Fantasy News  


Week 11 Favorable Slot Matchups

  • By Michael Florio
More Columns >

Cooper Kupp sadly suffered a season-ending injury, tearing his ACL in Week 10. While it is very unfortunate that such a great offensive weapon is done for the year, we luckily have some data to look at from when Kupp missed time earlier this season. When Kupp was out in Week 7 and 8, Josh Reynolds stepped in and played a full-time snap rate (86 percent) but he only averaged six routes per game from the slot. Meanwhile, Robert Woods' routes from slot jumped from 11.9 in games with Kupp healthy to 16.5 without Kupp. Woods is already one of the safest receivers in fantasy football -- he's basically a lock to rack up five catches and 70 yards every week -- but now he has an even higher ceiling.

We also got our first taste of the Eagles offense since the Golden Tate trade last week. In all likelihood, Tate will continue to get acclimated into the offense over time -- but last week he ran just 14 routes, with seven coming from inside the slot. Nelson Agholor ran 31 routes from the slot in Week 10, more than his weekly average, and had 12.20 PPR points from the slot. This week it is tough to trust either, but the Saints defense has allowed the eighth most PPR points per game to slot receivers since Week 7. Treat this as another wait-and-see week for the Eagles offense.

Main Targets

Tyler Boyd is a name that you may be looking to downgrade given the tough matchup on paper against the Ravens. However, the Ravens have had recent struggles against the slot. Since Week 7, the Ravens have allowed 101 receiving yards per game to slot receivers, the sixth-most in the NFL. They have also allowed 20.43 PPR PPG to slot receivers (ninth-most) in the span. Boyd continues to be the primary slot receiver for the Bengals.

Slot receivers have been torching the Lions as of late. This is a trend that I've written about before, but it has been worse as of late. Since Week 8, the Lions have allowed a league-high 115.3 receiving yards per game to slot receivers. The only issue is they face the Panthers this week who do not have a true slot receiver. Just last week, Jarius Wright led the team with 18 routes from slot, but D.J. Moore ran 12 and Devin Funchess ran 10. All three had three targets each from the slot. Funchess had the most PPR points from the slot and comes in as the receiver you should trust the most this week. Moore would be second with Wright being a deep sleeper given the favorable matchup. Also, it is worth noting that this matchup also benefits Greg Olsen, who averages about 15 routes a game from the slot.

Willie Snead is in the prime position of having a great matchup and being heavily utilized as of late. First, Snead has averaged 8.3 targets per game from the slot since Week 7, the most among all WRs in that span. Second, he faces the Bengals who have allowed a league-high 28.03 PPR PPG to slot receivers since Week 7. Regardless of who is at QB for the Ravens this week, I expect Snead will be heavily involved as he is the safest target in the passing game.

Dede Westbrook faces a Steelers team that has struggled against slot receivers all season long. This year, the Steelers have allowed 28.41 PPR PPG to slot receivers, the second-most in the NFL. Fire up Westbrook, who has averaged 31.7 routes per game and 9.98 PPR PPG from the slot this season. What's more, Westbrook has averaged 6.3 targets per game from the slot over the past month, and if he sees that volume this week, he should prove to be a good value.

Keke Coutee is no stranger to this article. Unfortunately, he has been a stranger to your fantasy lineup as he has been sidelined due to a hamstring injury for over a month. This week, he is expected to play and gets a Redskins team that has allowed the ninth-most PPR PPG (22.05) to slot receivers in the last month. Coutee would be a rock-solid WR3 if it was a given that he would play the entire game, but the risk that his hamstring acts up at any point in the game and he is forced to exit makes him more of a flex option.

Mohamed Sanu gets a boost this week against a Cowboys team that has allowed 115 receiving yards per game to slot receivers since Week 8, the second most in that span. Sanu is the Falcons main slot receiver, averaging 25.8 routes per game from the interior. Sanu's three slot scores also leads the team. The boost this week makes him a reliable flex option in PPR formats.

Who to pick on the Bucs with this week?

Sterling Shepard gets the luxury of facing the Bucs this week. As you know, the Bucs struggle mightily against slot receivers. On the season, they have allowed 24.04 PPR PPG, 9 TDs, and 99.3 receiving yards per game to slot receivers. Each figure is a league-high. If you are interested more in recent trends, only the Lions have allowed more receiving YPG to slot receivers over the past month. Shepard should be the latest slot receiver to eat against the Bucs. Shepard averages 29.1 routes per game and 9.47 PPR PPG this season. Given the matchup and the fact that the Giants will likely be chasing points and needing to throw, Shepard is a WR2 play in PPR with upside.

Deep Sleepers

Cole Beasley faces a Falcons defense that has allowed the sixth-most receiving yards per game (76) to slot receivers over the past month. Beasley is the premier slot receiver on the Cowboys, running 23 routes per game and averaging 9.13 PPR PPG. He is a deep league option only, but you could do a lot worse than Beasley in deeper formats.

Seth Roberts takes on the Cardinals who have allowed the seventh-most PPR PPG (18.08) to slot receivers since Week 6. They have also allowed four TDs to receivers in the slot, the second most in the NFL in that span. Roberts is not going to blow you away, but much like Zay Jones last week, he is a pure deep-league play as we try to exploit the matchup.

-- Michael Florio is a freelance fantasy writer at Make sure to check back every Thursday to find out which slot receivers you can stream in the upcoming week. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelFFlorio.