Figuring out who the best wide receiver plays are for the week is probably the toughest of all the fantasy decisions you make on a weekly basis. With some of the league's top players injured and a few intradivision rivalries to consider, Week 13 is certainly no exception.
That's why those of us in the fantasy industry put together these lists for you—to give the reader a gauge of what to expect from his or her players on any given Sunday.
With that, here are the weekend's top 30 wide receivers, along with some detailed analysis on the five best plays for the week:
30. Santonio Holmes (@ Was)
29. Damian Williams (@ Buf)
28. Johnny Knox (vs. KC)
27. Dwayne Bowe (@ Chi)
26. Michael Crabtree (vs. StL)
25. Reggie Wayne (@ NE)
24. Deion Branch (vs. Ind)
23. Julio Jones (@ Hou) – LISTED AS QUESTIONABLE TO PLAY (Hamstring)
22. Antonio Brown (vs. Cin)
21. Steve Johnson (vs. Ten)
20. Marques Colston (vs. Det – Sunday Night)
19. Andre Johnson (vs. Atl)
18. Eric Decker (@ Min)
17. Dez Bryant (@ Ari)
16. Vincent Jackson (@ Jax – Monday Night)
15. Percy Harvin (vs. Den) – LISTED AS QUESTIONABLE TO PLAY (Illness)
14. Larry Fitzgerald (vs. Dal)
13. A.J. Green (@ Pit)
12. Roddy White (@ Hou)
11. Brandon Marshall (vs. Oak)
10. Hakeem Nicks (vs. GB)
9. Jordy Nelson (@ NYG)
8. Laurent Robinson (@ Ari)
7. Brandon Lloyd (@ SF)
6. Mike Wallace (vs. Cin)
THE TOP FIVE
5. Greg Jennings (@ NYG)
Jennings is still the most talented receiver on this Packers squad, even if Rodgers is making them all look like All-Pros.
Last weekend, Greg got himself back on the fantasy super-train catching his eighth touchdown of the year to go along with 74 yards—and that was against a pretty good Detroit Lions secondary.
This week he’ll face off against a Giants defense that allows the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, so I expect Jennings to grab his usual touchdown pass from Rodgers and possibly reach the 100-yard mark for the first time in the last five games.
4. Steve Smith – Car (@ TB)
The Steve Smith target pattern still holds true through 11 games of the season.
The Panthers and Cam Newton have targeted Smith nine or more times in a game this season on six different occasions. In each of those games, Smitty has either put up over 100 yards or caught a touchdown pass, or both.
The same cannot be said for when he is targeted less than nine times in a game.
So basically—as Keyshawn Johnson would say—just throw him the damn ball!
I expect Carolina to do so with this being an intradivision game on the road. The best players usually love hardcore matchups like these and tend to rise to the occasion in such games.
Smitty should be no different and come out golden for your fantasy team.
3. Victor Cruz (vs. GB)
Is there a hotter receiver in the league at this point? Not in the last five weeks there isn’t as Cruz not only tops the league in fantasy points during that stretch, but also has the most receptions, most yards, and third-most TDs as well.
Oh wait, there’s even more good news for fantasy owners!
Last weekend, Victor had his best fantasy game of the season racking up nine catches for 157 yards and two TDs against the Saints. Two of the main reasons he was able to do so (besides his freakish talent and nose for the ball) was because Mario Manningham was ruled out for the game and because the Giants were playing catch-up ball (against NO) most of the night.
This weekend, he’ll likely have both those factors working for him again as the only team that scores more than the Saints is coming to town (Green Bay) while Manningham is all but guaranteed to be a scratch.
2. Calvin Johnson (@ NO – Sunday Night)
Megatron certainly has slowed a bit after his early-season, record-setting pace—but fear not fantasy owners—the Saints are marching in!
In the last two weeks, New Orleans has allowed three different receivers to catch seven or more balls against them with two of them putting up over 130 yards in the process.
One of the main reasons for this is because the Saints offense is clicking on all cylinders at this point, thus forcing the opposing team to throw the ball more if they want to stay in the game.
With Detroit’s own defense allowing a total of 99 points in their last three games, there’s no reason to think this won’t happen again.
Look for Calvin to be targeted a good 12-15 times this Monday night and go up over 100 yards with a TD or two because of it.
1. Wes Welker (vs. Ind)
The Slot Machine (Welker) and the Stetson Man (Brady) should have a whole barrel of fun going up against the Colts this Sunday in what would normally be one of the most anticipated games of the year.
However, this is no longer the case with Peyton Manning having been injured all season, but by no means does that mean the game will be unwatchable.
Welker and Brady will likely put on a four-quarter clinic together giving both fans and fantasy owners what they paid for this season.
Though the Colts defense can be bested in a variety of different ways, with the Patriots run game being slightly under par this season, I expect their passing game to take over and rule throughout.
Welker should be able to come out of the game with double-digit catches, 100-plus yards and a TD or two in this one.
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