Not every fantasy football team is blessed with the likes of Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson or A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals, elite options who can be started on a weekly basis without a moment's hesitation.
In fact, for many fantasy teams, especially those that drafted other positions early, finding a second or third wideout to start each week is a weekly roll of the dice, rolling out a player that you hope will put up the numbers that will lead you to a win.
Now that the fantasy playoffs have arrived, it's more important than ever that those fantasy owners not field wide receivers who will come up snake eyes, and here are a trio of players who should post solid scores in Week 14.
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (vs. NO)
New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was drafted to be the linchpin wide receiver for many fantasy rosters, and after struggling with injuries for much of the season, it appears that the fourth-year pro is finally willing to step into that role.
Over the past three games, Nicks has reeled in 19 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown, and as Nicks told Ebeneezer Samuel of The New York Daily News, now he also has to contend with a busted bucket after taking a shot to the nose in the loss to the Redskins on Monday night.
“I don’t know what happened, but blood was spewing everywhere,” Nicks said. “I think I just landed right on my face,” he added. “That’s what caused it.”
More importantly for Nicks' fantasy owners he saw 10 targets against the Redskins, and a similar workload on Sunday should mean big things for Nicks against a New Orleans Saints squad allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.
Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens (at WAS)
It appears that reports of the fantasy demise of Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin were greatly exaggerated, because after hauling in five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown last week, the 10th-year veteran is on pace to post his first 1,000-yard season since joining the Ravens in 2010.
Boldin's 55 receptions for 750 yards and two scores is enough to rank him within fantasy WR3 territory for the season, and although the Ravens fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, Boldin wasn't at a loss for confidence after the game according to Garrett Downing of The Baltimore Sun.
"We are alright,” Boldin said. "We’re 9-3. We’re still in the lead for this division. We’re still going to win this division, so we’re OK. I know what this team is all about. A loss doesn’t change who we are. We’ll still go out, we’ll win the AFC North like I said, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs."
The Ravens will attempt to right the ship by traveling to face the Washington Redskins in a very favorable fantasy matchup this week, as only one team has surrendered more fantasy points to wide receivers in 2012.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)
We now turn our attention from a grizzled veteran to a first-year pro, as while quarterback Andrew Luck may be getting all the press for the Indianapolis Colts fellow newcomer T. Y. Hilton is making quite the contribution of his own.
Hilton has seen an increase in playing time of late and has made the most of that opportunity, topping 100 receiving yards three times in the last five games, and as Luck recently relayed to the Associated Press via FOX Sports he's seen Hilton make significant strides this season.
''You can just tell that he's playing faster every week, more comfortable,'' Luck said. ''I'm glad to start seeing it pay dividends and hopefully he'll continue to play fast and continue to do decent things.''
Hilton also has four touchdown catches over that five-game stretch, and there's little reason to believe that Hilton's hot streak won't continue this week in a top 10 fantasy matchup with the Tennessee Titans.