Week 9 fantasy football rankings: Wide receiver

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Below are this week's WR rankings and tiers based on a player's matchup, talent, offensive role and recent performance. Still have a tough start/sit question? Ask us anytime on Twitter @FantasySourceFB, or stop by our Sunday chats from 11 a.m. ET until kickoff on Facebook!

MORE WEEK 9 RANKINGS: QB | RB | TE | DEF | K

FIVE STAR

1. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos @ Patriots
2. Antonio Brown, Steelers vs. Ravens
3. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles @ Texans
4. Dez Bryant, Cowboys vs. Cardinals. The uncertainty surrounding Tony Romo's back injury is the only thing keeping Dez from the No. 2 spot, but even if Brandon Weeden is under center, we expect Bryant to go off against the shaky Cardinals' secondary.
5. T.Y. Hilton, Colts @ Giants

FOUR STAR

6. DeSean Jackson, Redskins @ Vikings
7. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos @ Patriots
*8. A.J. Green, Bengals vs. Jaguars. Green (toe) is not a lock to play, but if he does, we expect him to be healthy enough to dominate the 27th-ranked Jaguars' pass defense.
9. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals @ Cowboys
10. Andre Johnson, Texans vs. Eagles
11. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers vs. Saints
12. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans vs. Eagles. Seem too high? It probably is considering Hopkins hasn't topped 9.5 points in any of his past four games, but who else are you going to put ahead of Hopkins? The second-year man is still getting a healthy amount of targets (20 in his past two games), and the Eagles are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to WRs (27.6). Andre Johnson (33 targets over the past three games) is getting a few more looks, but both receivers can put up numbers in a game that figures to see a lot of passing.

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THREE STAR

13. Mike Wallace, Dolphins vs. Chargers
14. Mohamed Sanu, Bengals vs. Jaguars. Sanu will move up if Green is out. If Green plays, Sanu still has plenty of value given the matchup against a Jacksonville defense allowing 267 passing yards per game. In the last two games in which Green was active, Sanu had at least 11.1 points (though part of that was due to a passing TD). He can still get his.
15.  Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers @ Browns. Jackson had a run of three-straight double-digit-target games snapped last week, but he's still the Bucs' No. 1 receiver going against a defense that's allowed double-digit fantasy points to WR1s in all but one game. Jackson should get back on track.
16. Keenan Allen, Chargers @ Dolphins. Allen finally had another double-digit-point game last week, and it was his second-straight game with double-digit targets. He's still the No. 1 overall threat in the Chargers' passing game, so don't worry about playing him against Miami's third-ranked pass defense.
17. Michael Floyd, Cardinals @ Cowboys. Floyd was shut out last week, and he's managed just seven targets the past two weeks. Things clearly aren't trending in the right direction, especially with the emergence of John Brown, but Floyd has always been a boom-or-bust guy. He's not a WR1, but he's still a must-start against Dallas' good-but-not-great secondary.
18. Brandon LaFell, Patriots vs. Broncos. LaFell has alternated good and bad games over the past five weeks, but only twice in that span has he had more than six targets (Week 4 and Week 8). With the way the Pats are playing offensively, LaFell is as good a bet as anyone in this tier to put up points given the possibility of a Broncos-Pats shootout.
19. Steve Smith Sr., Ravens @ Steelers. Smith Sr. has always loved a good rivalry game, so expect plenty of passion in this one. He caught six of 10 passes for 71 yards against the Steelers in Week 2, and even though he's slowed down a bit the past two weeks, Smith Sr. had an impressive nine targets last week. Pittsburgh's pass defense is ranked just 19th, so there's really nothing to be scared of here.
20. Terrance Williams, Cowboys vs. Cardinals. Like Bryant, Williams' ranking is affected by Romo's back injury, but his big-play potential gives him plenty of value against a Cardinals' defense allowing the third-most FPPG to WRs.
21. Cordarelle Patterson, Vikings vs. Redskins. Patterson scored in Week 7 and had 96 total yards in Week 8 -- baby steps. More important was his 12 targets last week. The Redskins are allowing 23.5 FPPG to WRs (11th most), so Patterson could easily keep building on the past two weeks and have another good game.
22. Marques Colston, Saints @ Panthers. Colston has been a disappointment all season, both in terms of targets and yards, but the Panthers are allowing the fifth-most FPPG to WRs (25.8). In a shallow week with few top-tier options, Colston stands out as a decent player in a good situation. Playing on grass probably won't slow down a plodder like Colston the way it will a speedster like teammate Brandin Cooks, so the veteran is still a WR2/WR3.
23. Pierre Garcon, Redskins @ Vikings. The return of Robert Griffin III should be seen as nothing but a positive for Garcon, who has suffered from dwindling targets this year.
24. Percy Harvin, Jets @ Chiefs. Harvin had nine targets and four carries in his Jets debut, and that number only figures to go up as he gets more comfortable in the offense. The QB switch to Michael Vick can't hurt, and Harvin isn't your typical receiver given his penchant for running the ball. He remains a high-upside threat despite the Jets' offensive limitations and the Chiefs' top-rated pass defense.
25. Brandin Cooks, Saints @ Panthers
26. Michael Crabtree, 49ers vs. Rams. The production hasn't always been there for Crabtree, but he's had a respectable seven targets in five of his past six games. He posted 49 yards and a score in Week 6 against the Rams, who continue to struggle against WRs (eighth-most FPPG allowed). It's a tough call between him and teammate Anquan Boldin, who's seen an uptick in targets each of the past four weeks, but both are in play given the matchup.
27. Anquan Boldin, 49ers Rams

TWO STAR

28. Mike Evans, Buccaneers @ Browns. Evans has a TD in two of his past three games and put up 78 yards on seven targets last week. Thet Browns have actually been better against No. 2 receivers than No. 1's, but Evans still big-time potential in the red zone thanks to his 6-5 frame.
29. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants vs. Colts
30. Julian Edelman, Patriots vs. Broncos. Edelman's targets (4) dropped sharply last week, but he had at least eight in every game but one coming into Week 8. Fantasy owners shouldn't freak out too much (yet). The Pats will likely to try to control the ball and keep Denver's potent attack off the field as much as possible, so Edelman should be a key contributor. He's better suited for PPR lineups, as this could be a seven-catch, 48-yard performance, but standard leaguers can slot him in as a WR3, too.
31. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks vs. Raiders. Baldwins' eight targets last week doubled up any other Seattle receiver. 
32. Rueben Randle, Giants vs. Colts. Randle has had at least nine targets in each of the past five games. He hasn't done much with those looks, failing to top 9.3 points in any outing, but he will definitely be involved. Despite last week's shellacking at the hands of the Steelers, the Colts have been fairly steady against receivers this year, allowing just 19.3 FPPG (eighth fewest). Teammate Odell Beckham Jr. has more big-play upside, but Randle can also serve as a WR3.
33. Andrew Hawkins, Broncos vs. Buccaneers. Hawkins has had nine targets in each of the past two games, totaling 200 yards in the process. Against the Bucs, who allow the most FPPG to WRs (30.1), Hawkins is a good option.
34. Wes Welker, Broncos @ Patriots. The "revenge game" aspect is great, but Welker's six targets the past three weeks are not. He's on the Broncos, so the chance for a short TD is always there, but Welker has become a boom-or-bust play.
35. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs vs. Jets. It's a great matchup, but that was true last week against the Rams and Bowe had a rather mediocre six catches for 64 yards. At least he'll do something, though, which is more than you can say about a lot of receivers this week. He's a shaky WR3.
36. Torrey Smith, Ravens @ Steelers. We'll give Smith a bit of a pass for last week's goose-egg because he missed some time while being checked for a concussion, but he was pretty non-existent in the Ravens' gameplan. The same was true when these teams met in Week 2, as Smith caught just one of his three targets for 10 yards. He's the type of player who can break out at any time, but he's also the type of player you don't want to trust if you don't have to in this kind of matchup.
37. Cecil Shorts III, Jaguars @ Bengals
38. Malcom Floyd, Chargers @ Dolphins. The matchup doesn't much matter for Floyd, who gets his seven targets and at least two jump-ball chances for big plays every game. As always, he's a boom-or-bust WR3.
39. Martavis Bryant, Steelers vs. Ravens. Bryant has looked good the past two games, but he only played 33-of-84 snaps last week. He's very much a boom-or-bust player right now, and he might need a TD to really pay off. That's a problem against a Baltimore defense that's allowed just seven passing TDs all year. He's a fairly risky lotto ticket.
40. Allen Robinson, Jaguars @ Bengals. With 37 targets over the past four games, Robinson is becoming the Jaguars' "co-No. 1" with Cecil Shorts III, whatever that means. The Bengals are allowing the fewest FPPG to WRs (15.6), so this isn't the ideal matchup for Robinson to have his third-straight double-digit-point game, but he should get some opportunities. We still give Shorts III the edge in our rankings because of his veteran status, but both have potential value.

ONE STAR

41. Jordan Matthews, Eagles @ Texans. Matthews received 11 targets last week, two more than teammate Riley Cooper. Both have been right around seven targets per game over the past month, so both have a chance for big things in this matchup against Houston's 28th-ranked pass defense. Cooper has actually produced a little more lately, but we give Matthews the edge because of what we perceive as a slightly higher talent level.
42. Donte Moncrief, Colts @ Giants. If Reggie Wayne (elbow) plays, you can drop Moncrief out of the rankins. But if Wayne is out, Moncrief has a chance to put up some numbers. His 12 targets and 113 yards last week were likely inflated by the game situation, and the Giants are in the bottom 10 in terms of FPPG allowed to WRs (19.3), but the Colts are by far the best passing offense, and Moncrief's role as the de facto No. 2 gives him value.
43. Eric Decker, Jets @ Chiefs. Decker's production has been spotty, but the targets are still there (at least 10 in three of the past four games). However, against the top-ranked pass defense, that might not mean much. Y ou can live with him as your WR3, but you should be able to do better.
44. Riley Cooper, Eagles @ Texans
45. John Brown, Cardinals @ Cowboys
46. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins vs. Chargers
47. James Jones, Raiders Seahawks
48.  Andre Holmes, Raiders @ Seahawks. Holmes' TD last week came with seven seconds left and the Raiders down by 17. It was pretty much the definition of a "garbage-time" touchdown. But there are plenty of reasons to think Oakland will see garbage time again, and both Holmes and James Jones are big-play guys. We gave Jones the slight edge because he sees more targets, but if you're playing either of these guys, you're throwing a penny in a wishing well.
49. Kenny Stills, Saints @ Panthers
50. Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks vs. Raiders

* = status is in question

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