Charch's Week 1 Wide Receiver Rankings

RankPlayer
1
CIN @IND

Marvin Lewis has put a premium on throwing it deep to A.J. Green, given that he ranks 3rd in deep receiving yards over the past five seasons. The Colts ranked 27th vs deep passes and 32nd in overall pass defense by Football Outsiders so Green should have plenty of chances to catch a homerun. The starting cornerbacks have yet to be determined for Indy, but here's all you really need to know. None of the cornerbacks on their current roster rank in the top 50 according to PFF (Pro Football Focus). Quincy Wilson is the highest ranked corner at No. 51 overall, followed by Kenny Moore II at No. 70 (They might want to see if Kenny Moore I is available), and Pierre Desir at No. 100 respectively. The Colts corners won't have much help behind them either, considering projected starting safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers both rated below average according to PFF. Green, was last year's No. 10 ranked wide receiver on PFF, and has scored in all three career matchups vs Indy. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 10.00/10

[UPDATE: THE BUCS WILL BE WITHOUT CORNERBACKS BRENT GRIMES AND DE'VANTE HARRIS] Michael Thomas gets out of the gate with a juicy matchup in the Superdome against the Bucs, the team that allowed the most catches and yards to wide receivers in 2017. Most importantly, all five 100+ yard games Tampa gave up to receivers were on the road. Thomas has averaged 89 yards per game in three starts against the Bucs and caught at least six passes in each of those games. With only rookies behind 35-year-old Brent Grimes and mercurial Vernon Hargreaves III at corner, even if the Bucs try double coverage against Thomas, it may not work. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 9.75/10

When Arizona met at Washington in Week 15 last season, Larry Fitzgerald posted a pedestrian-for-him five catches and 60 yards. It is probably worth mentioning that Cardinals "starter" Blaine Gabbert was 16-41 passing in that game. That leads to Sam Bradford, who is one of the most accurate quarterbacks around and should make a perfect complement to Fitz and his precise route running. Running many of his plays from the slot, Fitz should avoid Josh Norman for much of this game and instead see a fair helping of Fabian Moreau, one of the league's worst slot corners. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 9.75/10

4
HOU @NE

It seems like New England is going to have an elite offense as long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are around. The question is, who will Brady have to throw the football to? Julian Edelman is suspended and apart from Hogan, their wide receivers are unproven, unknown, and/or inexperienced. Cordarrelle Patterson, Phillip Dorsett, Chad Hanson, and special teamer Matt Slater are the only other wide receivers on New England's roster. Hogan torched Houston last year to the tune of four catches, 68 yards, and two touchdowns, and that was with Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola. Cooks and Amendola leave behind nearly 13 targets per game from last season, along with a combined eight receptions and 111 yards receiving. Houston's cornerback Kevin Johnson should see Hogan the most often in this one. Johnson received a poor grade from Pro Football Focus and finished last season as their 120th-rated cornerback. Fellow Texans cornerbacks Aaron Colvin and Johnathan Joseph rank 54th and 64th respectively, making them one of the worst cornerback groups in football. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 9.75/10

The Watson-to-Hopkins connection lasted only 6.5 games, but during that span Hopkins averaged 8 receptions, 106 receiving yards, and 1.2 touchdowns per game. New England was among the teams that faced Watson and Hopkins, fairing comparatively well by holding Nuk to seven catches for 76 yards. Hopkins has faced cornerback Stephon Gilmore three times in his career, finding the end zone in all three games while averaging 5.7 catches and 76 yards receiving. Patriots were 30th- ranked team in passing yards allowed, 30th-ranked in plays per drive, and 31st in yards per drive. New England also ranked near the bottom according to Football Outsiders, ranking 21st in pass defense and 26th vs No. 1 wide receivers. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 9.75/10

6
ATL @PHI

When we last saw Julio Jones, he was racking up nine catches and 101 yards against the Eagles in a playoff loss. But it took a crazy 16 (!) targets for him to get there. And here's the crazier thing, he had 16 targets in the previous year's meeting too. And 11 targets in the year before that. Volume will not be a problem for Jones. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarsikian and Jones have both talked about their new red zone wrinkles and want to get him more involved. It can't be overlooked that Philly was statistically a bottom-10 pass defense last season and lost Patrick Robinson. The Eagles five cornerbacks have a combined eight years of NFL experience, the senior member being newly-acquired Ronald Darby and his four years in Buffalo. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 9.50/10

7
PIT @CLE

[UPDATE: RAIN AND STRONG WINDS ARE FORECAST FOR THIS GAME. IT COULD EASILY AFFECT THE PASSING GAME. BROWN HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED SLIGHTLY.] Brown has started against Cleveland nine times in his career and holds jaw-dropping per game averages of 8 catches, 11 targets, and 127 yards receiving. He's also caught a total of six touchdowns in nine starts against the Browns. What's arguably even more impressive is that he's never busted in a start against Cleveland. AB's worst performance was eight catches for 76 yards. He faces off against rookie cornerback Denzel Ward and free agent addition Terrance Mitchell, a cornerback so bad, the secondary-starved Chiefs cut him loose in the offseason. AB and Mitchell have faced each other twice and in those games Brown combined for 14 catches, 263 yards, and a touchdown. In Brown's last 16 games without Le'Veon Bell, his average line is nine catches, 130 yards and 0.8 touchdowns. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 9.50/10

8
NYJ @DET

This matchup for Golden Tate could be… well, golden. Running from the slot, opposite the mostly-dreadful Buster Skrine can have that effect. The Jets allowed a wide receiver to score or reach 100 yards in eight of their final 10 games of last season and were a bottom-eight team in both receptions and touchdown catches allowed to the position. Quality slot receivers generally fared well against Skrine last year, including big games from Jarvis Landry and Mohamed Sanu. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 9.25/10

9
KC @LAC

The importance of Marcus Peters being shipped cross-country to the Rams cannot be overstated. At just 25 years old, Peters already has 19 interceptions and six forced fumbles in his three-year career with Kansas City. Three of those picks and one forced fumble came against the Chargers last season. Kendall Fuller makes his debut for Kansas City with big shoes to fill and he absolutely has the talent to do so. Fuller was the best slot cornerback according to the scouts over at Bleacher Report. Fuller also had the third-highest grade at cornerback according to Pro Football Focus. Keenan Allen finished 2017 as the sixth-best slot receiver according to Bleacher Report and fifth-highest among wide receivers by Pro Football Focus. He's the Chargers No. 1 receiver even though he has a slot receiver's role. Fuller and Allen will see each other a lot on Sunday and their similar talent levels should make this a neutral matchup. Allen can overcome facing a tough defender like Fuller because of his target share, most notably his targets near the end zone. He led the league in red zone targets with 26 among all wide receivers. Phillip Rivers targeted Allen 35 percent of the time on passing plays in the red zone last year, more than Hunter Henry (18 percent) and Antonio Gates (14 percent) combined. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 9.00/10

10

Aaron Rodgers is back. That in itself is reason to believe in Davante Adams, as he and Rodgers have hooked up for 20 touchdowns in their last 26 games together. He has also scored four times in his last four outings against Chicago. Adams works all parts of the field, and will see equal portions of Prince Amukamara, Bryce Callahan, and Kyle Fuller -all decent corners, but none of the shutdown variety. The biggest early season question for Adams is how the arrival of Jimmy Graham and departure of Jordy Nelson will influence where A-Rog in the red zone. Adams is the undisputed No. 1 receiver in this offense and should see a bunch of targets as Rodgers looks to reestablish himself as the top dog at the quarterback position. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 9.00/10

11
SF @MIN

Stefon Diggs and the Vikings open the season at home against a 49ers defense that allowed seven 100+ yard games to receivers last season. Diggs ended last season nicely by finding the end zone in four of his final five games. San Fran allowed at least 75 yards to a wide receiver in each of their final four outings and ranked 22nd in yards allowed. It was easy to see the blossoming chemistry between he and Kirk Cousins in their limited preseason reps. Diggs will line up in multiple positions on the field so there may be an opportunity for he and Cousins to test Richard Sherman and his Achilles in his first game back since the injury. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 9.00/10

12

Sanders may have a new role in Denver after playing 64 percent of his preseason snaps out of the slot. Over the past three seasons in Denver, Sanders played 24 percent of the time out of the slot, while lining up there 28 percent in 2017. This may be because Denver signed Case Keenum as a free agent and they plan to use Sanders the same way Minnesota used Adam Thielen from the slot last year. If Sanders can post similar numbers to Thielen then his fantasy stock could climb back to the level it once was with Peyton Manning. Assuming Sanders lines up in the slot, then he should see cornerback Justin Coleman on the majority of snaps. Coleman was simply average last season according to Pro Football Focus, ranking as the No. 31 cornerback overall. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 9.00/10

13

Devin Funchess and the Panthers open the season against a Dallas defense that gave up the second-most touchdowns and seventh-most receptions to wide receivers last season. He trended very well at the end of '17, scoring or hitting 100 yards in five of his final seven regular season games. With no notable changes in a young secondary, the Cowboys defense should still be vulnerable leaving Funchess with an opportunity to continue his ascension. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 9.00/10

14
SF @MIN

Adam Thielen cooled off at the end of the 2017 campaign, failing to score or top 75 yards in any of his final five games. And if the preseason is any indication, the chemistry between Kirk Cousins and Thielen isn't on par with Diggs. But the 49ers are bringing back the same secondary that allowed the 11th-most fantasy points and 10th-most yards to receivers last season. He predominantly runs from the slot, which gives him a positive matchup against K'Waun Williams. Thielen caught at least five passes in seven of eight home games in '17 and there is little doubt that Cousins won't try and take advantage of Thielen against any of these San Francisco corners in single coverage. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

15

Case Keenum has to be an upgrade over the trash pile of Denver quarterbacks Demaryius Thomas has seen aside from Peyton Manning, since Thomas entered the league. In those three seasons, Thomas averaged a receiving touchdown in 73 percent of his games, along with six receptions for 93 yards a game. In the other five seasons of Thomas's career he caught a receiving touchdown just 32 percent of the time and averaged nearly five receptions for 60 yards. Adam Thielen compares closest with Demaryius Thomas according to Number Fire so let's look at Adam Thielen's 15 games with Keenum from last year. Thielen scored in 29 percent of his games with Case Keenum as a starter, and averaged 5.5 receptions and 78 receiving yards in 2017. The Legion of Boom is now the Legion of Gloom, considering they allowed the seventh-most receptions, the fifth-most targets, and the seventh-most receiving yards to opposing receivers. He'll lineup opposite Shaq Griffin, the 76th cornerback as stated by Pro Football Focus. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

16
LAR @OAK

As a member of the Patriots, Brandin Cooks dismantled the Oakland secondary last year with 149 yards and a touchdown in Week 11. The Raiders only allowed five wide receivers to top 76 yards all of last season. So Jon Gruden decided to completely shuffle the deck at cornerback and go with untested Gareon Conley, journeyman Rashaan Melvin and washed-up retreads DR-C and Leon Hall. Clearly no analytics in that move. While Cooks may need some time to build chemistry with Jared Goff, this wobbly Oakland defense is ripe for the pickings here. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

17

During Joe Flacco's last five healthy seasons his top pass-catcher has averaged nearly eight targets per game. For context, only 17 wide receivers averaged eight or more targets last season, putting him just behind Davante Adams (15th) and Dez Bryant (16th), and just in front of Emmanuel Sanders (18th) and Sterling Shepard (19th). Buffalo had the 12th-best pass defense according to Football Outsiders, but that was before they lost their top cornerback E.J. Gaines in free agency, along with slot cornerback Shareece Wright. Crabtree will be pitted against the oft-injured Vontae Davis. Gone are the days of Davis being a shutdown corner, ending up near the bottom of the Pro Football Focus barrel in back-to-back seasons with a ranking of 99th in 2016 and 103rd in 2017. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

18
LAR @OAK

Cooper Kupp ended 2017 in strong fashion, scoring or topping 100 yards in four of his last six games, and seems primed to pick up where he left off. This week in Oakland, he could easily continue that trend as he matches up against slot corner Leon Hall, who is at the very end of his career. I was almost positive that Hall retired like three years ago but Chucky likes players who smell like my Grandma's basement. Kupp always has the danger of getting lost in an offense that is replete with excellent weapons, but this matchup will be among the most promising of the year. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

19
KC @LAC

Going by the rankings at Pro Football Focus, the eighth-best cornerback Desmond King and the 15th-best wide receiver Tyreek Hill go head to head opening week. And when Hill isn't seeing Desmond King, he will likely be matched up with No. 1 cornerback Casey Hayward. But he had those same matchups last year, and posted two really solid fantasy games: 5-88-1 and 5-77-1. Football Outsiders have this Los Angeles pass defense ranked as the ninth-highest in football, but they could potentially be even better. Their worst starting cornerback is Trevor Williams at 19th overall by PFF. The Chargers held opposing wide outs to the fifth-fewest receiving yards last year. Tyreek Hill will need a big play or two to have any sort of success against Los Angeles. He had the ninth-biggest yards per catch rate and all of his scores from last season came from 30 or more yards out. That means none of his touchdowns came from within 20 yards and Hill had just four red zone targets. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

20
JAC @NYG

Odell Beckham Jr., his healthy ankle, and newly-inflated bank account all make their debut at the worst possible time for a wide receiver, a matchup with Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Jacksonville. In Week One of the 2017 season, the Jags allowed a touchdown to Deandre Hopkins. They subsequently held wide receivers out of the end zone for the next 10 weeks. What's more, in road games they gave up a paltry three total scores to the position. Lastly, for the full season they held teams to the fewest number of receiver catches and yards. Saying this is a tough matchup for OBJ is akin to saying Jeff Bezos has a steady income. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 8.50/10

21

The bad news is that Sterling Shepard faces a Jacksonville defense that allowed the fewest catches and yards to wide receivers last season. The good news is he will not see much coverage from either AJ Bouye or Jalen Ramsey in his customary slot position. He'll draw DJ Hayden, by far the worst starter in the Jaguars secondary. With very little else on the depth chart behind OBJ, Eli Manning targeted Shepard at least 7 times in 17 of his 27 career games and he posted three 130+ yard outings in 10 full games last season including one with Beckham active. Shepard was utilized copiously in the preseason, and looked terrific. It could extend to this game. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 8.50/10

22
TEN @MIA

Corey Davis projects to start on the right side of the field this season, making this quite the juicy matchup. Miami was garbage defending the pass last season, ranking fourth-lowest by Football Outsiders. Football Outsiders placed Miami third-worst at defending the pass on the right side and fifth-worst against deep passes. Davis caught a pass 15 or more yards in 64 percent of games. Davis ended his rookie season without a single score, but blew up for five catches, 63 yards, and two touchdowns in a playoff loss to the Patriots, portending his 2018 season. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 8.75/10

[UPDATE: RAIN AND STRONG WINDS ARE FORECAST FOR THIS GAME. IT COULD EASILY AFFECT THE PASSING GAME. JUJU HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED SLIGHTLY.] In 2017 Juju played Cleveland twice, but his second stat line was very different. His first career game was against Cleveland in last year's opener, and Juju was on the field for just 42 percent of offensive snaps, fourth on the team among wide receivers. He finished that game without a catch and wasn't even targeted. The next time Cleveland saw Smith-Schuster he was putting up 143 yards and a touchdown off nine catches. The Browns slot cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun will be tasked with covering him. Calhoun was the 24th-ranked cornerback by Pro Football Focus, but as previously stated he was torched by Juju last season. This time around could be even better, especially if Le'Veon Bell doesn't play or show up at all for that matter. The Browns finished last season ranked 26th in pass defense, 24th in middle-of-the-field pass defense, and dead last in right side of the field pass defense, according to Football Outsiders. That bodes well for Juju after he lined up in the middle or the right side of the field 81 percent of the time. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 8.50/10

24
LAR @OAK

Despite battling some midseason injuries, Robert Woods quietly averaged over six catches and 90 yards with five touchdowns over his last six games of 2017. The Rams open against a Raiders defense that has a completely different set of cornerbacks and is without Khalil Mack. They have one good cornerback, Rashaan Melvin, and he can't simultaneously guard Woods, Brandin Cooks, and Cooper Kupp. With an Oakland defense in full reset mode that needs to worry first and foremost about Todd Gurley, the familiarity between Woods and Jared Goff may give him an early season advantage over Cooks until they establish their own rapport. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 8.50/10

25
TB @NO

Mike Evans was dreadful in his two starts against New Orleans in 2017, totaling a mere six catches and 68 yards in the outings. Like last year, he'll likely get shadow coverage from Marshon Lattimore. With Stew Beard Fitzpatrick at the helm, his chances may improve. Evans averaged nearly 88 yards in three games completed by Fitzpatrick in 2017 versus just 63 yards per game in Jameis Winston starts. Evans saw this opponent just one game ago, in the season finale last year, and the Saints allowed a season-high 20 receptions to wide receivers in that game. It's likely Tampa will be playing from behind throughout the game, and there could be opportunity for garbage time targets and stat padding for Evans. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 8.25/10

26
TEN @MIA

Kenny Stills has been one of the best deep threats in the league, but is still often undervalued and overlooked. He's finished 22nd-best or higher in yards per reception in four consecutive seasons, twice he also ranked in the top 20 in yards per target. He gets an outstanding matchup with a Titans team that allowed the sixth-most catches, the third-most targets, and the third-most receiving touchdowns to opposing wide receivers. According to Football Outsiders, the Titans were the 24th-worst pass defense despite playing the easiest pass schedule. Tennessee was surprisingly very good though at defending deep passes, but struggled mightily against the short ones, ranking as the third-best and 32nd-worst respectively. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 8.25/10

27
PIT @CLE

[UPDATE: RAIN AND STRONG WINDS ARE FORECAST FOR THIS GAME. IT COULD EASILY AFFECT THE PASSING GAME. LANDRY HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED SLIGHTLY.] Pittsburgh vastly improved last season as a pass defense. They were the seventh-best pass defense, the fifth-best defense against short passes, and the fifth-best defense against passes to the middle of the field by Football Outsiders. That was largely influenced by Pro Football Focus's sixth-ranked linebacker Ryan Shazier, who won't be on the field at all in 2018. Shazier was particularly impressive defending the pass, allowing a passer rating of just 79.3 into his coverage, fourth-best among linebackers. This is all noteworthy because Jarvis Landry lined up in the slot 65 percent of the time and ran 75 percent of his routes from the slot last season. One piece of saving grace for Pittsburgh is their young slot cornerback Mike Hilton. From week 12 on forward Hilton held opposing receivers to less than ten yards per game when they were targeted in his coverage area. Landry has been his usual high-volume but low-scoring self in two career meetings with Pittsburgh, bringing an average of nine receptions, 12 targets, 96 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 8.25/10

28

Jamison Crowder put up a 5-55-1 stat line last season in a Week 15 meeting against Arizona and has scored in both of his career games against the Cardinals. The most important part of this matchup is that he will likely avoid Patrick Peterson for the duration of the game, working mostly from the slot. Arizona jack-of-all-trades Budda Baker takes over for Honey Badger as the slot corner and may still need time to adjust to the role. How Alex Smith utilizes Crowder remains to be seen, but he rarely used his slot receivers in Kansas City, for what that's worth. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

29
JAC @NYG

With Marqise Lee gone, Cole is the defacto No. 1 wideout for Blake Bortles in this matchup. The Giants are a far better run defense (Snacks!) than pass defense, so Bortles should throw more often than his 2017 average, just 19 times per game. As a rookie last year, Cole showed real promise from Week 13 onward, with some eye-popping games, including a month-long stretch when he averaged 5-110-0.8. Cole runs from all over the field, including the slot, so he'll see equal parts coverage from Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, and BW Webb.
Charch's Rating: 8.25/10

30
CIN @IND

In 2016 Luck started 15 games and in those games Hilton averaged 5.5 catches and 93 receiving yards. Last season, without Luck, he saw those numbers drop by two catches per game down to 3.5. Less receptions correlates directly to less yardage and as you'd probably guess, his receiving yards per game also took quite the hit. He averaged just 60 receiving yards per game, 23 yards less than he did with Luck in 2016. In Andrew Luck's previous two meetings with Cincinnati, T.Y. Hilton caught 13 passes off of 23 targets for 210 yards. His meeting with the Bengals went much differently without Luck last season, finishing with two catches and 15 yards. Cincinnati, to Jacoby Brissett and T.Y. Hilton's credit, was an outstanding pass defense. For the season, Cincinnati allowed less receiving yards to opposing wide receivers than any other team. They also ranked third in receptions and eighth in touchdowns. Hilton spent 43 percent of snaps on the right side of the field compared to only 21 percent of snaps on the left, which is fortunate for him because he will see Pro Football Focus's 85th-ranked cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick instead of the fourth-ranked William Jackson. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

In the Niners opener in Minnesota, the speedy Trey Waynes should draw the even speedier Marquise Goodwin. The on-field connection between Goodwin and the dashing Jimmy Garoppolo is well known to football wonks and could be on display here. In three games with Jimmy G. under center against teams without an elite cornerback, Goodwin averaged 11 targets, eight catches and 106 yards. Seeing how Goodwin is likely to mostly avoid Vikings shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes, Goodwin could be due for a lot of targets, much like he had in the preseason. Waynes isn't half bad, but he's not someone that causes you to bench a player with the upside that Goodwin possesses. The Vikings only allowed nine wide receiver touchdowns all of last year, fourth-best. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

32
TB @NO

[UPDATE: THE BUCS WILL BE WITHOUT CORNERBACKS BRENT GRIMES AND DE'VANTE HARRIS]
Charch's Rating: 8.25/10

33
LAR @OAK

Cooper gets a tough draw right off the start and it has to be a disappointing feeling seeing Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib on the other sideline. They were both shipped out of Cooper's division in the offseason, and just when Cooper thought he escaped seeing them, he opens his 2018 campaign against both of them. Peters held Cooper to zero catches in their only meeting last season. Cooper was lined up on the outside 78 percent of the time last season, while Talib lined up there on 88 percent of snaps and Peters lined up there on 94 percent of his plays. In Cooper's other game against Kansas City he exploded for 11 catches, 210 yards and two touchdowns. That's a perfect example of how good Peters really is and how much of an impact he can make. Cooper didn't find much success against chain-snatching Talib's former team in 2017 either. He was held to three receptions, nine targets, and only 18 yards receiving, although he did find the end zone. Talib won't see Michael Crabtree this time in Oakland, so who knows, maybe he decides to steal something from Amari Cooper this time. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 8.00/10

34
SEA @DEN
35
36
SEA @DEN

Lingering knee issues and the draw of slot corner Chris Harris temper expectations for Doug Baldwin this week. Denver allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points and second-fewest receptions to receivers in 2017. And Harris, in particular, is a brutal matchup. My favorite Denver pass defense stat of '17: Albert Wilson in Week 17 was the only receiver to eclipse the 100 yard mark against them. One interesting, yet disturbing trend with Baldwin was that Russell Wilson did not target him more than seven times in the second half of last season. Seattle's defense is a wreck, and odd as it sounds, the Seahawks could be required to pass to catch up on the scoreboard. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 7.75/10

37

Phillip Dorsett is one of Tom Brady's starting wideouts. That alone should put him on your radar. A nice matchup with Houston only helps matters. Dorsett will run from all over the field, and that means that he'll match up with a variety of mediocre cornerbacks: Jonathan Joseph, Kevin Johnson, and Aaron Colvin. The diminutive Dorsett isn't a likely end zone target, but he's fast and has the potential to score at distance.
Charch's Rating: 7.75/10

38
NYJ @DET

On paper this seems like a nice matchup for Marvin Jones, but there are a few caveats here. The Jets had to spend their money someplace and used some on former Rams stud corner Trumaine Johnson, who will match up with him often. While Jones did finish the season with nine touchdowns, he was not targeted by Matthew Stafford more than five times in any of the Lions final four games. New York did give up the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, but the Lions also expect to increase Kenny Golladay's usage, which means even fewer balls for Jones. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 7.75/10

39

There are a grillion moving parts in this matchup for Allen Robinson. Let's count them together, okay? 1) It's his first game back from last year's ACL injury. 2, 3, and 4) The Bears have a new head coach, new offensive coordinator and a totally new offensive scheme. 5) Robinson's opponent, the Packers, drafted like 19 cornerbacks to try and fix a defense that allowed the most touchdown passes. 6) But all those guys will be playing in their first NFL game. 7 and 8) And in a new defensive scheme from a new defensive coordinator. 9) Mitch Trubisky should be better in his second year, and he'll need to be. Bears quarterbacks did not have a multiple touchdown passing game in 2017 and failed to hit the 200-yard plateau in 10 of those games. Between all that, it makes Robinson a high-risk/high-reward play. And apparently a "grillion" equals "nine". -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 7.75/10

40

Nelson Agholor was invisible in this matchup last January, managing just three receptions for 24 yards. It wasn't an anomaly. Atlanta only allowed two 100+ yard games to receivers in 2017 and are returning their starters in the secondary. Only one of Agholor's eight touchdown catches came via Foles but he was targeted at least seven times in half of Foles starts. Standing across from Brian Poole is not an ideal matchup but with the absence of Alshon Jeffery, he likely should see his fair share of looks. -Jeff Maas (@manoflamancha)
Charch's Rating: 7.75/10

41
BUF @BAL
42
CIN @IND

We never got a chance to see what John Ross could do last season, playing just a handful of snaps over the course of three games. He was never healthy, so it's tough to judge Ross by his extremely limited tape. Let's not forget he was ninth overall selection in the 2017 draft, running a record-blazing 4.22 40-yard dash. He will face off with Nate Hairston, who was one of the worst cornerbacks in the league with a Pro Football Focus ranking of 107th overall. The Colts truly had a terrible secondary in 2017, finishing 32nd as a pass defense, 27th vs No. 2 wideouts, and 27th vs deep passes by Football Outsiders. Andy Dalton probably doesn't ever come up as one of the better deep throwers in the NFL, but he's probably better than you think. Dalton was actually the eighth-best deep-ball quarterback by Pro Football Focus's grading system last season, and he's also tenth-best among all quarterbacks since 2006. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 7.75/10

43
44
45
46

Sam Darnold's top wideout draws a very tough matchup this week vs Darius Slay. He ended 2017 as the 16th-best cornerback and is projected to finish this season top-ten at the position according to Pro Football Focus. Slay led the league in pass breakups and interceptions combined with 21, and held opposing quarterbacks to a 55.6 passer rating when targeted. The Lions pass defense as a whole was pretty good at keeping opponent's wide receivers out of the end zone, holding them to just eight scores which ranked fourth-best. They did allow receptions and receiving yards however, giving up the fourth-most catches and ninth-most yards. That might equate to a decent number of receptions and yards for Anderson, but not necessarily a trip to the end zone. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 7.50/10

47

This is a case where talent is the only reason Sammy Watkins makes his way onto this list. He has an absolutely horrendous matchup, likely having to face Casey Hayward on the majority of snaps. Hayward was the best cornerback in the league according to Pro Football Focus and is projected by them to once again be the No. 1 corner in football. In fact his grade from PFF was so good that it ranked as the highest in any single season since 2006 when their grading system was created. Hayward was targeted 75 times last season, allowing just 32 receptions for 537 yards, three touchdowns, and a passer rating of 58.6 on throws into his coverage. Watkins will have to rely the inexperienced Patrick Mahomes to get him the ball, but I wouldn't be surprised if Mahomes avoids Hayward all night. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 7.50/10

48
49
PIT @CLE

Hue Jackson said that rookie-receiver Antonio Callaway will start Sunday against the Steelers, not Josh Gordon. That shakes things up a bit for a Cleveland team hoping to get a huge win at home against a divisional foe. He's also been dealing with a hamstring injury but is expected to be available, as a backup apparently. In five games last season Gordon had a pretty pedestrian stat-line, averaging just 3.6 receptions per game for 67 yards. He also scored just once in those five games, putting him on pace for three touchdowns on the season. Flash went for 115 yards receiving in his final game of 2017 against Pittsburgh, but it's tough to put too much stock into that box score. The Steelers were resting their starters and preparing for a playoff run, having already clinched a bye. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 7.50/10

51
HOU @NE

[UPDATE: NOT EXPECTED TO PLAY DUE TO A HAMSTRING INJURY. THIS RANKING IS UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT HE IS A SURPRISE STARTER.] The Patriots were surprisingly good against opposing wide receivers, ranking sixth-best in receptions, seventh-best in receiving yards, and tenth-best in touchdowns allowed to the position. Fuller has played New England twice in his career, but his numbers are completely forgettable, and neither were with Deshaun Watson at quarterback. Between both of them missing copious games due to injury, they played just four times together in 2017 and those numbers are far from forgettable. Fuller averaged three catches, 70 yards, and nearly two touchdowns per game. He could definitely add another touchdown, maybe even two, while facing Eric Rowe, who received a poor grade from Pro Football Focus and was No. 109 on their cornerback list from last season. -Evan Bletz (@evanbletz1)
Charch's Rating: 7.50/10

52
53
54
55
56
TEN @MIA
57
DAL @CAR
58
WAS @ARI
59
CHI @GB
60
61
ATL @PHI
62
64
DAL @CAR
66
67
CIN @IND
68
69
DAL @CAR
70
LAR @OAK
71
JAC @NYG
72
WAS @ARI
73
SF @MIN
74
77
BUF @BAL
78
JAC @NYG
79
ATL @PHI