The NFL season is reaching its halfway point where teams are either in the hunt for a playoff spot or already cutting their losses. There are some intriguing fantasy matchups this week that will have everybody watching. Here are the wide receivers who deserve a starting spot and those who should be left on the bench.
Start – Tyler Lockett: Lockett could be a blessing in disguise for some fantasy owners scrambling for a reliever this late in the season. He accumulated 79 yards and a TD against the 49ers, but Lockett can also have games where he won’t get a catch. This week, Seattle plays the Dallas Cowboys. The Dallas defensive front including Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, Demarcus Lawrence, Sean Lee, and Tyron Crawford will be pushing back against Seattle’s run game with Lynch. With Jimmy Graham gaining a majority of the defense’s attention, Russell Wilson could have open guys down the field, mainly Lockett. Lockett should be a good plugin for the flex position.
Start – Kendall Wright: Wright doesn’t have the best numbers coming into this week’s game against the Houston Texans, but numbers can be deceiving. Wright managed to pull in only 46 yards last week, but he did score a touchdown, which saved him. The biggest change for Wright this week will be the return of his starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. With Mariota at the helm, look for the Baylor product to shine against a desperate Texans squad.
Start – Stefan Diggs: Diggs has made a name for himself in the past few weeks. His production value is through the roof. He’s averaging just over 17 yards a catch in each of his outings. But, Diggs may not be as big a name for most fantasy owners who will make the mistake of starting a more seasoned veteran over the Minnesota receiver. If given the chance to start Diggs or another popular wideout (I.e. Dez Bryant or Odell Beckham Jr.) start Diggs. It’s the best bet.
Sit – Tavon Austin: Austin is a hit or miss kind of guy. One day he’ll have -2 yards and the next he’ll run back a 100 yard kickoff return. St. Louis also has its best performer in running back Todd Gurley, who they’ll feed for a majority of the game. Austin managed only 6 yards against a Redskins team not particularly known for its defensive prowess. He is playing the 49ers this week, but that bodes well for Gurley, rather than Austin.
Sit – Steve Smith: Smith is looking to go into retirement with a bang. His numbers have been moderately consistent and he’s a top target for QB Joe Flacco. This week poses a problem for Smith. He has missed practice with an apparent knee injury and is also nursing micro fractures in his back. If any of these injuries flare up against San Diego, he could miss parts of the game, which would kill the score for fantasy owners.Sit – Tavon Austin: Austin is a hit or miss kind of guy. One day he’ll have -2 yards and the next he’ll run back a 100yr kickoff return. St. Louis also has its best performer in running back Todd Gurley, who they’ll feed for a majority of the game. Austin managed only 6 yards against a Redskins team not particularly known for its defensive prowess. He is playing the 49ers this week, but that bodes well for Gurley rather than Austin.
Sit – Marvin Jones: Cincinnati has surprised a lot of people this year. That doesn’t mean that fantasy owners should put their faith in Jones to produce points for them. Jones has decent numbers for the year, but is plagued with a crowded wide receiver core that can leave him stranded at times. Jones is suffering from the same problem as Roddy White with Julio Jones in Atlanta. When a team has a go-to guy like A.J. Green, they tend not to look to other options. With the Steelers getting Roethlisberger back, they should be a rejuvenated bunch set on giving their division rival their first loss on the season.