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 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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The fantasy regular season is in the books and I already laid out rankings for the playoffs. So what else is there to do but look ahead into the crystal ball and see what 2021 could have in store. As always, this is not format specific but a general ranking based simply on who I’d rather see on my roster in 2021. I am happy to talk specifics in the comments, as the note section is not meant to be a thesis explaining the position of each ranking. 

I have included some choice rookies for 2021, although in all likelihood there will be more that make their way into the top 80 by season’s end. This year there are currently 5 rookies in the top 50 WR in fantasy points per game. With offenses using more 3 and 4 wide formations, rookies can get on the field early and often. Earning snaps is the biggest hurdle for most rookies but that is not as hard as it used to be when only 2 WRs were featured. Rookie receivers should continue to be assets even in redraft leagues, so I have been generous in my rankings with 2 rookies already in the top 36. 

Read all of the QB, RB and TE Razzball Rest of Season Positional Rankings now!

And without further ado… 

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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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Your WR top 80 14.0 is here!  This is a playoff specific edition of the WR ranks, with extra weight given to the next 3 matchups specifically. Nothing matters but the path ahead so a few players jumped up because of their schedule. Additionally guys who are currently injured might as well be off the list, although some are straggling around like Kenny Golladay, but there is no guarantee he’ll suit up for our fantasy teams.  

This list is not league or format specific, but it is based on 2020 rest-of-season projection only. When thinking through tiers and rankings I asked myself simply – “all things considered who would I rather have on my roster?”

Read all of the QB, RB and TE Razzball Rest of Season Positional Rankings now!

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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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Your WR top 80 13.0 is here!  Even though week 12 hasn’t ended yet, we’re on to the final countdown. If you’re 7-5 or better you can probably coast but a playoff seed may be on the line. If you’re rolling at 6-6 or in some leagues maybe even 5-7 this is do or die. Obviously “rest of season” doesn’t really mean much with one game left in the regular season but this is still a relative ranking of the best WRs in our game. As a rule, injuries will always bump guys down. I am generally pessimistic that players will return on time at full strength without a setback. 

This list is not league or format specific, but it is based on 2020 rest-of-season projection only. When thinking through tiers and rankings I asked myself simply – “all things considered who would I rather have on my roster?”

Read all of the QB, RB and TE Razzball Rest of Season Positional Rankings now!

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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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Your WR top 80 13.0 is here!  As a rule, injuries will always bump guys down. I am generally pessimistic that players will return on time at full strength without a setback. 

This list is not league or format specific, but it is based on 2020 rest-of-season projection only. When thinking through tiers and rankings I asked myself simply – “all things considered who would I rather have on my roster?”

Read all of the QB, RB and TE Razzball Rest of Season Positional Rankings now!

Please, blog, may I have some more?