiling is much lower than when Dak Prescott was under center, and eventual rational coaching would avoid operating at the league’s fastest pace now that consistently out-scoring the opponent isn’t a realistic weekly expectation.

Cooper and Lamb will probably be started in most lineups, but I’d go with the other option in start/sit questions if it’s at all close. The Cowboys are without both starting tackles, center Joe Looney (knee, IR) and potentially all-world guard Zack Martin (concussion). This week’s matchup against the Football Team presents winnable one-on-one scenarios in the secondary, but it’s tough to see this banged-up offensive line slowing down Washington’s plethora of monsters across the defensive front.

Gallup is the No. 4 pass-game option in this offense, and his status as the field-stretching WR lends itself to more weekly volatility than either Cooper or Lamb. This sort of boom-or-bust option is still valuable; there are plenty of receivers in the league who don’t possess anything close to Gallup’s high-end potential weekly outcomes. Still, it’s tough to treat him as more than a low-floor WR4 at this point.

TE breakdown: Schultz is a TD-dependent TE2 who has posted a combined 5-41-0 line over the past two weeks. He’s no longer a consistently viable fantasy starter without Prescott under center.

Football Team Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Terry McLaurin 72 208 4.35 2.02 Daryl Worley 73 205 4.54 0.85
R Dontrelle Inman 75 205 0.74 Trevon Diggs 74 207
S Isaiah Wright 74 220 0.56 Jourdan Lewis 70 195

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Let’s just pretend that the Football Team’s disastrous 30-10 loss against the Rams in Week 5 never happened.

Kyle Allen’s Week 6 target distribution was as follows:

Credit to Sims (1-22-1) and Inman (5-45-0) for largely making the most of their opportunities, but this is clearly a one-WR passing game.

Don’t hope, but expect McLaurin to have his way with the Cowboys’ absolutely horrendous secondary.

There’s a chance that Aldon Smith, Demarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys’ 14th-ranked defense in pressure rate can have their way with the Football Team’s underwhelming offensive front, but McLaurin is too good to bust with an expected double-digit target total. He’s my overall WR12 this week. 

TE breakdown: Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Thomas has seen at least four targets in every game this season, bookending five duds with 4-37-1 and 3-42-1 performances against the Eagles and Giants, respectively. The Football Team gives him a wildcat snap every now and then, plus he continues to play an every-snap role. Top-12 status for anybody other than McLaurin in this offense is unreasonable for meow, but Thomas is worthy of upside TE2 treatment in this great spot.

Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans

Packers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Davante Adams 73 215 4.56 2.48 Bradley Roby 71 194 4.49 0.93
R Marquez Valdes-Scantling 76 206 4.37 1.56 Vernon Hargreaves III 70 204 4.38 0.7
S Darrius Shepherd 71 188 0.86 Eric Murray 71 199 4.56 0.44

Projected shadow matchups: Davante Adams vs. Bradley Roby

WR/CB breakdown: Nobody other than Adams had more than five targets in his return to action. One of just six receivers averaging double-digit targets per game, Adams combines high-end volume with amazing real-life ability. He’s my overall WR1 ahead of this mouth-watering spot against Roby, who hasn’t exactly dominated the majority of his shadow matchups this season:

And then we have MVS, who had the fifth-largest difference between air yards and receiving yards in Week 6. We haven’t seen Rodgers and Valdes-Scantling connect for a score since Week 1, but his absurd 18.9-yard average target depth makes him a weekly threat to take a deep ball to the house. Consider throwing MVS into DFS-stacks featuring Aaron Rodgers in the hopes of an offense-wide bounceback against one of 11 defenses to allow at least 40 PPR points per game to opposing WR units.

None of Shepherd, Malik Taylor nor Equanimeous St. Brown are realistic fantasy options.

TE breakdown: Tonyan (59% snaps) played more often than any skill-position player other than MVS (84%) and Adams (83%) in Week 6. Rodgers has fed “Bobby” 3-6 targets in every game this season; don’t be afraid to continue to fire up Tonyan as a top-eight option at the position against the Texans’ 26th-ranked defense in fewest PPR points per game allowed to opposing tight ends.

Texans Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Will Fuller V 72 184 4.32 2.32 Jaire Alexander 70 196 4.6 1.23
R Brandin Cooks 70 183 4.33 1.8 Josh Jackson 72 196 1.14
S Randall Cobb 70 192 4.46 1.51 Chandon Sullivan 71 194 1.04

Projected shadow matchups: Will Fuller V vs. Jaire Alexander

WR/CB breakdown: PFF’s No. 1 CB through six weeks, Alexander has been dominant in his last two shadow matchups.

Note that “just” 4-66-1 of Thielen’s production occurred in Alexander’s direct coverage. I maintain that Matt Ryan had more to do with Ridley’s goose egg than Alexander, but either way, the third-year corner is playing as well as anybody at the position at the moment.

Of course, Fuller has also been borderline dominant for most of 2020. He joins Amari Cooper, Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill and Calvin Ridley as the only WRs with at least 15 PPR points in five games this season. An every-week borderliner WR1, continue to start Fuller with confidence, despite this tough matchup.

Renaissance-man Cooks has posted 8-161-1 and 9-68-1 receiving lines over the past two weeks after goose-egging in Week 4. If Kenny Stills (0-0-0 in Week 6) goes off in Week 7, we’re going to have to do some serious investigation on this correlation (joking, please don’t play Stills this week). Anyway, it’s fair to wonder if Jackson can handle Cooks’ straight-line speed. Only Thielen (31 PPR points), Olamide Zaccheaus (16.5), Emmanuel Sanders (15.6) and Marvin Jones (12.3) have cleared double-digit fantasy points against his secondary through six weeks; Cooks has earned every-week WR3 treatment, but a floor game for one of this offense’s outside receivers could be on the horizon.

Cobb is cemented as the No. 3 (at best) pass-game option in this offense; he hasn’t had more than six targets in a game this season and has posted mundane 60% and 62% snap rates over the past two weeks. He’s a low-ceiling WR5 if you feel like being generous.

TE Breakdown: Darren Fells will continue to be a borderline TE1 as along as Jordan Akins (ankle, concussion) remains sidelined. He’s played 80%, 86% and 87% of the offense’s snaps over the past three weeks, posting 2-21-0, 2-57-1 and most-recently 6-85-1 lines along the way. Fells is 34 years of age and hardly a burner, but Deshaun Watson trusts him in the red zone, and the 6-foot-7 and 270-pound TE has scored 11 times in his last 24 games dating back to Week 1 of 2019 (including playoffs).

Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons

Lions Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Kenny Golladay 76 213 4.5 2.57 Kendall Sheffield 72 193 4.5 1.71
R Marvin Jones Jr. 74 198 0.81 A.J. Terrell 73 190 4.39 0.8
S Danny Amendola 71 190 4.58 1.87 Isaiah Oliver 72 210 4.5 1.24

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Having Golladay back in action has brought back the 2019 version of Matthew Stafford. The Lions’ stud WR was eased back into action in Week 3, but the offense has re-embraced a downfield-heavy attack through the air ever since.

  • Week 1: 9.2-yard average target depth
  • Week 2: 8.8
  • Week 3: 7.7
  • Week 4: 11.8
  • Week 6: 10

And why shouldn’t Stafford feel more willing to chunk the rock deep with Golladay back in action? The talented fourth-year receiver is a handful for any cornerback to deal with.

Stafford has just one game with three scores and has yet to clear 300 passing yards. Still, we haven’t seen him finish four consecutive games with 35 pass attempts. This luxury likely won’t be afforded against a Falcons team that 1.) has the offense to force the Lions to keep their foot on the gas, and 2.) doesn’t have the sort of secondary to hang with Golladay and company.

Don’t be shocked if Stafford and Golladay alike start functioning like a top-10 fantasy option at their respective positions ahead of matchups against the Falcons, Colts, Vikings, Football Team, Panthers and Texans until December rolls around.

Jones has posted 1-9-0 and 2-8-0 duds over the past two weeks, although he’s played more than 80% of the offense’s snaps in back-to-back weeks. Failure to eviscerate the league’s third-worst defense in PPR points allowed per game to opposing WRs would be the final nail in Jones’ 2020 coffin of a season so far.

Amendola hasn’t posted a 60% snap rate in 2020 and has five total targets during the Lions’ past two games; he’s well off the fantasy radar.

TE breakdown: The Lions seemed to briefly free T.J. Hockenson, but he just barely out-snapped Jesse James 46-42 in Week 6. Obviously, Hockenson is the preferred pass-game option, but the presence of the sheriff has reduced the talented second-year talent to more of a TD-dependent borderline TE1 as opposed to the weekly top-five option we hoped he’d be at this point. Perhaps this prime matchup will produce the fireworks fantasy managers have been hoping for, although recent usage doesn’t paint a much brighter picture moving forward for fantasy’s TE9 in PPR points per game.

Falcons Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Julio Jones 75 220 4.34 2.65 Amani Oruwariye 73 205 4.47 0.87
R Calvin Ridley 73 190 4.43 2.41 Jeffrey Okudah 73 199 4.48 2.35
S Russell Gage 72 184 1.6 Darryl Roberts 72 182 1.19

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Mt. Saint Julio erupted to the tune of 8-137-2 in Week 6, with the 10th-year receiver looking as good as ever while steamrolling through the Vikings’ overmatched secondary. This sort of performance is always in Jones’ potential range of outcomes, regardless of the matchup. I’d projected him to out-produce Ridley over the rest of the season if both receivers stay healthy.

Of course, neither Jones nor Ridley should be treated as anything other than high-end WR1s when active. Ridley’s 6-61-1 performance on seven targets last week included some high-end YAC ability, which was his one alleged flaw by most offseason haters of the 2019 Godwin = 2020 Ridley fan-club. This matchup has the week’s third-highest game total; don’t be surprised if both Jones and Ridley ball the hell out against a Lions secondary that ranks 27th in explosive pass-play rate allowed through six weeks.

Gage saw 21 combined targets over Weeks 1 and 2; he has just 15 in four games since, despite benefiting from Jones missing time with a hamstring injury. TE Hayden Hurst has been emerging as the passing game’s No. 3 option in recent weeks, making Gage nothing more than a low-ceiling WR5 that doesn’t need to be rostered in most fantasy leagues. 

TE breakdown: Hurst has two games with fewer than 10 yards this season; there’s a low floor here. Still, the Falcons have consistently fed him well-designed shot plays, as Hurst (5) joins Rob Gronkowski (6), Mark Andrews (5) and Travis Kelce (5) as the only tight ends with at least five deep-ball targets (20-plus yards downfield) this season. The Lions surprisingly boast the league’s second-stingiest defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position, but they’ve also faced a pretty underwhelming schedule of tight ends. Lock in Hurst as a top-12 option at the position this week.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

Steelers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L James Washington 71 213 4.54 1.43 Malcolm Butler 71 190 4.46 1.37
R Chase Claypool 76 227 4.42 3.49 Johnathan Joseph 71 186 4.5 1.34
S JuJu Smith-Schuster 73 215 4.54 1.14 Kristian Fulton 72 200 4.31 1.13

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Diontae Johnson (back) seems to have a solid chance to return to action this week. It’d be surprising to see his presence result in Claypool hitting the bench; the rookie has easily been the offense’s most-efficient pass-game option through six weeks. One target to Claypool has basically been twice as good as throwing to any other Steelers player:

  • Claypool (14 yards per target)
  • Washington (7.1)
  • Smith-Schuster (6.9)
  • Eric Ebron (6.9)
  • Johnson (5.7)
  • Vance McDonald (5.6)

Big Ben posted a season-high 9.9-yard average target depth in Week 6, but his season-long average of 8.0 is still easily a career-low mark. The Steelers simply haven’t been asking Roethlisberger to take over games in a similar manner as we saw in previous seasons. This is a perfectly fine real-life strategy! Pittsburgh is undefeated and looks able to compete with anybody as long as Ben stays healthy.

However, it’s abundantly clear that Roethlsiberger isn’t going to flirt with league-high marks in attempts or passing yards, as he did in 2018. Claypool has proven capable of out-performing expectations all season; I’m treating him as a borderline WR2 that should make his way into more starting lineups than not in this potential smash spot. Other than that, I’ll pass. JuJu (knee) appears to be operating at far less than 100%, while Johnson and Washington’s respective roles are uncertain at the moment..

TE breakdown: Ebron has posted 5-43-0 and 2-9-0 efforts on a combined 10 targets over the past two weeks. A true full-time role hasn’t been available due to the presence of McDonald, although the ex-Lions/Colts TE is set up well against a secondary that allowed each of Darren Fells (6-85-1), Noah Fant (5-81-1), Tyler Eifert (3-36-1) and Kyle Rudolph (2-11-1) to find their respective ways to the end zone.

Titans Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L A.J. Brown 72 226 4.49 1.75 Steven Nelson 71 194 2.03
R Corey Davis 75 209 2.12 Joe Haden 71 195 4.64 1.26
S Adam Humphries 71 195 1.85 Mike Hilton 69 184 1.82

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: AJB WR1 Szn is here, and you absolutely love to see it. The WR12 in PPR points per game has demonstrated a newfound floor this season, particularly since returning from his knee bruise.

  • Week 1: 5 receptions-39 yards-0 TD (8 targets)
  • Week 5: 7-82-1 (9)
  • Week 6: 5-56-2 (7)

Brown only had seven targets in 5-of-19 games last season. The Titans understand they’ve been blessed with a true top-10 talent at the position; don’t expect AJB to slow down despite the likely re-emergence of Davis this week. OBJ (2-25-0) might’ve busted last week, but Travis Fulgham (10-152-1) and Darius Slayton (6-102-2) have both proven that this Steelers secondary can be had.

Humphries has posted 6-47-0, 5-48-1, 4-41-0 and 6-64-1 receiving lines this season. Still, he’s at risk of being the No. 4 pass-game option during any given week behind AJB, Davis and Jonnu Smith/Anthony Firkser. Additionally, Kalif Raymond soaks up most of the position’s fantasy-friendly deep-ball targets. I’m passing on Hump this week, but we’ll have to start treating him as a realistic fantasy option if he sustains this consistency with Davis back.

TE breakdown: Smith (ankle) is a game-time decision for Sunday. Firkser (8-113-1) went off during his absence, although we know better than to expect 40-plus pass attempts from Ryan Tannehill every week. Either way, Smith is a top-six option if active, and Firkser would be a strong plug-and-play TE1 otherwise.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

Seahawks Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L D.K. Metcalf 75 229 4.33 2.58 Patrick Peterson 73 203 4.38 1.16
R David Moore 72 215 2.05 Dre Kirkpatrick 74 196 4.55 1.2
S Tyler Lockett 70 182 4.4 1.74 Byron Murphy 71 190 4.46 1.05

Projected shadow matchups: D.K. Metcalf vs. Patrick Peterson

WR/CB breakdown: Russell Wilson had his worst game of the season the last time we saw the Seahawks play in Week 5, throwing for 217 yards, 3 TDs and one interception while also posting a 5-58-0 rushing line.

Yes, the bar is absurdly high for chef Russ and company at the moment. Expect a strong “bounce-back” performance this Sunday against a Cardinals defense that could struggle to create consistent pressure without stud pass-rusher Chandler Jones (bicep, IR).

Twenty-four QBs have thrown more than 15 deep-ball attempts (20-plus yards downfield); nobody has been better than Russ:

  • PFF Passing Grade: 99.9 (No. 1)
  • Big-time throws: 13 (tied for No. 1)
  • Turnover-worthy plays: 0 (tied for No. 1)
  • Yards per attempt: 22.2 (No. 1)
  • Adjusted completion percentage: 63.6% (No. 1)
  • QB rating: 143 (No. 1)

The Cardinals defense isn’t awful; Wilson is just playing at a high enough level to continue to enable both Metcalf and Lockett to high-end fantasy production. They're my PPR WR9 and WR17, respectively, ahead of this potential shootout, and just typing out that sentence has me wanting to move them up higher.

Moore doesn’t have more than five targets in a game this season and has struggled to consistently post a snap rate above even 40%; he’s not a realistic fantasy option despite the fourth-year receiver usually making the most out of his limited opportunities.

TE breakdown: Greg Olsen posted a season-high 83% snap rate in Week 5 with Jacob Hollister (6%) basically phased out of the offense. While Will Dissly (1-19-1) found his way to the end zone on his lone pass-game opportunity, his 37% snap rate was a season-low mark. Olsen (134 routes) has been the primary pass-down TE all season over Dissly (49) and Hollister (24) alike. You probably have a better option at the position in season-long formats, but I love Olsen ($3,600) in DFS this week against the 2019-flowchart defense against opposing tight ends that largely hasn’t been tested since George Kittle was injured against them in the first half of Week 1. 

Cardinals Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L DeAndre Hopkins 73 212 4.57 2.76 Quinton Dunbar 74 197 1.44
R Christian Kirk 71 200 4.47 1.55 Shaquill Griffin 72 198 4.38 1.5
S Larry Fitzgerald 75 218 4.48 0.76 Ugo Amadi 69 201 4.51 1.02

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Kyler Murray completed just nine-of-24 passes during the Cardinals’ 38-10 blowout win over the Cowboys, missing both Andy Isabella and Larry Fitzgerald on potential scores along the way. Of course, fantasy’s overall QB1 continues to boast the highest of ceilings thanks to his absurd rushing upside, but I’d be cautious in expecting anybody other than Hopkins to post consistent production.

Nuk caught just two-of-eight targets last Monday night. Still, he showed off some pretty YAC-ability along the way and remains a top-two overall fantasy option at the position. The Seahawks do boast a pair of talented outside corners, but they’ve never made a habit of using them to shadow, and the results have been dreadful in 2020. Somehow they’ve already allowed 12 WRs to rack up at least five receptions this season.

Kirk (2-86-2) saw just three targets last week. He showed off his speed on a long 80-yard score, and seems to be the offense’s featured No. 2 WR. Despite only playing five games this season, Seattle has allowed a league-worst 1,472 receiving yards to the WR position. Expect Kirk to continue to function as a boom-or-bust fantasy option, but the former scenario seems like the more-likely outcome in this dream spot. Neither Isabella nor Fitzgerlad can be treated as more than long-shot dart throws in fantasy formats of all shapes and sizes.

TE breakdown: Darrell Daniels (71% snaps) and Dan Arnold (42% snaps) regularly split snaps and have a combined 18 targets this season. Neither are realistic fantasy options.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

Chiefs Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Demarcus Robinson 73 203 4.59 0.7 Michael Ojemudia 73 199 0.67
R Mecole Hardman 70 187 4.33 1.45 De'Vante Bausby 74 190 4.5 1.38
S Tyreek Hill 70 185 1.67 Bryce Callahan 69 188 4.49 0.71

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Chiefs utilized the following snap rates with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) sidelined in Week 6:

  • Robinson (95%)
  • Hill (92%)
  • Hardman (40%)
  • Pringle (38%)

Sigh. My assertion that Hardman is top-handcuff in fantasy football was wrong. He’ll need another injury to earn a full-time role, and likely to Hill in order for anything resembling a consistent target share to emerge. Travis Kelce, Hill and CEH are locked in as the top-three options in this passing game; Hardman is a boom-or-bust WR5 that can be dropped in most formats considering Watkins isn’t expected to miss all that much time.

Hill is overdue for a blowup that would’ve already happened in Week 5 if it wasn’t for a fairly questionable holding call.

The artist known as TyFreak hunt 3-74-1 and 5-67-2 receiving lines on the Broncos in 2019 on a combined 12 targets. I don’t expect his present 15-game streak without 100 receiving yards and a TD to make it to 16.

Don’t get cute chasing Robinson’s decent-enough 5-69-0 performance; it marked the first time since Week 2, 2019 that he gained even 60 receiving yards in a game. 

TE breakdown: Travis Kelce is on pace to score a career-high 13.3 TDs. It’s a bit surprising to see he’s only scored more than five times in two seasons since 2014. Kelce remains the undisputed overall TE1 against a Broncos defense that he’s seemingly taken extra joy in absolutely demolishing over the years.

Broncos Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L DaeSean Hamilton 73 203 0.31 Bashaud Breeland 71 195 4.5 1.14
R Tim Patrick 77 210 2.08 Charvarius Ward 73 200 2.79
S Jerry Jeudy 73 192 4.45 1.89 Tyrann Mathieu 69 185 4.42 1.34

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Lock had one of the most-entertaining performances of the season in Week 6. Yes, the 42% completion rate and two ill-advised fourth-quarter interceptions weren’t ideal. Also yes, Lock made a week-high five big-time throws and was fearless in testing the Patriots’ elite secondary downfield.

All in all Lock’s average target depth was an absurd 18.6 yards. AFC West Jameis doesn’t possess the same sort of fantasy upside as the position’s DFAG-gunslinging god, but Lock at least gives this banged-up offense a wider range of outcomes than we expected.

This is all great news for Patrick and Jeudy, who have each flashed high-end ability at various points throughout this season. The Chiefs managed to largely shut down Josh Allen and company in their rainy Week 6 win over the Bills, but it wasn’t that long ago that Derek Carr lit this unit up downfield. I’m treating both Jeudy and Patrick as borderline WR3s that you should attempt to get on your fantasy football roster before upcoming smash spots in Week 9 (Falcons) and Week 10 (Raiders).

TE breakdown: Noah Fant (ankle) seems to have a real shot to suit up Sunday, although it’s unclear just how healthy the talented second-year TE will be. Fant’s porous target splits with Lock under center last season are skewed by the reality that the banged-up TE was playing limited snaps due to injury. Unfortunately, this scenario is once again a possibility in 2020, but if healthy Fant has the opportunity to rise to the very top of this passing game sooner rather than later. He’s a TE1 if active with the potential for top-five status afterwards with a full allotment of snaps.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers

Jaguars Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L D.J. Chark Jr. 76 198 4.34 1.44 Michael Davis 74 196 0.42
R Laviska Shenault Jr. 74 220 4.58 1.64 Casey Hayward Jr. 71 192 4.45 1.32
S Keelan Cole 73 194 1.64 Desmond King II 70 200 0.91

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: There were moments last week where it looked like Gardner Minshew’s receivers could’ve done him a favor on his downfield opportunities. All in all the Jaguars were charged with as many drops in Week 6 (4) as they had in Weeks 1-5 combined (4). At full strength the Chargers defense is one helluva problem to deal with, but dealing with the absence of S Derwin James (knee, IR) and CB Chris Harris (foot, IR) in addition to a banged-up version of DE Joey Bosa (ankle) makes them a bit less scary.

Chark had 201 air yards last week, but just 45 receiving yards. The talented alpha WR1 is in a prime spot for a bounce-back performance considering the Chargers haven’t consistently deployed Hayward against the opponent’s No. 1 WR over the last two seasons. Even this matchup shouldn’t be feared considering the height and speed advantages that Chark would possess. You better have a loaded WR room to rationalize benching Chark ahead of this get-right spot.

Cole is the PPR WR20 through six weeks of action. I don’t get it either. Still, we must #adjust and view the fourth-year receiver as a true every-week fantasy option. Last week’s 6-143-0 performance was his first game with triple-digit receiving yards since Week 2, 2018; let’s not get too carried away. Things aren’t completely in the clear with Shenault seeing plenty of weekly usage, but Cole can be deployed as a serious upside WR3 in Week 8 against the Texans. Treat him as more of a low-ceiling WR4 in this spot.

Shenault is in the same spot as Cole: plenty-solid complementary receiver that has received underrated great usage because Minshew ranks second in dropbacks this season. The up-and-down efficiency of this passing offense in general has me refraining from prioritizing anybody other than Chark this week, but there are worse guys to have on the bench to fill in for byes than the Jaguars’ No. 2 and No. 3 WRs.

TE breakdown: Tyler Eifert (neck) is questionable. James O'Shaughnessy had just one target last week despite playing 75% of the offense’s snaps. Pass.

Chargers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Mike Williams 76 220 1.77 Sidney Jones 72 181 1.08
R Jalen Guyton 73 202 1.12 C.J. Henderson 73 191 4.3 0.65
S Keenan Allen 74 211 4.58 2.36 Tre Herndon 71 185 4.53 0.9

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Allen (back) was practicing on Wednesday, meaning Justin Herbert should have his full arsenal of talented WRs and TEs at his disposal in this smash spot. The Chargers’ rookie signal caller has posted more-than-solid production through four career starts despite non-ideal matchups:

  • Week 2 vs. Chiefs: 311 pass yards-1 TD-1 INT
  • Week 3 vs. Panthers: 330-1-1
  • Week 4 at Buccaneers: 290-3-1
  • Week 5 at Saints: 264-4-0

The Jaguars have been shredded for the better part of this season, although to their credit they’ve at least made life hard on their opposition. Only the Colts (22.3%) and Bears (20.6%) have yielded a higher contested target percentage than the Jaguars (20.3%) through six weeks. The more-concerning issues have been 1) their mediocre 27th-ranked pass rush in pressure rate, and 2) mounting injuries that have impacted all three levels of the defense.

Williams’ blowup week potential is sky-high. The NFL’s leader in yards per reception over the past three seasons has the potential to ball out against any secondary, particularly one that joins the Seahawks, Falcons, Vikings, Browns, Cowboys, Dolphins and Jets as the only defenses that have already allowed at least 1,000 yards receiving to the WR position.

Allen is my overall WR11 on the week thanks to his status as this offense’s undisputed lead pass-game option.

Credit to Guyton for catching six of 10 targets for 174 (!!!) yards and a pair of scores, but we’ll need to see more than an average of two targets per game before treating him as a realistic fantasy option.

TE breakdown: The Jaguars are one of seven defenses that have already allowed at least five scores to the TE position. Hunter Henry has been better in terms of yards per reception (11.9 vs. 11.5), yards after the catch per reception (5.1 vs. 2.8) and yards per route run (1.63 vs. 1.6) in 2020 compared to 2019. I’m fully expecting a true breakout game to occur this week and accordingly have ranked Henry as my overall TE4 behind only Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Darren Waller.

San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots

49ers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Brandon Aiyuk 73 206 4.5 0.94 Stephon Gilmore 73 202 4.33 1.48
R Deebo Samuel 71 214 4.48 1.48 J.C. Jackson 73 198 4.48 0.86
S Kendrick Bourne 73 203 4.68 1.43 Jonathan Jones 70 190 4.46 1.11

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Life as a QB with Kyle Shanahan must be nice. The bottom-five QBs in air yard percentage this season are as follows:

The catch is that Jimmy G (7.4 yards per attempt) has been set up for success far more than Haskins (6.4), Allen (6.4), Flacco (5) and Darnold (5.7) alike. Nobody has averaged more yards per attempt on passes “thrown” behind the line of scrimmage than Garoppolo (7.9).

On Sunday night No. 1 WR Deebo Samuel had 66 receiving yards, but 96 yards after the catch.

Ultimately, none of this matters in fantasy land if it means Jimmy G continues to account for multiple scores per game. However, I’m bearish on this passing game finding as much success this week against a Bill Belichick defense that figures to know Garoppolo’s tendencies better than anybody.

Samuel is an upside WR3 since he’s #good and essentially being used like a running back; neither Aiyuk nor Bourne are recommended fantasy options in this non-ideal spot. 

TE breakdown: George Kittle has posted 4-44-0, 15-183-1, 4-44-0 and 7-109-1 receiving lines in four games this season. If he turns in another 4-44-0 receiving line on Sunday, call 911. Either way, continue to treat him as a top-two fantasy option at the position regardless of the matchup.

Patriots Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Damiere Byrd 69 180 1.27 Jason Verrett 70 188 4.39 1.79
R N'Keal Harry 74 228 4.53 1.17 Emmanuel Moseley 71 184 4.59 0.71
S Julian Edelman 70 198 2.03 Jamar Taylor 71 192 4.32 0.91

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Week 6 was weird for Cam Newton and company. Both of his interceptions were tipped at the line of scrimmage, and the Patriots weren’t able to consistently 1) get open, or 2) protect Cam.

Newton did miss a pair of throws to Byrd and Harry down the stretch. Still, this has hardly been a problem all season; Newton is tied for fifth with Aaron Rodgers in highest completion percentage when targeting an open or wide-open receiver at least 10 yards downfield.

Literally nobody has thrown fewer total pass attempts than the Patriots this season. Just the Ravens have averaged fewer passes per game. Edelman should lead the squad in most receiving categories when the season is all said and done, but 2-23-0, 3-35-0 and 2-8-0 lines over the past three weeks make him a borderline WR3 in this middling spot.

Harry and Byrd continue to see more per-snap usage over Edelman, but neither has demonstrated anything resembling a consistent floor or high-end ceiling. Byrd is a reasonable enough dart throw in DFS setting thanks to his high-aDOT role, but fantasy lineups of all shapes and sizes are probably better off not containing any members of this passing game.

TE breakdown: Starting TE Ryan Izzo has 11 targets in five games; he’s well off the fantasy grid.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders

Buccaneers Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Mike Evans 77 231 4.53 1.34 Nevin Lawson 69 192 4.55 1.16
R Scotty Miller 71 174 1.64 Trayvon Mullen 74 199 4.49 1.12
S Chris Godwin 73 209 4.42 1.99 Lamarcus Joyner 68 191 4.52 1.06

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Tom Brady and Mike Evans are five-for-five on converting targets inside the 10-yard line into scores. The problem is that Evans is continuing to play through the pain, and he’s posted Jordan Howard-esque 1-2-1, 2-2-2 and 1-10-0 lines in between bigger 7-104-1, 7-122-1 and 5-41-1 performances.

Only Adam Thielen (7) has more receiving scores than Evans (6); he’s obviously an every-week starter in season-long formats. Still, the reality that Godwin is seeing more-consistent targets as the offense’s primary underneath threat has me treating the Buccaneers’ slot WR as a borderline WR1, and Evans as a boom-or-bust WR2, ahead of this winnable matchup. Only the Football Team (10.8%) has failed to contest a lower percentage of their opponent’s targets than the Raiders (11.5) through six weeks of action.

Miller is splitting snaps with Tyler Johnson, Justin Watson and Cyril Grayson; none are realistic fantasy options.

TE breakdown: TB12 and Gronk were sure showing some chemistry in Week 6, although it’s fair to wonder how many of their hook-ups would have occurred without the absolutely-perfect accuracy that was provided.

Alas, Gronk is playing a full-time role and getting fed by Brady. He’s back as a fantasy TE1 and should be considered a favorite to find the end zone on an offense implied to score a robust 27.75 points. 

Raiders Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Henry Ruggs III 72 190 4.27 2.6 Jamel Dean 73 206 4.42 1.52
R Nelson Agholor 72 198 4.42 1.5 Carlton Davis 73 206 4.38 0.18
S Hunter Renfrow 70 184 4.59 1.96 Sean Murphy-Bunting 72 195 1.21

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Nobody has averaged more yards per attempt on passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield than Derek Carr (24.9) this season. The issue has never been Carr’s arm talent or ability to throw deep; just his willingness to consistently do so:

  • 2014: 11.9% deep-ball rate (tied for No. 25 among qualified QBs)
  • 2015: 11.5% (No. 21)
  • 2016: 10% (No. 29)
  • 2017: 12.2% (tied for No. 16)
  • 2018: 9.2% (No. 33)
  • 2019: 9.4% (No. 30)
  • 2020: 8.6% (No. 27)

Perhaps the presence of electric first-round rookie Ruggs is enough to sway Carr into throwing downfield more often in the upcoming weeks. Small sample size be damned: Carr has been significantly better in three games with Ruggs in terms of both fantasy points per contest (23.3 vs. 17.9) and yards per attempt (8.9 vs. 7) compared to his other 96 career starts.

The only problem with expecting a true Week 7 breakout from Ruggs is the reality that he’s seen just 11 total targets in three games. He’ll remain the no-doubt No. 1 outside receiver as long as Bryan Edwards (ankle) remains sidelined, but we’ll need to see the Raiders do a better job getting Ruggs more involved on more-stable underneath targets before being able to treat him as a weekly high-end fantasy option. The Buccaneers have allowed the sixth-lowest rate of explosive pass plays this season; Ruggs is a boom-or-bust WR3.

Agholor has scored in consecutive games and had a third trip to the end zone nullified by a fairly-meh penalty. He’s playing a near every-down role with Edwards sidelined. This isn’t the matchup to expect continued success, but Agholor could settle in as a sneaky low-end WR3 if Edwards stays sidelined into the winter.

Renfrow puzzling played a season-low 34% snaps in Week 5 against the Chiefs. He also failed to clear the 50% threshold in Weeks 1-2 before posting solid 6-84-1 and 5-57-0 lines in Weeks 3-4. This floor won’t do for a receiver with limited upside as it is. Pass.

TE breakdown: Darren Waller continues to play a near every-down role despite the presence of Jason Witten. Carr has fed his TE1 at least five receptions in 14-of-21 games over the past two seasons; he’s the easy pick as overall TE3 behind only Travis Kelce and George Kittle despite this week’s date against the Buccaneers’ ninth-ranked defense in fewest PPR points per game allowed to the position.

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams

Bears Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Allen Robinson II 75 211 4.6 2.1 Troy Hill 71 183 4.55 1.16
R Darnell Mooney 71 175 4.38 1.18 Darious Williams 69 187 0.96
S Anthony Miller 71 190 1.07 Jalen Ramsey 73 208 4.41 0.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Nick Foles has thrown 42, 42 and 39 passes in his first three starts, but hasn’t managed to surpass 250 yards. His three TD passes in the fourth quarter of Week 3 represent as many as he’s thrown in Weeks 4-6 combined.

Mooney (67% snaps in Week 6) and Miller (67%) have seemingly cemented themselves in three-WR sets while both flashing at various points throughout the season. Still, A-Rob remains the only recommended fantasy option. Nobody in the NFL has more targets than Robinson (65), and he’s posted 10-123-1, 7-101-1, 10-90-0 and 5-53-0 receiving lines since Foles went under center.

The Rams have been moving Ramsey all over the field this season, but have curiously declined to have him shadow opposing No. 1 WRs. They could make an exception this week considering Ramsey shut down A-Rob (4-15-0) last season. Either way, Robinson’s absurd volume makes him immune to tough matchups (such as Carlton Davis in Week 5). The Rams have allowed the seventh-lowest passer rating in the league; don’t expect them to make any massive changes to their strategy.

TE breakdown: Jimmy Graham (68% snaps in Week 6) lost snaps to both Demetrius Harris (36%) and Cole Kmet (35%), with the rookie catching both of his targets for 20 yards and a score. Graham still commanded more targets (8) than anybody other than Robinson, but he’ll remain a TD-dependent TE2 without a true every-down role.

Rams Offense
WR Player Height Weight 40 YPRR CB Height Weight 40 YPRR
L Josh Reynolds 75 196 4.52 1.57 Jaylon Johnson 72 195 1.32
R Robert Woods 72 195 4.51 1.74 Kyle Fuller 71 190 4.47 2.03
S Cooper Kupp 74 208 4.62 2.04 Buster Skrine 69 185 4.39 1.39

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Goff racked up a season-high 38 pass attempts in Week 6, but the enhanced volume produced a pedestrian 198 passing yards, two scores and an interception. His inability to get on the same page with Cooper Kupp was the main issue on Sunday. The Rams’ franchise QB will have better days ahead, but the Bears’ ferocious defense doesn’t seem like the spot to expect a bounce-back performance. Goff was abysmal against the Bears IN 2018 (180 yards-0 TD-4 INT) and 2019 (173-0-1) alike. Hell, coach Sean McVay only asked Goff to pass the ball on 18 occasions when they faced off with the Bears in Week 11 last season.

Both Woods and Kupp remain talented enough to make good use of reduced opportunity, but I’m treating both as low-end WR2s against one of just three defenses to allow fewer than 30 PPR points per game to the position. Only the 49ers-Patriots (44) have a lower game total than Bears-Rams (45). Calvin Ridley (5-110-0) is the only receiver to reach 100 yards, and Mike Evans (5-41-1) the only one to find the end zone, against this defense. Fantasy managers of Woods and Kupp probably don’t have a ton of better options, but if you do, I’d strongly consider fading the Rams offense this week.

Josh Reynolds isn’t a realistic season-long option, but he’s easily the preferred contrarian receiver to target on Monday night DFS slates. Reynolds out-snapped rookie Van Jefferson 50-to-3 in Week 6.

TE breakdown: Tyler Higbee (75% snaps in Week 6) continues to play a full-time role, although he’s ultimately only out-targeted Gerald Everett 18-to-11 on the season. Everett has been the more efficient receiving option and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Higbee is a borderline TE1 with this sort of usage, while Everett is a weekly TE2 with sneaky upside.

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