Conventional wisdom tells you elite wide receivers are not as injury prone as running backs. And, while the data backs that up, it's hard to argue after one week of NFL action. Courtland Sutton and Kenny Golladay missed Week 1, and we've received no assurances about their Week 2 status yet. Michael Thomas and Chris Godwin played most of Week 1, but Thomas has a high ankle sprain and Godwin is in the concussion protocol and didn't practice on Thursday. Jamison Crowder was awesome Week 1 but then pulled a hamstring in Wednesday's practice. In other words, wide receiver is a mess for Fantasy football right now.
For that reason, you probably need to start all four primary receivers in Thursday night's game over any of the receivers mentioned above. I'm actually excited about Odell Beckham and A.J. Green. They both saw at least nine targets in Week 1 and they're both facing very good matchups. They're both ranked inside my top 20 at the position this week as a result.
I'm less enthused about Jarvis Landry and Tyler Boyd, and neither cracks the top 40 in my projections, but I have more confidence in them on Thursday than I do any of the injured players listed above playing this week.
In the projections at the bottom of the article, Thomas, Golladay and Sutton are projected as out, while we're still projecting Godwin and Crowder playing. If Crowder were to miss Week 2 I'd just ignore the Jets offense entirely. If Godwin can't go then Scotty Miller becomes a top-36 receiver and I'd be interested in starting both O.J. Howard and Rob Gronkowski at tight end.
Week 2 WR Preview
The following players are not being projected to play Week 2 at this time. Here's what it means:
NO New Orleans • #13
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Thomas' high-ankle sprain seems like it's going to cost him multiple weeks.
DET Detroit • #19
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola should lead the way for the Lions if Golladay misses Week 2.
DEN Denver • #14
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Expect Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant to lead the Broncos in targets if Sutton can't go.
MIA Miami • #11
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Preston Williams should be the No. 1 receiver, but against the Bills that means a very tough matchup.
SF San Francisco • #11
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Kendrick Bourne is the best 49ers receiver to play, but even he is a dart throw.
Numbers to Know
- 14 -- DeAndre Hopkins set a career-high with 14 catches in Week 1. My volume concerns in Arizona look like they were unfounded.
- 37.1% -- Jamison Crowder was targeted on 37.1% of Sam Darnold's throws on Sunday. If he's a full go I'm starting him.
- 19 -- Calvin Ridley now has 19 touchdown receptions in his first 30 career games. Julio Jones has scored 14 since Ridley joined the Falcons.
- 8.1 -- Robby Anderson has averaged 8.1 yards per target for his career. If he's going to see eight targets regularly, he has league-winning upside.
- 60.5% -- Henry Ruggs saw 60.5% of the Raiders total air yards. DK Metcalf was the only other receiver over 60% in Week 1.
- 7.4 -- Curtis Samuel's average depth of target was barely half of what it was in 2019. Unfortunately, the Panthers have still not found a level that Samuel is consistently productive on.
- 6 -- Cooper Kupp has only seen more than six targets twice in his last nine games.
Matchups that matter
Waiver Wire Targets
LAC L.A. Chargers • #81
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Tyrod Taylor's first start drew mixed reviews, but his connection with Williams was one of the bright spots. Taylor consistently took shots deep, and despite Williams not being 100% they connected four times. We've already seen the 10 touchdown season and a 1,000-yard season from Williams, but he has upside we hasn't seen where he produces yards and touchdowns. This could be that season.
JAC Jacksonville • #10
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
As someone who drafted a lot of Laviska Shenault, I was thrilled with his Week 1 usage. He was targeted on 20% of Gardner Minshew's throws and had two carries as well. The touchdown was just the cherry on top. I don't really want to start Shenault this week, but then the Jaguars schedule turns favorable. Expect the rookie's role to grow as the season goes on.
IND Indianapolis • #15
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Targets vs. target share can be a funny discussion. Campbell had nine targets in Week 1, but that's because Philip Rivers threw 46 passes. His target share was actually below that of Shenault, who only saw four targets. If the Colts are going to be a pass-happy team, it's easy to envision a breakout from Campbell. But if they go back to the run-heavy game plan we forecasted, there probably aren't enough targets available behind T.Y. Hilton and the running backs for Campbell to make a difference.
N'Keal Harry WR
NE New England • #15
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
I'd expect the Patriots will have to throw more against Seattle than they did in Week 1. But until they do, you really can't trust Harry. Still, he's a strong hold, and I still have hopes he can grow into being Cam Newton's favorite red zone threat.
Jalen Reagor WR
PHI Philadelphia • #18
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Reagor made one nice splash play, but that was about it. The Eagles offensive line needs to improve before Carson Wentz can consistently find his speedy rookie downfield. Hopefully that starts in Week 2.
Julio Jones WR
ATL Atlanta • #11
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Jones is my No. 1 receiver this week, and he's not the most expensive receiver, so that makes this easy. This game with the Cowboys should be another shootout for the Falcons with Jones seeing double-digit targets and posting a triple-digit yardage total. Hopefully he finds the end zone as well.
Will Fuller WR
HOU Houston • #15
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
I'm pairing up Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller in tournament lineups this week. They have massive upside, and their roster rate will be almost nothing because of their matchup against the Ravens. The Ravens defense is good enough to matter, but it's not good enough for me to fade Watson and Fuller as contrarian plays.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 2 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big-time last season.