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: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints)
80. Keshawn Martin (vs. GB - Sunday Night)
79. Derek Hagan (@ Atl)
78. Kevin Ogletree (@ Bal)
77. Eddie Royal (vs. Den - Monday Night)
76. Santana Moss (vs. Min)
75. Rueben Randle (@ SF)
74. Randy Moss (vs. NYG)
73. Dexter McCluster (@ TB)
72. Brian Quick (@ Mia)
71. T.J. Graham (@ Ari)
70. Leonard Hankerson (vs. Min)
69. Domenik Hixon (@ SF)
68. Early Doucet (vs. Buf)
67. Harry Douglas (vs. Oak)
66. Doug Baldwin (vs. NE)
65. Michael Jenkins (@ Was)
64. Michael Floyd (vs. Buf)
63. Jacoby Jones (vs. Dal)
62. Brandon Stokley (@ SD - Monday Night)
61. Stephen Hill (vs. Ind)
60. Kevin Walter (vs. GB - Sunday Night)
59. Titus Young (@ Phi)
58. Emmanuel Sanders (@ Ten - Thursday Night)
57. Chris Givens (@ Mia)
56. Robert Meachem (vs. Den - Monday Night)
55. Steve Smith (@ Mia)
54. Davone Bess (vs. StL)
53. Jerome Simpson (@ Was)
52. Armon Binns (@ Cle)
51. Donald Jones (@ Ari)
50. Darrius Heyward-Bey (@ Atl)
49. Mario Manningham (vs. NYG)
48. Greg Little (vs. Cin)
47. Nate Burleson (@ Phi)
46. T.Y. Hilton (@ NYJ)
45. Brian Hartline (vs. StL)
44. Brandon Gibson (@ Mia)
43. Anquan Boldin (vs. Dal)
42. Josh Gordon (vs. Cin)
41. Randall Cobb (@ Hou - Sunday Night)
40. Mike Williams (vs. KC)
39. Kenny Britt (vs. Pit - Thursday Night)
38. Kendall Wright (vs. Pit - Thursday Night)
37. Golden Tate (vs. NE)
36. Nate Washington (vs. Pit - Thursday Night)
35. James Jones (@ Hou - Sunday Night)
34. Malcom Floyd (vs. Den - Monday Night)
33. Andrew Hawkins (@ Cle)
32. Vincent Jackson (vs. KC)
31. Denarius Moore (@ Atl)
30. Donnie Avery (@ NYJ)
29. Brandon Lloyd (@ Sea)
28. Jeremy Kerley (vs. Ind)
27. Sidney Rice (vs. NE)
26. Andre Roberts (vs. Buf)
25. Dez Bryant (@ Bal)
24. Torrey Smith (vs. Dal)
23. Pierre Garcon (vs. Min)
22. Hakeem Nicks (@ SF)
21. Stevie Johnson (@ Ari)
20. Miles Austin (@ Bal)
19. Michael Crabtree (vs. NYG)
18. Jeremy Maclin (vs. Det)
17. Jordy Nelson (@ Hou - Sunday Night)
16. DeSean Jackson (vs. Det)
15. Dwayne Bowe (@ TB)
14. Eric Decker (@ SD - Monday Night)
13. Victor Cruz (@ SF)
12. Antonio Brown (@ Ten - Thursday Night)
11. A.J. Green (@ Cle)
The 10 best wide receiver plays in Week 6:
10. Mike Wallace (@ Ten - Thursday Night)
Wallace started off the season with a touchdown in each of his first three games, but was held to just two catches for 17 yards last weekend against a tough Eagles defense.
With the rate at which the Titans allow their opposition to score being alarmingly high, my guess is that Wallace gets back into the endzone again here in Week 6. In fact, it wouldn’t shock me to see five different players on the Steelers offense score this week.
Last year, Wallace put up six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown against the Titans and from the way it’s looked so far, last season’s Tennessee defense was much better than the one they’ve been trotting out there this season.
Basically, look for not only Wallace to have himself a borderline WR1 type of game, but for Antonio Brown, Heath Miller and maybe even Emmanuel Sanders to all have really nice games here.
9. Reggie Wayne (@ NYJ)
Okay, this is getting a little ridiculous.
Reggie Wayne now has 60 targets in just four games, which would put him on pace for a record-demolishing 240 targets on the season.
He’s also caught an average of nine passes per game which if continued, would pace him for 144 catches and one more than Marvin Harrison’s record of 143 in 2002.
You want more? His 506 receiving yards has him on pace for 2,024, which would be 176 yards more than Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 yards in 1995.
Most importantly, however, is that he currently leads all WRs in fantasy points per game.
This week he takes on a fading Jets team whose defense is still pretty good, even without Darrelle Revis, but can be scored on. The only reason I don’t have him ranked higher than this is because he’ll be blanketed by CB Antonio Cromartie, a guy who hasn’t received enough credit for his cover skills playing in Revis’ shadow, but who can hold his opponent down pretty well.
Sheer volume of targets will get Wayne his fantasy points, but don’t expect a monster game out of him in this one.
8. Andre Johnson (vs. GB - Sunday Night)
We all know by now that this isn’t the same Andre Johnson as in years past, but he still has some big games in him when the Texans need him to put in a good week.
Earlier this year against Miami when Houston was having a tough time running the ball, ‘Dre was called upon to get them in the scoring column. He gladly obliged their request by grabbing eight balls for 119 yards and a TD.
Arian Foster and Ben Tate should be able to run some against Green Bay, but the Packers rush D is better than their pass defense right now, so I believe Schaub will get Johnson involved this Sunday night.
If Aaron Rodgers has an Aaron Rodgers type of a game—and I expect he will—then Houston will need to score a good amount of points in order to win, which means Andre’s number will be called out quite often.
7. Wes Welker (@ Sea)
Welker found his way into the endzone for the first time this season against the Broncos last weekend, though you’d think that when you make 13 catches in a game, at least ONE of them has to end up over the goal-line.
When the Patriots found themselves below .500 after Week 3, it’s been Welker’s back they’ve climbed on to get them back in the win column and I doubt they stray too far from him for the remainder of the season.
The Seahawks' defense is among the best in the game right now as they’ve allowed the fewest total yards (258.6) and second-fewest points (14.0) per game. They’ve also allowed just three passing TDs through five games and one of them occurred on a fake field goal, so Brady and Welker certainly have their work cut out for them.
That being said, the guys Seattle has the most trouble covering are the little slot receivers and Welker, well, he’s not nicknamed The Slot Machine for nothing.
New England won’t be able to run against Seattle, either, so I fully expect Brady to hit up the no-huddle/hurry-up offense that they used to beat Denver last week and target Welker around 15 times in the process.
6. Calvin Johnson (@ Phi)
It’s strange to see Calvin Johnson’s name all the way down here outside of the top five, but until I see the Lions' offense back in sync, this is where Calvin deserves to be.
In his last game two weeks ago against Minnesota, Calvin was involved in a helmet-to-helmet hit going across the middle and admitted to being concussed. After that hit, you could tell he wasn’t the same Megatron as we all know him, as evidenced by his two dropped passes later in the game.
However, he’s fine now, so I expect him to be back to his normal dominating ways out on the field against Philly this Sunday.
The Eagles DO have a good pass D, but they’re not unbeatable as both Larry Fitz and Victor Cruz each put up nine catches and over 100 yards with a TD against them during two of their last three games.
5. Demaryius Thomas (@ SD - Monday Night)
Demaryius Thomas is showing on a weekly basis why he was the top wide receiver taken in the 2010 NFL Draft (two spots ahead of Dez Bryant).
This week, Demaryius goes up against a Chargers secondary that’s been beaten like a drum by tall wide receivers this season and at the very least, should come away with a touchdown and over 100 yards.
Manning loves to throw on Monday night, so make sure to watch this game as Thomas may show us something special.
4. Roddy White (vs. Oak)
Everything I say in Julio’s write-up below applies to Roddy as well.
It could be Julio Jones’ speed, size, after-the-catch skills and propensity to make the amazing catch that kills the Raiders; or it could be Roddy White’s superior pass-catching and route-running skills that kill them.
OR, it could be all of the above.
To think that either of these two receivers will have anything but a real nice week for your fantasy team would be absurd.
3. Julio Jones (vs. Oak)
Which one of these two receiving monsters in Atlanta will go off each week isn’t an easy thing to predict—unless the Falcons are playing a pass defense as bad as the Raiders have.
In a case such as this, Jones and White BOTH go off, as does their fellow monster tight end, Tony Gonzalez.
Last week was fun watching Matt Ryan let Julio prove to everyone that his hand laceration is no longer an issue, but this week should be just as entertaining with the Falcons passing game set to annihilate a completely over-matched Oakland secondary.
It doesn’t often happen, but it’s very possible we see two wide receivers go up over 100 yards with a touchdown in the same game here, though it’s just as equally possible we see Julio put up his first 150-yard, two-TD game as well.
2. Larry Fitzgerald (vs. Buf)
He started off the season slow, but Larry Fitzgerald has been coming on over the last three weeks and could very well have his best fantasy day of the year this Sunday.
Besides his superior talent, Fitz’s upswing is due in part to the snowball effect running through this Arizona team.
It starts with their terrible offensive line, which extends into their running backs not being able to find any holes, which leads into their top two RBs getting hurt, which in turn forced OC Mike Miller to start using a no-huddle/hurry-up offense, which then ends with Larry getting 15 targets in each of the last two games, the most he’s seen in a two-week stretch in at least five years.
This Sunday he’ll get to face one of the worst pass defenses in the game, so I expect nothing less than a high-end WR1 type of game from him.
1. Percy Harvin (@ Was)
Not that it’s tough to do well against the Titans these days, but the performance Harvin put on last weekend was something special to witness.
If you didn’t know who you were watching on his rushing touchdown, you would have guessed it was Adrian Peterson as Harvin looked like a freight train out there bouncing off of defenders before scampering into the endzone.
However, his receiving TD is the one that will be on highlight films at the end of the season after he made more than a couple of different defenders look like they’ve never played football before.
This weekend, Percy has a chance to go even more ballistic than he did in Week 5 as he’ll be facing a Redskins defense that has allowed by far the most yards and fantasy points to wide receivers this season.
In fact, every week they’ve allowed at least one receiver to put up 94 (and usually a lot more) yards and a touchdown, a trend Harvin should be able to extend through Week 6.
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