Matchups to Attack
Tyler Boyd vs Nick Nelson
Tyler Boyd has endured plenty of ups and downs this season, but he has broken out for the Cincinnati Bengals for the most part this season. Through 13 games, he’s averaging 5.5 receptions for 76.2 yards and 0.5 touchdowns on 7.9 targets per game. He’s averaging a healthy 16.6 DK points per game, and he has scored 20+ DK points in six games this season. Boyd will continue to be a focal point of the Cincinnati offense with A.J. Green injured, although he comes with a bit more risk with Jeff Driskel at quarterback than he does when Andy Dalton is healthy.
Boyd has played the majority of his snaps (74%) as the Cincinnati slot receiver this season. He’ll matchup against Nick Nelson, who has played 98% of his snaps as the Oakland Raiders slot cornerback this season. Although Nelson has played somewhat of limited snaps, he has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ worst cornerback in the NFL this season. He’s allowing a 63% catch rate, while being targeted on 15% of his routes covered. He also ranks in the bottom-eight of the NFL in fantasy points (0.41) and yards (2.03) allowed per route covered this season. Boyd has seen significantly more difficult matchups this season, and he should be able to take advantage of what will be one of his easiest matchups in 2018.
Robert Foster vs Mike Ford
Robert Foster has taken on a bigger role for the Buffalo Bills over his last four games. Over that span, he has totaled 13 receptions for 330 yards and one touchdown on 18 targets. He’s averaging a healthy 25.4 yards per reception over that span, and he is clearly the deep threat for Josh Allen. That has worked wonders for him, as well, as he has scored 16+ DK points three of his last four games. Foster could continue to get better as his connection with Allen strengthens the more they play on the field together.
Foster has played 57% of his snaps as the Buffalo left outside receiver. He’ll get an elite matchup against Mike Ford, as Darius Slay is expected to shadow Zay Jones. Ford has played 62% of his snaps as the Detroit Lions right outside cornerback, but he’s also tentatively expected to follow Foster this weekend. Ford has allowed a ridiculous 92% catch rate, while being targeted on 19% of his routes covered this season. He ranks sixth last in the NFL in fantasy points (0.43) allowed per route covered, while also allowing a league-high 2.6 yards per route covered. He has graded out as the fifth worst cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Foster could see a few extra targets with Slay shadowing Jones on this slate, and his big play potential making him an outstanding option for a relatively low price tag.
Stefon Diggs vs Torry McTyer
Stefon Diggs has found plenty of success for the Minnesota Vikings this season. Through 12 games, he’s averaging 7.3 receptions for 76.3 yards and 0.5 touchdowns on 10.5 targets per game. Surprisingly, he has only seen six targets in each of his last two games, but he has seen double digit targets in eight of his 12 games. Minnesota recently fired their offensive coordinator, which could potentially result in more looks for Diggs in the near future.
He has moved around the Minnesota offense quite a bit this season, but he has been labeled the right outside receiver for the Vikings. He’ll get a matchup against Torry McTyer, who has played somewhat limited snaps for the Miami Dolphins this season. Overall, he has played 57% of his snaps as the left outside cornerback for Miami, and that’s where he’s expected to play this week. McTyer has only been targeted on 14% of his routes covered, but he is allowing a 73% catch rate this season. He is also averaging 0.34 fantasy points and 1.95 yards allowed per route covered this season. McTyer has graded out as the fourth worst cornerback in the NFL this season, as well, per Pro Football Focus. At this point in time, Xavien Howard is not expected to play this weekend, meaning Diggs will get a plus matchup against Bobby McCain, Minkah Fitzpatrick, or McTyer, regardless of where he lines up for the Vikings.
Matchups to Avoid
Antonio Brown vs Stephon Gilmore
Antonio Brown has found plenty of success this season, but he hasn’t been the elite-level Antonio Brown we’re used to for fantasy purposes. Through 13 games, he’s averaging 6.6 receptions for 81.8 yards and 0.9 touchdowns on 10.9 targets per game. He’s coming off his worst game of the season, totaling only 8.5 DK points against the Oakland Raiders. Surprisingly, Brown ranks second on the team behind JuJu Smith-Schuster in red zone targets, although Brown does own 19 red zone targets this season.
Brown has played 44% of his snaps as the Pittsburgh Steelers left outside receiver this season, but that won’t matter this week. He’s going to be shadowed by Stephon Gilmore, who has looked comfortable moving around the defense for the New England Patriots. He has faced elite competition on a nearly nightly basis for New England, allowing only a 59% catch rate, while being targeted on 18% of his routes covered. Gilmore is also allowing only 0.28 fantasy points and 1.25 yards per route covered this season. He has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ second best cornerback in the NFL this season, and there’s no reason to attack him on any given week.
T.Y. Hilton vs Byron Jones
T.Y. Hilton has found tremendous success while dealing with injuries this season. He has only played 11 games, but he’s averaging 5.6 receptions for 89.6 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 8.9 targets per game. He has also caught fire over his last four games, as he’s averaging 27.4 DK points per game over that span. Hilton has also totaled 44 targets in those four games. He will be peppered with targets once again this week, but he gets a matchup that he may struggle to produce elite numbers once again.
Hilton has only played 33% of his snaps as the Indianapolis Colts’ left outside receiver, but that’s what he’s labeled as. He’ll get a matchup against Byron Jones, who has played 94% of his snaps as the Dallas Cowboys right outside cornerback. Jones has only been targeted on 14% of his routes covered, allowing a 58% catch rate. He has also held his opponents to 0.19 fantasy points and 1.01 yards per route covered this season. Hilton could also see time across from Anthony Brown and Chidobe Awuzie, as Jones tends not to shadow his opponents. These two players have found some success this season, as well, making this a relatively difficult matchup for Hilton, regardless of how much time he spends across from Jones.
Julio Jones vs Patrick Peterson
Julio Jones has been enjoying an elite season, averaging 7.2 receptions for 109.9 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 11.1 targets per game. He has struggled at times this season, most notably against the Baltimore Ravens. In that game, he scored only 3.8 DK points, but he has bounced back, scoring 33.6 DK points in his last game against the Green Bay Packers. Jones has been a significantly worse option at home, though, where he’s averaging 6.6 receptions for 102.4 yards and 0.1 touchdowns on 10.0 targets per game. Three of Jones’ four “bad” games this season have come in Atlanta, as well.
Jones has played the majority of his snaps (51%) as the Atlanta Falcons left outside receiver this season. He’ll be shadowed by Patrick Peterson, who has been moving all around the Arizona Cardinals defense this season. Peterson has shadowed top receivers for the majority of the season, and he still grades out as a top-five cornerback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. He has held his opponents to a 60% catch rate, while being targeted on 13% of his routes covered. He also owns 0.19 fantasy points and 0.89 yards allowed per route covered averages this season. Jones is an elite receiver, but he has proven that he can be slowed down in tough matchups.