NFL Week 14 WR/CB Matchups: Who Will Win Between Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore?
New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) tackles Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
- Week 14's WR/CB matchups will feature a a familiar meeting between Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Redskins corner Josh Norman.
- Nine other wide receivers are likely to draw shadow coverage. We also break down plus and minus matchups.
I’ll be breaking down the top wide receiver/cornerback matchups every week throughout the 2018 NFL season.
Below is a data-driven analysis of the week’s best passing-game matchup, seven potential shadow matchups and an additional nine potential non-shadow matchups. At the end, I’ll wrap up with a quick look at plus and minus matchups.
Matchup of the Week
Steelers Offense vs. Raiders Defense
The Steelers are somewhat reeling at the moment, as they’ve lost back-to-back games after winning six-straight matchups from Weeks 5-11. Still, their offense has combined for 47 points during this recent slide, indicating Ben Roethlisberger and company are largely still operating as the league’s fourth-ranked scoring offense.
Any discussion about the Steelers on the road must include an indictment on the passing game’s horrific splits away from Heinz Field, although Big Ben and company have seemingly been better quipped to handle late-afternoon road games.
I agree with the Action Network’s Matthew Freedman that Antonio Brown isn’t the same monster we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in recent seasons. Still, AB’s absurd workload and status as the No. 1 receiver in the slate’s second-highest implied offense sets him up exceptionally well in this smash spot vs. the Raiders’ league-worse secondary in pass DVOA.
Also helping matters for Brown’s outlook is his historical dominance with the Steelers’ No. 1 running back (Le’Veon Bell) sidelined over the years.
You should sign Jaylen Samuels in the wake of James Conner’s (ankle, out) injury, but there’s a chance we see the Steelers increase their pass-game volume without an established running back. All that stands in their path is the Raiders’ league-worst defense in pass DVOA. They don’t boast a single player graded among PFF’s top-30 defensive backs this season and have allowed at least 20 points in every game.
Basically the only nice thing anyone can say about the Raiders pass defense is that they haven’t allowed huge yardage totals. They join the Ravens, Bills, Bears and Chargers as the only defenses that have allowed just one quarterback to surpass 300 passing yards this season. Still, this has largely been due to opponents consistently building large leads and not needing to throw the ball, as the Raiders rank dead last in point differential this season.
As always, Juju Smith-Schuster is in play regardless of the matchup. Juju (10 targets per game) joins AB (11), Keenan Allen (11.4), Stefon Diggs (11.3) Travis Kelce (11) and Julio Jones (10.4) as the only players averaging double-digit targets per game since November.
The Week 14 Shadow Club
Not many cornerbacks are consistently asked to travel with the opposition’s No. 1 wide receiver, but we can expect the following seven teams to regularly line up across from their opponent’s top receiver in Week 14. (That doesn’t include Jalen Ramsey’s shadow date with Corey Davis on Thursday night.)