A cornerback's coverage ability can easily dictate the wide receiver's production, and this is why fantasy managers need to target favorable situations and avoid the matchups where receivers will inevitably come up short.
Listed below are the five best matchups to target and avoid for fantasy football in Week 1. The information was sourced from PFF's brand-new WR/CB Matchup Chart, which projects the number of snaps each receiver will play against specific defenders and grades the matchup on a 0-100 scale.
Click here for more PFF tools:
WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams vs. CB Duke Shelley, Chicago Bears
Honestly, either Kupp or teammate Robert Woods is a good bet this week because the Bears’ depth chart at cornerback is filled with unproven players. I've listed Kupp because his matchup is slightly more enticing, but this is a great opportunity for any of L.A.'s starting pass-catchers — PFF’s strength of schedule (SoS) metric pegs this as the second-easiest Week 1 game.
Shelley logged only 129 coverage snaps in 2020 and allowed an 80% completion rate. Meanwhile, Kupp generated the fifth-most receiving yards (591) out of the slot alignment a season ago.
The veteran receiver is one of the game’s most productive and efficient slot receivers, and that is why he’s a good bet for solid production against the relatively unproven Shelley.
WR Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans vs. CB Robert Alford, Arizona Cardinals
It typically takes a few weeks for recently acquired receivers to build the necessary chemistry with their new quarterback, but Julio is the exception and not the rule.
This is still the same player who ranked fourth among all receivers in yards per route run (2.60) last season. Even in an injury-riddled campaign, he was one of the league's most efficient and dangerous receivers.
Luckily for Julio, there may not be a better matchup for him to start his season than Alford and the Cardinals. Each player on that depth chart got knocked up a peg after Malcolm Butler’s surprise retirement last week. Alford has not played in a single NFL game since 2018. Talk about a nice welcome back assignment.