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Matchups to Attack
Jamison Crowder vs Corey Ballentine
Jamison Crowder has seen mixed results in 2019. Through 8 games, he owns 43 receptions for 405 yards and 1 touchdown on 59 targets. Crowder leads the New York Jets with 6 red zone targets, turning those into 4 receptions for 36 yards and 1 touchdown. Most importantly, he has found more success with Darnold. In 5 games with Darnold healthy, Crowder is averaging 7 receptions for 66 yards and 0.2 touchdowns (14.9 DK points) on 9 targets per game. In 3 games without Darnold, he’s averaging only 2.7 receptions for 25 yards (5.2 DK points) on 4.7 targets per game.
Crowder has played 75% of his snaps as New York’s slot receiver this season. He gets a matchup against Corey Ballentine, who was only recently inserted into the starting lineup. In limited snaps, he has played 91% as the New York Giants slot cornerback. Ballentine has struggled, giving up a 67% catch rate, while being targeted on 27% of his routes covered. He has given up 0.32 fantasy points and 1.42 yards per route covered, as well. Ballentine has also graded out as Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) worst cornerback in the NFL this season. New York features one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, and Ballentine is likely going to continue to struggle throughout his rookie season. Crowder features surprising upside for his price tag, and he makes a solid option on this slate.
Larry Fitzgerald vs Vernon Hargreaves III
Larry Fitzgerald has been far from a consistent option this season. He has flashed upside, though. He has posted 42 receptions for 485 yards and 2 touchdowns on 63 targets through 9 games. Fitzgerald has only seen 504 air yards in 2019 to go along with an 8 aDOT. More importantly, he has recorded a team-high eight red zone targets, turning those into three receptions for five yards and two touchdowns. Both of his touchdowns have come from inside the 10-yard line, as well.
Fitzgerald has almost exclusively been a slot receiver in 2019. He has played 90% of his snaps as the Arizona Cardinals slot receiver this season. Fitzgerald gets a matchup against Vernon Hargreaves III. He has only played 25% of his snaps as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers slot corner, but that’s where he’s expected to play this weekend. Hargreaves has been targeted on 19% of his routes covered, giving up a ridiculous 71% catch rate. He has also struggled this season, allowing 0.40 fantasy points and 1.88 yards per route covered. Hargreaves has graded out as a bottom-10 cornerback in the NFL, per PFF. Fitzgerald isn’t the safest option on the slate, but he can be considered in tournaments for a low price tag.
Mike Evans vs Patrick Peterson
Mike Evans has been somewhat of a boom or bust option this season. He has scored as many as 48 DK points in a game, while failing to record any DK points against the New Orleans Saints. Through 8 games, Evans owns 50 receptions for 842 yards and 7 touchdowns. He boasts a 15.8 aDOT, while leading the NFL with 1,311 air yards. Evans ranks second in the NFL with 14 red zone targets. He owns 7 receptions for 50 yards and 4 touchdowns on those targets.
Evans has played 42% of his snaps as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers left outside receiver, but that won’t matter this weekend. He’ll be shadowed by Patrick Peterson, who has struggled while shadowing Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders this season. Peterson has only played limited snaps in 2019 because of his suspension. Since returning, he has been targeted on 20% of his routes covered. He has also allowed an 80% catch rate this season. Peterson has given up 0.42 fantasy points and 2.04 yards per route covered, as well. Peterson has graded out as a bottom-20 cornerback in the NFL this season, according to PFF. He boasts name value, but this is a matchup Evans can take advantage of.
Matchups to Avoid
DeVante Parker vs Marvell Tell III
DeVante Parker has quietly been enjoying a decent season for the Miami Dolphins. He has turned 52 targets into 28 receptions for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. He has also scored double-digit fantasy points in each of his last five games. Parker has seen 759 air yards, boasting a 14.6 aDOT. He ranks second on the team with five red zone targets. He has turned those into 3 receptions for 40 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Parker has played 42% of his snaps as Miami’s right outside receiver. He’s expected to get a matchup against Marvell Tell III, who has played limited snaps in 2019. He has only played 26% of his snaps as the Indianapolis Colts left outside receiver, but that’s expected to be his position this weekend. Tell has given up a 75% catch rate, but he has only been targeted on 15% of his routes covered. He has held his opponents to 0.25 fantasy points and 1.40 yards per route covered in 2019, as well. While Tell has only seen limited snaps, he has graded out as a top-five cornerback in the NFL, per PFF. Parker could see a boost in value with the injury to Preston Williams, but he can be avoided in this particular matchup.
Auden Tate vs Marcus Peters
Auden Tate has surprisingly seen a breakout season in 2019. Through 7 games, he boasts 27 receptions for 391 yards and 1 touchdown on 54 targets. He has posted an 11.2 aDOT, recording 605 air yards this season. Tate has seen a featured role in the red zone, posting 13 red zone targets this season. He has turned those into 4 receptions for 25 yards and 1 touchdown.
Tate has played 41% of his snaps as the Cincinnati Bengals left outside receiver this season. He’ll face off against Marcus Peters, who has played 55% of his snaps as the Baltimore Ravens right outside cornerback. He has been targeted on 17% of his routes covered, holding his opponents to a 62% catch rate. Peters has also held his opponents to 0.30 fantasy points and 1.35 yards per route covered in 2019. He has graded out as PFF’s sixth best cornerback in the NFL this season. A.J. Green is expected to return to action this week, but he’s expected to take over for Alex Erickson. Tate will likely see similar snaps, but could see a reduced role in the red zone (and overall). Simply put, there are too many unknown factors to consider Tate in a difficult matchup on this slate.
Marvin Jones Jr. vs Prince Amukamara
Marvin Jones Jr. has been another boom or bust option throughout the 2019 season. He has posted 42 receptions for 535 yards and 6 touchdowns on 57 targets through 8 games. Jones has also scored 29.6 and 43.3 DK points in 2 of his last 3 games. With that being said, he scored only 6.2 DK points in the third game. Jones brings 752 air yards and a 13.2 aDOT into this game, as well. He has seen 10 red zone targets, turning those into 8 receptions for 57 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Jones has only played 23% of his snaps as the Detroit Lions left outside receiver, but he’s expected to see plenty of time there this weekend. He gets a matchup against Prince Amukamara, who has played 97% of his snaps as the Chicago Bears right outside cornerback. He has given up a 64% catch rate, but he has only been targeted on 12% of his routes covered. Amukamara has also held his opponents to only 0.18 fantasy points and 0.87 yards per route covered this season. He grades out as a top-11 cornerback in the NFL, according to PFF. Jones boasts tremendous upside, but he can be avoided in this particular matchup.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)