NFL fantasy: Wide receivers preview

Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson should be the first wide receiver selected in every NFL draft....

Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson should be the first wide receiver selected in every NFL draft. (Reuters)

DAN BILICKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:59 PM ET

With passing numbers rising around the league, there are a bunch of receivers that could have major fantasy impacts this year. The WR position is deeper than ever, so there’s no need to dive in early.

Calvin Johnson, DET

1,681 yards, 16 TDs, 263.2 points.

The only thing holding Megatron back is the fact that he’s on the cover of Madden this year.

 

Roddy White, ATL

1,296 yards, 8 TDs, 177.6 points.

The Falcons’ move away from a heavy rushing attack will only help White.

 

Larry Fitzgerald, ARI

1,411 yards, 8 TDs, 189.1 points.

Even with Kevin Kolb and Josh Skelton throwing to him last year, he was still fourth in receiving yards.

 

Brandon Marshall, CHI

1,214 yards, 6 TDs, 156.7 points.

Receivers who change teams are usually stay-aways, but Marshall had his best seasons with Cutler.

Victor Cruz, NYG

1,536 yards, 9 TDs, 205.9 points.

The undisputed waiver-wire hero of 2011 was third in receiving yards.

 

Greg Jennings, GB

949 yards, 9 TDs, 148.9 points.

He’s the No. 1 guy on one of the highest-scoring teams in the league.

Andre Johnson, HOU

492 yards, 2 TDs, 62 points.

Has only played 20 out 32 games over the past two seasons and is now 30-years-old.

Julio Jones, ATL

959 yards, 8 TDs, 147.5 points.

Sophomore is poised to make a big leap after solid rookie campaign.

Wes Welker, NE

1,569 yards, 9 TDs, 213.9 points.

Was first in receptions by a whopping 22 catches and was second in receiving yards.

 

A.J. Green, CIN

1,057 yards, 7 TDs, 153 points.

He’s still playing in a tough division, but that didn’t stop him last year.

Hakeem Nicks, NYG

1,192 yards, 7 TDs, 161.2 points.

Broken foot in May has completely healed and will be ready for Week 1.

 

Steve Smith, CAR

1,394 yards, 7 TDs, 185 points.

After years of being unhappy in Carolina, having Cam Newton throwing to him changed his tune.

Miles Austin, DAL

579 yards, 7 TDs, 100.2 points.

Hamstring issues that limited him

to 10 games last year are already affecting him in pre-season.

Jeremy Maclin, PHI

859 yards, 5 TDs, 114 points.

Tweaked his hamstring in the pre-season, but there’s no need to worry about lasting effects.

 

Marques Colston, NO

1,143 yards, 8 TDs, 160.3 points.

He’s Mr. Consistency, with at least 1,000 yards in five of his six seasons in the NFL.

Mike Wallace, PIT

1,193 yards, 8 TDs, 171 points.

A huge risk after holding out of the pre-season, but has all the talent to be a WR1.

Demaryius Thomas, DEN

551 yards, 4 TDs, 79.6 points.

The upgrade from Kyle Orton/Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning should be huge for him.

 

Jordy Nelson, GB

1,263 yards, 15 TDs, 216.3 points.

With the amount of depth Green Bay has, I don’t see him repeating those TD numbers.

 

Percy Harvin, MIN

967 yards, 9 TDs, 181.2 points.

After Ponder took over at QB, Harvin led the league in touches by a WR with 100.

 

Brandon Lloyd, NE

966 yards, 5 TDs, 126.6 points.

He gives the Patriots their first legitimate deep threat since Randy Moss left.

Dez Bryant, DAL

928 yards, 9 TDs, 145.3 points.

He’s suffering from “jumper’s knee,” but this mercurial receiver should be ready for opening day.

Kenny Britt, HOU

289 yards, 3 TDs, 44.9 points.

Not only is he coming back from an injury suffered last season, he faces a possible suspension too.

 

Dwayne Bowe, KC

1,159 yards, 5 TDs, 147.1 points.

Held out of training camp and now has some catching up to do while learning the new playbook.

Antonio Brown, PIT

1,108 yards, 2 TDs, 132.9 points.

The Steelers thought highly enough of him to pay him instead of Wallace.

 

Vincent Jackson, TB

1,106 yards, 9 TDs, 169.7 points.

Leaving Philip Rivers and San Diego for Josh Freeman and the Bucs is a definite step down.

Stevie Johnson, BUF

1,004 yards, 7 TDs, 142.4 points.

Has back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and is the No. 1 target the Bills have.

 

DeSean Jackson, PHI

961 yards, 4 TDs, 122.2 points.

Has seen his numbers dip in each of the past two seasons.

 

Eric Decker, DEN

612 yards, 9 TDs, 113.3 points.

Was very hit-or-miss with Tebow at QB. That should change with Peyton at Mile High.

 

Torrey Smith, BAL

841 yards, 7 TDs, 130 points.

He was a home-run hitter last year with several big games and couple of big duds.

Reggie Wayne, IND

960 yards, 4 TDs, 120 points.

Just because he plays in Indy doesn’t mean he’s dead. An unsexy pick that will perform well.

Robert Meachem, SD

620 yards, 6 TDs, 99.8 points.

Leaving the Saints for the Chargers might get him some more targets.

Sidney Rice, SEA

484 yards, 2 TDs, 62.9 points.

A lot of durability question marks. Has only played 15 total games in the past two seasons.

 

Pierre Garcon, WAS

947 yards, 6 TDs, 129.5 points.

Leaves Indy as their top fantasy producer to play with RG3 in Washington.

 

Santonio Holmes, NYJ

654 yards, 8 TDs, 114.1 points.

Despite being the top target on the Jets, had a measly 654 receiving yards.

 

Darrius Heyward-Bey, OAK

975 yards, 4 TDs, 119.5 points.

Was actually shut out of receptions in two of the 15 games that he played.

 

Greg Little, CLE

709 yards, 2 TDs, 84.4 points.

Well, somebody is going to have to catch the ball in Cleveland, right?

 

Justin Blackmon, JAC

2012 rookie.

The first receiver taken in the draft has had a worrisome off-season, but he is very talented.

Nate Washington, TEN

1,023 yards, 8 TDs, 150.8 points.

With Kenny Britt’s status perpetually unknown, Washington would reap the benefits.

Denarius Moore, OAK

618 yards, 6 TDs, 103.9 points.

Had the third-best yards per catch average in the league.

Mike Williams, TB

771 yards, 3 TDs, 91.4 points.

Coming off of disappointing 2011, but will have less pressure on him with Jackson around.

 

Anquan Boldin, BAL

887 yards, 3 TDs, 106.7 points.

Has yet to have a 1,000 yard season in Baltimore and his receiving TDs are down.

 

Malcolm Floyd, SD

856 yards, 5 TDs, 115.6 points.

Averaged nearly 20 yards per catch last season - the best total in the NFL.

Lance Moore, NO

627 yards, 8 TDs, 114.7 points.

Had eight TDs in each of the past two seasons, but scored 5 fantasy points or less in seven games last year.

 

Santana Moss, WAS

584 yards, 4 TDs, 114.7 points.

Had his worst season in Washington since coming over from the Jets in 2005.

Michael Crabtree, SF

874 yards, 4 TDs, 114 points.

Had career highs in both receptions and yards, but Vernon Davis is still the main target by the bay.

 

Michael Floyd, ARI

2012 rookie.

With opposing teams focussing on Fitzgerald, Floyd is a nice sleeper option.

 

Alshon Jeffery, CHI

2012 rookie.

The rookie out of South Carolina has the leg up in the competition to be the Bears’ slot receiver.

 

Laurent Robinson, JAC

858 yards, 11 TDs, 151.8 points.

Reports out of training camp are not encouraging after leaving Dallas for a big-money deal.

 

Doug Baldwin, SEA

788 yards, 4 TDs, 102.6 points.

Has a starting role nailed down, whether it’s as a split end or if he’s in the slot.

 

Nate Burleson, DET

757 yards, 3 TDs, 100.2 points.

He’ll be battling not just Megatron for targets, but Titus Young too.

 

Randy Moss, SF

Did not play in 2011.

Reports out of camp are very encouraging. Has sleeper potential, but will be taken on name recognition.

 

Titus Young, DET

607 yards, 6 TDs, 100.2 points.

Putting up a big fight in pre-season to be the No. 2 guy on a pass-heavy team.

 

Mario Manningham, SF

523 yards, 4 TDs, 76.3 points.

Has found a good rapport with Alex Smith in the pre-season which will help him adjust to move west.

 

Austin Collie, IND

514 yards, 1 TD, 57.4 points.

His numbers took a hit last year with terrible QB situation. Only scored one TD after having eight in 2010.

 

Stephen Hill, NYJ

2012 rookie.

He’ll start the season as the No. 2 receiver on the Jets behind Holmes.

Brian Quick, STL

2012 rookie.

Pre-season back injury diagnosed as just spasms and shouldn’t linger.

 

Jonathan Baldwin, KC

254 yards, 1 TD, 31.4 points.

Was fourth on the Chiefs in receiving last year, but has moved up on the depth and will start.

 

Danny Amendola, STL

45 yards, 0 TDs, 4.5 points.

Was a hot sleeper candidate last year until getting injured in the first game of the season.

 

Emmanuel Sanders, PIT

288 yards, 2 TDs, 41.4 points.

With Wallace’s future in Pittsburgh uncertain, Sanders could see more targets.

Randall Cobb, GB

375 yards, 3 TDs, 50 points.

Versatile receiver could be a big sleeper this season like Jordy Nelson in 2011.

 

 


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