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Fantasy Football: Week 9 Wide Receiver Matchup Report

Welcome back to another wide receiver matchup report. This week we see even more familiar faces in the unfavorable matchups section, including two receivers affected by injuries that aren’t their own. We also find a receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, who could benefit from his quarterback’s injury in the favorable section, as well as the best sleeper of the week to date. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @JonSauber where you can ask me any fantasy-related questions.

Favorable Matchups

Tyreek Hill @ Dallas Cowboys

Few players have been as boom-or-bust as Tyreek Hill has been for the Chiefs this year. Fortunately for Hill’s fantasy owners, this week should be a major boom. The Chiefs continue to roll through their schedule, and this week they get one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. The main benefactor of that should be Hill, who is the team’s most explosive player. He may not get the target load that other elite fantasy receivers get, but all it takes is one big play to make him a fantasy stud. It’s reasonable to expect Hill to find the end zone this week, and to expect the Chiefs to continue to find new ways to get the ball in his hands. Hill is a clear WR1 this week in fantasy leagues.

Larry Fitzgerald @ San Francisco 49ers

With the Cardinals losing Carson Palmer for the season due to injury, it would be easy to downgrade the entire Arizona offense. However, I believe that Palmer’s injury may actually help Larry Fitzgerald’s fantasy value. Fitzgerald has been the safety valve in Arizona for well over a decade now, and that won’t change with Drew Stanton at the helm. I expect the Cardinals to take fewer deep shots, which means even more targets for Fitzgerald. Not to mention, they get an atrocious San Francisco back four that will allow Fitzgerald to feast. Even with his age, he’s been good after the catch, and that will come into play as he gets fed on underneath routes. Fitzgerald is still a WR1 for me, especially this week.

Devin Funchess vs. Atlanta Falcons

With the surprising Kelvin Benjamin trade that came down just before Tuesday’s trade deadline, a void has been left in Carolina’s passing game. That should be filled in a few weeks when Greg Olsen returns, but for now, Devin Funchess should benefit from Benjamin’s departure. Funchess is the clear number one option in Carolina. He’s the kind of big-bodied wide receiver that Cam Newton likes to target, and his frame makes him a major red zone threat. Funchess should see at least 10 targets for the Panthers this week and will get plenty of red zone opportunities. He’s a safe WR2 for me this week and someone worth paying for in DFS leagues.

Demaryius Thomas @ Philadelphia Eagles

This choice is based on Ronald Darby’s health. If the young corner is ready to go, Demaryius Thomas maintains his usual value as a low-end WR2. However, I expect Darby to sit this week and come back in two weeks, following Philadelphia’s bye. That means Thomas will be seeing a whole lot of Jalen Mills. While Mills played well last week, it was against the 49ers, which should make his performance less surprising. Thomas should take advantage of Mills, who tends to struggle with fast receivers, and receivers who can make plays with the ball in their hands. Fortunately for Thomas, he is both of those things. That means targets all over the field for him. I expect around eight targets, including at least two that come 20 yards or more down the field.
Unfavorable Matchups

Alshon Jeffery vs. Denver Broncos

One of these weeks, Alshon Jeffery is going to have a favorable matchup. This week is not that week. Jeffery will likely see Aqib Talib for a good portion of the game, which does not bode well for his fantasy ability for the week. Not only that, but the Eagles have done a great job of spreading the wealth this season, and taking advantage of their matchups. To me, that means a lot of Zach Ertz and a lot of run plays this week. Jeffery could still maintain relevance, because he’s always a red zone threat, and can make contested catches. But as far as I’m concerned, that drops him to a flex play this week against the stingy Broncos pass defense.

Jordy Nelson vs. Detroit Lions

The fantasy value of Packers receivers has already taken a massive hit thanks to Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone injury. Unfortunately for Jordy Nelson, he’s likely to take an even bigger hit this week when the Packers take on the Lions. He will be staring at Darius Slay for a large portion of the game, which means Brett Hundley is likely to look in another direction. Slay has become one of the best shutdown corners in the league, and Nelson doesn’t have Aaron Rodgers to help him anymore. You still probably have to play him in season-long leagues, but avoid him like the plague in DFS formats.

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Indianapolis Colts

There isn’t a ton to say here. Deshaun Watson tore his ACL this week in practice, and that will set the Texans’ offense back in a major way. DeAndre Hopkins goes from a top five fantasy wide receiver to a low-end WR2. Try to sell high on Hopkins now in season-long leagues, because his production won’t be the same the rest of the way. Fortunately for Watson, it appears that he should be ready to go at the start of next season.

Sleeper of the Week

Corey Davis vs. Baltimore Ravens

Most of my sleepers tend to be one-off choices that fade back into irrelevance. Not this week. Do whatever you have to do to get Corey Davis because after this Sunday, the price is going to go way up. Davis was the most talented receiver in this past draft class and is a brilliant talent. He’s a crisp route runner that can burn his man deep, or break his man’s ankles with the ball in his hands. Davis is a monster. Period. I expect the game of a WR1 this week for Davis against a tough defense. Hurry up and get him before it’s too late.

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