NFL Week 4 WR/CB Matchups: Janoris Jenkins Can’t Guard Michael Thomas, More Shadow Dates
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Michael Thomas, Janoris Jenkins
- Ian Hartitz breaks down all the Week 4 WR/CB matchups -- shadow, non-shadow, plus and minus -- to know when setting your fantasy football lineups.
- Michael Thomas has a shadow date with Janoris Jenkins when the Giants host the Saints on Sunday, but he's not the only top wide receiver with one.
I’ll be breaking down the top wide receiver/cornerback matchups every week throughout the 2018 NFL season.
Here’s a data-driven analysis of Week 4’s best passing-game matchup, three potential shadow matchups and five potential non-shadow matchups. Then we’ll round it out with a quick look at plus and minus matchups.
Matchup of the Week
Chargers Offense vs. 49ers Defense
This is the second consecutive week I’ve picked the 49ers as the top defense to target. The team has since suffered a few key injuries in the secondary:
- CB Richard Sherman (calf) doubtful
- FS Adrian Colbert (hip) questionable
- SS Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) questionable
The Chargers are expected to hold a talent advantage in the passing game, even if the majority of the 49ers’ banged-up secondary winds up suiting up on Sunday. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams will be firmly in play even if Travis Benjamin (foot) is ultimately able to suit up.
Allen is one of six receivers with at least 185 targets since Week 1 of the 2017 season. The league’s premier slot receiver is set up well against a defense that hasn’t exactly slowed down primary-inside receivers through three games:
- Chris Conley in Week 3 vs. 49ers: 2 receptions, 13 yards, 1 touchdown
- Golden Tate in Week 2: 7-109-0
- Adam Thielen in Week 1: 6-102-0
Tyrell and Mike Williams have worked alongside Allen in three-wide receiver sets during Benjamin’s absence. Mike Williams was out-snapped by Benjamin 47-to-44 in Week 1, but has since emerged as the Chargers’ most dangerous weapon in the red zone.
Overall, Mike Williams has caught 6-of-9 targets for 108 yards and three touchdowns in Benjamin’s two-game absence, and has the highest-projected ceiling in our Pro Models among all wide receivers priced below $6,000 on DraftKings.
Luckily for everyone involved, the Chargers are presently implied to score a slate-high 28.75 points at home in a cozy matchup against a 49ers defense that ranks among the league’s bottom-10 units in points allowed per game, Football Outsiders’ pass DVOA and DraftKings points allowed per game to wide receivers.
The absence of Jimmy Garoppolo (torn ACL) is also a huge loss for the defense. The 49ers have allowed an average of 25.8 points per game in 11 games without Jimmy GQ under center compared to 23.5 in eight games with their franchise quarterback since the beginning of last season.
The Chargers’ early season success through the air and cozy matchup haven’t been lost on the public, as Philip Rivers and Allen boast sky-high projected ownership rates at their positions on DraftKings and FanDuel in our Pro Models. Be sure to check out our Ownership Dashboard shortly after lock to see how chalky they are in Week 4.
The Week 4 Shadow Club
Not many cornerbacks are consistently asked to travel with the opposition’s No. 1 wide receiver, but we can expect at least three cornerbacks to regularly line up across from their opponent’s top receiver in Week 4.