Jordan Matthews And Week 10’s Best Wide Receiver Starts And Sits
The first nine weeks of the NFL season have given us plenty of surprises. The Raiders in first place, for example, the Panthers in last, the Romo-less Cowboys at 7-1 and the Browns at 0-9. Okay, that last one is not a surprise.
Every week I will provide you with my recommended start or sit wide receivers. I do not discuss obvious must-starts like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, etc. Instead I will assist with the tough lineup decisions such as Emmanuel Sanders or Marvin Jones? Or Jordan Matthews or Michael Thomas? You get the idea. It is important to note that these are just recommendations and I always believe following your gut is the way to go when making a final start or sit call.
My suggestions are based on numerous factors such as matchups, opportunities within the offense, and past performances, to name a few. All statistics provided are based on standard scoring (non PPR).
For more start or sit advice and any other fantasy football questions you may have, visit our forums where myself and all of our wonderful writers will be more than happy to help you out. You can also follow FTA on Twitter @FanTeamAdvice or myself @ajohnsonFTA. Finally, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this week’s matchups so be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Start of the Week: Jordan Matthews (vs ATL)
Over the last two weeks, Jordan Matthews has combined for 17 receptions on 24 targets for 153 yards and a touchdown. Matthews nearly caught the game winning touchdown on the last play against the Giants but couldn’t quite get to the Carson Wentz pass despite being open in the end zone. This week Matthews will take on the Falcons’ 31st ranked pass defense. Atlanta has allowed a receiver to top 140 yards in two of the last three games and have given up the most fantasy points per game (28.1) to wideouts in 2016. They’ve also allowed 14 touchdowns to wide receivers. Only the 49ers have given up more.
Bottom Line: Jordan Matthews should be started as a WR2 in all leagues this week. I’d be willing to bet he scores at least one touchdown against the Falcons.
Alshon Jeffery (at TB)
No one was happier to have Jay Cutler back in week eight than Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery failed to reach double-digits in fantasy points in all five games without Cutler. In the quarterback’s return against the Vikings, Jeffery tallied 12.30 fantasy points with four receptions for 63 yards and his first touchdown of the season. The Buccaneers are up next for Jeffery and the Bears. The Bucs are tied with Atlanta for most fantasy points (28.1) allowed per game to opposing wide receivers. They’ve given up 18 total passing touchdowns in eight games and rank 27th against the pass. Tampa has allowed a receiver to score double-digit fantasy points in six out of eight games with 12 receivers accomplishing that feat.
Bottom Line: Jeffery is making his way back into the good graces of his fantasy owners and should be considered a borderline WR1 vs Tampa Bay.
DeAndre Hopkins (at JAX)
It’s gotten so bad for DeAndre Hopkins that I actually have to tell you it’s okay to play him this week. Hopkins hasn’t had a 100 yard game since week two and hasn’t had a double-digit fantasy performance since week five. After averaging 13.6 fantasy points per game last season, Hopkins is averaging just 7.7 in 2016. That’s not what you were expecting to get when you drafted him in the first round. Hopkins will try to turn things around this week when the Texans head to Jacksonville. The Jaguars have given up an average of nearly 25 fantasy points per game and 11 touchdowns to wide receivers. In two games in 2015 Hopkins combined for 17 receptions, 237 yards and two touchdowns against the Jags. Brock Osweiler will need to do a better job of getting him the football in order for Hopkins to get back to his 2015 form.
Bottom Line: Give Hopkins another chance and start him as a WR2 this week.
Others with favorable matchups: Mike Wallace (vs CLE), Larry Fitzgerald/John Brown/J.J. Nelson (vs SF), Kenny Britt (at NYJ)
Sit of the Week: DeSean Jackson (vs MIN)
The Vikings defense has been less impressive over the last couple of weeks but they still rank in the top five against the pass and fewest fantasy points allowed to receivers. DeSean Jackson seems to have been leapfrogged by Jamison Crowder on the Redskins depth chart. Crowder has more targets, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Jackson hasn’t topped 55 receiving yards or double-digit fantasy points since week three. He typically needs a long touchdown reception in order to provide start worthy fantasy numbers but the Vikings have allowed just one completion of 40+ yards this season. Jackson is the definition of a boom-or-bust fantasy player and there hasn’t been much boom this season.
Bottom Line: Jackson is hard to trust in any matchup and becomes a WR4 vs the Vikings.
Cole Beasley (at PIT)
Cole Beasley has had at least 50 receiving yards in every game this season but is mostly touchdown dependent for a productive fantasy day. That’s bad news for Beasley’s fantasy owners this week against the Steelers. Pittsburgh has allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points per game (19.0) and second fewest touchdowns (4) to wide receivers. Beasley should still produce decent PPR numbers but I would look for other options in standard scoring leagues.
Bottom Line: Beasley is a WR3/Flex in PPR but no better than a WR4 in standard leagues this week in Pittsburgh.
Brandin Cooks (vs DEN)
Last week’s Start of the Week, rookie Michael Thomas, seems to have taken over as Drew Brees’ new favorite target. Following his impressive week nine performance in San Francisco, Thomas now leads the Saints in targets and receptions, and is tied with Cooks with five touchdowns. That’s bad news for Brandin Cooks fantasy owners. This week Cooks will have to navigate through Denver’s “no fly zone.” The Broncos rank first against the pass, fewest touchdowns (3) and fantasy points per game (13.0) by wideouts.
Bottom Line: You probably still have to start Cooks as a low-end WR2 despite the matchup but temper your expectations for this one.
Others with difficult matchups: Stefon Diggs (at WAS), Doug Baldwin (at NE), Michael Thomas (vs DEN)