Each week FFSpin will analyze the matchups and provide our take on which WR’s should be splitting out wide for your fantasy teams and which players face difficult matchups with shut down corners and should be avoided if possible. We take several variables into account including matchups, injuries, potential weather problems, arrests, drug busts, baby mama trauma etc. We don’t deal with the must-start kind of receivers in this article; rather we look at guys that may be catapulted by circumstances into the upper echelon for this week and alert you to some wideouts that could struggle thanks to matchups with shutdown CBs.
There are multiple injuries to monitor at the WR position as we head into the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Anquan Boldin (knee) is sidelined for the remainder of the regular season. Greg Jennings (knee) will absent for the rest of the regular season. Andre Johnson (hamstring) is again out. Don’t forget that you can see the injury updates on FFSpin.com on our interactive injury chart with fantasy advice posted on Friday and updated regularly.
Four defenses are slack enough to surrender over 24 fantasy points per game: New England, Green Bay, Minnesota, Indianapolis, New Orleans and the NY Giants.
The best defenses at containing wide receivers, at least in fantasy football terms, are the Browns, Jets, Jaguars, Steelers, and Titans. Those staunch aerial assault defenders are allowing less than 17 fantasy points to the opposing WR corps.
Check out the Waiver Wire section of FantasyFootballCrystalBall.com, which features some of the top articles on the subject from the expert sites competing in the Fantasy Football Crystal Ball Accuracy Challenge.
Week 15 Upgrade: Torrey Smith (vs. Cleveland) – A quick glance at the NFL defensive rankings would be misleading if that is what you are using to judge whether or not the Browns are good against the pass. They are ranked third in the league. A closer looks reveals a pass defense that has been exposed over the past two weeks. While they are averaging just 188 yards per game through the air on the season, they have given up an average of 279 yards and 1.5 TDs per game over the last two matches. Anquan Boldin underwent surgery to clean up his knee, thus ending his regular season and catapulting Smith into the No. 1 WR role. The Ravens will surely be run heavy, earlier in the season Ravens RBs posted 290 yards and 2 TDs against the Browns, but when they do go to the air Smith should be the primary target.
Also Rans: Plaxico Burress (vs. NYG) Something to prove versus his old mates. Victor Cruz (vs. NYJ), Will not be residing on Revis Island, that distinction belongs to Hakeem Nicks.
Week 16 Downgrades: Brandon Lloyd (@ Pittsburgh) – The Steelers defense is no joke and Lloyd’s quarterback, Kellen Clemens, kinda is. Lloyd has been a nice fantasy player for his owners this season, but it’s hard to see Lloyd posting WR#1 or even WR#2 numbers against the Steelers in Week 16.
Also, um…May Not… Rans: Hakeem Nicks (vs. NYJ) It’s our normal practice to downgrade folks visiting Revis Island. Desean Jackson (@ DAL) Because he has no heart.
Week 15 Sleeper: Mike Williams (@ Carolina) – Williams is a bit of a risky play, but isn’t that sort of what all sleepers are? There’s no doubt that Williams has cooled off after getting his groove back, but despite posting a big old goose egg last week and three catches for just 35 yards we think Williams can hit his stride again in Week 16. In week 13, Williams hauled in five passes for 93 yards against the same Panthers team he gets to square off against this week.
Guys that Could Surprise: Stevie Johnson (vs. DEN) Hard to call Johnson a sleeper, but considering how low he is ranked, that is just what he is this week. Yes, Johnson faces Champ Baily this week, but Johnson has performed much better than expected against top corners this season. Golden Tate (vs. SF) Another tough matchup but Tate is a receiver that seems to be getting better quickly of late.
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