WR/CB Matchup Roundup - Week 3
I was just one matchup prediction away from being impossible to deal with this week. I broke down four games and three of the four went exactly as I expected. My back is bruised from how much I patted myself on the back this weekend. The matchup I missed on wasn’t my fault (it never is). I had no idea Drew Stanton had access to “Brett Favre gunslinger pills”. Right or wrong as always here is the breakdown of the four games I highlighted in my WR/CB article.
Dez Bryant vs. Janoris Jenkins
My Key Points: I must say I nailed this one. I predicted that Bryant would stay under 100 yards but find the end zone. He ended the game with 6 catches for 89 yards and a TD on 7 targets. The Cowboys only threw the ball 23 times this week which explains why Bryant finished the game with just seven targets. Bryant is a must start player in all formats regardless of matchup.
Janoris Jenkins continued his great season against Dallas on Sunday. Jenkins was targeted five times and allowed just 18 yards. Not only did he not yield a pass over nine yards he also intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. For the season Jenkins has now allowed 87 yards on 19 targets (4.6 YPT). The season is only three games deep but Jenkins is off to a great start.
Bryant is sitting at 247 yards on 26 targets (9.5 YPT) with two TDs. Romo has thrown just six incompletions while targeting Bryant. Unfortunately half of those incompletions have been intercepted. Bryant needs to start breaking up some of those picks so that Romo will continue to target him. He is currently on pace to get 139 targets.
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Keenan Allen vs. Corey Graham
My Key Points: I gave the advice to take “prove it” approach with Keenan Allen. If you listened to me than you had Allen on your bench as he tallied 17 yards on two targets. I know it’s only been three games but it might be time for Allen owners to panic. Allen did face a very solid Bills defense but quarterback Philip Rivers only gave him two chances to prove himself.
Corey Graham did not start this game. Why didn’t Graham start this game? I have no idea. Graham has arguably been the Bills best player this season. I looked everywhere to find a story of Graham being late to a meeting, or some other minor infraction, but I came up empty. If this move was performance based then the Bills have no idea what they are doing. Graham played 34 snaps and allowed four yards on two attempts. Starting cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore combined to have an awful game. Rivers stat line while throwing to McKelvin and Gilmore: 7-7, 114 yards, 1 TD, 137.1 QB rating. I would be furious if I was a Bills fan. Hopefully the insanity ends next game and Graham is back in the starting lineup.
I am worried about Allen. Not only is he not producing but Rivers isn’t even targeting him. Allen is on pace for under 100 targets for the season. Eddie Royal has been targeted three more times than Allen through three games. Allen may be on his way to a sub 1000 yard season.
James Jones vs. Darrelle Revis
My Key Points: Hopefully you took my advice. Despite having a great first two games this matchup was just too much to overcome. I stated that James Jones would finish this game with less than 70 yards receiving. After the final whistle blew Jones had 43 yards on just four targets.
Darrelle Revis actually had a much worse game than I expected. Revis allowed 63 yards on 6 targets. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr had a QB rating of 110.4 while targeting Revis. This game made me gain some respect for Carr. He wasn’t afraid of Revis and had some success while challenging him. I’m sure Revis will bounce back and go on to have a solid season.
I think Jones is going to have a good season this year. If I were a betting man I would take the over on 999.5 yards and 6.5 TDs for the season. Revis and the Patriots held Jones to pedestrian numbers in Week three but he should bounce back in Week four against the Dolphins.
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Jimmy Ward
My Key Points: There is a reason (or reasons) I saved this game for last. I all but guaranteed a big game for Larry Fitzgerald. For bonus… or maybe “unbonus” points I told you to bench Michael Floyd and John Brown. He was facing the worst (statistically) slot CB in the league in Jimmy Ward. The Cardinals offense decided to throw me some curveballs this week.
For whatever reason Brown got more slot snaps than usual. Fitzgerald, the usual slot receiver, was playing on the outside more than I expected. Fitzgerald remained without a catch for most of this game and was targeted just seven times. He finished the game with just 3 catches for 34 yards. Drew Stanton decided that he didn’t want to be a game managing dink-and-dunk QB. Cardinals have a bye this week and expect to have Carson Palmer back against the Broncos.
Ward improved over his first two weeks but still wasn’t great. Ward played 30 snaps and allowed 24 yards on 3 targets. I will hold my opinion that Ward is not meant to play cornerback in the NFL until I am proved wrong. I feel he would be much more valuable as a safety… strong safety to be exact. His matchup doesn’t get easier this week as he faces the high powered Eagles passing attack.