Welcome to the weekly wide receiver/cornerback breakdown! We will review each of the outside matchups, as well as my three favorite matchups in the slot. Then, below the charts in this article, I break down my elite, affordable, and bargain picks for DFS purposes. We are on to the Divisional Round, so the slates get smaller, but that doesn’t change the chance to win some big DFS money. There are only a few weeks left until the season is officially in the books, so don’t pass up this opportunity to win. Follow me on Twitter (@fightingchance) as well!
|Left Wide Receivers vs. Right Cornerbacks|
|Stefon Diggs||BUF||Charvarius Ward||KC|
The Bills scored a million points on the Patriots last week, but Diggs only had three catches for 60 yards. This game should be a little more in control where the Bills can't just do whatever they want and should have to rely on their top option more. Diggs had just two catches for 69 yards against the Chiefs back in Week 5, but I am expecting a better performance this week. However, Diggs hasn't had 100 yards since Week 10 and only topped 75 yards twice in that span. I do look for Diggs to have a good game and he could very well score a touchdown. I definitely like his salary this week, especially on DraftKings considering how many other elite receivers are still in play, so Diggs is a solid play based on his value.
|Tee Higgins||CIN||Janoris Jenkins||TEN|
After an explosion towards the end of the season, Higgins has gone extremely quiet the last two weeks and dropped a total dud in the Wild Card win with just one catch for ten yards. The Titans allow about 245 yards a game though the air, but did allow just 24 passing touchdowns in 17 games. His salary is pretty reasonable so you can sneak him into some lineups, but right now all of the confidence has to be on Ja'Marr Chase and Higgins is more of play and hope rather than a play with confidence.
|Davante Adams||GB||Emmanuel Moseley||GB|
I gave up having to give you good reasons on why you should play Adams about midseason as he was one of the top receivers all season long and is the only reliable receiver that the Packers have. The 49ers defense is on a hot streak, but the secondary still isn't great. Adams also OWNED them in Week 3 with 12 catches and 132 yards against them. Adams had three 100-yard in the last five and scored six touchdowns in those games as well. I have preached volume in this article all season long and you know Rodgers is going to go to his bread and butter at least a dozen times in this one. Adams is a dynamite play in the Division Round.
|Mecole Hardman||KC||Levi Wallace||BUF|
With Tyreek Hill getting back on track, Hardman was back to his usual self with four catches for 43 yards on four targets against the Steelers secondary. The draw gets much tougher this week against the Bills who are the number one defense in football. Hardman did have nine catches for 76 yards against them in Week 5, but I'm not putting a ton of stock in a game on October 10th. Look for Hill and Travis Kelce to continue to be the focal point of the passing game, and while I expect Mahomes to put up big numbers, I wouldn't look for Hardman to be a big fantasy contributor. Look elsewhere.
|Odell Beckham||LAR||Jamel Dean||TB|
His 54 yards in the Wild Card round was his most since Week 14, but that isn't the story with Beckham, He had a touchdown last week and has now had a touchdown in six of the last eight games. The volume isn't great with just nine targets in the last two games, but you can't argue with success and Beckham has found the end zone a lot. His salary isn't high and the Rams should throw a lot with the Bucs tough against the run. Beckham is a nice lower priced option for the Divisional Round.
|Deebo Samuel||SF||Jaire Alexander||GB|
He was only targeted three times against the Cowboys and he caught all three for 38 yards. However, he did run ten times for 72 yards and a score. If he's not doing it one way, he's doing it another. He is the most important part of the 49ers offense and the Packers struggle to stop the run. Samuel had five catches for 52 yards against them in Week 3 but this is a very different team now. There's almost no way that Samuel won't make an impact on this game. He has a touchdown in eight of the last nine games and he is a great option for cash games especially, but I would use him in GPPs as well.
|Mike Evans||TB||Jalen Ramsey||LAR|
The offensive line and running game is banged up, the group of wide receivers is down to almost nothing, and Evans has to be the top option. He had nine catches for 117 yards and a touchdown last week on ten targets against the Eagles. He has scored in three straight games and five touchdowns in the last five games. He has 24 targets in the last three games and I think he will only continue to be more of a factor in the playoffs. Ramsey is one of the best corners in football, but we are talking about Tom Brady here and I love Evans in this game, even if some shy away because of the matchup.
|A.J. Brown||TEN||Chidobe Awuzie||CIN|
With Derrick Henry due back, look for the Titans offense to revert back to the really run heavy approach they had in the first half of the season. That shouldn't be a huge blow to Brown's fantasy value as he is the best receiver they have by a mile. The Bengals did allow 26 passing touchdowns in 17 games, and played pretty well against the Raiders last week. Brown is the lowest priced receiver among the elite options so his price tag makes him very attractive to fit into a lot of lineups. He is probably more of a cash game option given the salary cap savings, but Brown could blow up in this one and give you 20+ points.
|Right Wide Receivers vs. Left Cornerbacks|
|Gabriel Davis||BUF||Mike Hughes||KC|
His usage is all over the map as he had three targets last week and 14 the game before that. However, with the entire Bills receiving room healthy, it is hard to try to guess who is going to get a good amount of targets. Davis has watched his salary creep up to perhaps be higher than it should be considering the success of the Bills running game lately and five legitimate targets for Josh Allen to throw to. He is always a threat to score like he did last week, but is becoming a little less of a bargain option than he has been in the recent past. Davis is still a good dart throw, just not as affordable as he has been in recent weeks.
|Ja'Marr Chase||CIN||Kristian Fulton||TEN|
He is a virtual DFS lottery ticket right now. If you take Week 18 out of accoutn as the Bengals sat their starters for most of the game, Chase has three straight games with over 115 yards and 27 catches over those contests. He is incredibly motivated and locked in with Joe Burrow right now. The kid is a slate buster waiting to happen, and although the Titans secondary improved as the season went on, I really don't feel like they are a typical number one seed. I think Cincinnati has a good chance of going into Tennessee and win the game and it would be on the arm of Joe Burrow. Chase is a dynamite option in both cash and GPP plays as he is always a threat to pop off.
|Allen Lazard||GB||Josh Norman||SF|
With Randall Cobb coming back and Marquez Valdes-Scantling with a back injury, that should put Lazard as the second outside receiver. He has scored five touchdowns in the last five weeks of the season including a five catch and two touchdown game in the season finale. Lazard has definitely been the other receiver besides Davante Adams to trust after the Packers bye. The 49ers defense is on fire lately, but if the line can't get pressure on the quarterback, Aaron Rodgers shouldn't have much trouble picking them apart. San Francisco has a stout run defense so look for the Packers to throw a lot. He is very reasonably priced and I like Lazard as a bit of a dart throw for the Divisional Round.
|Byron Pringle||KC||Dane Jackson||BUF|
He is definitely a risk, but when Pringle is on his game he is a nice dart throw. He had two touchdown among his five catches in the Wild Card round and has five or more catches in three of the last four weeks. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are going to dominate, but Patrick Mahomes can't only throw to those guys. He has seven or more targets in three of the last four weeks, and seems to have moved in front of Mecole Hardman in the pecking order. The Bills have a strong secondary but this game should feature a lot of scoring and I like Pringle as a lower priced option for this weekend.
|Van Jefferson||LAR||Carlton Davis||TB|
He always has a chance to have a good game in a high powered Rams offense, but Jefferson hasn't had much of an impact in a while. He had just one catche last week and only has topped 50 yards once in the last five games. He also has had two catches or fewer in five of the last six weeks. He hasn't scored since Week 14. In case you aren't picking up what I am saying, Jefferson always has a chance to be successful and perhaps even a big game, but the chance of it is low and you shouldn't risk your DFS dollars on such an inconsistent player.
|Brandon Aiyuk||SF||Kevin King||GB|
He continued to play pretty well with five catches for 66 yards against the Cowboys and he now has at least 65 yards in three straight games with 15 catches over that span. With Deebo Samuel being featured as much in the running game as he is in the passing, that has opened up more targets for Aiyuk. With him getting less attention from the defense, Aiyuk is a good threat to score. I expect the 49ers to run the ball at least 30 times in this one, but Aiyuk should still get a good half dozen targets. If you aren't looking to spend on Samuel or taking the chance on Kittle, Aiyuk is another option for a passing game that should have some success on Saturday night.
|Tyler Johnson||TB||Darious Williams||LAR|
The Buccaneers receivers are completely banged up as both Cyril Grayson and Breshad Perriman were unable to practice on Wednesday with multiple injuries. If both are unable to go, Johnson gets a bump, and even if they both play they will both be compromised. Johnson only topped 50 yards twice and didn't score all season long. The Rams are a solid secondary, but this is Tom Brady and it is the playoffs. You have to figure that the passing game is going to funnel through Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski, and Johnson is just a dart throw with a pretty decent opportunity.
|Julio Jones||TEN||Eli Apple||CIN|
Yeah he had nine targets which he turned into five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown in the bye week clinching win in Week 18 but here's why I'm not excited. He is still one hamstring tweak away from leaving a game and had a single target in the previous two games he played in each. He hasn't been effective all season long, and I expect the Titans to run a lot. Even with his cheap salary I still would stay away from Jones.
Now, here are my three favorite matchups in the slot for the Divisional Round
|Slot Wide Receivers vs. Slot Cornerbacks|
|Cooper Kupp||LAR||Sean Murphy-Bunting||TB|
What a TERRIBLE game he had in the Wild Card round as he had just five catches for 61 yards against the Cardinals. That certainly is sarcasm, but it really was the worst game he had since Week 4. However, Kupp scored for the sixth time in seven games and he is basically a lock to score again this week. He had nine catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns all the way back in Week 3 against the Bucs. While I don't put a ton of stock into that game, Kupp has just been dominating all season long and there's just no reason to think he won't have a huge game again. He is expensive, but is always worth it and Kupp should have another massive game this weekend.
|Tyreek Hill||KC||Taron Johnson||BUF|
He still hasn't been the guy that he was most of the seaons, but it was a step in the right direction as he caught all five targets for 57 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown against Pittsburgh was just his second since Week 10, and you have to figure that the heel is still bothering him. But, this is the playoffs and it will be a hard fought game where the Chiefs are going to have to rely on their top options. Look for Hill to score again and will get close to double digit targets. He might have low usage because of his recent struggles and he is a solid GPP option even against a tough Bills defense.
|Tyler Boyd||CIN||Elijah Molden||TEN|
He has just seven catches in the last two weeks, but Boyd has scored in four straight and the Bengals are killing it in the passing game. Molden had a 103.6 quarterback rating against, and the Titans secondary has been decent all seaosn long, they are beatable. With Tee Higgins having a late in the year swoon, Boyd has picked up the slack and you can't argue with the touchdowns he has been scoring. Look for Joe Burrow to continue to look in the slot when he needs a big catch, and Boyd is pretty cheap in DFS this week.
Davante Adams vs. Emmanuel Moseley
The Packers are coming off a bye, they are at home, Adams made the 49ers defense his bitch in the beginning of the season and he has been among the top three to five receivers all season long. He is the number one, two, and three options in this passing game, and has no real competition for being the top target. The 49ers defense is predicated on the defensive line getting pressure and top rusher Nick Bosa and their top linebacker Fred Warner are both less than 100%. Cooper Kupp is also an amazing choice, but it is just so hard to look away from Adams as he is the alpha of this offense especially when the run game likely struggles against San Francisco.
Deebo Samuel vs. Jaire Alexander
There are a lot of elite options, but Deebo continues to score almost every week and he is a threat both on the ground and as a receiver. The Packers have allowed 31 passing touchdowns this season, and I just don’t see them as an unbeatable number one seed. Samuel is the focal point of the offense as he is a threat in every facet of the game and can’t be ignored. There are few receivers that are going to touch the ball as many times as Samuel will on Saturday night and he is an incredibly good bet to score a touchdown in the Divisional Round.
Mike Evans vs. Jalen Ramsey
Sure, it isn’t a good matchup with one of the best corners in the league, but Tom Brady is running out of options to throw to, and Evans is by far the best one. I mean he was a reliable option all season long even when Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown were healthy (or when they didn’t tear off their jersey mid-game and throw clothes into the crowd). This is Tom Brady and the playoffs, and he has made stars out of lesser players, and Evans is actually a near elite talent. Evans is a great touchdown scorer with 27 in the last two weeks and is a great bet to score every Sunday. You want a part of this compromised Tampa Bay passing game and his salary is lower than it should be in my opinion and Evans is great option.
Tyreek Hill vs Levi Wallace
I have to admit this pick comes with a little trepidation as he has not been himself the past month or so, but the fact that he had five catches (albeit on only five targets) gives me hope that he is getting back to normal. It is crunch time for the Chiefs and they are going to need their bread and butter to both be solid to get by Buffalo. Not sure which of Tyreek and Kelce is the bread and the butter, but we know those are the top two options. Hill is a dynamic talent with speed to burn who can take any reception and bring it the distance to the end zone. Buffalo was the top defense against the pass this season, but there are only four games and Hill is an unquestioned top ten receiver. To get him at the price he is this week is just begging you to play him and I think I am taking the bait.
Odell Beckham vs. Jamel Dean
My distaste for this guy is well documented. Beckham is my least favorite player in football. However, I have to be unbiased when I am giving you guys advice, and he can’t be ignored this week. Sure, Cooper Kupp is going to get the majority of the targets, that is a given. But Beckham is talented enough to do good things against the defenders on him, and he has been scoring like crazy. There should be no weather concerns for this one and this game should be played in the air a lot. I would like to see him get more targets, but he has been doing a lot with what he has been given and can even be used on a run play or perhaps even throwing the ball. I might not like him but the talent is there and the price is very reasonable for him to possibly be even the third receiver in your DFS lineup.
*Information gathered from research done at Pro Football Focus.