Finding reliable wide receivers has been a difficult chore in fantasy football this season. With championship week here, it doesn't get any easier on who to trust at the wide receiver position.
Wide receivers have been a disappointment for the most part this season, so make sure the matchups are in line for solid totals. Here's the week 16 fantasy football start 'em, sit 'em guide for wide receivers.
Adam Thielen vs. Detroit Lions
Where has Thielen disappeared to in recent weeks?
Thielen has been a shell of his former early season self, producing more than 100 yards receiving only once since week 8. Part of the problem has been Kirk Cousins' inconsistency, but some of the blame has to be on Thielen. Defenses are starting to key on him as the person to stop, meaning Stefon Diggs has more opportunities. However, the best receivers are still able to create separation, something Thielen has been unable to do.
That was on display once again in week 15 in a juicy matchup with Miami.
But with only one week remaining, you can't sit Thielen at this point. He means too much to this offense and the Lions have been a bottom-half defense against the pass in terms of fantasy points allowed for the majority of this season.
Thielen will have some volume and the Vikings need him to produce, so back him for one more week.
Allen Robinson vs. San Francisco 49ers
Robinson hasn't been the dynamic wide receiver I anticipated coming into this season, but he deserves another opportunity.
It's not necessarily the volume that has Robinson down, though. His targets have been good, notching 24 combined targets in the last three games. However, he hasn't been in the endzone since week 10.
If any week he can come, this is the one. The 49ers are terrible against opposing wide receivers, giving up almost 30 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, the second-worst mark in the NFL.
San Francisco's bad pass defense will be on full display against a Chicago offense that should be motivated against San Francisco.
Josh Gordon vs. Buffalo Bills
Here's another player who has been shutdown in recent weeks.
But with the championships this week, I'm not willing to shut out Gordon.
For weeks, Gordon was a main targets, and despite the Bills being one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, I have a hard time believing the Patriots will slow down the pace. Gordon has garnered at least nine targets in three of the last six games.
He should continue to earn those targets against the Bills. Gordon isn't a WR1, but he should be considered a low-end WR2/Flex play, with WR1 upside.
Dante Pettis vs. Chicago Bears
Trusting Pettis against the Bears would not be a wise decision.
Pettis has been a solid option in the last four weeks, since becoming more of a part of the San Francisco offensive game plan. He's scored in three of the last four games, and has a decent target share.
But this is not a matchup to exploit.
The Bears are a top-tier defense, with the ability to stymie any quarterback in the leagues, especially a one-time third-stringer. The 49ers have been decent on the offensive side of the ball in recent weeks, but I'm not buying this matchup.
The Bears still have something play for, so Pettis shouldn't be trusted.
Corey Davis vs. Washington Redskins
I don't believe in the Titans passing game. And against a depleted Washington roster, do you really believe Tennessee will do anything but run it down Washington's throat.
Davis has been a regular inconsistent option at the wide receiver position. He has five or fewer targets in three of the past five games. He also has been under 50 yards receiving in four of the last five games.
That's a major problem for a player who is supposed to be a WR2 option in week 16. The Redskins have been bad against the pass in recent weeks, but the Titans don't have to pass to win this game. They can do all the damage on the ground, meaning Davis won't get enough volume to make a mark.
D.J. Moore vs. Atlanta Falcons
Something is wrong with the Carolina Panthers. And with nothing to play for, Moore will feel the brunt of that wrong feeling.
Moore was becoming a nice fantasy weapon until Monday night's disastrous offensive performance against New Orleans. That will be much of the same in week 16 against an improved Atlanta defense.
The Falcons have become a top-half defense against the pass in recent weeks and with Cam Newton's uncertainty at the quarterback position, this could spell trouble for Moore's fantasy production. There are too many question marks surrounding the Panthers and Moore heading into week 16, so I'd put Moore on the fantasy bench.
Scott Levine blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. His Against The Chalk blog has earned him back-to-back Iowa Newspaper Association awards for Best Blog. Check out more fantasy football coverage at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH