We’ve hit the double-digit weeks, and only like half of the league is starting to add multiple players to the COVID-19 report every week. Things are fine! This isn’t bad at all! We stand on the edge of hitting a breaking point for the season: once they get ten weeks in, I don’t see the NFL stopping this bad boy at all. So, let’s just keep our heads down and focus on our fantasy football teams. This week, we take a look at three wide receivers who have had their situations change in recent weeks. Should you start or sit Brandin Cooks, Jarvis Landry, or Tee Higgins in week ten?
Start or Sit Brandin Cooks at Cleveland
With all the fire and fervor surrounding Will Fuller V finally putting together a healthy season, we sort of forgot about Brandin Cooks. Cooks has done nothing but produce since the Texans jettisoned Bill O’Brien. In the four games since then, he has 39 targets and has at least 9 targets in every single game. He’s turned this into at least 60 yards every contest, and he’s scored three times. Cooks is living up to his name as he puts a light sauté on opposing defenses every single week. He is WR9 in points per game in this span and has at least 9.5 fantasy points in every game getting more than five targets each week.
Cooks is a shoo-in for 5+ targets this week as the Texans travel north to Cleveland to take on a Browns team that bleeds fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. The Browns didn’t play last week, but in their three games prior, they allowed double-digit fantasy days to six wide receivers in the last three games. They also yielded the only good game that T.Y. Hilton has had all season long. They’re not a good defense, and I am firing up the oven and I will start Brandin Cooks anywhere and everywhere I can this week in what Vegas thinks will be a shootout.
Start or Sit Jarvis Landry versus Houston
On the flip side of this game, Jarvis Landry is the last quality wide receiver left standing in Cleveland. With Odell Beckham succumbing to injury at the beginning of week seven, Landry graduated to WR1 status in the last couple of weeks, getting 32.1% of the Browns’ targets. To compare, Davante Adams leads the NFL with a 32.2% target percentage. He is the undisputed WR1 in this offense, but what does that mean? Not all 32% target rates are made the same. Only two teams throw the ball fewer times per game than the Browns, who slow the game down and throw the ball less than half the time. Still, 32% gets Landry to ten or so targets. It’s really hard to pass up ten targets. You want to start Jarvis Landry this week against a Houston team that gives up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Start or Sit Tee Higgins at Pittsburgh
Tee Higgins is absolutely on fire over the last six weeks. He has at least seven targets in all but one of those games and has averaged 13.5 fantasy points per game in that span. He’s reached set and forget status at wide receiver. But, I am going to recommend that if you are a favorite and are risk-averse that you sit Tee Higgins this week. Higgins is the WR14 in fantasy points per game over the last four weeks, but I just don’t like this matchup. On paper, it looks good: Pittsburgh gives up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. But, as every NFL announcer is absolutely obsessed with saying: styles make fights.
I don’t think this is a good day for rookie Joe Burrow this weekend as he faces the Pittsburgh Steelers buzzsaw for the first time. The Steelers successfully pressure the opposing quarterback on 36.1% of dropbacks; or over one-third of dropbacks. Burrow is the second-most sacked quarterback, so the Bengals are used to letting Burrow end up flat on his back. Here’s the main problem: Burrow has faced two Pittsburgh-level defenses this year (Indianapolis and Baltimore) and he mustered zero touchdowns in those games. That’s what I fear will limit Higgins’ production this week. But, if you’re in a 3WR league, you can’t get away from Higgins. I will still say you should start Tee Higgins this week, especially when you consider that in Burrow’s two down games, Higgins still had ten catches for 187 yards. Just… temper expectations for a huge day out of Tee Higgins is all.
Brandin Cooks has reached “set and forget” status (just below Don’t Sit Your Studs), but he’s likely to graduate sometime in the next couple of weeks. He’s an obvious start… Then, I am going to start Jarvis Landry, and then Tee Higgins this week (though I am getting away from Tee if I can in 2WR leagues). However, all have appeal in three-WR leagues.