The Wide Receiver position is loaded with options in this new, ever-prolific passing era of the NFL, and I’m here to give you my take on the best plays and values this week. I’ll break it up into tiers, essentially, WR1’s, 2’s, 3’s and FLEX/deep options. We won’t get too legalistic on the tiers. The goal is to highlight players in each pricing tier, highlighting the plays and matchups in each spot.
Your WR1 and WR2’s are no-brainer starts in your normal season-long fantasy leagues. I’ll highlight them if they have an exceptional matchup or price. We’re likely going to find some inexpensive plays here week in a week out as well, due to the depth at the position. When applicable, I’ll note if the player is more of a cash game play versus a tournament option. Cash games (where roughly 40-50% of the player pool wins money) and the players that you want to use in those contests can vary drastically from a tournament option (tournaments or GPP’s where 10-15% of the pool wins money).
Scoring and other settings can be found here and you can find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan.
Julio Jones – ATL @ TB ($9,00)
What a great bounce back spot for Julio Jones in Week 13. After having a quiet game at home against Minnesota last week, Jones faces a Tampa Bay secondary that filters offense to the passing game. Their run defense is 2nd according to DVOA, but they’re just 24th against the pass and the trio of Jude Adjei-Barimah, Sterling Moore and Alterraun Verner will have their hands full with Julio. I also really like Tampa Bay in this spot, which would set up favorable game script for the Falcons passing game.
Antonio Brown – PIT vs. IND ($8,600)
Double-digit targets in a given week for Antonio Brown is about the safest bet that we can make, assuming Ben Roethlisberger is a full-go. You can make a case that Brown has the most difficult matchup of all the Steelers skill players, as he’ll likely be shadowed by Vontae Davis, but Davis is clearly playing a step behind his 2014 All-Pro level. The upside of Martavis Bryant ($5,600) is off the charts, but it’s rivaled by his sure-thing high-floor teammate here.
Odell Beckham Jr. – NYG vs. NYJ ($8,900)
This one is simple: The Jets secondary is suspect without Darell Revis and OBJ will run wild if Revis (Q) sits this one out.
Allen Robinson –JAX @ TEN ($7,300)
The Titans secondary is an improved unit compared to what we saw from them last season, but they’re still a below average collection of defensive backs. I love the big-play ability of Allen Robinson, and he’s likely to see even more vertical targets in this one with Allen Hurns questionable after last week’s injury. Robinson is a lock for 10+ targets in this spot.
Alshon Jeffery – CHI vs. SF ($6,900)
Alshon Jeffery is a lock for me in cash games this week. He’s criminally under-priced, $1,400 less than he was in Week 1, and is facing a 49ers secondary that’s 31st against the pass according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. His red zone usage is elite, and his size presents a matchup problem for any of San Francisco’s defensive backs. Tramaine Brock has played well at times for the 49ers, but he’s locked in on the left side which means Alshon, who moves all over the formation for Chicago, will see plenty of Kenneth Acker and company.
Eric Decker – NYJ @ NYG ($6,300)
I simply don’t know how to write this piece without mentioning Eric Decker. I think he’s been in 90% of my write-ups this season, and he’s yet to really do us wrong. He’s a touchdown machine, and a strong second fiddle to Brandon Marshall ($7,100) on the outside. I think Marshall is viable as well, but I like the savings that we get by rostering Decker and his matchup against Giants slot corner Trevin Wade is one that the Jets need to exploit.
T.Y. Hilton – IND @ PIT ($5,700)
We saw the upside that T.Y. Hilton possesses last week when he went off for 95 yard and two scores on his 12 targets against Tampa Bay. Going back to the well this weekend isn’t necessarily chasing points as much as it’s chasing another great matchup for the Colts wideout. I think both Hilton and his teammate, Donte Moncrief ($4,600) are in play this week, but I love the upside that T.Y. has and his likely matchup on the outside against Pittsburgh’s generous corner back Antwon Blake is favorable, as well.
Jeremy Maclin – KC @ OAK ($5,200)
Here’s another example of a player who’s just severely under-priced and in a favorable spot to return value. Despite a great Week 12 performance that saw Maclin haul in nine of his 11 targets for 160 yards and a score, his price didn’t budge and he’s $1,700 cheaper than he was when the season opened. Maclin faces the Raiders and their 20th ranked pass defense and will get a whole lot of Neiko Thrope which bodes well for Maclin and the Chiefs passing game.
Danny Amendola – NE vs. PHI ($4,700)
After returning to practice earlier in the week, all signs point to Danny Amendola returning to the field on Sunday, just in time to face E.J. Biggers and the Eagles. You’re thinking, who? E.J. Biggers? Yup, he’s terrible and has been getting the majority of the slot corner snaps for Philadelphia lately. That should make things relatively easy for Tom Brady and Amendola on Sunday, and if we can get four quarters from D.A., he feels like a safe cash game play at this price. Teammate Brandon LaFell is viable as well for just $4,800, as New England’s implied team total is nearly 30 in this spot.
DeVante Parker – MIA vs. BAL ($3,300)
My preseason love for DeVante Parker was strong, y’all. Real strong. Obviously he’s yet to really deliver after battling a foot injury for most of the summer and fall, but the Louisville rookie made a splash on Sunday against the Jets after teammate Rishard Matthews went down, and he’s likely to sit this one out, as well. Parker saw 10 targets and brought in four of them for 80 yards and a score last week, and I like his chances for 8-10 targets against in this one against the Ravens 26th ranked pass defense.