The PFW staff's late-week fantasy WR tips say Michael Crabtree's matchup against the Patriots could produce a big day, while Kenny Britt, who's rounding into form, and Cecil Shorts, who returns from a concussion, should be strong big-play options.
Loudly voicing his approval of Colin Kaepernick under center, it appears 49ers WR Michael Crabtree is on a fantasy roll of sorts, catching a combined 16 passes for 194 yards (12.1 ypc) in the last two games. Crabtree could be a force Sunday night going up against New England’s 29th-ranked pass defense.
Titans WR Kenny Britt had his most dominant performance of the season in Week 14, catching eight passes for 146 yards. Britt was explosive after the catch and looked as healthy as he’s been all season. Although he has a difficult matchup against the Jets and CB Antonio Cromartie on “Monday Night Football,” he is a solid WR3. The absence of TE Jared Cook, who was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder inury this week, should only increase Britt’s chances, particularly downfield.
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (concussion) returned to practice Wednesday after missing Jacksonville’s Week 14 game against the Jets. This is an encouraging sign for the Jaguars and Shorts owners, who have reaped the huge benefits from one of the league’s more explosive receivers in 2012. If Shorts is active, he should be in your lineup against this week against the Dolphins, the team who drafted Shorts’ quarterback, Chad Henne, in Round Two in 2008.
Dolphins WR Brian Hartline is approaching 1,000 receiving yards, and while he has found paydirt only once, he has emerged as a favorite target of Ryan Tannehill. In last Sunday’s loss to the 49ers, Hartline was targeted eight times, but had only two catches. Many of those targets were — and have been all season — deep throws down the sideline. The Jaguars’ defense should provide more opportunities for Tannehill to hit Hartline deep, boosting his fantasy value for Week 15 as a No. 3 WR or flex option.
Falcons WR Roddy White (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, but head coach Mike Smith said White should return to practice Thursday. It’s still worth it for White owners to keep an eye on his status this weekend. He is a must-start as long as he is active Sunday vs. the Giants.
All eight of Steelers WR Mike Wallace’s TD catches this season have come with QB Ben Roethlisberger in the lineup. Wallace, who caught 7-112-2 in the Steelers’ Week 14 loss to San Diego, figures to be in the bulk of fantasy lineups this week.
Colts WR Donnie Avery (ribs) was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday. Avery was quiet in Week 14 (3-31-0), but he was targeted nine times, including a perfectly thrown pass in the endzone that Avery simply dropped. Avery’s volume of opportunities — 31 targets the past three weeks — makes him an enticing play against Houston’s reeling secondary.
Dez Bryant, despite a broken finger, says he’s playing Sunday after speaking with doctors about his options. He could be hindered, but he has been too hot not to consider starting.
Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe won’t play Sunday and could be out for the season. Dropping him is not a bad idea.
Don’t jump to the waiver wire to snatch up new Jets WR Braylon Edwards, but keep an eye on him Monday night. Edwards had 53 catches for 904 yards and seven touchdowns when he was with Mark Sanchez in 2010, and while he hasn’t been productive in the past two seasons, the Jets are desperate for help at pass catcher. If he gets a decent amount of targets on Monday night against Tennessee, he could be a sleeper pick for fantasy championship games in Week 16 against San Diego. Until then, Jeremy Kerley remains your best pass-catching option on the Jets’ offense.
Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins has been targeted eight times in each of the last two games and merits a look in bigger leagues against a far-from-imposing Eagles pass defense in Week 15. Hawkins, who’s caught 11-91-1 in that span, is especially interesting in PPR leagues.
It would be a risky proposition to gamble on Rams WR Danny Amendola being able to return to action this Sunday vs. Minnesota after missing the last two games with a heel/foot injury. Head coach Jeff Fisher sounded much more optimistic about Amendola earlier in the week than he did after Wednesday’s practice, which Amendola participated in on a limited basis. With Amendola looking iffy, a fantasy sleeper could be resilient Rams WR Brandon Gibson, who burst out of the woodwork in Week 14 with a surprising 6-100-1 effort in the win over Buffalo.
You better not count on Seahawks WR Sidney Rice this weekend, as it appears the team’s leader in receptions and receiving yards is doubtful for the game Sunday vs. the Bills in Toronto because of a late-developing foot injury. With Rice likely out of the lineup, there could be more fantasy opportunities for regular No. 3 receiver Doug Baldwin, whose best game this season came against another AFC East opponent — New England in Week Six (2-74-1).
In his first game after being promoted from the practice squad, Lions WR Kris Durham saw significant playing time in the Week 14 loss at Green Bay. Durham was targeted nine times, catching four passes for 54 yards. He could be worth considering in big leagues.