I didn’t get too much hate mail on the running back list I put out. Some questioned the drop of Chris Johnson. I did say if he got into camp he should jump up in the order for all you Chris Johnson fans. Any other comments, you know the email address.
Today I am looking into the wide receivers. I love this position for the reason it’s a get it right on your first try or you are screwed the rest of the season. How many times have we drafted a high flyer only to have the quarterback get hurt or the player goes down with an injury? Unless you have great depth, you spend the rest of the year scrambling to fill the void. It happens more often than you think my friends. Her are my top 15 players at that position so you can hopefully plan accordingly and not get burned.
All stats courtesy of NFL.com
1. Roddy White – Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of NFL seasons, Roddy White and Matt Ryan have been a pretty tight pair. When Matt found himself in need of yardage or a score, the ball was thrown in White’s direction. Last season had White at 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns. The big number that stands out is 115 receptions. Clearly White is getting the ball thrown his way and making the best of it. Look for more of the same in Atlanta this season.
2. Andre Johnson – Most of you have Johnson going as the first receiver overall. He should be in most cases. The concern here is durability. Johnson played with a nagging injury all last season and still put up great numbers. 1,216 yards and eight touchdowns, the reception total was 86 which is 20 off his pace in 2009. If he can stay healthy, there aren’t many better at his spot and should put up great numbers again in an offense built to score.
3. Calvin Johnson – The numbers don’t lie; oh wait a minute, yes they do. Calvin had a few touchdowns pulled from him last season due to poor calls made on the field. Take that into consideration when looking at his stats; 1,120 and 12 touchdowns. Add those bad calls into the mix and his numbers are incredible. The connection between Stafford and Johnson should be pretty formidable this season each should benefit for this. As long as he holds onto the ball for the refs to make the right calls, owners should be pretty happy.
4. Hakeem Nicks – Nicks had a breakout season with the loss of Burress. Going from the third option in New York to putting up 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns isn’t too shabby. The problem with Nicks is Manning. Manning loves to throw the ball around to everyone and whatever works for him that game, he locks on to. So there could be games where Nicks is the king of fantasy and other weeks where he could be a non factor. Mannigham will steal touchdowns from Nicks as well. If you draft him, hope the Giants play from behind, often.
5. Greg Jennings – There are always a few constants in the NFL. One of them being the returning champs never have a good following season. The dreaded “Super Bowl Hangover” tends to be a constant. With that notion, Jennings shouldn’t be drafted so high. Allow me to explain this move. First off he is consistent and one of the best options in Green Bay. 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns can’t be ignored. Secondly, the Packers will probably be playing from behind a lot. What better way to pad his numbers.
6. Larry Fitzgerald – 1,137 yards and six touchdowns. Doesn’t exactly jump off the page do it? Think about how he came about with those numbers. No consistent quarterback. No second receiver to line up on the opposite side to take some heat off. No great offense scheme due to the lack of running game. Numbers begin to look a lot better now don’t they? Larry will get his numbers year in and year out. The addition of Kolb should steady the quarterback position and give Larry someone to build chemistry with. Look for a much better season.
7. Mike Wallace – With his third season coming up in Pittsburgh and a full season of Ben along side, look for this kid to do great things. 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns last season is just a taste of his potential. Granted, the weather will be lousy at times and will hurt his catches. I see this being his breakout season and possibly putting up closer to 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns.
8. Vincent Jackson – If all remains well in the Jackson camp, life should be great for his owners. Even in the five games he played last season, he still had three touchdowns and averaged almost 51 yards per game. There is no secret that Rivers loves have Jackson to play pitch and catch with. Look for the two to pick up from the numbers placed in 2009.
9. Dez Bryant – I’m usually not a big fan of second year players. Most of them fall to victim to the sophomore jinx and play absolutely lousy. I have a different feeling with this kid. Doesn’t hurt to have a healthy Romo back. Six touchdowns last season from the rookie is impressive and should be able to put up close to 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns.
10. Miles Austin – Introducing Bryant’s partner in crime. 1,041 yards and seven touchdown performance from Miles last season was a step back from 2009 but still solid. With these numbers why is he not ahead of Bryant? Miles is coming into sixth NFL season and the wear and tear will start to show. Bryant has fresh legs and a little more desire to perform.
11. Reggie Wayne – Does this guy really need a reason to be in the top 15? As long as Manning is in Indy, Wayne should be on a roster. Enough said.
12. DeSean Jackson – Jackson had 1,056 yards and six touchdowns last year. Good number for a receiver. Now the real news on his numbers; 607 yards and four touchdowns were put up over four games. That means this is truly a feast of famine player. Jackson is a big play guy, no two ways about it. Another fantasy dream on some week and a nightmare on others. This is a buyer beware draft pick.
13. Dwanye Bowe – Talk about benefiting from another man’s work. With Jamal Charles running with meaning in KC now, Bowe has been able to get more single coverage which he clearly has taken advantage of. Last season was his best to date with 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns. The offense is clearly on track and with all the same players back, Bowe should have another solid performance. Teams will be taking KC a little more seriously so don’t look for all those touchdowns but 10 is very possible.
14. Mike Williams – No not that Mike Williams, the other one. You know last year’s rookie out in Tampa. The offense struggle at times which gives Williams number a bit of a curve; 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. If Tampa can get a bit more organized on the offensive side of the ball, Williams is clearly going to be the go to guy.
15. Brandon Lloyd – Once again here is a placement I will get the emails about. This time there is no moving this one around. Llyod put up incredible numbers last season with 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns. Llyod is still one of the premier receivers in the league but the winds of change are blowing in Denver. McDaniels is gone and with him went the go deep playbook. No coordinator in Denver is a fan of the run first to setup the run later. Look for a pretty sharp drop-off on the numbers.
These are my top picks for receivers this season. I could go on for days with all these guys and who would be the next 15 but that would take all the fun out of it for you. There will be sleepers and guys that come out of nowhere and unless you have a Delorean to go back and can get the football almanac, your guess is as good as mine who they will be.