Fantasy Football Week 3: Under-the-Radar WRs Poised to Explode
Running backs receive much of the attention in fantasy football, but a timely quality start from a sleeper wide receiver can put a team over the top each week.
Predicting which wide receivers will explode in a given week takes a thorough analysis and a certain amount of luck. Last week many figured Julian Edelman would go off for New England—he did, catching 13 passes for 78 yards—but it was difficult to tell if Tom Brady would favor other targets.
Week 3 prevents some interesting scenarios as far as wide receivers go. Whether it's old names in favorable matchups or guys coming off impressive performances, the following three receivers are set to have major fantasy weeks.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens
Is DeAndre Hopkins primed for another big game?
Rookies are always difficult to read going into each game. DeAndre Hopkins caught five passes for 66 yards in his NFL debut in Week 1, displaying great hands but clearly acting as the third or fourth option in the pecking order.
That's going to change with the way Hopkins exploded last week.
Hopkins reeled in seven receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown—including the game-winning score in overtime.
Now Hopkins heads into a matchup with a Baltimore defense that struggles to contain teams with multiple threats at wideout (remember Peyton Manning's seven touchdowns?). While the Baltimore defense is focused on stopping Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels, Hopkins is going to have a major day.
Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons
We're to the point where Mike Wallace is already a sleeper despite him being the No. 1 prize in free agency this offseason.
Has Mike Wallace earned back fantasy trust?
Wallace did all of nothing in Week 1 before catching nine passes for 115 yards and a touchdown the following week,.
There's a misconception that Wallace will be inconsistent in Miami and that his quarterback Ryan Tannehill isn't good enough for him to excel in a fantasy role (entirely false—Tannehill is completing over 65 percent of his passes), but so far Tannehill has found Wallace when the receiver is actually in the game plan.
Wallace will certainly be in the game plan against an Atlanta Falcons defense that is giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to receivers. Against Matt Ryan and the Falcons, Wallace will post huge numbers in a game sure to turn into a shootout.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers
Owners seem to forget how effective Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton was last year as a rookie. A Week 1 performance of just three receptions for 20 yards fully pushed Hilton into the realm of the forgotten.
After the coaching staff committed to getting Hilton the ball more in Week 2, Hilton exploded for 124 yards on six receptions.
It easy to write off Hilton as a non-starter this week against a sound San Francisco 49ers defense, but there are plenty of reasons Hilton should get the nod.
Is T.Y. Hilton worthy of a start vs. SF?
For one, San Francisco has struggled when multiple talented receivers hit the field. Two Green Bay receivers went over 100 yards receiving in Week 1, and while Andrew Luck is no Aaron Rodgers, the second-year quarterback will be able to find Hilton consistently down the field.
Two, San Francisco is coming off an embarrassing loss and has a short week to prepare. The defense will have to give the majority of its attention to Reggie Wayne and accommodate for Coby Fleener, which will give Hilton plenty of opportunities to make big plays deep.
It's not a favorable matchup by any means, but Hilton has shocked owners in the past.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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