The goal of this article is to find WRs to fade and buy based on how many fantasy points their opponent allows in the slot vs. out wide. In today’s article we will review the key slot matchups for week 15. To keep up with the latest trends we updated the analysis to only include the last 5 weeks.
The below chart breaks down where each team allows their fantasy points to WRs and is listed from the most to the least amount of fantasy points allowed to the slot over the past 5 weeks.
|Team DEF||Slot PPG
*Screen Passes are included in the total
Slot PPG – This represents how many fantasy points a defense allowed to the slot in .5 PPR over the past 5 weeks
Wide PPG – This represents how many fantasy points a defense allowed on the outside to wide receivers in .5 PPR over the past 5 weeks
Total PPG – This represents how many total fantasy points a defense allowed to the wide receiver position in .5 PPR over the past 5 weeks
Slot % – This represents what percentage of the total fantasy points the defense allowed from the slot over the past 5 weeks
Off Opponent – This represents the team that is facing the defense outlined in the chart this week
Slot Matchup Upgrades
Team: Chicago Bears
Opponent: Minnesota Vikings
Matchup Upgrade: Darnell Mooney
Darnell Mooney has been the lone bright spot in what has been a terrible year for the Bears pass catchers. Mooney has turned it on over the past few weeks with Allen Robinson in and out of the lineup. Since Week 8, Mooney has averaged 8.5 targets, 4.4 receptions and 66 yards with 3 total TDs. These numbers might not jump out at you, but prior to Week 8 those numbers drop to 6.3 targets, 3.9 receptions and 49 yards with only 1 total TD. During the back half of the season Mooney has split time on the inside seeing 51% of his targets from the slot. This has allowed him to avoid top CBs on the outside.
This week the Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have allowed the 2nd most points to the slot over the past 5 weeks. Notable WRs to have productive days vs. the Vikings on the inside include Amon-Ra St. Brown (10-86-1) and Keenan Allen (8-98). Currently started in just 40% of sleeper leagues, Mooney makes for a solid WR3 play in Week 15.
Team: Buffalo Bills
Opponent: Carolina Panthers
Matchup Upgrade: Cole Beasley
Cole Beasley has been as hot and cold as any WR in football in 2021. In Weeks 1-3 he averaged 10 targets a game with 2 games with double digit fantasy points in .5 PPR. Next he follows that up with 2 terrible games with just 21 total yards in those contests. After that he gets hot averaging over 8 receptions and 77 yards per game from Week 6-9. Then Dawson Knox returns, and Beasley takes a back seat only averaging 3 receptions for 24 yards from Weeks 10-13. Finally, in Week 14 Emmanuel Sanders goes down and sure enough Beasley pops up for a solid game going 9-64 vs. the Buccaneers.
Heading into Week 15 it is tough to trust Beasley, but with Emmanuel Sanders out it seems he should see a slight bump in targets. This week those extra targets should result in a much more productive fantasy day as the Bills take on the Panthers. The Panthers have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to the slot over the past 5 weeks. Currently ranked outside the top 36 WRs according to FantasyPros ECR, Beasley makes for a solid WR3 in Week 15.
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Opponent: Detroit Lions
Matchup Upgrade: Christian Kirk
Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals passing attack was back in full swing in Week 14. Murray threw for 383 yards including a big throw to Christian Kirk late in the 4th quarter. Kirk didn’t have a big day for fantasy in Week 14 but was still able to secure 3-86. The bigger takeaway from that game is the loss of top WR DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is done for the rest of the regular season which should open the door for Kirk and company to receive a lot more targets down the stretch.
This week Kirk should be able to capitalize on a solid matchup as the Cardinals take on the Detroit Lions. The Lions have allowed the 11th most fantasy points to the slot and the 8th highest rate (48%) of their fantasy points allowed come from the inside. Notable players who see significant snaps in the slot K.J Osborn (4-47-1) and Darnell Mooney (5-123) had big days vs. the Lions over the past few weeks. Only started in 37% of sleeper leagues, Kirk is a solid WR3 for Week 15.
Slot Matchup Downgrades
Team: New England Patriots
Opponent: Indianapolis Colts
Matchup Downgrade: Jakobi Meyers
It has been an interesting season for the Patriots pass catchers especially Jakobi Meyers. Meyers is 26th in the NFL in targets with (90) and is only 1 of 2 players with 90 or more targets and less than 3 TDs. This has resulted in Meyers having an extremely low ceiling but a nice floor in PPR. Meyers to his credit has capitalized for fantasy in 2 of his last 3 games (not including the Buffalo game) against better opponents. In Week 10, Meyers was able to find the end zone vs. a Browns DST that has allowed the 10th highest rate of their fantasy points to the slot. In Week 12, Meyers had a season high in receiving yards with (98) vs. a Titans team that has allowed the 5th most points to the slot over the past 5 weeks.
Heading into Week 15 the Patriots will take on the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have been the toughest defense vs. inside WRs over the past 5 weeks allowing just 2.5 fantasy points per game. Notable interior WRs who struggled vs. the Colts include Chris Godwin (4-24) and Cole Beasley (4-23). Still rostered in over 60% of sleeper leagues it is best to leave Meyers on your bench for Week 15.
Team: New York Jets
Opponent: Miami Dolphins
Matchup Downgrade: Jamison Crowder
The Jets WR core has been decimated over the past few weeks. First, Corey Davis was lost for the year then emerging rookie WR Elijah Moore was placed on short term IR. This has left a big hole in the Jets receiving core. Naturally this would point us in the direction of Jamison Crowder. Crowder did lead the team in routes last week vs. the Saints running a route on 46 of 49 Zach Wilson drop-backs. However, this high usage didn’t lead to much production as Crowder saw 6 targets securing just 3 for 19 yards.
This week the Jets take on a familiar foe in the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are known to be a slot funnel defense, but over the past 5 weeks have really locked things up on the inside. During this timeframe the Dolphins have allowed the 5th fewest fantasy points to the slot. Crowder himself did have a solid day vs. the Dolphins finding the end zone back in Week 11 going (6-44-1). That being said, with Zach Wilson struggling and the Dolphins coming off the bye, Crowder is best viewed as a WR4 this week.
Team: Denver Broncos
Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals
Matchup Downgrade: Jerry Jeudy
There are so many reasons why Jerry Jeudy has been disappointment since his return from injury. First it is his schedule. The Broncos have faced the 6th toughest slot schedule in 2021. The second issue plaguing Jeudy is the Broncos are a run first team. This season the Broncos have averaged just under 37 drop-backs per game. That mark is 11th fewest in the NFL. The final issue for Jeudy is the Broncos are loaded. Outside of their dynamic RB duo the Broncos have Tim Patrick, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and Albert O. All of these players demand targets which has capped Jeudy to about 6 targets per game since his return.
Unfortunately heading into Week 15 it will be hard to see any of this changing as the Broncos are at full strength. This week’s opponent the Cincinnati Bengals is just an average matchup for interior WRs. The Bengals are just below league average in fantasy points allowed to the slot with teams averaging 10 PPG on the inside over the last 5. Meanwhile Jeudy has faced the Lions (11th) and Chiefs (10th) the past two weeks and failed to produce big games in those better matchups. Still ranked as a WR3 according Fantasy Pros ECR, Jeudy is best viewed as a WR 4/5 with minimal upside in Week 15.
Top Rest of Season Slot Schedules
|TEAM Offense||ROS Slot PPG Allowed|
ROS Slot PPG Allowed – Average Points Per Game Allowed to the slot by the remaining opponents that offense will face rest of season
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Sources: Razzball, Pro Football Focus, FantasyPros Pro Football Reference, FFToday, Sleeper and Football Outsiders