Week 14 WR tips: Jennings could be poised for breakout

Posted Dec. 06, 2012 @ 2:37 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

In PFW's late-week fantasy tips for wide receivers, it may finally be time for Greg Jennings to earn his high draft position, while youngsters like Chris Givens, Mike Williams, Donnie Avery and Josh Gordon all merit chances to start.

With Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring) looking extremely iffy this weekend, the odds would seem to improve for fellow WR Greg Jennings having perhaps a breakout performance this Sunday night vs. Detroit. In his first game back last Sunday vs. Minnesota after missing seven games with a groin injury, Jennings caught four passes for 46 yards.

You will have no misgivings should you decide to start red-hot Rams rookie WR Chris Givens as a starter at either wide receiver or in a flex role. In the last two games, Rams QB Sam Bradford has completed 16-of-20 passes when he targets Givens, who could begin to give fellow WR Danny Amendola (heel/foot, check status) serious competition as Bradford’s favorite target. In those two games, Givens caught five passes for 115 yards and one TD in the Week 12 win over the Cardinals (ranked third in passing yards allowed) and 11-92 last Sunday matched up vs. the Niners’ second-ranked pass defense. Givens goes up against a Bills pass defense ranked 13th this Sunday in Buffalo, where the weather could dictate the extent to which the Rams decide to throw the ball. If it’s windy and rainy as it was last week in Buffalo, the Rams’ aerial game could be significantly hindered.

After a relatively quiet few weeks in terms of fantasy production, Bucs WR Mike Williams broke out vs. the Broncos for his biggest game since Week Six. He matched a season-high, making six catches for 93 yards and a TD, and he is worth starting as a No. 2 WR in most formats with a favorable matchup against the Eagles on Sunday.

Redskins WR Pierre Garcon is participating fully in weekly practices and now has fully been integrated back into the offense. He rates as a plus-start this week against a troubled Ravens defense.

Colts QB Andrew Luck threw for 391 yards and four TDs in a thrilling comeback victory over Detroit last week, but interim head coach Bruce Arians was not pleased with the performance of his wideouts, who largely contributed to at least two of Luck’s three picks. However, from a fantasy standpoint, both Donnie Avery (two TDs) and rookie T.Y. Hilton (fourth 100-yard receiving day of the season) were productive and, given the extra fire lit beneath them this week, both make strong plays against Tennessee’s woeful pass defense. Reggie Wayne is coming off his quietest outing of a superlative season, but he remains a must start in all formats.

Browns WR Josh Gordon (6-116-1 in seven targets at Oakland on Sunday) is a solid starting proposition in three-WR formats in Week 14 vs. the Chiefs as long as the weather in Cleveland isn’t nightmarish. WeatherUnderground.com forecasts a 50 percent chance of rain on Sunday, while weather.com pegs the chance of rain at 60 percent. Through 12 games, no team had allowed more passing TDs than Kansas City (25).

The Steelers’ top three wideouts (Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders) all played at least 62 percent of the snaps in Week 13. Brown played the most of the group (77 percent) and was targeted most often (10, with five receptions for 58 yards). Sanders caught 5-of-6 passes thrown his way for 60 yards. Wallace, who played the least of the group, was nonetheless targeted eight times, catching 5-44-0. All three wideouts are decent plays in three-WR formats against a San Diego pass defense that’s allowed 21 passing TDs in 12 games. That said, multiple forecasts have projected at least a 50 percent chance of rain for Pittsburgh on Sunday. Be sure to check the weather.

Jaguars second-year phenom Cecil Shorts passed his concussion test this week, but he is still experiencing problems and won’t practice for a second straight day. When healthy, Shorts is the only Jacksonville receiver we can endorse against the Jets Sunday, but his lack of practice time is putting a damper on his Week 14 fantasy prospects.

Fantasy owners shouldn’t give up on Brandon Lloyd, especially this week against a Texans team that is thin in the secondary. Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez, Tom Brady’s top two targets, are must-starts in all formats, and the Texans will be working hard to limit throws over the middle of the field. That could open things up for Lloyd, who has been quiet of late, but if Johnathan Joseph can’t go, Lloyd will have a leg up in his matchup.

Many fantasy owners gave up on Dolphins WR Brian Hartline after his hot start, especially after he was shut out against the Rams in Week Six. But Hartline has emerged as a top target for Ryan Tannehill — Hartline had five catches for 84 yards vs. New England and would have had a touchdown if the rookie QB hadn’t overthrown him in the endzone. The 49ers’ defense is strong in the middle, which will make things difficult for WR Davone Bess, and if the Dolphins are behind, Tannehill will be throwing a lot and Hartline is the team’s best deep threat. He’s good for a flex start in deep leagues, and may be Miami’s best fantasy option.

Lions WR Mike Thomas merits a look in bigger fantasy leagues in Week 14. Injuries at the wideout position have left Thomas as the top option opposite of Calvin Johnson. If nothing else, he should be claimed on waivers and kept on benches to see how he fares with consistent regular playing time in a pass-happy offense.

Vikings WR Percy Harvin is on I.R., obviously a huge disappointment for his owners. He is not eligible to return, so drop him in all formats. The only Vikings WR option you could consider signing is Jarius Wright, who will take on a Harvin Light kind of role.