The PFW staff is high on Titus Young, Stevie Johnson and Eric Decker, and recommends not giving up on Larry Fitzgerald just yet in the late-week fantasy tips for wide receivers.
Lions WR Titus Young starred in the Week Eight win vs. Seattle, catching nine passes for 100 yards and two TDs. Also of note: he played 92 percent of the Lions’ offensive snaps. He’s a solid start in Week Nine vs. Jacksonville, which has its issues vs. the pass.
Steelers WR Antonio Brown leads the club in targets (63), catches (40) and yards (480), but he has one mere touchdown. Of note: he has just two catches and one TD inside the opposition’s 20-yard line this season. By contrast, TE Heath Miller has 10 catches and six TDs inside the 20. Also, Mike Wallace has six catches inside the 20, but just one score.
Demaryius Thomas will always get the higher fantasy ranking, and he’s a better receiver with more potential for a big play, but Eric Decker needs to be in all fantasy lineups. Decker has five touchdowns in the Broncos’ last four games and is only six receptions away from his total from last season. Denver’s offense has been as potent as any around the league, and Decker is just one of the beneficiaries.
Don’t give up on Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald just yet. As he showed by the way he extended his arms lunging toward the endzone, falling just short of a TD on the Cardinals’ final possession in their dismal loss to the Niners in Week Eight, Fitzgerald will never stop trying. Look for him to have a fighting chance to be more than the mediocre fantasy performer he’s been up to now this Sunday going up against a Packers pass defense trying to get its act together without Charles Woodson (out with a broken collarbone). Green Bay’s secondary had some real problems handling the Jaguars’ nondescript receiving corps last week.
As good as Houston’s defense has been, CB Johnathan Joseph has not had a great season, and Bills WR Stevie Johnson is sure to get his targets. With Buffalo likely playing from behind and throwing often, Ryan Fitzpatrick will look to his favorite target, who has the route-running ability to get away from any corner.
Panthers WR Brandon LaFell (head) would be good play as a No. 3 WR in deeper formats this week vs. the Redskins’ porous pass defense, but owners will need to keep an eye on his status. He did not practice Wednesday and will have to go through the league’s concussion protocol before he is cleared to play in Week Nine.
The Bears have already ruled out WR Alshon Jeffery (hand) for Week Nine, and he still has not returned to practice since breaking his hand vs. the Jaguars in Week Five. Owners in need of depth at receiver should monitor his status over the next week, but keep in mind that the Bears will face very tough matchups in Week 10 (the Texans) and 11 (the 49ers), and it’s still not clear when Jeffery will be able to return.
Jaguars WR Laurent Robinson (concussion) is expected to play Sunday against the Lions for the first time since suffering the injury in Week Four. However, Robinson will not regain his starting job over Cecil Shorts, the Jaguars’ top wideout since the bye week. If you can still find him, Shorts is a nice waiver-wire pickup this week. As for Robinson and first-rounder Justin Blackmon? It’s encouraging that QB Blaine Gabbert is coming off his best game of the season, but we’ll have to see more from this trio before any of them are worthy of a start.
Texans WR Andre Johnson missed practice on Wednesday because of a personal issue, but coach Gary Kubiak said there is nothing to worry about it and he is a strong WR2 against the Bills Sunday.
Redskins WR Pierre Garcon once more looks dicey to go Sunday. The guess is it will be another week at least for his foot to be in better shape.
Vikings WR Percy Harvin is being bothered by a hamstring injury, and he sat out part of Wednesday’s practice, but he’s expected to be a go Sunday against the Seahawks.
You might have to wait until right before post time before filling out your fantasy lineup if the Packers WR Jordy Nelson is one of your mainstays. At this writing, all signs point toward the team waiting until the last minute before determining whether Nelson’s hamstring will enable him to play this Sunday against a Cardinals secondary that got torched by the Niners, especially when it came to relinquishing yards after catch.
Seattle’s WR corps remains extremely fluid in the wake of jack-of-all-trades Ben Obomanu’s season-ending wrist injury suffered in Week Eight. While starting WRs Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are currently healthy, the same can’t be said for slot receiver Doug Baldwin (ankle) and Braylon Edwards (knee). Both players are considered iffy for the Vikings game this Sunday. Before suddenly coming up lame, it appeared Edwards was going to get a shot at stealing away touches from Tate, but that no longer is the case.