Marching With The Saints | Michael Thomas Leads Week 9 Wide Receiver Starts And Sits
Chances are if you drafted DeAndre Hopkins or Allen Robinson to lead your receiving corps, you were feeling pretty good about your team heading into the 2016 fantasy season. However, I’m sure right about now you’re ripping your hair out trying to figure out what to do with them. Both rank outside the top 35 in fantasy points per game, with each averaging fewer than eight. So what is the problem?
Quarterback struggles have hindered both Hopkins and Robinson. They are both still seeing a bunch of targets but their quarterbacks can’t seem to make catchable passes. Hopkins is averaging 9.5 targets a game but his catch percentage is just 53. Similarly, Robinson is seeing 10 passes per game but has only caught 46 percent of them. Their quarterbacks Brock Osweiler and Blake Bortles, respectively, have thrown a combined 18 interceptions and are near the bottom of the league in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and passer rating.
— Alex Johnson (@a_johnsonFF) October 28, 2016
So what should you do about your struggling stars? You could try to trade them but likely won’t be able to get a whole lot in return. You could also wait it out and hope the quarterback play improves resulting in an unlikely return to 2015 form. Either way you need to be looking for reinforcements one way or another. Look at guys like Terrelle Pryor, Michael Thomas, Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa, Tyrell Williams, etc. All of those guys have scored more fantasy points than both Hopkins and Robinson.
Every week I 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 Larry Fitzgerald 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: Michael Thomas (at SF)
Saints rookie Michael Thomas quietly finds himself in the top 20 in fantasy points per game (9.7) among wide receivers. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in four of his last five games, finding the end zone in three of those contests. Thomas leads the Saints in receptions (42) and has just one fewer target (55) and 30 fewer yards (500) than top receiver Brandin Cooks. This week’s opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, have given up more than 25 fantasy points per game and the most (13) touchdowns to wideouts.
Bottom Line: Michael Thomas is trending upwards and should be started as a WR2 vs the Niners.
Davante Adams (vs IND)
Aaron Rodgers is back to his old self and he seems to have a new favorite target. Rodgers has targeted Davante Adams 30 times over the last two weeks. In those two games, Adams combined for 25 receptions, 206 yards and two touchdowns. The Indianapolis Colts, the 31st ranked team against the pass, come to town this week. The Colts could be without top cornerback Vontae Davis, who is going through the league’s concussion protocol, making things easier for Rodgers and Adams on Sunday.
Bottom Line: Adams can be started as a high-end WR3 this week. If Randall Cobb sits out again, Adams becomes a WR2.
Emmanuel Sanders (at OAK)
Emmanuel Sanders has been targeted eight or more times in seven of eight games to start the 2016 campaign. He leads the Broncos in targets (75), receptions (44), and receiving yards (567). He gets a great matchup against one of the league’s worst pass defenses when the Broncos head to Oakland to take on the Raiders. Although better lately, the Raiders still rank 28th against the pass and have allowed more than 25 fantasy points a game to wide receivers. Making things worse for Oakland, top cornerback Sean Smith is expected to miss Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. A high volume of targets and a bad secondary make Sanders a good play for week nine.
Bottom Line: Start Sanders with confidence as a mid-tier WR2 in this battle for first place.
Others with favorable matchups: Dez Bryant/Cole Beasley (at CLE), Jarvis Landry (vs NYJ), Kenny Britt (vs CAR)
Sit of the Week: Marvin Jones (at MIN)
Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones has significantly cooled off since his 6-205-2 performance in week three in Green Bay. In the five games since, Jones has failed to reach 100 yards in any contest and has only topped four catches once. He has been held under 40 yards in three of the last four weeks. Golden Tate has been vulturing targets away from Jones over the last three weeks as he seems to be reemerging as the number one receiver. Week nine is unlikely to bring a turnaround for the former Bengal with the Vikings on deck. Minnesota ranks fourth against the pass and second in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. The Vikings have only allowed four touchdowns to wideouts.
Bottom Line: Jones is trending downwards and can’t be trusted as anything more than a WR3 in a brutal matchup.
Mike Wallace (vs PIT)
Mike Wallace is coming off his two highest yardage totals of the season. Prior to the bye week, Wallace torched the Jets for 120 yards on 10 receptions. Before that, he racked up 97 yards on the Redskins. This week, though, Wallace and the Ravens will take on the Steelers who rank fourth in fewest fantasy points allowed (17.5) to opposing wide receivers. Pittsburgh is tied with Denver for fewest touchdowns allowed to wideouts.
Bottom Line: Wallace is just a WR3 vs his former team.
Michael Crabtree (vs DEN)
Michael Crabtree is coming off his second 100 yard performance of the year but will have to navigate through the league’s best pass defense to repeat that in week nine. As well as being first against the pass, the Broncos rank first in fewest fantasy points allowed (12.8/game) and touchdowns scored (3) by wideouts. In two games against the Super Bowl champs in 2015, Crabtree combined for eight receptions, 73 yards and no touchdowns.
Bottom Line: Crabtree is still a WR2 but temper expectations in a very difficult matchup.
Others with difficult matchups: Golden Tate (at MIN), Amari Cooper (vs DEN), Doug Baldwin (vs BUF)