PFW's late-week fantasy tips for wide receivers:
WRs Brandon Lloyd and Cecil Shorts will both be players to start in fantasy leagues this week when the Patriots and Jaguars meet in Jacksonville. We offer fantasy notes on Lloyd, Shorts, Rams WR Danny Amendola and more in PFW's Week 16 wide-receiver tips.
The Patriots’ Week 16 matchup against the Jaguars is one of those “start everyone” situations, as New England could light up the scoreboard, and that goes for WR Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd rewarded patient fantasy owners the last two weeks, going 7-89-1 vs. Houston and 10-190-0 in the loss to the 49ers. He should fare well on Sunday against Jacksonville’s 24th-ranked passing defense.
Although it wasn’t enough to get back in the win column, the return of Cecil Shorts in Week 15 (6-101-0) was an encouraging sign that there are no lingering effects from the concussion he suffered in Week 13. Just 75 yards shy of becoming the Jaguars first 1,000 yard receiver since Jimmy Smith in 2005, Shorts is a must-start against a New England pass defense that was victimized for one big play after the next by Colin Kaepernick and the Niners last week. With the Jaguars likely to be playing catch up, Shorts could be in line for a big day.
Browns WR Josh Gordon might merit a look in three-WR leagues in Week 16. The Broncos have surrendered 24 TD passes, and the Browns could be playing from behind. Gordon leads the Browns in receiving yards (759) and TD catches (five).
In Ben Roethlisberger’s first two starts back in the lineup after missing three games with shoulder and rib injuries, Steelers WRs Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown have been targeted 21 times apiece, with Wallace catching 11 passes for 207 yards and two TDs and Brown hauling in 12 passes for 111 yards and a pair of scores. Both Wallace and Brown are playable in Week 16 vs. Cincinnati, especially in three-WR formats.
Bills WR Stevie Johnson is approaching his third consecutive 1,000-yard season and should expect plenty of targets on Sunday. He has had at least six catches in five of the last six games, including a 6-79 performance against Miami in Week 11. Johnson was able to separate from Dolphins CB Sean Smith with ease when they matched up earlier this season. The Dolphins could apply more attention to Johnson, especially without many other viable options in the Bills’ receiving game, but he will still get his opportunities.
While WR Braylon Edwards showed some flashes in his first game back in a Jets uniform, it’s hard to expect much out of him in Week 16 with QB Greg McElroy at the helm. The Jets’ pass catchers all lose whatever fantasy value they had with McElroy getting the start at quarterback.
Rams WR Danny Amendola shapes up as a potentially scintillating flex prospect going up against a Bucs defense that has had all kinds of problems lately. Amendola bounced back from a two-week injury-induced hiatus (heel/foot) last Sunday with a 6-58-1 receiving effort in the Rams’ loss to the Vikings, and the team’s offense is showing signs of going with more of an up-tempo passing attack down the stretch that is tailor-made for Amendola’s quality skills out of the slot. In Tampa Bay’s current four-game tailspin, the Bucs have given up an average of just under 30 points and 305.7 passing yards per game. In the Saints’ 41-0 drubbing of the Bucs last Sunday, New Orleans slot stalwarts Lance Moore and Darren Sproles each registered TD catches.
Niners WRs Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss might be solid fantasy pieces in a playoff lineup puzzle this Sunday, playing in a game in Seattle that could very much be like the Niners’ rain-slicked barn-burner vs. the Pats last week, as far as the weather conditions are concerned. Crabtree (7-107-2 in Week 15, six TDs in last seven games) could be a particularly challenging matchup for an undermanned Seahawks CB corps missing suspended starter Brandon Browner for sure and also possibly fellow starter Richard Sherman, pending his Friday appeal on a four-game suspension for allegedly testing positive for Adderrall (check status). Moss’ opportunities could be a lot more limited due to the possible return of WR Mario Manningham (shoulder, check status).
Titans WR Kendall Wright (3-31-0) cracked at least one rib in the win over the Jets, leaving his status for Sunday's game against the Packers up in the air. Wright leads the Titans in receptions (62), but he has not provided the big plays the Titans expected when they drafted him in April.
Colts WR Reggie Wayne has not surpassed six receptions or 64 receiving yards since Week 12, yet he remains QB Andrew Luck’s most trusted target and should be in fantasy lineups Sunday against the Chiefs. The field-stretching and run after-the-catch talents of T.Y. Hilton (3-78-1 in Week 15) make him a decent WR3 of flex option this week, as well.
Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin has been a little limited with a back injury but should be cleared for Sunday against the Redskins.