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
Danny Amendola, New England (vs PHI) – $4700
You’ll have to monitor Amendola’s health, but he’s tentatively expected to return to action in Week 13. Even with the risk, he’s such a bargain at this price tag, especially given his PPR upside, that I’m fine with him in cash games.
Eric Decker, NY Jets (at NYG) – $6300
Decker has scored in eight of his past 10 games. He’s one of the most consistent scorers in the NFL, and no one wants to talk about it. I view him as just a tad below Brandon Marshall in terms of his role in the Jets’ offense—perhaps lower in terms of upside—but I’ll take him and the discount most of the time.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis (at PIT) – $5700
This is a perfect example of just being price-sensitive versus always taking the same player times. In general, guys like Amendola (targets) or Decker (can score in red zone) are the guys I want at the receiver position. I’ll make exceptions when I think a player is extremely underpriced, however, which is the case with Hilton against one of the league’s worse pass defenses.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago (vs SF) – $6900
Over the past year, the Niners have allowed 3.0 points per game above expected to opposing receivers, which is one of the worst marks in the NFL. The Bears are projected very well at 25 points, so I love Jeffery’s chances of getting into the end zone.
Middle of the Pack
Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh (vs IND) – $5600
Bryant would need to be priced way too low to be in play in cash games for me, but he has obvious GPP value. He has over 50 points in the last two games and he’s going to draw the weakest coverage from Indy.
Brandon Marshall, NY Jets (at NYG) – $7100
I was initially lukewarm on Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, then got on him at the last minute because I liked both Marshall and Decker. I think analyzing quarterback production as a function of their receivers’ outlooks is underrated. And because I like both Marshall and Decker again this week, Fitzpatrick is very much in play—as is the double-stack of both receivers in tournaments.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (at STL) – $7400
Fitz hasn’t seen fewer than 11 targets in a game in over a month. Even against a quality defense—one that actually isn’t playing as well as you might think against opposing receivers—I’ll take those targets at this price tag. I also think the Cards have the potential to throw all over St. Louis’s secondary if they can protect Carson Palmer.
Brandon LaFell, New England (vs PHI) – $4800
LaFell hasn’t done much of late, but the Pats are absolutely going to need to rely on him more with Rob Gronkowski out of the mix. That injury helps him a lot more than the one to Julian Edelman, in my opinion. The matchup is a dream to rack up targets (and efficiency).
Rest of the Field
A.J. Green, Cincinnati (at CLE) – $7600
It’s unclear if Joe Haden will be in the lineup for the Browns this week. If not, Green gets a clear boost in value and becomes one of the top plays on a team projected at 26.5 points right now.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo (vs HOU) – $5600
Against most opponents, Watkins would be one of the week’s top values, at least in terms of upside per dollar. With how Houston’s defense is playing, Watkins is a pretty clear GPP-only option.
Stevie Johnson, San Diego (vs DEN) – $4700
Johnson is a difficult player to assess. He’s seeing a lot of targets since Keenan Allen’s injury, including 10 last week with Antonio Gates in the lineup. However, the Broncos have allowed 2.1 points per game fewer than expected to opposing receivers over the past 12 months. My initial reaction is to fade due to a lack of upside for tournaments and little consistency due to the matchup.
Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City (at OAK) – $5200
Maclin isn’t my typical receiver type—doesn’t an abundance of short targets and can’t consistently convert near the goal-line—but the Raiders’ defense has allowed 2.0 points per game more than expected to opposing receivers. Buying in on Maclin is risky because his target count is volatile, so there’s no value here in cash games for me, even if he’s underpriced for the matchup.
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.