Many of just got over the anxiety of drafting the perfect roster last week. But here we are in week one and you are probably wondering what to do with your WRs drafted after round 2. You can maximize the value of receivers with a lot of variabilities by playing weekly WR/CB matchups. On the flip side, you don’t want to start a receiver that is facing a cornerback that limits their fantasy potential. Below are some of the best and worst matchups in week 1.
Favorable Matchups – Line ‘Em Up!
Golden Tate (DET) vs. Buster Skrine (NYJ)
Golden Tate is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL season after season. NFL.com ranked him as the WR7 in receptions (92) and the WR12 in total yards (1,003) in 2017. With the departure of Eric Ebron’s 15.36% target share, Tate has a good chance of reaching 90+ catches this year with 78 available targets from last year up for grabs. As far as matchups go, this one is as juicy as it gets. Pro Football Focus shows quarterbacks are not afraid to throw into Skrine’s coverage. With a QB rating of 99.6 against, 5.6 targets per coverage snap and 9.2 coverage snaps per reception, Skrine might be over his head facing Stafford and Tate this week. PFF gives Tate a receiving grade of 82.3 versus Skrine’s coverage defense grade of 61.4.
Advantage: Golden Tate
Jarvis Landry (CLE) vs. Mike Hilton (PIT)
Jarvis Landry is a fantasy asset for any GM regardless of who is under center. Even with Jay Cutler in Miami last season, FantasyGuru.com reports that Landry finished 4th in the league in fantasy points per game (16.5). Landry is now on a team that is thought to have one of the most improved offenses in 2018 and should continue to perform for owners. Landry – who runs 65% of his routes out of the slot – will match up week 1 against undersized slot cornerback Mike Hilton. Landry’s size is an advantage in this matchup. He is 2″ taller than Hilton and weighs 12 more pounds. Pro Football Focus gives Hilton a strong coverage defense grade of 81.6 against Landry’s receiving grade of 80.2, but Landry averages 0.4 fantasy points per route (FP/R) over Hilton’s 0.2 FP/R.
Advantage: Jarvis Landry
Cooper Kupp (LAR) vs. Leon Hall (OAK)
Cooper Kupp is a great pick this week with his match in the slot against Oakland CB Leon Hall (You won’t go wrong this week if you start any LA Ram against the Oakland Raiders this week). Kupp leads the Rams in multiple receiving categories as a rookie in 2017 – including 62 receptions for 869 yards and 14 YPC. Last year the Oakland defense gave up 22.6 receptions/252 yards/23.3 fantasy points per game last season, and although the veteran Hall is new to the Raiders this year, he didn’t add much value to this mediocre secondary. Kupp is also a larger player – he stands at 74 in. and weighs 208 lbs. against Hall’s 71 in. and 198 lb. frame. Pro Football Focus gives Kupp a receiving grade of 78.5 versus Hall’s coverage defense grade of 51.4.
Advantage: Cooper Kupp
Jamison Crowder (WAS) vs. Budda Baker (ARZ)
With Jamison Crowder lining up in the slot Sunday, he will be facing off against safety/corner Budda Baker who will be covering the slot in 2018. Crowder is able to separate himself from defenders with the ability to accelerate quickly. Although Baker made the Pro Bowl as a special teamer last year, his draft analysis from NFL.com reports that Baker’s “missed tackles and over purses turned into huge gains for [offenses]… and [a] small hesitation to accelerate when forced to open and sprint down the field.” Pro Football Focus gives Crowder a receiving grade of 72.5 versus Baker’s coverage defense grade of 57.
Advantage: Jamison Crowder
Danny Amendola (MIA) vs. Logan Ryan (TEN)
If you are in a deeper league or surfing the waivers for a last-minute flex option, Danny Amendola might be the guy for you. “Danny Playoff” goes toe-to-toe with his former teammate Logan Ryan in the slot this week. Amendola should get more looks his way since fellow WR DeVante Parker (finger) is doubtful this week. Both men are about the same size and speed, but Pro Football Focus reports that Amendola earns 0.41 FP/R versus Ryan’s 0.3. And with an average quarterback rating of 106.3 against Ryan, it’s even possible that Tannehill plays better with him on the field. Pro Football Focus gives Amendola a receiving grade of 71.4 versus Ryan’s coverage defense grade of 64.1.
Advantage: Danny Amendola
Unfavorable Matchups – On the Sidelines
Amari Cooper (OAK) vs. Aqib Talib (LAR)
Amari Cooper truthers are all over social media defending him this season. So if you are one of them or if he is on your roster, this week is may prove be challenging. Cooper finds himself on the wrong end of a mismatch against LA Ram Aqib Talib. They are similar in size and speed, but Talib is considered a top cornerback due to his ability to turn interceptions into touchdowns (10 TDs on 34 career INTs). NFL.com’s Gil Brandt even went as far as to rank Talib as the 23rd best CB of all-time! Pro Football Focus gives Talib’s coverage defense grade of 81.6. and Cooper a receiving grade of 62.9 (WR97). Combined with a disappointing 17.2% drop rate in 2017, Cooper owners should avoid him if there are better options available.
Advantage: Aqib Talib
Sammy Watkins (KC) vs. Casey Hayward (LAC)
There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the Kansas City this year, especially around Patrick Mahomes and Sammy Watkins. This week, Sammy Watkins should see a healthy dose of Casey Hayward on the outside. Watkins had a disappointing 2017 – only posting 39 receptions for 593 yards during his time with the Rams. Hayward is an elite cornerback that Fox Sports says has only allowed 42.7% of passes thrown his way to be caught – the best in the NFL by a starter. Last season he also had four interceptions and 15 pass break-ups. There is a good chance that Hayward and fellow teammate Trevor Williams keep Watkins quiet in week 1. Pro Football Focus gives Watkins a receiving grade of 69.1 versus Hayward’s coverage defense grade of 92.1.
Advantage: Casey Hayward