Here are my top 45 wide receivers for Week 4 (standard-scoring leagues).
To clarify, this countdown identifies the weekend's best bets for total yards, touchdowns and targets—a stat that must always factor into lineup strategies with receivers and tight ends.
When it comes to crafting a weekly listing of elite wide receivers, simply follow the trail of quarterbacks primed for Week 4 glory...or the wideouts with great track records against middling pass defenses.
Two quick notes: The Steelers and Colts are on byes this week, and I'm not expecting Washington's Pierre Garcon (foot) to be at full strength on Sunday.
Week 4: Top 45 Receivers
1. Calvin Johnson vs. Minnesota
2. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Miami
3. A.J. Green @ Jacksonville
4. Percy Harvin @ Detroit
5. Andre Johnson vs. Tennessee
6. Roddy White vs. Carolina
7. Dwayne Bowe vs. San Diego
8. Eric Decker vs. Oakland
9. Brandon Lloyd @ Buffalo
10. Vincent Jackson vs. Washington
11. Hakeem Nicks @ Philadelphia
12. DeSean Jackson vs. N.Y. Giants
13. Marques Colston @ Green Bay
14. Julio Jones vs. Carolina
15. Steve Johnson vs. New England
16. Victor Cruz @ Philadelphia
17. Steve Smith @ Atlanta
18. Demaryius Thomas vs. Oakland
19. Miles Austin vs. Chicago
20. Wes Welker @ Buffalo
21. Brandon Marshall @ Dallas
22. Greg Jennings vs. New Orleans
23. Denarius Moore @ Denver
24. Jordy Nelson vs. New Orleans
25. Jeremy Maclin vs. N.Y. Giants
26. Malcom Floyd @ Kansas City
27. Kenny Britt @ Houston
28. Sidney Rice @ St. Louis
29. Torrey Smith vs. Cleveland
30. Santonio Holmes vs. San Francisco
31. James Jones vs. New Orleans
32. Nate Washington @ Houston
33. Danny Amendola vs. Seattle
34. Michael Crabtree @ N.Y. Jets
35. Lance Moore @ Green Bay
36. Jerome Simpson @ Detroit
37. Mike Williams vs. Washington
38. Dez Bryant vs. Chicago
39. Greg Little @ Baltimore
40. Nate Burleson vs. Minnesota
41. Leonard Hankerson @ Tampa Bay
42. Brandon LaFell @ Atlanta
43. Armon Binns @ Jacksonville
44. Brian Hartline @ Arizona
45. Justin Blackmon vs. Cincinnati
45a. Josh Gordon @ Baltimore
1. Relatively speaking, the Vikings have done a respectable job of containing Calvin Johnson. In seven career games against Minnesota, Johnson has per-outing averages of only five catches, 71 yards and 0.6 touchdowns. On the flip side, there's the memory of Calvin's seven-catch, 108-yard, two-touchdown demolition from last September.
2. Perhaps apropos of nothing, Larry Fitzgerald has 11 catches, 245 yards and one touchdown in two career games against Miami (2004, 2008). And that came at a time when the typical NFL fan could identify at least one Dolphins cornerback. Oh, snap!
3. I could be wrong, but Eric Decker's home encounter with the Raiders has eight catches, 112 yards and one touchdown written all over it. For Weeks 1-3, the Raiders surrendered an average of seven catches, 100 yards and 0.6 touchdowns to the opposing team's lead receiver. (Of course, Demaryius Thomas has a chance to displace Decker as Denver's No. 1 wideout this week.)
4. Dwayne Bowe (15 catches, 31 targets, 181 yards, two touchdowns for Weeks 2-3) certainly warrants a top-10 ranking here, but that doesn't mean he's a lock for big numbers. From 2009 to 2011, Bowe failed to catch five or more balls in a single game against the Chargers.
5. As a fan of Greg Little's athletic gifts and down-the-road fantasy potential, I pray to the God of Skinny Punks that he cleans up his act, sooner than later. Head coaches, especially those trying to impress a new team owner, have little patience for guys with hands of stone.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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