Welcome to the weekly wide receiver/cornerback breakdown! We will review each of the outside matchups, as well as my 5 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 Wild Card Weekend, 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!
|Right Wide Receivers vs. Left Cornerbacks|
|A.J. Green||ARZ||Darious Williams||LAR|
He had more of an impact in 2021 than I would have ever imagined and topped 50 receiving yards nine times. However, he hasn't scored since Week 6 and has just eight catches total in the last three games. He did have seven catches for 102 yards the last time they played the Rams, but that was just one of two 100-yard outings all season. The Rams secondary was picked apart some by the Niners last week, but they still have two very talented corners. Neither team is playing entirely well coming into this one, and it would be a stretch to think that Green is going to have a big impact in this one and be anything resembling a great fantasy option.
|Gabriel Davis||BUF||Jalen Mills||NE|
He had some sensational weeks when Emmanuel Sanders first went down, but that momentum has been squashed the last two weeks as he had just six catches for 79 yards without a score. Davis was targeted a whopping 14 times last week against the Jets, but was good for just three and 39. He still should be heavily targeted (although not at that level again), but it seems like you will need him to score a touchdown for you to return value. The Pats allowed just 21 passing touchdowns in 17 games this season, and I think I like Diggs and Knox to be more likely than Davis to score. He is always a worthy option as a bit of a dart throw as his DFS salary continues to stay low. I am not quite as bullish on him as I was earlier in the winter though.
|Ja'Marr Chase||CIN||Brandon Facyson||LV|
Forget last week's game, they only had him in there to break a team record and look at the few weeks before that. Chase is a bonafide slate buster for sure as he had 18 catches for 391 yards and three scores in those two weeks. He certainly has had his share of duds as well, and there is little in between with him. He had just three catches for 32 yards against Vegas in Week 11, but with this kid all bets are off. He is far from as consistent as the other receivers near his salary, but again if he pops off you are basically guaranteed to cash. Playing Chase comes down to your risk tolerance. If you are swinging for the fences, put this kid in your lineup. If you are looking for some safer plays without quite as high of ceilings, he might not be for you.
|Cedrick Wilson||DAL||Josh Norman||SF|
He has really taken advantage of the injury to Michael Gallup and had a career game with five catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the season finale against the Eagles. Now, some of that is because the Eagles didn't exactly try their hardest in this game, but that is now 11 catches in the last two weeks for Wilson. With Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb both playing a little below their capabilities, Wilson has brought some exuberance to the field. Norman and the 49ers secondary allowed 25 passing touchdowns this season in 17 games, and Dak Prescott finished the season strong. Wilson will be one of the more attractive bargain receivers on the wild card weekend slate.
|Byron Pringle||KC||Cameron Sutton||PIT|
With Tyreek Hill compromised lately between a trip to the Covid list and then a heel injury, Pringle has had a decent three week stretch where he has 14 catches and 166 yards. I know, those numbers don't jump off the page, and that should tell you what you need to know. Unless we hear otherwise, you should figure that Hill should be mostly back to normal and that doesn't bode well for Pringle's fleeting fantasy value. Even if we hear that Hill isn't going to play, Pringle is a really iffy bet.
|Van Jefferson||LAR||Antonio Hamilton||ARZ|
He had a nice run in the middle of the season, but Jefferson has faded down the stretch with two or fewer catches in four of the last five games. He also hasn't scored since Week 14. Coincidentally, that last game he did score in was against Arizona, but even though the Cardinals secondary has been beat up and stricken with Covid, the Rams have really been spreading the ball around and Tyler Higbee has had a nice resurgence. He is likely fourth on the team in targets this week, and even on an offense that can be as high powered as the Rams can be, I would look in another direction than Jefferson this week.
|Bryan Edwards||LV||Eli Apple||CIN|
He had a solid game with four catches for 63 yards which might excited you, but it was the first time he topped 30 receiving yards since Week 10 and he had fewer than ten yards in three of the last seven weeks. He wasn't even targeted against the Bengals in Week 11, and I think any production he has is merely a fluke and not someone that you should count on as a consistent producer. Even as a dart throw, Edwards is a pretty bad choice.
|Nelson Agholor||NE||Dane Jackson||BUF|
He was able to return from a head injury to play in the season finale but he had just one catch for 23 yards. He has been targeted fewer than four times in three of the last four and hasn't topped 50 receiving yards since Week 8 and has scored just one touchdown since Week 7. The Pats passing game is not nearly what anyone would call high powered and Agholor isn't anywhere near the fantasy radar.
|Greg Ward||PHI||Carlton Davis||TB|
As I stated earlier with DeVonta Smith, the Eagles just don't throw a lot which makes trusting any receiver for DFS purposes. Smith and Dallas Goedert are the only two guys catching passes that are even worth considering. Ward has seven targets in the last four games and his season high in yardage was 35. He has scored a few times, but nothing that would make you think he will be a factor on wild card weekend. He should not be someone to consider.
|Chase Claypool||PIT||Mike Hughes||KC|
He did score last week for the first time since Week 5, but his production has not been there. He has had six or more targets in six of the last week, but the production has not been there. Ben Roethlisberger's arm is pretty much hanging on by a string right now and he can barely throw the ball more then ten yards down the field. This clearly is not helping Claypool, who is the Steelers best deep threat. While the Steelers will have a lot of garbage time as the Chiefs are likely to pummel Pittsburgh, but I still don't see Claypool topping 50-60 yards and he is unlikely to find the end zone.
|Brandon Aiyuk||SF||Anthony Brown||DAL|
He finished the season strong with 211 yards in the last two games, and Aiyuk is showing that he is a solid option near the line of scrimmage but also as a down the field threat as the team hasn't been using George Kittle as much and Deebo Samuel is doing everything else. Dallas did allow 24 passing touchdowns in 17 games, and the 49ers do like to run the ball a lot. However, the 49ers passing game is in a nice groove right now and Aiyuk has averaged nearly 18 yards per catch in the last three weeks. His salary remains extremely reasonable and will be a guy that I can certainly see putting in a decent number of lineups for this weekend.
|Breshad Perriman||TB||Steven Nelson||PHI|
It is getting to be a thin group in the Tampa receiving room as they have lost several key pieces. However, we know that Tom Brady doesn't need a group of elite receivers to be successful. Perriman had five catches for 44 yards after Cyril Grayson hurt his hamstring last week. We know Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski are going to get theirs, and Leonard Fournette will also likely catch several passes out of the backfield. After that, it is kind of anyone's guess, especially if Grayson is out. But Perriman has shown a few flashes this year, and we know Tampa is going to score points. If Grayson is out, I do like Perriman as a DFS dart throw given how affordable he is, how many injuries Tampa has, and who is throwing him the ball.
|Left Wide Receivers vs. Right Cornerbacks|
|Christian Kirk||ARI||Jalen Ramsey||LAR|
He probably is the guy who took the most advantage of the injury to DeAndre Hopkins in the middle of the season, but Kirk still has not posted a 100-yard game since Week 3. He barely did anything in Week 4, but he had three catches for 86 yards against the Rams in Week 14. Despite the fact thtat he likely sees a lot of Jalen Ramsey, I don't have a problem using him as a cheaper wide receiver option on the full wild card weekend slate, but there are a couple guys around him with similar salaries that I also like. You can have some exposure to Kirk, but I wouldn't force it.
|Stefon Diggs||BUF||J.C. Jackson||NE|
I won't take credit away from him for that first game against the Pats in the terrible weather, but he did have seven catches for 85 yards on 13 targets with a touchdown against them in Week 16. Jackson is a damn fine corner, but Diggs finished the season strong with 21 catches in the last three games, two of the last three with over 80 yards and three scores in the last four weeks. There are a few very attractive options at the top of the receiver group for this weekend's slate, and I feel very confident with Diggs as the Patriots defense has slipped some down the stretch.
|Tee Higgins||CIN||Casey Hayward||LV|
He is coming off a nice rest as the Bengals rested most of their starters for Week 18, the only issue with Higgins is how volatile his production has been. In the last four weeks he had two catches for 23 yards, 12 catches for 194 yards and then three catches for 62 yards. He had just two catches for 15 yards against Vegas in Week 11, and Ja'Marr Chase is hot as hot can be. Higgins is still a solid option as I expect the Bengals to win the game and throw plenty. He can be a slate breaker, but also could disappoint. He isn't my first choice, but I like Higgins based on your roster build.
|Amari Cooper||DAL||Emmanuel Moseley||SF|
Another guy who is pretty hard to predict, Cooper finished the season strong with five catches for 79 yards against the Eagles and scored in the two weeks before that. The 49ers secondary is not strong at all, but at times the defensive line gets so much pressure on the quarterback that they don't allow a lot through the air. Cooper still has seven or more targets in four of the last five weeks, and comes in at a pretty reasonable salary. Dak Prescott has really been spreading it around to all three receivers, the tight ends and the backs, so Cooper isn't a guarantee to have a big game, but is still one of the better options at his salary level.
|Mecole Hardman||KC||Joe Haden||PIT|
He finished the season with his best game as he had eight catches for 103 yards against the Broncos, but Denver's secondary was decimated by injury and Covid and Tyreek Hill barely played in that one. If for some reason Hill is either limited or out in this game, Hardman becomes an attractive option because of his low salary in DFS games as the Chiefs should absolutely crush the Steelers. I have a feeling that Andy Reid is going to be close lipped about Hill's health, so Hardman will definitely come with some risk.
|Odell Beckham||LAR||Byron Murphy||ARZ|
He has scored a bunch of touchdowns since coming to the Rams, but he hasn't topped 40 receiving yards in four weeks, and has just 12 catches in those four games. He does have 20 targets in the last three, but the Rams offense still isn't firing on all cylinders. Beckham did have six catches for 77 yards with a score against Arizona in Week 14 so he is a guy you could use based on his lower salary and the fact that he has five touchdowns in the last seven weeks. He is far from a sure thing, and he is certainly going to be second fiddle to Cooper Kupp, but Beckham certainly has a great chance to return value on his very favorable cost.
|Zay Jones||LV||Chidobe Awuzie||CIN|
After a few fairly strong weeks, Jones fell back to Earth with five catches for just 27 yards against the Chargers in the season finale. He still has been targeted seven or more times in six of the last seven games, but with Darren Waller now back, he falls to third on the target priority. He had just one catch for 20 yards in the first game against the Bengals, and Jones has fallen out of my good graces but isn't the worst dart throw if you are looking for a very low priced receiving option to finish off your roster.
|Kendrick Bourne||NE||Levi Wallace||BUF|
He had a mid-season surge, but the cold temps of December seems to have squased that as Bourne has just 13 catches in the last four weeks combined. He has passed 45 yards just once and hasn't scored since Week 12. The team is still giving him a rushing attempt here or there, but they aren't amounting to much. He had just two catches for 33 yards against the Bills in Week 16, and I don't see him suddenly having a huge game in the playoffs. The Pats passing game has slipped in the last month and Bourne is an ill-advised option on this weekend's DFS slate.
|DeVonta Smith||PHI||Jamel Dean||TB|
He is definitely the best wide receiver on the team, but Jalen Hurts has thrown the ball over 30 times just once since Week 7. He has thrown for over 215 yards just once over that span too. He has also thrown just five touchdown passes in the last five weeks. All of these stats make it tough to trust Smith as there isn't a lot of production to go around even if he and Dallas Goedert are the two main targets. Smith could score and have a fine game, but there is too much risk in my opinion to put my DFS dollars on him.
|Diontae Johnson||PIT||Charvarious Ward||KC|
I love this guy, but the Steelers offense has gotten so ordinary that even Johnson's fantasy value has taken a hit. He still has been targeted double digit times in seven of the last nine games, but he hasn't had more than 51 yards since December 9th. He still has scored in two of the last three games and I expect this game to feature a ton of garbage time for the Steelers. He had six catches for just 51 yards in Week 16 but had a touchdown against these Chiefs. Given his volume he could always have a good game, but he is farther away from a sure thing than he was six weeks ago.
|Deebo Samuel||SF||Trevon Diggs||DAL|
What doesn't this guy do? He has a touchdown in seven of the last eight weeks and even threw a touchdown in the season finale against the Rams to send San Francisco to the playoffs. He has topped 60 receiving yards in four straight and has 30+ rushing yards in three of the last five. Deebo is one of the biggest all-purpose threats in football. He just makes it happen every week, and while Trevon Diggs had a ton of interceptions, he also got burned a good number of times trying to make a big play. Given his usage and his production of late all over the field, it is impossible not to consider Samuel for your DFS rosters even though he will be one of the more expensive non-quarterbacks on the slate.
|Mike Evans||TB||Darius Slay||PHI|
No Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown has been rightfully jettisoned off the team, and I can't believe I'm saying even Cyril Grayson is doubtful for this one. The Eagles secondary gave up a bunch of touchdowns, but not a lot of yards, and Slay had a Pro Bowl caliber year. Evans had just two catches for 27 yards against Philly this season, but that was Week 6 when the team was in different shape. Right now, after Evans and Gronk there aren't a lot of options to throw the ball to for Tom Brady that are household names or reliable receivers. To me, he is one of the bigger locks to at least score a touchdown and I think he is a fantastic option for your DFS lineups considering he isn't among the elite few when it comes to salary. Look for Brady to look to Evans early and often and for him to have a great statistical day.
Now, here are my 5 favorite matchups in the slot for Wild Card Weekend
|Slot Wide Receivers vs. Slot Cornerbacks|
|Cooper Kupp||LAR||Jalen Thompson||ARZ|
The only things in this world that are constant are death, taxes, and Cooper Kupp having a huge fantasy game. He finished the season with another big performance with seven catches and 118 yards with a touchdown against the Niners. The Cardinals secondary is still banged up pretty bad and they come into the playoffs playing uninspired football. He torched them for 13 catches for 123 yards and a score back in Week 14 and there's no reason he can't do something similar again.
|Hunter Renfrow||LV||Mike Hilton||CIN|
He ends the season with over 100 catches, 1000 yards and has nine touchdowns after his four catch, two touchdown performance on Sunday night. His volume hasn't quite been as impressive in the last month with opposing defenses focusing on him more, but he is still getting the job done. Darren Waller returning could help take some pressure off of him though. He had just four catches for 30 yards against the Bengals back in Week 11, but that was before he started this explosion of production in the second half of the season. Reenfrow's team might not win, but he is a shoe in for at least seven targets and easily could top 75 yards and a score in this one.
|CeeDee Lamb||DAL||K'Wuan Williams||SF|
He hasn't been terrible down the stretch as he still has topped 50 receiving yards in five of the last six games, but Lamb hasn't topped 66 since Week 13 and hasn't scored since Week 10. Even worse, his volume has dried up as he has just 11 targets in the last three weeks. And we can't blame this on the Cowboys offense not performing because they had 50+ points in two of the last three weeks. Lamb still has explosive capabilities and elite talent so you can never write him off.Williams isn't 100%, and this game should feature a strong amount of passing. Lamb's salary has certainly come down with his recent struggles so he is less of a risk than he has been in recent weeks.
|Tyreek Hill||KC||Arthur Maulet||PIT|
Between Covid and this heel injury, Hill has been incredibly ineffective over the past month of the season. However, with this matchup and his talent, it is hard to ever count him out. He had just two catches for 19 yards in the first game against the Steelers but it came out after that game he was exhausted after the Covid bout. That should be behind him, but this heel injury is obviously concerning because he barely played last week. If we get good practice news from Hill you can safely deploy him this weekend as the Chiefs should destroy the Steelers, but if there is any uncertainty at all you should probably look in another direction considering he is one of the higher salaries for wide recievers.
|Tyler Boyd||CIN||Nate Hobbs||LV|
I had a hard time with this one because there aren't a lot of great slot receivers left, but I went with Boyd over Jakobi Meyers for two reasons. First, Boyd has more touchdowns since Week 15 (three), than Meyers has in his WHOLE career (two). Second, the weather in Buffalo doesn't look great this weekend and we already saw Bill Belichick's game plan could just be to throw the ball three times the entire game again. The matchup is also much easier as the Raiders allowed 29 passing touchdowns in 17 games this season. Hobbs allowed five catches in the season finale following his DUI arrest including a touchdown against the Chargers. The Bengals passing game is on fire right now, and even though Boyd is third in target priority he has been making the most of his limited targets and if he is able to find the end zone for the fourth straight game he would absolutely give you a great return on his salary.
Now here are my favorite DFS picks for Wild Card Weekend
I hate to go chalk with this guy time after time, but I also don’t want you to think I don’t think he is a good option. He is getting really expensive, especially on FanDuel and Yahoo, but how can you say he isn’t worth it. In fact, I am willing to take a much lesser defense (say New England/Philly in games where weather looks iffy) if it helps me shoehorn Kupp into my lineups. There is plenty of value at QB and RB this week and even a couple lesser salaried tight ends to help you get this guy into your lineups. He is the closest thing to a sure thing since your mom was on prom night.
People are going to see the matchup with the Cowboys and Diggs and think twice about Samuel but be better. Not only does he catch the ball and run well, but he has been utilized as a running back really well, and hell he threw a couple touchdowns this year. Not that we should count on Deebo the quarterback. However, as good as Diggs has been this year with the 11 interceptions, he gave up a play of 30 yards or more in 13 games this season! He also allowed 18.5 yards per catch and over 425 in yards after the catch this season, which we know is Deebo’s bread and butter. So, while Diggs can make a big play in the game, we also know he is very likely to be burned once or twice on a big play to Samuel. He is also expensive but it is hard to ignore him in a game with no weather against a corner prone to allowing big plays.
It might be windy and rainy in Tampa this weekend, but I can’t see that dampening Evans’ fantasy value. Did you see what I did there? Rainy, dampening? The Bucs are so banged up at wide receiver we are hoping that Cyril Grayson will be active! That to me means a hell of a lot of Evans and Gronk in this one. And while Evans is a big down the field threat, he has proven since Tom Brady came to town that he is an amazing target in the red zone, as well as in short yardage situations. I feel like he is a lock for double digit targets and is certain to be the guy after Gronk that Brady trusts the most. Slay has had a fantastic season but all signs point to Evans being the focus of the passing game and if he can come up with six catches and a touchdown, he will return fantastic value.
I had a hard time deciding between Renfrow and Tee Higgins here, but I went with Renfrow for two reasons. The Raiders have given up three more touchdowns this season, but the Bengals allow 20+ more yards per game through the air. And while Darren Waller has returned, he still isn’t 100% making Renfrow the top receiving option on the team. His targets have dropped some, but he still has five touchdowns in the last five weeks. He didn’t have a great game against the Bengals the first time, but he has made a huge impact since then. I also really like Higgins as well, but Renfrow should be a lock to give you 15+ fantasy points in the wild card game.
Cedrick Wilson vs K’Wuan Williams
He had one strong game with Michael Gallup out in Week 17 with a touchdown and then completely BLEW UP in the season finale with 119 yards and two scores. With Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb not lighting up the box score, Wilson has taken full advantage of his opportunity. Dallas is going to throw plenty with Zeke and Pollard both not healthy, and the 49ers defense much stronger against the run than the pass. His salary is lower than I had anticipated, and he is a great low salary option for wild card weekend. I also really like Breshad Perriman with Cyril Grayson not likely to play, but the weather in Tampa makes me like Wilson more.
*Information gathered from research done at Pro Football Focus.