Grouping the top receiving plays of the week based on price, performance and upside.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional targets:
Cream of the Crop
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (at SF) – $7400
The Cards are the top-projected offense on Sunday and the Niners have allowed 3.0 points above expected to opposing receivers over the past year—the third-most of any defense playing this week. My only fear is that Arizona will get off to a big lead and not throw the ball late, but I still think Fitz is a pretty safe bet for eight to 10 targets.
Steve Johnson, San Diego (at JAX) – $4500
Johnson won’t be on my tournament radar just because he has limited upside, but he has shown he’s one of the main beneficiaries of Keenan Allen’s absence. If you’re going big at running back, I think Johnson is probably the top cash-game value to have in your lineup at wide receiver.
Allen Robinson, Jacksonville (vs SD) – $7300
I’m going to have Robinson rated higher than most, but he’s one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL. He hasn’t scored fewer than 16 points in six weeks—consistency that he also showed in his rookie year with at least 40 yards or a touchdown in every game. If you look at his measurables, he’s almost exactly the same physical specimen as Dez Bryant.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay (at IND) – $4700
If the Colts place Vontae Davis on Mike Evans, Jackson is one of my favorite receiver plays this week. If they don’t, Jackson is still underpriced at $4700 if we can expect him to see non-Davis corners on half of his snaps or more.
Middle of the Pack
Odell Beckham, Jr., NY Giants (at WSH) – $8700
I think DeAndre Hopkins is going to be the most popular top-priced receiver, by far, but I prefer Beckham by a hair. He’s probably slightly more volatile and might not see as many targets, but in terms of tournament ownership, Hopkins is going to be through the roof against the Saints.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (vs NO) – $9100
The narrative is that the Saints are bad against the pass, and they are; they’re getting absolutely decimated by opposing quarterbacks. However, they’re actually struggling more over the middle than on the outside; they’ve given up just 0.8 points per game above expectation to opposing receivers, compared to 2.1 points per game for Washington.
Eric Decker, NY Jets (vs MIA) – $5800
I think I’ve listed Decker in this article every single game he’s played. Elite scorers who cost less than $6000 aren’t really that common.
Julio Jones, Atlanta (vs MIN) – $9400
It will be interesting to see Jones’ ownership because I think both Hopkins and Beckham will be in a lot more lineups at a cheaper cost. Jones doesn’t have a particularly enticing matchup, but he is Julio Jones. This is more of a GPP play for me.
Rest of the Field
Brandon Marshall, NY Jets (vs MIA) – $6800
The Dolphins have allowed 3.1 points per game above expected to opposing receivers over the past 12 months—second-worst behind only Pittsburgh. I like Decker more in terms of value, but I love a Fitzpatrick/Marshall/Decker trio in tournaments.
Michael Crabtree, Oakland (at TEN) – $6400
I feel like a bit of a sucker rostering a player whose salary has continually risen, but what we know about Crabtree and the Raiders has also changed. With at least 11 targets in three of the past four games, Crabtree is one of Derek Carr’s preferred options, especially with defenses focusing on Amari Cooper. I’m going to take those targets all day at this price tag.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo (at KC) – $5200
Purely a tournament play if you think the Bills will finally try to get him the ball.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (at SEA) – $8700
We’ve seen over the years that Brown is basically matchup-proof with Big Ben under center. I think this is actually only a moderately challenging matchup for a player like Brown—who sees so much of his value on quick screens and similar passes that are difficult to defend—but people will avoid it just because of the name. That makes Brown an underrated GPP option.
Jonathan Bales is the author of the Fantasy Sports for Smart People book series, and most recently Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports.
Follow him @BalesFootball.