The receiving landscape has been up and down for most of the season. Fantasy owners have been riding the hot hands of Alshon Jeffery lately, and Josh Gordon is also ripping it up week after week. Both players weren't drafted as WR1s, but they're arguably top-five plays this week. After that, it can get a little messy. Here are six guys that might have some good or bad weeks:
Pierre Garcon - Sometimes a quarterback change could be the end of a receiver's value, but that probably won't be the case for Garcon. The Washington Redskins are going to do everything they can to build the trade value of quarterback Kirk Cousins and it starts Sunday. While they rank second the NFL in rushing yards, it should definitely be more of a pass-happy approach.
Cousins has put up some pedestrian numbers so far this season, totaling 107 yards on 12-of-25 passing with no touchdowns, two picks and a fumble. He hadn't been getting practice reps with the first unit, though. Against the Atlanta Falcons, the Skins will be going up against one of the league's worst defenders. Atlanta is 27th in yards allowed and 29th in point against.
Young quarterbacks usually don't go too far down their progressions, so there should be a lot of targets going Garcon's way.
Riley Cooper - This one's all about the matchup. The Philadelphia Eagles travel to the Mall of America Field to take on the Minnesota Vikings, whose defense is one of the worst in the league. The Vikings are 31st in the league in points allowed and their secondary hasn't been healthy lately. Everyone has been scoring on Minnesota all year -- even bad teams. The Vikes rank 31st in allowing fantasy points to receivers, so there should be plenty of goodies on the way for Cooper.
Cooper was targeted 10 times in Sunday's impressive win over the Detroit Lions, but he only caught three of those. He continues to get quite a few targets and should be in for a nice afternoon on the road in the dome.
Julian Edelman - The New England Patriots aren't going to have Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the season and they will have to resort to some new ways of getting the ball down the field. After Gronk's injury, it was mostly running back Shane Vereen and Edelman doing most of the work.
Vereen went completely off with 153 receiving yards on 12 catches last week against the Cleveland Browns, so he will easily be the biggest winner of the Gronk fallout. Edelman wasn't too shabby, either, with six catches for 64 yards on nine targets. He was a big part of New England's offense back when they were depleted, but his numbers had fallen off prior to Week 14.
Now that they're shorthanded again, it should be a very busy day for Edelman. He's a strong WR2 in PPR formats.
Anquan Boldin - The San Francisco 49ers don't exactly have the most formidable passing attack. They rank dead last in the NFL in passing yards and only five teams have fewer touchdowns. Their defense is one of the best, so they just have quarterback Colin Kaepernick act as a game manager. Sure, he can make plays, but they don't need him to.
There aren't going to be many balls to go around on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the addition of Michael Crabtree certainly won't help. Boldin might catch a TD, but there's a very slim chance he approaches 100 receiving yards like he's has the past two weeks.
Last week snapped Smith's six-game stretch of not scoring at TD. His numbers have not been there all year -- his season-high receiving total is just 69 yards.
The Jets are likely going to keep shooting themselves in the foot, so the Panthers won't have to unleash the fury of Cam Newton and company. Smith is a risky flex and might have a quiet day unless he catches a big TD.
James Jones - The Green Bay Packers offense is tough to count on with Aaron Rodgers down again this week. Eddie Lacy has been able to get his, but the receivers have fallen off. Jones had just 19 yards against the Falcons in Week 14 and he only has two TDs on the year.
He's not the same player he was last year and Jordy Nelson staying healthy has put a big dent in his value. Jones led the NFL in touchdown receptions a year ago, but he'll have a tough time scoring against even a terrible Dallas Cowboys defense.