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Week 5: Four Wide Receiver Corps to Watch

It's a near certainty that the premier receiver on each NFL team is a no-brainer fantasy start. However, receivers further down on the depth chart are trickier to forecast week to week. Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith looks at four receiving groups to determine if any players have potential breakout value in Week 5!

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Chicago Bears

Alshon Jeffery – Eddie Royal – Cameron Meredith

As always the Bears WR corps is ravaged with injury, Alshon Jeffery is frustrating Fantasy owners with his questionable status every week, and no one trusts the Bears quarterback. However, Brian Hoyer has been very good since taking over as the starter Week 2 when Jay Cutler injured his thumb. That has not helped stabilize this group of wide receivers whatsoever.

This past week we saw second-year wideout Kevin White go down with a broken fibula and land on injured reserve. There is a chance he comes back, but odds are he’ll be out for the remainder of the season. This leaves Jeffery to remain as the WR1 with Eddie Royal stepping is the WR2, and Cameron Meredith should see a huge jump in snaps and targets.

The primary concern here is Jeffery’s nagging injuries and quickly slipping production. He’s seen his yardage total drop each and every week this season from 105 yards Week 1 all the way to 46 yards Week 4. Even more troubling is that despite all the injuries to the Bears’ pass-catchers, Jeffery is only being targeted 6.25 times per game. This week he caught just 3-of-5 targets.

Jeffery is still clearly the top option in Chicago; he may just not be a WR1 in Fantasy Football anymore. Royal should be the no-doubt WR2 now. Week 4 he caught all seven of his targets for 111 yards and a TD. Meredith becomes an interesting deep league option. With White going down he saw a career-high five targets last week and should see a big bump in that department. When considering the questionable durability of both Jeffery and Royal, Meredith could be worth stashing if you can make room on your bench.

Alshon Jeffery vs Eddie Royal in 2016

Player

Receptions

Targets

AVG

Yards

TDs

Alshon Jeffery

17

25

18.6

317

0

Eddie Royal

18

22

13.4

241

2

San Francisco 49ers

Jeremy Kerley – Torrey Smith – Quinton Patton

Let’s be honest, anybody who thought Torrey Smith was going to be any better than he has been in 2016 was always kidding themselves. His preseason hype was mind boggling and right now he’s sitting with nine receptions for 106 yards and a TD on the entire season. Last season he managed just 33 receptions for 663 yards and four TDs. This season he’s on pace for 36 receptions for 424 yards and four touchdowns. Don’t look for him and quarterback Blaine Gabbert to get hot and blow last year’s numbers out of the water.

Kerley is the wide receiver to own in San Francisco. He leads all their wideouts with 32 receptions, 32 targets, and 202 yards. He’s also found the end zone one time. He has become Gabbert’s go-to receiver. Kerley suffered an injury scare this week and is listed as questionable. He is now expected to suit up this week.

Patton has been Smith with less hype. He has ten receptions for 106 yards. There is much to like here. Kerley is the on 49ers wide receiver that even needs to be on a roster. At best he’s a spot start in their anemic passing attack. This is a terrible situation all-around, and it will not likely improve anytime soon.

Dallas Cowboys

Dez Bryant – Cole Beasley – Terrance Williams – Brice Butler

Dez Bryant hasn’t exactly been lighting it up this year. That said, he is still the catalyst that makes the Cowboys’ passing game go. After sitting out of practice Wednesday and being hit with a three-week timetable two weeks ago, it looks like he’s on track to miss Week 5. His absence would leave a trio of Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Brice Butler for Dak Prescott to target.

http://www.scout.com/player/105164-cole-beasley?s=532

Beasley is the man that we would assume should see the most targets based on our SCOUT Fantasy Depth Charts, but that was not the case last week. Butler led all Cowboys wide receivers with nine targets. He also had WR high five receptions. Tight end Jason Witten caught 7-of-9 targets. Despite Butler being so heavily targeted last week Beasley should still be the most started Cowboys wideout this week.

Williams caught a TD pass last week. However, he’s tough to trust. He just seems like a disappointment waiting to happen. For years he’s been inconsistent and has never lived up to Fantasy owners’ unrealistic expectations. Assuming Bryant is out, utilize Beasley if you insist upon starting a Cowboys wide receiver. Butler is a desperation play at best. I’d avoid Williams altogether.

Buffalo Bills

Robert Woods – Marquise Goodwin – Walter Powell

This group of wideouts was sure to be a nightmare with Sammy Watkins on the active roster, so now it’s a catastrophe. Robert Woods is now the top guy in Buffalo. Greg Salas was a contributor as well before suffering an injury of his own. Marquise Goodwin and Walter Powell are now the complementary pieces.

None of the Bills wideouts are a strong option. The passing game as a whole isn’t very good. In two of his four outings this season quarterback, Tyrod Taylor failed to reach 120 yards or throw a TD. Coming off a ten target game, Woods is assured to see the highest volume of targets as long as Sammy Watkins is on injured reserve. He leads all Bills wide receivers with 18 receptions, 25 targets, and 170 yards. Through four games he’s yet to find the end zone. Taylor has only thrown four, though.

Goodwin is the big-play threat in Buffalo. He has 130 yards and a touchdown on just four receptions. The Olympic caliber track star can fly and is capable of running with anyone defensive back in the league. He drew a ton of attention when burning Darrelle Revis Week 2 for two receptions, 112 yards, and an 84 yard TD. Unfortunately, there is a lot more bust than boom in Goodwin. He has 18 total yards when not vacationing on Revis Island.

Powell is a virtual unknown and Fantasy afterthought. He does deserve mentioning because he has seen five targets in each of the past two games and is currently the WR3. Still, he’s nothing more than low-end punt option in DFS leagues, and even that’s a stretch. He’s the weakest link in an already terrible WR corps.

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