Week 12 lineup calls: Wide receivers
Fantasy owners are bracing for the stretch run and look forward to a mighty interesting slate of games during this Thanksgiving week.
Top Wide Receivers
(Other than Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings, Roddy White, Terrell Owens, Dwayne Bowe, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Lloyd, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Marques Colston, Percy Harvin, Miles Austin and Santonio Holmes)
Vincent Jackson at Indianapolis
Jackson will make his season debut against the Colts this weekend. He creates a huge mismatch down the field against the smaller, inexperienced Indianapolis secondary. Philip Rivers is playing hot football right now, and I anticipate that his top target makes a triumphant return to the field in this showcase.
Sidney Rice at Washington
Rice returned to action in Week 11 and was immediately targeted 10 times (three receptions for 56 yards). He’s a huge play this week against the struggling Washington secondary. Will Champ Bailey shadow him or roll over to Percy Harvin? Is this Brett Favre’s last stand?
Malcom Floyd at Indianapolis
Floyd returned to the field in grand fashion on Monday night, posting an early touchdown reception in the blowout win over the Broncos. He finished with two catches for 24 yards as the Chargers did not need to force the issue once the game got away.
With one week under his belt, we can reasonably expect his role to expand this week against Indianapolis, even with running mates Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson back in action. The Colts’ secondary has performed well to date, but they’re grossly under-sized in this battle.
Nate Burleson vs. New England
Burleson has averaged 5.8 receptions and 68.3 receiving yards with four touchdowns in six games since returning from an early-season injury. He and Shaun Hill clearly have established a tremendous rapport, and I anticipate another big performance as the Lions play catch-up with the Patriots.
Dez Bryant vs. New Orleans
Bryant has emerged as Jon Kitna’s favorite target and, though he didn’t log a big day in Week 11, he still found the end zone. This game intrigues me on a number of levels, as New Orleans appears set to produce a San Diego-like second half. Still, Kitna and the Dallas passing attack should make things interesting and perhaps give Sean Payton a little indigestion. Bryant had topped 80 receiving yards in three straight games prior to last week’s three-reception, eight-yard effort. He gets back on track this week.
Deion Branch at Detroit
With all of the attention focused on the rookie tight ends, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead, Branch has quietly settled into his role for Tom Brady. Branch has caught seven passes in back-to-back games and has Brady’s trust. This is a great spot for Brady to open things up downfield against an aggressive front-four and suspect secondary.
Danny Amendola at Denver
Amendola has been a favorite in PPR leagues (24 in his past four games and three or more receptions in every game this season), but rates a play in standard leagues against the suspect Denver secondary. He is most assuredly Sam Bradford’s security blanket and favorite red zone target. The yardage may not be there every week, but the opportunities certainly will be.
Steve Breaston vs. San Francisco
Breaston has topped 90 receiving yards in three of four games since returning from injury and has established a nice rapport with Derek Anderson. He draws the second cornerback and rarely faces the rollover safety help. As such, he’s on the radar for a WR3 play against the heretofore disappointing San Francisco defense (no help from the offense, obviously).
Ben Obomanu at Kansas City
Obomanu caught five passes for 87 yards with a touchdown in last week’s loss to New Orleans. He slides into a more prominent role for this week’s date against the 25th-ranked Kansas City pass defense as Mike Williams recovers from a foot injury. Obomanu has scored three touchdown passes this season, including two in the past three weeks. He also caught four passes for 60 yards in Week 11. He’s worth a flier as a low WR3 this week.
Blair White vs. San Diego
White caught five passes for 42 yards with two touchdowns in place of the concussed Austin Collie in Week 11. Collie has already been ruled out for Week 12 against San Diego, thereby putting White in line for another sizable target count.
San Diego’s stats are daunting, but we table those with Peyton Manning under center. The Chargers contend with Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon on the edges, leaving Jacob Tamme and White room to operate over the middle.
Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens at New York Jets
Darrelle Revis will reportedly shadow Terrell Owens on Thursday night, thereby putting Antonio Cromartie in Ochocinco’s path. He’s scored in back-to-back weeks, and we can rest assured that Carson Palmer will continue to pile up passing attempts. As such, Ochocinco rates a low-end WR3 play in this contest. I’m just not anticipating a breakout performance, although I’m sure he’d love to top Steve Johnson’s “Why So Serious?” shirt from Week 11. Teammate Terrell Owens belongs here as well, but his 10-week production warrants a spot in the “Automatic Starts” list. He’s a WR3 option this week.
Hines Ward at Buffalo
Ward has registered nine receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown in his past three games. He’s been putting his blocking skills to use frequently given the injury issues on the offensive line. I’m not so sure that this trend doesn’t continue in Week 12. Buffalo has been run over (enter the blocking phase for Rashard Mendenhall), and you basically then hope for a red zone look. I just can’t bank on that with a smallish yardage total.
Johnny Knox vs. Philadelphia
Knox has caught three or more passes in five consecutive games, so it’s difficult to dismiss him altogether. He was targeted eight times in the shutout win over Miami and clearly remains Jay Cutler’s favorite option. However, this is obviously a difficult matchup against the aggressive Philadelphia corners. Put him in a third WR slot if you must, but there are better options.