Week 17 Shadow Report: Can Bengals WRs have big night vs. Bills?

  • Fantasy football, NFL analyst for ESPN.com
  • Member of Pro Football Writers of America
  • Founding director of Pro Football Focus Fantasy
  • 2013 FSTA award winner for most accurate preseason rankings

By using our play-by-play data, we’re able to identify defensive schemes and where each wide receiver and cornerback lines up on each play. By tracking these WR/CB matchups, including potential shadow situations, we can offer the best projections, rankings, sit/start decisions and fantasy advice each week. Fantasy football is a weekly game, so knowing the matchups can also help you make the best waiver wire pickups.

Here are the receivers with the best and worst matchups this week, as well as the corresponding fantasy impact.

Unless otherwise noted, references to where teams rank in statistical categories adjust to a per-game basis to avoid distortion due to bye weeks.

Featured matchup

Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase vs. Bills’ Tre’Davious White (Shadow)

White spent the first 11 weeks of 2022 on injured reserve before playing a limited role in two games upon his return. In three games since he’s been a full go, he’s been tasked with shadowing Garrett Wilson and Jaylen Waddle (combined 43 of 45 perimeter routes). Cincinnati has two elite perimeter receivers in Chase and Tee Higgins, which complicates things a bit, but the matchups with Wilson and Waddle suggest White may travel with Chase the 78% of the time he aligns out wide this week. White is one of the best in the business at his job, but he’s still working his way back and Buffalo has been midpack against receivers since his return. There’s no need for major concern here, and Higgins is potentially in a great spot on the other side of the field against Dane Jackson and Kaiir Elam.

Advantageous matchups

Cowboys’ Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown vs. Titans’ Kristian Fulton, Roger McCreary and Tre Avery

Another week, and more picking on the struggling Titans. Tennessee has allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, as well as the most to the perimeter. The Titans sit no better than third in receptions, yards and TDs (19) allowed to the position. Top corner Fulton has missed three straight games and is uncertain for Week 17 with his groin injury. That could leave rookies McCreary and Avery, as well as the likes of Joshua Kalu and Greg Mabin, positioned for most of the cornerback snaps. Upgrade the Dallas receivers, though tread lightly with Brown, who could lose reps to newcomer T.Y. Hilton.

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