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
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. 

DFS – Price FD $6,800 / DK $6,700

A common theme from this article is it’s best to fade most wide receivers in shadow coverage match-ups in DFS tournaments. This is because they lack elite upside at their high price points. Now for Multipliers only, At home vs. Green Bay Thielen is worth a play in Fan Duel as his $6,800 price tag is much more affordable than on Draft Kings. On DK your budget is 10k less, but he’s only $100 cheaper so I would probably avoid him. For FanDuel Thielen offers a great floor for multipliers as he should have major target upside with rookie Justin Jefferson still getting acclimated to the offense and 2nd year player Bisi Johnson getting the nod opposite of him.


Team: Miami Dolphins

Opponent: New England Patriots

WR1: DeVante Parker

Shadow Coverage Match-up: Stephon Gilmore

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

DeVante Parker vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents
12 4.3 68.3 0.7 13
Vs. Shadow Coverage
4 5 95.8 0.3 13.6
Vs. New England
2 4 68.5 0 8.9

Season Long Recommendation – WR3/Flex

Last year in week 17 DeVante Parker took Stephon Gilmore to school racking up 8-137 on 11 targets vs the DPOY. On the flip side earlier in the season Parker went 0-0-0 on 7 targets in week 2. The 8-137 was a strong performance, but it was the only time in 2019 that Gilmore allowed a WR to go over 80 yards in a game. This coupled with the fact Preston Williams is set to return likely means Parker getting double digit targets again is unlikely. Personally, I am betting on Gilmore to bounce back so I don’t view Parker as anything more than a WR3 with limited upside.

DFS – Price FD $6,700 / DK $6,000

When it comes to DFS Parker is a complete fade as his already limited upside doesn’t justify his top 20 price point on each site. If you are looking for alternatives, players like D.K. Metcalf vs ATL and T.Y. Hilton vs. Jax offer much more upside at a lower cost.


Team: New England Patriots

WR1: Julian Edelman

Match-up: Bryon Jones and Xavien Howard

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage – N/A

Season Long Recommendation – Sit

Julian Edelman makes the list not so much for his direct match-up vs. corners Bryon Jones and Xavien Howard, but how former New England Defensive Coordinator and Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores played Edelman last season. It will be interesting to see if either Jones or Howard kicks inside, but even if they don’t it was clear that the Dolphins made it a priority to takeaway Edelman. In 2019 in the two games in Brian Flores first season Edelman only had 4-51 and 3-26. Now in Edelman’s first real action with Cam Newton it’s a lot easier to fade Edelman in week 1.

DFS – Price FD $6,700 / DK $6,000

I think by now you notice it’s a common theme in this section, but just so we have it in writing Edelman is a fade in DFS. This has just as much to do with getting a better understanding of how he will produce with Newton running the show as the match-up. Also, his price point is way too high based on his last season production vs. Brian Flores and Miami to justify him as a play. Once again Metcalf and Hilton are lower cost. 



Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Opponent: Los Angeles Chargers

WR1: A.J. Green

WR2: Tyler Boyd

Shadow Coverage Match-up: Casey Hayward and Chris Harris, Jr

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

A.J. Green vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
Vs. Shadow Coverage
2 5 63.5 1.5 17.9
All Other Opponents
7 5.1 81 0.4 13.2


Tyler Boyd vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
Vs. Shadow Coverage
2 3 18 0 3.3
All Other Opponents
28 5.7 72.8 0.4 12.7

Season Long Recommendation – Sit

The Bengals give us two for the price of one… I guess a buy 1 get 1 free shadow coverage match-up (pick the one you liked best). A.J. Green makes his long awaited return and he runs straight into the arms of Casey Hayward. Hayward isn’t known for his warm welcomes to wide receivers as his .71 yards per covered snap was the best among all shadow cornerbacks last season. Meanwhile before we jump on the Tyler Boyd train, tucked away in the slot waiting for him is stud cornerback Chris Harris. Harris will man the slot for the Chargers meaning pretty much anyone facing the the Chargers will have an elite corner to deal with inside and out. 

Now we need to factor in Joe Borrow who in his first start is taking on a tough Chargers secondary. It’s best to take a wait and see approach on these guys to see how the rookie response and who his main target will be in 2020. Hopefully you don’t need to rely on Green or Boyd in week 1, but notable late rounders I would prefer over them are DeSean Jackson vs WSH, Parris Campbell vs. Jax and Bryan Edwards vs. CAR.

DFS Price –         A.J. Green FD $6,200 / DK $5,700

                             Tyler Boyd FD $6,100 / DK $6,100

Both Green and Boyd are being priced as top 24 WRs while Tyler Boyd on DK is inside the top 15. These are clearly land mines as neither player offers major upside vs tier 1 cornerbacks. Players that I would pivot to at a similar price point include Calvin Ridley vs. SEA….. and did I mention D.K. Metcalf vs ATL and T.Y. Hilton vs Jax.


Team: San Francisco 49ers

Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

WR1: Deebo Samuel

Shadow Coverage Match-up: Patrick Peterson

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage N/A

Season Long Recommendation – Sit

Already dealing with the foot injury even if Deebo Samuel gives it a go, it’s hard to image him being at 100%. This coupled with the fact he will most likely see a lot of Patrick Peterson means Deebo is best to be left on benches. Hopefully the 49ers give Deebo some additional time to rest his foot as in week 2 the 49ers face the Jets which could be a big blow up spot. 

DFS – Price FD $6,000 / DK $5,300

Even with all these factors there is no discount on FanDuel or Draft Kings as Deebo would cost you at least 10% of your budget on both sites. This makes him a major fade in both formats as his injury didn’t supply him with enough of a discount to make him a hail Mary play in week 1.


Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Opponent: New Orleans Saints

WR1: Mike Evans

Shadow Coverage Match-up: Marshon Lattimore

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

Mike Evans vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents
18 5.8 102.8 0.7 17.2
Vs. Shadow Coverage
11 4.4 75.5 0.4 12.1
3 3.7 77.7 0.3 11.6

Season Long Recommendation – WR3/Flex

The last time Mike Evans got the best of Marshon Lattimore was week 1 of 2018. Flash forward two years and the question is will lighting strike twice opening weekend for Evans. The issue is Evans hasn’t been good since. In week 5 Evans was held to zero points. That’s right a big fat zero, and before we get excited about his bounce back later in the season, Lattimore didn’t play in that game.

All that being said, I am a big believer of Evans overall this season with the GOAT Tom Brady now in town. Even in a tough match-up vs. Lattimore, Brady is still going to give Evans his chances. Most people drafted Evans to be a WR1, but his career 11.6 PPG vs. Lattimore will probably make him a WR3/flex this week. Plan accordingly! 

DFS – Price FD $7,500 / DK $6,900

Let me guess Mike Evans is a full fade in DFS!…..Yes ok I am sorry, but Evans in 2 of his 3 match-ups vs. Lattimore have been below average at best. Now with Rob Gronkowski to go along with Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard, Brady will more than likely exploit other options. This lack of upside doesn’t justify his top 10 WR price tag for week 1. 



Team: Dallas Cowboys

Opponent: Los Angeles Rams

WR1: Amari Cooper

Shadow Coverage Match-up: Jalen Ramsey

Historical Production vs. shadow coverage

Amari Cooper vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All other opponents
18 5.2 78.1 0.6 13.8
Vs. Shadow Coverage
13 4.6 60.6 0.4 10.7
vs. Jalen Ramsey 1 1 19 0 2.4

Season Long Recommendation – Sit

Amari Cooper’s stats vs. Shadow Coverage are deceiving as he had 1 monster game vs. Jaire Alexander for over 30 points. In 8 of his 13 games he has been held under 50 yards while only scoring in 4 of them. This includes a week 15 match-up last season vs. Jalen Ramsey who held Cooper to 1-19. It doesn’t help that this game is on the road as last season Cooper averaged just 40 yards per game when away from Dallas. Now for the cherry on top Cooper has been nursing an injury during training camp making him nearly a must sit in week 1.

DFS – Price FD $7,100 / DK $7,000

Amari Cooper plays in the Sunday night game so he’s not on the main slate of games, but if you decide to include all the games for DFS do your best to avoid Cooper. Currently on Draft Kings he is the WR6 in price while on Fanduel he is the WR 11. Either way he would need to have a monster week vs. Jalen Ramsey to return value at either of those price points which based on last year’s performance is probably not going to happen.


Team: Tennessee Titans

Opponent: Denver Broncos

WR1: A.J. Brown

Shadow Coverage Match-up: A.J. Bouye

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

A.J. Brown vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All other opponents
17 3.2 63.4 0.5 10.8
Vs. Shadow Coverage*
2 1 19 0 2.4
*Scored a 55 yard rushing TD vs. NOR

Season Long Recommendation – Start

The two match-ups last year vs. Marshon Lattimore and Stephon Gilmore are alarming as A.J. Brown was held to one catch in each game. Of course, being the playmaker he is Brown was able to take his lone rushing attempt vs. NOR for a 55 yard TD. Banking on those kind of plays isn’t a winning strategy for wide receivers, but Brown is dominate with the ball in his hands. The good news for Brown is his tier 1 match-up in week 1 is vs. a familiar foe in A.J Bouye. Last season Brown was dominate vs. A.J. Bouye and Jacksonville in week 12. Bouye didn’t shadow Brown in that game, but his 4-135-1 stat line was eye opening and clearly Jacksonville didn’t think Bouye could keep up. Another recent development which is contributing to why I am buying Brown, is the injuries to the Broncos pass rush. With Von Miller out and Bradley Chubb not at 100%, I expect Ryan Tannehill to find time to hit his stud WR early and often in week 1.

DFS – Price FD $6,700 / DK $6,300

A.J. Brown is playing Monday night so he’s off the main slate. The price tags are rich for Brown on both sites as he is set to face a tough Denver defense. It’s never recommended to pay up for a player vs. a Tier 1 shadow corner, but Brown offers a lot of upside in a winnable match-up vs. Bouye. Overall I am fading Brown in multipliers, but he’s worth a play in tournaments as he offers major upside.



Other Potential Shadow Coverage Match-ups to Monitor:

Diontae Johnson vs. James Bradberry

Terry McLaurin vs. Darius Slay

Breshad Perriman vs. Tre’Davious White

T.Y. Hilton vs. C.J. Henderson

Allen Robinson II vs. Jeff Okudah

  1. everywhereblair

    everywhereblair says:

    Bobby made a joke! He’s a true Razzballer now!

    Nice work! Can definitely see how this helps out for DFS and getting those crucial edges against sharp competition.

  2. Luke says:

    David Johnson and Calvin Ridley or Cam Akers and amari cooper, ppr

    • Bobby Lamarco says:

      Hey Luke,

      Which side are you on now?

      I wouldn’t be in a rush to make this deal. Wait to see how the backfield pans out for LAR. Johnson saw a bump in usage because Duke got hurt. As for Cooper he’s probably going to have a slow game vs Ramsey.

    • goodfold2 says:

      i’m still going DJ side here.

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