Using FantasyFootballNerd's preseason fantasy football rankings, we're going to take a look at the rankings of the NFL's wide receivers. Most leagues require 2 or 3 wide receivers, so let's take a peek at what we can expect when your draft date comes.
Top 10 Wide Receivers
What's faster than a speeding bullet and able to grab footballs from the sky at will? The answer is our #1 wide receiver: Larry Fitzgerald. There isn't a more powerful and productive WR in all of football than Fitz, and he's getting stronger. Warner is back under center and Fitzgerald is his favorite target. What's not to like?
Andre Johnson from the Texans follows at #2 after having a monster season where he produced 115 receptions, 1,575 yards and eight touchdowns. That's 320+ annual fantasy points (standard PPR format)! He will easily go in the 1st or 2nd round of most drafts. His size and speed make him such an effective receiver.
Randy Moss is back! Tom Brady is healthy and that makes Moss a Top 5 receiver again. Even without Brady last season, Moss turned in a respectable year with 11 touchdowns after Matt Cassel found his groove. It will be very interesting to watch what impact, if any, Joey Galloway (ranked #63) will have on the field. The Pats already have Moss and Wes Welker (ranked #14 and PPR Gold). Galloway may be able to help spread the field out a little bit more giving Moss some additional breathing room to make a big play. For fantasy owners, it's exciting to see Moss and Brady back again.
It's very rare to hear about any good things coming out of Detroit, so our #4 ranked receiver is a true gem. Calvin Johnson had no decent, reliable QB last year and he still managed to cross the goal line 12 times and pull down more than 1,300 yards. It remains to be seen who will be under center this year: Daunte Culpepper or Matthew Stafford. Neither one is exciting and that's why Johnson isn't the #1 ranked receiver.
Our fifth ranked receiver is Peyton Manning's favorite target: Reggie Wayne. For the first time in more than a decade, the Colts won't have Marvin Harrison. Anthony Gonzalez (ranked #25) will line up opposite of Wayne this year. With Harrison out of Indy, Reggie Wayne should see more targets and his production value should go up. Expect him off the boards in Round 2.
When Jake Delhomme is healthy, Steve Smith (#6) scores points. It's really as simple as that. Smith's production tanked when Delhomme was injured and he rebounded nicely once his QB was back. He ended the '08 season with 6 scores and 1,421 yards. Not too bad considering he missed two games. Grab him if you can, because he'll be taken in the 2nd or early 3rd round of most drafts.
With his contract situation taken care of, our 7th ranked WR, Greg Jennings, is poised to continue his reign as the number 1 receiver in Green Bay. Much has happened in Green Bay and Jennings got better through it all. Transitioning from Favre to Rodgers seemed easy enough. The Packers D has undergone significant changes and should be pretty strong this year which means that the offense will get to spend more time on the field. That translates into points for you from an incredibly talented Greg Jennings.
#8 belongs to Roddy White, an explosive and talented receiver who finally reached premier status last year with Matt Ryan under center. If you subscribe to the theory that players play much better in a contract year, Roddy White should have another banner season.
The other half of the desert duo comes in at #9. Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald combined for more than 2,400 yards last year and 23 scores. This was after Boldin missed 4 games with the injury. He has been vocal about his contract, but I just don't see the Cards letting him go. He appears to be healthier and stronger and will fit nicely in your starting lineup.
Rounding out the Top 10 is a guy that I dubbed "Mr. Consistency" last year. I picked up Dwayne Bowe in the later rounds of one of my leagues last year and it didn't take long for him to make it into my starting lineup each week. Sometimes a receiver's chart looks like a roller coaster with good weeks and then poor weeks. Bowe's chart was basically a straight line. It was nice to be able to count on those points each and every week. This year you'll see Bowe crank up his production now that the Chiefs have landed Matt Cassel.
Beyond the Top 10
There are still some incredible players beyond the top 10 and they should produce for you this season.
Brandon Marshall (#12) was a Top 10 last year, but he moved down a few spots due to the departure of Jay Cutler. We're not sure who will be throwing to him just yet, but neither Kyle Orton nor Chris Simms is an elite QB.
Terrell Owens (ranked #13) is in his new home in Buffalo, which gives the Bills a boost. You can't escape the big-playmaking ability of T.O., even with Edwards under center instead of Tony Romo. The real winners in Buffalo, however, are going to be Trent Edwards and Lee Evans (ranked #23). With T.O. on the field, there will be less pressure and double teaming on Evans, opening up more opportunities for Edwards to go long. Edwards is my pick for sleeper QB of the year due to T.O.'s arrival.
Wes Welker (#14) is and will continue to be PPR gold. With Brady back, Welker becomes even more valuable. Don't be surprised when you see Welker reach the century mark in receptions in '09.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh's veteran status will surely help the Seahawks this year. His #15 ranking is indicative of the positive change from having a guy like Ryan Fitzpatrick to Matt Hasselbeck throwing to him. Housh becomes the top receiver in Seattle surrounded by guys coming off injuries. Deion Branch (ranked #47) and Nate Burleson (ranked #69) are expected to be fine come training camp, but their values are limited even more with Housh on the field.
Vincent Jackson grabs our #18 spot with the fiery play of Philip Rivers. Mark my words: This is Jackson's year. Rivers can change the tempo of the game when LT is faltering and Jackson became a favorite target of his last year. Look for a career-best from Vincent Jackson in '09.
Santonio Holmes (#21) is the top-ranked Steeler receiver and the Go-To guy in Pittsburgh. He's added a lot of muscle and speed during the offseason, so you should be excited to see his numbers go north this year. Opposite Holmes is our 26th ranked receiver, Hines Ward.
Bernard Berrian could easily improve his #27 ranking if, and when, Brett Favre suits up in purple. We saw his speed and potential last year on several occasions, but there's only so much one guy can do with a poor QB. Recent reports indicate that Favre has put a down payment on a condo in the MSP area. If Favre plays, Berrian could be a good sleeper. If he stays retired, don't expect much more than what he did last year.
Lance Moore is one of my favorite values this year with a ranking of #31. Drew Brees seemed to connect at will with the young guy last year and he showed that he's ready for prime time.
New this year to the rankings is our 38th-ranked receiver Devin Hester from Chicago. Hester is no longer relegated to special teams and will continue to try his hand at WR. He did fairly well last year with fifty receptions and three touchdowns. The addition of Jay Cutler can only increase his value.
Year in and year out recievers, to me, are the hardest to pick once you've gotten through the top tier. I mean really, TO could be a top 8 WR this year, with his ability, but in reality with his QB situation and weather a concern towards fantasy playoffs, is he really going to be that valuable?
Then you get a guy like Duane Bowe, consistent he has been despite the craptacular QB's he's had the past couple years. Now with a somewhat proven QB behind center will he step it up a notch? I think you're right, he could take a step up.
I'm a huge a fan as anyone of Andre Johnson, I've had him in one of my leagues each of the past few years, he is just a stud, when he's healthy. For me, because of health, you ahve to put him behind Moss, but thats as far down as he goes.
Steve Smith is my other favorite reciever besides Johnson, but he too is dependent on factors. Like you said, when Delhome is in there, he's gold, but do you really want a number 1 wide out that is so very dependent on his fragile QB? Don't get me wrong, he's been my guy for years, but the QB dependency is always troubling. Still year in and year out he's on my team, which I'm sure I'll find a way to have him again!
In one league I was in most of the league slept on Brandon Marshall because of the suspention, and we were all sorry for that, especially since it was a PPR league. I know his QB change is a big factor, but I won't sleep on him again. I would feel pretty good with him on my team, even if I left a few of the guys ranked above him aside. Maybe it's the burn catching up to me, but I think he'll be good, not as good as last year, still worthy of a top ten though.
But that's just me...have I rambled enough?
Yes, yes I have.
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