Fantasy football owners who drafted Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green can’t be too happy right now. Both receivers were first round picks, and because of injuries, they’ll likely both be sitting out this week.
Johnson, a consensus top-five pick, has done nothing so far to justify his lofty preseason ranking. Since exploding for 164 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, the man known as “Megatron” has accumulated just 184 yards in the four games since, and he has zero scores to go with that paltry yardage total as well. A high-ankle sprain has been the culprit over the last two games and fantasy owners everywhere can only hope he gets the rest he needs in order to get him to full strength. He isn’t doing the Lions nor fantasy owners any favors by playing gimpy. Johnson had just three catches for 19 yards while being used as a “decoy” vs. the Jets and Bills, and he clearly aggravated the injury on his lone reception last week. Johnson “hopes” to play on Sunday vs. the Vikings, but the general sense is that he’ll sit this one out, and could possibly sit out through the Lions’ Week 9 bye. Being 3-2 affords them some wiggle room.
Green is in a similar situation to Johnson, though he’s been all but ruled out this week. The fourth-year pro aggravated his toe injury in Bengals’ practice on Wednesday and it looks like he could miss multiple games. Green hurt the digit in the team’s Week 2 win over the Falcons, but came right back and played vs. the Titans the following week. Choosing to play him there may come back to haunt the Bengals, because the way it sounded, his toe seems much worse this time around. Back in Week 2, the team was calling it a “sprained ligament”, but now they’re saying it’s “a little bit more [than turf toe]”. This is not what you want to hear if you’re the Bengals or own Green in any of your fantasy leagues. Unlike Johnson, Green has already had his bye, so if he’s going to rest, it’s gonna be during a game week. Green’s owners will just have to hope to hear some good news in the next few days.
With two big pass catchers on the mend, it puts owners in a real bind, so I’ve decided to do a wide receivers-only edition of “Start ’em and Sit ’em”…
Golden Tate, Lions: Duh. I had him in my “starts” last week, and boy did he make me look good. With Calvin Johnson non-existent vs. Buffalo, Tate had seven receptions for 134 yards and caught his first touchdown of the season. That performance came on the heels of an eight-catch, 116-yard showing vs. the Jets. We all saw what Tate was capable of in Seattle, and that was with a run-first team. In a pass-happy Lions’ offense, Tate all of a sudden becomes a top 20 wide receiver for as long as Megatron is sidelined.
Rueben Randle, Giants: If you had to guess, who would you say leads all NFL receivers in red zone targets? No, it’s not Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, or Antonio Brown. It’s none other than third-year pro Rueben Randle, who has a whopping 12 of them. Randle has garnered exactly 10 total targets in three straight games and his 40 overall targets is tops on the Giants. This week’s matchup is an appetizing one for Eli Manning‘s new favorite receiver, as the Giants travel to Philly to face an Eagles’ defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. The Eagles are also giving up two red zone TDs per game, which ties them for 20th in the league.
Mohamed Sanu, Bengals: The same reasoning that I gave for starting Golden Tate also applies here. Without A.J. Green in the lineup, it’s expected that the Bengals will employ a run-heavy attack, but Andy Dalton is gonna have to throw it at some point. Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert remain out as well, which will make Sanu the No. 1 non-RB receiving option on Sunday. When Green went down in Week 2, Sanu ended up finishing with three catches for 84 yards. Throw in a Week 3 passing touchdown, and the 25-year-old has three straight games of at least 13 fantasy points. Carolina is 21st vs. opposing receivers, which adds to Sanu’s FLEX appeal in Week 6.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: Everyone should know by now that “Larry Fitz” is hanging on by a thread in terms of fantasy relevance. On the season, Fitz has 13 catches for 164 yards and zero scores. There are 75 receivers who have bested his 29 fantasy points this year, including guys like Jason Avant, Donnie Avery, Robert Woods, and Travis Benjamin. It has been quite the precipitous drop for the future Hall of Famer, and the Cards’ QB situation this week won’t make things any easier on the 10-year vet. It looks like both Carson Palmer (shoulder) and Drew Stanton (concussion) may sit this week, leaving rookie Logan Thomas to run the offense. Even though Washington offers a nice matchup on paper, Larry Fitzgerald is unstartable until he and the Cardinals’ quarterbacks can show us some consistency.
Follow SethDaSportsMan on Twitter at, you guessed it, @SethDaSportsMan, for quality fantasy sports advice and the deepest veneration of all things Nicolas Cage