As we head into the last few weeks of the regular season, fantasy owners have to figure out how they're going to get their lineups set. If you're in a deep league, the way you use your bench is very important.
If you're constantly finding yourself cringing and starting your WR3, you're going to want to use a guy that has a lower upside and is a safer play. On the other hand, if you're usually trotting out the same guys without much of a dilemma, then upside should be your priority. Here is a list that will provide a little bit of both.
DeAndre Hopkins (owned in 48 percent of leagues)
Well, so much for the Texans having a good defense. They’re sitting at 2-7 and most of it is due to giving up big plays, thus causing the team to have to pass more often. Hopkins was targeted 11 times in the loss to the Cardinals and teams are starting to key on Andre Johnson. It’s no secret that he is his go-to guy, so teams could steal a page out of New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s book and put bracket coverage on Johnson, like the way the Saints did to Dez Bryant.
He gets a terrific matchup on Sunday against the Raiders. You might have heard about Nick Foles’ seven-TD game and the Raiders were beaten badly by the Giants on Sunday.
Jarrett Boykin (owned in 43 percent of leagues)
Apparently, it doesn’t matter what quarterback is calling the shots for the Packers. Boykin was targeted heavily with 13 on Sunday, yielding eight receptions for 112 yards. This is all a guess, but maybe Tolzien and Boykin got reps together while the team was healthy as the backups on the roster. But I digress.
Tolzien is going to start and it will be against a vulnerable Giants secondary.
Brandon LaFell (owned in 24 percent of leagues)
Don’t look now, but LaFell is getting plenty of targets for the Panthers. He saw eight targets on Sunday and nine in Week 9. The dilemma lies in his lack of production from those targets. Last week he had just 48 yards on four catches, but he was a little better in Week 9 with 74 yards.
LaFell was expected to get a bigger role last year with the Panthers expected to spread the ball around. It’s taken a while, but he’s starting to come on. The Panthers get the Saints a couple times and he gets the Patriots on Monday Night Football. If you’re feeling saucy, he could be a sneaky WR3 with Aqib Talib likely to be on Steve Smith.
Andre Roberts (owned in five percent of leagues)
This is more of a guy you don’t want to take. The Texans covered up Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd sat out most of the game with an injury. Floyd is just day-to-day, so it doesn’t sound like he will miss Week 11. It’s a nice matchup against the Jaguars, so there are worse guys to stash on your bench in an emergency situation.
Mario Manningham (owned in nine percent of leagues)
He made his season debut and it wasn’t anything to write home about. The former Giant had just three catches for 30 yards. On the plus side, he was targeted a team-high six times and also led the team in yards with 30 while tying Anquan Boldin with three catches.
Manningham gets a pass here. The Panthers have one of the best defenses in the NFL and their front seven has wreaked havoc on a lot of quarterbacks. His upside is a bit capped with Michael Crabtree coming back, so he’s more of a stop-gap option. That said, this week is a very interesting matchup against the high-powered Saints. Colin Kaepernick won’t be able to just hand the ball off to Frank Gore and they won’t be in this game with a team-high of 30 yards.
Still not deep enough? Here's a quick list of other guys worth a look:
Leonard Hankerson - He caught all five of his targets on Sunday.
Cordarrelle Patterson - He scored a TD on Thursday and the Vikings seem like they'll use him more in the offense.
Mike Brown - The Jaguars need all the help they can get in the passing game.
Jerricho Cotchery - He has four TDs in his last two games.
Marquise Goodwin - The Bills need some healthy bodies at receiver.
Mohammed Sanu - He saw eight targets on Sunday.
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