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2014 Draft Prep: The WR landscape

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week long $100,000 Fantasy Football contest for just Week 1. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1 p.m. ET. Enter now

Overviews: QBs | RBs | TEs | Draft Averages | Rankings | Draft Index

The NFL wants passing games to flourish. The new emphasis on illegal contact between receivers and pass defenders this season should allow for eye-popping numbers.

And we like that as Fantasy owners.

If defensive backs will be forced to avoid touching receivers, we could see even more emphasis on teams throwing the ball. We know it's a passing league, but this could become a new extreme.

In the past three seasons, there have been at least 16 quarterbacks to attempt more than 500 passes a year, which is the most over a three-year span dating back to 2004. And last year we had 23 receivers gain at least 1,000 yards and 10 score at least 10 touchdowns. The last time that happened was 2004.

Fantasy owners know featured running backs are becoming scarce, but standout receivers are starting to increase. It's the reason we say you can wait on receiver and still build an amazing Fantasy roster with potential studs at those spots. Just look at last year.

Of the receivers who finished in the Top 24 of standard formats -- which qualifies as a starter in a 12-team league -- 15 were drafted in Round 5 or later based on Average Draft Position. While the studs like Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall are safe -- they were drafted in the first two rounds and finished as five of the top six receivers -- your team isn't in trouble if you miss on one of those guys.

Now, the question becomes how do you find the gems with late-round picks? It's easy to say receivers will emerge, but we all want the next Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery and not just Marvin Jones and Riley Cooper.

Here are 70 receivers you can either target or avoid on Draft Day based on their ADP on CBSSpots.com. Drafting one of the Top 12 guys is easy, but we're going to show you the late-round targets that should lead to Fantasy success.

Top 12

1. Calvin Johnson, Lions
2. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
3. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
4. A.J. Green, Bengals
5. Julio Jones, Falcons
6. Brandon Marshall, Bears
7. Jordy Nelson, Packers
8. Antonio Brown, Steelers
9. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
10. Randall Cobb, Packers
11. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
12. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers

Range: Rounds 1-4 (Picks 6-43)
Guys I want: All of them
Guys I tend to avoid: None
The closest guys to receivers I would avoid would be Fitzgerald and Jackson, but getting one of those options in Round 3 or 4 as your No. 2 receiver is still great, depending on the start of your draft. The other 10 receivers should be locked in for monster years, barring injury. ... Johnson isn't in a tier by himself any more because he actually finished third in Fantasy points last season behind Thomas and Gordon. But his consistency (he's been a Top 5 receiver each of the past four years), coupled with his overall greatness, keeps him at the top spot. ... I go back and forth between Thomas and Bryant for the second spot, but Thomas gets an edge with the Broncos having to replace Eric Decker's 137 targets. While that will be spread amongst the other receivers in Denver, Thomas should still dominate. As for Bryant, he's going to be awesome in a contract year with the Cowboys having no defense and being forced to throw a lot. ... Green, Jones and Marshall are all names you can throw into a hat, and whoever you end up with would be fine. Green could take a slight hit with the Bengals planning to be more run-based, but he's still a Top 5 receiver. And don't worry about Marshall losing targets to Jeffery since Jay Cutler appears to favor Marshall more based on target distribution. ... Jones was on pace for 208 Fantasy points in a standard league before he suffered a broken foot in Week 5, which would have tied him with Green for the No. 4 receiver spot. He's capable of replicating that kind of year, so draft accordingly. ... Nelson should be viewed as one of the elite receivers, in case there was any doubt. If you project his stats with a healthy Aaron Rodgers -- who missed seven games with a broken clavicle -- he would have been the No. 1 receiver with 240 Fantasy points. ... Brown didn't take off until the second half of the season when he had double digits in Fantasy points in seven of his final nine games. With the Steelers keeping their up-tempo offense to start this season, Brown should pick up where last season ended, especially with Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery gone. ... Jeffery and Cobb might be second fiddle on their respective teams, but they are still stars in their own right. Jeffery is entering his third season, and we hope he pushes Marshall for the top spot in this passing game. It's not likely to happen, but the gap is closing between the two guys. For Cobb, he never got a chance to try for the 100 catches the Packers promised last year because of a broken leg in Week 6, but he had 10-plus targets in his first three games, seven plus catches in his first two games and at least 108 yards and a touchdown in those outings. The potential is there, and Cobb is a low-end No. 1 receiver worth drafting in Round 3. ... Fitzgerald might be clinging to the No. 1 role for the Cardinals over Michael Floyd, but whether he's No. 1 or 2 on the depth chart, he'll be a vital cog in a heavy passing attack. ... Jackson won't cede the top spot to Mike Evans, at least not yet, and we hope the addition of Josh McCown can help Jackson thrive. He has at least 72 catches, 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns in consecutive years for the Buccaneers.

13-24

13. Michael Crabtree, 49ers
14. Andre Johnson, Texans
15. Keenan Allen, Chargers
16. Pierre Garcon, Redskins
17. Wes Welker, Broncos
18. Victor Cruz, Giants
19. Roddy White, Falcons
20. Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
21. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
22. DeSean Jackson, Redskins
23. Percy Harvin, Seahawks
24. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos

Range: Rounds 4-7 (Picks 44-73)
Guys I want: Crabtree, Allen, Garcon, Welker, Cruz, White, Patterson, Floyd, Harvin and Sanders
Guys I tend to avoid: Johnson and Jackson
In the seven starts Crabtree made with Colin Kaepernick in 2012, he had 41 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns. If you project that over 16 games, Crabtree would have finished with 94 catches for 1,360 yards and 11 touchdowns. We hope those stats are similar this year, which is why he's worth drafting in Round 4. ... Allen didn't really become part of the offense until Week 4, but he took off from there. If you project his stats over 16 games from that point on, he would have been No. 12 in Fantasy points. He's a safe No. 2 receiver in Round 4. ... Garcon led all receivers in catches (113) and targets (184) last year, but he'll regress with the addition of DeSean Jackson and return to health of Jordan Reed. But he'll be involved enough to remain a solid No. 2 receiver in standard leagues and a borderline No. 1 in PPR. ... This is likely Welker's last season in Denver. He's in a contract year, and the Broncos brought in Sanders and rookie Cody Latimer, which shows their plans for the future. That said, Welker will still play a prominent role for the Broncos and remains a No. 2 receiver worth drafting in Round 4 or 5. ... Cruz has the chance for a big season in Ben McAdoo's offense, but the Giants have looked sluggish in the preseason. We're not giving up yet, and Cruz could still be a great option in all formats. He's still the best receiver in New York. ... White, Patterson, Floyd and Harvin are four of my favorite receivers this year. White should bounce back in a big way now that he's healthy. ... Patterson showed off his dynamic playmaking to close last season with a four-game scoring streak, and we're expecting a nice boost in his production. He's a No. 2 receiver worth targeting in Round 5. ... Floyd could be a huge breakout star entering his third season. There's talk he could surpass Fitzgerald as the No. 1 receiver, but either way he's someone to target no later than Round 5. ... Harvin is an injury risk since he's played in just 10 games the past two years, but when he's healthy he shines. And right now he's ready to go entering the season. ... Sanders will be the No. 3 receiver for the Broncos and No. 4 target when you factor in Julius Thomas. His upside is limited when everyone is healthy, but he's still a Top 25 receiver based on his potential. ... I hope Johnson has a big year because he deserves it, but I'm skeptical with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his starter. He's also battled a hamstring injury in training camp, and I'm worried about his production in Round 4. ... Jackson should regress with the Redskins. He'll have some big games as a boom or bust receiver, but he's more of a No. 3 receiver than a No. 2 option.

25-36

25. Julian Edelman, Patriots
26. Golden Tate, Lions
27. Torrey Smith, Ravens
28. T.Y. Hilton, Colts
29. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
30. Mike Wallace, Dolphins
31. Marques Colston, Saints
32. Sammy Watkins, Bills
33. Kendall Wright, Titans
34. Terrance Williams, Cowboys
35. Brandin Cooks, Saints
36. Reggie Wayne, Colts

Range: Rounds 7-9 (Picks 76-100)
Guys I want: Edelman, Tate, Smith, Hilton, Maclin, Wallace, Colston, Wright, Williams and Cooks
Guys I tend to avoid: Watkins and Wayne
Edelman won't replicate his stats from last year, when he set career highs in catches (105), yards (1,056) and touchdowns (six), as long as Rob Gronkowski (knee) is healthy. But if Gronkowski is out, Edelman could be a star. Still, with Gronkowski, we consider Edelman a No. 3 receiver in standard leagues and No. 2 option in PPR. ... Tate has the chance to thrive with the Lions. He'll be in single coverage opposite Calvin Johnson, and the Lions will give him many more opportunities to make plays than he had with the Seahawks. I'm all in as early as Round 5, so I love getting him in Round 7. ... Maclin is battling a hamstring problem heading into the third week of the preseason, but when healthy he has Top 20 potential as the new No. 1 receiver in Chip Kelly's offense. He's well worth a pick in Round 7 or 8. ... Smith has been a Top 24 receiver in standard leagues each of the past three years. He's more of a No. 3 Fantasy option than a must-start receiver, but he's a great value pick in this spot. ... Hilton and Wayne will jockey for the No. 1 receiver spot in Indianapolis, but we like Hilton better entering his third year. Wayne is coming off a torn ACL and will likely lose some playing time and targets to Hakeem Nicks. Hilton's upside makes him a great No. 3 receiver with starting potential, and Wayne is only worth a pick in Round 9 at best. ... Wallace could have a breakout season playing for offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The Dolphins will move Wallace around, and he should bounce back from last year's disappointing performance. ... Fantasy owners are skeptical of Colston based on his injury concerns, Kenny Stills taking on a bigger role and the addition of rookie Brandin Cooks. He's a safe pick in this range, and we hope he can hold up for 16 games based on his previous foot woes. ... Speaking of Cooks, the Saints are going to use him to help replace Darren Sproles and Lance Moore. We can't wait to see Cooks on the field with Drew Brees after Brees was out the first two preseason games with an oblique injury. ... Wright is another potential third-year breakout. If he can raise his touchdown total from the two he had last year to at least five, that would elevate him to Top 24 status after he had 94 catches for 1,079 yards in 2013. ... Williams has the chance to be this year's Jeffery or Floyd as a sophomore standout. He'll get plenty of single coverage opposite Bryant, and he's a steal at this point in the draft. I love the Cowboys offense this year. ... Watkins is the best receiver of this class, but he ended up in difficult situation with EJ Manuel throwing him passes. I'm OK with Watkins as a No. 4 receiver, but anything higher than that is something I'd avoid.

37-48

37. Eric Decker, Jets
38. Mike Evans, Buccaneers
39. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
40. Riley Cooper, Eagles
41. Rueben Randle, Giants
42. Tavon Austin, Rams
43. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers
44. Hakeem Nicks, Colts
45. Anquan Boldin, 49ers
46. Josh Gordon, Browns
47. Danny Amendola, Patriots
48. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

Range: Rounds 10-12 (Picks 111-135)
Guys I want: Randle and Benjamin
Guys I tend to avoid: Decker, Evans, Bowe, Cooper, Austin, Nicks, Boldin, Amendola and Hopkins
Wait and see: Gordon
We added an extra category for Gordon, who could make a Fantasy team awesome if you drafted him here prior to the ruling on his suspension. If he's able to play eight games or more, he's a huge difference maker. But if your draft has yet to happen, you'll have to gauge when to take him to see if he plays or not. ... Randle is entering his third season, and this is his time to shine. With Nicks gone, he will start opposite Cruz, and we hope the Giants passing game will help him have a breakout campaign. ... Benjamin is going to be the No. 1 receiver for the Panthers. He's looked good in the preseason, and Cam Newton needs him to have a big year. ... Decker going to the Jets is a significant downgrade, and he's been dealing with a quad injury in training camp. He's not going to be the same player without Peyton Manning. ... Evans could have a big season, and I wouldn't be surprised if he challenged Benjamin for the touchdown lead among rookie receivers. But if he doesn't score, the rest of his production could be minimal. I'd only draft him fourth among rookie receivers behind Cooks, Watkins and Benjamin. ... I actually like Bowe this year, and I'll wait until his ADP drops even further. The Chiefs are going to be in much more competitive games compared to last year, and Alex Smith will need Bowe. You won't see more downfield passes because that's not Smith's strength, but Bowe should build off last year's disappointing campaign. He can't get any worse, even with the one-game suspension. ... Cooper and Boldin were Top 24 receivers last year, but they should regress this season. Cooper has a lot of competition for targets with Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy. I'm not expecting Cooper to finish in the Top 30, and he's also dealing with an ankle injury in training camp. ... Boldin also has challengers for targets with Crabtree back and the addition of Steve Johnson. He's just a late-round flier at best. ... Austin and Hopkins were rookie disappointments last year, and I'm not expecting much as sophomores. Hopkins has more upside, but like Andre Johnson, the quarterback situation in Houston is troubling. ... Austin is being outplayed by Kenny Britt in training camp. That should tell you all you need to know about his Fantasy value. ... Amendola can't stay healthy, and the Patriots have plenty of options at receiver with Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins. Amendola should only be considered in PPR formats. ... Nicks is going to have to prove he's healthy for 16 games and that he deserves targets over Hilton and Wayne. We're skeptical he'll make enough of an impact to consider starting in the majority of leagues.

49-60

49. Justin Hunter, Titans
50. Kenny Stills, Saints
51. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
52. Marvin Jones, Bengals
53. Brian Hartline, Dolphins
54. Jarrett Boykin, Packers
55. Steve Smith, Ravens
56. Jordan Matthews, Eagles
57. Markus Wheaton, Steelers
58. Harry Douglas, Falcons
59. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
60. Odell Beckham, Giants

Range: Rounds 12-13 (Picks 137-151)
Guys I want: Hunter, Stills, Boykin, Matthews and Wheaton
Guys I tend to avoid: Shorts, Jones, Hartline, Smith, Douglas, Baldwin and Beckham
Hunter was a sleeper I mentioned in March, and we saw a huge preseason outing in the second game against Green Bay. Hunter has Top 30 potential, if not higher, if Jake Locker can stay healthy for 16 games. I like Hunter a lot. ... I like Stills to improve in his second season as a starter opposite Colston. He'll have to show he's more than just a deep threat, but we like his opportunity playing with Brees, especially with a pick in this spot. ... Boykin is the No. 3 receiver for the Packers behind Nelson and Cobb. He played well in 2013 when Cobb was out with 49 catches for 681 yards and three touchdowns, and he did most of that when Rodgers was hurt. With James Jones and Jermichael Finley gone, Boykin could see plenty of playing time with an elite quarterback. ... I like Matthews, but there are a lot of mouths to feed with the Eagles. Still, with Maclin and Cooper battling injuries and a need for production with Jackson gone, he's worth the risk in this spot. ... Wheaton has potential, but his rookie year was marred by injury and inconsistent play. But like Matthews, the Steelers have a need at receiver with Sanders and Cotchery now gone. ... Shorts can't stay healthy and will battle rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson for targets. He's not bad value here, especially in PPR leagues, but his injury history, poor quarterback outlook and competition for targets makes him relatively unattractive in most formats. ... I like Hartline here in PPR leagues since he has two years in a row with 70 catches and 1,000 yards. If his touchdown total increased (he had a career-high four in 2013) then he would emerge as a must-start PPR option. ... Jones is out until at least Week 5 with a broken foot. He's worth a late-round flier with the hope he can play at a high level for the final 11 games, but we're passing with the injury. ... Smith will be a good possession receiver for the Ravens, but his best days are clearly behind him. There's little upside here outside of deep PPR formats. ... Beckham is dealing with a hamstring injury, and he'll be third for the Giants at best behind Cruz and Randle, which lowers his upside. ... I'm OK with Baldwin as a late-round flier, but the Seahawks won't give him enough targets to make him a starting-caliber option. Still, if something were to happen to Harvin, then Baldwin's value would rise. ... Douglas was great last season with Jones out and White battling injuries, as he finished with 85 catches for 1,067 yards and two touchdowns. But with Jones active, Douglas averaged just three catches for 44 yards and no scores. He'll be closer to that than a 1,000-yard receiver.

Best of the rest ...

61. Greg Jennings, Vikings
62. Kenny Britt, Rams
63. James Jones, Raiders
64. Marqise Lee, Jaguars
65. Aaron Dobson, Patriots
66. Brandon LaFell, Patriots
67. Rod Streater, Raiders
68. Miles Austin, Browns
69. Andrew Hawkins, Browns
70. Jerricho Cotchery, Panthers
71. Robert Woods, Bills
No ADP. Andre Holmes, Raiders

Range: Rounds 12-13 (Picks 151-164)
Guys I want: Britt, Lee, Dobson, Streater and Holmes
Guys I tend to avoid: Jennings, Jones, LaFell, Austin, Hawkins, Cotchery and Woods
There aren't a lot of starting options in this group, but there are some intriguing receivers. We added Holmes to the last spot because he has plenty of upside with the Raiders. I still like Streater as the best Oakland receiver entering his third year, but we'll see how it plays out. James Jones, unfortunately, has fallen out of favor for Fantasy owners despite his history with the Packers. Losing Rodgers clearly hurts. ... Britt is being hyped as the No. 1 receiver for the Rams after being reunited with Jeff Fisher. He's definitely worth the risk with a pick in this round if he can get back to his 2011 pre-ACL form. ... Lee could easily lead the Jaguars in receptions, especially if Shorts continues to battle injuries. Lee could be this year's Allen as an injury-plagued college receiver who falls in the draft but surprises us as a Fantasy option. ... Dobson has been dealing with a foot injury, and he's missed the first two preseason games. But he could end up being the best outside receiver for the Patriots ahead of Thompkins and LaFell. ... Jennings could surprise you as the most-targeted receiver for the Vikings ahead of Patterson and Kyle Rudolph, but there's little upside there in Minnesota. ... Hawkins and Austin will compete for the No. 1 receiver for the Browns if Gordon is out. Move along, nothing to see here. Hawkins might be interesting in PPR leagues, but add him off waivers. ... Cotchery scored 10 touchdowns with the Steelers last year, but he'll see a steep decline with the Panthers. ... Woods enters the season as the No. 3 receiver for the Bills behind Watkins and Mike Williams. He could emerge as a solid option, but I'd rather take him off waivers after seeing how Manuel does.

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Player News
QB struggles begin to impact Cardinals DST
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:13 am ET) The Cardinals DST scored just one Fantasy point in standard CBSSports.com leagues Week 16 against Seattle, interrupting a stretch of 10 games in which it averaged 15.1, and the Cardinals' offensive woes may have had something to do with it.

Specifically, they've been unable to find a decent quarterback since losing Carson Palmer to injury in Week 10. Backup Drew Stanton at least mounted some kind of threat, but with him sidelined by a sprained knee in Week 16, the Cardinals had to turn to third-stringer Ryan Lindley. He turned the ball over twice without once leading his team into the end zone, completing less than half of his passes in the process.

The quick trips back to the sideline gave the Seahawks more chances to pile up points and yards, and they did, finishing with 35 and 596. Only one other time have the Cardinals allowed more than 30 points in a game, and the 596 yards were a season high. Worse yet, they were lacking in big plays, recording one sack with no takeaways.

Fortunately, the Cardinals will take on a struggling 49ers offense in Week 17, so even if Lindley is back under center, the DST at least has a chance of a respectable performance. Still, if you've been relying on it all season, you might want to make sure there isn't an appealing matchups play on the waiver wire.


Seahawks DST can't be stopped
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:04 am ET) The Seahawks DST had another dominant performance Week 16 at Arizona, continuing a nine-week run that has made it once again arguably the top unit in Fantasy. During that stretch, it has averaged 16.2 Fantasy points, allowing 11.9 points on 231.3 yards.

It allowed only six points on 216 yards in Week 16, recording four sacks and one interception. Of the Seahawks' 33 sacks this season, 20 have come in their last five games.

Clearly, they had a favorable matchup in this one, but they also shut down the Eagles in Week 14. You don't have any reason to shy away from the Seahawks DST against St. Louis in Week 17.


Kenbrell Thompkins comes out of nowhere
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:58 am ET) After making only modest contributions since coming over from the Patriots in Week 6, Raiders wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins suddenly emerged as quarterback Derek Carr's favorite target Week 16 against Buffalo, catching five passes for 90 yards. He hadn't caught even one pass since Week 13, and his previous high in yardage was 47.

Of course, you should know how this goes by now. Fellow wide receivers James Jones and Andre Holmes have both had their stretches of Fantasy relevance this season, as has tight end Mychal Rivera. The Raiders have a multitude of viable receiving targets, but their roles aren't so clear, which makes the task of picking the most impactful from week to week next to impossible.

In other words, you'd need to play in an especially deep league to take a flier on Thompkins for the season's final week.


Latavius Murray trustworthy up to a point
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:51 am ET) If his 23 carries Week 14 against San Francisco didn't convince you, Latavius Murray's 23 carries Week 16 against Buffalo should make the message loud and clear: He is the Raiders' top running back, and they're putting more faith in him than they ever did Darren McFadden.

Granted, it hasn't translated to much production yet, but the 49ers and Bills are two of the toughest defenses against the run. Unfortunately, Denver, the Raiders' Week 17 opponent, is ranked even higher at both.

Can you trust Murray to get his carries? He's gotten them two of the last three weeks, so most likely, yes. And with 20-plus chances, there's always the chance he breaks a long one. But the matchup will make it difficult.

You'd like to start him given his ever-increasing role, but you shouldn't force him into your lineup if you have two (or maybe three) respectable running backs already.


One way or another, Fred Jackson gets his
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:44 am ET) Trailing early Week 16 at Oakland with their playoff hopes on the line, the Bills didn't stick with the running game for long, attempting only three runs in the second half. But in a way, that worked to running back Fred Jackson's advantage. He's such a good pass-catcher out of the backfield that he still topped 100 total yards, doing so for the first time since returning from a groin injury in Week 12.

Even with the return of C.J. Spiller from a long-term shoulder injury, Jackson still led the Bills in carries, but with only six for 10 yards. He also led the team in catches with nine for 93 yards. He had 10 catches just two weeks ago, so clearly, he's a PPR stud.

Is he worth starting in standard leagues as well? Well, he's also gotten 20 carries twice in five games since returning. He hasn't been as effective on the ground as through the air, but yards are yards, however he gets them.

Their matchup Week 17 at New England will probably force the Bills to go pass-heavy again, so unless you're stacked at running back, you can find a spot for Jackson in your lineup.


Desperation fuels Kyle Orton's performance
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:35 am ET) Bills quarterback Kyle Orton didn't have the most efficient day throwing the ball Week 16 at Oakland, but from a Fantasy perspective, it was a productive one. He threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns but also had two interceptions.

What's crazy, though, is that 196 of those yards came in the second half. The Bills were trailing a winnable game with their playoff hopes on the line, and their desperation showed. Unfortunately, that desperation also contributed to the second of Orton's interceptions.

The Bills have been eliminated, so no matter how much they're trailing Week 17 at New England, they probably won't be quite as desperate. You can expect more typical numbers from Orton -- maybe about 250 yards with one or two scores -- even if the matchup appears to be a favorable one, making him a player better left for two-quarterback leagues.


Kenny Britt clearly better with Shaun Hill
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:27 am ET) Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt caught a season-high nine passes on a season-high 11 targets Week 16 against the Giants, but his 103 receiving yards actually weren't a season high.

That's because he had 128, along with a touchdown, Week 11 against the Broncos.

That was Shaun Hill's first game back under center. Week 16, obviously, was his latest one. In the six games since Hill reclaimed the role, Britt has averaged 3.8 catches for 66.3 yards. In the nine games before then, he averaged 2.3 catches for 34.7 yards.

Britt has been especially good lately, averaging 73.3 yards in his last three games. Hill has also been fond of Stedman Bailey, but he doesn't seem to have a clear preference for one or the other.

Of course, the Rams passing attack isn't prolific enough to sustain both, so if you're going to target Britt or Bailey off the waiver wire, make sure it's in a deeper league. You wouldn't want to roll the dice on either in the season's final week if you can help it.


Andre Williams showing more ability
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:19 am ET) Carrying the load for the third straight game with Rashad Jennings sidelined by an ankle injury Week 16 at St. Louis, Giants rookie running back Andre Williams delivered his second 100-yard effort during that stretch, picking up 110 yards on 26 carries. Of course, just like in Week 14, it wasn't the steadiest performance. He had a 50-yard run in that one en route to a career-best 131 yards. He had a 45-yard run en route to his 110 yards in this one.

But that's true for most 100-yard rushing performances. The best backs break long runs occasionally, which makes up for all the 2- and 3-yard gains in between. It's easy to discount Williams' performance because of a long run here or a long run there because he's been so bad on a per-carry basis this season (take that 45-yard run away, and he averaged only 2.6 yards per carry -- oh noes!), but the fact is those long runs count, too. And he barreled over a couple of tacklers to complete it, which was nice to see.

Because Williams is short on receiving ability, his numbers don't look so great when he doesn't break a long run, but with all the carries he's getting now, his chances are better than not of breaking one. He's worth starting in standard leagues Week 17 against Philadelphia.


Rueben Randle not overshadowed for once
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:08 am ET) Since the emergence of rookie Odell Beckham in Week 9, and especially since his even bigger emergence in Week 12, wide receiver Rueben Randle has been an afterthought in the Giants passing game, averaging 2.3 catches for 31.8 yards in the four games leading up to Week 16 at St. Louis. But quarterback Eli Manning finally had enough yards to go around in that one, delivering Beckham his usual eight grabs for 148 yards and still finding Randle on six passes for 132 yards.

Randle even caught a touchdown pass, his first since Week 5. Of course, Beckham caught two and is now up to eight in his last five games, averaging 9.6 catches for 131.4 yards during that stretch.

You see the problem here, don't you? Manning was able to sustain both Beckham and Randle in this one, but that's only because he threw for a season-high 391 yards. If he regresses to a more modest total Week 17 against Philadelphia, we all know Randle is the one taking a back seat. Beckham has other-worldly talent, and Manning is smart enough to deliver him the ball as often as possible.

Of course, the Giants will probably have to throw a lot to keep pace with the Eagles, which bodes well for Randle, but you should still treat him as no more than a No. 3 wide receiver in Fantasy.


Odell Beckham making Eli Manning a stud
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:58 am ET) Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham had another eight catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns Week 16 at St. Louis, which has become par for the course for him. It was his second straight game and third game in five with more than 140 receiving yards and multiple scores.

What you may not have noticed, though, is that quarterback Eli Manning has taken off during that same stretch. He had a season-high 391 yards and three touchdowns in Week 16, completing 25 of 32 passes. Over his last five games, he has averaged 297.2 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.

It stands to reason, of course. Beckham couldn't be putting up all those numbers without someone throwing him the ball. This may be one of those rare cases of the wide receiver making the quarterback as opposed to the other way around. Beckham is clearly a special talent, and Manning has made a point to deliver him the ball as often as possible.

It's reason enough to give Manning another chance Week 17 against Philadelphia if you've been suffering with Matthew Stafford or Colin Kaepernick and are somehow still alive in spite of it.


 
 
 
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