The Shadow Coverage Report – Week 2

Team: Chicago Bears

Opponent: New York Giants

WR1: Allen Robinson

Shadow Coverage Match-up: James Bradberry

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

Allen Robinson vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All other opponents 22 5.5 72.4 0.4 12.4
Vs. Shadow Coverage 7 4.6 44.1 0.3 8.4
Vs. James Bradberry N/A

 

When reviewing Allen Robinson’s career stats vs. shadow coverage he had 2 big games and 5 duds. His big weeks came vs. notable corners Marshon Lattimore and Darius Slay where he turned 12 targets into 80 yards plus yards and a score in both. The interesting thing about the Saints game is Lattimore shut down Robinson when he covered him on 67% of his snaps, but Robinson was able to dominate in the slot which helped him finish with a strong day. The remaining 5 games Robinson struggled, failing to get to 50 yards or score in any of them.

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The Shadow Coverage Report – Week 1

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Opponent: Green Bay Packers

WR1: Adam Thielen

Shadow Coverage Match-up: Jaire Alexander

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

Adam Thielen vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents
23 5.5 69 0.5 12.8
Vs. Shadow Coverage
5 5.8 76.8 0.6 14.2
Vs. Jaire Alexander
1 8 125 1 22.5

Season long Recommendation – Start

After a lost 2019 Adam Thielen looks to bounce back quick vs. division rival Green Bay and tier 2 shadow corner Jaire Alexander. Last season the Packers used Jaire Alexander to shadow Stefon Diggs, but with Diggs now gone Thielen will most likely draw coverage from the Packers top corner. The last time Thielen squared off directly vs. Alexander was in Week 12 of 2018. Thielen got the best of Alexander torching the Packers for 8-125-1. A big key for Thielen is he plays a lot of his snaps in the slot, and even vs. notable shadow corners like Marshon Lattimore he has shown he can win in these match-ups. This is why I got a Thielen that sitting him is a bad idea. Did you see what I did there…no…ok moving on. 

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As we rapidly approach the start of the NFL season, we are being inundated with reports out of camp. Leonard Fournette released. Fred Warner with Covid. Derwin James with a knee injury. Yannick Ngakoue traded to the Vikings. My typing skills are trying to keep up.  This is the last of the rankings updates, top 50 defensive backs for 2020 IDP leagues,  with just a week or so before opening day.  

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When doing the analysis on Golladay his stats vs. shadow coverage was astonishing. Not just because he had a higher PPG in the 7 contest when he faced shadow coverage, but it was who he did it against that was most impressive. Golladay has succeeded in games vs. notable tier 1 shadow coverage corners including Chris Harris, James Bradberry and Tre’Davious White. In 5 of the 7 games he had at least 14 points in .5 PPR with only 1 terrible game that was under 8 points.

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In 2019 D.J. Moore somehow avoided multiple match-ups vs. shadow corners. In week 3 the Panthers faced the Arizona Cardinals while Patrick Peterson was on suspension. In Week 5 the Panthers played against the Jaguars with no Jalen Ramsey. In week 12 the Saints were without Marshon Lattimore and in Week 17 Lattimore played limited snaps as the Saints had their playoff seed sealed up. Even young cornerback Carlton Davis was yet to be used in shadow coverage as the Panthers faced the Buccaneers both times early in 2019.

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Mike Evans has 8 shadow corner match-ups heading into this season with 7 of them coming against tier 1 cornerbacks. This includes a daunting early season schedule that includes 3 shadow coverage match-ups which could lead Evans to a less desirable start for your fantasy team. That being said things do open up for Evans after week 4 including a very favorable fantasy playoff schedule. All this being said, does this make Evans a fade in drafts, and more of a mid-season trade target? Find out our thoughts 2020 Shadow Coverage Report – Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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2020 Shadow Coverage Report – San Francisco 49ers

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Division: NFC West

WR1: Deebo Samuel

Number of Potential Shadow Coverage Match-ups: 11

Historical Production

Deebo Samuel has yet to draw shadow coverage in his career as last season some teams elected to take away Emmanuel Sanders. The luxury of having a great play caller like Kyle Shanahan is he gives Samuel multiple ways to produce.  Shanahan does this by using Samuel in the run game which helps raise his floor even in tougher match-ups. Samuel was utilized in the slot as well seeing 25% of his routes on the inside and roughly 35% of his targets from that position. These factors will be notable when evaluating Samuel throughout the season.

2020 Schedule

Samuel’s schedule is nothing short of a gauntlet. Already behind the eight-ball dealing with an off-season foot injury Samuel is returning to the toughest shadow cornerback schedule of any wide receiver in 2020. This season he won’t have another wide receiver like Sanders to draw attention away, so Samuel will be the player that defensive coordinators target for shadow coverage. Heading into 2020 Samuel has 9 tier 1 cornerback match-ups and 11 total for the season.  In his own division he will see match-ups vs. top shadow cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Patrick Peterson. The NFC West will be facing off vs. AFC and NFC East that hosts some top shadow cornerbacks including Bryon Jones (Dolphins), Stephon Gilmore (Patriots), Tre’Davious White (Bills) and James Bradberry (Giants). If this wasn’t tough enough the other NFC teams they face are the Saints (Marshon Lattimore) and the Packers (Jaire Alexander).

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Defensive back rankings can be highly variable based upon your scoring system and even with that, there is a lot of year to year fluctuations especially at cornerback. If you read my DB drafting strategy article you know that my advice is to wait on drafting them.  Yes there are some elite players, but in general, the production from this position varies from week to week based upon who the player is going up against and what you expect the game flow to be. This is the most streamable position in IDP leagues, especially if the league separates out the safety and cornerback positions.  

The reliability of the linebacker position to get you points and the lack of depth at the defensive line position should lead you to drafting them first before going after defensive backs. The main exception is if you play in a very tackle heavy format where getting one the top safeties could be an advantage. Regardless, safeties remain the backbone of combined rankings as the volatility of corners on a week to week basis is what makes them streaming candidates.

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