Fantasy Football Week Seven Rankings: Wide Receivers

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IOctober 22, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 20:  Randy Moss #81 of the New England Patriots catches a pass during warm ups against the Cincinnati Bengals during their preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 20, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Three of the bottom four teams in the league in pass defense are on bye this week, but that’s not the only reason things will get pretty interesting for fantasy owners. Because for the next three weeks, six teams per week have byes.

In Week 10, only the Giants and Houston have a bye, and then that’s it for teams receiving a week off. But in the meantime, there should be plenty of waiver wire action, so we’re here to help you put together the best lineup possible.

1. Randy Moss (New England Patriots) @ Tampa Bay

Moss caught eight passes for 129 yards and three touchdowns—in the snow—against what was supposedly the Tennessee Titans last week. That was nice to see, but what would be nicer is some more consistency from Mr. Moss, who has been up-and-down this season.

He should have another outstanding day against the Bucs, who have allowed 13 passing touchdowns this season, which is 30th in the NFL.

Point Projection: 19 points

2. Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis Colts) @ St. Louis

Wayne is coming off a nice week of rest following the Colts’ bye, and this week will have the pleasure of shredding the St. Louis pass defense, which ranks 27th in the NFL, and which allowed Jacksonville to have two 100-yard receivers last week.

Wayne has touchdowns in four of Indy’s five games this season. He’ll make it five—at least—in six games.

Point Projection: 17 points

3. Andre Johnson (Houston Texans) vs. San Francisco

Johnson’s eight catches for 135 yards last week in Houston’s win over the Bengals marked his second straight 100-yard receiving game, and third on the season.

The 49ers are 20th in the NFL in pass defense, though it should be noted that they’ve allowed just six touchdown throws, which is tied for seventh in the league. Look for Johnson to put up his third consecutive 100-yard game.

Point Projection: 16 points

4. Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals) @ New York Giants

Despite getting lit up last week, the Giants are still first in the NFL in pass defense. Still, New Orleans proved that it was more than possible to move the ball against them, and the Cardinals, while unlikely to duplicate the type of aerial success the Saints enjoyed, should still be able to move the ball.

Fitzgerald had 13 catches for 100 yards last week, his first 100-yard game of the season, and he also caught his fifth touchdown pass.

Point Projection: 15 points

5. Vincent Jackson (San Diego Chargers) @ Kansas City

Kansas City has allowed a few wideouts to have monster games against them this season. DeSean Jackson had 149 yards and a touchdown, Steve Smith had 134 yards and two touchdowns, and Miles Austin had 250 yards and two scores.

Jackson, who caught four passes for 46 yards and a touchdown in San Diego’s loss to Denver on Monday night, had at least 80 receiving yards in both of his games against the Chiefs last season, and he also scored once.

Point Projection: 15 points

6. Steve Smith (New York Giants) vs. Arizona

Arizona shut down Seattle’s passing game last week, holding an opposing quarterback to fewer than 280 passing yards and two touchdowns for the first time since Week One. Yet they remain 31st in the NFL in pass defense, and 22nd in touchdown throws allowed.

Smith is coming off his least productive outing this season, having caught just four passes for 44 yards in the Giants’ loss to the Saints last week, but he should be ready to turn it up once again this week.

Point Projection: 14 points

7. Roddy White (Atlanta Falcons) @ Dallas

In every game but one this season, the Cowboys have allowed an opponent’s wideout to rack up at least nine fantasy points (traditional scoring). They are 26th in the league against the pass, and White is, um, white-hot (sorry, couldn’t resist).

He has four touchdowns over his last four games and there’s every reason to believe he’ll make it five touchdowns over his last five games.

Point Projection: 14 points

8. Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints) @ Miami

Miami is 18th in the NFL in pass defense, but as we saw last week when the Saints took on the Giants, who are first in the league in pass defense, rankings don’t mean much to them.

Colston exploded for his best game of the season in New Orleans’ win over the Giants, catching eight passes for a season-high 166 yards and one score. He’s in for another big day this week.

Point Projection: 13 points

9. Wes Welker (New England Patriots) @ Tampa Bay

Tampa has been vulnerable to big passing plays this season (opponents are averaging 8.5 yards per pass attempt against them, most in the NFL), something they’re undoubtedly aware of.

That could mean they’ll focus on stopping Randy Moss on deep routes, which may lead to even more opportunities for Welker to do what he does best—catch the underneath routes.

Point Projection: 13 points

10. Chad Ochocinco (Cincinnati Bengals) vs. Chicago

The Bears are 14th in the NFL in pass defense, but have been susceptible to big days from individual wideouts this season. Calvin Johnson had 133 yards against them, Greg Jennings had over 100 yards and a touchdown, Nate Burleson had over 100 yards, and Santonio Holmes had over 80.

So the opportunity will be there for Ochocinco to be productive, especially after last week’s 103-yard effort, his first 100-yard game of the year.

Point Projection: 12 points

11. Greg Jennings (Green Bay Packers) @ Cleveland

Jennings tied a season-high last week when he caught six passes, though he lacked his usual big play and only managed 64 yards. The Browns rank 23rd against the pass and have allowed three receivers to gain 100 yards on them, including two last week.

Point Projection: 12 points

12. Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Minnesota

Ward is rolling right now, with three consecutive games of at least seven catches. He’s also compiled at least 80 receiving yards in five of the Steelers’ six games, and his 159 yards last week marked the third time this year he’s gone over 100 yards.

He also scored last week for the second consecutive week, and though the Vikings do have a quality defense, they are 24th in the league against the pass and tied for 22nd in passing scores allowed.

Point Projection: 11 points

13. Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs) vs. San Diego

Matt Cassel looks Bowe’s way early and often in every game, and that was true last week in the Chiefs’  win over the Redskins. Bowe was targeted 13 times by Cassel, and he delivered six catches for 109 yards and one touchdown.

Any receiver who has that many opportunities should deliver, and Bowe is no exception. In two games against the Chargers last season, Bowe caught six passes in each, with 116 receiving yards and one score.

Point Projection: 10 points

14. Anquan Boldin (Arizona Cardinals) @ New York Giants   **CHECK INJURY STATUS**

Boldin is suffering from an ankle sprain that may limit his availability in this contest. But since there is no definitive word on his status, we’ll list him in the top-20, but with reservations. The Giants were bludgeoned by the Saints’ passing game last week, and the Cardinals boast an attack that can do the same, so there should be no fear of using Boldin based on the matchup.

Point Projection: 9 points

15. Jerricho Cotchery (NY Jets) @ Oakland   **CHECK INJURY STATUS**

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez desperately needs Cotchery back, as we’ve seen how much he’s struggled without him. Cotchery missed last week’s game against the Bills with a hamstring injury, and it’s not known if he’ll suit up this week, but if he does, he’s a very good play.

The Raiders are 16th in the NFL in pass defense, and have allowed at least one receiver to gain at 65 or more yards in every game, including three different Eagles last week.

Point Projection: 9 points

16. Sidney Rice (Minnesota Vikings) @ Pittsburgh

It’s time for Rice to be recognized by the fantasy football world for the threat he has become. He’s accumulated at least 55 receiving yards in each of the past four weeks, culminating in last week’s six-catch, 176-yard performance in Minnesota’s win over the Ravens.

Rice has good size and is an excellent down the field option, averaging 17.8 yards per catch. Pittsburgh is tied for 22nd in passing scores allowed, so don’t be surprised should Rice find the end zone for the third time this season.

Point Projection: 9 points

17. Santonio Holmes (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Minnesota

Holmes had over 100 receiving yards last week for the first time since Week One. Those yards came on five receptions, and he hasn’t had more than five—or a touchdown catch—since the opening week, but he has a solid match-up this week against a Vikings pass defense that can be exploited.

Point Projection: 8 points

18. Donald Driver (Green Bay Packers) @ Cleveland

Driver had his first 100-yard game last week, with the aid of what seems to be a weekly spectacular one-handed catch. It was the third game this season in which he’s racked up at least 95 receiving yards, which is the type of consistency fantasy owners surely appreciate.

He has a good shot of coming close to that mark again against the Browns’ 23rd-ranked pass defense.

Point Projection: 8 points

19. Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers) vs. Buffalo

Those collective sighs you heard last week were the result of a nation of fantasy owners wondering what the hell happened to the Steve Smith that we all knew and loved. The answer is probably Jake "Freakin’" Delhomme (which is actually his legal name now, we think) , who is just shy of JaMarcus Russell in the category of awful quarterbacks.

We still believe Smith will get this thing turned around—even against a tough Buffalo pass defense.

Point Projection: 8 points

20. DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles) @ Washington

Yes, the Redskins are third in the NFL in pass defense, but that comes with somewhat of a caveat—they haven’t exactly been facing the ’99 Rams every week. They have faced the ’09 Rams, which is just one of the offensively-challenged team they’ve faced in every game.

In fact, this contest will be the first one in which the Skins will play a team that has a victory in the win column at the time of the game. In Jackson’s three games this season, he has two contests in which he’s had fewer than 10 receiving yards, and three in which he’s had at least 90.

Point Projection: 8 points

21. Devin Hester (Chicago Bears) @ Cincinnati

Cincinnati is 26th in the NFL in pass defense, and tied for 22nd in touchdown throws allowed. They’ve allowed one opposing receiver to gain at least 99 yards in four of their past five games, which obviously bodes well for the speedy Hester.

He had six receptions for 83 yards last week, and it was his third game this season with 75 or more receiving yards. You have to believe he’ll extend those numbers, and quite possibly deliver his first 100-receiving yard game of the season.

Point Projection: 8 points

22. Roy Williams (Dallas Cowboys) vs. Atlanta

The time has come for Williams to step up his game, and he has an excellent opportunity to do so against an Atlanta squad that can be burned by wideouts. The Falcons are 21st in the NFL in pass defense and have allowed an opposing wideout to gain at least 75 yards in each of their last four games.

Point Projection: 8 points

23. Mario Manningham (New York Giants) vs. Arizona   **CHECK INJURY STATUS**
Manningham was forced to leave the Giants’ game against the Saints early last week with an injury to his ribs, but not before he caught four passes for 50 yards and one touchdown. It was the second straight week he scored, and the fourth time in six games. He has a very good matchup this week against the 31st-ranked Arizona pass defense.

Point Projection: 8 points

24. Bernard Berrian (Minnesota Vikings) @ Pittsburgh

Berrian has scored a touchdown in two of his last three games, including last week, but in his last two games he’s garnered just six catches for fewer than 60 yards. He continues to get plenty of looks from Brett Favre, but he’s failing to get down field like fantasy owners had become accustomed to seeing.

Yet he still remains a threat, and could be a bigger piece of the puzzle this week due to Percy Harvin’s injury.

Point Projection: 8 points

25. Donnie Avery (St. Louis Rams) vs. Indianapolis   **CHECK INJURY STATUS**

Just as Avery was coming into his own, having caught a touchdown pass (for the second consecutive game) on the Rams’ first series last week against Jacksonville, he winds up injuring his hip and leaving the contest.

The malady is being called a bruise, so he should be okay to go, but check before putting him in your lineup, just to be on the safe side.

Point Projection: 8 points