With Antonio Brown out, who is the next man up for the Steelers?
Last week’s injury to Antonio Brown was a major blow to fantasy owners. But that’s life in fantasy football.
Only two wide receivers have been worth a top-tier grade in fantasy football this year. Brown is one of them, and DeAndre Hopkins is the other. Brown has 209 fantasy points, Hopkins has 201 and in third is Tyreek Hill all the way down at 153 fantasy points (depending on scoring setup).
Just some food for thought. Now, who should you start and sit this week at wide receiver and tight end in your battle for fantasy football supremacy?
Good Calls for Week 15...
I said it might be worth the risk to start Marquise Goodwin (22.4 PPR points) and I hoped you listened because if you did, you most likely won.
Bad Calls for Week 15...
Start Jordy Nelson (2.8 fantasy points) – Even with Aaron Rodgers back, Nelson was an afterthought.
START THESE WRs...
JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT (at HOU, Mon.)
Antonio Brown is out for at least the next two weeks with a slight tear in his calf, now in comes a healthy Smith-Schuster who has only improved as the season’s gone on. Taking over for Brown somewhat early against the Patriots Sunday night, he had six catches for 114 yards and should see tons of targets with Brown out. He’s worth flex consideration with WR2 upside. Maybe even WR1 upside.
Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, JAC (at SF)
Westbrook was averaging eight targets per game for several weeks before last week’s unusual circumstances in Houston. Against the 49ers, expect the pass distribution to get back to normal except that Westbrook and Cole need to cover the eight other targets that routinely went to Marqise Lee (out with ankle injury). Westbrook should see the bulk of the targets with Cole grabbing as much yardage with fewer receptions. That makes Westbrook the safer of the pair, but the two have equal ceilings.
Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, GB (vs. MIN, Sat.)
Cobb saw 14 targets last week in Aaron Rodgers’ return to action. Allison was second with eight. Those numbers sound about right if Davante Adams can’t get medical clearance to play after last week’s concussion. Even with Rodgers going back on injured reserve and giving way to Brett Hundley, either of these guys are worth consideration, but probably as no more than WR3 or flex options.
SIT THESE WRs...
Jordy Nelson, GB (vs. MIN, Sat.)
Nelson caught three of six targets from Aaron Rodgers for 28 yards against the Panthers last week. Rodgers was not his usual precise self as no one caught a high percentage of his passes. But Nelson was not getting separation. We all blamed Brett Hundley for Nelson’s declining production, but it might be time to consider that it’s hard for a 33-year-old wide receiver, drawing the opposition’s top defenders, to maintain top-flight performances for 16 games.
Marquise Goodwin, SF (vs. JAC)
Goodwin has been a PPR monster in the past three weeks, forming quite the tandem with Jimmy Garoppolo. He has 33 targets in those three games. Despite the volume, keep Goodwin on the bench this week against a Jaguars defense that allows just 168 passing yards per game, and have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to WRs on the year.
Robby Anderson, NYJ (vs. LAC)
Anderson has seen at least 10 targets in three of his last four games, but how much do you trust the Jets’ passing game with Bryce Petty at quarterback, especially in a must-win week? Even if Anderson racks up targets as usual, they probably won’t add up to much fantasy points. The Chargers are a top-10 defense against the pass and also when it comes to fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs and WRs. Stay away this week.
START THESE TEs...
Antonio Gates, LAC (at NYJ)
Phillip Rivers will be without tight end Hunter Henry (placed on injured reserve on Tuesday) and could be without wide receiver Keenan Allen, who is left last week’s game because of a back injury. Tyrell Williams and Melvin Gordon will see more action in the passing game but look for the old man to be Rivers’ primary target in the red zone. Gates shook the dust off with a touchdown last week, so he is primed and ready to return to the starting role.
Cameron Brate, TB (at CAR)
Brate is in a similar situation as Antonio Gates. O.J. Howard was placed on injured reserve because of a foot injury he suffered last week, while DeSean Jackson has been hobbled and missed practice time due to an ankle injury. Brate is already Winston’s primary end zone target, and now he doesn’t have to worry about sharing snapes or competing for targets with Howard. Plug Brate back into your starting lineup.
SIT THESE TEs....
Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. DAL)
Just when Graham was looking like the scoring machine the Seahawks thought they had when they signed him, the tight end disappeared for two weeks. It’s possible he is being used more for pass protection instead of running routes, but Luke Willson scored another touchdown last week. Play Willson if you want a Seahawk TE.
Jared Cook, OAK (at PHI, Mon.)
At a position that drove fantasy owners crazy all season, Cook might have made us the craziest. After two consecutive weeks of practically nothing, even with good matchups, do yourself a favor and cut him and pick up Antonio Gates.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.
(Top photo courtesy of www.steelers.com)