Wide receivers are dropping like flies in the NFL. Throw in a bye week for four teams, and it’s slim pickings at the wideout position for fantasy football managers.
Santonio Holmes is likely done for the year, Hakeem Nicks is in bad shape, Greg Jennings is hurt, Kenny Britt is banged up, and the list goes on. Adding insult to injury, Calvin Johnson, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Vincent Jackson all have the week off.
What’s a fantasy football manager to do?
Don’t panic. Here are some wide receiver prospects to consider in these dire times.
Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins, 31 percent owned in Yahoo fantasy football leagues
After Hartline’s monster game against the Arizona Cardinals (19 targets, 12 receptions, 253 yards, and a touchdown), he has seen his ownership in Yahoo fantasy football leagues jump 11 percent. He’s still available in two-thirds of leagues, however, if you need some help.
Buyer beware: obviously, expecting another monster game this week when the Dolphins are up against the Cincinnati Bengals—who are one of the tougher defenses against receivers—is foolish. Nevertheless, he seems to be developing a nice rapport with rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, so if any Phins wideout is going to be productive, odds are that it will be Hartline.
Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals, 21 percent owned
While Hartline was ripping the Cardinals, Roberts was busy shredding the Dolphins when Arizona had the ball. He finished his day with six receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. That gives him four scores in four games and makes him the No. 7 wide receiver in fantasy football at this point in the season—ranking ahead of Megatron, Austin, and V-Jax.
Domenik Hixon, New York Giants, 19 percent owned
Assuming Nicks can’t go against the Cleveland Browns, Hixon will likely start against the team that allows the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Ramses Barden had a big game two weeks ago against the Carolina Panthers but has since penalized himself into Tom Coughlin’s doghouse. Hixon tore apart the Eagles last week while Barden’s penalty in the final seconds cost his team the game.
We wouldn’t touch Barden. If you’re going with a Giants receiver, go with Hixon.
James Jones, Green Bay Packers, 36 percent owned
We hesitate to recommend Jones, since he royally burned everyone who used him two weeks ago in Jennings’ absence, sending some managers down the fantasy football walk of shame.
While we’re gun-shy about Jones, if Jennings doesn’t suit up, Jones will be starting against the Indianapolis Colts, who allow the 6th-most fantasy points to receivers.
That is all we are going to say about James Jones.
Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers, 41 percent owned
Fantasy football managers are dropping LaFell like he’s hot after two disappointing weeks in a row, and on paper, the matchup against the Seattle Seahawks isn’t a great one—they allow the 7th-fewest points to wideouts.
But this game is being played at Carolina, and the Seahawks are a totally different team—and not in a good way—when they’re staring at the Atlantic Ocean rather than at the Pacific Ocean.
Carolina’s No. 2 wide receiver has some potential here, especially since the ‘Hawks will likely be busy double-teaming Steve Smith and trying to contain Cam Newton. Andre Roberts found success against the Seahawks in Phoenix. Danny Amendola did the same in St. Louis. Even Miles Austin found a way to get some fantasy points in a blowout loss in Seattle. So it can be done.
LaFell has intrigued us all season, and this week, he could be a sneaky way to victory for fantasy football managers.