The PFW staff brings you its late-week fantasy tips for wide receivers, which expect Jordy Nelson to respond well as he returns from injury and receiving trios for the Patriots and Colts to have strong weeks in what could be a shootout in Foxborough.
Packers WR Jordy Nelson is said to be fully recovered from his latest injury (ankle), and if you’re lucky enough to have him in your fantasy lineup, he shapes up as a potential fantasy heavyweight this Sunday against a Lions secondary with both starting safeties and starting CB Chris Houston looking iffy (check statuses). In Nelson’s last game against the Lions — Week 17 last year — all he did was catch nine passes for 162 yards and three TDs.
Patriots WRs Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd are every-week starters, and they have a great matchup this week against an inexperienced, banged-up Colts secondary. Throw Deion Branch into the mix as well, if you’re in need of a bye-week or injury fill-in at receiver. He was second on the team with eight targets in last week’s win over the Bills and played in 56 of 72 snaps.
With New England susceptible defending the pass, Indianapolis’ top three wideouts, Reggie Wayne, Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton, are all worthy of starting consideration Sunday. Don’t be discouraged by Hilton’s quiet game against the Jaguars in Week 10; he has carved out a nice role in the offense, which includes a few running opportunities sprinkled in with his pass-catching responsibilities.
While Rams head coach Jeff Fisher stopped short of declaring rookie WR Chris Givens a starter this Sunday against the Jets, look for Givens to resurrect the flashy fantasy form he was displaying before missing last week’s game against the Niners for violating team rules. We hear the odds are strong that Givens could get plenty of opportunities, working as a potentially very productive complement to fantasy slot machine Danny Amendola against a Jets defense ranked 24th in scoring (allowing 25.3 points per game) and has a 44 percent third-down conversion rate against, among the worst in the league.
WR Andre Johnson was relatively quiet against the Bears (4-35-0), but that was more about the weather conditions and QB Matt Schaub’s ineffectiveness than anything. Johnson created nice separation against Bears CB Charles Tillman, and remains Schaub’s favorite target. What’s more, Johnson appears as healthy as he has been in quite some time, perhaps setting his owners up for a strong final third of the season.
Even if Steelers WR Antonio Brown (ankle) were able to play in Week 11, he likely wouldn’t have the upside he normally has with Ben Roethlisberger out of the lineup. If he can’t play, Emmanuel Sanders would get the call in his place, but Sanders isn’t highly recommended given the uncertainty about the Steelers’ passing game.
Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu is a name to file away, especially in big leagues. He showed potential in his most extended action of the season in Week 10, catching four passes for 47 yards and a TD. If you like him, this might be the time to pick him up. The Bengals have a favorable matchup vs. the Chiefs on Sunday, and the buzz about Sanu could grow.
Of note: Two of Lions WR Titus Young’s three TDs in the last three games have been near the goal line. In both instances, Young had single coverage and beat the defender for the score. The ability to make such plays enhances Young’s fantasy value.
No defense has allowed more passing yards than the Buccaneers this season — keep that in mind when considering Panthers WR Brandon LaFell this week. LaFell has not offered much in the way of consistency this season, but he could provide some nice production this week. LaFell had strung together a couple games of solid production prior to missing Week Nine with a concussion and he has a good chance to get back to producing at a starter-caliber level vs. Carolina. He’s worth a start as a No. 3 WR in deep leagues.
Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin (back) looks good to go against the Redskins, and it’s a matchup you might want to exploit.
Signs are pointing towards Redskins WR Pierre Garcon finally making it back this week. Stay tuned and check the actives and inactives for Sunday, when the Redskins play the vulnerable Eagles.
Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe has been limited in practice with a thigh bruise this week, and though he likely will play Sunday, we’re just not sure how effective he’ll be against the Bengals (who have played fairly good pass “D” recently) with Matt Cassel at quarterback.
Sit Chiefs WR Jon Baldwin this week. He’s looking dicey for Sunday with head and neck injuries after falling hard in Monday’s loss to the Steelers. Plus, he has been a poor producer this season anyway.
Eagles WR Jason Avant will not play Sunday. He has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. With his absence, Riley Cooper may have a little bit of value in deep leagues.