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Golden Tate
By the Numbers

NFL Week 7 WR/CB Matchups and TE Analysis

by Ian Hartitz
Updated On: October 17, 2019, 1:52 am ET

We're on to Week 7! I'll be breaking down the WR/CB matchups all season long with a focus on figuring out who could be facing shadow coverage as well as the best and worst overall situations. We'll also briefly touch on each team's TE group.

Physical data is courtesy of NFL.com and PlayerProfiler.com, alignment information is from Pro Football Focus while each WR's target share and air yard market share is provided by the fine folks at AirYards.com.

Chiefs at Broncos

Chiefs Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Demarcus Robinson 73 203 4.59 13% 23% Davontae Harris 71 205 4.43
Slot Byron Pringle 73 203 4.46 7% 6% Will Parks 73 194 4.68
Right Tyreek Hill 70 185 4.34 17% 36% Chris Harris Jr. 69 194 4.48

Projected shadow matchups: Tyreek Hill vs. Chris Harris Jr.

WR/CB breakdown: The Cheetah is back. Hill only played 29 snaps in his much-anticipated return, but managed to catch 5-of-10 targets for 80 yards and two touchdowns. The first was a ridiculous 46 yard contested catch that showed off his vertical, while the second came from just six yards out.

Still, that performance came against the Texans' underwhelming group of CBs. Hill will now face a significantly tougher test in Harris, who has been nothing short of spectacular through six weeks.

  • Yards allowed per cover snap: 0.63 (No. 6 among 77 qualified CBs, PFF)
  • Snaps per target: 11.2 (No. 4)
  • Snaps per reception allowed: 19.4 (No. 4)
  • QB Rating allowed: 57.8 (No. 9)

Hill is plenty capable of winning against any CB in the world thanks to his game-changing speed. Just don't expect life to be too easy this week vs. the league's eighth-best defense in fewest yards per game allowed to No. 1 WRs (Football Outsiders). The Chiefs' No. 1 WR has posted middling 9-52-1, 0-0-0, 2-38-0, 9-54-0 and 3-70-0 performances in five career matchups against the Broncos, who boast the league's top-ranked defense in fewest PPR per game allowed to the WR position this season.

Hill's reps appeared to come at the expense of speedy second-round rookie Mecole Hardman, who posted a middling 55% snap rate. Meanwhile, Byron Pringle (59%) has worked as the primary slot WR with Sammy Watkins (hamstring, out) sidelined, and Demarcus Robinson (86%) continued to play a near every-down role. Robinson has played too well to be completely relegated to the bench, although it wouldn't be surprising to see him and Hardman form a committee of sorts with Hill back in action.

Anyone even moderately involved in the Chiefs Offense will carry week-to-week upside as long as Patrick Mahomes continues to look like one of the best quarterbacks ever more often than not. Still, the time for consistent production from the offense's auxiliary options has likely passed.

TE breakdown: Travis Kelce (six targets) was the only Chiefs player other than Hill with more than four pass-game opportunities last week. It was the first time all season that Mahomes' trusty TE finished with fewer than eight targets. Kelce hasn't found the end zone since Week 2. The good news is that Hill's field-stretching ability will undoubtedly open up the intermediate areas of the field moving forward. Despite the "slow" start, Kelce is averaging career-high marks in yards per reception (15.5) and yards per target (10.1). Kelce has shredded the Broncos in recent seasons with 8-101-0, 11-160-1, 7-133-1, 7-78-1 and 6-79-1 performances in his last five games against the Chiefs' divisional rival.

Broncos Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Courtland Sutton 75 218 4.54 23% 40% Charvarius Ward 73 198 4.49
Slot DaeSean Hamilton 73 203 4.57 12% 11% Tyrann Mathieu 69 186 4.5
Right Emmanuel Sanders 71 180 4.41 19% 27% Bashaud Breeland 71 197 4.62

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Emmanuel Sanders (knee) was sidelined early last week and ultimately played just 40% of the offense's snaps. The good news is he's reportedly on track to suit up Thursday night and managed to get in a full practice on Tuesday. Be sure to monitor our Week 7 Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation along with estimated and official game statuses for every injured player.

Meanwhile, Courtland Sutton has emerged as the true No. 1 WR in Denver. Joe Flacco has fed the Broncos' talented second-year WR at least seven targets in every game this season, and Sutton has responded with consistent big plays. Overall, he's the PPR WR12 through six weeks.

The Chiefs are hardly a secondary to fear, although they have certainly been better against the pass (No. 11 in DVOA) than the run (No. 31). Continue to fire up Sutton as a weekly WR2, although the potential for limited snaps makes Sanders a thinner play than normal in this spot.

DaeSean Hamilton has failed to catch more than three passes or surpass 60 receiving yards in a game through six weeks. He's off the fantasy radar other than as a DFS showdown slate dart throw, as the Broncos' slot WR will at least benefit from the absence of Chiefs nickelback Kendall Fuller (thumb, out).

TE breakdown: The Broncos have decreased Noah Fant's snaps in consecutive weeks, as Jeff Heuerman remains involved to an annoying extent. The first-round rookie hasn't cleared even 40 yards in a game this season. Perhaps Fant can get going against the Chiefs' 30th-ranked defense in fewest yards per game allowed to the TE position, but he'll need to do so with limited opportunities. Fant's 19 targets this season are tied for 22nd among all TEs. 

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Dolphins at Bills

Dolphins Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Preston Williams 76 211 4.66 20% 28% Levi Wallace 72 179 4.63
Slot Albert Wilson 69 202 4.43 13% 0% Kevin Johnson 72 188 4.52
Right DeVante Parker 75 209 4.45 16% 33% Tre'Davious White 71 192 4.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Albert Wilson (calf) returned to action last week, while Jakeem Grant (hamstring) was sidelined.

The Dolphins' target and snap distribution at WR was as follows:

The Dolphins clearly made it a priority to get Wilson the ball, but his status as the offense's underneath receiver isn't the most fantasy-friendly role in the world. Even with Ryan Fitzpatrick back under center, Wilson is off the fantasy radar as long as he continues to split snaps with Hurns.

Parker is averaging a league-high 19.6 air yards per target this season. Still, both him and Williams are nothing more than low-floor boom-or-bust options inside of the Dolphins' league-worst scoring offense. This feels like more of a "bust" spot on the road against the Bills' No. 4 ranked defense in pass DVOA (Football Outsiders). The Bills join the Broncos, Bengals, Patriots and Chargers as the only defenses to allow fewer than 30 PPR per game to the WR position this season.

TE breakdown: Mike Gesicki posted a 3-51-0 line in Week 6 on a career-high seven targets. The Dolphins' ridiculously-athletic TE has spent 69% of his snaps this season in the slot or out wide, while Durham Smythe and Nick O'Leary have handled most of the position's blocking duties. This isn't the spot to chase Gesicki's production, but the arrow might (finally) be pointing up for the team's 2018 second-round pick.

Bills Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left John Brown 70 179 4.34 22% 34% Ken Webster 71 203 4.43
Slot Cole Beasley 68 177 4.54 22% 19% Jomal Wiltz 70 180 4.48
Right Duke Williams 74 229 4.72 12% 14% Eric Rowe 73 205 4.45

Projected shadow matchups: John Brown (groin) vs. Xavien Howard (knee)

WR/CB breakdown: Howard didn't suit up last week and should be considered very questionable for Sunday's matchup. His presence would be only a slight downgrade for Smokey Brown, as the Bills' ace field stretcher is good enough to win against most of the league's top CBs.

The Dolphins have been anyone's idea of the league's single-worst defense through six weeks:

  • Points per game allowed: 36 (32nd)
  • Yards allowed per play: 6.7 (32nd)
  • Net yards allowed per pass attempt: 9.2 (32nd)
  • Adjusted sack rate: 4.2% (31st)

There's no reason to treat the league's 32nd-ranked defense in both overall and pass DVOA as anything other than a smash spot for both Brown and Cole Beasley.

Note that the Bills traded Zay Jones to the Raiders. Duke Williams worked in 3-WR sets back in Week 5, although Robert Foster (groin) could be back this week. Either way, we should expect to see plenty of Isaiah McKenzie and some Andre Roberts too. None are realistic fantasy options until we have a better idea of who will work as the offense's No. 3 WR.

TE breakdown: Dawson Knox is firmly in streamer consideration against the Dolphins' 31st-ranked defense in DVOA against the TE position. He had a dud 2-12-0 performance in Week 5 after back-to-back strong performances, but the rookie TE did show off some impressive blocking chops and posted a season-high 72% snap rate. Fire up Knox as an upside TE2 in this spot as long as Tyler Kroft (foot, ankle) remains sidelined.

Jaguars at Bengals

Jaguars Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Chris Conley 74 213 4.35 12% 26% Tony McRae 69 180 4.61
Slot Dede Westbrook 72 178 4.44 22% 17% Brandon Wilson 71 200 4.45
Right D.J. Chark 75 199 4.34 22% 39% B.W. Webb 70 184 4.51

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Bengals are expected to be without starting CBs Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and William Jackson (shoulder) for multiple weeks.

This leaves them with the following options at CB:

  • Tony McRae: 2017 undrafted free agent who possesses limited straight-line speed.
  • B.W. Webb: Career journeyman that has played for six teams since entering the league in 2013.
  • Brandon Wilson: 2017 sixth-round pick that hadn't played more than 15 defensive snaps in a game before last week.
  • Torry McTyer: 2017 undrafted free agent that has played a total of 11 snaps with the Bengals.

Marshon Lattimore got the better of D.J. Chark in Week 6, but the stud second-year WR is set up with his best spot of the season against the Bengals' injury-riddled secondary.

Dede Westbrook is also a deserving start option this week. He carries a solid floor with at least five targets in every game this season.

Chris Conley should be approached as more of a dart throw. The Jaguars' No. 3 WR hasn't managed to clear 30 yards in a game since Week 2.

TE breakdown: The Jaguars are dealing with multiple injuries at TE, with each of James O'Shaughnessy (knee, IR), Josh Oliver (hamstring) and Geoff Swaim (concussion) banged up. This could feasibly result in a somewhat featured role for Seth DeValve, who is a 91st-percentile SPARQ-x athlete and should cost the stone minimum on most DFS platforms across the industry. Just realize there's a zero-point floor here, and Ben Koyack will also be involved to some extent.

Bengals Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Auden Tate 77 228 4.68 19% 27% A.J. Bouye 72 186 4.6
Slot Tyler Boyd 73 197 4.58 25% 27% D.J. Hayden 71 191 4.45
Right Alex Erickson 74 203 4.58 6% 8% Tre Herndon 71 186 4.52

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: A.J. Green (ankle) managed to get in a couple limited practices last week and is trending towards a return sooner rather than later. It'd be somewhat surprising if he's not back after the Bengals' Week 9 bye at the latest. Still, this week might be a stretch after Green was a DNP on Wednesday.

I didn't start this week as an Auden Tate stan, but here we are.

The Bengals' walking mismatch on the perimeter possesses a fairly absurd blend of size and body control, allowing Tate to catch pretty much anything thrown in his general vicinity. He's worked as the league's 11th-best WR in contested catch rate through six weeks (Player Profiler).

Sure, Tate's lack of straight-line speed and mediocre quickness won't help him create much separation against most CBs. Still, Andy Dalton hasn't seemed to mind, feeding the 2018 seventh-round pick 10, six, six and 12 targets since Tate entered the starting lineup in Week 3.

Tyler Boyd has sandwiched his 10-123-1 explosion in Week 5 with disappointing 3-33-0 and 3-10-0 efforts against the Steelers and Ravens, respectively. Still, only Cooper Kupp (69 targets) and Michael Thomas (67) have more targets than Boyd (60) after six weeks. Continue to fire up Boyd as a weekly WR2 based on volume alone for as long as AJG remains sidelined.

A.J. Bouye shadowed Michael Thomas last week and "held" the Saints' No. 1 WR to an 8-89-0 line on 12 targets. However, the Jaguars are one of 10 defenses to already allow over 1,000 yards to the WR position through six weeks. Don't be afraid to target this once-elite secondary, particularly with Jalen Ramsey now completely out of the picture.

TE breakdown: Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah have combined to clear 30 yards in just one game this season. Neither is a recommended fantasy option due to their mediocre usage and limited snaps.

Vikings at Lions

Vikings Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Stefon Diggs 72 195 4.46 22% 45% Darius Slay 72 192 4.36
Slot Adam Thielen 75 200 4.54 25% 36% Justin Coleman 71 185 4.53
Right Bisi Johnson 72 204 4.51 10% 8% Rashaan Melvin 74 192 4.47

Projected shadow matchups: Stefon Diggs vs. Darius Slay

WR/CB breakdown: Diggs (7-167-3) absolutely eviscerated the Eagles' over-matched secondary last week. His average of 17 air yards per target is the fourth-highest mark among all WRs with at least 20 pass-game opportunities this season. Volume might not be a constant for anyone involved in the Vikings' run-first offense, but Diggs is at least getting fantasy-friendly downfield shots more often than not when the ball is thrown his way.

It might be tougher than usual for Diggs to cash in on those deep balls this week against Slay, who returned to his usual full-time role in Week 6 after missing Week 4 with a hamstring injury. Diggs and Slay are plenty familiar with each other at this point, as they've faced off four times since the Vikings' stud WR entered the league in 2015.

  • Week 6, 2015: 6 receptions-108 yards-1 touchdown (9 targets)
  • Week 4, 2017: 5-98-0 (7)
  • Week 12, 2017: 5-66-0 (7)
  • Week 16, 2018: 2-10-1 (6)

This feels like more of an Adam Thielen week. 6.3 targets per game isn't ideal for one of the league's premiere route-running technicians, but Thielen has still managed to work as the PPR WR9 through six weeks. Part of his recent rebound could have something to do with enhanced usage from the slot since Chad Beebe (ankle, IR) was sidelined in Week 3.

  • Week 1: 26% slot rate
  • Week 2: 27%
  • Week 3: 37%
  • Week 4: 21%
  • Week 5: 40%
  • Week 6: 38%

Bisi Johnson isn't a realistic fantasy option inside of the Vikings' run-first offense.

TE breakdown: Kyle Rudolph plays a near every-down role, but has one or less catches in four-of-six games this season. Talented second-round rookie TE Irv Smith (11.6 yards per target) has been nearly twice as efficient as Rudolph (6.5) on a per-target basis. Neither is on the fantasy radar as the No. 4 pass-game option (at best) in the league's second-most run-heavy offense.

Lions Offense

Position WR Height Weight Speed Tgt Share Air Yard Share CB Height Weight Speed
Left Kenny Golladay 76 218 4.5 26% 33% Xavier Rhodes 73 210 4.43
Slot Danny Amendola 70 186 4.68 14% 12% Mackensie Alexander 70 190 4.54
Right Marvin Jones 74 200 4.46 17% 24% Trae Waynes 72 186 4.31

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Vikings haven't had Xavier Rhodes travel with a single WR since Week 2 despite matchups against the likes of Tyrell Williams, Allen Robinson and Alshon Jeffery. A potential shadow date wouldn't be all that imposing either way: Rhodes has allowed the 18th-highest QB Rating on targets into his coverage among 77 qualified CBs this season (PFF).

Kenny Golladay has at least eight targets in every game, and he's responded with 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown in four-of-five contests. The league's PPR WR19 has been particularly effective thanks to the fantasy-friendly nature of his targets. Overall, Golladay ranks among the league's top-three WRs in both targets inside the 10-yard line (seven) as well as targets 20-plus yards downfield (14).

Golladay joins Mike Williams as the only WRs to average fewer than two yards of separation this season (Next-Gen Stats). Still, this isn't really an issue when the player's QB is willing to attempt tight-window passes, which Matthew Stafford has done at the third-highest rate in the league this season. Continue to fire up Golladay as a matchup-proof high-upside WR2.

Marvin Jones is more of a boom-or-bust WR3 option at this point with inconsistent target share, while Danny Amendola is unplayable after registering snap rates below 40% in back-to-back weeks.

TE breakdown: T.J. Hockenson dropped a touchdown last week that probably should've featured a flag for illegal hands to the face on the defender. He was also stopped just short of the goal line on another occasion. The Lions' first-round TE has fewer than five targets in three-of-five games this season, but clearly has earned Stafford's trust near the end zone: Only Travis Kelce (six) has more targets inside the 10-yard line than Hockenson (four) among all TEs. Fire him up as a low-end TE1 against a Vikings Defense that is one of four units to allow at least 70 yards per game to the TE position through six weeks.

Ian Hartitz

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