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Fantasy Football: Bubble Options at Wide Receiver for Week 2

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Fantasy Football WR Bubble Options for Week Two

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Most fantasy football leagues require you to start at least three receivers and give you an option to start another at your flex spot, making it entirely possible that half of your roster is made up of WRs. With most owners building their team around two stud running backs, the difference between good and great fantasy seasons are likely to rely on wide receiver production. But who can you trust for Week 2? How much do you read into what we saw in Week 1?

Well, that’s why I am here. In the following slides, you’ll notice that I believe in loyalty when it comes to players in high-powered offenses. The NFL has become a passing league, giving me confidence that the elite signal callers will continue to spread the ball around, thus resulting in some down weeks for some very good receivers. You signed up for this when you drafted a member of the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, etc., so remaining patient is crucial.

In addition to pass catchers in strong offenses, there are emerging talents that can be trusted given either their increase in workload or their Week 2 matchup. When it comes down to it, if you’re stuck at which bubble option to start in a given week, I’m siding with the offense that is run by a quarterback that is capable to putting up monster numbers. Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers have obviously established themselves in the fantasy community, and after a strong Week 1, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco and Sam Bradford are all dependable options this week.

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5. Marlon Brown

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Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The unknown rookie out of Georgia filled in nicely for the injured Jacoby Jones in the Baltimore Ravens opening night loss, hauling in four passes on six targets for 65 yards and a touchdown. The numbers are nice, but I was impressed with the possession style of the 6-foot-5 Marlon Brown. His size makes him an obvious deep ball threat, but he complimented the speedy Torrey Smith nicely by running the underneath routes, with all four of his grabs moving the chains. Brown proved capable of stepping in and producing with limited practice time, and now he gets a home game with 10 days of preparation.

Joe Flacco should be even more comfortable with the rookie with the extended practice time, something that should play a large role in this week’s game against the Cleveland Browns and Joe Haden. The elite corner completely shut down Mike Wallace (one reception for 15 yards) last week, and is likely to be shadowing Smith all over the field this week. How did the Miami Dolphins combat this? Ryan Tannehill routinely checked down to his possession receivers, allowing both Brian Hartline (9-114-1) and Brandon Gibson (7-77) to provide fantasy owners with great value. Like it or not, the 2013 Ravens are a passing team, and assuming they would rather not play with fire by targeting Haden, Brown is in a great spot to serve as your flex play in PPR leagues.

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4. Chris Givens

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The home run-hitting Chris Givens should be licking his chops when he looks at the opposing sideline and sees an Atlanta Falcons defense which ranked in the bottom 10 in pass yards surrendered last season, and already dealing with a handful of injuries. Asante Samuel (thigh) was inactive last week and is questionable at best for this week’s contest, while Sean Weatherspoon, who averaged over seven tackles per game last season, continues to battle a balky knee. The ailing Falcons figure to focus their efforts on slowing down the explosive Tavon Austin and the suddenly super involved Jared Cook. This leaves Givens matched up one-on-one on the perimeter, a situation that he proved he can exploit with regularity. The burner recorded a catch of at least 37 yards in seven of his final 12 games last season, and with an improved Sam Bradford, I’m expecting the St. Louis Rams to take a few shots down field to their deep threat.

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3. Andre Roberts

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Jeff-Curry-USA TODAY Sports

We were all so quick to sky rocket Larry Fitzgerald up our preseason rankings due to the offseason addition of Carson Palmer, but why can Andre Roberts experience a similar spike in value? Roberts has increased he catches and catch percentage in each of his three seasons in the NFL, and that was with marginal talent at best at the quarterback position. Not that Palmer is a Pro Bowl level performer, but he’s proven the ability to lead effective offenses in the past, and did so in Week 1.

He gets a nice matchup with the Detroit Lions this week, a team that doesn’t have one solid cover man, let alone multiple. I’m expecting the Lions to shade Fitzgerald’s side of the field in a big way, giving Roberts plenty of room to operate. Defensively speaking, the St. Louis Rams and Lions were very similar last season, but the Lions couldn’t take the ball away in an effective manner (26 pass touchdowns allowed and only 11 interceptions). Expecting a similar stat line as his Week 1 breakout (eight catches on nine targets for 97 yards) is perfectly reasonable against a questionable secondary.

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2. Lance Moore

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Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I know that Lance Moore probably burned you with his disappointing two-catch (on only four targets), 23-yard performance in what figured to be a shootout with the Atlanta Falcons. That being said, how many Moore owners from 2012 do you know that weren’t satisfied with the year-end results? His first career 1,000-yard receiving season included four games with two or fewer catches (10 with four or fewer), meaning that you’ve got to give him more than one week before you cut ties.

Drew Brees is among the best quarterbacks in the league when it comes to spreading the ball around, and let’s face it, it’s not like the Saints are going to run the ball. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added some nice pieces this offseason to shore up their league-worst pass defense (297 passing yards allowed per game in 2012), but those players weren’t brought in to slow down Moore. Marques Colston is likely to find himself on Revis Island, while the rest of the Bucs focus on Darren Sproles or Jimmy Graham. They are better defensively than last season, but there’s a big difference between “improved” and “able to slow down the Saints”. Tampa Bay is not the latter, and I expect Brees to take advantage of the Saints' biggest edge -- their depth.

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1. James Jones

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Pitchforks and mobs reportedly chased James Jones out of San Francisco last week, as the fantasy community was up in arms about how a 14-touchdown receiver in 2012 could deliver a doughnut on opening day.

Relax.

The San Francisco 49ers boast an elite defense and will make a lot of teams struggle to produce their typical fantasy numbers. As was the case with the Saints, the Green Bay Packers have a plethora of weapons, and they all can’t produce every single week. The Packers are going to continue to throw the ball and Jones remains a trusted target in the red zone. Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy agree that their touchdown leader from a year ago should be more involved moving forward, and that’s all I need to hear when it comes to starting Jones in my fantasy lineup.

Need more fantasy advice? Hit me up @unSOPable23 for weekly advice, ranks, and all things fantasy sports.