Matchups to Attack
Taylor Gabriel vs Tarvarius Moore
Taylor Gabriel has featured a plethora of ups and downs throughout the 2018 season. Through 14 games, he’s averaging 4.3 receptions for 42.8 yards and 0.1 touchdowns on 6.1 targets per game. He only saw three targets last week, but totaled 31 targets over the four weeks prior to that. More importantly, he had recorded seven or more targets in each of those games. He has also flashed upside earlier in the season, posting a 7/104/2 line against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on seven targets.
Gabriel has played the majority of his snaps (43%) as the Chicago Bears left outside receiver. He’ll get a matchup against Tarvarius Moore, who has played very limited snaps this season, but 74% of those snaps have come as the San Francisco 49ers right outside cornerback. In those limited snaps, he has allowed only a 43% catch rate, while being targeted on 16% of his routes covered. He has also allowed only 0.72 yards and 0.28 fantasy points per route covered this season. Moore has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ sixth worst cornerback in the NFL, though, and he could struggle more as his snaps increase. Gabriel certainly comes with risk, but he has proven to own tremendous upside in plus matchups.
Adam Thielen vs Nevin Lawson
Adam Thielen started the season on an unbelievable pace, but that has tailed off significantly recently. After recording 100+ yards in each of his first eight games, he has totaled 100+ yards in only one of his last six games. He’s also coming off of his worst game of the season, recording only two receptions for 19 yards on two targets. While that game is a major concern, Thielen is averaging 7.5 receptions for 89.6 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 10.2 targets per game. He has also scored double-digit fantasy points in 13 of his 14 games, including five games with 28+ DK points.
Thielen has been the primary slot receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, playing 58% of his snaps out of the slot this season. He gets a great matchup against Nevin Lawson, who has played 52% of his snaps as the Detroit Lions slot corner in 2018. Lawson has graded out as a bottom-15 cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. He has allowed a 61% catch rate, while being targeted on 18% of his routes covered. He’s also allowing 0.32 fantasy points and 1.54 yards per route covered on the season. Thielen is no longer a safe option for his price tag, but he comes with tremendous upside on any given week.
Brandin Cooks vs David Amerson
Brandin Cooks has essentially played in 13 games this season, and he has found plenty of success. On the season, he’s averaging 5.5 receptions for 85.2 yards and 0.2 touchdowns on 8.1 targets per game. He has been a fairly consistent option throughout the season, scoring double-digit fantasy points in 11 of his 13 games. He has flashed tremendous upside, as well, scoring 20+ DK points in five games this season. Cooks has also seen 12 targets in two of his last five games, and he could once again be a featured part of the offense this weekend.
He has played in the slot at times this season, but he has played 55% of his snaps as the Los Angeles Rams left outside receiver. Patrick Peterson isn’t expected to shadow at this point this week, leaving David Amerson, who is expected to play right outside cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals, to guard Cooks. Amerson has been targeted on 18% of his routes covered this season, allowing a 61% catch rate. He has also allowed 0.25 fantasy points and 0.75 yards per route covered on the season. Furthermore, Amerson has graded out as a bottom-12 cornerback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
Matchups to Avoid
Zay Jones vs Stephon Gilmore
Zay Jones has posted a few big games this season to flash upside for his future, but he has struggled a bit, as well. Through 14 games, he’s averaging 3.2 receptions for 35.1 yards and 0.3 touchdowns on 6.0 targets per game. He has also been struggling a bit recently, scoring six or fewer DK points in three of his last four games, although he has seen 24 targets over the last three weeks.
Jones has played 51% of his snaps out of the slot for the Buffalo Bills this season, but he has recently moved to their right outside receiver position. Where he lines up won’t matter in this game, though, as he’s expected to be shadowed by Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore has consistently shadowed the best receiver on the opposing team, and he grades out as Pro Football Focus’ best cornerback in the NFL this season. He has allowed a 60% catch rate, while being targeted on 18% of his routes covered. He has also held his opponents to 0.27 fantasy points and 1.21 yards per route covered this season. Jones has been entirely too inconsistent this season, and he’ll likely struggle in arguably his most difficult matchup in 2018.
Marquise Goodwin vs Kyle Fuller
Marquise Goodwin was a sexy fantasy option that simply hasn’t lived up to the hype this season. Between the injuries and lack of targets, he has struggled for the most part. Goodwin has only played in 10 games, averaging 2.0 receptions for 36.6 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 3.5 targets per game. He has totaled only three targets over the last two weeks, totaling three receptions for 27 yards. He does come with quite a bit of upside, though, which is the reason he continues to see even limited ownership each week.
Goodwin has played the majority of his snaps (44%) as the left outside receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, but he’s expected to see the majority of his time as their right outside receiver this week. He’ll get a matchup against Kyle Fuller, who has played 99% of his snaps as the Chicago Bears left outside cornerback this season. Fuller has held his opponents to a 59% catch rate, although he has been targeted on 19% of his routes covered. He has also held his opponents to 0.29 fantasy points and 1.3 yards per route covered in 2018. Furthermore, Fuller has graded out as a top-three cornerback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Regardless of where Goodwin plays, he’ll see a tough matchup, as Sherrick McManis and Prince Amukamara have also enjoyed great seasons while on the field. Overall, San Francisco owns a receiving group to avoid on this slate.
Chris Godwin vs Byron Jones
Chris Godwin has shown flashes of greatness this season, but he has also struggled quite a bit in specific situations. On the season, he’s averaging 3.6 receptions for 49.2 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 5.7 targets per game. He was able to score four touchdowns in his first five games, but he only owns one touchdown over his last nine games. Furthermore, Godwin has recorded only one reception for 13 yards on 13 targets over the last two weeks. DeSean Jackson has been a limited participant in practice, and he’ll take away from Godwin’s snaps if he’s able to return this week, as well.
Godwin has moved around the Tampa Bay Buccaneers formation throughout the season, but he has been their left outside receiver with DeSean Jackson injured. If that’s the case again this week, he’ll face off against Byron Jones, who has played 94% of his snaps as the Dallas Cowboys right outside receiver. He has only been targeted on 14% of his routes covered, allowing a 58% catch rate this season. He’s allowing only 0.19 fantasy points and 1.0 yard per route covered this season, as well. Jones currently grades out as the fifth best cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Keep an eye on the status of Jackson, although neither player should truly be considered in this matchup.