Matchups to Attack
Larry Fitzgerald vs Mackensie Alexander
Larry Fitzgerald, along with the rest of the Arizona Cardinals offense, has struggled mightily this season. Through five games, he owns 17 receptions for 176 yards on 27 targets. In two games with Josh Rosen at quarterback, Fitzgerald has seen a 19.2% target share. Overall, he has struggled, though, totaling only five receptions for 63 yards in those two games. Fitzgerald could produce more efficient numbers as Rosen and company spend more time on the field together, as well.
Fitzgerald has played 78% of his snaps in the slot through five games this season. He’ll match up against Mackensie Alexander, who has played 96% of his snaps as the Minnesota Vikings’ slot corner. Alexander has only played limited snaps this season, but he has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ third worst cornerback in the NFL this season. In those snaps, he has allowed a 100% catch rate, while being targeted on 14% of his routes covered. Alexander also ranks in the bottom-15 of the NFL in fantasy points allowed (0.43) and yards allowed (2.17) per route covered. Fitzgerald’s struggles combined with Minnesota’s success at home should keep his ownership low, making him a great tournament option this week.
Amari Cooper vs Shaquill Griffin
Amari Cooper has performed well this season, but his role in the offense has been wildly inconsistent. He has seen double-digit targets in two games this season, recording 18 receptions for 244 yards and one touchdown on 22 targets. In his other three games, Cooper has posted four receptions for 26 yards on nine targets. Overall, he ranks second on the Raiders in targets, while recording a respectable 71% catch rate with a 12.7 yards per reception average. At this point, Cooper simply needs consistent targets.
He moves around the formation quite a bit, playing between 32% and 34% of his snaps at every receiver position. He’ll face off against Shaquill Griffin for the most part, followed by Tre Flowers, then Justin Coleman. Coleman has graded out as an above average cornerback in the NFL, per PFF, while Griffin and Flowers both rank in the bottom-seven of the league. Griffin has been targeted on 20% of his routes covered, allowing a 68% catch rate. Flowers has been nearly as bad, allowing a 66% catch rate, while being targeted on 21% of his routes covered. While Coleman may be able to hold his own against Cooper, the latter will be in a plus matchup for the majority of this game.
Albert Wilson vs Kevin Toliver
Albert Wilson has only seen a limited role this season, but he has performed well when given the opportunities. Through five games, Wilson has totaled 17 receptions for 204 yards and three touchdown on only 23 targets. He has yet to see more than six targets in a game, but Wilson has proven that he can produce big numbers in only limited targets this season. The only concern is that DeVante Parker is expected to return this week, and Wilson’s role is a bit unknown if Parker is back on the field.
Wilson has played 35% of his snaps as Miami’s left outside receiver, meaning he’ll play the majority of his snaps against Kevin Toliver. Toliver has played limited snaps this season, but he’ll draw the start for the injured Prince Amukamara. Toliver has allowed a 72% catch rate, while being targeted on 38% of his routes covered. He has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ fourth worst cornerback in the NFL through limited snaps, and Miami would be wise to attack him this week. Wilson is a high upside option, but he isn’t safe enough to be considered in cash games.
Matchups to Avoid
Keelan Cole vs Byron Jones
Keelan Cole was expected to take a step forward as Jacksonville’s number one receiver with Marqise Lee injured for the season, but that hasn’t been the case. Cole is one of four players with 30+ targets for the Jaguars this season, and he’s averaging 4.2 receptions, 59.0 yards, and 0.2 touchdowns on 6.8 targets per game this season. He has also totaled only 14 receptions for 179 yards in four games, excluding his matchup against the New England Patriots.
Cole has moved around the Jaguars lineup, but he has seen quite a bit of time as their left outside receiver. He’ll matchup against Byron Jones, who has played 95% of his snaps as the Cowboys right outside cornerback. Jones has allowed only a 50% catch rate, while being targeted on only 11% of his routes covered. He has graded out as PFF’s best cornerback in the NFL this season, and Cole is a player that can be avoided in this matchup.
Tyrell Williams vs Denzel Ward
Tyrell Williams has been a disappointment for the most part this season. He has seen five or fewer targets in each of his five games this season, totaling 13 receptions for 192 yards and one touchdown on 19 targets. He has seen only an 11.1% target share, recording only a few more targets this season than Austin Ekeler and Antonio Gates. While his big play ability adds upside to him as a player, he should struggle with a lack of volume once again this week.
Williams is another player that has moved around the formation this season, but he has played 39% of his snaps as Los Angeles’ right outside receiver. He’ll spend plenty of time against Denzel Ward, who has played 82% of his snaps as Cleveland’s left outside corner. Ward has played at an elite level this season, grading out as the third best cornerback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Ward has been targeted on 18% of his routes covered, allowing only a 49% catch rate. He has proven that he’s a playmaker in the secondary, and Williams will likely struggle to produce in this difficult of a matchup.
Allen Hurns vs A.J. Bouye
Allen Hurns was somewhat expected to be the breakout receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, but that hasn’t been the case. Through five games, he has only recorded eight receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown on 17 targets. He has seen more targets recently, though, totaling 12 targets over his last three games. He’s also coming off his first game of the season with a touchdown.
This is a bit of an interesting matchup, as Hurns has played 86% of his snaps as an outside receiver this season, while A.J. Bouye has played 94% of his snaps as an outside cornerback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s a bit unknown if he will lineup against Hurns for the entire game, but they should spend plenty of time against each other. Bouye has graded out as a top-eight cornerback in the NFL, according to PFF. He has been targeted on only 16% of his routes covered, allowing a 55% catch rate. Taking this one step further, the entire Cowboys receiver group can be avoided in this matchup.