Welcome to the final installment of the weekly wide receiver/cornerback breakdown for the 2022 fantasy football season! We will review each of the outside matchups and both team’s matchups in the slot. Then, below the charts in this article, I break down three favorite matchups to use for DFS purposes. It is the “Big Game” to put a bow on this NFL season and our last chance to win some DFS money for the year for pro football, so let’s get right to it and make those lineups green one last time! Follow me on Twitter (@fightingchance) as well!
|Left WR vs Right CB|
|Wide Receiver||Team||DK / FD $||Cornerback||Opp||Matchup|
|Marquez Valdes-Scantling||KC||$3900 / $5400||Darius Slay||LV||Moderate|
|If you read this column all season you would know that I often rail on Valdes-Scantling for being incredibly inconsistent. If you've watched these playoffs, you'll see why. He had one catch on two targets for six yards in the Divisional Round and then six catches for 116 yards in the AFC Championship. The only consistent part is he had a touchdown in both games. So the guy who had a huge game last week, had 107 yards the previous six games before that combined. Darius Slay has been one of the best corners in football all season long. Valdes-Scantling has the highest ceiling of all Chiefs receivers, but he also has the very real possibility of laying a total egg in the big game.|
|A.J. Brown||PHI||$8000 / $8300||L'Jarius Sneed||NYG||Safe|
|I bought milk on Monday morning and wouldn't you know a certain Eagles receiver was on there as a missing person! Brown has just 50 receiving yards in two playoff games for Philadelphia after racking up nearly 1,500 yards during the regular season. Granted, the Eagles didn't throw much in the NFC Championship considering they were going against a strong defense and then just ran a lot in the second half against a team with no quarterback, but the lack of production is a bit concerning. Sneed has had a pretty terrific season, but he suffered a concussion in the AFC Championship and there's at least a chance he won't be cleared. The Eagles are facing a real offense in the Super Bowl so they are going to have to throw to keep up the pace. Brown has been Hurts go-to guy all year, and you know he loves the bright lights of a big game. I love Brown's chances of having a big game in this one.|
|Right WR vs Left CB|
|Kadarius Toney||KC||$4000 / $6000||James Bradberry||LV||Risky|
|Can this guy ever stay healthy for any stretch of time??? He did have one catch in the AFC Championship, and nearly had another for a touchdown that was ruled incomplete, but Toney had an ankle injury and couldn't finish the game. The talent is certainly there, but the health and consistency are just not. This is a showdown slate, and in that vain you have to try to differentiate yourself from other lineups. That being said, the risk for Toney is so high, and someone liek Mecole Hardman is only a few hundred dollars different. I like Toney's potential, but last I looked there are no fantasy points for potential. I'd look elsewhere.|
|DeVonta Smith||PHI||$7500 / $7700||Jaylen Watson||NYG||Safe|
|Like Brown, Smith hasn't exactly been busting the box score in the playoffs, but again the Eagles offense hasn't been pushed in either game yet, and at least Smith did have 60+ yards and a score against the Giants. He did have that huge "catch" on fourth down early against the 49ers, but we saw what that should have been. He had 95 catches and almost 1,200 yards in the regular season, and Hurts really only focuses on three targets in the pass game. As I said earlier, this isn't going to be a game where the Eagles get up three touchdowns and just grind it out, I believe they are going to have to throw all game long to win. Jaylen Watson allowed about 65% of passes his way to be caught during the regular season, so he isn't a shut down corner. Smith has incredible athleticism and a great quarterback, so I don't see him getting shut down in this game. I do like Brown a bit more for the big game, but I view the Eagles receivers as 1 and 1a for the final showdown slate of the year.|
Now, here are the slot matchups for the game.
|Slot WR vs Slot CB|
|JuJu Smith-Schuster||KC||$5400 / $7000||Avonte Maddox||LV||Safe|
|And here's another Chiefs receiver that left the AFC Championship game as Smith-Schuster couldn't finish with a knee injury and had just one catch. He did not have a great finish to the season, but was probably the Chiefs most consistent wideout the entire year. He hasn't broken 35 receiving yards since Week 15 against the Texans, You have to believe that he will be out there with two weeks to rest, and the Eagles weakest link in the secondary is Maddox as he allowed 82.5% of passes his way to be caught. Not that he is a bad corner, just the other two are really good. His price tag is very reasonable, and if you are going to choose a wide receiver from the Chiefs, he is probably one of two that I would consider. He might not have the ceiling of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but he sure has a higher floor. Smith-Schuster is a very reasonable choice for your showdown slate in GPPs.|
|Quez Watkins||PHI||$3300 / $5000||Trent McDuffie||NYG||Risky|
|He hasn't caught a pass yet in the playoffs, and he has only been targeted once in the two games. Again, the Eagles haven't exactly had to use their aerial game much, but Watkins only had 33 catches anyway in 17 games in the regular season and averaged 20 yards per contest. If you are really looking to save money and need a dart throw and pray for a touchdown maybe he is an option but I'd rather Mecole Hardman or Skyy Moore than Watkins given that a couple of Chiefs wide receivers are banged up. Watkins really isn't a fantasy option for the season's final game.|
He’s just been the best wide receiver on the team all year long, and there’s no reason to think that he won’t show up in the biggest game of his career. Brown has been very quiet in the playoffs, but he has been sure chirping plenty about not getting the ball, so you know he is itching to make a big impact. The Eagles really don’t throw the ball to many players. It is the two big receivers, Goedert, and the running backs, mostly Kenneth Gainwell. While DeVonta Smith has had more production in the playoffs, I see Brown cementing his legacy as one of the best of this generation of wide receivers and balling out with a big game. Let’s also not forget that the Chiefs allowed the most passing touchdowns during the regular season this year, and it wasn’t all that close. He isn’t cheap, but he should be worth the asking price and then some.
As stated earlier in the article, he is the poster boy for inconsistency when it comes to wide receiver production. However, he has been locked in with Patrick Mahomes this season around the red zone, and he has a shot to score in all three playoff games. It certainly won’t be easy as Darius Slay has long been one of the best corners in the league, and could have had his best season in 2022. The key to Valdes-Scantling is he doesn’t need to have huge volume to have a solid fantasy game. He might only need two or three plays to possibly hit that 100 yards and maybe a touchdown. He is far from a sure thing, but the upside is there, and there aren’t many mid-level options in this showdown slate.
This game doesn’t really lend itself to a lot of bargain bins so you might have to focus on other positions like Kenneth Gainwell or perhaps a kicker. The other problem is the health of Chiefs receivers. If Hardman and Toney are definitely healthy, either could be a dart throw, but they have both been dealing with injuries for months. Does Skyy Moore get more attention if those guys are limited? Perhaps. But while he might not be as cheap, Smith-Schuster is probably the best bet here. As I said in the chart, he has finished with a whimper, but he had several very strong games during the year. He also isn’t 100% but he should be fine in two weeks. Maddox is a beatable corner, Smith-Schuster has had a strong career, and he is a solid option for the season finale.
*Information gathered from research done at Pro Football Focus.