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Week 10 WR/CB Matchups: D.K. Metcalf vs. Jalen Ramsey, Shadow Grades & More

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Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: DK Metcalf

Wide receiver-cornerback showdowns might be the most important individual matchups in football.

In this piece, I leverage snap data from Pro Football Focus (PFF) to project NFL Week 10 WR/CB matchups, especially shadow situations.

For more, see the FantasyLabs Matchups page, where we provide basic and advanced data — including fantasy and red-zone performance — for each offensive skill-position player based on his matchup.

As we get more clarity during the week on the injury status of receivers and corners, I will update my WR/CB projections.

Let’s start with this week’s featured matchup and then run through all the potential shadow matchups, the most notable upgrades and downgrades and the injury situations to monitor.

WR/CB Injury Updates

UPDATE (Sun. 11/15): I have made updates based on injury reports for the week. Here are some changes and key situations to note.

Wide Receivers: OUT

  • Lions WR Kenny Golladay (hip) is OUT.
  • Dolphins WR Preston Williams (foot, IR) is OUT.
  • 49ers WRs Deebo Samuel (hamstring) is OUT.
  • Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) is OUT.
  • Packers WR Allen Lazard (core) & Darrius Shepherd (shoulder) are OUT.
  • Titans WR Adam Humphries (concussion) is OUT.
  • Football Team WRs Dontrelle Inman (hamstring) & Antonio Gandy-Golden (hamstring, IR) are OUT.
  • Seahawks WRs Freddie Swain (foot) & Penny Hart (knee) are tentatively projected OUT.
  • Patriots WR Julian Edelman (knee, IR) is OUT.
  • Bengals WR John Ross (foot) is OUT.
  • Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (knee, IR) is OUT.
  • Eagles WR DeSean Jackson (ankle, IR) is OUT.
  • Colts WR Ashton Dulin (knee) is OUT.

Wide Receivers: IN

  • Bears WR Allen Robinson (knee) is projected IN.
  • Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy (shoulder) is projected IN.
  • 49ers WRs Brandon Aiyuk (COVID-19), Kendrick Bourne (COVID-19) & Trent Taylor are respectively IN, IN & projected IN.
  • Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) is IN.
  • Patriots WR N’Keal Harry (concussion) is projected IN.
  • Giants WR Golden Tate (discipline/knee) is projected IN.
  • Eagles WRs Alshon Jeffery (calf) is IN.
  • Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (groin) is IN.

Cornerbacks: OUT

  • Packers CB Jaire Alexander (concussion/hand) is projected OUT.
  • Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (ankle) is projected OUT.
  • Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore (knee) is projected OUT.
  • Seahawks CBs Shaquill Griffin (concussion/hamstring) & Quinton Dunbar (knee) are respectively OUT & projected OUT.
  • Vikings CBs Mike Hughes (neck, IR), Holton Hill (foot, IR) & Mark Fields II (chest, IR) are OUT.
  • Bills CBs Levi Wallace (COVID-19) & Josh Norman (COVID-19) is OUT.
  • Bengals CBs Darius Phillips (knee) & LeShaun Sims (concussion) are OUT.
  • Packers CB Kevin King (quadricep) is projected OUT.
  • 49ers CBs Richard Sherman (calf, IR) & K’Waun Williams (ankle) are OUT.
  • Titans CBs Adoree’ Jackson (knee, IR) & Kristian Fulton (knee, IR) are OUT.
  • Giants CB Ryan Lewis (hamstring, IR) is OUT.
  • Lions CB Darryl Roberts (hip/groin, IR) is OUT.
  • Cardinals CB Kevin Peterson (concussion, IR) is OUT.
  • Browns CB Greedy Williams (shoulder, IR) is OUT.
  • Jaguars CB D.J. Hayden (hamstring, IR) is OUT.
  • Chargers CB Chris Harris (foot, IR) is OUT.

Cornerbacks: IN

  • Buccaneers CB Carlton Davis (knee) is projected IN.
  • Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey (COVID-19) is IN.
  • Patriots CB Jonathan Jones (illness) is projected IN.
  • Vikings CB Cameron Dantzler (concussion) is tentatively projected IN.
  • Broncos CBs A.J. Bouye (concussion) & Bryce Callahan (ankle) are respectively IN & projected IN.
  • Cardinals CBs Byron Murphy (COVID-19) & Dre Kirkpatrick (thigh) are projected IN.
  • Texans CB Bradley Roby Jr. (undisclosed) is projected IN.
  • Eagles CBs Darius Slay (ankle) & Cre’Von LeBlanc (quadricep) are IN.
  • Steelers CB Mike Hilton (shoulder) is tentatively projected IN.
  • Raiders CB Trayvon Mullen (hamstring) is IN.
  • Panthers CB Donte Jackson (toe) is projected IN.
  • Seahawks CB Ugo Amadi (hamstring) is IN.
  • Giants CB Isaac Yiadom (calf) is projected IN.

Jump To: WR/CB Matchup Matrix

WR/CB Matchup of the Week

Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf vs. Rams CB Jalen Ramsey

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

For the second straight game, Metcalf is in the WR/CB matchup of the week, and it might be the best one we see all year.

I should say I think there’s a chance — a small chance — that instead of putting Ramsey on Metcalf, the Rams put him on slot receiver Tyler Lockett and then use bracket coverage on Metcalf on the perimeter.

In Week 4 against the Giants, we saw Ramsey shadow slot receiver Golden Tate instead of perimeter playmaker Darius Slayton. In Week 5, we saw him play as the primary slot corner — almost seemingly for the hell of it — instead of shadow No. 1 wide receiver Terry McLaurin on the outside.

It’s not at all unthinkable for the Rams to put Ramsey on Lockett in this game.

But the likeliest outcome is a world-class, winner-takes-all matchup between Metcalf and Ramsey.

The football gods be just.

In his second season, Metcalf has metamorphosed into a Megatron-like superstar. In all but one of his first seven games this season, he has either 100 yards or a touchdown.

He’s a robust 43-788-8 receiving on 68 targets and No. 2 in the league with 151.6 air yards and yards after the catch (AirYAC) per game.


AirYAC is a leading indicator of fantasy output. You can find it in the RotoViz NFL Player Statistical Summary Tool.


Metcalf probably isn’t the best receiver in the league, but there are few who have played better than he has through the first half of the season.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: D.K. Metcalf.

This week, though, he will face the greatest challenge of his career to date.

Against the Cowboys in Week 1, Ramsey had a tough matchup and allowed a line of 8-81-0 receiving on nine targets. On top of that, he was beat deep for a long reception toward the end of the game that was called back by a questionable pass interference.

By the eye and the numbers, it was a bad performance.

Since then, however, Ramsey has allowed just 3.8 yards per target on a 38.1% catch rate.

A 2017 All-Pro pass defender, Ramsey has always been great but has really come into his own in 2020.

Given that Metcalf’s median performance this year is 100.5 yards and a touchdown, I absolutely must hit him with the “large downgrade” because we should expect regression anyway. Also, Ramsey almost never gives up that kind of production.

But I don’t feel good about it, and Metcalf still must be started in season-long leagues and daily fantasy tournaments.

Action: Large downgrade for Metcalf

Potential Week 10 Shadow Matchups

Here are the shadow matchups I’m projecting.

Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. vs. Titans CB Malcolm Butler

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday | TV: FOX/NFL

UPDATE (Thu. 11/12): No. 1 WR T.Y. Hilton (groin) has practiced in full this week and will return to action, so I now expect Butler to shadow him. As a result, Pittman projects to have a highly advantageous matchup against veteran special-teams journeyman Breon Borders, whom the team randomly started last week because how much worse could he be than Johnathan Joseph, Chris Jackson & Tye Smith?

In Week 7-9, the Titans used Butler in shadow coverage against big-bodied perimeter receivers Chase Claypool, A.J. Green and Allen Robinson.

Given that the three receivers combined for 10-98-0 receiving on 15 targets (not all of which came against Butler), he has done well.

But his recent three-game performance does not erase the fact that Butler was a mediocre cover man for the Titans in 2018-19 and that he allowed 8.1 yards per target on an outlandish 8.4 targets per game in Weeks 1-6 before moving to shadow coverage.

It’s not certain that Butler will shadow Pittman, but the big rookie is comparable to the guys Butler has tailed this year.

Without T.Y. Hilton (groin), Pittman had a career-best 4-56-0 receiving performance on seven targets last week.

Ultimately, neither of these guys is all that intriguing right now.

Action: No change for Pittman

Browns WR Jarvis Landry vs. Texans CB Bradley Roby

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

Roby exited Week 7 after just three snaps with a knee injury, and then after the Week 8 bye he missed the last game for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. Texans interim coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday that he expects Roby back for his team’s trip to Cleveland.

I also assume that Roby will shadow Landry, given that he has tailed No. 1 receivers every game this year — but there is the added complication that Landry plays many of his snaps in the slot while Roby sees most of his action on the perimeter.

And yet I think that’s a nonissue. Roby played in the slot for the Texans in the first half of last season, and then he shadowed Tyreek Hill into the slot in the playoffs last season and in Week 1 of this new campaign.

The main issue with Roby: I don’t think he’s very good.

He’s better than the other Texans cornerbacks — but I’m still not impressed.

I must admit that his individual numbers look good. This year, he has allowed just 6.5 yards per target in his coverage.

“In his coverage” is the key phrase.

In Week 4, Adam Thielen went off for 8-114-1 on 10 targets with Roby as the primary corner on him, but against Roby specifically he was just 2-14-1 on four targets.

In Week 6, A.J. Brown was 5-56-2 on seven targets, again with Roby as his primary defender. Against Roby in particular, he was 2-22-1 on three targets.

How is that possible?

Thielen and Brown were able to escape Roby often enough to get their production against linebackers and safeties in zone coverage — because even when Roby follows a receiver all across the field to line up opposite him, that doesn’t mean he actually defends that guy throughout the entirety of his route.

In other words, even though Roby has good numbers when targeted, that doesn’t mean the receivers he shadows can’t have big games.

And I’m a little dubious of Roby’s production to begin with.

In Weeks 1 and 2, the Chiefs and Ravens racked up 34-20 and 33-16 victories over the Texans. They didn’t need to throw the ball and when they did throw, they didn’t need to throw downfield.

In Week 3, Roby benefitted from injury luck against Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who left early in the second quarter with a concussion.

And then in Week 5, he faced the inconsistent Jaguars, who saw No. 1 wide receiver D.J. Chark exit in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.

I doubt that Roby is actually as good as his numbers suggest.

In 2017, Roby had a career-high 77.5 PFF coverage grade with the Broncos and looked like a solidly above-average defender — but he was the No. 3 cornerback next to All-Pro shutdown men Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. He benefited from silk-soft matchups.

But since 2018, when Talib left the Broncos and Roby was elevated to the No. 2 role, he has allowed 8.5 yards per target first with the Broncos (2018) and now with the Texans (2019-20).

What Roby has done recently against No. 1 receivers — and what he’s done across his career — has been solidly unremarkable.

Roby isn’t a bad corner, but he’s not someone a quarterback should avoid.

As for Landry, he has a 32% market share of targets in his two mostly Odell Beckham-less games since Week 7.

Action: No change for Landry

Giants WR Darius Slayton vs. Eagles CB Darius Slay

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

Meh. When they first faced off in Week 7, the novelty of a WR/CB matchup between two guys with almost identical names carried a modicum of charm.

Now, I’m over it.

Slay (ankle) exited Week 8 early with an injury. He should probably be ready to play coming out of the Week 9 bye, but he’s still uncertain.

Slayton, for all of his playmaking ability, had just one target last week and is just 8-85-0 receiving on 13 targets since teammate Sterling Shepard returned from injury in Week 7.

Given that, by volume, Shepard is actually the No. 1 receiver for the Giants, the Eagles might have Slay shadow Shepard.

Or maybe they will simply play Slay at left corner, as they did in Weeks 2 and 4-6.

But Slayton is comparable in size, athleticism and playing style to McLaurin, A.J. Green and Amari Cooper — the receivers Slay has shadowed this season — and the Eagles have already had Slay tail Slayton once this year.

I bet they do it again.

Slay was one of the league’s most reliable cover men for over half a decade in Detroit.

  • 2014: 70.0 PFF coverage grade | 7.0 yards per target
  • 2015: 77.0 PFF coverage grade | 8.5 yards per target
  • 2016: 80.2 PFF coverage grade | 6.8 yards per target
  • 2017: 80.0 PFF coverage grade | 6.8 yards per target
  • 2018: 78.2 PFF coverage grade | 6.2 yards per target

Slay was especially strong in 2016-18, a period highlighted by a 2017 All-Pro campaign in which he had league-high marks with eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed.

With the Lions, he regularly faced opposing No. 1 receivers and was one of the few shadow defenders who followed his man from the perimeter to the slot.

After a down 2019 season — perhaps because of head coach Matt Patricia’s defense — Slay has rebounded in his first year with the Eagles.

He hasn’t regained the elite form he had with the Lions, but he has allowed a manageable 7.5 yards per target on five targets per game and has forfeited only one touchdown.

Slayton will be challenged. In Week 7, he was just 2-23-0 receiving.

Action: Medium downgrade for Slayton

Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins vs. Bills CB Tre’Davious White

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

D.K. Metcalf and David Moore took it to White in Week 9, combining for 4-120-1 receiving on eight targets. White also snagged an interception, but on the whole he had a bad day.

Now that White is eight games into the season, it’s safe to say that this year has been a letdown for White after his 2019 All-Pro campaign. He has been targeted just 3.5 times per game this year, but he has allowed a walloping 10.4 yards per target.

After balling his way to a tremendous 0:6 TD:INT ratio last year, he is 3:1 this year.

White is still a good corner, but against elite receivers he has underwhelmed — and Hopkins is about as elite as a receiver can get, ranking No. 4 in the league with 91.8 yards receiving per game.

But Hopkins is coming off a season-worst 3-30-0 receiving performance against the shadow coverage of Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who is comparable to White in talent.

Against White, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray might choose to reallocate Hopkins’ would-be targets to other receivers.

Action: Medium downgrade for Hopkins

Ravens WR Marquise Brown vs. Patriots CB J.C. Jackson

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: NBC

Writer’s note: I am writing this blurb before the Week 9 Patriots-Jets Monday Night Football game.

No. 1 cornerback Stephon Gilmore (knee) has missed back-to-back games, and the fact that he wasn’t even close to being a game-time decision for Week 9 makes me skeptical about his Week 10 availability.

In Gilmore’s absence, Jackson has functioned as the team’s top shadow corner, and I expect that to continue in Week 10.

In fact, even if Gilmore does return, I still expect the speedier Jackson to cover Brown, as the Pats in the past have used him (not Gilmore) against Tyreek Hill.

Although he has long played in Gilmore’s shadow — pun, nailed it — Jackson is a strong defender. For his career, he has allowed just 6.5 yards per target with a 51.9% catch rate.

His outstanding career 3:12 TD:INT ratio speaks to how much of a true ballhawk Jackson is.

Brown is a playmaker, but he has seven targets in two games since the Week 7 bye.

Action: Large downgrade for Brown

Week 10 Shadow Borderline

There are six cornerbacks this week with somewhat complicated potential shadow situations.

Washington WR Terry McLaurin vs. Lions CB Desmond Trufant

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

For the first time this year, the Lions moved Trufant across the formation last week in his return from injury and given how poorly their other corners have played this year, they use him similarly this week.

McLaurin is No. 4 in the league with 140.3 AirYAC per game.

Trufant never had a PFF coverage grade lower than 65.0 in his seven years with the Falcons, but his grade has dropped to 46.2 this year.

Action: No change for McLaurin

Panthers WR Robby Anderson vs. Buccaneers CB Carlton Davis

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

The Bucs typically use Davis to shadow dominant perimeter receivers, but the Panthers have two such receivers in Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore. So what will they do with Davis?

In Week 2 against the Panthers, they played him at left corner, and that’s likely what they’ll do this week. On that side of the field, he’ll match up the most with Anderson.

Anderson has fewer than eight targets in only two games this year.

But Davis … he’s good.

Action: Large downgrade for Anderson

Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery vs. Giants CB James Bradberry

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

You’d figure that the Giants would put Bradberry on the explosive Travis Fulgham, who has broken out in his second season with 87 yards receiving per game.

But that’s not what they did in Week 7. Instead, they put him on the speedy DeSean Jackson and John Hightower. Sure. Why not?

It’s likely that Bradberry will shadow someone in this game, but it’s impossible to know who that will be.

Given how they misused him in Week 7, I’m leaning toward the veteran Jeffery (calf), who is expected to make his season debut.

A physical, press-man defender, Bradberry played left corner in Week 1, but he has been used mostly in shadow coverage in every game since then. Over that time, Bradberry has allowed just 5.9 yards per target.

Action: Large downgrade for Jeffery

Bills WR Stefon Diggs vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

Peterson has shadowed Metcalf and DeVante Parker over his last two games, but the small-and-speedy Diggs is not like those receivers. I expect the Cardinals will use Peterson primarily at his usual left corner spot, where he will still match up plenty with Diggs.

Diggs is No. 6 in the league with 90.3 yards receiving per game.

Peterson isn’t bad, but he’s no longer an All-Pro defender.

Action: No change for Diggs

Chargers WR Mike Williams vs. Dolphins CB Xavien Howard

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

The Dolphins don’t often use Howard in shadow coverage, but they did in Weeks 4 and 9 against Metcalf and Hopkins. And like them Williams is a big-bodied boundary receiver.

Even if the Dolphins just park Howard at right corner, he will match up most with Williams, a volatile producer at 16-293-3 receiving on 26 targets over his past four games.

Like Williams, Howard is inconsistent, but he has four interceptions on the year and has been a steady presence on a pass defense ranked No. 3 with a -14.1% DVOA (per Football Outsiders).

Action: Small downgrade for Williams

Dolphins WR DeVante Parker vs. Chargers CB Casey Hayward Jr.

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

Only twice this season have the Chargers moved Hayward around the formation, but one of those times was last week after the team traded away All-Pro slot cornerback Desmond King II.

Perhaps they will use him in shadow coverage this week, but he will likely match up most with Parker if he lines up at his customary left corner spot even if they don’t.

Teammate Preston Williams (foot) exited Week 9 with an injury, and I am skeptical that he will play. In his absence, Parker could see extra targets.

But the matchup is tough: Hayward entered the season as PFF’s No. 3 cornerback, and he has allowed a catch rate of just 52.4% since joining the Chargers in 2016.

Action: Large downgrade for Parker

Notable Wide Receiver Upgrades

Here are a couple advantageous matchups that should not be ignored.

Broncos WR K.J. Hamler vs. Raiders CB Lamarcus Joyner

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

Hamler has replaced teammate Jerry Jeudy as the primary slot receiver, and he hit career-high marks with 10 targets, six receptions and 75 yards last week.

Joyner is a safety-turned-slot corner with a 73.6% catch rate allowed since joining the Raiders last year.

Action: Large upgrade for Hamler

Bears WR Allen Robinson vs. Vikings CB Kris Boyd

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: ESPN

In his seven games with quarterback Nick Foles, Robinson is 49-605-3 receiving on 68 targets. Despite his horrible quarterback luck …

… Robinson has produced throughout his career.

Boyd is a second-year, seventh-round backup who has been forced into action because of injuries to Week 1 starters Mike Hughes (neck, IR), Holton Hill (foot) and Cameron Dantzler (concussion).

For his career, Boyd has allowed 9.7 yards per target with a 76.7% catch rate.

Action: Large upgrade for Robinson

Notable Wide Receiver Downgrades

Here are a couple disadvantageous matchups to keep in mind.

Colts WR Zach Pascal vs. Titans CB Desmond King II

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday | TV: FOX/NFL

Even though No. 1 wide receiver Hilton (groin) was out last week, Pascal had just six targets.

Recently acquired from the Chargers, King is a 2018 All-Pro slot defender who will look to solidify the interior of the Titans pass defense. For the season, King has allowed just 5.6 yards per target on three targets per game.

Action: Large downgrade for Pascal

Patriots WR Damiere Byrd vs. Ravens CB Jimmy Smith

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: NBC

Note: I am writing this blurb before the Week 9 Patriots-Jets Monday Night Football game.

Byrd is a professional wide receiver … for now.

Smith is a should-be All-Pro corner who has allowed just 4.7 yards per target with a 50% catch rate since last year.

Action: Large downgrade for Byrd

WR/CB Injuries to Monitor

I take a cautious approach to players I think are likely to be questionable at best. If by the weekend they look probable to play, I will include them.

Here are the injury situations I’m monitoring and projecting early in the week.

Wide Receivers: OUT

  • N/A

Wide Receivers: IN

  • N/A

Cornerbacks: OUT

  • Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring, IR) is projected OUT (BYE).

Cornerbacks: IN

  • N/A

NFL Week 10 WR/CB Matrix

Pos = left, right or slot WR or CB
Projected shadow matchups are CAPITALIZED

WR Exp = Wide Receiver Expectation: I rank from 3 to -3 how much I think we should adjust expectations for wide receivers based on matchups. 3: Large upgrade. 2: Medium upgrade. 1: Small upgrade. 0: No change. -1: Small downgrade. -2: Medium downgrade. -3: Large downgrade.

Thanks to Scott Barrett for providing me with some of PFF’s historical data.


Matthew Freedman is 751-591-31 (56.0%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.

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