The Wide Receiver Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s main NFL slate. For more of our weekly football content, visit the NFL homepage.
Week 14’s main slate has just one matchup with a Vegas total of at least 48 points, so determining who’s in for a big workload, pricing inefficiencies, and beneficial wide receiver/cornerback matchups is more important than ever. Be sure to consult our Vegas line and Vegas Outliers breakdowns to stay on top of Vegas-related trends heading into Sunday.
Although it has wider applicability, this breakdown is for the 13-game DraftKings and FanDuel main slates.
The Big Two
Antonio Brown and Brandin Cooks are off the main slate and playing on Sunday and Monday night, respectively. Only two receivers are priced at $8,000 or higher on both DraftKings and FanDuel this week:
- DeAndre Hopkins ($8,500 DraftKings, $8,600 FanDuel)
- Keenan Allen ($8,300 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel)
This week’s top-two receivers are both 25-years-old, don’t stand an inch over 6’2,” and would take over nine seconds to run a 40-yard dash relay. Sounds about right.
It’s a total disgrace, they set the pace, it must be a race and the best thing I can do is run
Hopkins has surpassed his (usually-high) salary-based expectations in all but one game this season. It’s an especially impressive feat considering his situation under center, although Tom Savage has at least been better at getting Nuk the ball than Brock Osweiler was. Overall, Hopkins has posted an average 6.5-100.1-0.5 line on 12.3 targets in 11 games with Savage under center. Through 13 weeks he ranks eighth among all wide receivers in targets per snap and sixth in yards per route run: Nuk offers a truly special combination of volume and efficiency on a weekly basis.
The next victim in Hopkins’ path is a 49ers defense that ranks among the bottom of most major pass defense efficiency categories, including pass DVOA (29th), DVOA against WR1s (27th), yards allowed per attempt (24th), and quarterback rating (26th). Their top-three corners in Ahkello Witherspoon, Dontae Johnson, and K’Waun Williams all have allowed a passer rating above 100 on passes into their coverage this season. In addition to his favorable matchup on the outside, Hopkins could benefit from extended playing time thanks to a 49ers offense that moves at the league’s fastest pace and appears to be a bit more competent with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.
The potential absences of Will Fuller (ribs, questionable), Bruce Ellington (hamstring, doubtful), and Braxton Miller (concussion, questionable) would only lead to more target share toward one of the league’s best route runners and contested-catch extraordinaire. Be sure to monitor our Injury Dashboard to keep tabs on the Texans’ situation at receiver.
Seems that the wrath of the Gods got a punch on the nose and it started to flow; I think I might be sinking
Allen’s recent hot streak can’t be overstated: He’s the first player in NFL history to have 10-plus catches, 100-plus receiving yards, and one-plus touchdown catch in three consecutive games. Overall, Allen has converted his last 41 targets into a 33-436-4 line against the Bills, Cowboys, and Browns. He saw shadow coverage from Jason McCourty on 75 percent of his routes last week but still had his way with PFF’s No. 10 overall cornerback:
Despite Allen’s recent success, he faces his toughest matchup in weeks against the Redskins’ 12th-ranked defense that has plenty of talent at cornerback between Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, and Kendall Fuller. Overall, all three corners are in the exclusive sub-1.0 yards allowed per cover snap club, and Fuller has allowed the fourth-fewest yards per cover snap among full-time slot corners this season. Still, Allen has become fairly matchup-proof thanks to his gargantuan workload and rapport with Philip Rivers. He’s more than capable of winning his matchup against a Redskins defense that has allowed 20-plus points to notable slot receivers Adam Thielen, Doug Baldwin, and Nelson Agholor.
A.J. Green ($7,300 DraftKings, $8,300 FanDuel): Green’s 7-77-2 effort against the Steelers last Monday night included an additional 61-yard touchdown that was called back by a questionable hold by Giovani Bernard. Regardless, his primetime display demonstrated the fantasy-friendly nature of his targets with so few viable weapons elsewhere on the Bengals offense. Overall, Green ranks among the top-four receivers in both red zone and overall target share this season. He’ll take on a Bears defense that has allowed an additional 7.9 points per game (PPG) and 2.4 DraftKings PPG to wide receivers on the road since the beginning of last season. Green’s salary has risen only $100 from his season-low mark of $7,300 in Week 13, so be sure to monitor our Ownership Dashboard shortly after lock to see how chalky he is at different contest sizes.
Adam Thielen ($7,200 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel) and Stefon Diggs ($5,800 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel): For the first time since January of 2017, Thielen recorded fewer than five receptions in a game. His five targets were also a season-low, while Diggs hasn’t seen more than seven targets in a game since September. Their matchup against the Panthers’ 10th-ranked defense in pass DVOA is far from ideal, and the Vikings carry an underwhelming implied total of 21.75 points. Still, both receivers have proven capable of overcoming tough matchups in the league’s 11th-ranked scoring offense, and they’ll take on a Panthers secondary without a cornerback graded higher than 75th by PFF this season.
Tyreek Hill ($7,100 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel): Fresh off converting nine targets into 185 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Jets, TyFREAK will now face a Raiders defense he’s racked up five plays of 30-plus yards against during his short career. He should have plenty of chances to continue that big-play success considering he’s one of just 10 receivers with at least 20 targets of 20-plus yards this season. Hill will look to bust his -9.9 DraftKings PPG differential at Arrowhead during his career against the Raiders’ league-worst defense in both overall and pass DVOA.
Mike Evans ($6,900 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel) and DeSean Jackson ($4,400 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel): Evans and Jameis Winston couldn’t rediscover their chemistry against the Packers’ underwhelming secondary, and Evans has gone a career-long five and 16 games without a touchdown or 100 yards, respectively. He’ll likely draw a shadow date with Darius Slay, who has limited some of the league’s best this season:
- Odell Beckham Jr.: 5 targets, 4-36-0
- Julio Jones: 12 tgts, 7-91-0
- Stefon Diggs (2 games): 7 tgts, 5-98-0; 7 tgts, 5-66-0
- Michael Thomas: 6 tgts, 3-11-0
- Antonio Brown: 10 tgts, 5-70-0
Of course, Kelvin Benjamin had some success in limited snaps across from Slay, perhaps an indication the Lions’ 6’0″ and 190-pound corner could struggle with a 6’5″ and 230-pound beast like Evans. Meanwhile, D-Jax has gained fewer than 30 yards with fewer than five targets in three of his past five games but could run the majority of his routes against Nevin Lawson – PFF’s 12th-lowest graded corner out of 115 eligible defensive backs.
Marvin Jones ($6,800 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel), Golden Tate ($6,400 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel) and Kenny Golladay ($3,900 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel): Jones had 11-plus targets in three of five games with Golladay sidelined but hasn’t reached double-digit looks in seven games with the Lions’ No. 3 receiver. Still, Jones ranks fifth and sixth in Air Yards and end zone target share among all wide receivers, respectively, indicating the fantasy-friendly nature of his targets on a week-to-week basis. Tate has actually averaged more targets per game with Golladay healthy, and all three receivers have an exploitable matchup against the Buccaneers’ 30th-ranked defense in pass DVOA that is one of just five units to allow at least 10 passes of 40-plus yards this season.
Michael Crabtree ($6,700 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel) and Amari Cooper ($5,800 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel): Cooper is still in the concussion protocol and also dealing with a sprained ankle, but the Raiders remain “hopeful” he’ll suit up Sunday. If he can play, he’ll benefit from a sub-$6k salary against a Chiefs defense he torched with a 2-210-2 line in Week 7 that will be without suspended corner Marcus Peters. We’ve never seen what Crabtree can do as Derek Carr‘s no-questions-asked WR1, and he may get the opportunity against a Chiefs defense allowing the second-most DraftKings points per game to opposing wide receiver units this season. They’ll take on a combination of 32-year-old Darrelle Revis and the ever-burnable Terrance Mitchell.
Davante Adams ($6,600 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel), Jordy Nelson ($4,500 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel), and Randall Cobb ($4,000 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel): Adams seems most likely to draw the watchful eye of McCourty, although the Browns’ league-worst defense in DVOA against WR1s demonstrates an instance where we can worry a bit less about individual matchups. Nelson and Cobb have easier matchups, but the former hasn’t cleared 35 receiving yards in six consecutive games, while the latter managed to play 41 snaps last week without a single target. Expectations for all three should probably be tempered with a game total of just 40.5 points – the third-lowest mark of Week 14.
Larry Fitzgerald ($6,500 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel): Fitz has posted a 19-189-2 line on 20 targets from Blaine Gabbert against the Texans and Rams while offering a 3-12-0 stinker on eight targets against the Jaguars’ historically great defense. The Titans’ 24th-ranked defense in pass DVOA won’t be confused with the Jaguars’ anytime soon, and they could be without slot corner Logan Ryan – one of just 15 full-time slot corners to allow fewer than 1.0 yards per cover snap this season. Fitz has racked up 20-plus DraftKings points in 33.3 percent of his home games compared to just 18 percent of his road contests since 2014.
Robby Anderson ($6,500 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel) and Jermaine Kearse ($4,800 DraftKings, $6,300 FanDuel): Anderson’s five-game touchdown streak is finally over, but his 8-107-0 line last week against the Chiefs was hardly a disappointment. Meanwhile, Kearse has converted an average of 9.7 targets per game into a 6.7-99-0.3 line in three games since Jeremy Kerley was suspended. Kearse has spent the majority of his time in the slot over the past three weeks, which means he’ll likely match up with All-World slot corner Chris Harris Jr. The matchup for Anderson is much better, as the Broncos have been especially susceptible to field-stretching receivers like Anderson:
- Kenny Stills: 13 targets, 5-98-1
- Brandin Cooks: 11 tgts, 6-74-0
- Tyreek Hill: 6 tgts, 2-38-0
- Travis Benjamin (2 games): 4 tgts, 1-42-1; 4 tgts, 3-43-1
Alshon Jeffery ($6,300 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel) and Nelson Agholor ($5,200 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel): Jeffery has racked up five touchdowns in his last five games and could see an expanded red zone role if Zach Ertz (concussion, questionable) is ultimately unable to suit up. Although Jeffery’s elite ability to make contested catches has helped him overcome tough matchups during his career, his showdown against the Rams’ third-ranked defense in pass DVOA includes a potential shadow date against 6’2″ and 205-pound Trumaine Johnson. While Johnson hasn’t necessarily shut down everybody he’s faced this season, it marks a rare occasion where Jeffery may not be able to routinely overpower the man across from him. Agholor also has a tough matchup against Nickell Robey-Coleman, who has allowed the second-fewest yards per cover snap among 33 full-time slot corners this season.
Cooper Kupp ($6,200 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel), Robert Woods ($6,000 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel), and Sammy Watkins ($5,600 DraftKings, $6,300 FanDuel): Woods hasn’t practiced since injuring his shoulder, and a return Sunday would put him on the early side of his 2-4 week recovery timetable. Kupp has five-plus receptions in four consecutive games and is locked in as Jared Goff‘s featured red zone receiver – although that role hasn’t produced a touchdown since Week 7. Watkins saw a season-high nine targets during Woods’ first game out before getting just four looks during his subsequent shadow date with Patrick Peterson. The whole pass offense has a tough matchup against the Eagles’ sixth-and third-ranked defense in scoring and overall DVOA, respectively. Watkins’ field-stretching ability will be tested against an Eagles defense that has allowed a league-low 27 passes of 20-plus yards, but a big game would make him a two-time recipient of a post-Peterson boom:
Devin Funchess ($6,100 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel): Funchess has posted four of his top-10 career performances in DraftKings PPG since Kelvin Benjamin was traded to the Bills, but he’ll have one helluva time trying to escape shadow coverage from Xavier Rhodes. Funchess will be giving up plenty of speed as always, but Rhodes’ 6’1″ and 210 pound frame makes him a nightmare for physical receivers. Rhodes’ list of victims this season – save for Marvin Jones‘ Thanksgiving day miracle – has gotten ridiculous:
- Mike Evans: 12 targets, 7-67-0
- Davante Adams: 10 tgts, 5-54-1
- Antonio Brown: 11 tgts, 5-62-0
- Michael Thomas: 8 tgts, 5-45-0
- Josh Doctson: 7 tgts, 4-30-0
- Sammy Watkins: 4 tgts, 3-36-0
- Marvin Jones (twice): 5 tgts, 2-42-0; 9 tgts, 6-109-2
- Julio Jones: 6 tgts, 2-24-0
Jamison Crowder ($5,900 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel) and Josh Doctson ($4,200 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel): Crowder has continued to benefit from Jordan Reed‘s (hamstring, out) absence, as he’s averaged an additional 2.01 targets and 3.94 DraftKings PPG with Reed sidelined since 2015. Doctson continues to flash the type of athletic ability that made him a first-round pick in 2016, but he hasn’t surpassed seven targets in a game this season. Any targets he gets Sunday will likely be under Hayward’s shadow.
T.Y. Hilton ($5,700 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel): On the one hand, Hilton has averaged a 4.1-59.7-0.26 line outdoors compared to a 4.9-83.0-0.45 line inside during his career. On the other hand, he gets a Bills secondary that could be without stud corner Tre’Davious White (concussion, questionable) and slot corner Leonard Johnson (knee, questionable). Hilton’s two to four percent projected ownership in our Pro Models is well below his season average of 11.1 percent.
Marqise Lee ($5,500 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel) and Dede Westbrook ($4,200 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel): Lee bounced back from his Peterson-induced slump in Week 12 with a 7-86-1 line against the Colts last Sunday. He’s racked up double-digit targets in five of his last eight games and has a winnable matchup against a Seahawks secondary that will continue to be without both Richard Sherman (ankle, IR) and Kam Chancellor (neck, IR). Meanwhile, Westbrook has caught six passes in back-to-back games, although he’s yet to see a target inside the 20-yard line and currently has the lowest average target distance among the team’s receivers.
Doug Baldwin ($5,400 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel): Jalen Ramsey has slid down into the slot for a handful of snaps against marquee receivers such as Fitzgerald (3-12-0), Allen (4-48-0), and Hilton (twice: 2-27-0, 3-51-1). Regular slot corner Aaron Colvin has allowed the eighth-fewest yards per cover snap among full-time slot corners and won’t offer much relief for Baldwin either. In addition to the tough matchup, Baldwin will need to overcome severe home/away splits that have him averaging 5.0 fewer DraftKings PPG on the road since 2015.
Sterling Shepard ($5,300 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel): Shepard didn’t practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury. If he’s healthy, he has a chance to take advantage of a severe price reduction against the Cowboys’ 26th-ranked defense in DVOA that may welcome back Sean Lee (hamstring, questionable) but will likely be without slot corner Orlando Scandrick (back, doubtful). Shepard has the highest projected ceiling among all receivers priced under $5,500 on DraftKings with lowly two to four percent projected ownership versus a Cowboys defense that has allowed blow-up games to notable slot receivers such as Allen (11-171-1), Crowder (9-123-0), and Fitzgerald (13-149-1).
Kelvin Benjamin ($4,600 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel): The Bills are hopeful Benjamin (knee, questionable) can suit up Sunday. He has several factors working in his favor if he can play:
- Workload: Benjamin saw a team-high six targets in his only full game with the Bills in Week 10. Although he was quickly injured in Week 11, Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison later said the team had four to five plays in the first 15 scripted plays that were intended for Benjamin. Teammate Jordan Matthews (knee) was placed on IR.
- Matchup: The Colts defense has allowed more points, passing yards, yards per attempt, and passes of 20-plus yards than any other team this season. Vontae Davis (groin, IR) has been out since Week 8, Pierre Desir (shoulder, IR) was injured last Sunday, and Rashaan Melvin (wrist, questionable) is still considered week-to-week.
Marquise Goodwin ($5,100 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel) and Trent Taylor ($3,300 DraftKings, $4,500): Jimmy Garoppolo‘s first game under center went great for his top-two receivers, as Goodwin and Taylor combined to convert their 14 targets into a 14-191-0 line in Week 13 in Chicago. Now they have a much better matchup indoors against a Texans defense that has allowed an additional 5.6 points and 59.6 passing yards per game since losing J.J. Watt (leg, IR) and Whitney Mercilus (pec, IR) in Week 6. The potential absence of Johnathan Joseph (shoulder, questionable) would be great news for the whole passing offense, as PFF’s No. 24 overall cornerback is the Texans’ only defensive back graded higher than 80th.
The Model Wide Receivers
There are several wide receivers atop the Pro Models built by Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, and Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek), with the following two receivers standing out among multiple models:
- Dez Bryant ($5,900 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel)
- Josh Gordon ($5,500 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel)
Did DraftKings forget Bryant’s kryptonite — Janoris Jenkins (ankle, IR) — is out for the season? Bryant hasn’t had the season many expected, but he’s still managed to go for at least 13 DraftKings points in seven of his 11 games this season. He’s one of three players with double-digit targets inside the 10-yard line, and the league’s most-cornerback sensitive receiver has proven to still be capable of winning one-on-one matchups. And yet Bryant’s lowest salary since 2014 comes against a Giants defense that is one of just six units to allow 23-plus passing touchdowns this season and could also be without Eli Apple (hip, questionable). Bryant could wind up running the majority of his routes against Ross Cockrell, who was partially responsible for Bryant’s 6-116-1 line in Pittsburgh last season — which was the last time he eclipsed 100 yards in a regular season game. Bryant has a top-three projected ceiling and floor among receivers priced under $6,000 on DraftKings.
Gordon converted his 11 targets against the Chargers into a 4-85-0 line in his first game since 2014. Nobody else on the offense saw over six targets, and Gordon was one of just six receivers in Week 13 with five targets thrown 20-plus yards downfield. He quickly flashed the same contested-catch and open-field ability that helped him gain the most receiving yards ever by a 22-year-old (in just 14 games):
Gordon accomplished all this against Casey Hayward, PFF’s No. 1 cornerback, who said afterwards that Gordon was his “toughest matchup all year.” Next up is a date with the Packers’ 29th-ranked defense in DVOA against WR1s that has allowed the most DraftKings PPG, highest Plus/Minus, and highest Consistency Rating to opposing wide receiver units this season (per our Trends tool). Gordon’s $5,500 price tag on DraftKings carries the highest projected ownership on the slate but also the highest Projected Plus/Minus and projected floor among all wide receivers.
Positional Breakdowns & Tools
Be sure to research the wide receivers for yourself with our tools and read the other Week 14 positional breakdowns.
Good luck this week!
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