Cornerbacks Games in Shadow Coverage PPG Allowed Games Under 10 PPG Top 24 WRs Faced Y/SNP
James Bradberry 9 8.6 5 5 0.75
Carlton Davis 8 9.4 5 4 1.37
Darius Slay 7 13.6 3 4 1.53
Jalen Ramsey 5 13.5 2 5 0.53
Bradley Roby 5 10.9 3 2 0.72
Patrick Peterson 5 13.4 2 4 1.05
William Jackson 5 6.2 3 2 1.07
Isaac Yiadom 5 8.2 3 0 1.2
Malcolm Butler 5 7.9 3 3 1.36
Jaire Alexander 4 9.6 2 3 0.64
Tre’Davious White 4 9.5 2 1 0.94
Stephon Gilmore 4 8.2 2 2 1.01
Janoris Jenkins 4 9.1 3 1 1.17
J.C. Jackson 4 21.8 2 1 1.23
Xavien Howard 4 11.3 1 2 1.25
Marshon Lattimore 4 10 2 4 1.27

Chart Key

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Using the shadow coverage matrix from Pro Football Focus we took a deep dive into all the shadow coverage matchups in 2020. The first step was to make some eliminations in the data to get a more accurate representation of the notable shadow corners in 2020. In the analysis we did this by using the following criteria:

  1. The shadow coverage matchup must be for at least 50% of snaps
  2. AND the opposing shadow corner must have shadowed in at least 4 games in 2020

By using this criteria, it allowed us to eliminate a lot of corners who were either not consistently used as a shadow corner or who weren’t the best cornerbacks on their team. The importance of this is it allows us to better predict impactful shadow coverage matchups in the future by highlighting teams who consistently use shadow coverage week in and week out.

After factoring in these criteria only 11 wide receivers faced at least three notable shadow corners in 2020.

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Does Shadow Coverage matter…..I mean I hope so I just spent the whole year writing about it, but instead of just hoping it does let’s take a look at 2020. Just an FYI if we find out it doesn’t, I just want to say I can’t wait to try something new here at the great company of Razzball in 2021.

The first thing we should do is review the data of all the wide receivers we wrote about in are articles weeks 1- 17 weeks. Granted not all these players ended up seeing shadow coverage, but it is important to look at the players who we typically think will see shadow coverage week in and week out. Later on we will review PFF’s shadow coverage matchups to see the overall impact shadow coverage had in 2020, but for now let’s dive into the weekly finishes of the players we tracked this season.

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Shadow Coverage Tracker
WR Finish Total
1 23
2 13
3 14
4+ 31
Grand Total 81
Shadow Coverage Tracker
WR Finish Total
1 23
2 13
3 13
4+ 29
Grand Total 78

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Opponent: New York Giants

WR1: Amari Cooper

Shadow Coverage Matchup: James Bradberry

Amari Cooper vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 31 5.6 77.6 0.5 13.3
Vs. Shadow Coverage 15 4.4 57.5 0.4 10.3
vs. James Bradberry 1 2 23 0 3.3

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

Amari Cooper’s performance vs. shadow coverage has been ok vs. shadow coverage posting 10 PPG in .5 PPR since 2018. However, it is important to point out he has failed to hit double digits in 8 games while failing to hit 6 points in 7 of those contests. This low floor tends to make Cooper more of a boom or bust prospect when facing notable shadow corners.

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Shadow Coverage Tracker
WR Finish Total
1 22
2 12
3 11
4+ 29
Grand Total 74

 

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Opponent: New York Giants

WR1: Marquise Brown

Shadow Coverage Matchup: James Bradberry

Marquise Brown vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 25 3.4 48 0.5 9.4
Vs. Shadow Coverage 3 4.3 3.7 0 4.8

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

Marquise Brown hasn’t seen much shadow coverage in 2020 only getting the followed once back in week 2 by Bradley Roby. In that game Brown caught 5 receptions for 42 yards with no scores. In three career games in shadow coverage Brown has yet to top 50 yards in any game. This has led to his career PPG to be just under 5 in .5 PPR.

Week 16 Recommendation – Sit

This week Marquise Brown will square off vs. Giants top CB James Bradberry. Bradberry so far in 2020 has faced 8 WRs in shadow coverage holding them to a combined 8.4 PPG in .5 PPR. This includes holding D.K. Metcalf (5-80), Amari Cooper (2-23) and Allen Robinson (3-33) well below their season averages in 2020. Granted Brown is coming off four straight productive games but this matchup vs. James Bradberry makes him a fade in week 16.

DFS Recommendation – Price FD $6,200 / DK $5,700

Marquise Brown is listed as a top 24 WR on each site making him a DFS fade for week 16. Notable players in the same price range I would pivot to include Jarvis Landry vs. NYJ and Cole Beasley vs. NE.

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles

WR1: Amari Cooper

Shadow Coverage Matchup: Darius Slay

Amari Cooper vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 30 5.7 76.1 0.5 13.2
Vs. Shadow Coverage 15 4.4 57.5 0.4 10.3
vs. Darius Slay 1 3 38 0 5.3
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Shadow Coverage Tracker
WR Finish Total
1 20
2 11
3 11
4+ 29
Grand Total 71

Team: Detroit Lions

Opponent: Tennessee Titans

WR1: Marvin Jones

Shadow Coverage Matchup: Malcom Butler

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Marvin Jones vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All other opponents 31 4.4 56.7 0.6 11.5
Vs. Shadow Coverage 4 4.3 48.8 0.3 8.5
Shadow Coverage Tracker
WR Finish Total
1 18
2 9
3 11
4+ 28
Grand Total 66

 

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Opponent: New York Giants

WR1: DeAndre Hopkins

Shadow Coverage Matchup: James Bradberry

 

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 27 7.4 96.3 0.4 16
Vs. Shadow Coverage 19 6.5 73.8 0.6 14.1
vs. James Bradberry 1 5 41 0 6.6
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Team: Atlanta Falcons

Opponent: New Orleans Saints

WR1: Julio Jones

Shadow Coverage Matchup: Marshon Lattimore

Julio Jones vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 22 7.2 109.5 0.5 17.6
Vs. Shadow Coverage 16 6 81.3 0.4 13.4
vs. Marshon Lattimore 1 3 79 0 9.4

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

Ok, let’s try this again! After Lattimore missed week 11 and Julio left early we still don’t have much to go on when these two play each other. Back in 2018 the Saints used Marshon Lattimore on Calvin Ridley and tried to double Julio with Eli Apple as the primary CB. Let’s just say that didn’t go well as Julio went for 11-147. In 2019 the Saints wised up and used Lattimore on Julio; however, Lattimore left the game early due to injury and only played half the snaps. Still Julio only finished with a modest 3-79 all of which came after Lattimore left the game.  Later in the year Julio missed the second game vs. the Saints so you see we truly don’t know how this matchup will pan out.

Week 13 Recommendation – WR3/Flex

With Julio dealing with another injury in 2020 it is hard to trust him as his usual #1 self in week 13. The good news for Julio is Lattimore has only shadowed Mike Evans in 2020 and with his counterpart Janoris Jenkins out the Falcons should be able to move the football more this week. Most fantasy teams won’t have the depth to fade Julio and with his career 13.4 PPG vs. shadow coverage, Julio should do enough to get the job done in season long leagues

DFS Recommendation – Price FD $8,000 / DK $6,600

Julio is priced as a top 8 option on FD making him a full fade at that price. On DraftKings you are able to get him at a reduced cost at roughly top 16 value, but even at that price playing on a bum wheel it might make him tough to trust. Players I would pivot to include Allen Robinson vs. DET and Adam Thielen vs JAX.

 

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Shadow Coverage Tracker
WR Finish Total
1 15
2 8
3 8
4+ 25
Grand Total 56

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Opponent: New England

WR1: DeAndre Hopkins

WR2: Christian Kirk

Shadow Coverage Matchup: Stephon Gilmore

                                                  J.C. Jackson

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 27 7.4 96.3 0.4 16
Vs. Shadow Coverage 17 6.5 76.2 0.6 14.4
vs. Stephon Gilmore 3 6.7 72.7 0 10.6

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

According to PFF this season DeAndre Hopkins has yet to face any shadow coverage in 2020. This comes after back to back seasons where he saw shadow coverage in 50% of his games.  This “softer” cornerback schedule has led to a solid season so far in 2020 as Hopkins is the WR7 in PPG. Overall, throughout his career Hopkins has been solid vs. shadow coverage as his 14.4 PPG is still borderline WR1 numbers.

As for Christian Kirk he has never seen shadow coverage in his career, but that doesn’t stop the Patriots from using shadow coverage on multiple players. In weeks 9 and 11 of 2020 the Patriots used multiple CBs to shadow the opposing teams WRs and in 2019 used Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson in similar roles down the stretch.

Week 12 Recommendation DeAndre Hopkins – WR3/Flex

                                   Christian Kirk – SIT

Hopkins’ 10.6 vs. Stephon Gilmore doesn’t make him a sit, but tempering expectations on the road vs. the Patriots isn’t a bad idea. Hopkins has yet to score a TD or top 80 yards receiving in any of the games vs. Gilmore since he joined the Patriots back in 2017. These numbers leave Hopkins as solid WR2/flex in week 12.

As for Christian Kirk J.C. Jackson has been playing at a very high level slowing down a white-hot Will Fuller (6-80) while leading the NFL in interceptions so far in 2020. This season the Patriots have yet to allow a team to have multiple WRs hit double digit fantasy points in .5 PPR at home in 2020.

DFS Recommendation – DeAndre Hopkins Price FD $8,500 / DK $8,100

                                           Christian Kirk Price FD $6,100 / DK $5,800

Hopkins vs. Gilmore doesn’t equal DFS success as his 10 PPG will not justify his cost on both sites. At this price point you can pay up for Tyreek Hill in a game which should be a shootout in TB. As for Christian Kirk his price point on both sites is between WR 24-30, and with not a lot of WR success overall when the Patriots play at home its best to pivot. Players I would use over Kirk include DeVante Parker vs. NYJ and Curtis Samuel vs. MIN.

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Shadow Coverage Tracker
WR Finish Total
1 13
2 7
3 7
4+ 25
Grand Total 52

 

Team: Houston Texans

Opponent: New England Patriots

WR1: Will Fuller

Shadow Coverage Matchup:  Stephon Gilmore

 

Will Fuller vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 23 4.8 70.5 0.5 12.6
Vs. Shadow Coverage 4 3 45 0.3 7.5

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

As we discussed in prior articles Will Fuller hasn’t seen much shadow coverage in his career due to DeAndre Hopkins. However, when he has seen it over the past two and a half seasons there is a notable dip. This includes a 1-8 performance vs. the Patriots just last season. In 2020 Will Fuller has shined in his new role, and was able to find the end zone in his lone shadow coverage matchup securing 3-35-1 vs. Jaire Alexander in week 7

Week 11 Recommendation – WR3/Flex

With Stephon Gilmore nursing a bump knee it is fair to question of effective he will be slowing down Will Fuller. This season Gilmore has only shadowed one elite WR all season which was D.K. Metcalf in week 2. Metcalf did get loose for a long TD finishing with 4-92-1 on the day. I do believe Gilmore will be able to slow down Fuller, but playing at home with no David Johnson, Watson will be expect to throw a lot in week 11.

DFS Recommendation – Price FD $7,100 / DK $6,900

On both sites Will Fuller is priced as a WR1 and will cost you well over 10% of your budget. This makes him a DFS fade as his best performance to date in shadow coverage was 11 points which won’t get it done in DFS. Players I would pivot to include Kenny Golladay vs. CAR and Diontae Johnson vs. JAX

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