There are plenty of serviceable wide receivers available across the fantasy football landscape, which makes game planning for specific matchups an enticing prospect for managers.
Of the pass-catchers with the most difficult playoff schedules (Weeks 15 to 17), quite a few can be avoided entirely though some of them are locked into your lineup no matter what. Look ahead to get a picture of the wide receivers and receiver rooms that have the hardest matchups on deck to ready your roster for the season’s stretch run.
(Week 15-17 opponents in parentheses.)
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (NYJ, DAL, BAL)
Hill, the WR1 and second-highest fantasy player this season, has proven to be matchup proof. He’s scored at least 10 PPR points in every game and has more performances with 30-plus points (four) than sub-20 (three). Clearly, Hill can be counted on every week, even against a playoff schedule of the Jets, Cowboys and Ravens, three defenses that shut down opposing wide receivers. The same can’t be said for Jaylen Waddle, who only has one top-12 finish all year. It might be difficult to find a better option but Waddle has yet to deliver on his draft cost and his schedule only gets tougher down the stretch.
Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel, Commanders (LAR, NYJ, SF)
McLaurin has been the most consistent receiver in Washington but Dotson and Samuel, to a lesser extent, have both exhibited higher upside. In the last six weeks, Dotson has as many top-12 finishes (two) as he does games with zero points. A goose egg will doom your team in the postseason, and it’s more likely to happen against the likes of the Rams, Jets and 49ers. Samuel has largely fizzled out after a strong start, so he’s easier to pivot away from than McLaurin, who is the WR23 on the season with four top-24 finishes and four games with fewer than 10 PPR points.
Demario Douglas, Patriots (KC, DEN, BUF)
Douglas is the only pass-catching threat New England’s opponents have to worry about and a change under center could be under way. Whether it’s Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe at quarterback come fantasy playoff time, Douglas should be avoided if possible against the Chiefs, Broncos and Bills. The rookie did perform well in a Week 7 upset win over Buffalo but better options in more stable situations are likely available elsewhere on your roster — or on waivers.
DJ Moore, Bears (CLE, ARI, ATL)
Moore’s first season in Chicago has been a bit of a rollercoaster and it wraps up with a troublesome playoff schedule. Going against the Browns in Round 1 is about as tough a matchup as there is for receivers, though it eases up against the Cardinals and Falcons, who are no pushover, either. Justin Fields’ return should help matters considering what Moore has done with him under center. Still, it’s tough to count on any pass-catcher against Cleveland.
Amari Cooper, Browns (CHI, HOU, NYJ)
Cooper has 10 total PPR points in two games with rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback. The two have a few weeks to develop a rapport before the playoffs begin, but the early returns aren’t promising. The first and second round against the Bears and Texans could be worse but Cooper is up against the Jets, the No. 1 defense against receivers, in championship week. At least the Chicago and Cleveland games are at home, where Cooper has historically performed better throughout his career.