Welcome to the playoff edition of the weekly wide receiver/cornerback breakdown! We will review each of the outside matchups, as well as my five favorite matchups in the slot. Then, below the charts in this article, I break down my five absolute favorite matchups. This article is critical for daily players, as this will help you gain a competitive advantage when setting your lineups. We are now in the playoffs so this will focus on DFS contests, although it can help you set some of those playoff challenge lineups too! Follow me on Twitter (@fightingchance) as well!
|Left WR||Right CB||Analysis|
|Marquise Brown BAL||Malcolm Butler TEN||It was a terrible start to the season for Brown and he hit rock bottom in Week 11 when he failed to have even a single catch against the lowly Titans secondary. That seemed to light a fire under him as he scored in every game but one for the rest of the year. He got himself together, and Lamar Jackson started to play better as well. The Titans secondary isn't great by any stretch, although Butler is the best they have and he was ranked in the top-25 corners according to Pro Football Focus this season. However, he did allow 162 yards and a touchdown in the last two games of the season, and the Ravens are hot. Brown is on a great scoring spree and with the matchup he is a great choice for your lineups this week.|
|Stefon Diggs BUF||Xavier Rhodes IND||Rhodes is a top-15 cornerback, but how do you not lean on Diggs right now? If he hadn't been pulled early last week it would have been his fifth straight game with nine or more catches and 90 yards. He is an absolute monster and led the league in catches and yards. Rhodes faded towards the end of the seaosn as he allowed 14 of the last 19 targets at him to be caught and a touchdown in two of the last three games. The Colts defense has not been as strong in the second half and I am expecting a big game out of Diggs.|
|Allen Robinson CHI||Marshon Lattimore NO||It was a much better second half for Lattimore and the Saints secondary, but Robinson is one of the toughest assignments in football. Lattimore still finished as the 90th ranked corner by Pro Football Focus and he allows nearly 14 yards per reception. Robinson had a ridiculous 151 targets this season, which is nearly an average of ten per game. He had six catches for 87 yards and a score in Week 8 against the Saints, there is no reason not to expect a similar output this week. The Bears are likely to be trailing in this game and should be throwing a good deal. While Darnell Mooney was the focus last week, we should see a ton of Robinson in the Wild Card round. He will be an elite option for your DFS lineups.|
|Rashard Higgins CLE||Steven Nelson PIT||He had a very good final month of the season and Higgins landed on the fantasy radar on a weekly basis. However, it wasn't exactly a tough stretch of defenses as they played the Texans, Eagles, Jaguars, Titans, and Giants during that span. There was a game against the Ravens which he performed well, although his touchdown catch the defender fell down, and the Steelers although last week was an odd game. Higgins is a decent receiver, but I think he has reached his peak for the season and draws a really tough matchup against the Steelers on the road. He could have a decent game considering Cleveland will be without KhaDarel Hodge and likely Donovan Peoples-Jones too, but I am not expecting much more than ten fantasy points from him against Pittsburgh.|
|T.Y. Hilton IND||Tre'Davious White BUF||It was a nice run for Hilton there for a few weeks, but I would imagine that you have the same lack of confidence in him now as we did for most of the season. Sure, he scored a touchdown last week, but he also had just three catches for 27 yards against the freaking Jaguars! The Colts spread the ball around to everyone so much that it is basically impossible to trust any of their receiving weapons in this one. Stack on top of that the Bills defense has been playing much better and White is one of the better corners in the league and Hilton is a big fat fade for me on Saturday.|
|Robert Woods LAR||Shaquill Griffin SEA||It has been a disastrous end to the season for the Rams offense and Woods has watched his production basically disappear. It is a huge long shot for Jared Goff to start this week, and that would put John Wolford under center again. He wasn't horrible last week, but I can't say that he instilled a ton of confidence in me. Seattle's secondary has played better towards the end and Griffin hasn't allowed a touchdown against him since Week 12. Woods didn't play well in either game against Seattle as he had a combined nine catches for 89 yards without scoring this season. This game is likely to be played a lot on the ground and I don't have a ton of confidence that Woods performs well.|
|Michael Thomas NO||Kyle Fuller CHI||He hasn't played since Week 14, but Thomas is on track to play this weekend. When he has been on the field this season, he has been pretty good, and that includes games with Taysom Hill at quarterback. The Bears defense has been falling apart in the last month or so of the season, and the Saints should be able to throw on them plenty. There could be a bit of rust with Thomas, but he is an intriguing option as his salary is certainly not what it would be if he had played all season. Thomas will be the most targeted receiver on the team and with everyone back he won't be able to get the attention of the defense that he likely deserves.|
|Diontae Johnson PIT||Denzel Ward CLE||When it comes to Diontae Johnson we can sum him up in one word: VOLUME! He was the eighth most targeted receiver in football this season, which is pretty impressive considering the number of weapons the Steelers have to throw to. He had eight or more catches in five of the last seven games, and you can barely count last week since the Steelers didn't give it their all. The Cleveland secondary allowed 31 pass touchdowns this season, and Ward was responsible for five of them. He is a pretty talented defender, but the Steelers have thrown the ball well all year and Johnson has been the main guy. He never gets the DFS love he should and he will be a great option at his salary level.|
|D.K. Metcalf SEA||Jalen Ramsey LAR||Much like the Seahawks passing game, Metcalf limped to the finish line as he didn't top 65 yards in any of the final four games. He also struggled mightily twice against Jalen Ramsey and the Rams as he combined for just eight catches and 87 yards without a touchdown in their matchups. There's no reason right now to think that the Seahawks offense will all of a sudden go aerial again or that the Rams secondary will suddenly deconstruct. As much as I love Metcalf's talent, there is absolutely no reason to use him for your DFS games this weekend.|
|Mike Evans TB||Ronald Darby WFT||There was no ligament damage for Evans in his knee after the scary injury last week, but his availability is still a question. Chris Godwin came out on Tuesday and said he wouldn't want to be the one to tell Evans he couldn't play. If he does, it will depend on if he is able to practice at all if I am willing to trust him. I honestly think that he will be more of a decoy or at least will be targeted less than normal. Darby is a top-15 corner and the only way you could think of using Evans is if you think he will score. He does have a six-inch height advantage on Darby which could be important in the red zone which is where Evans has shined in 2020. The risk is likely a little too large for me personally, but I could see reasons why you would trust Evans.|
|A.J. Brown TEN||Marlon Humphrey BAL||Brown is a lot like Mike Evans in that his 2020 fantasy value has been largely tied to his touchdown catches, although he also had nearly 1,100 yards. He is a beast of a man to try to cover, and also difficult to take down once he has the ball. He scored 11 times in 14 games this season, including in Week 11 against Humphrey and Baltimore where he had four catches and 62 yards. Humphrey allows just ten yards per reception, but he does also yield a 64 percent catch rate. Brown doesn't get the targets of some other elite receivers, but he is still Ryan Tannehill's go-to man most weeks. The Ravens have a solid secondary, but Brown should still get his this week.|
|Terry McLaurin WFT||Carlton Davis TB||He only had 40 yards last week against the Eagles, but the fact that he was out there at all considerin his high-ankle sprain, McLaurin proved a lot. If you add in that he had seven catches and a touchdown, that is a really solid 17 fantasy point game in one we all thought he would sit out. It will be an uphill climb for Washington against Tampa, but they certainly will be better served trying to throw against the Bucs rather than run. McLaurin is their one reliable wide receiver and when throwing down the field it is only really he and Cam Sims that Alex Smith looks to. I expect Washington to be playing from behind in much of this game and Smith could throw more than he wants to. Davis is a solid corner and the best they have, but I don't see McLaurin being shut down in this one by any stretch.|
|Right WR||Left CB||Analysis|
|Miles Boykin BAL||Adoree Jackson TEN||He had 19 catches all season long and seven of them came in the first two weeks of the year. He hasn't had more than one catch since Week 8 and although he has caught some touchdowns this season, the risk FAR outweighs the potential reward.|
|John Brown BUF||T.J. Carrie IND||It has been a season riddled with injuries for Brown, but when he has been on the field he has mostly produced. With Cole Beasley a question mark for this one and at least not 100 percent even if he plays, this should vault Brown to even more work against the Colts. They started out as one of the better pass defenses, but Carrie allows over 13 yards per reception including over 50 receiving yards against him in each of the last two weeks. He also allowed a touchdown pass in the finale against the Jaguars. Stefon Diggs is clearly the top option on the team, but Brown will be a decent cost saving option in a game that the Bills should throw plenty and have some success doing it.|
|Darnell Mooney CHI||Janoris Jenkins NO||He finally had the game we thought was possible when he finished the season with 11 catches and 93 yards against the Packers last Sunday. However, it was not a banner day for the Bears offense and if they hope to win games they can't just check down to David Montgomery and Mooney. Jenkins has allowed at least 50 receiving yards in three straight and has surrendered a touchdown in two of the last three weeks. I still think the Bears are going to struggle offensively against the Saints at home in the playoffs. Mooney isn't the worst cost saving option for the weekend slate, but I am not overly confident in him or his quarterback for this Wild Card contest.|
|Marvin Hall CLE||Joe Haden PIT||Donovan Peoples-Jones likely misses this game with a concussion and KhaDarel Hodge tested positive for Covid on Tuesday. This will likely put Hall in the starting lineup as the opposite outside receiver from Rashard Higgins. He has only been on the Browns for a few weeks after being let go from the Lions and he did next to nothing in that game against the Jets where the Browns were without their wide receiver group due to Covid. The Steelers are a dynamite pass defense and there is no reason to consider Hall for any lineup this weekend.|
|Michael Pittman IND||Levi Wallace BUF||He has just nine catches in the last four weeks combined and hasn't topped 50 receiving yards since Week 11. Pittman has great talent, but the situation is not ideal for production for him in 2020. The Bills secondary has improved lately and Wallace has allowed just seven of the last 17 targets against him to be caught. He also hasn't allowed a touchdown in three weeks and there is no reason to think that Pittman will be a solid fantasy player for Saturday.|
|Josh Reynolds LAR||D.J. Reed SEA||There is a chance that Cooper Kupp is able to play in this game, and if he does that hurts Reynolds chances a little bit. Seattle has been playing vastly better pass defense lately, and the Rams will be without their starting quarterback. Reynolds has played well in both games against the Seahawks with a combined 14 catches for 159 yards without a score. However, Jared Goff was the quarterback in both of those. John Wolford wasn't completely awful last week, but Reynolds would be a bit of a long shot anyway and the added risk of a backup quarterback makes him too hard to trust.|
|Emmanuel Sanders NO||Kyle Fuller CHI||He does have three straight games with at least 75 receiving yards but Sanders has been the top receiver on the team in recent weeks because of injuries to the team. Even with that, Sanders had six or fewer targets in every game since he returned from injury in Week 9 except for last week. When the Saints were even remotely healthy at wide receiver Sanders was more of an afterthought than an impact part of their offense. Fuller allows just a 55 percent catch rate and I don't see Sanders as a great DFS choice for this weekend's games.|
|Chase Claypool PIT||Terrence Mitchell CLE||His snaps had been somewhat limited in the last month of the season, but Claypool was unleashed again last week against the Browns with five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. He also played well in Week 6 against the Browns where he had four catches for 74 yards against them. We will have to see what the exact Covid situation is with the Browns as they could be without some starters. Claypool is a bit of a risk as he is more of a big play option than a consistent threat, but when he pays off, he pays off well. He will be a very popular lower salaried option for the weekend slate.|
|David Moore SEA||Darious Williams LAR||Moore hasn't had more than three catches since Week 9 and he had just three catches in the two games against the Rams this season. The Los Angeles secondary is one of the best in football, and Williams is a great, young corner. Moore is the longest of long shots to succeed in this game.|
|Antonio Brown TB||Kendall Fuller WFT||He certainly should be in for more work even if Mike Evans does play as he surely won't be 100 percent. However, if Evans isn't able to play at all, that would zoom Brown into nearly must-play territory. He has scored in four straight games, but it will be a tough matchup this week agianst Fuller and the Washington pass defense. They allowed the second fewest passing yards in the league, and Fuller hasn't allowed more than ten receiving yards in the last three games. However, they will be hard pressed to keep the Buccaneers pass game in check and I think Brown is going to have a really solid fantasy day.|
|Corey Davis TEN||Anthony Averett BAL||He has been incredibly inconsistent this year as he has often traded off between 100 yard games and under 50 yard games. He has scored only twice since Week 8, and they have a tough matchup against the Ravens. However, we have seen that you can possibly throw on Baltimore with some success like Cleveland did a few weeks ago and Davis himself had five catches for 113 yards against them in Week 11. With the top corner being on A.J. Brown, there is still a good chance that Davis could pop off against Averett who allows a 73 percent catch rate. Four of his five touchdowns have also been at home and Davis isn't a bad option when you need to save a little salary.|
|Cam Sims WFT||Jamel Dean TB||He does have five catches in three of the last five weeks, but Sims has just one touchdown all season long. He also has topped 50 receiving yards just twice in the last seven games. The Football Team is going to have to throw plenty to try to keep up with Tampa Bay in this one but there is little to suggest that we can count on Sims this weekend. The offense is going to go through the check downs to J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson and down field to Logan Thomas and Terry McLaurin. Considering that Washington isn't exactly a high powered offense that scores a lot of points it would be a very risky option to trust Sims for Wild Card Weekend.|
Now, here are my five favorite matchups in the slot for Wild Card Weekend.
|Slot WR||Slot CB||Analysis|
|Chris Godwin TB||Jimmy Moreland WFT||It hasn't been a great season for Godwin as he has gone in and out with injury, but he has been much more reliable in the second half of the season. He has 50 or more receiving yards and five or more catches in five of the last seven games. Moreland hasn't allowed a touchdown this season, but he also allows 72 percent of passes sent his way to be caught. With Mike Evans at least someone limited and Tom Brady being a seasoned playoff quarterback I would say that Godwin should be in for a solid game.|
|Juju Smith-Schuster PIT||M.J. Stewart CLE||It may have been Mason Rudolph at quarterback, but Smith-Schuster still had six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in the finale against these same Browns. Stewart has allowed nine of the last 12 targets against him to be caught, including Juju's touchdown last week. The Steelers should have little trouble throwing on the Browns this weekend, and the only question will be which receiver gets the most attention.|
|Jarvis Landry CLE||Cameron Sutton PIT||Landry must have had some great turkey on Thanksgiving because he has had several great games since then. In the last five weeks Landry has 34 catches, 369 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn't great in the first game against the Steelers, but he was better with five catches for 51 yards last week, although it is hard to know how much effort the Steelers put in. Landry is going to get the most volume and he is the most veteran receiver on the team and he is the one guy catching passes that I trust against the Steelers defense on Sunday.|
|Tyler Lockett SEA||Troy Hill LAR||The inclusion of Lockett here shows you how weak this Wild Card group is out of the slot. He's been a disappointment far more than he has been good, and his two touchdowns against the 49ers were his first since Week 11. Lockett wasn't great in either game against the Rams with a combined eight catches for 110 yards and no scores. Troy Hill is a pretty strong slot corner and had an interception return for a touchdown last week. He has the capability to have a big game, but the way the Rams defense is playing, I wouldn't say the probability of that is very hard.|
|Gabriel Davis BUF||Kenny Moore IND||With Cole Beasley likely to miss this game, that would put Davis in the slot as the third receiver. He has had a great knack for finding the end zone with seven touchdowns on just 35 catches. He has had five targets or more in four straight games, but Davis really needs that score to make his fantasy value. Moore has allowed just one touchdown all season, but he also has allowed 35 of the last 43 targets against him to be caught. He also has surrendered 374 yards in the last five games. Davis is a bit of a risk, but I expect the Bills to win and they are not great at running the ball. Davis has a better than 50 percent chance to find the end zone in this one.|
The only thing that stopped him from having a truly legendary season was that he had eight touchdowns, and three of them came in one game. Diggs is just on a ridiculous tear, which is saying something considering what he has been doing all season long. Rhodes is solid but has allowed 13 yards per catch and we know how often that Diggs is targeted. Buffalo goes into the playoffs white hot and Diggs is the main catalyst of that with Josh Allen .
He is coming off his worst game and the Bears certainly backed into the playoffs, but Robinson had an amazing season with 102 catches and 1,250 yards. When selecting a wide receiver for DFS purposes of course you want a guy who is heavily targeted. He had 53 more targets than anyone on the team and this is a recipe for success. I also expect the Saints to be ahead in this game which means that the Bears will likely be throwing more in the second half. Robinson had one good game against them already and will do it again this weekend.
This one obviously comes with a risk since Thomas hasn’t played since Week 14, but so far, all reports are looking good for Thomas to play this week. This comes down to the notion that Thomas is by far the best receiver on the team and his salary is down because of his injury concerns. The Bears allowed 28 passing touchdowns this season and there were more of them in the second half than the first. The Saints will finally have Drew Brees , Alvin Kamara , and Thomas on the field and their offense is great when that is the case. Sometimes you have to roll the dice a little on shorter slates, and Thomas is a chance to get top-flight production at a discounted price for his talent level.
I’m going right back to that volume discussion and I’ve already given you the numbers. Sure, he has battled the dropsies a little this season, but he still has had a fantastic season considering how many weapons Pittsburgh has. He is clearly Ben’s favorite receiver and he is going against a pass defense that seems to be pretty easy to throw on. Sam Darnold had two touchdowns against them for crying out loud! Johnson was injured the first time against Cleveland and the second game was without Ben Roethlisberger . This will be his first crack at the Browns this season and I expect a minimum of eight catches for 75 yards and a score.
I was trashing Hollywood earlier in the season, but he has shined in the second half even if he hasn’t always racked up a ton of receiving yards. His recent hot streak could be ignored by some because of the big fat zero he put up against Tennessee earlier this season, but the Baltimore offense is running more like the 2019 unit than the early 2020 team. Brown is the only receiver who gets consistent targets, and he is nearly a guarantee to score again and I am actually quite surprised at how low his salary his. Considering he has six touchdowns in the last six weeks, he is one of the best values on the slate.
*Information gathered from research done at Pro Football Focus.