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By the Numbers

NFL Week 5 WR/CB Matchups and TE Analysis

by Ian Hartitz
Updated On: October 3, 2019, 10:24 am ET

Jets at Eagles

Jets Offense

LeftRobby Anderson751904.41Rasul Douglas742094.59
SlotJamison Crowder681854.56Malcolm Jenkins732044.54
RightDemaryius Thomas752244.41Sidney Jones721864.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Sam Darnold (mono) is far from guaranteed to suit up this week. It'd be tough to trust anyone other than Le'Veon Bell in this spot without Darnold considering the Jets Offense didn't find the end zone in two games with Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk under center in Weeks 2-3.

It would certainly be a shame for Robby Anderson if Darnold can't suit up. The Eagles' already-brutal defense against No. 1 WRs will continue to have their hands full in pretty much every matchup as long as their CB room resembles a walking graveyard.

Darnold's return could certainly mean great things for Jamison Crowder (14-99-0 on 17 targets in Week 1), but I'd feel most comfortable attacking these outside CBs with the Jets' ace field stretcher. Anderson might've posted a mundane 3-23-0 line on just seven targets in Week 1, although he was routinely peppered with deep balls and wound up with the 15th-most air yards among all WRs.

TE Breakdown: One. More. Week. Go sign Chris Herndon right now if he's inexplicably still a free agent in your season-long league.

Eagles Offense

LeftAlshon Jeffery752164.53Darryl Roberts711874.43
SlotNelson Agholor721984.42Brian Poole702094.55
RightMack Hollins762214.53Nate Hairston721964.52

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: DeSean Jackson (abdominal) didn't practice Wednesday and probably won't be rushed back in a game that the Eagles *should* be able to comfortably control. They're presently implied to score 28.75 points -- the second-highest mark in Week 5 (per FantasyLabs).

Nelson Agholor followed up his chalk-busting 8-50-2 performance in Week 3 with a goose egg performance in Week 4. Yes, I'm bitter. He's not guaranteed for any level of targets now that each of Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert are back in action.

The Eagles Offense figures to continue to flow through Jeffery (nine targets in Week 4) and Zach Ertz (eight) as long as D-Jax is sidelined.

The Jets certainly haven't earned the benefit of the doubt against No. 1 WRs this season:

Fire up Jeffery as a rock-solid WR2 with confidence.

TE Breakdown: The Jets have done a good job vs. the TE position this season ... but they haven't faced a true No. 1 receiving option at the position like Ertz. Still, Jamal Adams deserves to be in the discussion of the best young safeties in the league. He helped the Jets limit opposing TEs to a pedestrian 36.8 yards per game in 2018. Ertz's position-best volume makes him a matchup-proof high-end TE1 in season-long formats, although I'd refrain from emptying the back account on him in DFS.

Broncos at Chargers

Broncos Offense

LeftCourtland Sutton752184.54Casey Hayward711924.57
SlotDaeSean Hamilton732034.57Desmond King702014.65
RightEmmanuel Sanders711804.41Michael Davis692174.61

Projected shadow matchups: Courtland Sutton vs. Casey Hayward

WR/CB breakdown: The Chargers have consistently asked Hayward to travel with Sutton and Demaryius Thomas in lieu of Emmanuel Sanders over the past two seasons. Hayward has won each matchup against Sutton (3-78-0, 1-25-0) and DT (5-67-0, 2-9-0) alike. The Chargers' stud No. 1 CB remains one of the league's few corners that fantasy football owners should strongly consider avoiding.

Sanders hasn't performed much better against the Chargers in recent history, failing to surpass 70 receiving yards or find the end zone in each of his past four matchups dating back to 2016. He's scored a touchdown or surpassed 100 yards in three of four games this season while averaging a sterling 8.5 targets per game, but this isn't the spot to invest a ton of confidence in Joe Flacco or his WRs.

TE Breakdown: Noah Fant's snap rate shot up to 73% in Week 4, and he found the end zone for the first time thanks to a well-designed screen. Fant joins Austin Hooper, Evan Engram, Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen, Vernon Davis and Darren Waller as the league's only TEs with at least 110 routes run this season. An average of four targets per game isn't ideal, but the Broncos clearly want their first-round pick to be a factor in this passing offense. Fant is set up brilliantly this week against the Chargers' injury-riddled group of safeties, which was gashed by Texans TEs Darren Fells (5-49-1) and Jordan Akins (3-73-2) back in Week 3. I plan on having an irresponsible amount of exposure to Fant on DraftKings at just $2,800.

Chargers Offense

LeftGeremy Davis742164.52De'Vante Bausby741794.63
SlotKeenan Allen742064.71Chris Harris Jr.691944.48
RightMike Williams762184.59Duke Dawson711974.46

Projected shadow matchups: Keenan Allen vs. Chris Harris Jr.

WR/CB breakdown: Dontrelle Inman (quad) will miss at least the next eight weeks after being placed on the injured reserve list. Both Travis Benjamin (quad) and Mike Williams (back) were limited in practice Wednesday after each failed to suit up in Week 4.

I wouldn't be shocked to see Austin Ekeler continue to have a fairly large role in the passing game as long as the Chargers WRs remain all kinds of banged up. He's caught at least five passes in every game this season and has demonstrated the ability to function as a true threat on the outside.

Allen's disappointing 5-48-0 performance last week also included a 60-plus yard touchdown that was overturned on offensive pass interference against Xavien Howard. He'll square off against Harris, who has been shadowing opposing No. 1 WRs this season and even went out of his way to travel with Allen in 2018.

Harris largely held each of Allen Robinson (4-41-0) and Davante Adams (4-56-0) in check during his two shadow dates this season. Allen (9-89-1) won their battle in 2018, but it took him 12 targets to get there.

Get your popcorn ready.

TE Breakdown: The Chargers rotated Sean Culkin (58% snaps) and Lance Kendricks (57%) at TE in Week 4, rendering each as a non-fantasy option in an offense that has consistently refrained from targeting the position whenever Antonio Gates or Hunter Henry (knee, out) have been sidelined over the years. The good news is Henry was spotted participating in practice Wednesday and could return sooner rather than later.

Packers at Cowboys

Packers Offense

LeftMarquez Valdes-Scantling762064.37Byron Jones731994.48
SlotGeronimo Allison751964.67Anthony Brown711924.33
RightDavante Adams732124.56Chidobe Awuzie722024.43

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Davante Adams (toe) didn't practice on Wednesday and is shaping up as a true game-time decision ahead of Sunday's road matchup. The Packers' undisputed No. 1 pass-game target has had plenty of success against the Cowboys over the years, but it's still a tough matchup that is fade worthy considering Adams' potential for limited snaps. Backup WR Jake Kumerow (shoulder) hasn't managed to suit up since Week 2.

Yes, Aaron Rodgers threw for 422 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 4.

Also yes, the production came on 53 attempts in a home matchup against the Eagles' injury-riddled secondary. The Cowboys present a much tougher test, as they join the Broncos, Patriots and Packers as the league's only defenses to allow fewer than 30 PPR per game to the WR position this season. 

I'm inclined to ride with Marquez Valdes-Scantling as my preferred Packers WR if Adams is ultimately sidelined. The Cowboys have allowed the second-fewest receiving yards per game to WRs lined up in the slot this season (per Sports Info Solutions), and MVS (28 targets) has easily been Rodgers' preferred target compared to Allison (11) through four weeks.

TE Breakdown: Jimmy Graham was all sorts of banged up in Week 3 and played limited snaps, but the Packers TE rebounded with a solid 71% snap rate in Week 4 on his way to catching 6-of-9 targets for 61 yards and a score. We shouldn't expect too high of a weekly ceiling from Graham, although he's shown solid-enough chemistry with Rodgers inside the red zone to warrant streamer consideration moving forward. Only the Buccaneers (10.3), Chiefs (8.9) and Cardinals (8.7) have allowed as many or more receptions per game to the TE position than the Cowboys (8.7)

Cowboys Offense

LeftMichael Gallup732054.51Kevin King752004.43
SlotRandall Cobb701924.46Tramon Williams711944.62
RightAmari Cooper732114.42Jaire Alexander701964.38

Projected shadow matchups: Amari Cooper vs. Jaire Alexander

WR/CB breakdown: The Packers had Jaire Alexander shadow Emmanuel Sanders (2-10-0) with great success in Week 3. Then Kevin King traveled with Alshon Jeffery (3-38-1) in Week 4. These decisions seem to indicate that Alexander could be the defense's preferred cover man in matchups against a No. 1 WR that relies on speed and route-running ability, while King could see more shadow dates against plus-sized WRs.

Cooper falls firmly in the former group. The Cowboys' top pass-game target posted a middling 5-48-0 line against Marshon Lattimore and the Saints in Week 4, but still ranks as the overall PPR WR8 through four weeks.

It's hard to ignore Cooper's pristine performance inside the friendly confines of Jerry World to this point.

  • 5 receptions-58 yards-1 TD
  • 8-180-2
  • 8-76-0
  • 10-217-3
  • 4-20-0
  • 7-106-0
  • 6-106-1
  • 6-88-2

The problem is that Alexander looks a lot like the league's next great CB, and the Packers' elite pass rush could have a field day against a Cowboys offensive line that won't have the services of LT Tyron Smith (ankle, doubtful). The Cowboys have struggled to function as a top-tier offense without their stud LT in past years. This was most notable in 2017, when the Cowboys scored seven, nine, 12 and six points in four games that Smith played a combined three snaps in.

Dallas Morning News' Michael Gehlken reports that Michael Gallup (knee) is expected to suit up Sunday. This would delegate Devin Smith to a small role as the offense's No. 4 WR. Gallup played brilliantly in the first two weeks of the season, but this difficult matchup and potential for limited snaps has me hesitant to fire him up in season-long and DFS lineups alike.

I'd be surprised if the Cowboys didn't replicate the Eagles' Week 4 strategy and attempt to grind out a win via the ground game against the Packers' 27th-ranked defense in rush DVOA.

TE Breakdown: Jason Witten has four targets in every game this season. He's surprisingly offered a decent floor with at least 50 yards or a touchdown in each contest. Backup TE Blake Jarwin continues to receive the position's more fantasy-friendly targets down the seam, but Witten has a team-high four targets inside the 10-yard line. Low ceiling be damned: Witten is once again emerging as a low-end TE1 option more weeks than not.

Colts at Chiefs

Colts Offense

LeftDeon Cain742024.43Charvarius Ward731984.49
SlotChester Rogers721854.56Kendall Fuller71187 
RightT.Y. Hilton691834.39Bashaud Breeland711974.62

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: T.Y. Hilton (quad) didn't play in Week 4 and wasn't able to practice on Wednesday. Coach Frank Reich admitted the team's Week 6 bye may play a factor in Hilton's eventual game status.

It'll be tough to get behind any of the Colts WRs if Hilton is ultimately sidelined. They formed a committee system in Week 4 in terms of both snaps and targets:

Complicating matters is the high level of involvement from Eric Ebron (five targets), Jack Doyle (eight) and Nyheim Hines (six).

It's tough to roster any of these pass catcher with any level of confidence in the Colts' run-first offense for this tough matchup against a Chiefs Defense that has been much better against the pass (No. 9 in DVOA) than the run (No. 31) through four weeks.

This a situation to avoid at Arrowhead. The Chiefs allowed 8.3 fewer points per game at home compared to on the road last season -- the largest home/away discrepancy in the league.

TE Breakdown: Ebron had a very on-brand game in Week 4, dropping three passes before ripping off a 48-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter with the outcome already decided. Both Ebron and Doyle are involved enough in the pass game to warrant dart throws for desperate fantasy owners, but please try to find a better option.

Chiefs Offense

LeftDemarcus Robinson732034.59Rock Ya-Sin721924.51
SlotSammy Watkins732114.43Kenny Moore691854.52
RightMecole Hardman701874.33Pierre Desir731984.59

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Tyreek Hill (clavicle) returned to practice in a limited fashion Wednesday, but he's best considered doubtful to suit up Sunday. Still, the return of the league's most-explosive playmaker is near.

The Colts have done a great job limiting WRs over the past two seasons, allowing the fewest PPR per game to the position in 2018 and ranking 12th in 2019.

Of course, defensive performance is largely meaningless when facing Patrick Mahomes.

With that said, he wasn't been the same type of world beater against top-10 zone-heavy defenses in 2018:

  • vs. Chargers: 256 yards-4 TDs-0 INT, 243-2-0
  • vs. 49ers: 314-3-0
  • vs. Cardinals: 249-2-0
  • vs. Seahawks: 273-3-0
  • vs. Colts: 278-0-0

Anyone even moderately involved in the Chiefs' league-best offense is capable of racking up fantasy points in a hurry, but I wouldn't necessarily expect Showtime Mahomes and his WRs to ball out to their highest potential in prime time this week.

TE Breakdown: Travis Kelce's performance in those zone-heavy matchups: 1-6-0, 7-61-0, 8-114-0, 6-46-0, 5-54-0 and 7-108-0. He's the league's most matchup-proof TE thanks to both Mahomes and his own outrageous ability, particularly against a Colts Defense that could again be without stud LB Darius Leonard (concussion) as well as ball-hawking FS Malik Hooker (knee).

Browns at 49ers

Browns Offense

LeftOdell Beckham Jr.711984.43Emmanuel Moseley711844.47
SlotJarvis Landry712054.65K'Waun Williams691894.58
RightAntonio Callaway712004.41Richard Sherman751954.6

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Jarvis Landry (concussion) should be considered questionable for Monday night. It remains to be seen if Antonio Callaway will walk into a starting role fresh off suspension, particularly if Rashard Higgins (ankle) manages to return to action. Damion Ratley is a threat to steal snaps either way.

That leaves us with OBJ, who has averaged 9.3 targets through four weeks and is on pace for a season-long 84-1,232-4 line. It'd be surprising to not see him best the touchdown pace.

Working in Beckham's favor this week is the fact that Richard Sherman has never made a habit of traveling with a single receiver. He's literally never done so with the 49ers. The extended absence of Ahkello Witherspoon (foot, out) means we could see OBJ line up against Emmanuel Moseley for the majority of the night.

A quick rundown of Moseley's background ...

  • Solid enough athlete
  • 2018 undrafted free agent
  • 45 career snaps on defense

There's no reason why OBJ can't post his second breakout prime-time performance of the season in this spot.

TE Breakdown: The Browns are utilizing both Demetrius Harris (67% snaps, zero targets in Week 4) and Ricky Seals-Jones (30% snaps, 3 targets) at TE. Harris ran more routes than RSJ by a 20-to-15 margin in Week 4, but the latter TE finished with the superior 3-82-1 line. I'd be careful with chasing RSJ's big performance; much of the yardage appeared to be heavily assisted by blown coverage.

49ers Offense

LeftDeebo Samuel712144.48T.J. Carrie722064.48
SlotDante Pettis731864.53Eric Murray711994.49
RightMarquise Goodwin691834.27Terrance Mitchell711924.63

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The 49ers are tentatively expected to debut WR/RB/TE Jalen Hurd (back) following their Week 4 bye, while Tevin Coleman (ankle) also has a good shot at suiting up.

The presence of two capable pass catchers should only muddle things up further. The snap and target distribution among the offense's WRs were an absolute mess in Week 3.

Samuel is my pick to be the most-productive WR of the group, but it's hard to fire up anybody involved in this crowded offense with any level of confidence.

For what it's worth, Goodwin does boast one of the week's best matchups in terms of the biggest difference in WR/CB 40-yard dash times if Denzel Ward (hamstring) and Greedy Williams (hamstring) remain sidelined.

TE Breakdown: Kittle has surpassed 50 yards in every game this season while averaging seven targets per contest. His opening-season stretch would look much better if he hadn't had *two* touchdowns nullified by penalty back in Week 1. The 49ers' No. 1 pass-game target is too good to go much longer without a breakout performance. A matchup vs. the Browns' 10th-ranked defense in DVOA against the TE position isn't ideal, but it's too early in the season to truly worry about Kittle's fantasy production. Continue to fire him up as a no-doubt TE1.

Ian Hartitz

All things NFL. Great day to be great. You can follow Ian on Twitter @Ihartitz.