Welcome to Going Deep! This weekly article will make use of charting data, advanced metrics, and other RotoViz tools — specifically the newly released Passing Game Matchup Rater — to help readers better understand the challenges facing wide receivers and tight ends in the coming week. As my process makes heavy use of the Matchup Rater, I’d highly recommend that you set aside half an hour to watch the tutorial/walkthrough and take a spin through the tool.
Week 3 Matchups
Patriots at Jets
The Patriots pass catchers look a little different this season but in 2022 they averaged 1.6 points per target (PPT). In two games against the Jets, they managed 1.4 PPT. This isn’t surprising as the Jets have stymied many an offense and are allowing opposing WRs to score just 71% of their PPG averages.
As a result, Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker score poorly in this week’s matchup ratings and aren’t the strongest options. Both WRs draw some of the lowest matchup ratings of the week. Juju Smith-Schuster’s 40 gives him a little more hope, but he should also be out of lineups across formats. On individual matchups arising from direct targets, the Jets have been brutally stingy.
Jets Defensive Alignments and PPG allowed on Direct Targets Since Week 14 of 2022
Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki have it easier with matchup ratings of 51 and 47, respectively. We’re starting Henry until he proves otherwise. That said, he did score just 6.2 total PPR in two games against the Jets last season. This might be a reason for pause for teams with many options.
Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard draw easier matchups with ratings of 67 and 70. The duo will oppose significant coverage from a mixture of Myles Bryant, Jonathan Jones, and Christian Gonzalez, a trio that has been susceptible to WR fantasy scoring on direct targets.
Lazard doesn’t make for a great option on redraft teams, but might be worth including in a DFS lineup or two. It would be great if Wilson wasn’t receiving passes from Zach Wilson, but he remains a fantasy starter.
Bills at Commanders
This will be an easier matchup for the Commanders’ pass catchers than the Bills. In recent games, Buffalo has allowed opposing WRs to score 112% of PPG. In contrast, Washington is ceding 103%.
Terry McLaurin Draws a matchup rating of 58 and Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson both draw 56. McLaurin lines up wide on 76% of snaps and Dotson 47%. Samuel operates out of the slot on 81% of passing plays.
Given these tendencies, expect Samuel to draw the most coverage from Taran Johnson, who is allowing 4.2 PPG on direct targets. Note that as a whole, BUF is allowing opposing WRs, lined up from the slot, to approximate league average PPT.
McLaurin and Dotson will see a mixture of coverage from Tre’Davious White, Christian Benford, Dane Jackson, and Johnson. This group has allowed 11 touchdowns on 167 direct targets for a rate of 7%. This is well above the league average allowed to WRs of 4%. (These numbers are based on all regular season games in 2022 and 2023.) In 2023, White hasn’t been great on direct targets. In fact, he’s allowed all four to be converted and allowed Garrett Wilson to score a touchdown on a 3-yard fade in Week 1.
Stefon Diggs’ matchup rating of 40 isn’t a major cause for concern. Below are the top-scoring WRs from the last five teams that Washington faced.
Gabe Davis can expect solid coverage from Kendall Fuller but will look to exploit Emmanuel Forbes, who struggled against Denver, allowing a whopping 3.3 PPT, 131 yards, and a score to last week.
Dawson Knox and Dalton Kincaid draw an average matchup. Washington has been a favorable matchup in terms of expected versus actual points surrendered to TEs, but Buffalo uses its TEs as receivers more often than most teams.