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Week 9: Three WR Corps To Watch

Mark Morales-Smith examines some interesting wide receiver groups as we approach Week 9 of the Fantasy Football season!

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Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown – Sammie Coates – Eli Rogers – Markus Wheaton – Darrius Heyward-Bey

After Ben Roethlisberger went down a few weeks back with a torn meniscus we covered the Steelers WRs corps. It was based less around the wideouts themselves, but how the absence of Big Ben would impact them. Currently Roethlisberger is considered questionable and has a legitimate shot to return this week. Nonetheless, this time we’ll look at the wide receivers themselves because there have been a lot of shakeups in Pittsburgh.

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Antonio Brown is of course still the top guy. Nothing has changed here. Even without Big Ben in he still caught seven passes for 106 yards. Of course his value dips a bit, but he’s still a must-start WR1 each and every week. However, things have been less predictable behind him.

Sammie Coates was forced out of the team’s last game Week 7 after further aggravating his finger injury. The current status of his finger is not completely clear heading into Week 9. I expect him to play, nevertheless, after he was active Week 7 and was forced out after just one catch you have to be at least a little concerned. Still, if he’s healthy and active, there is no doubt he’s the No. 2 option in Pittsburgh. I like his value regardless of who is under center throwing him the ball.

Eli Rogers is the biggest question mark in this group. After impressing early in the season, he was promptly injured. While he’s been healthy for a few weeks now, he simply didn’t play last week. Report were it was for disciplinary reasons, although, the team has denied these claims. Now head coach Mike Tomlin says Rogers is “up for considerable play” this week. It’s tough to trust Tomlin though. This team has been less than honest all year.

According to the team’s most recent depth chart, Markus Wheaton has lost his starting job and is plummeting out of favor. He has now been leap frogged by Darrius Heyward-Bey. It’s never a good sign when DHB is viewed as a better option than you on anything aside from special teams. Wheaton was once a promising Fantasy option. Now he is an afterthought at best. Heyward-Bey isn’t an option either.

Be sure to monitor this quarterback situation leading up to Sunday as it will have a massive impact on the WRs corps. Also, remember that Big Ben being active doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the starter. Last season he was active for a game and served as the back. It just so happened Landry Jones got injured and Roethlisberger did end up playing in that game much earlier than his injury timetable predicted.  

Tennessee Titans

Rishard Matthews – Tajae Sharpe – Kendall Wright

After a promising start to his rookie season, Tajae Sharpe has seen his Fantasy value fall off a cliff. He’s only hit the 20-yards receiving mark once in the past five games and hasn’t reached 60 yards since Week 1. It’s also worth noting he’s still looking for his first NFL touchdown as well. It gotten to the point now that this once hot commodity isn’t even worth a roster spot in anything other than dynasty leagues and the deepest of re-drafts.

If I’m rolling with one Titans wideout it would have to be Rishard Matthews. With all the bye week issues as of late, he hasn’t been a terrible desperation play. Over the past four games he’s caught 15 passes while catching at least three in every game. He’s also caught a touchdown pass in three of those four games. After a slow start to the season, it looks like the former Miami Dolphins wideout has found his role in this offense. There is no doubt he’s surpassed Sharpe.

All of a sudden Kendall Wright has become a factor again. Prior to October 16, his season totals were three receptions for 23 yards. He’s exploded in two of the past three games. Week 6 he caught 8-of-9 targets for 133 yards and a touchdown. Week 7 he put up a dud, but followed that with a four catch, 84 yard and TD game Week 8. It’s now time to at the very least start monitoring his production. This is a guy who has a 1,000 yard season on his resume.

The NFL also lost a legend this week. Andre Johnson announced his retirement. The former Miami Hurricanes and Houston Texans wideouts was one of the greats. He joined the Titans this offseason after floundering with the Indianapolis Colts last year. The future Hall of Famer had eight receptions for 85 yards and two TDs on the season. Once Kendall Wright was fully healthy there was no place for Johnson anymore and he had gone three weeks without a catch before hanging up his cleats for good.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jordan Matthews – Josh Huff – Dorial Green-Beckham – Nelson Agholor

Jordan Matthews is the top wideout by default in Philly. This wide receivers corps is certainly in contention for the worst in the league. He did have big game Sunday Night with 11 receptions for 65 yards and a TD, however, he’s a guy that a typical good game for him is three or four catches in the 65-to-75 yard range and if you’re lucky he pulls down a touchdown. He has three on the season so far. While he’s not an ideal option, he is serviceable.

Dorial Green-Beckham caught five passes for 55 yards last week, which both were season highs. That should tell you all you need to know about him. DGB is another ultra-talented kid, when it comes to physical gifts, that hasn’t been able to put it all together and become a productive player. The upside is amazing with him, but he hasn’t come close to reaching his potential thus far.  Also, Nelson Agholor is terrible. With that said he may be in for an increased workload sooner rather than later because of everything that happened with Josh Huff this week.

Late Monday night, or technically Tuesday morning, Huff was pulled over and things did not go swimmingly. He was subsequently arrested for DUI, speeding, possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of a firearm along with six hollow-tip bullets. Needless to say, this does not bode well for him. Naturally the Eagles say he will play Week 9, because teams really don’t care all that much about these kinds of things, but there is a good chance he faces suspension soon. He wasn’t much of a contributor, then again, neither are Agholor and DGB.


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