NFL Week 8 WR/CB Matchups and TE Analysis

Ian Hartitz
Rotoworld

We're on to Week 8! I'll be breaking down the WR/CB matchups all season long with a focus on figuring out who could be facing shadow coverage as well as the best and worst overall situations. We'll also briefly touch on each team's TE group.

Physical data is courtesy of NFL.com and PlayerProfiler.com, alignment information is from Pro Football Focus while each WR's target share and air yard market share is provided by the fine folks at AirYards.com.

Redskins at Vikings

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Redskins Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Terry McLaurin

72

208

4.35

21%

50%

Xavier Rhodes

73

210

4.43

Slot

Trey Quinn

71

203

4.55

16%

17%

Mackensie Alexander

70

190

4.54

Right

Paul Richardson

72

175

4.4

14%

18%

Trae Waynes

72

186

4.31

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: There's virtually nothing to be taken away from the 49ers' Mud Bowl Championship victory over the Redskins due to the extremely poor conditions, so completely erase Terry McLaurin's 1 reception-11 yards-0 touchdowns performance on two targets from your memory.

Instead, let's remember the first five games of McLaurin's remarkable rookie season:

  • Week 1 at Eagles: 5 receptions-125 yards-1 touchdown (7 targets)

  • Week 2 vs. Cowboys: 5-62-1 (9)

  • Week 3 vs. Bears: 6-70-1 (8)

  • Week 5 vs. Patriots: 3-51-0 (7)

  • Week 6 at Dolphins: 4-100-2 (7)

Up next is a sneaky-fine spot against the Vikings, who have allowed the eighth-most PPR per game to the WR position this season. None of Mackensie Alexander (PFF's No. 52 CB in coverage), Trae Waynes (No. 87) and even long-time stud Xavier Rhodes (No. 88) are playing at a level that should put any amount of fear into fantasy owners.

Of course, this logic applies to only McLaurin inside the Redskins' 30th-ranked scoring offense that has attempted just 37 passes in two games of action under interim head coach Bill Callahan. Trey Quinn has yet to reach 50 receiving yards in 10 career games, while Paul Richardson is averaging a career-low 8.2 yards per reception and hasn't come close to resembling the same contested-catch artist that we saw with the Seahawks from 2014-2017.

TE breakdown: Vernon Davis (concussion, out) is again sidelined. Jeremy Sprinkle has posted strong 92% and 79% snap rates over the past two weeks, but has a putrid 4-37-0 line on five targets to show for it. Don't go out of your way to target anybody in a Washington offense presently implied to score a slate-low 13 points (per FantasyLabs).

Vikings Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Stefon Diggs

72

195

4.46

22%

42%

Quinton Dunbar

74

201

4.49

Slot

Bisi Johnson

72

204

4.51

13%

13%

Jimmy Moreland

70

179

4.51

Right

Laquon Treadwell

74

221

4.68

3%

4%

Fabian Moreau

72

206

4.35

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: There's massive blowout potential in this game, as the Vikings are 16-point home favorites. Of course, players need to rack up fantasy points in order for blowouts to occur. The problem is that the Vikings' run-first offense has taken things to an extreme level when dominating an opponent. Kirk Cousins attempted just 10 passes in a 16-point victory over the Falcons in Week 1, 21 passes in a 20-point beat down over the Raiders in Week 3, as well as 27 and 29 passes in 18-point wins over the Giants and Eagles, respectively.

This doesn't mean you should bench Stefon Diggs in fantasy. The Vikings' stud WR has posted 7-167-3 and 7-142-0 lines since his infamous Week 5 revolt. Diggs (3.25) joins Amari Cooper (3.03) as the only WRs averaging at least three yards per route run this season (PFF). Diggs also has the potential for enhanced target share with Adam Thielen (hamstring, out) sidelined, locking him in as a low-end WR1.

The Redskins surprisingly rank as the No. 1 defense in DVOA against No. 1 WRs (Football Outsiders), as they've managed to keep the likes of Alshon Jeffery (5-49-1), Amari Cooper (4-44-1), Allen Robinson (6-60-0), Sterling Shepard (7-76-0) and DeVante Parker (3-28-1) relatively quiet. Quinton Dunbar is PFF's No. 1 overall CB through seven weeks, but he's a stationary corner and has lined up on the right side of the field on an overwhelming 78% of his snaps this season.

Washington accordingly ranks 32nd in DVOA against No. 2 WRs, allowing notable blowup performances to:

Olabisi Johnson (4-40-1 on 8 targets) demonstrated some early chemistry with Kirk Cousins when Thielen was sidelined last week and is an upside streamer option in this plus spot.

TE breakdown: Kyle Rudolph ripped off a 5-58-1 line in Week 7 after posting a combined 9-72-0 line in Weeks 1-6 combined. Don't go point chasing with Rudolph this week, particularly with stud rookie TE Irv Smith Jr. also getting six targets and posting an equally impressive 5-60-0 line. I'll take my chances with the Vikings' talented second-round pick outproducing Rudolph with the same target share over the long term. Either way, don't treat either TE as anything other than a mid-tier TE2 with six weeks of evidence indicating this offense can't enable a fantasy-friendly TE.

Seahawks at Falcons

Seahawks Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

DK Metcalf

75

228

4.33

17%

26%

Isaiah Oliver

72

201

4.5

Slot

Tyler Lockett

70

182

4.4

21%

25%

Damontae Kazee

70

184

4.54

Right

Jaron Brown

74

205

4.45

11%

12%

Kendall Sheffield

71

193

4.4

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Russell Wilson has fed DK Metcalf (40 targets) and Tyler Lockett (48) more similar workloads than just about anyone would've imagined before the season started. Equally surprising has been Chris Carson's (26) consistent involvement as a receiver.

Of course, Lockett and Wilson have continued to overcome middling target share with Jedi-like chemistry, as the Seahawks' No. 1 WR has caught 40-of-48 targets for 515 yards and four scores. Continue to fire up the PPR WR9 as an every-week upside WR2, particularly in a matchup against a Falcons Defense that has allowed at least six receptions to primary slot WRs such as Nelson Agholor (8-107-1), Larry Fitzgerald (6-69-0), Cooper Kupp (6-50-0).

Meanwhile, Metcalf offers serious boom-or-bust WR3 upside as Wilson's deep-threat and red-zone toy. Overall, the second-round rookie joins Lockett as two of just 11 players with at least nine targets inside the 20-yard line this season.

Jaron Brown has put up some solid performances in recent weeks, but Brown (60% snaps in Week 7) was the odd man out among the starters in favor of David Moore (42%) and Malik Turner (17%) vs the Ravens.

TE breakdown: Luke Willson (47% snaps, 13 routes, 1 target) worked well behind Jacob Hollister (51%, 27, 6) when it came to pass-game opportunities in the team's first game without Will Dissly. Still, expect inconsistent production from a part-time TE in the league's fourth-most run-heavy offense.

Falcons Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Julio Jones

75

220

4.39

21%

33%

Tre Flowers

75

202

4.45

Slot

Russell Gage

72

184

4.55

4%

6%

Jamar Taylor

71

192

4.39

Right

Calvin Ridley

73

189

4.43

15%

24%

Shaquill Griffin

72

194

4.38

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The fantasy prospects of the entire Falcons' passing game hinge on whether or not Matt Ryan (ankle) is able to suit up. 38-year-old backup Matt Schaub started two games for the Ravens in 2015, but otherwise hasn't been anyone's idea of a qualified starter since 2013. If Ryan is starting, there's no reason to fear the artists formerly known as The Legion of Boom, as the Seahawks don't ask their CBs to move from sideline to sideline. This means the Falcons can avoid Shaquill Griffin (PFF's No. 9 overall CB) in favor of Jamar Taylor (No. 89) and Tre Flowers (No. 92) whenever they please.

Coach Dan Quinn stated Wednesday that he expects Ryan to play. This makes it hard not to be excited about the future prospects of second-year WR Calvin Ridley, who has done nothing except ball the hell out whenever gifted anything resembling a hefty workload.

Julio Jones has posted 8-108-0 and 6-93-0 lines over the past two weeks. He gained the bulk of the latter line in Jalen Ramsey's direct coverage against the Rams last Sunday, demonstrating the ability to win all over the field against one of the NFL's very best CBs. This should go without saying, but continue to treat Jones as a locked-in WR1 regardless of matchup and QB.

The Falcons are expected to utilize a mix of Russell Gage and Justin Hardy to replace Mohamed Sanu, who was traded to the Patriots Tuesday for a second-round pick. Neither is a realistic fantasy option as part-time players that should work as the No. 4 or worse pass-game options more weeks than not.

TE breakdown: Austin Hooper's league-wide crusade continued in Week 7, as Ryan's new BFF caught 4-of-5 targets for 46 yards and a touchdown against Eric Weddle and company. Overall, Hooper (124.6 PPR) is the overall TE1 by nearly 20 points over Darren Waller (105.2). Of course, nearly all of this production has come with the Falcons in comeback mode trailing by multiple scores ...

  • Hooper when the Falcons are leading or tied: 4-64-0

  • When the Falcons are trailing: 39-462-4

  • Hooper in the 1st half: 15-169-0

  • In the 2nd half: 31-357-4

... but it doesn't exactly look like that sort of game script is going away anytime soon. Continue to fire up Hooper as a matchup-proof TE1.

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Broncos at Colts

Broncos Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Courtland Sutton

75

218

4.54

23%

39%

Rock Ya-Sin

72

192

4.51

Slot

DaeSean Hamilton

73

203

4.57

12%

10%

Quincy Wilson

73

211

4.54

Right

Fred Brown

73

199

4.53

1%

1%

Pierre Desir

73

198

4.59

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Emmanuel Sanders era is over in Denver. Beat writer speculation indicates that Fred Brown will compete with talented sixth-round rookie Juwann Winfree for the offense's No. 3 WR job. Tim Patrick, who started four games for the Broncos in 2018 and posted a 23-315-1 line on 41 targets, is expected to be activated from the PUP list following the team's Week 9 bye. For now, ignore each of the Broncos' auxiliary WRs.

Courtland Sutton is the PPR WR11 after seven weeks. Joe Flacco has fed the Broncos' talented second-year WR at least seven targets in every game, but no more than nine. That figures to change in upcoming games without Sanders (6.3 targets per contest) in the fold. Sutton thus has an enhanced ceiling moving forward as the offense's undisputed No. 1 pass-game option. 

Slot WR DaeSean Hamilton has caught fewer than three passes and failed to surpass 25 yards in all but one game this season. However, he demonstrated the ability to thrive with a larger workload in 2018 with Sanders sidelined for the final four games of the season.

  • Week 14: 7 receptions-47 yards-1 touchdown (9 targets)

  • Week 15: 7-46-0 (12)

  • Week 16: 6-40-1 (9)

  • Week 17: 5-49-0 (8)

Overall, Hamilton worked as the PPR WR22 during this stretch. It remains to be seen if Flacco will feed the Broncos' 2018 fourth-round pick a similar target share, but the arrow is at least pointing up for the former stud Penn State WR.

TE breakdown: I've been burned by the Noah Fant hype in DFS and Best Ball alike to this point. The Broncos' first-round TE has failed to clear 40 yards in contest this season on an average of just 3.4 targets per game. With that said: It'd certainly make sense if the offense attempts to get their athletically-gifted rookie more involved moving forward. Backup TE Jeff Heuerman's snaps have decreased in consecutive games, making Fant a locked-in full-time starter with the position's fifth-easiest schedule in terms of PPR per game allowed to TEs during the next four weeks.

Colts Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Zach Pascal

74

219

4.55

9%

14%

Davontae Harris

71

205

4.43

Slot

Chester Rogers

72

185

4.56

8%

9%

Will Parks

73

194

4.68

Right

T.Y. Hilton

69

183

4.39

25%

34%

Chris Harris Jr.

69

194

4.48

Projected shadow matchups: T.Y. Hilton vs. Chris Harris

WR/CB breakdown: It remains to be seen when Parris Campbell (abdominal) will return. Jacoby Brissett has featured the following target distribution during the last two weeks with Campbell sidelined and Hilton back in action:

Pascal has looked legit #good this season and deserves credit for catching 6-of-7 targets for 106 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Texans' backup CBs in Week 7, but there's simply not enough target share in the Colts' run-first offense to consistently enable multiple fantasy-relevant WRs as long as the complementary options are all splitting reps. Overall, each of Rogers (54% snaps in Week 7), Pascal (47%) and Cain (42%) failed to play even 60% of the offense's snaps last week.

Meanwhile, Hilton has scored five touchdowns in as many games this season. The "problem" is that he's failed to reach 100 yards in a game, and the Colts' long-time No. 1 WR's average of eight targets per game is fewer than he saw in any of his Andrew Luck seasons except for his rookie year back in 2012.

Tyreek Hill managed to get loose for a 57-yard touchdown in Harris' coverage last week. There appeared to be some confusion on the play; Harris seemed to think he had help on the inside or was passing off the route. Still, the play served as an example of the at-times fickle nature of WR/CB matchups and why you should never bench your studs just because of a tough spot.

A likely shadow date with one of the best CBs in the league is hardly a get-right spot, although you should continue to fire up the PPR WR23 with confidence as a low-end WR2.

TE breakdown: Ebron posted a 4-70-1 line on five targets in Week 7 while hurdling a defender and catching a highlight-reel one-handed touchdown along the way. Still, Doyle also saw five targets and posted a superior 76% snap rate over Ebron (42%). Much like the aforementioned side-piece WRs: It's tough to expect consistently solid production from anyone other than Hilton inside of the league's fifth-most run-heavy offense.

Buccaneers at Titans

Buccaneers Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Mike Evans

77

231

4.53

25%

36%

Malcolm Butler

70

187

4.4

Slot

Chris Godwin

73

209

4.42

25%

27%

Logan Ryan

71

191

4.56

Right

Scott Miller

69

174

4.44

8%

17%

Adoree' Jackson

70

186

4.42

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Mike Evans' demise has been a bit overstated, as he's posted 8-190-3, 4-89-1, 0-0-0 (touché, Marshon Lattimore) and 9-96-0 lines in his last four games following his flu-induced slow start to the season. Ultimately, the Buccaneers' matchup-proof No. 1 outside WR's average of 9.2 targets per game is tied with teammate Chris Godwin for the ninth-highest mark in the league.

The Titans have funneled production to the passing game this season, ranking 23rd in DVOA against the pass and third against the run. None of the defense's starting CBs have been liabilities per say, but this is hardly a matchup to worry about for either of the Buccaneers' high-volume WRs. Continue to fire up Evans and (especially) Godwin as weekly WR1s.

Sixth-round rookie Scott Miller posted season-high marks in both snap rate (60%) and targets (7) with Breshad Perriman (hamstring) sidelined the last time the Buccaneers played. Only Stefon Diggs (250 air yards), Mike Evans (226), Mike Williams (192), Tyreek Hill (171), Julian Edelman (169), Will Fuller (158) and Darius Slayton (156) had more deep-ball opportunity than Miller (147) in Week 6. Bobo Wilson has since been released. Miller offers intriguing GPP dart throw appeal (assuming Perriman is again sidelined) as a min-priced DFS option on most sites around the industry.

TE breakdown: Cam Brate (12-119-2 on 14 targets) has been a superior fantasy option to O.J. Howard (13-176-0 on 18 targets) after seven weeks of action. Neither (unfortunately) is anything more than a middling TE2 option at this point as long as they're each not seeing more than three targets per game.

Titans Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

A.J. Brown

72

226

4.49

15%

21%

Vernon Hargreaves

70

204

4.5

Slot

Adam Humphries

71

195

4.58

15%

12%

Sean Bunting

70

195

4.42

Right

Corey Davis

75

209

4.53

17%

24%

Carlton Davis

73

206

4.53

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The first start of the Ryan Tannethrill era in Tennessee went well, as the former Dolphins QB threw for 312 yards and a pair of scores in the Titans' razor thin 23-20 victory over the Chargers.

Tannehill has the following target distribution this season:

It's easier to get behind Davis (75% snaps in Week 7) and Brown (61%) as fantasy options over Humphries (48%) due to both the talent discrepancy as well as raw opportunity.

While it might be a bit early to crown the Titans' new-look passing game, there should undoubtedly be optimism for the fantasy prospects of Davis and Brown alike.

The Titans boast the fifth-easiest schedule in terms of PPR per game allowed to the WR position over the next four weeks as well as the single-best stretch in Weeks 14-16 for the fantasy playoffs.

PPR WR Rank
PPR WR Rank

TE breakdown: Coach Mike Vrabel said he was "frustrated" for Walker (ankle), and that the team will take his Week 8 status day by day. Even if active, Walker will almost assuredly be functioning at less than 100% come Sunday. This opens the door for Jonnu Smith to take on an even larger role. The Titans' SPARQ-plug backup TE had played between 42-68% of the offense's snaps in Weeks 1-7 before posting a season-high 83% snap rate in Week 7. Smith has flashed big-play ability for the position during his short three-year career, although stat lines of 6-44-0, 5-21-0, 2-20-0 and 2-22-0 in four career games with more than three targets don't demonstrate a massive ceiling. Still, a matchup with the league's 31st-ranked defense in PPR per game allowed to the TE position is tough to ignore.

Cardinals at Saints

Cardinals Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Damiere Byrd

69

180

4.32

11%

16%

Marshon Lattimore

72

193

4.36

Slot

Larry Fitzgerald

75

225

4.48

21%

27%

Patrick Robinson

71

190

4.5

Slot

Christian Kirk

71

201

4.47

22%

24%

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

71

210

4.48

Right

Trent Sherfield

72

203

4.5

4%

9%

Eli Apple

73

199

4.4

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Larry Fitzgerald's six-game streak with at least five receptions came to an end last week in a smash spot against the Giants, as he caught just 1-of-3 targets for 12 scoreless yards. Still, I'd caution in taking too much away from that game due to both unusual game script (the Cardinals built a 14-0 lead 10 minutes into the game) as well as inclement weather (heavy rain throughout the afternoon). Kyler Murray's 21 pass attempts vs. the Giants marked the first time all season he threw the ball fewer than 32 times.

Expect the Cardinals to have to pass a bit more in Week 8 as 9.5-point road underdogs. This is good news for both Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk (ankle, questionable), who are each set up brilliantly in the slot against the Saints' banged-up secondary.

  • Starting slot CB P.J. Williams is serving the final game of his suspension on Sunday.

  • Backup nickelback Patrick Robinson appeared to badly pull his hamstring after playing just one snap in Week 7.

  • Starting outside CB Eli Apple suffered a scary non-contact injury, although it's reportedly "just" a hyperextended knee and not expected to sideline Apple for an extended period of time.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury and company have embraced the ground game in recent weeks, but this is a spot in which they'll need to throw the ball to win. Fire up both Fitzgerald and Kirk (if active) as high-end WR3s against this injury-riddled secondary.

Both Trent Sherfield (82% snaps in Week 7) and Damiere Byrd (80%) are locked in as the offense's outside WRs. The Cardinals have embraced the TE position more than usual in Kirk's absence, as neither Pharoh Cooper (35%), Andy Isabella (15%) nor KeeSean Johnson (8%) played anything close to a full allotment of snaps in Week 7. It's tough to get behind any of these auxiliary WRs as realistic fantasy options, as none have been targeted even five times in a game during Kirk's absence.

TE breakdown: Both Maxx Williams (49% snaps in Week 7) and Charles Clay (46%) have played at least 40% of the offense's snaps in all three games without Kirk after each failed to reach that threshold in Weeks 1-4. Still, the TEs have combined for one game with more than two targets all season, rendering each as a non-viable fantasy option due to lack of volume.

Saints Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Michael Thomas

75

212

4.57

32%

41%

Patrick Peterson

72

219

4.34

Slot

Austin Carr

73

194

4.67

5%

9%

Tramaine Brock

70

195

4.54

Right

Ted Ginn

71

180

4.43

14%

32%

Byron Murphy

71

190

4.55

Projected shadow matchups: Michael Thomas vs. Patrick Peterson

WR/CB breakdown: All Thomas has done without Drew Brees (thumb, questionable) this season is absolutely dominate.

Overall, the Saints' undisputed No. 1 pass-game option leads the NFL in receptions (62) and receiving yards (763), ranking as the PPR WR1 after seven weeks.

Up next is Thomas' toughest test of the season against the Cardinals' stud shadow CB. Peterson has been asked to travel with an opposing No. 1 WR on 18 separate occasions dating back to Week 1 of 2017. He's managed to win the overwhelming majority of these matchups:

The good news for Thomas is that Peterson hasn't played more than a handful of snaps in the slot per game throughout his entire career, so coach Sean Payton should be able to free his beastly WR from this matchup for extended stretches of time if he chooses to do so.

I wouldn't expect a blowup spot out of Thomas in this tough spot, but he wouldn't be the first WR to get the better of Peterson in recent history. Continue to fire him up as an every week high-end WR1.

Ted Ginn doesn't have 50 receiving yards per game since Week 1 and is off the fantasy radar as along as Brees remains sidelined.

TE breakdown: Jared Cook (ankle) failed to suit up in Week 7 and should be considered questionable for Sunday. He caught at least three passes in Weeks 4-6, but carries a lower floor this week with the potential for limited snaps despite the cake matchup against the league's single-worst defense against the TE position. Fire up Cook as a low-end TE1 if active, while Josh Hill (68% snaps in Week 7, 3-43-1) could be treated as a boom-or-bust TE2 if the Saints' starting TE is again sidelined.

Bengals at Rams

Bengals Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Auden Tate

77

228

4.68

17%

27%

Troy Hill

70

182

4.55

Slot

Tyler Boyd

73

197

4.58

26%

27%

Nickell Robey-Coleman

67

169

4.53

Right

Alex Erickson

74

203

4.58

10%

11%

Jalen Ramsey

73

209

4.41

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: We reportedly won't be seeing Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Green (ankle) match up for the first time since their 2017 melee. This means the Bengals should continue to utilize Auden Tate, Tyler Boyd and Alex Erickson in 3-WR sets.

Rams DC Wade Phillips only asked Marcus Peters to shadow Davante Adams and Michael Thomas in 2018, while Ramsey tracked Julio Jones last week. It thus seems unlikely that Ramsey is asked to travel with any individual WR in this spot, particularly when we consider the Rams' stud CB has spent 10-plus snaps in the slot in just one game during the past two and a half seasons.

Still, I wouldn't be rushing to roster the Bengals WRs in this spot. Only the Redskins (13), Dolphins (14.3) and Browns (16.3) are presently implied to score fewer points than the Bengals (17.5), who are yet to reach even 24 points in a single game this season.

Any exposure to the Bengals passing game should be focused on Boyd (14 targets in Week 7) and Erickson (14), who were much more involved than Tate (6) last week against the Jaguars. It's hard not to be impressed with Tate's ridiculous contested-catch ability, but that skill will be put to the test in his toughest matchup since facing the Bills in the Week 2.

Only Michael Thomas (78 targets) and Cooper Kupp (77) have more targets than Boyd (74) this season. Continue to fire up Boyd as an upside WR3 regardless of the matchup. I'm a bit more hesitant to expect consistent fantasy production from Erickson, who hadn't reached even 70 receiving yards in 54 career games before his 8-137-0 explosion against the Jaguars last week.

TE breakdown: Tyler Eifert has yet to surpass 30 receiving yards or post a snap rate of at least 50% in a game this season. He's off the fantasy radar as long as C.J. Uzomah remains heavily involved in the offense.

Rams Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Brandin Cooks

70

189

4.33

15%

27%

B.W. Webb

70

184

4.51

Slot

Cooper Kupp

74

204

4.62

27%

24%

Darqueze Dennard

71

199

4.51

Right

Robert Woods

72

201

4.51

20%

22%

Tony McRae

69

180

4.61

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Continue to fire up opposing WRs of all shapes and sizes against the Bengals as long as both Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and William Jackson (shoulder) remain sidelined.

Cooper Kupp is the PPR WR3 through seven weeks, although he's posted disappointing 4-17-0 and 6-50-0 receiving lines in his last two games after going for 100-plus yards in each of Weeks 2-5. This is a get-right spot at home against Darqueze Dennard, who ranked outside of PFF's top-50 CBs in 2018 and didn't come close to slowing down Dede Westbrook (6-103-0) in his 2019 debut.

Both Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are set up exceptionally well against journeyman B.W. Webb and career backup Tony McRae. The legend of home Jared Goff has been something to behold over the years:

  • Goff at home since 2017 (20 games): 64% cmp rate, 8.14 YPA, 300.8 pass yards per game, 36 TDs, 11 INTs

  • On the road (21 games): 62% cmp rate, 7.5 YPA, 248.2 pass yards per game, 35 TDs, 16 INTs

Goff threw for just 78 scoreless yards on 24 attempts in his last home game in Week 6, but it's downright rude to compare the Bengals Defense to the 49ers' elite unit.

Fire up all three of the Rams' starting WRs with confidence.

TE breakdown: Goff has fed Gerald Everett at least eight targets in three of the last four games after the Rams' talented TE failed to reach that threshold even once in his previous 39 career contests. Meanwhile, Tyler Higbee has just seven combined targets over the past three weeks. Everett is presently the PPR TE9 on the season and the TE2 over the past four games. Fire him up as a mid-tier TE1 in this potential smash spot against the Bengals' 28th-ranked defense in DVOA against the TE position.

Eagles at Bills

Eagles Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Alshon Jeffery

75

216

4.53

25%

23%

Levi Wallace

72

179

4.63

Slot

Nelson Agholor

72

198

4.42

17%

24%

Taron Johnson

71

192

4.5

Right

Mack Hollins

76

221

4.53

10%

14%

Tre'Davious White

71

192

4.47

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: D-Jax (abdominal) still doesn't have a timeline for his return. Backup field-stretching WR Mack Hollins has one catch since Week 4, while Nelson Agholor has posted a combined 7-86-0 line on just 15 total targets over the past four weeks. Neither Hollins nor Agholor are realistic fantasy options in this tough spot.

This leaves us with Alshon Jeffery, who also hasn't exactly been taking the world by storm recently. Overall, the Eagles' No. 1 WR has posted 3-38-1, 6-52-0, 10-76-1 and 2-38-0 lines on an average of 8.5 targets per game since returning from injury in Week 4. Reports have indicated Jeffery anonymously criticized both coach Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz in recent weeks, but this is hardly a squeaky-wheel situation against the Bills' elite pass defense.

Buffalo has been anyone's idea of one of the best pass defenses in the league through seven weeks:

  • No. 5 in overall pass DVOA

  • No. 4 in DVOA vs. WR1s

  • No. 4 in DVOA vs. WR2s

  • No. 8 in DVOA vs. other WRs

  • No. 7 in fewest PPR per game allowed to the WR position

Overall, only the Bears (17) and Patriots (16) have longer streaks of not allowing a QB to surpass 300 yards than the Bills (14).

Jeffery is best treated as an upside WR3 in this tough road spot against the Bills' talented outside CBs.

TE breakdown: The Eagles have utilized both of their talented TEs in recent games. Overall, Dallas Goedert (12-144-2 on 18 targets) and Zach Ertz (18-214-1 on 29 targets) have worked as the PPR TE10 and TE8, respectively, over the past four weeks. This is far from an ideal spot; only the Patriots (4.9) are allowing fewer PPR per game to the TE position than the Bills (6) this season. Still, continue to fire up Ertz as a mid-tier TE1, and Goedert can be treated as a high-end TE2 and borderline TE1 with the potential for so much more should the Eagles' starting TE ever miss time.

Bills Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

John Brown

70

179

4.34

22%

35%

Rasul Douglas

74

209

4.59

Slot

Cole Beasley

68

177

4.54

22%

18%

Malcolm Jenkins

73

204

4.54

Right

Duke Williams

74

229

4.72

9%

9%

Jalen Mills

72

191

4.61

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Smokey Brown joins Michael Thomas as the league's only players with at least 50 receiving yards in every game this season. We always knew Brown could provide big weeks thanks to his elite field-stretching ability, but this new-found floor has made the Bills' No. 1 WR into a matchup-proof WR2.

Of course, Brown has WR1 upside in this dream spot against an Eagles secondary that hasn't come close to slowing down opposing No. 1 WRs over the last season and a half.

Fire up Smokey with confidence in any fantasy format.

Cole Beasley has caught at least three passes in every contest this season, but has failed to clear even 25 receiving yards in a game since Week 4. He's certainly capable of changing that reality in this plus matchup, but the Bills have utilized their high-priced free agent addition on fewer than 65% of the offense's snaps in 4-of-6 games this season. Beasley is best approached as an upside WR4 with these volume concerns.

The No. 3 WR position in Buffalo remains murky in the post-Zay Jones era. Duke Williams (shoulder) is banged up, while Isaiah McKenzie and Andre Roberts have also seen plenty of snaps in recent weeks. Robert Foster was a healthy scratch in Week 7. I wouldn't count on Josh Allen enabling more than two Buffalo WRs as consistent fantasy options.

TE breakdown: Stud rookie TE Dawson Knox continues to flash on a weekly basis as both a receiver and blocker. Still, his 52% snap rate in Week 7 was his lowest mark since Week 2, as the return of Tyler Kroft (45% snaps) turned this position into a two-TE committee. Knox is talented enough to pop off for some solid performances even without a full-time role, but I'd look elsewhere for consistent fantasy production.

Chargers at Bears

Chargers Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Geremy Davis

74

216

4.52

2%

2%

Prince Amukamara

72

206

4.48

Slot

Keenan Allen

74

206

4.71

25%

36%

Buster Skrine

70

186

4.48

Right

Mike Williams

76

218

4.59

18%

30%

Kyle Fuller

72

190

4.49

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Philip Rivers force fed his No. 1 WR last week, as Keenan Allen racked up 11 targets after finishing with six or fewer pass-game opportunities in Weeks 4-6. The accompanying 4-61-0 performance wasn't great, but the Chargers are at least aware that they need to get Allen going to turn the ship around after losing five of their last six games.

The problem is that this week's matchup isn't exactly anyone's idea of a get-right spot. The Bears Defense hasn't been the same world-beating unit that we saw last season, but they still rank sixth in both DVOA against the pass as well as specifically against No. 1 WRs. Only the Browns, Broncos, Patriots and 49ers have allowed fewer yards to opposing WRs than the Bears this season.

Continue to lock Allen into season-long lineups, but he's nothing more than a contrarian tournament play in DFS formats.

And then we have Mike Williams, who has more air yards than literally everyone except Stefon Diggs over the past three weeks. Again: This probably isn't the spot to expect a blowup performance, but I'd be shocked if Rivers' overqualified No. 2 WR fails to find the end zone or surpass 100 yards in a game for much longer. Only Robert Woods (58) and Jamison Crowder (45) have more targets than Williams (44) without a receiving TD this season.

Travis Benjamin (quad, IR) was replaced by a combination of Geremy Davis (44% snaps in Week 7) and Andre Patton (31%). Neither is a realistic fantasy option as a part-time player in the Chargers' 23rd-ranked scoring offense.

TE breakdown: Hunter Henry has caught 18-of-22 targets for 257 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season. The Chargers' stud fourth-year TE worked as the PPR TE1 and TE5 over the past two weeks. Continue to fire up Henry as an every-week and matchup-proof TE1.

Bears Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Allen Robinson

74

220

4.56

27%

42%

Casey Hayward

71

192

4.57

Slot

Anthony Miller

71

201

4.55

11%

18%

Desmond King

70

201

4.65

Right

Taylor Gabriel

68

167

4.45

10%

15%

Michael Davis

69

217

4.61

Projected shadow matchups: Allen Robinson vs. Casey Hayward

WR/CB breakdown: A-Rob has balled out all season long despite dealing with Midwest Bortles Mitch Trubisky's consistently horrendous performance. Overall, Robinson has caught at least six passes in all but one game this year, demonstrating a rock solid floor to go with consistent upside as an elite contested-catch artist and underrated runner after the catch.

Robinson has truly been playing as well as any WR in the league through seven weeks.

Hayward is far from an easy shadow date, but continue to fire up Robinson as an upside WR2 regardless of the matchup.

Anthony Miller has posted 4-52-0 and 5-64-0 lines over the Bears' past two games. His average of eight targets per game in those contests is encouraging, but it's simply tough to expect any sort of consistent fantasy production from anyone in this passing game outside of Robinson. The Bears (4.9) join the Dolphins (4.8) and Jets (4.1) as the league's only offenses averaging fewer than five net yards per pass attempt this season.

Taylor Gabriel (58% snaps in Week 7) lost a good chunk of reps to Javon Wims (34%) last week, rendering the Bears' field-stretcher WR as nothing more than a desperate boom-or-bust WR5 play.

TE breakdownTrey Burton hasn't surpassed 20 yards in a game this season, as Adam Shaheen has eaten into his target and snap shares alike. The Bears also seem to prefer Shaheen as the position's featured red-zone option. Neither has seen even five targets in a game this season, rendering both as non-viable fantasy options.

Giants at Lions

Giants Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Darius Slayton

73

190

4.39

13%

27%

Darius Slay

72

192

4.36

Slot

Golden Tate

70

202

4.42

25%

24%

Justin Coleman

71

185

4.53

Right

Bennie Fowler

73

217

4.52

13%

20%

Rashaan Melvin

74

192

4.47

Projected shadow matchups: Golden Tate vs. Justin Coleman

WR/CB breakdown: Sterling Shepard (concussion) told NorthJersey.com, "Oh, I'll be back out on the field ... it's just whether it's gonna be this week or next week." Tate (99% snaps) and Darius Slayton (97%) worked inside of 2-WR sets last week with Shepard sidelined, while Bennie Fowler (39%) and Cody Latimer (32%) rotated as the offense's No. 3 WR.

Stud Lions CB Darius Slay (hamstring) should be considered questionable for Sunday. Either way, coach Matt Patricia hasn't asked Slay to shadow primary slot WRs over the past two seasons, as Nevin Lawson and Teez Tabor traveled inside with the likes of Adam Thielen, Anthony Miller and Randall Cobb in 2018, while Coleman has drawn this assignment in 2019 against Sammy Watkins, Darrius Shepherd and Olabisi Johnson.

Coleman is PFF's No. 16 highest-graded CB in coverage and truly balled out in his high-profile matchup against Watkins earlier this season. Still, Golden Tate is talented enough to win against even the league's best CBs. He's also seen a fantasy-friendly average of 8.7 targets per game. Treat the NFL's most-savage touchdown celebrator as a mid-tier WR2 in this #RevengeGame as long as Shepard remains sidelined.

TE breakdown: Evan Engram has failed to surpass 60 receiving yards or find the end zone in his last three games after working as the overall PPR TE1 in Weeks 1-3. The good news is he's still received a sterling average of 7.7 targets per game over the last three weeks. I'm willing to chalk up last week's disappointing 1-6-0 line on five targets in a smash spot against the Cardinals to the game's porous weather conditions. Engram is too talented to go much longer without a big performance, particularly as long as Shepard is out.

Lions Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Kenny Golladay

76

218

4.5

22%

29%

Deandre Baker

71

193

4.52

Slot

Danny Amendola

70

186

4.68

17%

16%

Grant Haley

69

190

4.44

Right

Marvin Jones

74

200

4.46

19%

25%

Janoris Jenkins

70

193

4.46

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Well, that escalated quickly.

Marvin Jones' 10-93-4 performance in Week 7 demonstrated the eighth-year WR's ridiculous contested-catch ability, particularly inside the 20-yard line. Opportunity has been the only real issue with Jones this season, as he had more than six targets in just one game during Weeks 1-6 before getting a season-high 13 pass-game opportunities against the Vikings.

It'd be reasonable to assume the Lions trend towards a more pass-happy offense moving forward with Kerryon Johnson (knee, IR) sidelined for at least the next eight games. Matt Stafford has certainly been playing well enough to warrant some extra pass attempts:

  • Touchdown rate: 6% (No. 6 among 38 QBs with at least 2 starts this season)

  • QB rating: 101.7 (No. 9)

  • Yards per attempt: 8.03 (No. 9)

  • Adjusted yards per attempt: 8.61 (No. 6)

  • Yards per game: 291.8 (No. 6)

Jones has the ability to continue to work as an upside WR3 more weeks than not.

Meanwhile, Kenny Golladay is tied with Larry Fitzgerald for the most targets inside the 10-yard line (7), while only Will Fuller (17) has more deep-ball targets than Golladay (15). Continue to treat the Lions' ridiculously-talented third-year receiver as a weekly WR2 thanks to arguably the most fantasy-friendly target share in the league.

Neither Deandre Baker nor Janoris Jenkins are outside CBs that fantasy owners should fear, while Grant Haley ranks among PFF's bottom-10 slot CBs in both yards allowed per cover snap and QB rating allowed on targets into his coverage. Danny Amendola has sandwiched 7-104-1 and 8-105-0 performances with three games under 40 yards, but the Lions' slot maven posted a season-high 71% snap rate last week and is set up about as well as possible in this home spot.

TE breakdown: T.J. Hockenson caught 3-of-5 targets for 32 scoreless yards in Week 7. The Lions' talented first-round pick is clearly their TE of the future, but Jesse James (4 targets in Week 7) has remained annoyingly involved. Hockenson is best treated as a high-end TE2 as a non-full-time player that should work as the offense's No. 4 pass-game option more weeks than not.

Jets at Jaguars

Jets Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Robby Anderson

75

190

4.41

20%

42%

A.J. Bouye

72

186

4.6

Slot

Jamison Crowder

68

185

4.56

24%

26%

D.J. Hayden

71

191

4.45

Right

Demaryius Thomas

75

224

4.41

20%

29%

Tre Herndon

71

186

4.52

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: The Jaguars didn't have Jalen Ramsey shadow Robby Anderson last year, so it seems unlikely that A.J. Bouye is asked to do so this time around.

Sam Darnold's ghost-themed trainwreck last Monday night was easily the worst we've seen the second-year QB ever look. Still, he's hardly the first 22-year-old QB to have trouble against Bill Belichick and company. Better days will be ahead for this entire passing game.

We now have a three-game sample size of Darnold's target distribution:

Note that DT wasn't on the Jets in Week 1, so his 13 targets have come over strictly the last two weeks.

Crowder's figure is inflated from his absurd 17 targets in Week 1. He's had nine and six targets over the past two weeks, but coach Adam Gase largely hasn't gone out of his way to feed the Jets' slot WR the ball like we've seen in past seasons. Approach Crowder with caution as a WR3 against D.J. Hayden -- PFF's No. 13 overall CB this season among 122 qualified corners.

Anderson has had the stickier target share with at least seven targets in all three of Darnold's starts this season. The only WRs with more air yards than the Jets' ace field-stretcher in Weeks 1, 6 and 7 are DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and Stefon Diggs. Fire up Anderson as an upside WR3 this week in a potential blowup spot against liability Tre Herndon (PFF's No. 113 overall CB).

TE breakdown: Ryan Griffin continues to work as the Jets' full-time TE with Chris Herndon (hamstring) sidelined. This role has produced 10 or fewer yards in all but one game this season. Continue to fade the Jets TE position until Herndon is healthy enough to handle a full-time workload.

Jaguars Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Chris Conley

74

213

4.35

14%

27%

Darryl Roberts

71

187

4.43

Slot

Dede Westbrook

72

178

4.44

23%

18%

Brian Poole

70

209

4.55

Right

D.J. Chark

75

199

4.34

21%

36%

Trumaine Johnson

74

204

4.61

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Gardner Minshew has focused the overwhelming majority of his target distribution this season on Dede Westbrook (54 targets), D.J. Chark (48), Leonard Fournette (38) and Chris Conley (33).

Westbrook's 6-103-0 performance in Week 7 was a nice reminder of what the talented third-year WR is capable of producing with a good matchup, while Chark has failed to clear 60 yards or find the end zone in consecutive weeks.

Chark remains the superior fantasy option thanks to his more fantasy-friendly target share as the offense's featured deep-threat WR, but the disparity between his and Westbrook's production likely won't be as big as we saw in the first month of the season moving forward.

Chris Conley caught 3-of-8 targets for 83 scoreless yards last week, marking the first time since Week 1 that he received more than five pass-game opportunities in a game. I wouldn't chase this production from the Jaguars' No. 4 pass-game option despite this week's cozy matchup.

The Jets Defense has been better against the run (No. 6 in DVOA) than the pass (No. 17) through seven weeks. This game is shaping up as a potential blow-up spot for Chark, as slot CB Brian Poole (PFF's No. 6 overall CB) has been significantly better than both Trumaine Johnson (No. 100) and Darryl Roberts (No. 101). Nobody has allowed more receiving yards per game to opposing No. 1 WRs than the Jaguars (94.8) this season (Football Outsiders).

TE breakdown: The Jaguars' banged up group of TEs utilized a committee approach in Week 7, with each of Seth DeValve (60% snaps), Ben Koyack (52%) and Josh Oliver (30%) each working in part-time roles. Avoid this group of TEs for the foreseeable future unless we see one of the players pull away.

Panthers at 49ers

Panthers Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

D.J. Moore

72

210

4.42

23%

27%

Emmanuel Moseley

71

184

4.47

Slot

Jarius Wright

70

180

4.42

10%

11%

K'Waun Williams

69

189

4.58

Right

Curtis Samuel

71

196

4.31

20%

36%

Richard Sherman

75

195

4.6

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Cam Newton (foot, out) will be sidelined for at least another week.

A quick look at Kyle Allen's performance in four starts this season:

  • at Cardinals: 19 cmp-26 att, 261 yards-4 TD-0 INT

  • at Texans: 24-34, 232-0-0

  • vs. Jaguars: 17-30, 181-1-0

  • at Buccaneers: 20-32, 227-2-0

To summarize: Allen balled out against the Cardinals' 26th-ranked defense in pass DVOA, was solid against the Buccaneers (No. 25) and had that one amazing play vs. J.J. Watt back in Week 4.

The Panthers' backup QB has otherwise been incredibly average, as Allen has generally been happy to simply exist for the two seconds between getting the snap and either handing or throwing the ball to Christian McCaffrey.

Curtis Samuel got going as both a rusher (1-8-1) and receiver (4-70-1) in Week 6, while D.J. Moore posted solid 6-91-0 and 7-73-0 lines in Weeks 5 and 6, respectively. Still, I'm inclined to fade both in this brutally difficult road spot against the 49ers' top-two defense in virtually every metric when it comes to defending the pass.

TE breakdown: Greg Olsen has sandwiched 6-75-2 and 4-52-0 performances with 2-5-0 and 0-0-0 lines in four games with Allen under center. A matchup with the league's No. 1 defense in DVOA against TEs isn't the time to expect the Panthers' 34-year-old TE to have another ceiling game.

49ers Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Emmanuel Sanders

71

180

4.41

19%

27%

Ross Cockrell

72

191

4.56

Slot

Dante Pettis

73

186

4.53

10%

10%

Donte Jackson

71

178

4.32

Right

Kendrick Bourne

73

203

4.68

8%

12%

James Bradberry

73

211

4.45

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: It's best to disregard pretty much everything that happened in the 49ers' passing offense last week during their Mud Bowl Championship victory over the Redskins.

The only real exception is the WR group's snap rates, as Dante Pettis (92%) and Kendrick Bourne (89%) pulled away from the likes of Richie James (50%), Marquise Goodwin (11%) and Jordan Matthews (5%) with Deebo Samuel (knee) sidelined.

Of course, the 49ers' decision to trade for Emmanuel Sanders throws a bit of a wrench into things. The 49ers boast the league's most run-heavy offense through seven weeks, but clearly made this move under the idea that their WR group simply isn't good enough at the moment.

Perhaps Sanders will prove to be the passing game's missing link and provide a spark to the unit. Still, it's going to require a super-human effort, as his stretch of opposing CBs up to fantasy championship week is unbelievably brutal.

The 49ers regularly move all of their WRs around the formation, so Sanders should at least be able to get some breathers away from those tough matchups. Still, I'd hesitate in projecting the 32-year-old WR as anything more than a boom-or-bust WR3 until we see some type of evidence that Jimmy Garoppolo can enable a high-end fantasy WR.

TE breakdown: George Kittle continues to play through a groin injury, but the 49ers' stud TE hasn't seem bothered by the issue and has posted 83% and 95% snap rates over the past two weeks. Continue to fire up Kittle as a matchup-proof high-end TE1.

Raiders at Texans

Raiders Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Tyrell Williams

75

204

4.48

19%

39%

Lonnie Johnson

74

213

4.52

Slot

Hunter Renfrow

70

184

4.59

14%

14%

Keion Crossen

69

178

4.38

Right

Trevor Davis

73

188

4.42

6%

4%

Gareon Conley

72

195

4.44

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Tyrell Williams (foot) managed to return to practice Wednesday, but he's still banged up and should be considered questionable for Sunday. Neither of his backups in Keelan Doss (44% snaps in Week 7) nor Marcell Ateman (35%) have been on the field enough to warrant fantasy consideration.

This is a winnable matchup for Williams if active. It's easy to see why the Texans felt the need to trade for ex-Raiders CB Gareon Conley when you take a look at the injuries they're presently dealing with in the back end:

  • Starting CB Johnathan Joseph (shoulder) didn't play in Week 6 and was forced out of last week's game after playing just 14 snaps.

  • Starting CB Bradley Roby (hamstring) is reportedly expected to be out through the team's Week 10 bye.

  • Backup CB Phillip Gaines (ankle, IR) is done for the season.

The Raiders' undisputed No. 1 WR ripped off 6-105-1, 5-46-1, 3-20-1 and 3-36-1 lines to start the season before missing the team's Week 5 win over the Bears. Meanwhile, Doss (3-54-0 in Week 7) is the only Raiders WR to surpass even 50 receiving yards with Williams sidelined. Derek Carr hasn't fed any of his complementary WRs more than five targets in a game during two contests without Williams.

The inevitable addition of recently-acquired Zay Jones further lowers the floor for everyone involved in this TE-centric passing attack.

TE breakdown: Darren Waller is the PPR TE2 through seven weeks after hanging a 7-126-2 line on the Packers. Backup TE Foster Moreau has posted respectable 3-30-1, 4-46-0 and 2-24-1 lines over the past three weeks, but doesn't have the type of consistent volume to be worthy of fantasy consideration. Continue to fire up Waller as an every-week TE1 regardless of the matchup. Believe it or not, his big performance in Week 7 actually could've been even more absurd.

Texans Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

DeAndre Hopkins

73

214

4.57

29%

32%

Daryl Worley

73

204

4.64

Slot

Keke Coutee

70

181

4.43

13%

12%

Lamarcus Joyner

68

184

4.55

Right

Kenny Stills

72

194

4.38

12%

15%

Trayvon Mullen

73

199

4.46

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss several weeks and isn't a guarantee to waltz back into a full-time role considering his troubling injury history over the years.

The difference between this year's version of the Texans Offense compared to last year without Fuller is that Kenny Stills possesses field-stretching ability that Demaryius Thomas and DeAndre Carter simply didn't bring to the table. The former Dolphins WR has already demonstrated better-than-expected chemistry with Deshaun Watson, catching 15-of-19 targets for 293 yards and a score in five games.

For this reason I'm inclined to fade Watson's porous career splits without Fuller, as there are simply more capable weapons in this version of the Texans Offense than we've seen in past years.

It's a good idea to target any full-time WR that's playing alongside a magician like Watson ...

... particularly when they have a demonstrated history of success as a downfield threat like Stills. Keke Coutee will also carry enhanced value moving forward, but I'm much higher on the fantasy prospects of Stills thanks to the fantasy-friendly nature of his targets.

DeAndre Hopkins is the No. 1 overall WR play of the week with a double-digit target projection against the league's 30th-ranked defense in pass DVOA. The Raiders have allowed massive performances to each of Demarcus Robinson (6-172-2), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (2-133-3), Courtland Sutton (7-120-0), Allen Robinson (7-97-2) and Emmanuel Sanders (5-86-1) through seven weeks.

TE breakdown: Jordan Akins (2-17-0 in Week 7) and Darren Fells (2-27-0) each had two targets in the Texans' loss to the Colts, giving further credence to the idea that there simply isn't enough consistent target share for the Texans to support a fantasy-relevant TE as long as neither has a full-time role.

Browns at Patriots

Browns Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Odell Beckham

71

198

4.43

27%

34%

Stephon Gilmore

72

190

4.4

Slot

Jarvis Landry

71

205

4.65

22%

26%

Jonathan Jones

69

186

4.33

Right

Antonio Callaway

71

200

4.41

11%

15%

Jason McCourty

70

193

4.35

Projected shadow matchups: Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Stephon Gilmore, Jarvis Landry vs. Jonathan Jones, Antonio Callaway vs. Jason McCourty

WR/CB breakdown: The Patriots' league-best defense deserves plenty of credit for their performance through seven weeks, but a closer look at the last 10 QBs they've gone up against dating back to the 2018 playoffs reveals a good amount of backup-quality talents:

The problem is that Baker Mayfield has done nothing to separate himself from these mostly-porous QBs, ranking outside of the league's top-30 signal callers this season in pretty much any passing-efficiency metric.

It's tough to imagine OBJ and Landry alike staying this quiet for much longer, but matchups against the Patriots, Broncos and Bills over the next three weeks aren't exactly prime bounce-back spots. Don't bench Beckham *EVER*, but Landry is probably better left out of starting lineups in this tough spot.

Overall, each of Jones (No. 3), McCourty (No. 4) and Gilmore (No. 14) rank inside of PFF's top-15 CBs and have been the stalwarts of the league's best defense.

TE breakdown: Ricky Seals-Jones posted a season-high 68% snap rate in Week 6 after failing to clear even 30% in his previous four games. It's a similar situation to Austin Hooper in Atlanta: The Browns don't enter Sunday planning on featuring RSJ over OBJ and Landry, but the TE offers comeback-mode appeal as a consistent check-down option if/when the team falls behind. Still, RSJ is better approached as a high-end TE2 than a true TE1 in this brutal spot.

Patriots Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Phillip Dorsett

70

185

4.33

14%

24%

T.J. Carrie

72

206

4.48

Slot

Mohamed Sanu

74

211

4.67

14%

12%

Eric Murray

71

199

4.49

Right

Julian Edelman

70

198

4.57

24%

30%

Terrance Mitchell

71

192

4.63

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: It remains to be seen when Denzel Ward (hamstring) and Greedy Williams (hamstring) will return to action. The presence of the Browns' speedy outside CBs would be worse news for field-stretching WR Phillip Dorsett as opposed to Julian Edelman, who makes his living in the underneath and middle areas of the field.

Recently-acquired Mohamed Sanu is expected to take over for Jakobi Meyers in the slot. It might take until after the Patriots' Week 10 bye for Sanu to get fully integrated into the offense, but Bill Belichick did ship away a second-round pick for his services. The decision was clearly made due to health concerns over Josh Gordon (knee, IR) and first-round rookie N'Keal Harry (hamstring, IR). Treat Sanu as more of a boom-or-bust WR3 until we see what the Patriots have in mind for the ex-Falcons WR.

This spot is again setting up best for Edelman. Tom Brady's long-time WR1 has just barely spent more time in the slot (230 snaps) as opposed to out wide (213) this season, but he's proven to actually be more effective from the outside.

  • Edelman in the slot: 1.66 yards per route run (No. 24 among 61 qualified WRs)

  • Out wide: 2.2 yards per route run (No. 19 among 91 qualified players)

Fire up Edelman as a high-end WR2 regardless of if Williams and Ward are ultimately active.

TE breakdown: Recently re-signed TE Ben Watson played 62-of-82 (76%) snaps and had five targets with both Matt LaCosse (knee) and Ryan Izzo (concussion) sidelined against the Jets. Still, I'd caution in expecting too much consistent production from Watson, as the presence of Sanu provides the Patriots with the big-bodied inside receiver they've been looking for since Rob Gronkowski retired. Treat Watson as more of a high-end TE2 if LaCosse and Izzo are again sidelined in Week 8.

Packers at Chiefs

Packers Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

76

206

4.37

15%

26%

Charvarius Ward

73

198

4.49

Slot

Geronimo Allison

75

196

4.67

13%

15%

Rashad Fenton

71

193

4.52

Right

Allen Lazard

75

225

4.55

9%

15%

Bashaud Breeland

71

197

4.62

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Davante Adams (toe) hasn't played since Week 4 and remains without a clear timetable for a return.

I called out the Packers as pretenders early in the season after their offense sputtered in matchups vs. the Bears and Vikings in Weeks 1 and 2. All they've done since is score at least 27 points in four of the last five games while functioning as one of the league's most-efficient offenses.

Aaron Rodgers and coach Matt LaFleur alike deserve plenty of credit, as they've managed to complement Rodgers' patented ability to create explosive plays off script with a consistent dose of high-percentage passes to the offense's RBs and underneath WRs.

Everyone was getting involved in Week 7 against the Raiders, as Rodgers threw for 429 and five touchdowns without targeting a single player more than five times. The offense's WR snap and target distribution was as follows:

Allison (concussion) and MVS (ankle, knee) were each banged up entering the game and figure to resume near full-time roles sooner rather than later.

The potential for both MVS and Adams to play limited snaps if active makes each and every WR in the Packers Offense somewhat of a boom-or-bust play. We obviously want exposure to Rodgers' pass-game targets, but a road spot in Arrowhead against the Chiefs' sneaky-good defense against the pass (No. 4 in DVOA) probably shouldn't be targeted in season-long league.

TE breakdown: Jimmy Graham has posted 6-61-1, 3-41-0, 2-17-0 and 4-65-1 lines over the past four weeks. He hasn't come close to resembling the same game-breaking talent that served as Drew Brees' perennial No. 1 target while in a Packers uniform, but the TE position's lack of consistent fantasy-relevant options leaves Graham as a worthy low-end TE1 in this spot. Only the Buccaneers (9.3), Seahawks (8.8) and Vikings (8.6) have allowed more receptions per game to the TE position than the Chiefs (8.2) through seven weeks.

Chiefs Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Demarcus Robinson

73

203

4.59

14%

22%

Kevin King

75

200

4.43

Slot

Tyreek Hill

70

185

4.34

17%

39%

Jaire Alexander

70

196

4.38

Right

Mecole Hardman

70

187

4.33

11%

14%

Tramon Williams

71

194

4.62

Projected shadow matchups: Tyreek Hill vs. Jaire Alexander

WR/CB breakdown: The timetable for Sammy Watkins' (hamstring) return continues to be unclear, with coach Andy Reid calling the offense's No. 3 pass-game weapon "day to day." Both Demarcus Robinson (80% snaps in Week 7) and Tyreek Hill (87%) had featured roles in Cheetah's full-time return to action last week, as Mecole Hardman (48%) was the primary loser when the Chiefs wanted to get Byron Pringle (23%) on the field. Still, the Chiefs feed their speedy second-round rookie enough pop passes and designed targets that he's a bit less dependent on snaps than most WRs.

Of course, none of the Chiefs' complementary options are on the fantasy radar as long as Patrick Mahomes (ankle) is sidelined. The 2018 MVP is reportedly expected to miss at least three weeks, but Mahomes somehow managed to get in a limited practice on Wednesday. It'd still be incredibly surprising to see him suit up anytime soon.

Matt Moore's target distribution last week was as follows:

Hill has proven time and time again to be more than capable of providing high-end fantasy value with limited touches. Don't ever take him out of your starting fantasy lineup, even if there's a fire.

It's tough to get behind any of the other Chiefs WRs in a tough matchup against the Packers' sixth-ranked defense in pass DVOA.

TE breakdown: Kelce is the PPR TE3 after seven weeks, but has largely been considered a disappointment. Overall, he hasn't cleared 100 yards or found the end zone since posting a 7-107-1 line against the Raiders back in Week 2. The Chiefs' matchup-proof TE should never be faded in fantasy, but don't expect any true blowup performances from anyone involved in this passing game as long as Mahomes is sidelined.

Dolphins at Steelers

Dolphins Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Preston Williams

76

211

4.66

21%

29%

Artie Burns

72

193

4.46

Slot

Albert Wilson

69

202

4.43

11%

2%

Mike Hilton

69

178

4.6

Right

DeVante Parker

75

209

4.45

18%

33%

Joe Haden

71

193

4.62

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Preston Williams offers a somewhat-decent floor considering the rookie has either scored or surpassed 60 receiving yards in 4-of-6 games this season. He's out-targeted DeVante Parker 44-to-38 through seven weeks. Trusting anyone involved in this Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense to turn in a good performance in a road prime-time matchup against the Steelers' talented secondary isn't recommended, but Williams offers some sleeper DFS showdown-slate appeal.

Parker is the only pass catcher in this offense that *might* have some consistent fantasy value. He's posted 4-70-1, 3-28-1 and 5-55-1 lines over the past three weeks in fairly difficult matchups against the Chargers, Redskins and Bills. It might be ugly, but at least Parker never has to worry about the Dolphins building a lead and straying from the pass game. Treat him as a low-end boom-or-bust WR3.

Allen Hurns (36% snaps) actually was on the field more than Albert Wilson (23%) last week, rendering both primary slot WRs as irrelevant fantasy options.

TE breakdown: Let me first clarify that I have entirely too much exposure to Mike Gesicki in best-ball formats. With that said: The man has been playing well. The Dolphins' 2018 second-round pick has posted 3-51-0 and 4-41-0 lines over the past two weeks, offering both field-stretching and contested-catch ability from the slot. Gesicki is trending towards high-end TE2 consideration as long as Fitzpatrick continues to feed him downfield opportunities.

Steelers Offense

Position

WR

Height

Weight

Speed

Tgt Share

Air Yard Share

CB

Height

Weight

Speed

Left

Diontae Johnson

70

183

4.53

16%

21%

Ken Webster

71

203

4.43

Slot

JuJu Smith-Schuster

73

215

4.54

20%

25%

Jomal Wiltz

70

180

4.48

Right

James Washington

71

213

4.54

12%

25%

Nik Needham

71

194

4.67

Projected shadow matchups: None

WR/CB breakdown: Mason Rudolph is expected to be back under center Monday night against the Dolphins after missing Week 6 with a concussion.

The 2018 third-round pick hasn't been awful this season, throwing for seven touchdowns in just 94 pass attempts while averaging a solid 7.4 adjusted yards per attempt.

It remains to be seen how healthy James Washington (shoulder) is, and Diontae Johnson has failed to surpass 30 receiving yards in consecutive games after scoring (fluky) touchdowns in each of Week 3 and 4. Neither are realistic fantasy options in a Steelers Offense that figures to continue to flow through James Conner and the run game as much as possible.

This leaves us with JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has actually provided some decent value in Rudolph's four extended appearances this season.

  • Week 2: 5 receptions-84 yards-0 TD (8 targets), PPR WR34

  • Week 3: 3-81-1 (7), WR21

  • Week 4: 3-15-0 (4), WR66

  • Week 5: 7-75-1 (7), WR15

The days of treating JuJu as a locked-in WR1 are over, but he's still a capable upside WR3 in this new-look Steelers Offense.

TE breakdown: Vance McDonald hasn't posted a snap rate above 70% or had more than three targets in a game since the Steelers traded for Nick Vannett. Neither TE is a realistic season-long fantasy option.

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