Corner Report: Week 2

Corner Report: Week 2

This article is part of our Corner Report series.

This article will go game by game for the Sunday main slate looking at the top wide receivers from an offense and, based on the inside/outside and left/right splits in the alignment data of those receivers, identify the cornerbacks most likely to face them in man coverage.

Receivers very rarely see the same corner every play, be it due to formational quirks or zone coverage calls by the defense, so a receiver's fortunes depend on much more than just the quality of the corner they're likely to see the most in a given game. Even against a bad corner, a good receiver can be denied the opportunity if the pass rush or something else outside his control complicates things. But it's part of the puzzle, and it's worth keeping track of.

Receivers are left with an Upgrade, Downgrade, or Even verdict based on their projected matchup. This shouldn't be read as 'good' or 'bad' but rather a measured tweak from the receiver's baseline projection.
 

(Sorry about the Will Fuller delay)
 

Miami vs Buffalo

MIAMI WIDE RECEIVERS

Will Fuller returns from suspension, and presumably with a heavy workload waiting for him. Figuring out where his snaps will occur isn't so easy, though – DeVante Parker and Jaylen Waddle both played at a high level in Week 1, so if not from them the Dolphins would need to take snaps from Albert Wilson, Mack Hollins and Jakeem Grant. Parker played mostly outside with Waddle mostly in the slot

This article will go game by game for the Sunday main slate looking at the top wide receivers from an offense and, based on the inside/outside and left/right splits in the alignment data of those receivers, identify the cornerbacks most likely to face them in man coverage.

Receivers very rarely see the same corner every play, be it due to formational quirks or zone coverage calls by the defense, so a receiver's fortunes depend on much more than just the quality of the corner they're likely to see the most in a given game. Even against a bad corner, a good receiver can be denied the opportunity if the pass rush or something else outside his control complicates things. But it's part of the puzzle, and it's worth keeping track of.

Receivers are left with an Upgrade, Downgrade, or Even verdict based on their projected matchup. This shouldn't be read as 'good' or 'bad' but rather a measured tweak from the receiver's baseline projection.
 

(Sorry about the Will Fuller delay)
 

Miami vs Buffalo

MIAMI WIDE RECEIVERS

Will Fuller returns from suspension, and presumably with a heavy workload waiting for him. Figuring out where his snaps will occur isn't so easy, though – DeVante Parker and Jaylen Waddle both played at a high level in Week 1, so if not from them the Dolphins would need to take snaps from Albert Wilson, Mack Hollins and Jakeem Grant. Parker played mostly outside with Waddle mostly in the slot in Week 1, so Fuller might see the field easiest outside, opposite Parker.

The Bills usually try to use CB1 Tre'Davious White as a shadow corner against top opposing receivers. Parker and Fuller both merit consideration, but if Buffalo grades them equally they could just leave White on one side of the field, leaving his wide receiver matchup subject to the play call. Whoever gets White in coverage is the least likely to make the play, because Levi Wallace is a much easier target across from White. Fuller in particular can run right past Wallace – it's one reason the Bills might send White after Fuller rather than Parker. Parker can dust Wallace too, but Fuller has a unique kind of speed. If Waddle stays in the slot he should mostly run against Taron Johnson, and Waddle certainly has the pedigree advantage there.

So Will Fuller apparently isn't playing. That means the Bills have to decide whether to use Tre'Davious White as a shadow over DeVante Parker or Jaylen Waddle. Parker is the more proven player, but as a big wideout he doesn't necessarily need to get open – ie, it might be a slight waste of White's ability to deny separation if Parker doesn't need separation to win. Waddle probably needs the separation. Then again, Waddle might be good enough to get open anyway. Albert Wilson and Preston Williams will see the field in some capacity – perhaps Wilson more in the slot and Williams almost certainly outside.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: DeVante Parker (raise to upgrade if White shadows Waddle), Waddle, Albert Wilson


 


BUFFALO WIDE RECEIVERS

Miami outside corners Xavien Howard and Byron Jones mostly play on the left and the right sides of the defense, respectively. The Miami defense struggled to end drives in Week 1, but both of those two corners are capable of playing very well. Stefon Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders should face off against them on most snaps, and with a mostly even split – at least if the Bills running Diggs and Sanders with mostly even left/right splits. The Dolphins will need an adjustment from when they played the Bills in Week 2 of last year, when Diggs posted eight catches for 153 yards and one touchdown on 13 targets. Howard and Jones couldn't slow him that day. Slot corner Nik Needham should see a lot of Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, and that's probably a matchup where the latter two have the advantage.
 

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis

Jets vs New England

JETS WIDE RECEIVERS

Corey Davis will hope to carry his dominant Week 1 second half into a strong Week 2 showing, but he might need a little luck running against a tougher Patriots pass defense known specifically for confusing rookie quarterbacks. J.C. Jackson is a candidate to shadow Davis, but if he doesn't then Davis should split his snaps mostly against Jackson and Jalen Mills. No one runs away from Jackson but Davis is a big receiver who might be able to win targets without getting open, and Mills is both skinny and slow. Zach Wilson might have trouble deciphering Bill Belichick's defense, but the corner personnel isn't necessarily intimidating for Davis. Elijah Moore was awful in Week 1 and will bounce back eventually, but he might be overmatched by most NFL secondaries until that point. Slot corner Jonathan Jones is probably a good one and should be challenging for Jamison Crowder or Braxton Berrios; whoever runs in the slot.


Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: Jamison Crowder, Braxton Berrios, Elijah Moore
Even: Corey Davis


 


NEW ENGLAND WIDE RECEIVERS

In Week 1 the Jets mostly used second-year corner Bryce Hall on the left side and rookie sixth-round pick Brandin Echols on the right. Rookie fifth-round pick Michael Carter was the primary slot corner in Week 1. We don't know how good any of them will turn out to be, but in the meantime they're all fringe prospects, and two of them are rookies. It will probably be a challenging task for them to hold up against a Josh McDaniels offense, though perhaps playing at home will be helpful.

All the same, Jakobi Meyers projects for the advantage over Carter. Nelson Agholor played a bit more on the left than on the right last week, so he might see a bit more of Echols than Hall. He probably projects for the advantage over both. Kendrick Bourne could see any combo of the three, and he could produce on those snaps, but he's more of a Right Place/Right Time wideout than one who really wins matchups.

Upgrade: Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Kendrick Bourne

Indianapolis vs Rams

INDIANAPOLIS PASS CATCHERS

The Indianapolis offensive line is destroyed, and Carson Wentz might have played poorly in Week 1 even if it weren't. But it is, and now the Colts get to deal with Aaron Donald down potentially three starting linemen – two of them (Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith) among the best in the league. 

The Colts opted to go with Michael Pittman and Zach Pascal as their lead two receivers, with Parris Campbell playing as a field-stretching third wideout. Campbell is their best player but Frank Reich wants to make Pittman and Pascal happen instead. None of the three were effective last week, but Pittman especially was a drag, and even in scoring two touchdowns Pascal was mostly invisible. None of these guys stand much of a prayer of doing much against Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams unless Reich manages to completely blind side the Rams with his game plan. Perhaps after all of his struggles Wentz will finally find a heroic form in this, a matchup with poor WR personnel and backup offensive line as he faces Ramsey and Donald.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: Michael Pittman, Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell
Even: N/A


 

RAMS WIDE RECEIVERS

Xavier Rhodes might miss his second week in a row. He isn't guaranteed to play well against a complex offense like the Rams – Rhodes is at his best when left to defend vertically-oriented sideline routes, and the Rams will make him change direction if he's out there – but whoever replaces Rhodes is a downgrade for the Colts all the same. Rock Ya-Sin played most of the left corner snaps in Week 1, so Rhodes or T.J. Carrie would be expected to play most of the right side. Neither is good. Slot corner Kenny Moore is a playmaker and can cover well at times, but a lot of his utility has to do with things other than sticky coverage. Matt Eberflus will need to conceive some of his most genius work yet to slow the rotation of Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson.

Upgrade: Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson
Downgrade: N/A
Even: N/A

Chicago vs Cincinnati

CHICAGO WIDE RECEIVERS

Allen Robinson is due for a surge after catching just six of 11 targets for 35 yards in Week 1. The Bengals defense struggled to contain Adam Thielen in Week 1, and Robinson presents a lot of the same challenges. Slot corner Mike Hilton is a useful player but he's not built to deal with a player like Robinson, and outside corners Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple don't project much better. Awuzie is probably the best of the group by a wide margin, though not enough to intimidate a player like Robinson. Darnell Mooney can beat any of these corners, too, and probably Apple especially. Marquise Goodwin was surprisingly effective in Week 1 as well, and speed like his always warrants the attention of a defense. The receivers, at least, are poised to do their part for the Andy Dalton Revenge Game.

Upgrade: Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Marquise Goodwin
Downgrade: N/A
Even: N/A


 

CINCINNATI WIDE RECEIVERS

Ja'Marr Chase put preseason-related anxieties to rest in a hurry in Week 1, dusting a better secondary than the one he'll face here. Jaylon Johnson is a good NFL corner but he's probably not ready to be a legitimate CB1, and the guys behind him – Kindle Vildor, and Marqui Christian – can't be expected to hold up against receivers like these, either. Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd all look great here.


Upgrade: Tee Higgins, Ja'Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd
Downgrade: N/A
Even: N/A

Philadelphia vs San Francisco

PHILADELPHIA WIDE RECEIVERS

This crew did a great job in Week 1 against a hopeless Atlanta defense, and now they'll get a real test against this 49ers crew. DeVonta Smith looked as good as advertised in Week 1 and deserves the benefit of the doubt even in tougher matchups until further notice. Jalen Reagor did mostly screen work in Week 1 and carries more concern as the matchups fluctuate. Quez Watkins mostly functioned like Reagor in Week 1, though both him and Reagor absolutely have the speed to run further downfield if the Philadelphia playcalling demands it.

The 49ers cruelly lost star-crossed CB1 Jason Verrett for the year and might be without CB2 Emmanuel Moseley again depending on his recovery from knee injury. Rookie fifth-round pick Deommodore Lenoir played the left side in Week 1, and if Moseley can't return it should be Dontae Johnson who covers the right side. Both Lenoir and Johnson are athletic, but as a rookie and career journeyman, respectively, it's still expecting a lot of them to match strides with these solid Eagles prospects.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins

SAN FRANCISCO WIDE RECEIVERS

Who knows what Kyle Shanahan is doing with Brandon Aiyuk. If he plays, it's probably a decent matchup. Trent Sherfield is a pretty good player and might produce, but if he and Aiyuk split snaps it's tough for either to show anything. Perhaps the Eagles try to shadow Deebo Samuel with top corner Darius Slay – it might help slow Samuel downfield, but Slay doesn't make any difference for Samuel's YAC-oriented underneath targets. Steven Nelson is the corner opposite Slay, and he's probably competent. It remains to be seen how Nelson holds up in Philadelphia after previously playing well for the Steelers in recent years.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Trent Sherfield

Cleveland vs Houston

CLEVELAND WIDE RECEIVERS

Anthony Schwartz was a revelation against the Chiefs in Week 1 and could be in another good spot here if his knee cooperates. He played fewer snaps than Donovan Peoples-Jones, however, so Schwartz is probably the WR4 in Cleveland until further notice. It's not clear whether WR1 Odell Beckham will suit up here, but if he doesn't then Jarvis Landry is probably the resulting WR1 in this excellent matchup.

Upgrade: Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz
Downgrade: N/A
Even: N/A


 

HOUSTON WIDE RECEIVERS

Brandin Cooks is an excellent player and one the Browns might try to shadow with their own excellent corner Denzel Ward. Ward and rookie first-round pick Greg Newsome are both athletic enough to match Cooks' stride, but whether than can mirror his routes is another question. Of course, another question yet is whether Tyrod Taylor will have half as much time to throw against the Browns as he did against the Jaguars in Week 1. Myles Garrett looms, and snap-to-throw time might need to decrease drastically. Nico Collins has a major build over both corners but couldn't get anything going outside in Week 1. Chris Conley played a lot of slot snaps in Week 1 but might lose out there to Danny Amendola in subsequent weeks. It's possible that in such a case Collins has his outside snaps reduced to give Conley more snaps there. It's in any case very difficult to approach anyone other than Cooks in this group, and his matchup is much tougher than Week 1.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: Nico Collins, Chris Conley
Even: Brandin Cooks

Jacksonville vs Denver

JACKSONVILLE WIDE RECEIVERS

For now DJ Chark appears the primary heir of Jacksonville's desperation throws downfield, and against the Broncos that might be a prominent genre in an overmatched Jaguars team. Starting corner Ronald Darby suffered a knee injury in Week 1, which will lift first-round pick Patrick Surtain into a starter-like workload along with Kyle Fuller and standout slot corner Bryce Callahan. Even without Darby this is a strong three-corner rotation and it spells trouble for Trevor Lawrence, who is not only a rookie starter but also probably the closest thing the Jaguars have to a coach. Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault are both competent players but are still subject to the broader gloom cast over the Jaguars in this matchup.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault
Even: N/A


 

DENVER WIDE RECEIVERS

The absence of Jerry Jeudy is painful but the Broncos are blessed with a wealth of standout pass catching talents, not to mention a pushover matchup against the wretched Jaguars. Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick are a towering pair of starting wideouts, both of whom project well here, and second-year guy KJ Hamler figures to step up in the slot with Jeudy inactive. Outside corners Shaquill Griffin and C.J. Henderson are capable of playing well but certainly didn't in Week 1. There's nothing to suggest the Jaguars will get it together anytime soon.

Upgrade: Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler
Downgrade: N/A
Even: N/A

Pittsburgh vs Las Vegas

PITTSBURGH WIDE RECEIVERS

Casey Hayward did a good job in his Raiders debut in Week 1, a role that saw him play evenly in left/right splits. It will be interesting to see if the Raiders try to use him to shadow Diontae Johnson, who mostly plays outside and most closely matches the athletic traits of the smaller, quicker Hayward. Travyon Mullen isn't exactly a speed demon on the other side, but he is bigger and fast than Hayward and might be better suited to playing above the rim against Chase Claypool than Hayward. Slot corner Nate Hobbs is probably the easiest target here, and one JuJu Smith-Schuster will hopefully capitalize against, but the rookie is athletic if nothing else.

Upgrade: JuJu Smith-Schuster
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool

LAS VEGAS WIDE RECEIVERS

Hunter Renfrow reliably draws targets at a high per-snap rate, and the Raiders appear intent on giving him more playing time this year. If that continues then so will the targets, and in this matchup there's no obvious reason to see an exception. Safety/general shutdown defender Minkah Fitzpatrick should be primarily concerned with Darren Waller, so Renfrow should set up for isolated looks against slot corner Cameron Sutton, who otherwise did a good job in Week 1 against Cole Beasley. Sutton also serves as the starting right outside corner, while Joe Haden takes the left. James Pierre is expected to step in at right corner when Sutton moves into the slot. Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards lined up all over the place in Week 1 and should see all of these corners if that trend continues here.

None of the Pittsburgh cornerback matchups are specifically concerning for the Raiders receivers – indeed, we might see defenses lose focus on these receivers in an effort to contain Waller – the bigger question is whether Derek Carr can hold up against the disguised coverages and aggressive blitzes the Steelers use.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards, Henry Ruggs

Carolina vs New Orleans

Terrace Marshall indeed played the slot for Carolina in Week 1, and they tried to use him mostly underneath. It didn't work, and probably never will – Marshall is built to play the sidelines and down the field – but for now the Panthers appear set on trying it this way. If they persist then D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson will continue to split the majority of the outside snaps.

Moore and Anderson should mostly run against right corner Marshon Lattimore and left corner Paulson Adebo. Both players got good results in Week 1, which was impressive especially for Adebo as a rookie third-round pick. The Packers were a mess in that game, though, and however good Lattimore and Adebo might be didn't actually play a meaningful role in the outcome. Perhaps Lattimore and Adebo go 2-0 here, but the challenge will likely be much greater than in Week 1. Slot corner Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a toolsy player who matches up well athletically with Marshall, though the skill component in his game is still a bit unproven.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall

NEW ORLEANS WIDE RECEIVERS

Marquez Callaway disappointed in Week 1, but the flow of that game was beyond bizarre and the Saints didn't truly need him to do anything. He by far led the Saints in wideout snaps, playing mostly on the left side but generally lining up all over. In this game the Saints should need him more. With that said, it remains to be seen whether Callaway is built to thrive in that bigger role. He faces two potentially tough covers this week in right corner Donte Jackson and left corner Jaycee Horn. The Panthers used a rotating cast at slot corner in Week 1, but only because starter Myles Hartsfield suffered a long-term wrist injury. Stantley Thomas-Oliver might be the next man up, but the slot is in any case the likeliest weak spot in this secondary for now. Aside from Callaway the Saints used a rotation of Deonte Harris and three others (Ty Montgomery, Chris Hogan and Lil'Jordan Humphrey) who played fewer than 20 snaps.
 

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris

Arizona vs Minnesota

ARIZONA WIDE RECEIVERS


Moving Christian Kirk into the slot and adding Rondale Moore in the second round of the draft has seemingly already resulted in substantial improvement for the Arizona passing game. That's not what the Vikings want to hear – they were ill-suited to deal with even the 2020 version of the Cardinals.

DeAndre Hopkins is mirrored well by Patrick Peterson in terms of size and athleticism, but Peterson's skill grade has spiraled downward for about three years now and it's difficult to see why, fresh off a bad Week 1 against the Bengals, that things would get any better for him in this setting. There's the Revenge Game narrative, perhaps, but this still looks like a great player going against a below average one. Bashaud Breeland at left corner might be able to slow the still-struggling A.J. Green at right receiver, but Breeland isn't any good. Mackensie Alexander is a good slot corner and might make a funnel away from Kirk as a result, but Kirk just might be ready to establish himself as one of the league's better slot receivers, too. Plus, when Kirk and Moore are both out there Alexander can only cover one. Moore's profound explosiveness is probably more of a danger to Alexander than Kirk's skill set, if only because Alexander is better built for the box than downfield.

Upgrade: DeAndre Hopkins
Downgrade: N/A
Even: A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore


 

MINNESOTA WIDE RECEIVERS

All three of Minnesota's top receivers were promising in Week 1. Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson line up everywhere but mostly play outside on the right and left, respectively. K.J. Osborn was the primary slot man. In this matchup the concern for them has much more to do with the Arizona pass rush than the Arizona defensive back personnel.

With that said, lead corner Byron Murphy did a legitimately good job in Week 1, playing left corner in base formations and the slot otherwise. Unless the Cardinals use him as a shadow corner of some sort, he should mostly see Osborn in this matchup. It's probably an advantage for Murphy. Robert Alford probably isn't as good as his Week 1 results would imply, but whatever the case he's the left corner when Murphy moves into the slot, while super toolsy rookie fourth-round pick Marco Wilson serves as the starter at right corner. The Arizona pass rush will continue to aid all three corners, but Alford and Wilson project for a disadvantage against receivers as good as Thielen and Jefferson.

Upgrade: Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson
Downgrade: K.J. Osborn
Even: N/A

Tampa Bay vs Atlanta

TAMPA BAY WIDE RECEIVERS

What is there to say? The Falcons defense is a wreck and the Buccaneers have more options than they can even make use of. Rather than the matchup, the concern for the Buccaneers pass catchers is whether Tampa needs them more than a quarter or so in this game. In matchup terms, though, it's upgrades for all.

Upgrade: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown
Downgrade: N/A
Even: N/A

ATLANTA WIDE RECEIVERS

Calvin Ridley is supremely talented and was off to a fast start on the first drive in Week 1, but he completely disappeared after that as the Falcons offensive line called it an early day. Maybe that all gets better, but it probably won't. The matchup isn't good – Ridley's abilities will have to transcend the horrific circumstances. Russell Gage is not a serious starting NFL receiver but maybe the Buccaneers will forget to cover him.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage
Even: N/A

Chargers vs Dallas

CHARGERS WIDE RECEIVERS

Keenan Allen is a beast and this should be a golden setup for him. Slot corner Jourdan Lewis isn't bad but you generally need elite play or good luck to knock off a player like Allen. Trevon Diggs might shadow Mike Williams like Diggs did Mike Evans, but unlike Diggs' good results in Week 1 the Chargers don't have enough secondary options to throw away from Diggs, and there's no guarantee Evans loses that matchup in a scenario where the Buccaneers actually need him. The Chargers actually need Williams here, so I'm hesitant to call it a downgrade even if Diggs proves to be a breakout corner this year. Jalen Guyton can dust Anthony Brown deep if the Cowboys are dumb enough to keep Brown on the field.

Upgrade: Keenan Allen
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Mike Williams, Jalen Guyton

DALLAS WIDE RECEIVERS

The Brandon Staley defense looked great in Week 1, and if they continue to play so well as a unit then the individual personnel matchups matter less. The Chargers cornerbacks might need that little bit of institutional assistance against Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, who are both top talents locked into high-volume roles. Chris Harris unsurprisingly did well in the slot in Week 1, and he'll probably see a good amount of Cooper and Lamb both. Harris is a genius at corner but Cooper and Lamb are top receivers in their prime, so it could go either way. Right corner Michael Davis and left corner Asante Samuel might be easier targets. The wildcard for Dallas' receivers is Cedrick Wilson, who appears the general favorite to replace the injured Michael Gallup. Wilson mostly played the slot in Week 1 – perhaps Dallas will try to waste Harris' snaps by lining up Wilson against him, leaving Cooper and Lamb with more cracks at the outside corners.


Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson

Seattle vs Tennessee

SEATTLE WIDE RECEIVERS

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are far too talented for this Tennessee secondary to deal with. Rookie third-round pick Elijah Molden can provide good reps within limited range, but Lockett will take him deep and Molden can only match stride for so long in that scenario. Left corner Kristian Fulton and right corner Janoris Jenkins, meanwhile, are completely helpless against Metcalf.


Upgrade: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Dee Eskridge


TENNESSEE WIDE RECEIVERS

Tre Flowers plays right corner, D.J. Reed plays left corner. Neither should be able to cover Julio Jones or A.J. Brown, but we'll see whether Ryan Tannehill and the Titans offensive line do enough to make that point matter in practice. Slot receiver Chester Rogers picked up the slack last week, and he'll probably run against the slot corner duo of Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair.


Upgrade: A.J. Brown, Julio Jones
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Chester Rogers

Green Bay vs Detroit

GREEN BAY WIDE RECEIVERS

The Packers managed to blow it despite a favorable matchup with the New Orleans secondary last week, but against the Lions the Green Bay offensive line troubles are less likely to matter so much. The Lions have a few capable disruptors, but no one as good as Cam Jordan with the Saints.

If Aaron Rodgers has time to throw and if he's vaguely on his game then Davante Adams should make up for lost time in this matchup. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb all project well too, but their snap and target shares are messy to figure out. The Lions only have one vaguely proven corner in right corner Armani Oruwariye, and it's unclear who will replace Jeff Okduah (Achilles) in the starting lineup. A.J. Parker was the slot corner last week.


Upgrade: Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb
Downgrade: N/A
Even: N/A


 

DETROIT WIDE RECEIVERS

If Tyrell Williams (concussion) is out then the Lions might need to turn to Quintez Cephus more this week. Kalif Raymond played a ton of snaps in Week 1 but seemed to largely function as a downfield decoy, while Amon-Ra St. Brown struggled to draw targets from the slot. The pass-catching usages for T.J. Hockenson, D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams were probably maxed out last week, so either Raymond and St. Brown need to draw more targets or Cephus needs to step up. Whatever the case, whoever runs against Jaire Alexander probably won't do anything, especially when there's a sitting duck like Kevin King to pick on on the other side. Cephus can beat him, Raymond can beat him, St. Brown can beat him. Almost any NFL wide receiver can dust King. Almost none can do much against Jaire, on the other hand. Alexander played the left side in Week 1 and King the right – this is to say whoever lines up at left receiver for the Lions needs to make something happen.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Kalif Raymond, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Quintez Cephus, Tyrell Williams

Baltimore vs Kansas City

BALTIMORE WIDE RECEIVERS

The Chiefs don't have any big names at corner but they're a strong group, and probably improved from last season after getting rid of Bashaud Breeland. L'Jarius Sneed is still the primary slot corner, and plays the right side in base formation. Mike Hughes plays the right side when they go to nickel and Sneed moves inside, while Charvarius Ward plays the left side on a three-down basis.

Ward and Sneed already worked well together last year. Hughes is the new piece, and he was always a liability in Minnesota. Perhaps this scheme will bring the best out of him, but an opposing offensive coordinator might see Hughes as the weak link. That means the Ravens have reason to try to get Sammy Watkins and ankle permitting, Marquise Brown, to line up on the left side in three-wide formations. A small, explosive receiver like Brown probably projects better against a tall, linear cornerback like Ward than Watkins would, so we might see the Ravens have Watkins on the left and Brown on the right a good amount if they see things similarly. They used Watkins on the left side for the most part in Week 1, so this would be a continuation of their initial trend. Devin Duvernay played the third-most snaps for the Ravens in Week 1 but Lamar Jackson never looked his way and there's no reason to think that will change. It would be smart for Jackson to consider a change – Duvernay was wide open for a touchdown on a play where Jackson instead threw it to Brown, who got hit hard making a one-handed catch for a minimal gain that resulted in a punt.

Upgrade: Sammy Watkins
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Marquise Brown, Devin Duvernay


 

KANSAS CITY WIDE RECEIVERS

Matchups don't really matter for Tyreek Hillhis skill set isn't really subject to them – and the overall design of the Chiefs offense is engineered to specifically free him and Travis Kelce up by any means necessary. Mecole Hardman is sometimes a decoy in that process, and Week 1 was probably a good example of that. The big play could be there, but if it isn't there's no volume to bank on. Demarcus Robinson needs the defense to forget about him to get open and sometimes they do.

Upgrade: N/A
Downgrade: N/A
Even: Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
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