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: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers)
80. Jason Hill (at NE)
79. Josh Cooper (at Ind)
78. Austin Pettis (vs. GB)
77. Rueben Randle (vs. Was)
76. Damian Williams (at Buf)
75. Michael Floyd (at Min)
74. Keshawn Martin (vs. Bal)
73. Ramses Barden (vs. Was)
72. Chaz Schilens (at NE)
71. Kevin Ogletree (at Car)
70. Mohamed Massaquoi (at Ind)
69. Brian Quick (vs. GB)
68. T.J. Graham (vs. Ten)
67. Cecil Shorts (at Oak)
66. Derek Hagan (vs. Jax)
65. Santana Moss (at NYG)
64. Titus Young (at Chi - Monday night)
63. Michael Jenkins (vs. Ari)
62. Greg Little (@ Ind)
61. Devery Henderson (at TB)
60. Donald Jones (vs. Ten)
59. Jacoby Jones (at Hou)
58. Josh Morgan (at NYG)
57. Emmanuel Sanders (at Cin - Sunday night)
56. Randy Moss (vs. Sea - Thursday night)
55. Devin Hester (vs. Det - Monday night)
54. Golden Tate (at SF - Thursday night)
53. Chris Givens (vs. GB)
52. Armon Binns (vs. Pit - Sunday night)
51. Jerome Simpson (vs. Ari)
50. Leonard Hankerson (at NYG)
49. Kevin Walter (vs. Bal)
48. Domenik Hixon (vs. Was)
47. Travis Benjamin (at Ind)
46. Earl Bennett (vs. Det - Monday night)
45. Nate Burleson (at Chi - Monday night)
44. Brandon LaFell (vs. Dal)
43. T.Y. Hilton (vs. Cle)
42. Doug Baldwin (at SF - Thursday night)
41. Stephen Hill (at NE)
40. Sidney Rice (at SF - Thursday night)
39. Michael Crabtree (vs. Sea - Thursday night)
38. Josh Gordon (at Ind)
37. Andre Roberts (at Min)
36. Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. Jax)
35. Nate Washington (at Buf)
34. Andrew Hawkins (vs. Pit - Sunday night)
33. Justin Blackmon (at Oak)
32. Brandon Gibson (vs. GB)
31. Brandon Lloyd (vs. NYJ)
30. James Jones (at StL)
29. Jeremy Kerley (at NE)
28. Randall Cobb (at StL)
27. Lance Moore (at TB)
26. Kendall Wright (at Buf)
25. Anquan Boldin (at Hou)
24. Mike Williams (vs. NO)
23. Donnie Avery (vs. Cle)
22. Steve Smith (vs. Dal)
21. Antonio Brown (at Cin - Sunday night)
20. Miles Austin (at Car)
19. Stevie Johnson (vs. Ten)
18. Dez Bryant (at Car)
17. Torrey Smith (at Hou)
16. Reggie Wayne (vs. Cle)
15. Denarius Moore (vs. Jax)
14. Hakeem Nicks (vs. Was)
13. Andre Johnson (vs. Bal)
12. Mike Wallace (at Cin - Sunday night)
11. Larry Fitzgerald (at Min)
The 10 best wide receiver plays in Week 7:
10. Kenny Britt (at Buf)
It’s time for Kenny Britt to explode, my friends, so congratulations to those of you who have stuck by him this long because your patience is about to pay off in spades.
I know, this is quite a ballsy call putting Britt up so high in the rankings without seeing a breakout game from him first, but if you saw how angry he was after last week’s game against the Steelers and heard the things he was saying, you’d know that this isn’t the game you want him sitting on your bench.
Besides him promising to make up for his self-admitted horrible performance, the Buffalo Bills pass D is downright awful.
Bigger receivers tend to have nice games against them as well, so even though it may be a stretch putting Kenny in the top-10, I believe you’ll understand why come Sunday.
9. Jordy Nelson (at StL)
Phew! I thought I had lost my mind there for a little while. I KNEW Green Bay had this dominating, super-fast, 6’3” white kid on their team, but I hadn’t really seen him yet this year.
The best part about Jordy Nelson’s 121-yard, three-touchdown game last weekend is that it looks like Aaron Rodgers is back, which means Jordy has a chance to be a WR1 every week of the season from here on out.
The Rams have one of the better pass defenses in the game right now with cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins doing a great job on opposing WRs, but they haven’t faced a QB like Rodgers yet.
If Jordy and Rodge get their mojo on early in the game, this ranking will end up far too low for Mr. Nelson by the end.
8. Brandon Marshall (vs. Det - Monday night)
If anyone was wondering how Brandon Marshall would adjust to life playing with Jay Cutler again in Chicago, how does three out of five games with over 100 yards and a touchdown sound to you?
To me, it sounds like Brandon’s been soaking up some sweet blues music, a few Old Styles and a fat Lou Malnati’s pizza every night before a game.
This week, Marsh will be facing a Lions pass D that really hasn’t been as bad as you might think—at least against wide receivers—but I don’t believe they’ll be able to deal with Marshall’s size and physicality very well.
If Cutler can get a few seconds to throw the ball, Brandon will be targeted 15 times and should be able to put up his fourth game with 100 yards and a TD.
7. Wes Welker (vs. NYJ)
Welker has been outstanding lately and is actually now on pace for 128 catches and 1,659 yards after a slow start to the season.
He’s also found the end zone in each of the last two games, something he hadn’t done through his first four. Brady will continue to target him as often as possible, but the Patriots game-plan for this matchup with the Jets might hold The Slot machine back a bit.
I still expect around eight to 10 targets for the guy, and possibly around 100 yards and a TD, but the best way to beat this Jets team right now is on the ground, which is exactly what I believe Bill Belichick will call for with New England needing a win.
6. Percy Harvin (vs. Ari)
As if Harvin wasn’t already doing enough on offense, the coaches are now talking about using him more in the red zone going forward, as they believe he’ll give them a better shot at TDs as opposed to field goals.
Music to fantasy owners’ ears, baby. Pure music.
Last week, he torched the Redskins for 133 yards on 11 catches, but failed to get into the end zone due to a lack of red-zone looks.
It doesn’t seem like that will happen anymore, so even though Arizona has been better than average on defense this season, you can bet Percy will get every opportunity to do some damage.
Speedster WRs are the ones who have done the most against the Cards this season, so I expect another WR1 fantasy day out of Harvin here.
5. Marques Colston (at TB)
I’ve doubted Colston for a couple of years now claiming he’s more of a low-end WR2 than anything else, but I simply can’t do it anymore after what I’ve seen of him lately.
Eighteen catches for 284 yards and four touchdowns in his last two games pretty much says it all.
This weekend, he’ll go up against an inter-division Buccaneers defensive squad that recently lost their best cornerback to suspension (Aqib Talib).
Considering they were allowing over 300 passing yards a game in the first place, you can’t believe they’ll somehow get any better—especially with Drew Brees coming to town.
Colston should have no problem putting up 100 yards, or at least finding the end zone in this one.
4. Calvin Johnson (at Chi - Monday night)
We’re all waiting for Megatron to bust out of his human shell and become the fantasy machine he was drafted to be. To only have one touchdown after five games is preposterous, especially when you consider that he had NINE at this point last season.
In that fifth game of 2011, Johnson made his career debut on Monday Night Football against none other than these same Chicago Bears. The Bears were able to hold him to just five catches in the game, but Megatron was still able to do some fantasy damage, putting up 130 yards and a TD with his limited opportunities.
His career against Chicago has been mixed with him usually playing better at home, but after a lackluster start to the season and a bye week to figure things out, I’m guessing the big stage of Monday Night Football will be just what Calvin needs to get back into high-end WR1 territory.
3. Vincent Jackson (vs. NO)
If there’s one thing Vincent Jackson does well, it’s taking advantage of poor pass defenses.
Vincent has had three great games this year, with each of them coming against suspect pass Ds (Giants, Redskins and Chiefs). His two sub-par performances were against the Panthers and Cowboys, with both being able to handle the pass pretty well.
This week, he’ll take on a Saints squad that ranks near the bottom in almost every defensive category, including fantasy points allowed per game.
If things continue the way they have through the first part of the season, this game should end up to be rather high-scoring, of which V-Jax should have no problem contributing to.
2. Victor Cruz (vs. Was)
The Giants actually had some serious trouble with the Redskins last year losing both of their matchups while scoring just 24 points combined. In fact, Eli Manning didn’t throw a single TD in the two games, unless of course, you count the pick-six he tossed up in the first game.
These aren’t the same teams as in 2011, however, and I expect the defensive battles from a year ago to turn into high-scoring affairs this season.
Victor Cruz should play a large part in the increased offensive action, with the Redskins allowing the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Hakeem Nicks being back to near full-health should help draw away coverage as well.
1. A.J. Green (vs. Pit - Sunday night)
Call A.J. Green what you want—Beast; Monster; Animal; Barbarian—but after six games of the 2012 season, the most appropriate characterization for him just might be Megatron II.
At this point in 2011, Calvin Johnson led all fantasy receivers by a wide margin with 36 catches for 564 yards and nine TDs.
Green, too, leads the league by a wide margin right now, with 43 receptions for 628 yards and six TDs.
This week, Green will face a Steelers defense that isn’t quite the same suffocating squad as they were in 2011. However, even when they WERE possibly the best defense in the league last year, Green still scored a touchdown in each of his two games against them.
I’m betting he does it again and extends his current five-game streak of finding the end zone.
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