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Wide Receiver Player Rankings – Week 4
(BYE: Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Wide Receivers (Updated: Friday, Sept. 28 - 9:59PM CT)
1. Demaryius Thomas (vs. Oak) – Demaryius’ below average scoring output last week is nothing for owners to worry about. Houston’s lock-down cornerback, Johnathan Joseph, is the closest thing the NFL has to Darrelle Revis in that he pretty much shuts down every wide receiver he shadows. Demaryius won’t have to worry about that when he faces Oakland this Sunday. In fact, the Raiders top two corners have been out for a while now and their replacements have been so bad, they’ve been forced to experiment with putting Michael Huff, a career, seven-year veteran free safety, at left CB. Let’s put it this way: Two weeks ago against Miami, WR Brian Hartline had nine catches for 111 yards… In his 42-game career beforehand, he had never topped 100 yards or made more than FIVE catches in any one game. Last week Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown combined for 15 catches, 210 yards and two TDs. I see Demaryius coming down with a large chunk of that this Sunday.
2. Calvin Johnson (vs. Min) – Calvin may be a bit behind in his TD-count so far, but he’s actually on pace to have better overall numbers than last season. Sure, it’s unlikely he puts up 128 receptions for 1,968 yards, but my point is that it’s not his level of play that has suffered, just his opportunity for more TDs. This week he goes up against a highly susceptible Vikings pass D that’s actually been playing better, but hasn’t really been tested yet this year. Megatron will certainly do that and more this Sunday en route to his typical, high-end WR1 numbers.
3. Julio Jones (vs. Car) – Julio hasn’t been as spectacular as his Week 1 numbers led people to believe he’d be this season, but he’s still fifth in the league in fantasy points and is one of only four wide receivers to have three TDs on this young season (there are actually SEVEN tight ends with 3+ TDs). Jones was active for just one game against the Panthers last season and made it count by grabbing three balls for 104 yards and two TDs. Carolina doesn’t seem to do well against bigger receivers, either, as 6’6” Ramses Barden torched them for 138 yards on nine receptions last weekend, so Jones could be in for a big game. My only concern is that Atlanta goes up big early on and hands the game over to Michael Turner/Jazquizz Rodgers to seal it, but my guess is that it will have been Julio who put them up so much in the first place, so no worries.
4. Wes Welker (@ Buf) – The concerns about Wes Welker and his role in the Patriots offense this season were completely justified, but probably blown a bit out of proportion. This is still Wes Welker—probably the best, little slot receiver the league has ever seen—and he wasn’t likely to be held back for long. Over the last two games, the Slot Machine has 13 catches on 21 targets for 237 yards, numbers he’ll be counted on to add to big-time this weekend while Aaron Hernandez and Julian Edelman are both sidelined. Last year playing at Buffalo, Welker had the game of his life grabbing 16 passes for 217 yards and two TDs. I’m pretty sure Brady knows it as well.
5. Andre Johnson (vs. Ten) – Andre made the most of his four targets against the Broncos catching two of them for 72 yards and a 60-yard TD last week. Though the Texans should have no problem running all over the Titans this weekend, they won’t have a problem throwing the ball either so I expect Johnson to be heavily involved. He has six touchdowns in his last six games against this team and now won’t even have to face Cortland Finnegan, so I’m going to chalk up his seventh in seven games right now. He may not get a ton of yards or catches with Houston queuing up the Foster/Tate show for an extended viewing, but then again, he could go ballistic in the first half and win you the week on his own.
6. A.J. Green (@ Jax) – Green plays like a man among boys out there and he’s only been in the league for 18 games (missed one in 2011)!! He’s second in the league in total fantasy points (only because Torrey Smith already played this week) and in the top-5 in everything else except receptions where he stands at No. 7. Last year playing in Jacksonville, Green put up 90 yards and a TD—numbers he should at least equal in this one.
7. Larry Fitzgerald (vs. Mia) – Fitz FINALLY got it going on last weekend against the Eagles catching all nine of his targets for 114 yards and a touchdown. I know a lot of people who were getting worried about him, but there was really no way one of the best five receivers in the history of the league was going to be held down for long. The 3-0 Cardinals go up against a Miami defense this week that’s been so tough against the run; they almost force the other team to pass the ball to beat them (124 – most passing attempts against before Thursday). Of course, this can only be good news for Larry Fitz and his fantasy owners.
8. Percy Harvin (@ Det) – Before the 2011 season began, Donovan McNabb went on record saying there was no reason why Percy Harvin couldn’t catch 100 passes in a season. He came close with 87 last year, but it looks like 2012 will be the year he does it as he currently leads the league with 27 receptions and doesn’t show signs of slowing down. In fact, his overall numbers may grow from here on out with WR Jerome Simpson coming back from his suspension this weekend. Simpson’s speed will stretch defenses deep and give Harvin more room to maneuver underneath, a place where the Lions pass D have given up the majority of their yards thus far. At their last meeting in Detroit, Harvin caught 10 balls for 69 yards and a TD while rushing for 40 more yards on four carries.
9. Vincent Jackson (vs. Was) – Like it was while he was in San Diego, Vincent Jackson will put up a real nice fantasy game ever three to four weeks yet completely disappear in the others. Such has been the case thus far in Tampa Bay and will continue to be this weekend, with Jackson ending up on the GOOD side of his fantasy owners in this one. Washington’s pass defense has been so horrendous this season that it seems nearly impossible for V-Jax to get shut down. In just three games, the Redskins have allowed SIX different wide receivers to catch a TD pass with three of those guys adding in 120 or more yards. Two of them actually had 160-plus yards and as you can imagine, Washington has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing WRs because of it.
10. Brandon Lloyd (@ Buf) – There was a lot of talk during the offseason about how quickly Tom Brady fell in love with Brandon Lloyd’s game and though he doesn’t have a touchdown as of yet, the love has shown to be true as he’s sixth overall in receptions (22) and tied for sixth in targets (33) thus far. The TDs are coming, I guarantee it, and I believe they’ll start this weekend against the Bills. Buffalo has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season and are tied for the most TDs allowed, so it’s looking pretty good for the newest Patriot on the block this Sunday.
Wide Receivers 11-80
11. Roddy White (vs. Car)
12. Torrey Smith (vs. Cle - Thursday Night)
13. Steve Smith (@ Atl)
14. Jordy Nelson (vs. NO)
15. Greg Jennings (vs. NO)
16. Stevie Johnson (vs. NE)
17. Victor Cruz (@ Phi - Sunday Night)
18. Eric Decker (vs. Oak)
19. Jeremy Maclin (vs. NYG - Sunday Night)
20. Dwayne Bowe (vs. SD)
21. Marques Colston (@ GB)
22. Denarius Moore (@ Den)
23. DeSean Jackson (vs. NYG - Sunday Night)
24. Miles Austin (vs. Chi - Monday Night)
25. Brandon Marshall (@ Dal - Monday Night)
26. Malcom Floyd (@ KC)
27. Dez Bryant (vs. Chi - Monday Night)
28. Lance Moore (@ GB)
29. Leonard Hankerson (@ TB)
30. Mike Williams (vs. Was)
31. Michael Crabtree (@ NYJ)
32. Brandon LaFell (@ Atl)
33. Andrew Hawkins (@ Jax)
34. Danny Amendola (vs. Sea)
35. Jerome Simpson (@ Det)
36. Titus Young (vs. Min)
37. Justin Blackmon (vs. Cin)
38. Nate Washington (@ Hou)
39. Nate Burleson (vs. Min)
40. Anquan Boldin (vs. Cle - Thursday Night)
41. Randall Cobb (vs. NO)
42. Robert Meachem (@ KC)
43. Santonio Holmes (vs. SF)
44. Armon Binns (@ Jax)
45. Kendall Wright (@ Hou)
46. Mario Manningham (@ NYJ)
47. Travis Benjamin (@ Bal - Thursday Night)
48. Derek Hagan (@ Den)
49. Ramses Barden (@ Phi - Sunday Night)
50. Golden Tate (@ StL)
51. Jonathan Baldwin (vs. SD)
52. Sidney Rice (@ StL)
53. Jeremy Kerley (vs. SF)
54. Greg Little (@ Bal - Thursday Night)
55. Davone Bess (@ Ari)
56. T.J. Graham (vs. NE)
57. James Jones (vs. NO)
58. Josh Gordon (@ Bal - Thursday Night)
59. Jacoby Jones (vs. Cle - Thursday Night)
60. Brandon Gibson (vs. Sea)
61. Kevin Walter (vs. Ten)
62. Cecil Shorts (vs. Cin)
63. Donald Jones (vs. NE)
64. Andre Roberts (vs. Mia)
65. Domenik Hixon (@ Phi - Sunday Night)
66. Devery Henderson (@ GB)
67. Alshon Jeffery (@ Dal - Monday Night)
68. Brandon Stokley (vs. Oak)
69. Laurent Robinson (vs. Cin)
70. Damian Williams (@ Hou)
71. Kevin Ogletree (vs. Chi - Monday Night)
72. Brian Hartline (@ Ari)
73. Santana Moss (@ TB)
74. Rod Streater (@ Den)
75. Keshawn Martin (vs. Ten)
76. Damaris Johnson (vs. NYG - Sunday Night)
77. Doug Baldwin (@ StL)
78. Randy Moss (@ NYJ)
79. Earl Bennett (@ Dal - Monday Night)
80. Michael Floyd (vs. Mia)
Pierre Garcon (@ TB) – QUESTIONABLE – Still highly unlikely to play after a week of limited practices
Hakeem Nicks (@ Phi - Sunday Night) – DOUBTFUL – Nicks’ knee swelled up on Friday after Thursday’s practice so they’ll likely hold him out until Week 5 at the earliest
Kenny Britt (@ Hou) – QUESTIONABLE – Missed practice all week
Julian Edelman (@ Buf) – OUT
Stephen Hill (vs. SF) - DOUBTFUL
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