Fantasy football Week 7 shadow report – Key WR/CB matchups

8 min

93 shares, 152 points

By utilizing our play-by-play data, we’re able to identify defensive schemes and where each wide receiver and cornerback lines up on each play. By tracking these WR/CB matchups, including potential shadow situations, we can offer the best projections, rankings, sit/start decisions and fantasy advice each week. Fantasy football is a weekly game, so knowing the matchups can also help you make the best waiver-wire pickups.

Down below are the receivers with the best and worst matchups this week, as well as the corresponding fantasy impact.

To view the primary defenders the top three wide receivers for each team will see this weekend, be sure to check out our weekly WR vs. CB cheat sheet.

Note that, unless otherwise noted, references to where teams rank in statistical categories adjusts to a per-game basis in order to avoid distortion due to bye weeks.

Advantageous Matchups

Packers’ Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard vs. WFTs’ Benjamin St-Juste, Kendall Fuller and William Jackson III

The Washington Football Team’s secondary looks like a strength on paper, but it has been quite the opposite so far this season. Washington is allowing the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers, including the second most to the perimeter and fourth most to the slot. Heavy volume has been the primary culprit, as Washington ranks no better than third in WR targets, receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and end-zone targets.

Adams (66% perimeter) and Lazard (65%) align all over the formation and will see an even share of Washington’s top three corners. Upgrade them both, though Lazard is no more than a deep-league sleeper. The same goes for Cobb (83% slot) against Fuller in the slot, though he’s super risky after a catchless Week 6.

Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green vs. Texans’ Vernon Hargreaves III, Tavierre Thomas and Terrance Mitchell

Revenge Game Alert! Hopkins is set to face off with his old team for the first time since being traded to Arizona. Hopkins’ targets are way down this season (9.9 per game in 2020, 6.0 in 2021), but he’s still in a good spot against a Houston pass defense that has faced very little volume (100 WR targets ranks sixth fewest) but struggled with efficiency (9.8 yards per target ranks third highest). Houston’s primary weakness is against left perimeter receivers (fifth-most fantasy points allowed), which is where heavily targeted Hargreaves aligns. Hargreaves has already been benched this season but slid back into the lineup over converted safety/slot corner Desmond King in Week 6. Hopkins (78% left perimeter) will work against Hargreaves on a majority of his routes this week. There is a major talent discrepancy between Arizona’s wide receivers and Houston’s corners, so the only concern here is that the heavily favored Cardinals will build a lead and simply won’t need to throw as often as usual. It’s tough to predict which Arizona wide receivers will hit in a given week, but Hopkins has the best matchup of the group this time around.

Texans’ Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins vs. Cardinals’ Byron Murphy Jr., Marco Wilson and Robert Alford

The other side of the Hopkins “Revenge Game” also features a plus WR/CB matchup. The Arizona defense has allowed a league-high 10 touchdowns to wide receivers and is allowing the 12th-most fantasy points to the position, including the ninth most to the perimeter. Alford and the rookie Wilson are the team’s perimeter corners in nickel, and that duo will be tasked with slowing Cooks (70% perimeter) and Collins (87%) this week. Both corners have been heavily targeted this season, and that won’t change this week considering Cooks has been targeted on a massive 31% of his routes. Upgrade Cooks and consider Collins a sleeper.

Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill vs. Titans’ Elijah Molden (slot)

Hill has been a bit boom/bust this season, with three top-10 fantasy weeks, as well as two outside the top 45. He appears more likely to boom this week against a Titans defense that has already allowed eight wide receivers to reach 19 fantasy points this season. Tennessee has allowed the most yards, touchdowns and fantasy points to the position (fifth most over expected), as well as the most to the slot. Injuries are also an issue, as with Kristian Fulton and Caleb Farley out, Chris Jackson has moved outside, leaving Molden to handle the slot. That bodes well for Hill, who has aligned inside on 55% of his routes this season. Upgrade Hill and the rest of Kansas City’s wide receivers this week.

Other notable upgrades:

Dolphins’ Jaylen Waddle vs. Falcons’ Avery Williams (slot)

Tough Matchups

Seahawks’ DK Metcalf vs. Saints’ Marshon Lattimore (shadow)

New Orleans went into its Week 6 bye having allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to wide receivers, but fifth fewest over expected. The story here is a ton of volume faced (second-most WR routes and most WR targets), but strong efficiency (ninth-lowest YPT and fifth-lowest catch rate allowed to WRs). Regardless, we know Lattimore is one of the best in the business, and we’ve already seen him shadow Davante Adams and Terry McLaurin this season. Adams was held to a 5-56-0 receiving line on seven targets in Week 1 (2-37-0 on five targets and 15 routes against Lattimore), and McLaurin stumbled to a 4-46-0 line on 11 targets (2-31-0 on eight targets and 30 routes against Lattimore). This week, we should expect Lattimore to travel with Metcalf. We already saw Seattle’s passing game struggle without Russell Wilson in Week 6, and that was against a Pittsburgh defense that had been brutal against wideouts this season. Metcalf is too good and too heavily targeted to bench, but he aligns outside 78% of the time, so he’ll see a ton of Lattimore this week. Tyler Lockett will primarily see rookie Paulson Adebo and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, which puts Lockett in a good spot, but he fell flat in the same conditions in Week 6, so tread lightly on those DFS streets.

Raiders’ Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards vs. Eagles’ Darius Slay and Steven Nelson

The Eagles are 2-4, but they’ve done a pretty nice job against wide receivers this season. They’ve allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points (11th fewest over expected), including the second fewest to the perimeter and fewest to the left perimeter (Slay’s primary side). Ruggs (58% perimeter) and Edwards (63%) primarily work on the outside, so they’ll be in the toughest spot this week with Slay and Nelson on the other side. Philadelphia has shadowed in consecutive games, with Slay traveling with DJ Moore and Mike Evans, and Nelson following Robby Anderson and Antonio Brown. Slay has clearly covered the opposing No. 1 perimeter wideout, so it’s possible he follows Ruggs this week. That would be even worse news for Ruggs, though his speed and explosiveness make him a candidate for a big play at any given point. Regardless, we’ll need to lower expectations for the Raiders’ wideouts this week.

Panthers’ DJ Moore vs. Giants’ James Bradberry (shadow)

Panthers’ Robby Anderson vs. Giants’ Adoree’ Jackson (shadow)

“Revenge Games” are a hot topic this week, as Bradberry will face off with his former team for the first time since signing with the Giants. Bradberry has shadowed in three games this season (Terry McLaurin, Calvin Ridley, Marquez Callaway) and is a strong bet to travel with Moore in Week 7. Bradberry doesn’t travel to the slot often (9%), but neither does Moore (15%), so these two figure to be aligned against each other a majority of the time. With Bradberry on Moore, Anderson (who will play at Metlife Stadium for the first time since departing the Jets) will draw plenty of Jackson on the other side. Though we know Bradberry and Jackson are good corners, the Giants have still allowed a ton of fantasy production to wide receivers this season. They’ve surrendered the 11th-most fantasy points (seventh most over expected), including the fourth most to the perimeter and eighth most to the slot. This makes me a bit hesitant to call this a “tough” matchup, as scheme matters in addition to player personnel, but we nonetheless need to be aware that shadow coverage by talented corners is looming for Moore and Anderson.

Buccaneers’ Mike Evans vs. Bears’ Jaylon Johnson (shadow)

Johnson, Chicago’s 2020 second-round draft pick, appears to be in the midst of a second-year breakout. The 22-year-old has aligned at right perimeter corner on 87% of his coverage snaps this season, and the Bears are allowing the fewest fantasy points to that spot. They’re also allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to perimeter receivers as a whole. Johnson has shadowed twice this season, including Week 3 against Odell Beckham Jr. and last week against Davante Adams. Beckham posted a 5-77-0 receiving line on nine targets in the Week 3 game, with 3-57-0 coming on six targets (20 routes) against Johnson. Adams posted a decent 4-89-0 receiving line on five targets (all against Johnson) on Sunday, though limiting Adams to five targets on 23 routes is an achievement in its own right. It’s not a lock, but Johnson is a decent bet to travel with Evans (62% perimeter) when he’s aligned outside this week. That, of course, won’t be full time, so Johnson figures to see some of Chris Godwin (31% perimeter) and Antonio Brown (82%) as well. We should anticipate a potential dip in targets for Evans this week, but he should obviously remain in lineups in Tampa Bay’s high-scoring offense.

Other notable downgrades:

Eagles’ DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Jalen Reagor vs. Raiders’ Casey Hayward, Nate Hobbs and Brandon Facyson

Lions’ Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. Rams’ Jalen Ramsey (slot)

Patriots’ Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne vs. Jets’ Brandin Echols, Michael Carter II and Bryce Hall

Other potential shadow scenarios

Falcons’ Calvin Ridley vs. Dolphins’ Xavien Howard (shadow)

Falcons’ Kyle Pitts vs. Dolphins’ Byron Jones (shadow)

There’s a bit to unpack here, so I’ll start by noting that both Howard and Jones missed Week 6 due to injury and should be considered questionable for Week 7. If they’re out, that’s good news for Ridley and Pitts. If they play, we should expect them to shadow. We got a glimpse of what we might expect back in Week 3 when Howard shadowed Henry Ruggs part time (including most of his perimeter routes) and Jones shadowed Darren Waller on 27 of his 40 routes (a massive percentage for a tight end). Howard has also shadowed Antonio Brown and Stefon Diggs this season, with Jones following Mike Evans, Nelson Agholor and Emmanuel Sanders. Ridley (80% perimeter) primarily works outside, and Pitts has been aligning all over the formation.

These seem like tough matchups on paper, but, even with a healthy Howard and Jones, Miami’s defense has struggled this season. The Dolphins are allowing the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers (most over expected), including the third most to the perimeter and seventh most to the slot. They’re middle of the pack against tight ends, but Pitts has run 68% of his routes from the slot or perimeter, so that doesn’t matter much here, especially because he figures to draw Jones. Perhaps Jones and Howard show up healthy and playing at a high level, but the performance of this defense so far this season suggests we don’t need to worry about it. Ridley and Pitts should, of course, be in lineups.

Source: ESPN

Like it? Share with your friends!

93 shares, 152 points

What's Your Reaction?

Cute Cute
Fun Fun
Hate Hate
Confused Confused
Fail Fail
Geeky Geeky
Love Love
Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format