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Week 7 WR/CB mismatches and shadow coverages to leverage in DFS & fantasy football leagues

Inglewood, California, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) catches a pass as Los Angeles Rams defensive back Darious Williams (11) defends in the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Week 7 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.


Denver BroncosCleveland Browns

Broncos Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR CB H + W 40 YPRR
L Courtland Sutton 75 + 218 4.54 2.13 Denzel Ward 71 + 190 4.32 1.2
R Tim Patrick 77 + 210 N/A 1.64 Greedy Williams 74 + 185 4.37 1.67
S Kendall Hinton 72 + 195 N/A 1 Troy Hill 71 + 183 4.55 1.21

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Courtland Sutton has ripped off 7-120-1 and 8-94-1 receiving lines over the past two weeks. And yet, the latter performance left much to be desired considering how many times Teddy Bridgewater missed his No. 1 receiver.

Sutton leads the league in air yards, but it’s clear that deep balls from Bridgewater and other rather average quarterbacks aren’t the same as opportunities from the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady.

Enter: sheesh yards. Or you can call them prayer yards. Whatever. Moral of the story: PFF assigns responsibility to every incomplete pass, so we can figure who leads the league in sheesh yards by tracking the leaders in incomplete air yards that were deemed to be the quarterback’s fault:

There’s a low floor for everyone involved in this passing game ahead of Thursday night’s date against Myles Garrett and company; Bridgewater (foot) is playing through the pain and needs to do a better job getting the ball out with a sense of urgency against the league’s single-best pass rush in overall pressure rate.

Sutton will remain an upside WR2 for however long Jerry Jeudy (ankle, IR) is sidelined. Note that head coach Vic Fangio gave Jeudy a “less than 50 percent” chance of suiting up this week. Tim Patrick is a reasonable enough borderline WR3 who seems to either find the end zone or clear 80 receiving yards every week. Both have the sort of size to potentially give No. 1 CB Denzel Ward some problems (especially Sutton).

TE breakdown: Noah Fant set season-high marks in targets (11), receptions (9) and receiving yards (97) in Week 6 with Albert O (hamstring, IR) sidelined; his afternoon would have been even bigger if able to get his second foot down in bounds on a near score in the back of the end zone. Through six weeks, Fant ranks as the overall PPR TE6 and TE5 in expected points; the only tight ends I have ranked ahead of him this week are Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson, Kyle Pitts and Dallas Goedert.

Browns Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR CB H + W 40 YPRR
L Odell Beckham Jr. 71 + 198 4.43 1.71 Ronald Darby 71 + 193 4.38 2.57
R Donovan Peoples-Jones 74 + 208 4.48 1.43 Patrick Surtain II 74 + 202 N/A 1.31
S Rashard Higgins 73 + 198 4.64 1.23 Bryce Callahan 69 + 188 N/A 0.83

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Both Odell Beckham (shoulder) and Jarvis Landry (knee) “have a chance to play” Thursday night against the Broncos per head coach Kevin Stefanski.

The larger issue for both might be how well Case Keenum is able to operate with Baker Mayfield (shoulder) sidelined. Ultimately, the Browns rank 26th in total pass attempts this year; average passing efficiency might not be enough to enable even one consistent high-end fantasy option if this offense continues to spread things around.

Related content for you: The Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 7 waiver, trade and drop candidates via dwain mcfarland

This is true even in a sneaky fine matchup against a Broncos secondary that hasn’t done a great job limiting opposing receivers this season:

  • Yards per attempt allowed to wide receivers: 9.46 (No. 26)
  • Explosive pass-play rate allowed to wide receivers: 25% (No. 27)
  • QB rating allowed to wide receivers: 99.0 (No. 16)
  • PPR points per game allowed to opposing wide receivers: 38.2 (No. 15)

Donovan Peoples-Jones would emerge as an upside WR3 if both OBJ and Landry are sidelined. Treat Beckham as the same if active; he’s been so close to monster performances in two of the last three weeks. I’d rather wait and see what kind of role Landry returns to before firing him up in fantasy land with any level of confidence.

TE breakdown: Both David Njoku and Austin Hooper have finished outside of fantasy’s top-25 tight ends in four of six weeks this season. This passing game is simply too evenly spread out for any single tight end to consistently ball out without an injury to someone else; both are nothing more than touchdown-dependent TE2s, particularly against the Broncos’ third-ranked defense in fewest PPR points per game to the position.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans 

Chiefs Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR CB H + W 40 YPRR
L Demarcus Robinson 73 + 203 4.59 0.65 Breon Borders 72 + 189 N/A 3.03
R Mecole Hardman 70 + 187 4.33 1.34 Jackrabbit Jenkins 70 + 190 N/A 1.35
S Tyreek Hill 70 + 185 N/A 2.63 Elijah Molden 70 + 190 N/A 1.33

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Starting CB Kristian Fulton (hamstring, IR) is sidelined, leaving the Titans without a corner ranked among PFF’s top-50 highest-graded players at the position ahead of this week’s nightmare matchup.

Tyreek Hill is fantasy’s No. 2 overall receiver through six weeks and now gets to feast on the league’s single-worst defense in PPR points per game allowed to the position. Expecting good defenses to hang with Hill is usually wishful thinking; the ceiling is the moon if Hill and Patrick Mahomes are clicking this week.

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It’s after Hill when things get complicated. The Chiefs essentially rotated the likes of Demarcus Robinson (70% snaps in Week 6), Mecole Hardman (60%), Byron Pringle (39%) and Josh Gordon (13%) behind Hill. Each player blends a floor of zero targets with a decent enough ceiling thanks to having Mahomes under center; just realize this passing game flows more heavily through its top-two options than most. Hardman is my preferred dart, but even then he’s nothing more than a boom-or-bust WR4.

TE breakdown: Travis Kelce has functioned as fantasy’s overall TE1 for five consecutive seasons and is well on his way to chalking up No. 6. Madness. Credit to the Titans for allowing the second-fewest PPR points per game to opposing tight ends this season; that’s more so been a factor of largely facing committee-esque situations at the position (Cardinals, Seahawks, Colts, Jets and Jaguars in Weeks 1-5) before doing a good job against Dawson Knox (3-25-0, nullified rushing touchdown) in Week 6. Continue to fire up Kelce as *the* TE1 and as a top-10 overall FLEX option.

Titans Offense
WR Player H + W 40 YPRR CB H + W 40 YPRR
L Julio Jones 75 + 220 4.34 2.39 Mike Hughes 70 + 189 4.53 1.42
R A.J. Brown 72 + 226 N/A 1.65 Rashad Fenton 71 + 193 4.52 1.26
S Chester Rogers 72 + 184 N/A 1.25 L'Jarius Sneed 73 + 193 4.37 1.28

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Julio Jones (hamstring) is considered day to day. He’ll be replaced in three-WR sets by Nick Westbrook-Ikhine if unable to suit up on Sunday.

Ultimately, it’s A.J. Brown’s world; we’re all just living in it. The ultra-talented third-year receiver bounced back from a catch-less first half with a more than solid 7-91-0 performance against the Bills last Monday night, overcoming both a lingering hamstring issue as well as food poisoning stemming from some bad fast food.

Here’s AJB’s season so far:

  • Week 1: 4 receptions-49 yards-1 TD (8 targets)
  • Week 2: 3-43-0 (9, dropped 2 deep passes)
  • Week 3: 0-0-0 (2, only played 8 snaps before leaving injured)
  • Week 4: Out with a hamstring injury
  • Week 5: 3-38-0 (6)
  • Week 6: 7-91-0 (9)

There’s only been one game this season where Brown has truly disappointed without having meh volume or an injury involved. Hell, he was even inches away from scoring in Week 5. Throw in the fact that Brown himself clarified he’s not on a snap count, and we’re back to ABJ WR1 szn ahead of this week’s matchup against the league’s 28th-ranked scoring defense.

Julio would be more of a borderline WR2 if active due to the reality that he’s playing at far less than 100%; none of these other receivers are anything more than desperation darts despite the cozy-enough matchup in the week’s highest-implied game total.

TE breakdown: The Titans rotate up to four tight ends during any given week; Anthony Firkser leads the way with 14 targets in four games this season. There simply isn’t a high enough floor here to trust anyone involved as more than a low-end TE2 at best; please try to find a better option out on the ole waive wire.

Washington Football Team @ Green Bay Packers 

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