There’s a short slate this week, so these matchups will be brief. I’m going to highlight two plus matchups and two minus matchups per position.
I have high confidence in these matchups and look at statistical data for the season, the last five weeks, the last three weeks and adjusted data, like Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which attempts to eliminate schedule bias and give us a true picture of how good or bad a defense is.
That said you can study every statistic on the planet and fail to predict that Ben Roethlisberger is going to throw back-to-back 6-TD games. Or predict a massive game from Isaiah Crowell in the opening round of the fantasy playoffs only to see him get 17 yards on 7 carries against the worst-rated run defense in the NFL.
Those are the breaks. All we can do is give ourselves the best chance to make the right call and matchup data is one of the tools that can help.
Top wide receiver 2 matchups
Markus Wheaton/Martavis Bryant vs. Baltimore — Wheaton has more targets than Martavis Bryant over the last three weeks and five weeks. However, I could see Bryant making more use out of this matchup if the Steelers give him more targets. Considering the likely game script, both wide receivers will get opportunities this week.
Jerricho Cotchery vs. Arizona — The Cardinals are 19th in DVOA against WR2s this season aand allow 54.5 yards per game to them. Cotchery has caught all 13 targets for 118 yards and a touchdown in the last three weeks.
Worst wide receiver 2 matchups
Reggie Wayne/Hakeem Nicks vs. Cincinnati — Reggie Wayne is likely to play this week so I probably don’t need to put Nicks on there. But I feel compelled to do it. I think we can agree it should be Donte Moncrief on this list, but we don’t decide who plays on Sundays. The Bengals allow an insanely low 37.5 yards per game to opposing No. 2 wide receivers. They rank third in DVOA against the position.
Brandon Tate/Greg Little/Cobi Hamilton vs. Indianapolis — A.J. Green is likely out with a concussion, thrusting the regular No. 2 Mohamed Sanu into the No. 1 role. Dane Sanzenbacher was placed on IR, so we’re left with this trio. Hamilton was recently promoted from the practice squad, so he likely will have a limited role. It’s probably best to avoid all Bengals receivers not named Mohamed Sanu this week if you can, but Tate is the likely No. 2.