Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football Week 9: 5 WR/CB matchups to target and 5 to avoid

Tottenham, ENG; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs (87) picks up a first down on a reception before being tackled by New York Giants cornerback Adoree' Jackson (22) during the first quarter at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The New York Giants beat the Green Bay Packers 27-22. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens WR Demarcus Robinson: While he's earned just a 59.8 PFF receiving grade this season, Robinson is a sneaky-good replacement for Rashod Bateman.

Green Bay Packers WR Romeo Doubs: Doubs and his 58.8 PFF receiving grade get the Detroit Lions’ (40.4 PFF coverage grade) league-worst pass defense in Week 9.

Tennessee Titans WR Robert Woods: The veteran, who has earned a 75.0 PFF receiving grade thus far, is a player to avoid versus Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie (69.9 PFF coverage grade).

Estimated Reading Time: 12 mins

Welcome to Week 9 of the 2022 NFL season. The sections below highlight five targets and players to avoid with data gleaned from PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart.


5 WR/CB MATCHUPS TO TARGET

WR Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints vs. CB Marcus Peters, Baltimore Ravens
  • New Orleans versus Baltimore features a fantasy-friendly 49.0-point over/under, tied for fourth-highest on the week at BetMGM.
  • New Orleans quarterback Andy Dalton should throw from cozy pockets against Las Vegas, as his offensive line earned a 29.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating in PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart
  • PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (81.5 PFF receiving grade) to take significant snaps against all three of Baltimore’s starting cornerbacks.
  • Baltimore switches between man and zone coverages at a fairly frequent rate. 
Ravens CBs | Man vs. Zone Marcus Peters – 25 Proj. Snaps (Left CB) Damarion Williams – 15 Proj. Snaps (Slot CB) Marlon Humphrey – 14 Proj. Snaps (Right CB)
Matchup Advantage Rating Poor 17.0 Good 68.1 Below Avg. 41.9 
Man Cov. % – Zone Cov. %  30.4% – 51.2% 32.1% – 42.3% 29.3% – 54.1%
Man PFF Cov. Grade – Zone PFF Cov. Grade 39.2 – 63.7 32.7 – 43.4 88.4 – 62.4
  • Williams’ 32.1% man coverage rate ranks 37th among NFL cornerbacks with at least 125 coverage snaps, and Humphrey’s 54.1% zone coverage rate ranks 55th.
  • Peters lacks zone coverage talent.
  • Humphrey entered Week 8’s Thursday Night Football game with a hamstring and suffered an in-game reaggravation. His status for Week 9 is uncertain. 
  • Among NFL cornerbacks with at least 125 coverage snaps, Williams’ 1.85 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap ranks eighth-most, his 0.46 PPR points allowed per route defended ranks fourth-most and his 5.6% explosive pass plays allowed rate is second-highest.
  • The table below shows Olave’s receiving production versus both man and zone coverage ranked among NFL wide receivers with at least 50 total targets in parentheses.
PFF Rec. Grade vs. Man Tgts/Route % Run vs. Man Yds/Route Run vs. Man PFF Rec. Grade vs. Zone Tgts/Route % Run vs. Zone Yds/Route Run vs. Zone
85.8 (No. 6) 24.0% (No. 21) 2.57 (No. 10) 76.5 (No. 12) 28.0% (T-No. 4) 2.51 (No. 5)
  • Olave is exceptional versus both man and zone, making him the perfect wide receiver to dismantle Baltimore. 
  • Baltimore’s pass defense (64.2 PFF coverage grade) has allowed top-two sums in targets (281), receptions (204) and passing yards (2,577).
  • Baltimore’s 6.0% forced incompletion rate ranks fourth-worst.

WR Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars vs CB Amik Robertson, Las Vegas Raiders
  • The Jacksonville versus Las Vegas’ 48.0-point over/under is tied for fourth-highest on the week. 
  • Jacksonville Jaguars slot receiver Christian Kirk is expected to take 30-of-39 receiving snaps against Las Vegas slot cornerback Amik Robertson (62.3 PFF coverage grade), per PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart
  • Among 33 NFL wide receivers with at least 100 slot snaps, Kirk’s 69.3 PFF slot receiving grade is No. 9 overall. 
  • The table below ranks Kirk’s slot receiving statistics in parentheses among qualifying slot receivers
Explosive Pass Plays  Yds After Catch/Rec. Tgts/Route Run Yds/Route Run Receiving First Downs
7 (No. 5) 6.4 (T-No. 5) 19.4% (T-No. 9) 1.65 (No. 9) 15 (No. 5)
  • Among 27 NFL cornerbacks with at least 100 slot coverage snaps, Robertson’s 54.0 PFF slot coverage grade ranks 16th overall.
  • The table below ranks Robertson’s slot coverage statistics in parentheses among qualifying slot cornerbacks.
Catch % Allowed Forced Inc. % Passer Rating Allowed Rec. Yards Allowed/Cov. Snap Explosive Pass Play Allowed % Open Target %
78.6% (9th-worst) 0.0% (tied for worst) 102.1 (9th-worst) 1.39 (9th-worst) 4.0% (5th-worst) 64.3% (9th-worst)
  • Kirk matches up very well with Las Vegas’ middling slot cornerback.

WR Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears vs. CB Kader Kohou, Miami Dolphins
  • Chicago versus Miami features a moderate 45.5-point over/under.
  • Chicago’s front office acquired big-bodied slot receiver Chase Claypool just before the NFL’s trade deadline. Though PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects Mooney to maintain his 54.9% pre-snap slot role, it is more likely that he kicks outside since Claypool plays far better when lined up on the interior. Mooney excels on the perimeter.
  • Claypool has produced a decent 63.4 PFF slot receiving grade and a much less impressive 59.5 PFF receiving grade when lined up out wide. 
  • Claypool’s intermediate 10.5-yard average depth of target pairs nicely with Mooney’s field-stretching 14.2-yard mark. 
  • Mooney’s 74.3 PFF receiving grade is tied for 20th overall among 63 NFL wide receivers who have earned at least 20 targets when lined up out wide.
  • His 27.3% targets per route run rate ranks 11th, and his 2.74 yards per route run ranks seventh. 
  • Mooney’s 12 explosive pass plays ties for 17th most among all NFL wide receivers.
  • Three weeks ago, Chicago increased quarterback Justin Fields’ play-action rate and his designed run attempts. Since then, Fields’ big-time throw rate increased from 2.1%, 27th among NFL quarterbacks with at least 99 dropbacks, to 3.8%, which ranks ninth. Fields’ former 29.5% play-action rate, tied for 10th, jumped to 36.4%, which ranks No. 1 overall. Correspondingly, Mooney’s per-game targets improved from 4.0 to 7.0.
  • None of Miami’s cornerbacks have earned a 67.0-plus PFF coverage grade.
  • Miami’s team 50.6 PFF coverage grade places third-worst in the NFL. 
  • Miami’s 6.89 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap ranks fifth-most in the NFL. 
  • Mooney is the No. 5 player on Josh Hermeyer’s Week 9 Air Yards Buy-Low Model.

WR Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers vs. CB Jeffrey Okudah, Detroit Lions
  • Green Bay at Detroit offers an enticing 49.5-point over/under.
  • PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects Doubs to take double-digit reps against Detroit perimeter cornerbacks Jeff Okudah (60.9 PFF coverage grade), Armani Oruwariye (29.1 PFF coverage grade) and slot cornerback A.J. Parker (36.6 PFF coverage grade).
  • Slot cornerback Mike Hughes (knee, 42.6 PFF coverage grade) may return to the lineup, but he is hardly a threat.
  • Parker suffered a hip injury in Week 8, and his Week 9 status is unknown. Backup Will Harris (71.3 PFF coverage grade) is a decent cornerback.
  • Detroit’s 40.4 PFF coverage grade sits dead last by a margin of 9.1 points. 
  • No team has allowed a higher catch rate (77.1%), more receiving yards per coverage snaps (7.50) or a higher explosive pass plays allowed rate (19.7%) than Detroit.
  • Doubs and quarterback Aaron Rodgers melded minds last week. Both Doubs’ 66.7% contested catch rate and two explosive pass plays ranked top 15 among NFL wide receivers with at least five targets. His 157.9 NFL passer rating when targeted was No. 2.
  • Fellow Green Bay wide receivers Allen Lazard (shoulder) and Christian Watson (concussion) are currently questionable. 
  • Green Bay’s offensive line earned a 39.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating over Detroit’s defensive line, second-best on the week.

WR Demarcus Robinson, Baltimore Ravens vs. CB Paulson Adebo, New Orleans Saints
  • Update: Robinson suffered a groin injury during Friday’s practice and was unable to practice on Saturday as a result. He is currently listed as questionable but is highly unlikely to play. The Ravens play on Monday night, making it extremely dangerous for redraft managers to wait and see what Robinson’s official status is. Do not count on Robinson this week. Duvernay can be used as a pivot play.
  • Baltimore at New Orleans brings a helpful 48.0-point over/under to Monday Night Football.
  • Baltimore has treated veteran wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (59.8 PFF receiving grade) as Rashod Bateman’s direct replacement (foot). Bateman suffered a foot injury in Week 4 and has been in and out of the lineup since. He is now expected to miss the rest of the season after Lisfranc surgery. 
  • Both Bateman and Robinson take left-side-heavy snap shares, operating with short-to-intermediate average depths of target: 7.4 yards for Bateman and 8.3 for Robinson.
  • Since Week 4, Robinson has led non-Bateman Ravens wide receivers with an 18.0% targets per route run rate, four missed tackles forced receiving and three explosive pass plays (tied with Devin Duvernay).
  • Though PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects Robinson to face right-side cornerback Alontae Taylor (54.8 PFF coverage grade), it is far more likely Robinson gets to tee off on left-side cornerback Paulson Adebo (37.2 PFF coverage grade).
  • Adebo is working through a knee injury and currently owns a 2.44 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap figure, which ranks league-worst among NFL cornerbacks with at least 150 coverage snaps
  • Adebo places top 10 in missed tackles forced (four) and explosive pass plays allowed rate (4.3%). 

5 WR/CB MATCHUPS TO AVOID

WR Robert Woods, Tennessee Titans vs. CB Trent McDuffie, Kansas City Chiefs 
  • Tennessee has a dreadful 17-point implied team total.
  • Robert Woods (75.0 PFF receiving grade), Tennessee's No. 1 wide receiver, lines up on the right side of the formation for a plurality of snaps and is likely to face Kansas City first-round rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie, whose outstanding Week 1 was cut short by a hamstring injury that landed him on injured reserve. 
  • McDuffie’s dominant Week 1 showing, coupled with his imminent return, allowed Kansas City to trade away right-side starter Rashad Fenton just ahead of the NFL’s trade deadline. 
  • McDuffie earned a 69.9 PFF coverage grade against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, registering a perfect 0.0% open target rate. Quarterback Kyler Murray did not once test his coverage. 
  • One of two fellow rookie cornerbacks, either Joshua Williams (69.3 PFF coverage grade) or Jaylen Watson (54.7 PFF coverage grade), will start opposite McDuffie. 
  • Williams’s 69.3 PFF coverage grade is fifth best among NFL rookie cornerbacks with at least 90 coverage snaps. 
  • Woods has not caught more than four passes in a game this year and has just once posted more than 39 receiving yards.

WR Tyquan Thornton, New England Patriots vs. CB Stephon Gilmore, Indianapolis Colts
  • New England versus Indianapolis is the only game with a sub-40.0 over/under.
  • Deep threat rookie Tyquan Thornton (56.2 PFF receiving grade) cannot be trusted in Week 9.
  • Indianapolis boasts two of the league’s top perimeter cornerbacks, Stephon Gilmore and Isaiah Rodgers. Thornton has lined up out wide on 97-of-116 snaps since returning from injured reserve in Week 5.
  • As Ian Hartitz noted in his Week 8 WR/CB biggest shadow matchups and biggest mismatches piece, Gilmore is frequently asked to shadow opposing No. 1 wide receivers. However, Thornton is unlikely to have earned that honor.
  • Rodgers’ 78.5 PFF coverage grade ranks 12th overall while Gilmore’s 71.3 PFF coverage grade sits 27th among NFL cornerbacks with at least 100 coverage snaps.
  • Rodgers’ 0.34 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap ranks second-best in the league. 
  • Gilmore has produced steady but unexceptional marks — a 73.5 NFL passer rating when targeted, a 12.5% forced incompletion rate, 1.28 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap and a 2.5% explosive pass play allowed rate.
  • Thornton’s quest is hurt by the presence of No. 1 wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Since returning from a knee injury in Week 5, Meyers has posted a 78.0 PFF receiving grade, 2.10 yards per route run and eight explosive pass plays — all of which rank top 15 among NFL wide receivers with at least 25 targets during that span

WR Allen Robinson II, Los Angeles Rams vs. CB Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Los Angeles’ 19.75-point implied team total is a red flag.
  • No. 1 wide receiver Cooper Kupp is dealing with an ankle injury, the severity of which is unknown, but fantasy managers cannot lean on veteran Allen Robinson. 
  • PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects Robinson to take double-digit snaps against all three of Tampa Bay’s starting coverage defenders. 
  • Antoine Winfield Jr. suffered a concussion in Week 7 and has yet to return to practice. 
  • The table below shows Davis’ and Jamel Dean’s total coverage statistics and slot coverage statistics for Winfield and Dee Delaney.
Left CB Carlton Davis Slot S Antoine Winfield Jr.  Backup Slot S Dee Delaney Right CB Jamel Dean
PFF Coverage Grade 63.5 66.7 66.7 81.5 
Matchup Advantage Rating N/A Below Avg. 38.7 N/A Below Avg. 31.1
Rec. Yards Allowed/Cov. Snap 1.76 0.84 1.86 0.32 
Explosive Pass Play Allowed % 4.1% 1.8%  9.1% 0.3% 
  • Dean places No. 10 in receiving yards allowed per coverage snap and ties for No. 5 in explosive pass plays allowed rate among 93 NFL cornerbacks and safeties with at least 225 coverage snaps.
  • Winfield is No. 6 in receiving yards allowed per coverage snap and ties for No. 12 in explosive pass plays allowed rate among 28 cornerbacks and safeties with at least 100 slot coverage snaps.
  • Delaney should receive help over the top from Tampa Bay’s three-deep safety trio of Mike Edwards (65.9 PFF coverage grade), Keanu Neal (56.7 PFF coverage grade) and Logan Ryan (66.8 PFF coverage grade). 
  • Robinson’s 0.84 yards per route run figure falls a yard short of decent, and his 13.1% targets per route run rate ranks 70th among 74 NFL wide receivers with at least 25 targets.

WR Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts vs. CB Jonathan Jones, New England Patriots
  • Alec Pierce’s 65.6 PFF receiving grade ranks fifth-best among NFL rookie wide receivers with at least 100 receiving snaps, but he cannot be started here.
  • Indianapolis has a 17.5-point implied team total.
  • PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects Pierce to face New England cornerback Jalen Mills (36.1 PFF coverage grade) on 22-of-41 snaps, giving Pierce a below-average 25.6 matchup advantage rating. The situation is far worse, though, as New England uses a three-cornerback rotation involving Mills, Jonathan Jones (80.0 PFF coverage grade) and Jack Jones (90.4). The latter two PFF coverages grade are both top 10 among NFL cornerbacks with at least 150 coverage snaps. Jack’s dominant mark is No. 1 overall.
  • Given the frequency of the rotation, it is likely Pierce fails to reach even a plurality of snaps against Mills. Pierce’s 40.0% left-side snap rate and 52.4% snap rate give him ample opportunity to fail against both of the Joneses.
  • Both Jonathan (45.5%) and Jack (51.8%) are 12 of the best cornerbacks in catch rate allowed.

WR K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings vs. CB Rachad Wildgoose, Washington Commanders
  • Rachad Wildgoose (53.4 PFF coverage grade) has risen to prominence after being cast away as a 2021 sixth-round pick by the Buffalo Bills this offseason and signed by the Washington Commanders on Aug. 31.
  • After facing primary slot receivers Quez Watkins, Darnell Mooney, Allen Lazard and Parris Campbell, Wildgoose owns top-five slot coverage rates among NFL slot cornerbacks with at least 100 slot coverage snaps.
Catch % Allowed Forced Inc. % Rec. Yards Allowed/Cov. Snap Explosive Pass Play Allowed %
47.1% 11.8% 0.51 0.9%
  • There was hope for Minnesota slot receiver K.J. Osborn (60.1 PFF receiving grade) to feature as a fantasy fill-in with six NFL teams on bye, but Adam Thielen’s (69.8 PFF receiving grade) Week 8 knee injury has proven to be inconsequential and Minnesota traded for 2020 Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson (74.7 PFF receiving grade) ahead of the trade deadline.
  • Hockenson’s 8.2-yard average depth of target conflicts directly with Osborn’s 8.4-yard mark.
  • PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects Osborn to have the worst Week 9 setup, with a pair of below-average matchup advantage ratings and just one rated as average.
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