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Wide Receivers Sending Out Warning Signals Going Into Week 7

Heading into Week 7, plenty of wide receivers have already solidified themselves as either stars or scrubs by now. Obviously the players who round out the opposing ends of that spectrum are the ones drawing the most attention, but I'd like to take a second to point something out real quick.

As I said last week, wide receivers are generally more consistent than running backs. The three players that make up this week's Warning Signals list should still be viewed as genuine stars who are simply going through a rough patch for whatever reason. In short, this week's theme is essentially "don't panic."

I should also give you a heads-up that the "Players From Last Week" section is a short one this week, mostly because of the nature of the players we've already discussed. We've talked about Calvin Johnson ad nauseam and his breakout finally came, T.Y. Hilton should be fine now that it appears Andrew Luck is healthy, Brandin Cooks is a bust, and we need to see how Mike Evans does in his first game after the bye. So other than those little tidbits, it's just a couple new faces and re-evaluating Jordan Matthews at the end. Let's roll.

 

Wide Receivers Sending Out Warning Signals

Antonio Brown¬†‚Äď WR,¬†PIT

When I first mentioned Antonio Brown on this list last week, the premise was rather simple: hang in there while Michael Vick is under center, leave Brown in your lineup, and hope for the best. Obviously injuries are never something you hope for, but sometimes there's a silver lining to a team being forced to change quarterbacks, and that's exactly the type of scenario we're looking at here regarding Antonio Brown.

Michael Vick hurt his hamstring during Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, opening the door for third-string QB Landry Jones to get a crack as the team's passer. Jones gave the passing attack a much-needed spark by tossing two touchdowns to wide receiver Martavis Bryant, showing that he's a competent enough quarterback to get the team's primary play-makers more involved than Vick. It's been made pretty clear that Vick's hammy is going to keep him out for at least one week, so with Landry Jones under center Brown's value has a good chance at being restored to some extent.

The other thing to keep in mind here is that Ben Roethlisberger has made tremendous strides toward recovering from his sprained MCL. Obviously if Big Ben is the starting quarterback Antonio catapults right back up into the top five at wide receiver. Still, if Ben were to miss one more week, Landry Jones showed he can carry the passing game well enough to get his top target involved. At the very least, Jones is an upgrade over Vick, so don't worry about Brown going forward. It doesn't matter who starts against the shoddy Kansas City defense--this should be the very last time you see Antonio Brown and his splendid haircut on this list for the remainder of the season.

Randall Cobb¬†‚Äď WR, GB

Here are Randall Cobb's numbers over his last three games: five catches for 44 yards, three for 23, and two for 38. Not only has he not exceeded four fantasy points in standard scoring over that span, but the most glaring aspect of that stat line is the lack of touchdowns. With Jordy Nelson out for the season, many expected Cobb to waltz right into the Packers WR1 role, but his lack of consistency has been a huge cause for concern.

Like I mentioned in the intro, all of the players we're discussing this week share the same "don't panic" motto, and that still applies to Cobb here. He plays in one of the best offenses in the league and his quarterback is Aaron Rodgers--you're simply not benching Randall Cobb. Better days are certainly ahead for the Packers most talented wide receiver, so don't go giving him away for peanuts just yet. That being said, this is a player whose name carries a lot of weight, so don't be afraid to entertain high-end offers for your WR1, especially if you have some depth at the position.

In short, chill out if you own Randall Cobb and get ready for a great second half. I'd understand if there's an owner in your league who believes in him more than you do and is willing to pay top dollar for him, just don't trade him away out of frustration.

A.J. Green¬†‚Äď WR,¬†CIN

For weeks now I've been ragging on Andy Dalton saying that he's inevitably going to turn back into a pumpkin, yet he continuous to prove me wrong. Instead, it's been A.J. Green that has disappointed, as he's been strangely absent from Cincinnati's new-found high-powered passing attack. I suppose "absent" is too harsh a word, but in fairness Green hasn't caught a touchdown in his last three games nor has he topped 100 yards. For a team that's throwing as much as the Bengals have lately, you'd expect their best offensive player to much more heavily-involved.

This is another case of just waiting it out, as A.J. Green is simply too talented to be held without a touchdown pass for much longer. Considering the fact that Dalton seems hell-bent on making a fool out of me, Green is due for a monster game any week now. I know I'm kind of nitpicking by adding him to the list this week but in all honesty, it's a lot harder to find top-tier wide receivers to discuss at this point in the season.

The Bengals are on a bye in Week 7, so we'll have to wait a few weeks before we revisit Green's production. The only other thing that could be an issue in regard to a big bounce-back for him is that Cincinnati has come out this week and said they're waiting for Jeremy Hill to get back into his 2014 form. I'm a huge Jeremy Hill fan, so I'm taking that as a sign they still intend to focus on a more ground-based attack in the second half. We'll see how this offense looks after the bye when they face the Steelers in Week 8.

 

Players From Last Week

Jordan Matthews¬†‚Äď WR,¬†PHI

Sadly, Jordan Matthews isn't a must-start anymore. If you've managed to get lucky late in your draft with guys like Keenan Allen and John Brown or even scooped up someone on the waiver wire like Allen Hurns, there's a pretty good chance someone on your roster is having a better season than Matthews. The Eagles simply spread the ball around too much and haven't established a primary pass-catcher so far this season. Matthews is nowhere near droppable, but poke around your bench as well as the waiver wire to see if there's a better option available for you. With a tough primetime matchup on the road at Carolina looming, I'd be shaking in my boots if I have to rely on Jordan Matthews this week.

 

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