Week 2 brought with it more dominant receiving performances than in the NFL’s opening weekend, but only two of the top five games came from wide receivers. Jordy Nelson led the way with 209 yards and a score, while Sammy Watkins checked in at No. 2 among wide receivers with 117 yards.
The wide receiver position is a really interesting one in Week 3, with a pair of Packers in Nelson and Randall Cobb both in the top five in salary. Listed behind them are studs like Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas, both of whom have difficult matchups.
Let’s dig into Week 3’s wide receiver situation a bit deeper.
- Top Five Wide Receivers
DraftKings has appeared to alter their pricing a bit this season, bumping up wide receivers as a whole. That could alter the wide-receivers-are-the-best-flex-play rule, so we need to take it on a case-by-case basis right now.
Either way, Johnson is always in play as a GPP option.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay at Detroit, $8400 – It’s going to be really interesting to see Nelson’s usage this week. On one hand, he’s the second-most expensive receiver and $100 more than Brandon Marshall. On the other hand, he’s coming off of a monster game and Green Bay could air it out in Detroit.
It’s really difficult to decide how to handle Nelson this week. Low usage could mean more value in GPPs, but the Lions have a ridiculously underrated pass-rush and have allowed the fourth-fewest points to opposing wide receivers.
Brandon Marshall, Chicago at NY Jets, $8300 – It’s going to be really difficult to get away from Marshall this week, and I expect his usage to perhaps be the highest of any wide receiver. We all saw what Nelson did to the Jets last week; New York has allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, and Marshall is the clear-cut favorite target for Jay Cutler. Fade at your own risk.
Dez Bryant, Dallas at St. Louis, $7700 – Bryant struggled in Week 1, but his performance last week was more what we all expected with Scott Linehan in town: 13 targets, 10 catches, and over 100 yards with a score.
The Rams D is pretty good, but they’ve lost one of their best players in Chris Long. Normally I’d be scared about St. Louis double-teaming Bryant on every play, but the emergence of league-leading rusher DeMarco Murray should help things a bit on the outside.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay at Detroit, $7500 – If you want to be contrarian in Week 3, this is where you can do it. I fully expect Cobb’s usage to be the lowest of any top wide receiver. He’s simply priced too high here—more than Antonio Brown.
This will come down to how you think the Lions are going to play Nelson. If news comes out that they’re going to double him, Cobb all of a sudden comes into play as a more attractive player. In my opinion, though, he’s only in play in tournaments, and perhaps not even there because the value isn’t there.
Five Others to Consider
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh at Carolina, $7100Demaryius Thomas, Denver at Seattle, $6600
- Man-oh-man are we all going to have a decision to make on Thomas. Clearly this salary—$2300 cheaper than Megatron’s—isn’t representative of Thomas’s skill set, but he’s also going to face off against fantasy killer Richard Sherman in Seattle. I still think Thomas is very much in play, though, because of the quality of Denver’s offense and the fact that Sherman doesn’t shadow receivers.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia vs Washington, $6400
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago at NY Jets, $6400
Five Mid-Priced Receivers
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota at New Orleans, $6100 – As a receiver, Patterson hasn’t exactly lit it up this year with seven catches, 82 yards, and one touchdown. He’s also added over 100 yards on the ground, though, and the loss of Adrian Peterson could keep him relevant there. I actually like him as a high-floor player, perhaps underrated in cash games, because of his versatility.
Looking for an underrated way to increase upside? Pair Patterson with the Vikings defense; if he has a return touchdown, you’ll get 12 points for it.
Julian Edelman, New England vs Oakland, $6000 – Oakland’s pass defense has been stingy this year, but Edelman is somewhat matchup-proof from the slot; he sees a ton of short targets and never really faces great cornerbacks.
He’s a pure PPR play on DraftKings—good for use in cash games—but not necessarily a tournament option. Any touchdowns he gives you are a bonus.
Keenan Allen, San Diego at Buffalo, $6000 – Of the mid-priced receiving options, Allen has the most upside, in my opinion. His stock is down right now after he faced Patrick Peterson in Week 1 and Richard Sherman in Week 2. That’s arguably the toughest back-to-back cornerback combination a receiver could match up against.
The Bills’ defense isn’t bad, but they’re still allowing the seventh-most points to receivers this season. Look for Allen, who has three-touchdown upside, to break out this week.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis at Jacksonville, $5900 – Hilton is always a good bet for a high number of receptions, which gives him a decent floor, but he also has big-play upside, too; he’s like Edelman with a higher ceiling.
The only thing I’m afraid of with Hilton this week is that the Colts will get up big on Jacksonville and run the ball for much of the second half. That doesn’t mean Hilton can’t have a big game, but I’d be surprised if both Hilton and Reggie Wayne go off, which means you’ll need to accurately predict which player is going to do it.
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis at Jacksonville, $5800 – Wayne is $100 cheaper than Hilton, but both of them have risen in price since last week, when Hilton was $5000 and Wayne was $5300. Since you can never really be sure which one of these players will go off, you’d think it would make sense to just avoid the situation.
However, I’d be bullish on either one of them, as I was on Hilton last week, if the price is cheap enough. In any random environment, we can gain an edge by paying the cheapest price possible. The question here is whether or not either player is cheap enough to take a flier.
Five Others to Consider
Mike Wallace, Miami vs Kansas City, $5800
Pierre Garcon, Washington at Philadelphia, $5800Wes Welker, Denver at Seattle, $5600
- The Broncos will presumably throw Welker right back into his normal slot role against the Seahawks. The thing to like here is that Peyton Manning might be more likely to look over the middle if he’s going to avoid throwing at Sherman, which could result in big games for Welker and/or Julius Thomas. Monitor this situation to make sure Welker won’t rotate reps.
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver at Seattle, $5400
Five Value Wide Receivers
Percy Harvin, Seattle vs Denver, $5400 – Harvin hasn’t been outstanding in 2014, registering just eight catches for 64 yards through two games. He also has six carries for 86 yards and a rushing touchdown, though, which gives him some extra value, particularly in the form of safety as a slot receiver/running back hybrid player.
Harvin shouldn’t get too much of Aqib Talib this weekend. The Broncos’ pass defense isn’t bad, but they allow more bulk points than many other teams just because they get thrown on so often. Consider Harvin in your cash games this weekend, but avoid him in GPPs.
Brian Quick, St. Louis vs Dallas, $5300 – Quick has seven receptions in each of his first two games. As the No. 1 wide receiver in St. Louis who is getting a ton of targets, there’s no way that Quick should be this cheap against pretty much any opponent.
Now consider that he’s playing Dallas this weekend, and you have the recipe for a huge game. I expect Quick’s usage to be fairly high in tournaments.
Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati vs Tennessee, $5300 – As long as A.J. Green is out, which it appears will be the case this week, Sanu is probably going to be underpriced. He’s now the No. 1 option, and at 6’2”, 210 pounds, an underrated one.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo vs San Diego, $5300 – Whether or not you believe Watkins is going to continue to dominate like he did in Week 2—and I don’t—you’ll probably agree that this price is too cheap for a player who is going to see as many targets as Watkins moving forward. I’m actually hoping that Watkins underachieves in the coming weeks and his price remains steady or drops, because I have good evidence that rookie receivers improve dramatically over the course of their first season. I’ll be higher on him in the second half of the season.
Victor Cruz, NY Giants vs Houston, $5300 – Workload is most important for quarterbacks and running backs, but it’s still a crucial aspect of projecting wide receivers, too. The Giants have been horrendous to start the season, but they’re going to have to keep throwing the football. This is probably closer to where Rueben Randle’s price should be.
Five Others to Consider
Brandin Cooks, New Orleans vs Minnesota, $5100
DeSean Jackson, Washington at Philadelphia, $5000
Kendall Wright, Tennessee at Cincinnati, $4900
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs San Francisco, $4800Michael Floyd, Arizona vs San Francisco, $4800
- Floyd or Fitz, have your pick. Actually, I wouldn’t be opposed to playing both of them in a cash game. The opponent isn’t ideal, but this a bargain bin price for both players. You could start both of them for just $700 more than it costs to start Calvin Johnson alone. Pure value plays.