Fantasy Football Week 15: Start These 10 Wide Receivers
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Our scoring system here at eDraft has Marshall as the No. 1 overall fantasy wide receiver this season. No matter what media outlet you look at, he is in the top two. However, this doesn't tell the entire story. Marshall leads NFL wide receivers with 158 targets (12.2 per game) and has caught 64 percent of the passes thrown in his direction, good for No. 2 among the top 10 fantasy receivers in the NFL this season.
In terms of PPR production, Marshall has tallied 32 receptions and 47 points over the course of the last three games. Marshall now goes up against a Green Bay Packers defense that is giving up only 216 passing yards per outing in the last four games after sitting in the bottom third in yards through the first half of the year. The play of rookie Casey Hayward is a primary reason for this.
That being said, I don't expect Jay Cutler to shy away from going to Marshall here. The enigmatic receiver is on pace for 124 receptions this season and is averaging over 13 yards per. Look for him to tally at least 10 catches for 140 yards and a score.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Thomas has quickly become one of the most reliable fantasy receivers this season, teaming up with Peyton Manning to form one of the best quarterback-receiver tandems in the entire league. He ranks fifth in fantasy points and has nearly 1,200 yards receiving through 13 games. He has hauled in 67 percent of the 110 passes thrown in his direction. Consistency has also been key for Thomas as he has compiled a minimum of 70 receiving yards 10 different times this season.
Despite a shoulder injury, the Georgia Tech product is slated to go against a 23rd ranked Baltimore Ravens pass defense that has yielded 24 touchdown passes this season. Opposing No. 1 receivers are averaging a lofty 75 yards per game against what had been a stout Ravens' defense. I am expecting a minimum of 80 yards and a score, which should be good for upwards towards 16 fantasy point.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
This rookie from Baylor is actually becoming a strong start as a FLEX guy in all fantasy formats. After struggling with consistency earlier in the season, Gordon is doing a bang up job in regards to PPR production over the last four weeks. Since Cleveland's Week 10 bye, Gordon is averaging nearly six receptions per game. This makes him an under-the-radar performer considering that he is averaging nearly 18 yards per reception.
The Washington Redskins are yielding nearly 100 receiving yards to opposing No. 1 wide receivers. You can definitely expect Gordon to make a big play or two here and give you double-digit fantasy point.
Wes Welker, New England Patriots
This all depends on who the San Francisco 49ers line up opposite Welker. If it is the under-performing Carlos Rogers, you can expect Welker to have a huge game. If Vic Fangio and company decide to line the dynamic Chris Culliver up opposite Welker, the latter might not be as effective. Either way, you are looking at a solid PPR producer here.
Welker's fantasy value has dropped a great deal due to his lack of targets in the red zone. I also don't expect this to change against the No. 2 overall pass defense in the NFL. Again, this will cause some to not value Welker as much as they should. He is going to be targeted early and often, which will lead to ample opportunities to put up fantasy points.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Johnson needs to average over 100 yards in his last three games to break Jerry Rice's single-season receiving yards mark set back in 1995. That's simply ridiculous and I fully expect him to do it. In fact, Megatron could easily surpass 2,000 receiving yards this season. Obviously you don't need me to go into much further detail here, so I won't.
Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks
Don't look now, but Rice has quickly become a top-tier FLEX option and has even broke into the WR2 category with recent performances. Despite still dealing will various injuries; he has put up double digit fantasy points in five of his last eight games. Seattle goes up against a Miami Dolphins pass defense that just hasn't lived up to its billing this season. While playing decently over the last few games, I just don't have the confidence in Sean Smith to stop Rice from making a couple key plays down the field.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
With Roddy White highly unlikely to play this weekend against the New York Giants, you can easily expect Jones to tally a season-high number of targets from Matt Ryan. I fully expect the second-year receiver from Alabama to put up his best fantasy performance of the season. All the indicators are there.
New York ranks 27th against the pass and have struggled recently against opposing receivers; giving up an average of 95 yards to top targets over the last two months. Jones will get the targets he needs to put up one of the best fantasy performances of Week 15. Going on average, even if Jones catches just 60 percent of the passes thrown in his direction, he should tally a minimum of 10 receptions.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It goes without saying that Jackson is a viable WR1 option each and every week. This is only magnified with him going up against a New Orleans Saints secondary that has been a complete disaster this season. Opposing No. 1 wide receivers are putting up an average of 90 yards against the 30th ranked pass defense in the NFL. For his part, Jackson is averaging over 20 yards per reception.
Despite only hauling down half of the passes thrown in his direction, Jackson has the big play ability (especially against a horrible defense) to put up some ridiculous numbers.
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
If you look at advanced statistics, Crabtree is quietly one of the top overall receivers in the NFL. He is catching 71 percent of the passes thrown in his direction, 45 percent of them going for first downs. While Crabtree doesn't have the numbers to be considered a WR1 option, he has put up the production to be considered as a WR2 or FLEX option, especially with the targets he has received recently by the dynamic Colin Kaepernick.
San Francisco now takes on a New England Patriots' pass defense that is yielding nearly 80 yards to opposing No. 1 wide receivers and ranks 29th overall against the pass.
Lance Moore and Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
There is a reason why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank dead last against the pass and first overall against the run on defense. Opposing offenses have success passing against them. This has been even more magnified since Eric Wright was suspended and Aqib Talib traded.
While Drew Brees has struggled as of late, I fully expect him to take full advantage of this matchup. Look for both Moore and Colston to rack up triple digit yards.