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Fantasy Football: Week 3 Wide Receiver Matchup Report

We’re back again with out wide receiver matchup report. This week, we have some fun cornerback matchups, as well as some interesting team matchups that could boost the production of some fantasy wide receivers. On the flip side, We’ve got two WRs being bogged down by their cornerback matchup, and one being weighted by Case Keenum. I hope you enjoy, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter @JonSauber.

Favorable Matchups

Keenan Allen vs. Kansas City Chiefs

For the second week in a row we have a receiver with a favorable matchup against the Chiefs. Their vaunted defense took a big hit in Week 1, when they lost Eric Berry, and they still don’t have Steven Nelson in the slot. That leaves Phillip Gaines to play the slot, where Keenan Allen will be taking most of his snaps. Allen will have a distinct advantage thanks to his crisp route-running and reliable hands. Game flow should also dictate the Chargers throwing the ball against the Chiefs. Kansas City should be able to build a lead and force the Chargers to air it out. Not only that, they’re stout against the run, which should also put more pressure on Los Angeles to throw the ball. It’s reasonable to expect Allen to see eight or more targets this week, with at least one end zone target.

DeVante Parker @ New York Jets

This should be a common theme this season. The Jets secondary is really bad, and most teams should be able to take advantage of that. This week, there will be two players that are primed to take advantage of the Jets. They are DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry. While both will be viable this week in fantasy, I’m going with Parker here. His size and speed will be enough to take the top off the Jets’ defense and be open, even when he’s not. Parker’s catch radius is so large that even when he’s covered, Jay Cutler will be able to target him. He has the ability to beat man coverage with his strength, too. Cutler already compared Parker favorably to Alshon Jeffery, and like Jeffery, he has the ability to always be open. Parker could breakout this week with 10+ targets and multiple end zone targets.

DeAndre Hopkins @ New England Patriots

This advantage for Hopkins is less about the opposing secondary, and more about the situation the game will put the Texans in. The Patriots should be scoring early and often, putting the Texans in a position where they have to throw the ball. Hopkins has been a target monster this season, tallying 29 through two games. I’d expect him to continue see that sort of share as long as Deshaun Watson is the Texans’ quarterback. Hopkins is another guy who doesn’t need a ton of separation to be targeted. He’s got a great catch radius, and Watson loves to take advantage of that. With how high-scoring I expect this game to be, Hopkins should be in for a massive game. Expect a similar target number this week to the first two weeks. He should reach around 15 there, with multiple opportunities in the end zone.

Unfavorable Matchups

Dez Bryant @ Arizona Cardinals

Another week, another bad matchup for Dez Bryant. The Cowboys offense struggled last week and threw the ball way more than they could ever plan on doing. Bryant had 16 targets, pulling in seven of them for 59 yards and a touchdown. That target total should drop to closer to eight this week in what should be a low-scoring matchup. Bryant will also likely be shadowed by Patrick Peterson, one of the game’s best corners. Bryant isn’t likely to get much separation from Peterson all game, and Peterson’s ball skills make it difficult to throw in his direction. Bryant will need to score against Arizona to have fantasy value, and that doesn’t seem likely. I imagine Dallas will look to get Ezekiel Elliott back on track, which means feeding him the ball in the red zone. When they do throw, Jason Witten is likely to be their main target.

Stefon Diggs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Stefon Diggs is a victim of circumstance this week. With Sam Bradford likely to miss another game, the entire Vikings’ passing game takes a massive hit. With Case Keenum at the helm last week, Diggs received only six targets and was able to catch only two of them for 27 yards. I’d expect a heavy dose of the run game this week again for Minnesota. When they do take to the air, it’s likely to be an air game consisting mostly of dump-offs and screens. That means an increase in targets for Kyle Rudolph and Dalvin Cook. Diggs, on the other, will suffer as a deep threat. His only legitimate chance to be a threat this week will come if he can turn a slant or dig into a big play. He’ll have to do most of his damage with the ball in his hands. Expect fewer than eight targets again, and a spot on the bench in most fantasy leagues.

Michael Crabtree vs. Washington Redskins

Michael Crabtree has had a nice start to the season, but I expect that to come to a halt this week. Crabtree should see a lot of Josh Norman, which is never a good sign for a fantasy wide receiver. With Norman on Crabtree, I’d expect Derek Carr to look toward Amari Cooper and Jared Cook in the passing game. Crabtree will still be targeted, but this week seems to be the week that he’ll take a backseat in the offense. I also expect the Raiders to go up big early, and I doubt Washington can keep up. Because of that, game flow should push the Raiders to run the ball, lessening Crabtree’s value even further. You may still have to start him, but I’d temper my expectations for this week.

Sleeper of the Week

Rashard Higgins @ Indianapolis Colts

This week’s sleeper comes to us from the Cleveland Browns. With Corey Coleman on injured reserve, and Kenny Britt not being good at football, the Browns have had to turn elsewhere for production in the passing game. Enter Rashard Higgins, 2014 Biletnikoff award finalist, and potential fantasy stud. Higgins was a machine for the Browns last week, cranking out 95 yards on seven catches. He also managed a carry for four yards. The Browns are desperate for playmakers at this point and look like they’ll do whatever it takes to get the ball into Higgins’ hands. This week? He gets the Indianapolis Colts, who have one of the worst secondaries in football. Expect another 10+ target game for Higgins, making him an easy sleeper pick.

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