After four weeks with six teams on bye for each week, this is the first week with only four teams on bye.
That said, the league leader in receiving yards (Steve Smith) and in receiving touchdowns (Calvin Johnson) will be sitting this week, as both of their teams are on bye.
Detroit's Johnson was expected to be an elite receiver. In my preseason rankings, I called Megatron a "1a" to Andre Johnson, who will miss another week due to his hamstring injury.
Even so, (Calvin) Johnson has gone over 100 receiving yards in four straight games and in five of his past six games. The one game during that span in which he fell short was a 96-yard, two-touchdown performance.
Through eight games, Johnson has 47 receptions, 804 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Carolina's Smith is only 82 yards shy of 1,000 after finishing with only 554 yards in 2010 in 14 games. He has not reached the 1,000-yard milestone since the 2008 season.
Smith has also matched his reception total of 46 from last year, and he has four touchdowns. Like Johnson, Smith has five 100-yard games this season.
Here are some notes on wide receivers that will play in Week 9:
- Patriots receiver Wes Welker (a.k.a. "The Slot Machine") has been held in check for two consecutive games. Although he scored a touchdown against Dallas, both the Cowboys and Steelers held him to only 45 and 39 receiving yards, respectively. Before that, Welker had 124-plus yards in four of five games and at least 81 yards in all five games to start the season.
- Steelers receiver Mike Wallace has at least 70 receiving yards in every game this season. At the midway point, Wallace has 43 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns.
- In his past two games, teammate Antonio Brown has 16 receptions for 169 yards and a score. Brown has 67 yards or more in five games, and 23 yards or less in his other three games this season.
- In his two games with the Rams, receiver Brandon Lloyd has 12 receptions for 127 yards and a score. More impressively, he has been targeted 25 times in those two games combined. This week, Lloyd and the Rams face the Cardinals, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year.
- Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey has four straight games with 80-plus receiving yards. During that span, DHB has 22 receptions for 385 yards and a touchdown.
- Tampa receiver Mike Williams, who scored 11 touchdowns in his rookie season last year, has not scored a touchdown since Week 1. On a positive note, however, Williams has three games with 59-plus yards in his past four games and had a season-high 75 yards before the bye.
- Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin has scored double-digit fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues for three straight weeks. Except for Week 1, Maclin has had 50-plus yards in every other game this season.
- Like Maclin, Baltimore's Anquan Boldin has three straight games with double-digit fantasy points. In two of those three games, Boldin has more than 130 yards. The Steelers have yet to allow a receiver to reach the century mark.
- Although he has scored in three separate games, Jets receiver Santonio Holmes has yet to have more than 70 receiving yards and has one game with at least five receptions (six catches in Week 1) this season.
- It's bad news for Texans receiver Kevin Walter that Andre Johnson will miss another game. Although Walter has five-plus receptions and 52-plus yards in three of his past four games, he'll will likely be covered by cornerback Joe Haden, one of the league's top young cornerbacks, this week.
- Atlanta's Julio Jones has not played since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 5, but he gets a favorable matchup in his return after the bye. The Colts are allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year. Before the injury, Jones had back-to-back 100-yard games.
- Fellow rookie receiver A.J. Green, the top receiver taken in this year's draft, has scored in three straight games. Except for Week 2 against San Francisco, Green has double-digit fantasy points in all of his games.
- With Hakeem Nicks doubtful for this week's game against New England, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham should both put up strong performances. With the exception of Week 6 versus Buffalo, Cruz has 98-plus yards in four of his past five games and has scored a total of four touchdowns during that span. Last week, Manningham had a season-high 63 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season.
Here are our top 60 fantasy wide receivers for Week 9 (standard-scoring):
1. Mike Wallace, Steelers (vs BAL)
2. Wes Welker, Patriots (vs NYG)
3. Greg Jennings, Packers (at SD)
4. Roddy White, Falcons (at IND)
5. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (vs STL)
6. A.J. Green, Bengals (at TEN)
7. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (vs MIA)
8. Brandon Lloyd, Rams (at ARI)
9. Miles Austin, Cowboys (vs SEA)
10. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles (vs CHI)
11. Marques Colston, Saints (vs TB)
12. Dez Bryant, Cowboys (vs SEA)
13. Vincent Jackson, Chargers (vs GB)
14. Mario Manningham, Giants (at NE)
15. Victor Cruz, Giants (at NE)
16. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins (at KC)
17. DeSean Jackson, Eagles (vs CHI)
18. Pierre Garcon, Colts (vs ATL)
19. Julio Jones, Falcons (at IND)
20. Anquan Boldin, Ravens (at PIT)
21. Sidney Rice, Seahawks (at DAL)
22. Santonio Holmes, Jets (at BUF)
23. Jordy Nelson, Packers (at SD)
24. Reggie Wayne, Colts (vs ATL)
25. Mike Williams, Buccaneers (at NO)
26. Stevie Johnson, Bills (vs NYJ)
27. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (vs DEN)
28. Nate Washington, Titans (vs CIN)
29. Antonio Brown, Steelers (vs BAL)
30. Michael Crabtree, 49ers (at WAS)
31. Deion Branch, Patriots (vs NYG)
32. James Jones, Packers (at SD)
33. Eric Decker, Broncos (at OAK)
34. Jabar Gaffney, Redskins (vs SF)
35. Greg Little, Browns (at HOU)
36. Lance Moore, Saints (vs TB)
37. Jon Baldwin, Chiefs (vs MIA)
38. Plaxico Burress, Jets (at BUF)
39. Kevin Walter, Texans (vs CLE)
40. Steve Breaston, Chiefs (vs MIA)
41. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (at DAL)
42. David Nelson, Bills (vs NYJ)
43. Malcom Floyd, Chargers (vs GB)
44. Jacoby Jones, Texans (vs CLE)
45. Hakeem Nicks, Giants (at NE)
46. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (at OAK)
47. Jerome Simpson, Bengals (at TEN)
48. Early Doucet, Cardinals (vs STL)
49. Laurent Robinson, Cowboys (vs SEA)
50. Torrey Smith, Ravens (at PIT)
51. Braylon Edwards, 49ers (at WAS)
52. Robert Meachem, Saints (vs TB)
53. Devin Hester, Bears (at PHI)
54. Davone Bess, Dolphins (at KC)
55. Denarius Moore, Raiders (vs DEN)
56. Johnny Knox, Bears (at PHI)
57. Greg Salas, Rams (at ARI)
58. Jason Avant, Eagles (vs CHI)
59. Damian Williams, Titans (vs CIN)
60. Arrelious Benn, Buccaneers (at NO)
If you're in a point-per-reception (PPR), here are our wide receiver PPR rankings for Week 9.
For other positions and flex rankings, visit our fantasy section.
Good luck in Week 9!
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