My favorite marijuana-smoking pass-catcher is back in Week 12 with a juicy matchup against the Falcons. There’s a lot to like about Josh Gordon right out of the gate, but it’s very possible that he’ll need a week or two to get re-adjusted to the speed of the game, or just get his lungs under him.
So is he a value at $6300? I DON’T KNOW!
Will he be high-usage at that price tag? I ALSO DON’T KNOW!
So much intrigue. Let’s break down Gordon and the other top wide receivers in Week 12.
Top Five Wide Receivers
Demaryius Thomas, Denver vs Miami, $8700 – Thomas makes for a really interesting contrarian choice in Week 12. I think the price is prohibitive enough to forgo him in cash games – I’d prefer Nelson at $400 cheaper in an easier matchup, for example – but you could make an argument that Thomas will be underutilized in tournaments due to the steep price and matchup against one of the league’s top pass defenses.
There’s also a possibility that Emmanuel Sanders’ absence, if he misses this game with a concussion, could lead to more Thomas targets (although I don’t think that would actually be the case).
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay at Minnesota, $8300 – The top wide receivers have some difficult matchups this week. Nelson vs. the Vikings is actually one of the better ones, which makes me believe that users are going to be down on the most expensive receivers as a whole. The tight pricing this week adds to that idea. One of the keys to affording a player like Nelson – who is so safe with Aaron Rodgers throwing him passes – might be locating cheap running back production, if you can find it.
Dez Bryant, Dallas at NY Giants, $8100 – Bryant’s production is pretty volatile and the Giants have historically done a decent job against him by doubling him with a whole lot of Cover 2 Man-Under. I think they’re going to do that again, which should open things up for DeMarco Murray. Bryant is always on the GPP radar, but I think he’s too risky for cash.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia vs Tennessee, $7900 – You’re just never going to convince me to play Maclin at $100 more expensive than Megatron and Mike Evans and $600 more than A.J. Green. As potent as the Eagles’ offense can be, Maclin isn’t a dominant player. I also have concerns about his workload moving forward with Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit at New England, $7800 – This initially looks like a bargain, but there’s something about Johnson that isn’t right this year. Throw in an elbow injury – one that you’ll need to monitor this week – and the fact that New England figures to do what they can to take Megatron out of this game, and you have the makings of another underwhelming performance. Dare I say that I prefer Evans at the same price?
Five Others to Consider
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay at Chicago, $7800
Randall Cobb, Green Bay at Minnesota, $7600
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis vs Jacksonville, $7600
Luck-to-Hilton could be the most popular stack in Week 12. The matchup is awesome and both players are reasonably priced. I actually think that you can play Luck in tournaments without even stacking him, primarily because he spreads the ball around so much that Hilton isn’t really a great bet to score. I’ll still have some exposure to this pairing because of the receiver’s big-play ability, though.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati at Houston, $7300
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago vs Tampa Bay, $7200
Five Mid-Priced Wide Receivers
Brandon Marshall, Chicago vs Tampa Bay, $7100 – I kind of wish that Marshall were more expensive than Jeffery. I think most users are going to use whichever Bears receiver is cheaper just to save the money. I’d predict lower usage on Jeffery this week, so I think he’s the superior tournament play, but I naturally like Marshall more in GPPs.
Either way, I think both Jeffery and Marshall are in play against the Bucs. I also think there’s plenty of upside here to use a full Cutler/Jeffery/Marshall stack if you’d like.
Julio Jones, Atlanta vs Cleveland, $7000 – The question for Jones is how much of Joe Haden he’s going to see. If Haden shadows Jones, Roddy White could become an underrated play. I think this might be a trap price – one that looks cheap but probably isn’t given the downside of the Falcons’ offense. I will have some Jones if it looks like he won’t get shadowed, but otherwise this is a situation I’ll probably get away from when others are on it.
Golden Tate, Detroit at New England, $6900 – With Johnson getting healthy (kind of), Tate is inevitably going to regress. His cost has dropped, but this price tag is still too rich for me, especially when you consider the opponent and the possible conditions in New England.
DeSean Jackson, Washington at San Francisco, $6500 – Jackson quietly has five 100-yard receiving games this year. While his theoretical ceiling is high, I think he has limited access to it because he’s reliant on big plays for production and he can’t score in the red zone. For him to reach a truly elite level of production, he basically needs to catch two really long touchdowns. If we’re assessing things probabilistically, I think Jackson is an overrated GPP play and not at all a consideration in cash games.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland at Atlanta, $6300 – I guess this is just a matter of risk tolerance. Gordon is underpriced, in my opinion, but again, there’s a decent chance he lays an egg in his first game back. I’m going to play him in tournaments. I’m undecided in cash games.
Five Others to Consider
Roddy White, Atlanta vs Cleveland, $6200
Odell Beckham, Jr., NY Giants vs Dallas, $6100
Beckham isn’t an option in tournaments for me, but I think he’s certainly in play in cash games. He sees enough short targets that his floor is pretty high, as evidenced by the fact that he has at least six catches in the past three games. The Dallas D is still coming back to reality, so this is a situation I kind of like for the pure PPR value, even though I think the player is overrated.
Julian Edelman, New England vs Detroit, $6000
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs Seattle, $5700
Brandon LaFell, New England vs Detroit, $5700
Five Value Wide Receivers
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo vs NY Jets, $5600 – I haven’t played Watkins once all year because his price tag was too high, but now we’re getting into the territory where I’ll consider it. He’s clearly a special player in a limited offense, and he’s coming off of two down games that have sunk his cost. I guess my only concern is a high probability of failure, which is bad for cash games, combined with a potentially low ceiling in the Bills’ offense. But I think there’s enough value here to make him playable.
Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia vs Tennessee, $5500 – Matthews is really interesting because he’s been very successful since Sanchez has taken over, scoring four times in three games. I think that’s going to make him a popular option on Sunday, and rightfully so, but the question is whether or not he can maintain this level of efficiency. It will inevitably dip at some point, but I think the nature of the Eagles’ offense is such that Matthews is going to see a whole lot of single coverage against weak corners, so I think he’s going to keep it up for now.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston vs Cincinnati, $5300 – I think both Hopkins and Johnson will benefit from Ryan Mallett throwing them passes. The strong-armed quarterback is in a better position than Fitzpatrick to get them the ball downfield. Despite the matchup, both receivers are underpiced.
Andre Johnson, Houston vs Cincinnati, $5200 – Hopkins has been superior to Johnson in 2014, but only because the veteran has found the end zone just one time. The limitations of the Houston offense certainly hinder Johnson’s upside, but I still think there’s enough meat left on the bone at this price tag to consider him. Nonetheless, I generally prefer youth, so Hopkins is probably going to be my choice.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay at Chicago, $5200 – Jackson is clearly fading, but I’m having a difficult time believing he’s truly toast. Even if he can’t get downfield like he once did and even if Evans is quickly becoming the Bucs’ No. 1 option, Jackson’s ability to score – which he admittedly hasn’t done much in 2014 – is enough for me to use him in tournaments against the Bears. He’s certainly not on my cash game radar, though.
10 Others to Consider
Rueben Randle, NY Giants vs Dallas, $5100
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco vs Washington, $5000
Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati at Houston, $5000
Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland at Atlanta, $4900
Mike Wallace, Miami at Denver, $4900
Keenan Allen, San Diego vs St. Louis, $4900
I see Allen as a similar player to Eric Decker, who I also like. Both are big players who can score with consistency but just haven’t done it this year. For the price, I probably prefer Allen because of the difference in offensive quality. I definitely think he has big potential in this game if the Chargers can keep Philip Rivers upright.
Steve Smith, Baltimore at New Orleans, $4800
Percy Harvin, NY Jets at Buffalo, $4700
Eric Decker, NY Jets at Buffalo, $4600
Andre Caldwell, Denver vs Miami, $3000
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