THE OUTLOOK: With the ball flying through the air at a record pace these days, logic would dictate that wide receivers would benefit greatly from it. The expanded depth of the fantasy QB pool has had a positive affect on fantasy wide receiver prospects. Calvin Johnson heads up the top three in the receiving category, followed by Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. Whereas an argument can be made for waiting on a QB until the later rounds, it might be smart to lockdown a few top 20 receivers if you are in position to do so. It may cost you a shot at a few elite running backs. But the wide receiver position may be stacked just enough to see you through your potential shortcomings at halfback.
- Julio Jones’ Preseason: 6 Quarters, 13 receptions, 240 yards and a touchdown. Hands down the biggest threat to Megatron’s throne
- Greg Jennings has suffered a concussion and a knee injury over the past month. If you draft him, you obviously have no concerns about that or Jordy Nelson’s role as Aaron Rodgers’ new favorite target
- Peyton Manning and Eric Decker put on quite a show this past Sunday in the first half against the 49ers, but Demaryius Thomas’ physical superiority keeps him ranked above his fellow Bronco receiver
- Miles Austin’s injury filled summer has allowed Dez Bryant to skyrocket up the rankings. If both he and Romo can stay healthy all season, both have legit shots at top 5 finishes at their respective positions
- Both Sidney Rice and Braylon Edwards should prove more valuable as the season progresses. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson is a dynamic playmaker and Pete Carroll has shown he can be creative with his play calling
*lists created with Four-Downs.com Ranking Editor*
- Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots (ADP: 12 Team – 4.11; 14 Team – 4.04) – Brandon Lloyd reunites with an offensive coordinator who loves his skill set in Josh McDaniels. In their lone year together with Denver back in 2010, Lloyd finished atop fantasy wide receiver rankings, totaling 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns. Analysts may say that Lloyd could be in line to struggle due to being surrounded by so many weapons in New Englad. I’d be willing to argue that those same weapons may allow Lloyd to show his true potential. Brady will be sure to spread the ball around and if last season is any indication, there will be plenty of opportunities to shine for all those involved. He’ll assume Randy Moss’ old role in McDaniels’ passing attack. I’m expecting big numbers from Lloyd this season.
- Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: 12 Team – 5.12; 14 Team – 5.05) – While DeSean Jackson sulked his way through 2011 over his contract statuts, Jeremy Maclin recovered from a serious offseason sickness to close the gap between the two Eagle wide outs. Jackson remains the more explosive prospect, but Maclin’s game lends itself more to week to week consistency. With Philadelphia looking to rebound after a very disappointing 2011, look for Maclin to assume the reigns of #1 wide receiver for the Eagles.
- Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP: 12 Team – 11.03; 14 Team – 9.12) – In 2010, Mike Williams finished off his rookie season with 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 2011 season saw his production slip along with Bucs QB Josh Freeman’s regression. With newly signed Pro Bowl wide out Vincent Jackson commanding the defenses’ attention there will be opportunities for Williams to once again flourish. He was viewed as a 1st round talent coming out of Syracuse two years ago but slipped to the fifth round over character concerns. His skills have not diminished and his new role within the offense should allow Williams bounce back from his subpar 2011.
- Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (ADP: 12 Team – 3.02; 14 Team – 2.12) – Placing Andre Johnson in the “Busts” category is not a knock on the man’s skills. He’s still one of the game’s top threats at his position. My concern has more to do with his recent injury history. Andre has played in only 20 out of a possible 32 games over the last two seasons. With Johnson approaching the ripe old age of 31, I think it’s fair game to question whether or not he’ll continue his dominant performance. He’ll remain as the number target in the Texans passing game. But the recent history of Andre and his quarterback, Matt Schaub, has me steering clear of both this fantasy season.
- Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (ADP: 12 Team – 3.05; 14 Team – 3.01) – The rankings of the leading fantasy sites across the web have Rowdy Roddy White averaging out to about the number 4 wide out in fantasy this year. That’s not a true reflection of where fantasy football players view him. White is currently being drafted in the third and fourth rounds of 12/14 team leagues, and that seems just about right. With Julio Jones looking as beastly as ever, it’s only a matter of time before White cedes away control over the #1 receiver slot in Atlanta. If you’re looking at drafting Falcons wide outs this year, go with Julio over Roddy.
- Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans (ADP: 12 Team – 7.11; 14 Team – 6.13) – Kenny Britt blew out his knee in Week 3 of 2011. He’s had three surgeries combined on both of his knees since. The Titans draft Kendall Wright in round 1 of the 2012 draft and Nate Washington has proven himself to be a serviceable replacement for Britt. Britt averaged out to about the 21st wide receiver in 2012 fantasy rankings. With so many knee surgeries in such a short period of time. I’ll be amazed it Britt comes anywhere near producing enough to warrant that positioning.