There have been some impressive performances in the first few weeks of the NFL season, especially in the passing game. Should we expect things to change for the coming week? Do we ride the hot hand or look for the next shining star? Let’s take a look at how things look for the coming week:
- Wes Welker – New England Patriots – at Oakland
- Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions – at Dallas
- Vincent Jackson – San Diego Chargers – vs. Miami
- Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals – vs. New York Giants
- Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants – at Arizona
- Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons – at Seattle
- Mike Wallace – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Houston
- Greg Jennings – Green Bay Packers – vs. Denver
- Andre Johnson – Houston Texans – vs. Pittsburgh
- Brandon Marshall – Miami Dolphins – at San Diego
- Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Minnesota
- Stevie Johnson – Buffalo Bills – at Cincinnati
- DeSean Jackson – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
- Brandon Lloyd – Denver Broncos – at Green Bay
- Santana Moss – Washington Redskins – at St. Louis
- Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Detroit
- Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis Colts – at Tampa Bay
- Steve Smith – Carolina Panthers – at Chicago
- Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
- Sidney Rice – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Atlanta
- Denarius Moore – Oakland Raiders – vs. New England
- Lance Moore – New Orleans Saints – at Jacksonville
- Nate Washington – Tennessee Titans – at Cleveland
- A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Buffalo
- Santonio Holmes – New York Jets – at Baltimore
- Anquan Boldin – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New York Jets
- Percy Harvin – Minnesota Vikings – at Kansas City
- Eric Decker – Denver Broncos – at Green Bay
- Mike Thomas – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. New Orleans
- Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons – at Seattle
- Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers – vs. Denver
- David Nelson – Buffalo Bills – at Cincinnati
- Deion Branch – New England Patriots – at Oakland
- Robert Meachem – New Orleans Saints – at Jacksonville
- Nate Burleson – Detroit Lions – at Dallas
- Johnny Knox – Chicago Bears – vs. Carolina
- Mario Manningham – New York Giants – at Arizona
- Devery Henderson – New Orleans Saints – at Jacksonville
- Dexter McCluster – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Minnesota
- Mike Sims-Walker – St. Louis Rams – vs. Washington
- Early Doucet – Arizona Cardinals – vs. New York Giants
- Davone Bess – Miami Dolphins – at San Diego
- Plaxico Burress – New York Jets – at Baltimore
- Torrey Smith – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New York Jets
- Mohamed Massaquoi – Cleveland Browns – vs. Tennessee
- Titus Young – Detroit Lions – at Dallas
- Danario Alexander – St. Louis Rams – vs. Washington
- Jabar Gaffney – Washington Redskins – at St. Louis
- Jacoby Ford – Oakland Raiders – vs. New England
- Jerome Simpson – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Buffalo
Mike Wallace was thought of as nothing more than a big-play receiver entering the season. All he’s done thus far is catch 21 passes for 377 yards and 2 TD, putting him second in receiving yards (behind Wes Welker’s 458) and tied for third in receptions (again behind Welker, who has 31). He’s clearly entrenched himself as a WR1 at this point.
Speaking of Welker, while the Patriots like to move the ball around, he is the only player who has been targeted at least 10 times in each of the first three weeks. That speaks volumes, especially as he prepares to take on a Raiders defense that is fifth worst against the pass (289.7 passing yards/game). How can we not consider him the top option this week?
Andre Johnson is one of the elite receivers in the game. No one is going to argue against that fact. However, taking on a Steelers defense that has been dominant (as expected), it is going to be a tough week. He’s a WR1, but temper expectations this week.
While Dwayne Bowe got off to a poor start in Week 1, he is starting to turn things around (9 receptions for 168 yards and 1 TD over the past two weeks). He draws a Vikings defense that is among the worst in the league against the pass, allowing nearly 300 yards per game, so Bowe should be a solid option this week.
If Brandon Lloyd is healthy, he could be in for a big day against a Packers defense that has been susceptible to the pass thus far this season. Monitor the news, but consider him a lock at WR2 if he’s going to take the field.
Even if Lloyd is back in the lineup, you have to believe Eric Decker is going to play a major factor. Forget about what he’s done thus far (15 receptions for 214 yards and 2 TD), the team is likely going to be locked into a shootout with the Packers. He should continue to produce and is a good play in all formats.
It isn’t that Reggie Wayne isn’t getting the ball thrown his way, as he’s had at least eight targets all three weeks. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to convert them (despite 13 targets, he had three receptions for 24 yards in Week 3). There has been talk that the Colts could make a change at QB this week, so don’t lose hope yet. He’s going to continue to be a major focus in the offense and, sooner or later, you have to think it is going to click.
The targets for Santonio Holmes have gone from 10 to four to two over the first three weeks. Really? It’s impossible to think that will continue, and the Jets could make a concerted effort to get him the ball this week against Baltimore. However, with the recent trend, he’s a major risk.
Detroit’s defense is very good, there’s no arguing that. However, facing Kansas City and Minnesota helps matters. Look for the Cowboys, and specifically Dez Bryant (and Jason Witten), to try and exploit them a bit. Bryant is getting healthy and should get more than the four targets he received in Week 3 (he converted all four to receptions, picking up 63 yards). He’s a solid WR2.
Sidney Rice made quite the splash in his 2011 debut, picking up eight receptions for 109 yards (and he was targeted 10 times). He draws a Falcons defense that has given up the 11th most passing yards in 2011 (261.0 yards/game). He’s a risky option, but a viable one as a WR2.
Week in and week out, Johnny Knox is becoming more and more involved in the Bears’ offense. After losing his starting spot in the preseason, he has gone from four to six to nine targets. We all knew that he was the most talented option, and it was just a matter of time before he became the top option for the team and a borderline usable for fantasy owners.
Is Mario Manningham healthy? He’s going to be a risky option at this point, especially with Victor Cruz breaking out in Week 3.
Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessor’s Week 4 information: