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Fantasy Football Pre-Season Preview: Receivers
John Tuvey
July 23, 2013
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Wide Receiver Totals by Year

Year Runs Rush Yards Rush TD Targets Comps Receiving Yards Receiving TD
2005 239 1,189 7 9,962 5,514 74,065 421
2006 246 1,463 5 9,719 5,349 72,546 431
2007 208 869 4 10,231 5,915 77,272 483
2008 240 1,642 9 9,690 5,563 73,039 416
2009 317 2,102 7 9,846 5,648 74,564 431
2010 331 2,108 7 10,098 5,764 76,403 485
2011 283 1,775 6 10,031 5,681 78,470 473
2012 265 1,572 2 10,481 6,040 80,755 491

And you thought 2011 was big for wideouts? Last year blew those numbers out of the water with high-water marks in targets, catches, receiving yards and touchdowns. However, as you'll note later on the percentages aren't changing much; wideouts are seeing increased numbers because the passing game overall is putting up bigger numbers. Yards per catch came back to the pack after spiking at 13.8 ypc in 2011; last year's 13.3 was much more in line with the previous four seasons. And with the lowest number of rushing attempts in four years, rushing yards in five years, and rushing touchdowns in the last eight years it's plain to see the end-around is dead.

Top Ten Wide Receiver Totals

Year Targets Comps Receiving Yards YPC TD FF Pts
2003 1,494 926 13,171 14.2 101 1,923
2004 1,433 869 12,808 14.7 119 1,923
2005 1,528 907 13,142 14.5 100 1,914
2006 1,521 853 12,552 14.7 90 1,795
2007 1,559 938 13,191 14.0 124 2,063
2008 1,420 845 12,778 15.1 93 1,836
2009 1,398 861 12,417 14.4 103 1,860
2010 1,409 835 12,337 14.8 105 1,871
2011 1,355 839 13,592 16.2 97 1,962
2012 1,541 963 14,233 14.7 91 1,975

The wide receiver position was a little more top-heavy last season, with 10-year highs in both completions and yardage and the second-most targets and fantasy points over that span as well. A fourth straight season of growth in fantasy pointshelps justify taking that elite wideout in the first round, though on average a top-10 wideout still falls about 2.5 fantasy points per game shy of a top-10 running back.

Tight End Totals by Year

Year Targets Catches Yards Touchdowns
2005 3,093 1,932 20,171 140
2006 3,104 1,911 20,282 158
2007 3,257 2,095 22,131 183
2008 3,250 2,085 22,658 139
2009 3,558 2,274 24,960 193
2010 3,554 2,252 24,902 190
2011 3,658 2,310 26,672 197
2012 3,746 2,397 26,122 197

The explosive growth in tight end productivity continues, building on last season's peaks by exceeding them in targets and catches and matching the 197 touchdowns while fallying just shy in yardage. Since 2005 tight end targets have climbed more than 20 percent; more importantly, today's tight ends have turned the extra looks into a 30 percent jump in yardage and 40% increase in TDs.

Top Ten Tight End Totals

Year Targets Catches Yards YPC Touchdowns FF Pts
2003 809 518 6,014 11.6 42 853
2004 997 669 7,688 11.5 62 1,141
2005 1,084 675 7,978 11.8 57 1,140
2006 1,027 629 7,483 11.9 58 1,096
2007 1,053 683 8,267 12.1 66 1,223
2008 961 652 7,524 11.5 55 1,082
2009 1,157 779 8,947 11.5 77 1,357
2010 959 628 7,551 12.0 70 1,176
2011 1,106 740 9,327 12.6 78 1,413
2012 1,088 749 8,328 11.1 66 1,088

While tight ends across the board saw their numbers rise, top-10 TE totals were down a bit from the torrid 2009 and 2011 seasons. In fact, fantasy-wise this is one of the less productive seasons over the past decade. If this trend holds, expect the value chasm between elite TEs like Gronk and Graham and the next tier of tight ends to expand greatly.

Breakdown of all receptions

   Catch %   Catches  Receiving Yards Receiving TDs
Year RB TE WR RB TE WR RB TE WR RB TE WR
2003 27% 18% 55% 2,644 1,731 5,287 20,158 18,176 70,929 78 128 441
2004 25% 19% 56% 2,439 1,889 5,417 18,844 19,846 76,403 77 188 465
2005 24% 20% 56% 2,326 1,932 5,514 17,440 20,171 74,065 75 140 421
2006 26% 20% 55% 2,519 1,911 5,349 19,377 20,282 72,546 58 158 431
2007 24% 20% 56% 2,529 2,095 5,915 18,889 22,131 77,272 55 183 483
2008 24% 21% 55% 2,416 2,085 5,563 18,926 22,658 73,039 88 139 416
2009 24% 22% 55% 2,437 2,274 5,648 19,275 24,960 74,564 84 193 431
2010 24% 21% 55% 2,492 2,249 5,737 19,888 24,874 76,114 72 190 484
2011 23% 22% 55% 2,430 2,310 5,681 19,694 26,672 78,470 75 197 473
2012 22% 22% 56% 2,361 2,397 6,040 18,849 26,122 80,755 66 197 491

In 2011 this writeup highlighted the trend of tight ends taking over for running backs, and last year's numbers follow that same vein; in fact, RB receptions hit a 10-year low at 22 percent of all receptions while both tight ends and wide receivers tied their 10-year highs. Even with the increase in overall passing, running backs recorded their second-fewest catches, third-fewest receiving yards, and third-fewest touchdowns over the past decade--all while wideouts hit 10-year highs across the board and tight ends posted the best or second-best marks in each category.

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The tables below show the split between all passes thrown to either a tight end or a wide receiver and what their respective percentages are. Their ranks are from their fantasy rank that year for the position against all NFL teams.

Arizona Cardinals

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 11% 25 210 0 32 89% 208 2671 10 15
2011 22% 53 579 4 24 78% 192 2761 15 10
2012 26% 72 655 0 28 74% 209 2334 11 18

(Rookie Watch) The arrival of Bruce Arians should make Arizona's offense more vertical, but then again getting the wide receivers involved hasn't exactly been a problem for the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald has to like the 195 targets Reggie Wayne saw in this offense last year; he'll also benefit if Michael Floyd steps up as a sophomore. Don't overlook Andre Roberts, who was the clear-cut WR2 to Fitz last year and won't give up that role without a fight; moreover, he's the kind of diminutive deep threat Arians has turned into fantasy gold in the past--like Donnie Avery and TY Hilton in Indy last year. Just as Rob Housler was enjoying a mini-TE renaissance in the desert along comes Arians with an offense that is anything but tight-end friendly.

Worth Watching: Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts

Atlanta Falcons

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 30% 85 781 8 13 70% 203 2415 16 13
2011 31% 91 954 8 10 69% 204 2843 17 7
2012 32% 100 959 9 5 68% 214 2996 19 6

Consistency ruled the day in Atlanta; even as overall numbers climbed across the board, the distribution between Tony Gonzalez and perhaps the best wide receiver tandem in football remained essentially the same. Little if anything changes heading into 2013: Gonzo is back, as are Roddy White and Julio Jones as well as third man in Harry Douglas. Why mess with a good thing? The only tweak may be Jones usurping White as the WR1, though they're still much closer to WR1/WR1A than WR1/WR2.

Worth Watching: Status quo

Baltimore Ravens

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 25% 52 752 6 17 75% 157 2119 17 18
2011 45% 94 933 8 11 55% 115 1848 10 28
2012 34% 82 894 7 9 66% 161 2422 14 21

(Depth Chart Change) Despite the presence of Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson and an improvement in their ranking among tight ends the Baltimore offense trended back towards its previous WR-reliant form--partially because Pitta stepped to the fore and Dickson missed a handfull of games, partially due to Jacoby Jones emerging as a decent WR3. The departure of Anquan Boldin makes for a depth chart shuffle: Torrey Smith takes over as WR1, but the Ravens may prefer Jones as the third man in and hope Tandon Doss steps up as Boldin's replacement. Regardless of how the WRs sort out, much of Boldin's production will fall back on the tight ends, with Pitta expected to be the lead dog. The pieces all seem to be here for Joe Flacco to start earning that big contract, but with each piece there remain question marks.

Worth Watching: Dennis Pitta

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Buffalo Bills

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 9% 22 179 1 30 91% 211 2764 20 9
2011 19% 49 468 6 23 81% 207 2488 15 15
2012 25% 56 701 8 22 75% 171 2035 13 26

(Rookie Watch) (Depth Chart Change) Change from the top down in Buffalo, where new coach Doug Marrone installs a new offense with a new quarterback (Kevin Kolb? Rookie E.J. Manuel?) and a bevy of new receivers. Stevie Johnson is still the go-to guy, but with David Nelson and Donald Jones gone the rest of the rotation is up for grabs. Can T.J. Graham hold off rookies Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, and Da'Rick Rogers for the WR2 gig or will it be one big committee? Mr. September Scott Chandler may not be ready for his annual torrid first month of the season as he works his way back from ACL surgery, plus he'll have a new scheme he hasn't worked in and a new quarterback he hasn't practiced with--not that you can trust his productivity anyway.

Worth Watching: T.J. Graham, Robert Woods

Carolina Panthers

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 29% 51 385 2 29 71% 123 1570 6 31
2011 35% 85 1008 9 6 65% 160 2478 11 18
2012 34% 77 951 6 11 66% 150 2357 10 28

With tight end-whisperer Rob Chudzinski calling the plays, tight end Greg Olsen was essentially the team's No. 2 receiver--so it's a bit disconcerting when you think what might happen to Olsen now that Chudzinski is in Cleveland. Outside of the play-caller everything else in the Carolina passing game stays the same, though Brandon LaFell should take on more of a wingman role alongside Steve Smith.

Worth Watching: Status quo

Chicago Bears

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 24% 48 478 7 23 76% 156 2229 13 21
2011 14% 25 256 7 27 86% 159 2369 9 25
2012 13% 29 297 3 32 87% 197 2526 17 15

Marc Trestman's version of the West Coast offense will still lean heavily on Brandon Marshall, but Alshon Jeffery appears ready to step up into a WR2 role ahead of Earl Bennett. And after years of ignoring the tight end in Chicago, the Bears signed Martellus Bennett to reinvigorate the position. Also look for Matt Forte to take on a big chunk of what projects to be a large increase in overall passing numbers in the Windy City.

Worth Watching: Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett

Cincinnati Bengals

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 21% 65 543 4 27 79% 238 3052 19 7
2011 28% 72 755 7 17 72% 183 2403 14 17
2012 24% 72 838 5 19 76% 226 2779 22 5

(Rookie Watch) (Depth Chart Change) A.J. Green remains the focal point of the Cincinnati passing game, but after that it's all up for grabs. Nothing was settled in last year's battle for wingman duties opposite Green, so Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones will duke it out again while Andrew Hawkins looks to carve out a role for himself. Of course, with first-round pick Tyler Eifert and erstwhile No. 2 target Jermaine Gresham potentially operating out of two-TE sets and monopolizing Andy Dalton's attention it may be a moot point.

Worth Watching: Tyler Eifert, #2 wideout battle (again)

Cleveland Browns

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 41% 90 1147 5 10 59% 129 1438 6 32
2011 36% 91 898 7 13 64% 162 1935 9 27
2012 33% 82 774 4 16 67% 166 2310 11 23

(Depth Chart Change) A new coach (Rob Chudzinski), a new offensive coordinator (Norv Turner), and a new scheme should dramatically shake up the Cleveland passing game. Chud's reputation as a tight end whisperer bodes well for Jordan Cameron, but the real centerpiece of this attack should be Josh Gordon--once he returns from suspension. Greg Little is still around as well, but unless he can shake the dropsies he could lose looks to Travis Benjamin (who will fill Gordon's shoes during his two-game suspension) and Davone Bess. Plenty of moving parts here, but aside from Gordon's breakout rookie campaign there hasn't been much here worth hanging onto anyway.

Worth Watching: Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron

Dallas Cowboys

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 43% 128 1270 9 3 57% 169 2292 18 14
2011 38% 111 1187 6 7 62% 182 2698 27 5
2012 36% 126 1180 4 2 64% 224 3122 23 3

The song remains largely the same in Dallas: Dez Bryant is distancing himself from Miles Austin as the lynchpin in this passing game; meanwhile, Jason Witten still sees a ton of targets. About the only thing that's different is rookie Terrance Williams and holdover Dwayne Harris battling for leftovers as the Cowboys' WR3. Tight end Gavin Escobar was a second-round pick, but he's no immediate threat to Witten.

Worth Watching: Status quo

Denver Broncos

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 11% 27 222 0 31 89% 230 3356 19 3
2011 11% 23 285 3 30 89% 183 2551 19 9
2012 29% 98 974 7 6 71% 235 3150 28 2

(Depth Chart Change) Passing numbers jumped last year with the switch from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning. And much like his record-setting season in Indy, Manning will now have at his disposal a trio of talented wideouts: holdovers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker and, playing the role of slot machine Brandon Stokley, ex-Patriot Wes Welker. Expect Welker's share of the workload to come directly out of last year's oversized tight end tally, largely at the expense of Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen. Decker's share should also decline, but Thomas seems set as Manning's dynamic go-to weapon.

Worth Watching: Wes Welker

Detroit Lions

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 44% 120 1137 6 9 56% 153 1985 18 20
2011 34% 115 1166 11 3 66% 223 3135 25 3
2012 35% 118 1221 5 4 65% 222 3094 15 7

(Depth Chart Change) A second straight season of top-10 rankings for both the Detroit tight ends and wide receivers, thanks in no small part to an NFL record number of passing attempts by Matthew Stafford. Calvin Johnson continues to carry the Lions passing game with a large assist from the tight end tandem of Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. What both the Lions and fantasy owners are looking for this season is a second wideout to emerge as a worthy wingman to Megatron. If healthy Ryan Broyles projects to be that guy, but veteran Nate Burleson is still around. Also don't overlook what Reggie Bush will bring to this passing game, likely at the expense of... well, everyone except Johnson.

Worth Watching: Ryan Broyles

Green Bay Packers

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 20% 57 673 5 20 80% 228 3163 23 2
2011 22% 67 858 10 9 78% 235 3667 38 1
2012 25% 77 938 5 13 75% 237 2926 35 1

The Packers played half of last season without Greg Jennings, so this won't be as big of an adjustment as you might think. All that's left to be decided is just how the hefty Packers' passing game pie will be divided. On the bright side, no Jennings and no Donald Driver leaves another 400-plus yards and half-dozen touchdowns on the table for James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley to grapple over.

Worth Watching: Status quo

Houston Texans

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 27% 74 989 6 11 73% 199 2516 16 11
2011 42% 83 1054 9 4 58% 116 1647 9 30
2012 34% 90 979 9 7 66% 177 2456 8 24

(Rookie Watch) Is this the year the Texans finally find a wingman for Andre Johnson? Early reports on first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins have been positively glowing, and it won't take much for him to make people forget Kevin Walter or Devier Posey. The fallback plan would be big numbers from Owen Daniels a la 2011, or LeStar Jean filling a bigger role; in other words... c'mon, DeAndre!

Worth Watching: DeAndre Hopkins

Indianapolis Colts

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 28% 112 1029 8 8 72% 283 3250 25 1
2011 24% 64 584 3 25 76% 199 2421 11 20
2012 24% 74 825 5 17 76% 230 3215 16 4

(Depth Chart Change) Andrew Luck didn't quite return the Colts to Peyton Manning glory years, but he was a far sight better than the Kerry Collins/Curtis Painter mess of 2011. He'll be operating under a different offense in 2013, essentially the same one he ran in college under Pep Hamilton. That's going to mean an uptick in the tight end share of the receptions--the past two seasons tight ends have accounted for roughly 40 percent of Cardinal passing game production--and fewer deep shots than the Colts took under Bruce Arians. Bottom line, you'll see more Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen and maybe less long balls to TY Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Oh, and another 195 targets for Reggie Wayne seems unlikely as well.

Worth Watching: Coby Fleener

jacksonville jaguars

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 40% 82 943 11 5 60% 123 1553 12 29
2011 31% 52 609 1 28 69% 118 1309 8 31
2012 24% 55 552 4 29 76% 174 2353 13 20

(Rookie Watch) (Depth Chart Change) While it's tough to work up much enthusiasm for a Blaine Gabbert-led passing game, the Jaguars were actually a little bit intriguing--right up until Justin Blackmon earned himself a four-game suspension. Now it'll be Cecil Shorts carrying the load, with a possible uptick from Marcedes Lewis and castoffs like Mohamed Massaquoi and Jordan Shipley looking to carve out roles for themselves. A glimmer of upside for those in leagues where return yards matter: rookie Ace Sanders should handle most of the kicking game work and could also work his way into the receiver rotation as well.

Worth Watching: Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders

Kansas City Chiefs

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 34% 60 663 5 21 66% 118 1646 17 26
2011 16% 34 325 1 32 84% 184 2436 9 21
2012 30% 44 587 2 30 70% 105 1405 4 32

(Depth Chart Change) It's a radical philosophy shift for the Chiefs, from their boring run-heavy days under Romeo Crennel to the pass-happy ways of Andy Reid. But that should mean big things for the passing game, or at least a significant uptick in opportunities. Dwayne Bowe still rules the roost, but with more passing Donnie Avery, Jonathan Baldwin, and Dexter McCluster might actually matter. West Coast offenses like Reid's also get the tight end more involved, but it's a role the Chiefs look to be splitting multiple ways between holdover Tony Moeaki, free agent signee Anthony Fasano, and rookie Travis Kelce.

Worth Watching: the WR2 battle, the TE battle

Miami Dolphins

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 16% 41 572 4 26 84% 221 2645 10 16
2011 19% 40 576 5 22 81% 169 2319 10 24
2012 20% 41 332 5 31 80% 160 2227 3 30

(Depth Chart Change) Last year's passing game numbers were awful across the board, partly due to breaking in rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and partly due to a nondescript band of pass-catchers. There are expectations that Tannehill is ready for prime time this season, so the Dolphins paid big money for Mike Wallace to head up the receiving corps. Brian Hartline remains, though now he won't have to be a WR1, and Miami added Brandon Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller as well. It's gotta be an improvement, right?

Worth Watching: Mike Wallace

Minnesota Vikings

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 31% 68 708 2 24 69% 153 1837 8 28
2011 28% 64 667 6 19 72% 168 2123 10 26
2012 29% 69 614 9 20 71% 166 1927 8 29

(Rookie Watch) (Depth Chart Change) Percy Harvin played barely half the season yet dominated the Vikings' receiving numbers last year, and now he's gone; that means wholesale changes in the Vikings' passing game. Greg Jennings arrives from Green Bay to head up a cast that also includes first-round pick Cordarrelle Patterson, a (hopefully) healthier Jerome Simpson, and emerging tight end Kyle Rudolph. The Christian Ponder-led passing game is still a distant second fiddle to Adrian Peterson's ground game, but the new pieces--plus depth at quarterback in Matt Cassel--give hope that at least some fantasy value can be found here with a little digging.

Worth Watching: Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph

New England Patriots

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 39% 93 1161 18 1 61% 148 1800 15 25
2011 46% 169 2237 24 1 54% 197 2654 15 13
2012 34% 116 1479 16 1 66% 230 2708 14 11

(Rookie Watch) (Depth Chart Change) Tom Brady's receiving corps has been gutted; even if Rob Gronkowski is healthy enough to start the season he'll still be without more than three-fourths of last year's passing game production. Danny Amendola was signed to replace the departed Wes Welker, and rookie Aaron Dobson and holdover Julian Edelman will be asked to pick up the slack created by the departures of Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots have a large stash of tight ends (Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui), but volume won't replace the unique skills of Hernandez--and, potentially, Gronkowski as well. Brady has done this before, responding to more than 50 percent turnover in his receiving corps twice with top-10 fantasy seasons; this group presents his biggest challenge yet.

Worth Watching: Rob Gronkowski's health, Aaron Dobson

New Orleans Saints

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 30% 103 995 10 6 70% 235 2967 21 5
2011 34% 108 1350 12 2 66% 206 2924 24 4
2012 34% 97 1065 13 3 66% 185 2943 20 10

While the numbers above indicate that two-thirds of the passing game production runs through the wide receivers, this unit still revolves around tight end Jimmy Graham; he's the go-to guy, with an amalgamation of wideouts collaborating to keep the New Orleans passing game near the top of the charts. Marques Colston and Lance Moore return, but Devery Henderson is gone; Joseph Morgan, Chris Givens, Kenny Stills and Courtney Roby should conduct a spirited battle for complementary roles, with the potential to usurp Moore and provide low-end fantasy productivity.

Worth Watching: Status quo

New York Giants

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 21% 57 719 7 15 79% 219 2835 24 4
2011 20% 55 833 5 18 80% 214 3439 21 2
2012 22% 59 661 6 24 78% 214 2891 18 9

Now that Victor Cruz has a contract and Hakeem Nicks is next in line at the bank window the Giants can go back to business as usual. Because the Giants' WR3 has proven to hold fantasy value in the past, the battle between Rueben Randle and Louis Murphy is at least mildly intriguing. Martellus Bennett left via free agency, but Brandon Myers is a talented pass catcher in his own right and should provide Eli Manning with a more than serviceable security blanket.

Worth Watching: the WR3 battle, Brandon Myers

New York Jets

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 26% 57 697 5 19 74% 159 2277 15 17
2011 33% 75 935 6 14 67% 152 1846 18 22
2012 33% 70 784 5 21 67% 144 1892 9 31

Last year we labeled this situation a mess, and little has changed to upgrade that opinion. Santonio Holmes might not be ready for the start of the season, Stephen Hill was disappointing as a rookie, and in a quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith there really are no fantasy winners. When the highlights project to be Jeremy Kerley--last year's leading receiver despite just two touchdowns and one 100-yard game--and a desperate hope that Kellen Winslow can regain his old form... well, the phrase "grasping at straws" springs to mind.

Worth Watching: Jeremy Kerley

Oakland Raiders

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 39% 72 765 5 18 61% 112 1645 6 30
2011 20% 47 535 3 26 80% 190 2790 14 11
2012 35% 88 907 5 10 65% 167 2341 16 19

(Depth Chart Change) Oakland's revolving door of receivers continues to spin. Darrius Heyward-Bey is gone, but Jacoby Ford returns from a season lost to injury to join Denarius Moore and Rod Streater on the outside. Brandon Myers, the team's most reliable pass-catcher last year, is also gone and the Raiders don't have a ready replacement; instead, David Ausberry and Richard Gordon will battle for the tight end gig. With Matt Flynn at the helm--and Darren McFadden back in the familiar power-blocking scheme--the fantasy relevance of Oakland's passing game may be limited anyway.

Worth Watching: Rod Streater, Jacoby Ford

Philadelphia Eagles

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 22% 53 602 5 22 78% 187 2842 19 8
2011 27% 75 974 6 12 73% 203 2958 13 8
2012 28% 82 870 3 15 72% 211 2724 12 14

(Rookie Watch) It remains to be seen what exactly the NFL version of Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense looks like--or, for that matter, who the Eagles' quarterback will be. For the most part, however, the receiving corps returns intact, with Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson competing for WR1 honors and Jason Avant and Riley Cooper serving as the WR3/WR4 guys. Brent Celek returns at tight end, but the Eagles brought in athletic James Casey from Houston and spent a second-round pick on Zach Ertz and may run multiple-tight end sets to further muddy the situation.

Worth Watching: Jeremy Maclin

Pittsburgh Steelers

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 23% 55 638 3 25 77% 185 2808 17 10
2011 23% 67 751 4 21 77% 225 3207 16 6
2012 29% 81 876 10 8 71% 194 2496 15 16

(Rookie Watch) (Depth Chart Change) Pittsburgh gave Mike Wallace's contract to Antonio Brown last offseason, so this offseason Wallace took his talents to South Beach. The Steelers expect Brown--who was at least the Steelers' WR1A last year--and Emmanuel Sanders to step up their games in Wallace's absence, with veterans Plaxico Burress and Jerricho Cotchery to provide experience and depth. The intriguing receiver in the mix is rookie Markus Wheaton, the highly-regarded third-round pick out of Oregon State with the speed to replace Wallace as a deep threat. The Steelers would love for Heath Miller to reprise last year's standout season, but he may not be ready Week 1 after tearing his ACL late last season.

Worth Watching: Emmanuel Sanders, Markus Wheaton

San Diego Chargers

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 35% 80 1149 12 2 65% 151 2571 15 12
2011 39% 95 1081 7 8 61% 148 2566 17 12
2012 30% 68 684 10 14 70% 156 2158 16 27

(Rookie Watch) Year One after Vincent Jackson wasn't an unmitigated disaster, but the Bolts did drop significantly in the receiver production rankings as a committee led by Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander looked to fill the void. The hope in 2013 is that Vincent Brown returns healthy to join Alexander atop the depth charts, with Floyd and Eddie Royal contributing as well; a contribution from third-round pick Keenan Allen would be a welcome addition. Robert Meachem was--to the shock of almost no one--a bust last year and may not even make the final roster. Antonio Gates is hanging on, but he's a mere shell of his former self.

Worth Watching: Danario Alexander, Vincent Brown, Keenan Allen

San Francisco 49ers

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 41% 90 1272 7 4 59% 132 1956 10 27
2011 38% 87 1009 9 5 62% 143 1751 8 29
2012 28% 66 943 8 12 72% 171 2201 14 22

(Rookie Watch) (Depth Chart Change) Michael Crabtree's injury scuttles the 49ers' plans, leaving Anquan Boldin as the go-to guy and the remainder of the receiving corps in flux. Vernon Davis should benefit not only from the departure of Delanie Walker but also because he may be moved around more in Crabtree's absence. Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are still working their way back from injury and last year's first-round pick A.J. Jenkins has yet to establish himself. With all this uncertainty, the opportunity exists for fourth-round pick Quinton Patton to move into the receiver rotation sooner rather than later.

Worth Watching: Anquan Boldin, Quinton Patton

Seattle Seahawks

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 16% 49 551 2 28 84% 251 3187 17 6
2011 19% 44 453 0 31 81% 184 2512 13 16
2012 28% 57 693 6 25 72% 150 2101 18 25

(Depth Chart Change) Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, step aside; the Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin to be the go-to guy in this passing game. Despite Russell Wilson's breakout rookie season this is still a run-first team, so leading the charge in the passing attack has a ceiling. Of course, there was an even lower ceiling in Minnesota and Harvin carved out fantasy value there. Rice and Tate's numbers are bound to drop with Harvin's arrival, but the injury to Anthony McCoy opens up some looks that fellow tight end Zach Miller won't be able to fill on his own

Worth Watching: All Harvin, all the time

St. Louis Rams

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 24% 70 697 7 16 76% 221 2328 10 23
2011 25% 46 508 0 29 75% 136 1603 3 32
2012 20% 54 634 5 27 80% 211 2603 17 13

(Rookie Watch) (Depth Chart Change) Despite Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson, the Rams' top two pass-catchers from last season, now wearing different uniforms there's unbridled optimism surrounding the St. Louis passing game. Rookies Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey inject excitement alongside second-years Chris Givens and Brian Quick; third-year man Austin Pettis is the grizzled veteran of the group. The Rams also spent free agent money on tight end Jared Cook, looking to unleash the potential he flashed in Tennessee. Plenty of talent at Sam Bradford's disposal--unproven talent, but definitely talent.

Worth Watching: Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Jared Cook

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 37% 87 971 6 12 63% 148 2064 17 19
2011 34% 91 895 2 20 66% 174 2205 15 19
2012 26% 66 618 6 23 74% 191 3089 20 8

Josh Freeman is looking to get paid, so he'll be happy to know that his primary targets are both returning: leading receiver Vincent Jackson and fellow free agent-to-be Mike Williams, who accounted for roughly half of Freeman's production last year. Even third receiver Tiquan Underwood is back, battling Kevin Ogletree and Derek Hagan for a supporting role. Luke Stocker and former Packer Tom Crabtree should be able to fill the void left by Dallas Clark's departure; if not, it just means more for the wideouts.

Worth Watching: Status quo

Tennessee Titans

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 38% 76 801 7 14 62% 125 2008 16 22
2011 24% 60 950 5 15 76% 191 2443 17 14
2012 27% 73 844 5 18 73% 200 2441 12 17

(Rookie Watch) No more excuses for Jake Locker, as once again the Titans spent an early pick on a wide receiver; now they have former first-rounders Kenny Britt--playing for a contract this year, which might actually be enough to keep him healthy and out of police custody--and Kendall Wright and second-rounder Justin Hunter. Veteran Nate Washington is still around, and Tennessee replaced enigmatic Jared Cook with free agent Delanie Walker. That's a bevy of targets; let's see what Locker can do with them.

Worth Watching: Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright

Washington Redskins

  Tight Ends Wide Receivers
Year % Catch Yards TDs Rank % Catch Yards TDs Rank
2010 38% 100 1175 7 7 62% 162 2325 9 24
2011 33% 78 999 3 16 67% 159 2141 13 23
2012 23% 58 793 2 26 77% 192 2533 20 12

It's not just the health of Robert Griffin III the Redskins need to worry about; a healthy Pierre Garçon is the closest thing RG3 has to a go-to target, and a similarly healthy Fred Davis provides a short-game security blanket. Washington fills in the rest of its receiving corps with talented role players--a category that now includes former go-to guy Santanta Moss as well as Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson and Donte Stallworth. All is not lost if Kirk Cousins has to take meaningful snaps in DC, but the entire cast looks a whole lot better with RG3 under center.

Worth Watching: Status quo

Other Positions:  Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Receivers


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