According to PFW's late-week fantasy tips for wide receivers, Brandon Marshall and Mike Wallace remain must-starts with quality matchups, while the Browns and Lions have some up-and-comers you may want to keep an eye on.
Bears WR Brandon Marshall should be starting in all formats this week vs. the Panthers. Carolina’s top cornerback, Chris Gamble, has been placed on injured reserve, and the Bears should be able to find some very favorable matchups for Marshall to exploit Sunday at Soldier Field.
Second-year WR Jeremy Kerley has become the Jets’ top receiver, by a landslide, with 25 catches for 435 yards and two TDs. Kerley has big-play speed and has been a frequent target of Mark Sanchez. Expect the Jets to throw often this week against Miami and Kerley, who likely won’t see Miami’s top corner, Sean Smith, in the slot, could be the beneficiary.
Yes, Steelers WR Mike Wallace hasn’t been especially consistent this season. And yes, his multiple drops in Week Seven were maddening. However, he’s a must-play Sunday vs. Washington. The Redskins have had persistent issues stopping the pass.
Browns WR Josh Gordon was targeted 10 times in Week Seven, as many passes as any Cleveland player has seen thrown his way in any game this season. Though Gordon hauled in just two of those passes, one was for a TD, and he dropped another potential score. His fantasy value continues to rise. In other Browns receiver news, Greg Little has picked up his play of late, catching nine passes (12 targets) for 70 yards and a TD in the past two weeks.
Lions WRs Titus Young and Ryan Broyles each could be bigger parts of the passing game with Nate Burleson (leg) out for the season. Young (6-81-0 at Chicago in Week Seven) showed promise as a field-stretching threat a season ago but hasn’t quite built on that potential just yet. He’ll move into the lineup and likely see some favorable matchups with teams focusing on Calvin Johnson. Broyles (3-51-1 vs. Chicago) won’t start but figures to play quite a bit. The former Oklahoma star is quick and sure-handed.
Veteran WR Brandon Stokley is clearly the No. 3 wideout in Denver, and while he often has to defer targets in the red zone to TEs Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme, Stokley is still a key performer between the 20s and has a great rapport with Peyton Manning. In a game that should be a shootout against a weak New Orleans defense, Stokley is a viable start in deep leagues.
Rams rookie WR Chris Givens continues to “flex” his fantasy muscles after a 3-73 receiving output last week vs. the Packers, including a 56-yard catch, marking his fourth consecutive game with a 50-yard-plus reception. Givens has a combined 158 yards receiving the past two weeks and, for the season, is gaining a most impressive 27 yards per catch (10-270-1). He could cause some problems “across the pond” matched up against New England’s 29th-ranked pass defense.
Dolphins WR Brian Hartline had a career day vs. Arizona, and was then shut out against Rams CB Cortland Finnegan. He figures to face Jets CB Antonio Cromartie, who has been exceptional since Darrelle Revis went down. Expect Cromartie to lock down Hartline as well, which could open things up for Dolphins WR Davone Bess, who will see lots of Kyle Wilson or Ellis Lankster.
It’s starting to look like a lost season for Seahawks second-year WR Doug Baldwin, whose high ankle sprain suffered last week is the latest ailment to plague him in 2011. Word is Baldwin, who was such a terror out of the slot as a rookie, probably will be out a couple of weeks — a prognosis that does not bode well for either Seahawks QB Russell Wilson or any of the team’s receivers. All year the prevailing feeling in Seattle has been that until Baldwin, Golden Tate and Sidney Rice were all fully healthy at the same time — which has been the case for maybe the equivalent of one game, if even that — the team’s passing game would probably struggle.
Just as the frustration regarding Chris Johnson’s uneven play has begun to subside, his teammate, WR Kenny Britt, is causing headaches for fantasy owners. Britt was quiet in Buffalo, catching just four passes for 30 yards, on the heels of his best game of the season against the Steelers. Given the multitude of receiving options for the Titans, including rookie Kendall Wright, TE Jared Cook and last week’s hero, Nate Washington, expectations must be tempered for Britt moving forward — at least until he shows more promising signs of regaining his pre-injury form.
The Jaguars’ receiving corps is hardly laden with fantasy producers, but this would be a week where you would want to especially avoid Jacksonville wide receivers. QB Blaine Gabbert plans to play against Green Bay despite tearing a labrum in his non-throwing shoulder in Week Seven, and while we applaud his grittiness, it’s too risky to roll out any of his receivers because of the uncertainty surrounding his health (heck, there is enough uncertainty in the Jacksonville passing game when Gabbert is 100 percent).
Expect Vikings WR Jerome Simpson to play Thursday. Although he has missed time because of a suspension and back and foot injuries, he has played better than his statistics have indicated, including drawing a few pass-interference calls. But QB Christian Ponder’s recent struggles are concerning.
It's not looking good again for Redskins WR Pierre Garcon (foot) this weekend. Expect another 1-2 weeks on the shelf.