At least some things are starting to make a little sense. Ja’Marr Chase saw 15 targets and finished as the WR6 after a tragically slow start to the season.
Last week’s WR/CB matchup results were relatively good. Jordan Addison didn’t finish with quite as good of a stat line as he should have. TuTu Atwell finished as the WR19 in an outrageously high scoring slate, while Nico Collins had a bad week and Gabe Davis was irrelevant outside of a touchdown grab.
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is…” — John Allen Paulos
With that said, let’s dive into our 100% guaranteed WR/CB matchups to target and avoid.
FAVORABLE WR MATCHUPS
Tank Dell vs. Pittsburgh Steelers secondary
One of fantasy football’s breakout stars, Tank Dell, earned a full-time starting role in week two and hasn’t looked back!
Tank doesn’t need a touchdown to offer fantasy goodness. He’s averaged around 80 air yards per game at a lucrative 12.2 aDot. Dell, who is seeing a 24% target rate on his routes, is one of CJ Stroud’s favorite targets when he’s on the field.
He represents a lucrative intersection of explosive ability and delicious fantasy opportunity. His elite 3.06 Y/RR shows he’s an absolute dynamo when he gets the ball in his hands. With 23.9% of his targets traveling 20+ air yards, the value of his opportunity speaks for itself.
His matchup with Pittsburgh is highly exploitable. The Steelers secondary has allowed the fifth-most explosive pass plays (13). Tank will likely be lined up with a healthy dose of Levi Wallace, who has allowed six of those 13 explosive pass plays.
With Stroud showing signs of being one of the next elite passers in the NFL, I expect Tank to be fed a reliable diet of quality targets.
Marvin Mims vs. Chicago Bears secondary
Opportunity is king. A player cannot score fantasy points if he is standing on the sidelines with his helmet at his side.
This tweet from Scott Barrett says it all. Marvin Mims is literally breaking fantasy with his absurd efficiency. His 4.38s. 40-yard speed pairs Russell Wilson’s gorgeous moonball beautifully.
The Chicago Bears are a train wreck. The only thing worse than the Bears as a whole is their secondary. Half of the Bears’ secondary is currently expected to be out in week four, with one starting CB on IR.
Playing Mims is risky. He has yet to run a ton of routes in a game. Still, he has the highest aDot in the league, the highest yards per reception, the highest percent of his targets traveling more than 20 air yards, and ranks top five in YAC/rec.
I’ll take my chances on that in a picture-perfect matchup.
Honorable mention: Adam Thielen vs. Minnesota Vikings, DJ Moore vs. Denver Broncos
WR MATCHUPS TO AVOID
Zay Flowers vs. Cleveland Browns secondary
The offense in Baltimore is a disaster. Lamar Jackson is an adequate passer, but the volume still isn’t there. Flowers is the clear alpha receiver. He scores 0.4 fantasy points per route run and would be a fantasy darling… if the Ravens passed the ball more.
Through the first three games, the Ravens rank 29th in pass attempts, and the Browns defense has allowed only 335 receiving yards all season. Greg Newsome is in line to frequently cover Flowers and is only allowing 0.13 fantasy points per route run.
Low passing volume and a stingy matchup against an elite cornerback means Flowers is riding the pine this week.
Terry McLaurin vs. Darius Slay
Last week was painful for Commanders players. Following back-to-back adequate performances by Sam Howell, he lays a four-turnover egg against the Buffalo Bills.
Going against a ferocious Eagles defensive front and having Darius Slay in shadow coverage means a long day for Howell and Terry McLaurin.
Opposing quarterbacks aren’t exactly shying away from Slay, who has been targeted on 18% of his coverage routes. McLaurin, who hasn’t seen more than six targets in any game this year, isn’t exactly seeing the type of volume to be able to overcome a matchup with Slay.
I strongly recommend fading McLaurin in week four.
Honorable mention: Garrett Wilson vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Mike Evans vs. New Orleans Saints