The goal of this article is to find WRs to 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 out wide matchups for week 17. To keep up with the latest defensive 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 out wide over the past 5 weeks.
|Team DEF||Slot PPG
*Total PPG includes screen passes
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
Wide % – This represents what percentage of the total fantasy points the defense allowed on the outside over the past 5 weeks
Off Opponent – This represents the team that is facing the defense outlined in the chart this week
Out Wide Matchup Upgrades
Team: Los Angeles Rams
Opponent: Baltimore Ravens
Matchup Upgrade: Odell Beckham, Jr.
Since the Week 11 bye Odell Beckham, Jr. has had a nose for the end zone. In those 5 games Beckham has recorded 4 TDs which has really propped up his fantasy value. Outside of the TDs Beckham has only posted 3.6 receptions for 46 yards per game. Now before we completely dismiss the other production, we should point out that Beckham has only cleared 76% of the snaps twice. In those two games Beckham has averaged 9 targets, 4.5 receptions for 59 yards and 2 scores. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come as Beckham plays more of a full time role rest of season.
This week Beckham has a chance to capitalize on a big day as the Rams take on the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens secondary has allowed a league high 24.6 PPG on the outside to WRs over the past 5 weeks. This includes big days to Tee Higgins (12-194-2), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5-98-1) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (5-90). Started in just 50% of sleeper leagues, Beckham makes for an solid WR2/3 in Week 17.
Team: Houston Texans
Opponent: San Francisco 49ers
Matchup Upgrade: Brandin Cooks
Through 14 games Brandin Cooks has 80 receptions for 945 yards and 5 scores. The 80 receptions is already tied for his 3rd best mark of his career while his 5 TDs is right in line with his career average. This might not seem remarkable, but prior to his time in Houston with Tyrod Taylor, Davis Mills and OC Tim Kelly Cooks played with some of the best QBs/offensive minds in football. The good news for Cooks is it looks like he has great chemistry with rookie QB Mills. In his last two starts with Mills, Cooks has seen double digit targets and has over 100 yards receiving in back to back games.
Heading into Week 17, Cooks has a real chance to build on his strong performances as the Texans take on the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to outside WRs over the past 5 weeks. Notable WRs A.J. Brown (11-145-1), Russell Gage (8-91-1) and the Bengals duo of Ja’Marr Chase (5-77-2) and Tee Higgins (5-114) all had big days vs. the 49ers. Currently ranked as a WR20 according to FantasyPros ECR, Cooks is a solid WR2 this week.
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Opponent: Arizona Cardinals
Matchup Upgrade: Amari Cooper
It has been a very inconsistent year for Amari Cooper. This season Cooper has 6 games of 13 or more fantasy points and 7 games of 8 points or less fantasy points in .5 PPR. Some of this inconsistent play has come from odd game flows. Cooper this season has only played over 75% of the snaps in 7 games. In the games where he plays a full allotment of snaps, Cooper sees his PPG jump to 12.3 vs. 10.5 in all other contests. For fantasy managers who have Cooper they should have short memories as in Week 16, the Squeaky wheel finally got the grease. Cooper saw 10 plus targets for only the 3rd time all season after making comments about his lack of usage. The craziest part about this was he saw 10 targets just in the first half alone vs. Washington before sitting most of the 2nd half.
This week Cooper has a chance to capitalize again on the increase in targets as the Cowboys take on the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals after starting the year as one of the best pass defenses in football now have allowed the most fantasy points to WRs over the past 5 weeks. This matchup should open the door for all three Dallas WRs to thrive this week especially Cooper as he continues to extra looks down the stretch.
Team: Green Bay Packers
Opponent: Minnesota Vikings
Matchup Upgrade: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (MVS) doesn’t typically invite confidence especially heading into championship week, but hear us out. Prior to missing Week 16, MVS began to see more consistent targets from Aaron Rodgers. From Weeks 11-15 (4 games), MVS averaged nearly 8 targets a game with two big performances vs. the Vikings and Ravens. The big game vs. the Vikings marked the 2nd time in 3 games where MVS had at least 95 yards and a TD vs. Minnesota.
Heading into the Week 17 matchup vs. the Vikings there is major downside with MVS. With the Vikings set to play without Kirk Cousins on the opposite side, Minnesota could struggle to score leading to a lower scoring day. However, if you feel like an underdog this week and need a boom from your WR3/Flex MVS fits the bill. The Vikings have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to outside WRs making him a high upside WR3 this week.
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Opponent: Dallas Cowboys
Matchup Upgrade: A.J. Green
Since the return of Kyler Murray in Week 13, A.J. Green’s production has been a bit up and down. Green has two solid games where he saw 8 or more targets and 2 duds where he only caught 1 pass. When diving into Green’s matchups since Murray’s return, he has yet to face an easy opponent. The Cardinals have played the Rams (11th) Bears (22nd), Colts (28th) and Lions (23rd) in fantasy points allowed on the outside over the past 5 weeks. Green’s best game came vs. the Rams going for (7-102) which was clearly his best matchup.
Green should get consideration as a start this week as he will get his first top 10 matchup on the outside since Murray’s return in Week 17 vs. the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have allowed the 5th most fantasy points to outside WRs over the past 5 weeks. The matchup along with the Cowboys ability to put up points on the other side should open the game up for Green to have a great fantasy day. Currently ranked as the WR40 in FantasyPros ECR, Green can be viewed as a strong WR3 in Week 17.
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Opponent: Washington Football Team
Matchup Upgrade: DeVonta Smith
Devonta Smith has been solid in his first season in the NFL. Smith currently sits inside the top 35 in targets and receptions and inside the top 30 in yards and TDs. It seems that he has solid chemistry with his former college teammate Jalen Hurts as he leads the Eagles in every receiving category in 2021. The issue for Smith has been his consistency. Smith this season has 5 games of 15 or more fantasy points and 6 games of 5 or less in .5 PPR. This has made it tough to trust Smith as he has had stretches of 3-4 weeks without cracking the top 36 WRs in fantasy.
This week Smith has an opportunity to have one of his bigger games as the Eagles take on the Washington Football Team. The Football team has allowed the 9th most points to outside WRs and will be down top CB William Jackson in Week 17. This should open the door for Smith who had a quiet day (3-40) the first time these teams faced back in Week 15. Started in just 39% of sleeper leagues, Smith makes for a solid WR3 in Week 17.
Check out our Premium Fantasy Football Tools — only $19 for the best aggressive rankings in the business!
Sources: Razzball, Pro Football Focus, FantasyPros, Pro Football Reference, FFToday Sleeper, and Football Outsiders