Week 7 Pickups: Unheralded Wide Receiver Targets on the Rise
As injuries start to pile up around the league and unknown players come out of nowhere to make names for themselves, the waiver wire becomes a competitive place for fantasy football owners. And with today's landscape of the pass-happy NFL, there might be more quality wideouts available than ever before.
According to the Associated Press' Howard Fendrich, 2013 might be the most prolific passing year ever. Fendrich reported that teams have combined for a record 289 touchdown passes through Week 6 and that games are averaging slightly more than 490 yards passing, higher than the record set in 2012.
Offenses around the league have benefited from wideouts who were relatively unheralded before the start of 2013. Here's a look at some of those under-the-radar receivers who could help your team as you make a playoff push.
Many eyes will be in Atlanta on Sunday when the Falcons host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons had a bye last week, and Week 7 will mark the offense's first game since Julio Jones went out with a season-ending knee injury.
Harry Douglas is something of a known commodity and figures to step up into a No. 2 role behind Roddy White. But White hasn't been the same player this year while dealing with a high ankle sprain, posting just 14 catches for 129 yards and no touchdowns in five contests.
So who's going to be team's downfield threat without Jones? Second-year man Kevin Cone could be the answer. At 6'2", 216 pounds with good speed, Cone told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com he wants to be a vertical threat. Cone also drew praise from quarterback Matt Ryan, via McClure, after making a 12-yard catch for a third-down conversion in the 30-28 win against the New York Jets.
Despite big names like Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson in the secondary, Tampa Bay ranks 16th in the league with 248 passing yards allowed per contest. Get ahead of the game and add Cone now.
The rookie wideout from Cal has become a go-to guy for Philip Rivers in the San Diego Chargers offense in recent weeks. He's also Wednesday's hottest receiver on the Yahoo! fantasy football waiver wire with more than 21,000 roster adds and counting. Looking at his production from the past two contests, it's easy to see why.
Allen followed up his six-catch, 115-yard, one-touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders in Week 5 by posting a career-high nine catches for 107 yards and a score on Monday against the Indianapolis Colts.
With Malcolm Floyd (neck) and Danario Alexander (knee) out for the season, Allen looks like the team's No. 1 option at wideout going forward. According to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com, Allen has gained Rivers' trust, which is a big deal for a rookie in his role.
Aaron Rodgers' favorite target Randall Cobb (knee) is out for six to eight weeks, and James Jones (knee) is questionable for Sunday's tilt against the Cleveland Browns, leaving Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin as the top two fully healthy receivers for the Green Bay Packers.
Both Cobb and Jones went down in last week's 19-17 win against the Ravens, while Boykin showed off the speed that makes him Wednesday's No. 2 most-added receiver on Yahoo!, behind Allen. Boykin only had one catch on Sunday, but it was an explosive 43-yard catch-and-run when he turned a short pass into a big gain.
With the emergence of Eddie Lacy as a legit featured back in recent weeks, the Packers might not be as pass-heavy as before. But Rodgers has attempted at least 30 passes in 10 straight games, so the ball will be in the air. Chances are Boykin will emerge as a valuable option, much like Cobb and Jones did in previous seasons for the Packers.
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