We are now in week 8, almost the midway point to the season. At this point you have a good idea of whether your team is sitting in a nice place to make the playoffs, or if you have some ground to make up. For those of you who are in the latter group, every decision that you make is crucial to getting you back into the playoff hunt. I give this reminder every year, but it bares saying again. Just because some players have let you down to this point, doesn’t necessarily mean they will continue to do so. Most of the time the plays with superior skills that have been underwhelming will start to perform as you once expected. I will talk about two players who fit this bill in more detail later (DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson).
This week with 6 teams on bye, you may be forced to look on the waiver wire for someone to start as a WR3 or FLEX option. When looking, consider these rankings, but also keep in mind what your team needs. If you have a lot of safe players with high floors already starting, you should look more towards those with the higher ceiling to put in your lineup to try and maximize your potential output. The inverse is true as well, as if you have a lot of risky players already starting, try and find a stabilizing player to insert to bring the floor of your lineup up. So use these rankings as a guide, and use your judgement about who to start based on your roster construction. Now to the rankings.
Note: Randall Cobb is OUT today.
DeAndre Hopkins - For those who own DeAndre Hopkins you may be screaming at this ranking. Currently outside of the top 25 receivers in scoring, Hopkins has been a big disappointment for all of his owners. He didn’t play well on Monday night, but against a Broncos team that was expected. What has owners worried though is his only one game of over 100 yards receiving, and the ineffective play of Osweiler in getting Hopkins the ball. I think that this is the week that we see that turn around. The Texans are facing the Lions this week, a team whose secondary has been allowing big games to opposing receivers. Just be patient with Hopkins and you will be rewarded this week.
Allen Robinson - The other player that has owners currently frustrated is Allen Robinson. So far he is outside of the top 40 receivers in scoring, with zero games of over 75 receiving yards. There is no way around how bad Robinson and the entire Jaguars offense has been this year. I am starting to worry about Robinson, and the fact that defenses are daring Bortles to throw to the other recievers. Defenses have keyed in on Robinson, which is why I have him outside of my top 10, and would be outside of the top 15 if all 32 teams were playing. I still have faith that he can turn it around, especially in a good matchup against the Titans. Skills should win out here.
Michael Thomas - The emergence of Thomas as one of the top receivers in New Orleans has happened much quicker than anyone expected. Thomas now has four consecutive games of scoring 10 or more fantasy points. His lowest total in a week this season was 5, which compared to a lot of other receivers is pretty good. This would normally be good enough to have him ranked inside the top 20, but because of the matchup against the tough Seattle defense, he is down to number 23.
Rishard Matthews - If you are looking for a flier waiver pickup this week, Matthews may be your guy. The Titans have a terrific matchup against a reeling Jaguars defense. While it is dangerous to pick which Titans receiver will be useful in a given week, Matthews presents the most upside with his downfield big play ability. This pick isn’t for the faint of heart, but for those looking for big upside, this one could pay off.
Russell Shepard - There is a spot opposite Mike Evans wide open for the taking right now in Tampa Bay. With Vincent Jackson on the IR, the Bucs are looking for that other big target for Winston to utilize. Last week they started Cecil Shorts, but he saw zero targets. Adam Humphries played in about 50% of the snaps, but all he had to show for it was 3 targets converted into 2 receptions for 17 yards. Then there is Russell Shepard. He made the most of his limited opportunities by seeing 6 targets and converting that into 5 receptions for 77 yards and a TD. For those in deep leagues, this may be the guy who starts to see around 7-8 targets a game for the Bucs, which would be enough to make him a WR3 in 16 team leagues.