He shouldn’t still be on this list, but I am in a couple of leagues with owners still not starting Robby Anderson – that’s baffling to me. In one of his toughest matchups of the year against a brutal Bears defense, he still finished with 4 catches (season-low) for 77 yards (2nd-lowest). To merely call him consistent would be a disservice to him at this point – he has 40 catches, the fourth-most in the NFL, and 567 yards, the 2nd-most. He has only scored one touchdown this season, but he ranks as the WR6 on the season. Matchups hardly matter for Anderson at this point, but he faces a very beatable Saints defense that allowed Justin Herbert to throw for 264 yards and 4 touchdowns before their bye week. Anderson is a must-start wide receiver at this point.
Austin Ekeler is going to continue to be out for a significant amount of time with his hamstring injury, so the Chargers’ backfield will come down to Jackson and rookie Joshua Kelley. Last time we saw the Chargers on the field, Jackson out-touched Kelley by 8 (4 carries and 4 catches). Jackson was the more efficient player as well, rushing for 4.7 YPC compared to 2.6 YPC for Kelley. With such a large discrepancy in these players’ performances, it would make sense for Anthony Lynn to roll with the hot hand, especially since Jackson is the more experienced player and better pass-catcher. This week, the Chargers face a Jaguars defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs in a matchup where LA is favored by a touchdown. Jacksonville allowed the Lions to run for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns last week. That positive game script and weak rush defense should lead to plenty of opportunities for Jackson, and he’s a talented enough player to take advantage of the opportunity with a great fantasy performance.
The Steelers’ rookie wide receiver has exploded onto the scene in recent weeks, following up an absurd 4-touchdown Week 5 with four catches for 74 yards last week. This week, he faces a very beatable Titans defense that has surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Diontae Johnson could return to the field for Pittsburgh this week, which could theoretically put a dent in Claypool’s target share. However, the rookie wideout has proven that he must be on the field often for the Steelers and in your fantasy lineups. Tennessee allowed Deshaun Watson to throw for 335 yards and 4 touchdowns last week, so there should be plenty of production to go around for this offense, and Claypool has a huge ceiling against this poor defense.
Another rookie receiver who has emerged in recent weeks is Tee Higgins, the former Clemson wideout who was drafted early in the second round by Cincinnati. Higgins has scored 10+ PPR points in each of the last four games despite only scoring in one of those contests. This past week, he finished with 6 catches for 125 yards as he took on more of an outside, downfield role, and A.J. Green was shifted further inside. That new role for Higgins led to a fantastic rate of 15.6 yards per target, by far his best mark of the season. This week, the Bengals face a Browns defense that has lost several key players to injuries and has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Higgins has 6+ targets in each of the last five weeks, so his target share is locked in, and he has a ton of upside in such a favorable matchup.
I’ll continue the run of rookies here with D’Andre Swift, who is coming off his best game as a pro. He finished with 14 carries for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns last week, as well as 3 catches for 7 yards. That was an uncharacteristically quiet pass-catching performance for Swift, but much of that can be chalked up to the game script. This week, the Lions will have to contend with a much more potent offense in Atlanta, so they’ll need to produce a good deal more through the air. The Falcons have been torched by opposing running backs in the passing game this year, and Swift should take advantage of that opportunity, regardless of Adrian Peterson’s continued involvement. Swift has rushed for 6.1 YPC this year, the best clip among all running backs, and he’s earned himself more touches moving forward. This is a plus matchup, and he’s a strong flex play this week.
The Cardinals have spread the ball around a ton this season, and Kirk only has 13 catches through five games as he’s taken a backseat to DeAndre Hopkins. However, last week he dominated against a porous Cowboys defense with 2 catches for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those were his second and third scores of the year, so that type of performance may not be repeatable, but the good times should keep rolling for Arizona as they face a Seattle team that has allowed the most passing yards and the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Kirk’s target share leaves a lot to be desired, but he looked stellar last week and should be Kyler Murray’s second-best target in a pass-heavy game script. He’s a high risk-reward flex play this week and could be in for a huge performance given the matchup.
Justin Herbert’s deep ball has been as advertised this season as he ranks third in the NFL in yards per attempt, and per PFF, he has completed 8 of his 18 deep balls for 320 yards and 5 touchdowns so far this season. His gunslinging mentality fits perfectly with the vertical ability of Mike Williams, and the duo flashed brilliance the last time we saw them on the field together as they connected five times for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. With so many players on bye or injured, you may have to start Williams this week, and I think you can be confident in him this week. The Jaguars have sacked opposing QBs the fewest times per game, so Herbert should have plenty of time in the pocket to find Williams downfield, and 50-50 balls turn into 80-20 balls when the dynamic wideout fights for contested catches. He’s a stud and can be trusted week-to-week.