Figuring out who the best wide receivers are from week to week is a little easier than doing so for running backs at this point, but by no means is it simple.
That's why those of us in the fantasy industry put together these lists for you—to give the reader a gauge of what to expect from his or her players on any given Sunday.
With that, here are the weekend's top 80 wide receivers, along with some detailed analysis on the 10 best plays for the week.
(BYE: Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
80. Donald Driver (@ IND)
79. Doug Baldwin (@ Car)
78. Josh Morgan (vs. ATL)
77. Cecil Shorts (vs. CHI)
76. Devin Hester (@ JAX)
75. Damaris Johnson (@ PIT)
74. Harry Douglas (@ WAS)
73. Randy Moss (vs. BUF)
72. Keshawn Martin (@ NYJ; Monday Night)
71. Santana Moss (vs. ATL)
70. Dexter McCluster (vs. BAL)
69. Chaz Schilens (vs. HOU; Monday Night)
68. Brian Quick (vs. ARI; Thursday Night)
67. Joseph Morgan (vs. SD; Sunday Night)
66. Michael Floyd (@ STL; Thursday Night)
65. Rueben Randle (vs. CLE)
64. Kevin Walter (@ NYJ; Monday Night)
63. Brandon Gibson (vs. ARI; Thursday Night)
62. Emmanuel Sanders (vs. PHI)
61. Jonathan Baldwin (vs. BAL)
60. Eddie Royal (@ NO; Sunday Night)
59. T.J. Graham (@ SF)
58. Chris Givens (vs. ARI; Thursday Night)
Which receiver will replace Santonio Holmes' production this season?
57. Jacoby Jones (@ KC)
56. Donald Jones (@ SF)
55. Devery Henderson (vs. SD; Sunday Night)
54. Alshon Jeffery (@ JAX)
53. Brandon Stokley (@ NE)
52. Josh Gordon (@ NYG)
51. Damian Williams (@ MIN)
50. Justin Blackmon (vs. CHI)
49. Leonard Hankerson (vs. ATL)
48. Brandon LaFell (vs. SEA)
47. T.Y. Hilton (vs. GB)
46. Randall Cobb (@ IND)
45. Jerome Simpson (vs. TEN)
44. Andre Roberts (@ STL; Thursday Night)
43. Mario Manningham (vs. BUF)
Will Robert Meachem return to form this weekend against his former team?
42. Jeremy Kerley (vs. HOU; Monday Night)
41. Golden Tate (@ CAR)
40. Robert Meachem (@ NO; Sunday Night)
39. Armon Binns (vs. MIA)
38. Davone Bess (@ CIN)
37. Sidney Rice (@ CAR)
36. Anquan Boldin (@ KC)
35. Greg Little (@ NYG)
34. Brian Hartline (@ CIN)
33. Donnie Avery (vs. GB)
32. Kendall Wright (@ MIN)
31. Domenik Hixon (vs. CLE)
30. Danny Amendola (vs. ARI; Thursday Night)
28. Andrew Hawkins (vs. MIA)
27. Jeremy Maclin (@ PIT)
26. Mike Wallace (vs. PHI)
25. Stevie Johnson (@ SF)
24. DeSean Jackson (@ PIT)
23. Nate Washington (@ MIN)
22. Dwayne Bowe (vs. BAL)
21. James Jones (@ IND)
20. Steve Smith (vs. SEA)
19. Antonio Brown (vs. PHI)
18. Marques Colston (vs. SD; Sunday Night)
17. Pierre Garcon (vs. ATL)
16. Larry Fitzgerald (@ STL; Thursday Night)
15. Malcom Floyd (@ NO; Sunday Night)
14. Reggie Wayne (vs. GB)
13. Torrey Smith (@ KC)
12. Eric Decker (@ NE)
11. Brandon Lloyd (vs. DEN)
The 10 best wide receiver plays in Week 5:
10. Brandon Marshall (@ JAX)
If Matt Forte and Michael Bush were both completely healthy, I might have moved Marshall down a few spots.
That said, they aren’t, so Cutler is going to have to throw the ball some like he did against the Cowboys last Monday night.
The Jaguars rush defense is one of the worst in the game, but even though their pass D isn’t the Superman of super heroes, they aren’t half bad either.
They do allow 255 passing yards a game, though, and seem to have a bit of a problem with bigger wide receivers, so if Brandon gets close to double-digit targets like he should, he could be in for a big game.
9. Jordy Nelson (@ IND)
So, Nelson finally had a game worth writing home about, but was it simply because he was playing against a terrible Saints defense?
Was it because Greg Jennings was in the game for a little while to draw attention away from him? Or, was it because him and Aaron Rodgers are finally back on the same page? I’m going to say it was a mixture of all three, but luckily for Nelson and his fantasy owners, the Colts' secondary isn’t much better than the Saints.
However, Jennings won’t be suiting up for at least this week, so Nelson may see an extra body on him from time to time.
Still, Nelson should be able to come through with a couple of lengthy catches as the Colts are prone to giving up the big play. This COULD be the breakout game we’ve been waiting for from Nelson.
8. Demaryius Thomas (@ NE)
Demaryius Thomas’ fumble last week against the Raiders was potentially disastrous for fantasy owners, but lost touchdown aside, you can’t be TOO unhappy with a five-catch, 103-yard fantasy day.
This week, he’ll take on the Patriots in what should turn into a shootout really quick, seeing how both defenses have stifled their opponents running games rather well through four weeks of the season.
You gotta love the little matchup stories inside this game with Brady vs. Manning, Welker vs. Decker, and on the outside, Brandon Lloyd against Thomas.
I feel the only one the Broncos take in these fantasy showdowns is the Thomas-against-Lloyd matchup, but all six of these players should score very well for fantasy teams this Sunday. Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild one!
7. Andre Johnson (@ NYJ; Monday Night)
At 31 years old and dogged by injuries the last couple of years, this isn’t the same Andre Johnson whom we all came to know as one of the best wide receivers in the game over the last decade. Then again, this isn’t the same New York Jets secondary that was one of the league’s best year in and year out either.
Johnson is dealing with a minor groin issue as well but will be just fine and has no chance of missing this Monday night contest. Jets CB Darrelle Revis, however, is done for the season which will make Johnson’s ability to roam the secondary a lot easier.
The Texans will likely run a ton in this one, but with Arian Foster’s backfield mate, Ben Tate, questionable to play with a toe injury, they may turn to the pass a little more than usual which should mean double-digit targets for ‘Dre.
In the 21 games he’s received 10 or more targets since 2009, Johnson has put up less than 9.5 fantasy points just once.
6. Percy Harvin (vs. TEN)
The Detroit Lions came out to say a couple of days ago that their whole defensive scheme was set up to shut down Percy Harvin.
You have to hand it to them as they did very well in accomplishing their goal, yet Percy STILL took back the opening kickoff for a touchdown on them…which unfortunately for fantasy owners were pretty much the only points he scored on the day.
The good news is that with the Titans on tap this weekend, there’s absolutely ZERO chance something like that happens again. Not only is Tennessee terrible against the pass, but they can’t stop the run either, so no matter how the Vikings plan on getting Percy the ball this weekend, he’s more than likely going to do something special with it.
I’m expecting a really nice game here with at least eight catches, 120 total yards and a touchdown.
5. Wes Welker (vs. DEN)
The Patriots were under .500 for the first time since 2003 and needed a win pretty badly, so what did Tom Brady and the rest of the team do? They went back to the basics of what made them a winning team in the past: offense, offense, offense…with a nice focus on getting the ball in Welker’s hands.
The Slot Machine now has 22 catches on 32 targets for 366 yards over the last three weeks while concerns about his role in the offense have all but disappeared.
The Broncos have been average against the pass this season, but any game that features a Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning matchup can turn into an aerial display, and I believe this one will.
Both teams have been pretty stout against the run allowing just 3.4 yards per carry each and three rushing TDs combined, so expect Welker to see his fair share of action this Sunday.
4. Julio Jones (@ WAS)
Julio certainly has his fantasy owners freaking out a bit right now after his one catch for 30 yards stinker last weekend, but rest assured, the best cure for a fantasy lull is exactly what Jones and the Falcons have on tap this Sunday—a league-worst Redskins pass D.
Matt Ryan knows that if the Falcons are going to make a run at a Super Bowl title this season, he has to have his young, up-and-coming star receiver at full tilt by midseason, so I expect him to throw at him quite a bit in this game.
With the Redskins allowing, by far, the most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season, Jones should be able to get back on track and ease his fantasy owners’ minds.
3. Victor Cruz (vs. CLE)
When Eli Manning makes it a point to get Victor Cruz the ball, the kid is as unstoppable as any receiver in the game.
His propensity for the big play is up there with the best of them and will be on display once again against the CB Joe Haden-less Cleveland Browns.
Which Falcons wide receiver will have the better game this weekend?
If Cruz can put up nine catches for 109 yards and a touchdown against a tough pass D like the Eagles, then he should have no problem besting, or at least equaling, them against one of the worst pass defenses in the league this weekend.
The Browns have allowed the most TDs, second-most fantasy points and third-most yards to opposing wide receivers this season.
2. Roddy White (@ WAS)
Roddy White and Julio Jones are easily interchangeable within these two spots, but White and Matt Ryan are clicking so well right now, I had to give the higher nod to Mr. White.
The kid went absolutely ballistic in his inter-division matchup with the Panthers last weekend, catching eight balls for 169 yards and two TDs, though it’s not unfamiliar territory for him as he tends to have games like that at least once or twice a year.
Against the worst pass defense in the league this Sunday, I expect White to have another fun-filled fantasy game as both he and Jones have a shot to put up over 100 yards and a touchdown each.
In fact, I’ll go out on a limb to say that the two Falcons receivers combine for three touchdowns and 250 yards this weekend.
1. A.J. Green (vs. MIA)
It doesn’t look like the man-child known as A.J. Green is going to stop his dominance anytime soon. After exploding for nine catches, 183 yards and a TD in Week 3, Green came back against the Jags last week to put up six catches for 117 yards and another touchdown.
He’s on pace for 108 catches, 1,712 yards and 12 TDs, numbers that would rival Calvin Johnson’s insane 2011 season.
This week, the Bengals take on a Miami defense that’s been pretty porous against the pass, allowing at least one receiver to snag eight or more catches and/or 100 yards in three of the first four games, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Green have another monster stat line this Sunday.
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