It's not news that the NFL is becoming more pass-oriented. It is an absolute must to start a solid group of receivers on your fantasy squad to have any chance of week to week fantasy glory.
In this Week 2 version of start em, sit em, there are several wildcard options to consider if your team is thin at wideout. The inexact science of fantasy football tells us to overreact to everything week by week as we try to figure out a consistent winning formula—probably failing every time.
Here are some educated guesses as to which temptations to indulge in at the receiver position.
Stephen Hill, New York Jets
Was his spectacular two-touchdown debut an aberration, or was it just what the Jets thought they were getting from the Georgia Tech product?
Hill is no Calvin Johnson and he is much smaller, but he flashed big-play ability against the Buffalo Bills.
The rookie is probably hanging out on your waiver wire somewhere, enticing you to give Hill a whirl based on last week's big performance and lack of other viable receiving options on the Jets. It would usually be a discouraging matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, particularly on the road, but two factors are working in the Jets' favor.
First of all, the Steeler defense is battling injury issues to some marquee players. The team's typical starting safeties might swap roles from last week. Ryan Clark missed Week 1 because of a sickle cell condition and Troy Polamalu hasn't practiced all week due to a calf injury (via ESPN's Injury Report).
Former defensive player of the year James Harrison has also not suited up. He is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game.
Suddenly, the Steelers could be facing an early deficit in the AFC North.
More importantly, Hill is suddenly a much more attractive option in your fantasy league.
Aldrick Robinson, Washington Redskins
Who saw this coming?
Of a receiving corps that includes long-time Redskin Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson and offseason acquisitions Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, it was the 2011 sixth-round pick who received the most targets against the New Orleans Saints.
No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III connected on four of six passes thrown Robinson's way, including a five-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Moss was expected to be the key target in the slot, which should still be the trend as the season wears on.
Against the St. Louis Rams, Robinson's opportunities may be limited thanks to a secondary featuring All-Pro safety Quintin Mikell and an exciting corner duo in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins. Robinson should have a down week against a much tougher, aggressive defense.
Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots
The career journeyman didn't reach the endzone against the Tennessee Titans, but he finished with a game-high 69 yards on five catches.
Lloyd is known for making acrobatic catches, which will make him a nice jump ball target in the redzone. However, this match against the Arizona Cardinals may pose more problems than meets the eye.
Whether it's William Gay or the freakishly athletic Patrick Peterson, Lloyd will have his hands full, and the Patriots will likely look to exploit the mismatches caused by their devastating tight end tandem more frequently.
With the Arizona secondary looking for the tight ends and Lloyd to go vertical, Wes Welker should get plenty of more opportunities on underneath routes. He has been Tom Brady's favorite target for years, and it's premature to say that Lloyd's Week 1 production will be a trend rather than a blip.
Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers
Starting opposite Michael Crabtree, the Canton-bound 35-year-old showed that he still has some football left in him, catching a key 14-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith in the Niners' 30-22 victory.
It's pretty much a dream matchup this week against the Detroit Lions, too, who failed to make significant improvements to their defensive backfield in the offseason.
Moss will still have to compete with Crabtree, Mario Manningham and tight end Vernon Davis for touches, but it is a primetime contest on Sunday night. Typically, that is the atmosphere in which Moss relishes.
The Lions shut down Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson last week, and will look to do the same against the Niners' power ground game. That should open up plenty of opportunities for Moss to have another memorable performance on the big stage.