- Packers CB Jaire Alexander shadowed for the first time since early 2020 and promptly got roasted by Commanders WR Terry McLaurin.
- Texans WR Brandin Cooks was shut down against Titans CB Kristian Fulton last season and is expected to see this very matchup once again in Week 8.
- Panthers WR D.J. Moore should have every chance to tee off against the Falcons’ incredibly banged-up secondary.
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:
- Which cornerbacks shadowed in Week 7
- Projected Week 8 shadow matchups
- Notes on why certain cornerbacks aren’t expected to shadow
Week 7 shadow results
The following eight 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:
- Falcons CB Darren Hall had to mach up with Ja’Marr Chase (8-130-2) out of necessity with the entire Falcons secondary essentially being a living graveyard.
- Lions CB Amani Oruwariye shadowed Michael Gallup (0-0-0) as expected. What wasn’t expected was PFF’s second-lowest graded corner out of 109 qualified players to perform as well as he did.
- Raiders CB Anthony Averett matched de facto Texans field-stretching WR Phillip Dorsett (2-45-1). Note that Nico Collins (groin) was banged up in the game.
- Titans CB Kristian Fulton did a good job limiting Michael Pittman (6-58-0) and accordingly with getting Matt Ryan benched.
- Texans CB Derek Stingley Jr. and Steven Nelson squared off against Davante Adams (8-95-0) and Mack Hollins (2-44-1) as expected. Credit to the 2022 NFL Draft’s No. 3 overall pick for at least making life more difficult than usual for Adams.
- Bears CB Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor squared off against DeVante Parker (3-68-0) and Tyquan Thornton (1-19-0), respectively. Note that this was the first time all season that the Bears deployed extended shadow coverage.
- Colts CB Stephon Gilmore continues to be a rare bright spot for the 2022 Colts, predictably locking up Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (0-0-0) for four quarters.
- Packers CB Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes followed Terry McLaurin (5-73-1) and Cam Sims (1-12-0) all over the field. This marked the first time that the Packers deployed Alexander in shadow coverage since Week 7, 2020. It didn’t go well.
Terry McLaurin making plays pic.twitter.com/36hCGvWZdN
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 24, 2022
Projected Week 8 shadow matchups
Raiders WR Davante Adams vs. Saints CB Marshon Lattimore (abdomen)
Lattimore actually won this battle fairly successfully in 2021, holding Adams to a 5-56-0 performance on seven targets. Then again, that was the Packers’ infamously horrendous Week 1 stinker. Don’t count on Lattimore being nearly as successful this time around while operating at less than 100%; he was beaten like a drum against Justin Jefferson (10-147-0) back in Week 4. Fire up Adams as his usual upside WR1 self; there are only a handful of receivers with his combination of elite talent and volume on this planet.
Texans WR Brandin Cooks vs. Titans CB Kristian Fulton
Fulton tracked Cooks with rather great success in Week 11 last season, holding the Texans’ No. 1 receiver to just two receptions for 18 scoreless yards. He’s since added a pair of additional solid performance to his resume this season against Terry McLaurin (5-76-0) and Michael Pittman (6-58-0). While the Titans have allowed the third-most PPR points per game to opposing wide receiver rooms, a lot of that can be attributed to them getting molly whopped by the Bills in Week 2. Cooks deserves to be downgraded ahead of this tough shadow matchup; he’ll likely need more than the 6.25 targets per game he’s averaged over the last month to put together his first true boom of the season.