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Week 10 Next Gen Stats best value fantasy matchups


Exploiting matchups is key in fantasy and can help us unearth sleepers, value plays and also alert us to when we should fade or lower expectations for more establish studs. There are a number of statistics and data-based tools to helps us decipher which matchups to exploit and which to avoid, and one of which is the NFL's Next Gen Stats package -- not just the fancy speed numbers you see on television.

Here we'll look where cornerbacks and wide receivers line up, which defenses are particularly susceptible to which player packages and so much more in order to find value with our fantasy players. As the season goes along we'll have even more data to use and a better understanding of the Next Gen Stats. Here are the top matchups that could bring value in Week 10.

Panthers receivers vs. Chiefs cornerbacks

If there's one trend that's held up all season, it's that teams strictly try to pick on the Chiefs corners outside of Marcus Peters. We know Peters is a strong coverage player and a play-maker in the takeaway game. However, he's an easy player to avoid as he almost exclusively sticks to his left corner position. As such, teams are content to just hurl targets at Phillip Gaines at right corner and Steven Nelson in the slot.

The coverage at right corner has been a particular issue, and most teams have deployed their top wideouts on the offensive left side to exploit it:

Top receivers' production lined up at left wide:
Allen Robinson - 63 percent of his yards
Donte Moncrief - 44 percent of his yards
Michael Thomas - 93 percent of his yards
Amari Cooper - 73 percent of his yards
Antonio Brown - 94 percent of his yards
DeAndre Hopkins - 63 percent of his yards

This week Kelvin Benjamin gets to try his hand at continuing that streak. Benjamin lines up at left wide receiver more than any other spot on the field, with 51 percent of his snaps coming there. He's also racked up 42 percent of his yards out wide on the offensive left, his highest rate among the four receiver spots.

Cam Newton likes to target Benjamin all over the field as evidenced by his route charts above, but it's fair to wonder if the team looks to align him in the favorable left wide receiver spot on Sunday. He's already seen the largest share of his opportunities there this season:

Benjamin's target distribution by lineup:
Left wide - 50 percent
Right wide - 30 percent
Right slot - 11 percent
Left slot - nine percent

Benjamin has been a surprisingly consistent player this season with a reliable floor, despite his volatile reputation. The Week 3 goose egg against the Vikings was the only game in which Benjamin did not record 70 yards and/or a touchdown. The matchup this week at left wide receiver could help him gain access to his ceiling. The Panthers have also moved him into the slot in the red zone to get him matched up with inferior and smaller defenders. Three of Benjamin's four touchdowns this season have come when he lines up in the slot. The 5-foot-10 Chiefs slot corner Steven Nelson has had his issues this season, and won't be able to match up with Benjamin in scoring position.

While Benjamin looks like a top-10 wideout this week, his teammate Ted Ginn also has a shot at a big day. Ginn will run most of his routes at Marcus Peters on Sunday, as he's accumulated 62 percent of his yards when lined up at right wide receiver this season. Peters allows just a 52.6 passer rating in coverage on the year, so while that would normally be a glaring red flag, Ginn might have an advantage on him.

Because Peters likes to gamble and jump routes for big plays, speed receivers are able to take advantage of his aggressiveness. Peters has allowed three 40-plus yard catches on the year to speed receivers:

Marcus Peters deep catches allowed:
Will Fuller, Week 2 - 53 yards - 19.47 MPH
Sammie Coates, Week 4 - 47 yards - 21.60 MPH
Marqise Lee, Week 9 - 51 yards - 19.43 MPH

The Panthers have not taken as many deep shots to Ginn this year with Benjamin back. Panthers quarterbacks averaged 17.9 intended air yards when targeting Ginn out wide last year but that's down to just 13.3 this season. However, Ginn can still fly. He hit 22.1 MPH on a 52-yard deep bomb from Cam Newton in Week 2, which is the 15th fastest speed on a target this year among wide receivers. Carolina could look to make Peters pay for any gambling and launch a deep bomb to Ginn this weekend.

Saints receivers vs. Broncos cornerbacks

While Michael Thomas continues emerging as the Saints clear-cut No. 1 receiver and Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead are both excelling in their roles, the trio faces a tough matchup with the Denver secondary coming to town. We've got a meeting of the titans as the Saints are near unstoppable at home, but the Broncos are the best pass defense in the NFL.

Thomas takes 56 percent of his snaps from the left wide receiver position on the season, and has more targets (36) and touchdowns (four) from that spot than any other. With Aqib Talib out of the line up the last two weeks, Chris Harris has lined up on the defense's right side on 72.4 percent of his snaps, and traveling into the slot much less than in previous years. He's the Broncos best corner, and will face off with Thomas the vast majority of pass plays on Sunday.

Harris has been a star as usual, allowing just 246 yards and a 51 completion rate when targeted this year. It's tough to downgrade Thomas too much, however, because not only has he been ultra-consistent this year, he's also starting to get more downfield targets:

This will be Thomas' toughest test of the season, without question. If Harris is squaring off with Thomas, the other receivers will come into focus.

Brandin Cooks takes more snaps (32 percent) at right wide receiver than any other spot. That will likely pit him against Bradley Roby, who despite being third behind Harris and Talib, is no slouch in his own right. Roby played at left corner on 75.3 percent of his snaps the last two games, whereas he took just 12.2 percent of his snaps when he and Talib were both playing. Cooks is always a big-play threat at home, but Roby did run a 4.39 40-yard dash coming out of college and reached a max speed over 20 MPH in both of his last two games.

In truth, Willie Snead might be the player in the best spot. Denver has shown a bit of weakness covering the middle of the field, and have depth player Lorenzo Doss among others covering the slot with Harris and Roby stuck outside. Snead takes 69 percent of his snaps from the slot and could be the preferred middle of the field target if Thomas and Cooks are unable to separate from outside coverage.

Stefon Diggs vs. Josh Norman

The Vikings offense is changing dramatically. With a complete collapse of the offensive line and the instillation of West Coast-offense disciple Pat Shurmur after Norv Turner's sudden departure, Minnesota now must be an offense that gets the ball out with intense haste.

Sam Bradford's average time to throw in his majestic first start for Minnesota was 2.47, ranking 12th fastest for the week. In the Vikings Week 9 overtime loss to the Lions that number jumped to 2.25 and ranked 3rd fastest among passers. Bradford averaged only 3.9 air yards per completion against the Lions. It was his lowest mark of the season, and only nine of his 40 pass attempts traveled 10 or more yards in the air.

The Vikings will once again need to implement this strategy against Washington this week. The Redskins rank 13th in Next Gen Stats' pressure metric (shortest distance to the quarterback at point of sack/throw), and they can harass the backfield. Minnesota just can't protect long enough to get their players downfield, and it has had a major effect on Stefon Diggs' usage:

Diggs still owned a 29 percent share of Bradford's intended air yards on Sunday, but those targets were all painfully short. Bradford averaged just 3.7 air yards per reception when targeting Diggs in Week 9, only his teammate Cordarrelle Patterson had a lower mark on the week. Diggs' slot snaps are also going up in this new offensive change. He averages 47 percent of his snaps in the slot on the season, but that number has jumped to 50 and 67 percent the last two weeks.

Diggs has a solid shot at another double-digit catch game on Sunday, as he should largely avoid Josh Norman on most his his plays if his Week 9 usage holds up against Washington. Norman lined up in the slot on just 8.6 percent of his snaps this season for a grand total of 41 total plays.

Jimmy Graham vs. Bill Belichick

We all know that Bill Belichick tries to take away the opponents' top threat offensively. For Seattle, that sure looks like Jimmy Graham right now.

In his resurgent season, Graham has been a much more diverse weapon for the Seahawks than he was in 2015 when they struggled to use him. Graham lined up either in the slot or out wide on 44 percent of his snaps this season. He's collected 22 catches, 336 yards (61.7 percent of his total) and two touchdowns on those plays.

The trouble for Seattle is that New England is already one of the best teams in the NFL at stopping tight ends deployed in this fashion. The Patriots have allowed just 123 yards, the third-fewest in the NFL, to tight ends lined up in the slot and out wide.

Graham is a superstar who owned a 22.4 percent share of Russell Wilson's intended air yards in Week 9 and a 23.3 percent share for the season to date. However, the Patriots will do all they can to slow him down. Don't be shocked if they are successful.

Matt Harmon is an associate fantasy writer/editor for, and the creator of #ReceptionPerception, who you can follow on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB or like on Facebook.