There is never a shortage of fun when it comes to fantasy football. As if fighting to make the playoffs wasn't fun enough, we got thrown for a loop with the Saints signing Dez Bryant ten weeks into the season. While I do think Dez Bryant means more in name than production at this point of his career, there is a reason I had to start off by writing about him. With Cameron Meredith (knee) heading to IR, Bryant will clearly be a focal point of the Saints passing game and could serve as a "big slot" receiver at this point of his career. Since Week 5 (after Ted Ginn went on IR), the Saints have done a lot of mixing and matching in the slot, led by Michael Thomas running 10.0 routes per game from the interior. Until Bryant gets ramped up, we have to expect monster usage for Thomas. This week, he faces a Bengals team that has allowed 19.97 PPR PPG to slot receivers since Week 6, the second-most in the NFL in that span.
This is the first week we will get to see how the Eagles use their receivers since the acquisition of Golden Tate. Tate was running 25 routes per game form the slot for the Lions, while the Eagles have Nelson Agholor, who has averaged 24.5 routes per game from the slot. The most likely scenario is that Tate runs the majority of slot routes, with Agholor shifting to the outside and getting 7-10 slot routes each game. This usage should be monitored very closely.
Tyler Boyd should be started in all formats this week. Not only should he see a serious boost in usage with A.J. Green and his 26.1 percent target share sidelined, but he also has an excellent matchup in a likely shootout against the Saints. Since Week 6, the Saints have allowed 16.4 PPR PPG to slot receivers, the seventh-most in that span. A good matchup, plus more targets on top of his already high 22.7 percent target share? Boyd is a WR1 in all formats this week.
Doug Baldwin ran a season-high 31 routes from the slot in Week 9 and, to no surprise, he had his second most productive game of the season. You can expect him to replicate that success this week as he faces a Rams defense that has struggled against receivers, particularly those in the slot. Since Week 6, the Rams have allowed three receiving TDs to slot receivers, which is tied for the most in the NFL in that span. To take it a step further, the Rams have allowed league-high eight touchdowns to WRs since Week 5. Baldwin has a great chance of finally finding the end zone. He is a trustworthy WR2 this week.
Anthony Miller has really blossomed into a reliable WR3 in recent weeks and that trend should continue this week. Allen Robinson (groin) returning doesn't help Miller, but he has still seen six or more targets in three straight games. Miller has also scored 10 or more PPR points in each of the last two weeks. This week, he gets the privilege of facing the Lions, who have allowed 21.7 PPR PPG to slot receivers since Week 5, the second most in that span. Since Week 5, the Lions have allowed five receiving TDs to slot receivers (most in span) as well as 86.5 receiving yards per game (fourth-most). It is hard to get a better matchup than that.
Adam Humphries was a hot waiver wire pickup this week and for good reason. Over the last three weeks, Humphries has run over 27 routes and seen 8 or more targets in each contest. He will look to keep it going against the Redskins, who have been exploited by slot receivers as of late. Since Week 7, Washington is allowing 15.70 PPR PPG to slot receivers, the 10th highest mark in the league. Given the high usage as of late plus the matchup -- Humphries should be viewed as a WR3 this week.
Who to pick on the Bucs with this week?
Maurice Harris is one of my favorite plays this week. I added him in a bunch of leagues and have him ranked as a WR2. It is the perfect storm for Harris. First, he is coming off a career day, in which he saw 12 targets, catching 10 of them for 124 yards. Additionally, the Redskins are without three of their starting O-lineman, meaning that Alex Smith will be looking to get the ball out of his hands quickly, which bodes well for Harris. It also helps that Jamison Crowder (ankle) and Chris Thompson (ribs) have missed time, which would leave Harris as the best slot option for Washington. Oh, I haven't even mentioned the superb matchup against the Bucs, who have allowed 25.8 PPR PPG to slot receivers this season, by far the most in the NFL. This is the best matchup to exploit every week and Harris is the best bet this week.
Tajae Sharpe looked like a breakout candidate in Week 7, catching 7 balls for 101 yards and then completely disappeared in Week 9. For those in deep leagues scouring the waiver wire for a receiver to stream this week, Sharpe could be your guy. He has run the most routes from the slot for the Titans since Week 5 (14 per game) and the Patriots have been exploited by slot receivers as of late. The Pats have allowed 18.50 PPR PPG to slot receivers since Week 6, fourth-most in this span. Given the fact that the Titans would likely be chasing points and needing to throw the ball, it should lead to an uptick in targets for Sharpe. Expect the Titans to look to exploit the Pats weakness and throw Sharpe's way.
Zay Jones has a great matchup against the Jets this week who have allowed 20.5 PPR PPG to slot receivers this season, the second most in the NFL. They allow 94 receiving yards per game to slot receivers and five touchdowns. Jones has averaged 21 routes per game from the slot since Week 6, the most on the Bills. It feels dirty to recommend a Bills pass catcher, but this is solely a matchup play. Those in 16-team leagues or deeper can look to stream Jones if you are desperate.
-- Michael Florio is a freelance fantasy writer at NFL.com. Make sure to check back every Thursday to find out which slot receivers you can stream in the upcoming week. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelFFlorio.