Fantasy Doctor: Wide Receiver Wednesday.

It’s one of those beautiful moments.

Andrew Luck drops back on 1st and 10 with minutes left in the half. The Dolphins defense pushes toward him. He looks down the right sideline and spots his target. The arm flows forward, the ball releases and fans’ hearts seem to skip a beat, as they do on most deep passes.

They use the near-four-second hang time to ask questions. Did he throw it far enough? Is the receiver in position to make a play? What about the cornerback? Does he see the ball coming? Is he going to make a play instead?

These are questions even Luck might have been asking as the ball dropped from the sky toward his receiver, T.Y. Hilton. But as cornerback Brett Grimes puts his arms out to make the interception, Hilton goes airborne. With finesse, his arms weave over Grimes’ head and his hands snatch the ball out of the air, coming down with it on Miami’s 13-yard line for a 47-yard gain.

As much credit is given to quarterbacks in the NFL, we can’t forget the receivers who make terrific plays like these. Hilton was just one of many in Week 2 to be responsible for big gains in the air. He and others like him are also behind the grins and cheers of fantasy owners everywhere who, without those grabs, would have lost the week.

We go on and on about quarterbacks. Yeah, Manning and Rodgers did great again. Same story with the running backs, as Marshawn Lynch made his much-expected resurgence in fantasy this weekend. But whether you’re in a PPR league or just have two wide receiver slots to fill, we fantasy owners can’t forget the value of receivers — the ones who can make plays like Hilton’s to help us edge the competition.

That’s why for this week’s starts and sits, I’m dedicating all four spots to wide receivers — to honor some of the playmakers who rack up the big numbers and to talk you out of making mistakes with the sure-to-be duds of Week 3.


Eddie Royal (wide receiver, Chargers) — I don’t buy that Eddie Royal is going to be the next great receiver, just like I didn’t buy into Danny Amendola last season with the Rams. That said, I do believe he’s worth picking as a flex — maybe a No. 2 receiver if you’re feeling gutsy.

In Week 2, Royal caught seven of eight targets for 90 yards and three touchdowns (27 points), but things have changed for Week 3. Malcom Floyd is doubtful with a neck injury, making Royal the most likely favorite for throw-happy Philip Rivers. He may have to share some big grabs with Antonio Gates, but expect big things to keep coming for Royal.

Julian Edelman (wide receiver, Patriots) — New England’s house is a mess. The tight ends have fallen, Gronkowski to injury and Hernandez to the color orange. Amendola is likely weeks away from seeing the field again. Tom Brady needs someone he can trust, and who else is there but five-year veteran Edelman?

Edelman has a history with injuries and isn’t necessarily a star, but he’s about all they’ve got. At 20 receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns this season, he’s deadly in a PPR league. And as the Patriots offense starts to come together in Week 3, Edelman is a nice man to have at WR2.


Cecil Shorts III (wide receiver, Jaguars) — OK, maybe I just wanted to say his name. But c’mon, guys, he’s owned in 99 percent of ESPN leagues? Are any of you actually playing him? Take a minute to remember Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert are the two trusted with throwing to him. Not only that, but on 24 targets, Shorts has only made 11 catches. Sure, he has an adequate 133 yards, but 13 points total after two weeks? Bench him, if you haven’t already.

Eric Decker (wide receiver, Broncos) — Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas — these guys are all reasons why you shouldn’t invest much fantasy stock in Eric Decker. Nine catches for 87 yards isn’t bad, especially if he had actually gotten a touchdown. But the fact is that Peyton Manning just has too many weapons. There’s not enough love to go around. Decker’s eight points in Week 2 may have seemed to have fantasy potential for a moment, but know that those moments will only come around every now and then.

J.J. is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Wilsonable07.