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Week 1 WR vs CB Matchup Analysis

week 1 WR vs CB matchup Janoris Jenkins Dez Bryant

Week 1 WR vs CB matchup Analysis

Well, we’re finally back to real, meaningful football. The hardest part about adjusting from preseason to regular season for fantasy players is making lineup decisions. Each week this season, I will attempt to make some of those decisions easier for you. Throughout the year I will be highlighting some of the matchups that particularly benefit receivers, as well as ones you should avoid. In my week 1 WR vs CB matchup analysis, I’ll be dividing these into three categories:

  1. Must starts: top players with an exploitable matchup.
  2. High Upside: average players with an exploitable matchup
  3. Bad matchups: players who have poor matchups

These should get easier to predict as we get more data from where teams are starting corners and receivers along the formation throughout the year. Week 1, however, will be about using what we know to be very likely using 2016 statistics to guide us.

Let’s begin the Week 1 WR vs CB matchup analysis.

Must Starts

  • Doug Baldwin
    • Baldwin has an outstanding matchup vs. Quentin Rollins who was one of the worst defensive backs in the NFL last year. Rollins abated an atrocious .36 fantasy points per route run, and Green Bay should keep the Seahawks passing into the 4th quarter.
  • Julio Jones
    • Simply put: No Bears defensive back (or many in the league at all) stand a chance against Julio. Whether it be Prince Amukamara or Marcus Cooper, Julio will be able to create separation.
  • Larry Fitzgerald
    • Detroit’s primary slot corner Quandre Diggs rated along with Rollins as one of the worst at the position in 2016. The future hall-of-fame receiver starts hot every year, so play Fitz while the fire still burns.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. 
    • Let’s face it: you were going to start OBJ as long as he was active. Factor in that he lines up all over the field and Dallas lost their two starting cornerbacks from a year ago, and your only concern is his health.
  • Amari Cooper
    • Amari Cooper played 59% of his snaps on the offensive left side last year, and there is no reason for that to change in 2017. Senior writer Travis May is reporting that prized free agent signee Logan Ryan will line up primarily against Michael Crabtree on the defensive left. This will leave Cooper against rookie Adoree Jackson and LeShaun Sims who started just 2 games in 2016 as a rookie himself. Cooper is licking his chops in what may well turn into a shootout.

High Upside

  • Kelvin Benjamin
    • Benjamin receives a lot of hate, but he’s still the WR1 and has great matchups against 2nd-year corner Rashard Robinson, and Dontae Johnson. His TD upside alone makes him worthy of at least a flex play.
  • Jamison Crowder
    • Going up against slot corner Patrick Robinson should be a fun experience for the ascending Crowder. Before season’s end, he may be universally viewed as a top-3 slot receiver in the NFL, and he’ll prove it against one of 2016’s worst slot corners.
  • Torrey Smith
    • This is a desperation flex play at best. However, Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland are two of the slower moving corners in the league, so Smith could sneak by for a long score making him fantasy relevant. He’s an interesting contrarian play in GPP tournaments.

Bad Matchups

  • All Kansas City Chiefs
    • Adding Stephon Gilmore to a secondary that already includes stud Malcolm Butler and underrated slot man Eric Rowe means that you should be cautious about starting any Chiefs involved in the passing game.
  • All Los Angeles Chargers
    • If you have Keenan Allen in a PPR league, you are probably starting him regardless, but don’t expect a huge performance as he will likely be followed all day by either Chris Harris Jr. or Aquib Talib. Even Bradley Roby is more than capable of shutting down any receiver in his path and would be the top corner on most teams in the NFL. Avoid Tyrell Williams in all formats.
  • Michael Thomas 
    • Thomas will likely be followed by top corner Xavier Rhodes for most of the matchup vs. the Vikings. If you have Thomas, you likely drafted him as a starter, and without much in terms of other options to throw to, he’s still startable. Just don’t expect a top-5 finish this week.
  • Dez Bryant
    • Janoris Jenkins is one of the toughest corners to beat in the NFL. In 2 games last year, the Giants held Dez to 2 catches for 18 yards. He’s an easy player to avoid altogether if you aren’t forced to start him out this week.
  • DeAndre Hopkins
    • Whether he lines up against former teammate A.J. Bouye or 2nd year rising star Jalen Ramsey, Hopkins is going to have a rough time finding the open field.

I hope you found the week 1 WR/CB matchup analysis useful. Be sure to check out The Fantasy Authority’s weekly rankings which will feature my rankings as well this year.

*Please note that stats such as fantasy points per route were taken from Pro Football Focus. (subscription required)

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