Fantasy Football: Be wary of wide receiver volatility
The toughest position to predict week in and week out is usually WR. While QBs and RBs are likely to touch the ball every week, receivers can be the go-to guy one week and then completely faze out of the offense the next.
One reason for this is that no position is as dependent on the QB as the WR. When the QB struggles, his WRs struggle too. Thus, talented players like Cecil Shorts (Jaguars), Mike Williams (Bucs) and Tavon Austin (Rams) are to be avoided simply because their QBs aren't to be trusted.
Another important thing to keep in mind with receivers is who their opponents are from week to week, and whether that means they will or won't be a major part of the game plan. Conservative teams with solid defenses are less likely to use talented WRs when they face weaker opponents. This has caused players like Dwayne Bowe (Chiefs) and Sidney Rice (Seahawks) to suffer so far, and both are unlikely to become consistent starters moving forward.
While looking at matchups, also keep an eye on elite corners like Darrelle Revis (Bucs), Joe Haden (Browns), and Patrick Peterson (Cardinals). These CBs should be avoided when possible, which is why Steve Smith (Panthers) and Steve Johnson (Bills) should probably spend another week on your bench before you can expect them to bounce back.
Further, injuries can derail the WR position even more than others. If a WR isn't fully healthy, they can struggle to get open and get the targets needed to produce. This has hurt -- pun intended -- Roddy White (Falcons) and Hakeem Nicks (Giants) so far, but both should bounce back once they recover from preseason injuries.
Overall, the WR position is one of the toughest to predict week to week. So, make sure you don't overreact to a few poor performances while evaluating who to put in your lineup from week to week.
Alex Case is amNY's fantasy football columnist.