NFL Sunday is almost here, and below are some players I have identified at the wide receiver and tight end position that I hold in high regard this weekend. There are elite players in here and also value plays to make them fit. Now, let’s dig in and find some players that can win us some money on FanDuel and DraftKings.
A.J. Green (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The Tampa Bay defense is something we want to pick on every week now, if we can. For all the reasons that I mentioned last week in this spot with Jarvis Landry, the same holds true for Green. Landry went out and put up 10 receptions for 97 yards and scored a touchdown, and I expect Green to do even better. He’s the focal point of the passing game and has steadily increased his target share every week, culminating in 14 targets last week against Kansas City in which he turned into seven receptions and 117 yards. It boils down to the fact that Green’s the number one receiving option on a team facing the worst defense in the NFL and an opposing offense that can keep pace on the scoreboard, thus forcing Cincinnati to be aggressive all four quarters. This is a no-brainer pick.
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JuJu Smith-Schuster (vs. Cleveland Browns)
JuJu Smith-Schuster has become one of the most explosive weapons in the NFL. He simply goes overlooked every week due to the fact that he plays next to Antonio Brown. But, his numbers stand alone in terms of production. Smith-Schuster has double-digit targets in four of the six Pittsburgh games this season. As great as Adam Thielen has been for Minnesota, JuJu has four 111+ yard receiving games himself this season. With all due respect to AB, JuJu has been the most productive Pittsburgh wide receiver in 2018. Now the Steelers come off of a bye week and they take on Cleveland, again. These two teams met in Week 1, and JuJu racked up 119 yards on eight targets. The Browns are a better offense now and that should translate to more Big Ben passing. Ultimately, both JuJu and Brown should have a nice day against his defense, and I’m going to lean towards the JJSS due to the price savings.
Demaryius Thomas (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
Demaryius Thomas has taken a backseat this season to Emmanuel Sanders and even had some of his thunder stolen by rookie Courtland Sutton. The risk is here due to the numbers we're seeing this year from Thomas, but the benefit of those poor numbers is that we're getting a rock-bottom price on a gifted receiver that should be playing catch-up this entire game. Kansas City’s offense has shown they’ll put up tons of points and force Denver to stay aggressive the entire game. The game script should definitely favor the Broncos wide receivers, and another positive aspect is the recent play of quarterback Case Keenum. Prior to last Thursday night’s blowout over Arizona, Keenum had put up back-to-back games of 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns. In those games, he threw the ball 92 times. If Denver approaches 50 pass attempts in this game against a weak defense, I would find it within the range of possibilities that Thomas far exceeds his price tag on both sites.
Travis Kelce (vs. Denver Broncos)
Kelce is in a head-to-head battle with Zach Ertz for the best tight end in football right now. He's averaged 8.6 targets per game on the year and that has translated to 38 receptions for 563 yards. What’s remarkable about Kelce is the 14.8 yards per reception, an unusually high number for a tight end. It just means that his targets are more explosive than the average tight end, most of whom catch the ball close to the line of scrimmage. We’ve already seen Denver and Kansas City square off one time this year, and Kelce put up a nice 7/78/1 stat line against the Broncos in Week 4. I’m of the opinion that this will be the optimal way to attack this Broncos Defense this weekend, so I think Kelce could walk out of this being the number one tight end in Week 8.
Greg Olsen (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
Olsen was once a big force at this position in fantasy, but injuries have derailed his career and he’s only recently made his return from another major setback. That said, Olsen has been back for two weeks now. In those two games he’s averaged six targets per game, and he’s still Cam Newton’s favorite target not named Christian McCaffrey. Olsen’s also a red zone threat and beat Philadelphia for a touchdown last weekend. Carolina’s at home to face a very strict Baltimore defense that should hold the running game in check and also create lots of problems for Newton’s outside wide receivers. That could leave a bigger than normal workload for Olsen against this tough defense.