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2004 Player Statistics and Analysis: Wide Receivers
Updated: August 31, 2004
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Drew Bennett TEN HT 6' 5'' WT 203 AGE 26 EXP 4
2001 TEN 12 24 329 13.7 1      
2002 TEN 15 33 478 14.5 2      
2003 TEN 12 32 504 15.8 4      
  Avg 13 30 437 14.7 2      
With Justin McCareins gone to the Jets, Bennett is once again safely the #2 receiver – unless Tyrone Calico follows Justin’s lead. Bennett had a calf injury last year which forced him to miss four games and coincidentally McCareins took his spot and scored in each of those games. Drew only had four scores on the entire season and was invisible during the first two games before turning in his only 100 yard game of the season in week 3. The Titans have used Bennett more each season but they are not sold on him. Thanks to the increased passing of McNair the past two seasons, Bennett has posted average numbers for a #2 or #3 NFL wideout. The pace he set in weeks three through eight would have resulted in a 1000 yard season had he not been injured. Not bad for a guy who was never drafted. The loss of both McCareins and Wycheck should benefit Bennett in volume of passes but his past performances provide no lock on the flanker spot. He is a safe bet for possession catches with his 6’5” height but likely makes no better than a #3 fantasy receiver.
Anquan Boldin ARI HT 6'1'' WT 215 AGE 24 EXP 2
2003 ARI 16 101 1377 13.6 8 5 40 0
  Avg 16 101 1377 13.6 8 5 40 0

After setting a record with his ten catch, 217 yard opening performance against the Lions, Boldin never exceeded 123 yards again but maintained very impressive numbers for a rookie on a bad team. Not even the first rookie receiver taken by his own team, Boldin showed true talent in all facets of the game. In his favor, he received more passes (168) than all but Moss and Holt. His 101 catches also ranks third in the league last season for receivers. Encouraging was that he improved as the season continued; catching six scores in the final nine games with four 100 yard performances. This season Boldin has been moved from split end to flanker by head coach Denny Green which in theory should provide him with less double teams but after a 101 catch year, the secondary will need a very good reason before the safety doesn’t always cheat to his side. Boldin is established on a team that obviously uses his talent. His limitation will be a newcomer quarterback in McCown and more talent around him to reduce his volume of 2003. He could start slower with the change in position as well. The Cardinals offense is bound to improve from last season and Boldin should manage to at least maintain his fine numbers from last year.

Update 8/12/04: With Boldin on the sideline for at least 8 weeks, probably up to 12 weeks and possibly longer, Fitzgerald now gets to earn all that money. The best receiver in the NFL draft has the best opportunity to excel as a rookie receiver now. This could turn into Boldin II but installing a new offense that suddenly no longer has its' best receiver and running back is not likely a recipe for a big year. He could move higher if he wows in training camp but realize the risk is present here.

Marty Booker MIA HT 6'0'' WT 210 AGE 28 EXP 6
2001 CHI 16 100 1071 10.7 8 4 8 0
2002 CHI 16 97 1183 12.2 6      
2003 CHI 13 52 715 13.8 4 3 -7 0
  Avg 15 83 990 11.9 6 2 0 0

Booker fell well short of his pace from 2001-2002 when he had around 100 catches each season and 100 yards. Thank Kordell Stewart for much of that. Booker had developed into a nice possession receiver for the Bears but suffered through the horrific inefficiency of the passing game last season and missed all or part of four games with a sprained ankle. This season brings in a new offense more dedicated to moving the ball through the air with head coach Lovie Smith (STL) and offensive coordinator Terry Shea (KC) designing a new and more open offense. That will directly benefit Booker who is in the prime of his career. With the David Terrell experiment finally called a bust, the newcomer Justin Gage will only help matters in the passing game. Look for Booker to return to his 1100 yard standard with a good chance for even more. Rex Grossman may take time to hit his stride as a starting quarterback, but when he does it will be Booker who benefits the most. It is a new game in Chicago and Booker will fall too far in drafts with 2003 fresh on people’s minds.

08/22/04 - Booker was traded to the Dolphins which definitely could use his talents. Problem is that no QB in Miami looks any good and the rushing game so far has been, almost literally, nonexistent. Booker leaves a #1 role to assume a #2 role with Chris Chambers.

David Boston MIA HT 6'2'' WT 240 AGE 26 EXP 6
2001 ARI 16 98 1598 16.3 8 5 35 0
2002 ARI 8 32 512 16 1 2 29 0
2003 SD 14 70 880 12.6 7 3 18 0
  Avg 13 67 997 15 5 3 27 0

After breaking out in 2001, Boston did less in the last two seasons combined. The Chargers brought him on board to fill the #1 receiver slot and paid big bucks for the privilege. Boston rewarded their confidence by being suspended for disciplinary reasons, suffering from a bruised heel, and twice injuring his neck. In the middle of all those he had two monster games of 139 and 181 yards with two scores in each. The other 14 weeks were about on par with the expectations of an average #3 slot receiver. The Chargers cut him loose and the Dolphins were in the market to look like they were actually working on the offense. In return, Boston’s first chance with the quarterbacks was missed due to a calf injury and his first mini-camp had him showing up too heavy and being winded too easily. With 5% body fat, Boston has to lose muscle mass instead of fat. He’s basically a fanatic body-builder that wears a helmet on Sundays. Boston has shown tremendous talent before and he has (or at least could have) all the physical attributes of a proto-typical stud receiver but has spent the last two years being either injured or getting in his own way. After five seasons in the league, his problem is not maturity or experience, it’s being David Boston.

Update: Boston gets the bump up with the Miami rushing game at low tide now that Ricky Williams has left. What he does with the opportunity will be as interesting as it is unpredictable.

Update: Boston gets thrown out of the rankings thanks to a torn patella. His injury streak continues and yet he does provide you with some comfort when you watch football and drink beer because unlike him, you are not "over-working out" your body.

Corey Bradford HOU HT 6'1'' WT 197 AGE 29 EXP 6
2001 GB 14 31 526 17 2      
2002 HOU 16 45 697 15.5 6 2 -11 0
2003 HOU 15 24 460 19.2 4      
  Avg 15 33 561 16.8 4 1 -6 0
Bradford lost out on production with the emergence of Andre Johnson last season and but still held the #2 spot over Jabar Gaffney. Not unlike Andre Johnson, Bradford started the season out strongly including a 127 yard effort against the Titans in week six but his numbers fell off for the rest of the season along with the entire passing game of the Texans. The Texans are very pleased with the speed and long ball ability he brings and Bradford holds the team record now of 19.2 yards per catch which was 4 th best in the NFL for receivers with more than 20 receptions. Houston expects their offense to take the next step up and while Johnson will garner the most focus, Bradford has proven to be a better #2 than Gaffney and will reap the benefits of the improved offense. As a #2 receiver, he will likely not be worth more than deep fantasy back-up but will turn in a few nice games with long scores.
Deion Branch NE HT 5'9'' WT 191 AGE 25 EXP 3
2002 NE 13 43 489 11.4 2 2 0 0
2003 NE 15 57 803 14.1 3 1 11 0
  Avg 14 50 646 12.9 3 2 6 0
Branch was the leading Patriot receiver in 2003 in spite of only playing in his second season. He had 57 catches for 803 yards and 105 passes thrown at him, well above any of the other many wideouts on the team. He logged only three scores and one 100 yard game but was the only consistent target for Brady. The Patriot offense is complex and uses four different receivers in most games. Branch will be entering his third season and primed for a breakout fantasy season but will likely be capped on how much he can do because of how much Tom Brady spreads the ball around. Branch should approach the 1000 yard mark this year and needs only to increase his scores to become a worthwhile fantasy starter.
Tim Brown OAK HT 6'0'' WT 195 AGE 38 EXP 16
2001 OAK 16 91 1165 12.8 9 4 39 0
2002 OAK 16 81 930 11.5 2 6 19 0
2003 OAK 16 51 563 11 2 1 4 0
  Avg 16 74 886 11.9 4 4 21 0

Brown has been on a decline since 1999 and last season he was demoted to a #3 receiver during those too few games that Jerry Porter was healthy enough to play. The Raider offense imploded last year and sucked out what little fantasy value he might have had. After week three, he never gained more than 50 yards in a game and his sole value was in leagues that awarded reception points since his catches were never very far downfield and he did little with them once they were caught. Brown will still figure into this season, but his role will even less than 2003 and his apparent plan is to continue to decline each season until the point he is doing nothing and the team forgets to stop paying him. Even if Brown is considered above Porter on the depth charts, don’t take the bait.

Update 8/4/04: Brown was cut today by the Oakland Raiders.

Update 8/12/04: Brown signed with the Buccaneers, but the idea he will roll back the years is misguided. Not really worth bothering with for your team. Just like before actually.

Troy Brown NE HT 5'10'' WT 190 AGE 33 EXP 12
2001 NE 16 101 1199 11.9 5 11 91 0
2002 NE 14 97 890 9.2 3 3 14 0
2003 NE 12 40 472 11.8 4 6 27 0
  Avg 14 79 854 10.8 4 7 44 0
Brown hits 33 years of age this season and is injury prone. He has never had 16 full starts in his 11 years with the Patriots and has missed at least two games in each of the past two seasons. Last year he missed all or part of five games with a leg injury. There was a question if he would become a cap casualty this summer but had his contract extended another year to 2005 which guarantees him the money. Brown said repeatedly this offseason he would not accept a cut. The extension freed up about $1 million for the Patriots this season. Brown’s numbers have been sliding in the past few seasons and are not likely to get any better. He recorded one 131 yard game against the Dolphins in week seven but otherwise never exceeded 64 yards in a game. Brown will remain on the team as one of the most popular and recognizable players on the two-time Super Bowl champions and he is a valuable asset on special teams as a punt returner. His role as a punt returner may be scaled back in order to keep him fresh but regardless, he is on the downside of is career and no longer a fantasy starter.
Isaac Bruce STL HT 6'0'' WT 188 AGE 31 EXP 11
2001 STL 16 64 1106 17.3 6 4 23 0
2002 STL 16 79 1075 13.6 7 3 18 0
2003 STL 14 69 981 14.2 5 2 17 0
  Avg 15 71 1054 14.9 6 3 19 0
Bruce peaked in 2000 when he had 1471 yards and each of the past three seasons have seen a decline. In 2003, he finally failed to reach 1000 receiving yards for the first time since his injury-shortened 1998 season. He only scored five times and only had one 100 yard game in 2003 down from only two in 2002. Bruce suffered a high ankle sprain at the end of last year which contributed to his lower numbers. The emergence of Torry Holt last season cemented the changing of the guard in St. Louis and the 32 year old Bruce likely only has one or two more good seasons left. He still rates as a fantasy starter, but his numbers now make him a #2 option instead of a #1. This season Bruce should continue his slight decline though he could hold steady if he remains healthy. In an offense that passes so well, he is a very safe pickup later in the draft and did score in the final four games he played with Bulger.
Antonio Bryant DAL HT 6'1'' WT 188 AGE 23 EXP 3
2002 DAL 16 44 733 16.7 6 6 40 0
2003 DAL 16 39 550 14.1 2 2 0 0
  Avg 16 42 642 15.5 4 4 20 0
Bryant went into last season as the only receiver with a certain job and ended the season as the only one who did not. Antonio started strongly with 169 yards in his first two games but lost out to Terry Glenn for the rest of the season. His fall from Bill’s grace saw him average only 24 yards per game for the last half of the season. This year Bryant enters his third season but his prospects for a breakout are less than this time last season. The Cowboys have brought in Keyshawn Johnson to pair with Terry Glenn and while Quincy Carter will again take the helm, he didn’t see much of Bryant last season when it counted most. A better rushing game should also cut into the need for any increase in passes that would benefit Bryant. During mini-camps, Bryant had a well-publicized run-in with Bill Parcells and threw his jersey into the headcoach’s face. The Cowboys are only saying that Bryant continues to figure into their plans and with a thin receiver corps, they actually need him. The Boys picked up Dedric Ward but then lost him for six weeks due to a fracture in his foot, making Bryant even safer in his job.
Nate Burleson MIN HT 6'0'' WT 197 AGE 23 EXP 2
2003 MIN 16 29 455 15.7 2      
  Avg 16 29 455 15.7 2      

Burleson was taken with the 3.3 pick in the draft by the Vikings in 2003. He came out of Nevada and while he was wildly productive in college, his stock fell due to being considered as having only an average 40 time (4.54). He gained 1629 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior season. In 2004, Burleson played in every game for the Vikings and ended with 455 yards and two scores. Burleson never rose above use in multiple receiver sets but his use almost every game indicates his future potential. He’s not really suited for the slot due to his speed but has great hands and is favored by the Viking’s coaches as a player worth developing. This season should see similar use. Marcus Robinson will be manning the #2 position and Kelly Campbell will share time with Nate as the #3. Burleson may see Keenan Howry in the rotation this season as well. He has upside for the future, but is still likely at least a year away from becoming a fantasy factor.

Update 8/12/04: Burleson has looked good in camp and has a chance of taking the #2 spot away from Marcus Robinson.

08/26/04 - HC Mike Tice has been impressed by the second-year player and has stated the he will be the #2 regardless of the health of Marcus Robinson.

Plaxico Burress PIT HT 6'5'' WT 228 AGE 27 EXP 5
2001 PIT 16 66 1008 15.3 6      
2002 PIT 16 78 1325 17 7      
2003 PIT 16 60 860 14.3 4 1 -7 0
  Avg 16 68 1064 15.7 6 0 -2 0

Burress fell dramatically from his break-out third season in 2002 when he had 1325 yards and seven scores. Last year he only managed 860 yards and was highly inconsistent the entire season. He was on an odd pace last season of playing well only in exactly every other game but spent the last month with less than 50 yards in each of his four games though he scored three of his four touchdowns against Oakland and San Diego (not a shocker if you recall). Burress provides a huge target at 6’5”, but had many drops last season and rarely caught even half his passes. He had four match-ups where he only had a single catch in the game. Burress is now refusing to come to Pittsburgh until he has a new contract but team officials say that is not going to happen. Burress has been fined though his contract stipulates he is not required to show up until training camp opens July 30 th. In his place, Lee Mays is getting much more work this spring at the split end position. Coming off a bad year, Burress has chosen an odd time to take a stand.

Update: Burress has reported to camp, spoken with HC Bill Cowher and all has apparently been forgiven. He has no new contract but will play out his final year and has been told his role is not changing.

Reche Caldwell SD HT 5'11'' WT 194 AGE 25 EXP 3
2002 SD 16 22 208 9.5 3 2 9 0
2003 SD 9 8 80 10 0 5 39 0
  Avg 9 8 80 10 0 5 39 0
Caldwell was taken with the 2.16 pick of the 2002 draft out of Florida but has never shown much potential with in the NFL. After a lackluster rookie year, he was given the starting job since he was on the Chargers and they expect little anyway. He started 2003 out by dislocating his wrist and requiring surgery which kept him out for six weeks and in his game back he had a concussion. He wrapped up the year with a hamstring strain. Caldwell lost his starting job late in the season due to dropping so many passes. The Chargers opted to sign Kevin Dyson this year which pushes Caldwell down the #3 role. Dyson has not proven to be durable either, so there is a chance that Caldwell could move up through attrition but nothing in the past two years suggests he would do much with the chance. Don’t bother with Caldwell unless as a mid-season free agent if he gets promoted and Rivers can make the Chargers passing game worthy of fantasy consideration.
Tyrone Calico TEN HT 6'4'' WT 222 AGE 24 EXP 2
2003 TEN 11 18 297 16.5 4 1 5 0
  Avg 11 18 297 16.5 4 1 5 0

Calico assumes the #3 receiver role with the loss of Justin McCareins and has impressed the coaches in early returns of mini-camps. He only gained 297 yards as a rookie and missed time later in the season with a knee sprain. He scored with his first two catches in the NFL and turned in two games with 92 yards receiving as a sign of potential but fell into some disfavor due to dropped passes and the emergence of McCareins last year. Calico was drafted with the 2.28 pick in the 2003 draft as the seventh receiver taken and he has timed as fast as any other top receiver in that class – including Charles Rogers and Bethel Johnson. He had a 4.3/40 at the 2003 NFL Combine. That speed combined with a 6’4” height is almost freakish it is so rare. He was considered a gifted athlete but somewhat raw when he left Middle Tennessee State. During the off-season, Calico has shown more strength and has been dedicated to the Titans’ conditioning program. One of the knocks on his in 2003 was that he started to tire at the end of the season and he’s working hard to maintain his focus for the entirety of 2004. He is a potential sleeper type but could need an additional year to start to realize his potential.

08/27/04 - Calico wrapped up camp with coaches enthusiastic that he will replicate the rapid development that Justin McCareins had last season.

08/31/04 - Calico went down awkwardly when pulled down from behind by S Roy Williams tonight. He has at least two sprained knees and will receive an MRI on Monday.

Kelly Campbell MIN HT 5'11'' WT 171 AGE 24 EXP 3
2002 MIN 6 13 176 13.5 3 1 11 0
2003 MIN 14 25 522 20.9 4 10 71 0
  Avg 10 19 349 18.4 4 6 41 0
Campbell hits his third season but it’s unlikely he is due a breakout. While talented and fast, Campbell is a smaller guy not suited for every-down play. He had three scores as a rookie and four more last year but his main value lies in being a long-ball specialist. His 20.9 yards per catch was tops in the NFL for receivers with more than 20 catches. This season Campbell will be a part of the receiver rotation that will include Keenan Howry and Nate Burleson, but he should continue to be the better #3 receiver thanks to a nice chemistry with Culpepper. He is not consistent enough to warrant being a starter but will turn in a handful of good fantasy games a season.
Tim Carter NYG HT 5'11'' WT 190 AGE 25 EXP 3
2002 NYG 5 2 37 18.5 0      
2003 NYG 11 26 309 11.9 0      
  Avg 11 26 309 11.9 0      
Carter is one of the more interesting receivers on the Giants squad. He was selected in the second round of the 2002 draft but has battled injuries his first two seasons. He had hamstring problems in his first training camp and ended his rookie year early when he tore his Achilles tendon and missed most of the season. In 2003, He lasted only 11 games last year when two concussions finally landed him on injured reserve for yet another season. Tim is still intriguing. He is likely the fastest player on the team (he ran a 4.34/40 at his 2002 combine) and is generally considered to have enormous potential talent. Coughlin has spoken about getting more speed on the field for pass routes which is, effectively, calling Carter’s number compared to the other wideouts. Carter could continue as yet another college stud turned injured dud in the NFL, but he has a new chance this year with a new offensive scheme and he enters his third seasons. Worth watching, particularly with equally fragile Hilliard as the #2.
Chris Chambers MIA HT 5'11'' WT 212 AGE 26 EXP 4
2001 MIA 16 48 883 18.4 7 1 -11 0
2002 MIA 14 52 734 14.1 3 6 78 0
2003 MIA 16 64 963 15 11 4 30 0
  Avg 15 55 860 15.7 7 4 32 0
Chambers used his third season to turn in the 3 rd highest touchdown total of any NFL wideout (11) aided in no small part to his three scores last Thanksgiving in Dallas. His touchdown ability is key to his fantasy value since the only 100+ yard games he had were in the first and final games of the year. He is one of the best receivers after the catch and ended virtually tied with Chad Johnson for the highest yards per catch of the top wideouts last season. He just missed recording his first 1000 yard season and had Jay Fiedler played all 16 games, he would have assuredly reached the mark. Chambers makes a very solid #2 fantasy receiver and he has enough upside to warrant being a #1 if needed. The offense will never be pass heavy with Wannstedt in control but Chambers will get his numbers regardless. After three years of solid development, Chambers is poised to be a fantasy factor for many years to come.
Wayne Chrebet NYJ HT 5'10'' WT 188 AGE 31 EXP 10
2001 NYJ 14 56 750 13.4 1      
2002 NYJ 15 51 691 13.5 9      
2003 NYJ 7 27 289 10.7 1      
  Avg 12 45 577 12.9 4      
Chrebet is now 31 years old and comes off a season that was over early from a major concussion. His numbers have been declining in each of the past four seasons with exception to his career-best touchdown mark (9) in 2002. After nine years in the league and coming off a severe concussion, retirement was contemplated until he decided in February to return for at least one more season. This year Chrebet will be the #3 receiver and primarily play the slot behind Moss and McCareins. He has always been a great target in traffic and has never shied away from the difficult catch in traffic, so his concussion of 2003 could make him slightly more reticent than in the past to get blasted on a regular basis. Chrebet is obviously on the downside of his career and has not played 16 full games since the 2000 season. He will be a factor early in the season as McCareins adjusts and will continue to provide a nice target in the endzone but could lose time to fourth-year player Jonathan Carter who is under-sized at only 179 pounds but has run a 4.35/40 and could contribute in multiple receiver sets or even in the slot.
Michael Clayton TB HT 6' 3" WT 197 AGE 21 EXP R
ROOKIE TB 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0

Clayton does not possess great speed and only clocked a 4.6 at the combine. What he brings to Tampa Bay is a 6’3“ frame to help out with the possession catches that disappeared along with Keyshawn Johnson’s team spirit. Clayton will be eased into the possession role primarily but has a challenge to learn Gruden’s complicated scheme. He’ll start as a flanker behind Keenan McCardell and the Buccaneers are quite excited at picking who they considered to be equal with any receivers in the deep draft. While his 40-time is not jaw-dropping, he is considered to be explosive and able to set up the secondary well and scored ten touchdowns for LSU last season. The Buccaneers have good depth now with McCardell, Galloway, Jurevicius and Lee, a luxury they did not have last year. Clayton will be given every opportunity to succeed and though it may take a year or more, he will be a solid starter for the Bucs for many seasons to come He will likely start early at flanker with McCardell moved to the slot and with McCardell holding out and Jurevicius still not 100%, Clayton could see a lot of action this season.

Update: Clayton signed early and is in camp, which neither can be said for Keenan McCardell. Clayton has impressed so far.

Laveranues Coles WAS HT 5' 11" WT 196 AGE 26 EXP 5
2001 NYJ 16 58 858 14.8 7 11 118 0
2002 NYJ 15 89 1264 14.2 5 6 39 0
2003 WAS 16 82 1204 14.7 6 10 39 0
  Avg 16 76 1109 14.5 6 9 65 0
Coles has evidently hit his stride, switching teams and yet producing almost identical fantasy points the past two seasons. His year under Spurrier had expectations for more than 82 passes but Coles did post six touchdowns and 1204 yards in a season that started hot and then cooled. His fantasy value remained high with his consistency of playing only three games of less than 50 yards and scoring in five games. He played through an injury to his right toe for most of the season. Joe Gibbs ushers in yet another offense to learn, but Coles proved last year he was up to the task in his first year with the Redskins. In five years of play, this is the fourth time the offense has changed for him. Coles is a bonus in leagues that reward receptions as he set the NFL record of 19 continuous games with at least five catches. Five of his six scores came on the road. Coles is a very safe pick for your fantasy team. The last two seasons he ended 12 th and 13 th best for receivers in most fantasy scoring and adapting to a new offense is his standard.
Curtis Conway FA HT 6' 1" WT 196 AGE 33 EXP 12
2001 SD 16 71 1130 15.9 6 7 116 1
2002 SD 12 57 852 14.9 5 7 53 2
2003 NYJ 16 46 640 13.9 2      
  Avg 15 58 874 15.1 4 7 85 2
Conway came aboard the leaking 49er ship back in late May and will assumedly end his career with a rebuilding team that has little talent. The 49ers had done nothing in the free agent market to offset the loss of Garcia, Hearst, Owens and Streets and finally pulled the trigger on Conway, a 33 year old veteran who has been on a sharp decline the past couple of years with better offenses. Curtis was initially considered the starter but has apparently already lost that to Cedric Wilson heading into training camp. Conways will mainly provide leadership to a group of receivers that were still in junior high when Conway first came to the NFL. He was signed to a one-year contract for the veteran minimum but had a whopping $25,000 signing bonus. For the first time this off-season, the San Francisco 49ers have dabbled in the free-agent market and come away with an offensive veteran. The offense has purged all the other veteran talent and Conway cannot even practice with his new quarterback until July at the earliest and possibly later than that. It’s not an equation for success for Conway And there is little reason for the 49ers to spend much time on a one-year player while Wilson, Woods and Lloyd need to be developed.
Devard Darling BAL HT 6' 1" WT 212 AGE 22 EXP R
ROOKIE BAL 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Devard comes out after two years with Washington State and is the twin brother of Devaughn Devard, the player that died during the off-season conditioning program at Florida State. His impact this season will be minimal and he is considered primarily as a big-play artist on deep routes. Baltimore is hardly a passing Mecca, but Devard has a decent shot at some playing time this year and could catch a long pass or two. He is fast and has decent size and could turn into a serviceable #3 receiver for those rare games that the Ravens are airing the ball out. He will more likely lose time to Ron Johnson, but as a fast rookie he is more intriguing than Johnson. Considering that he came out as an underclassman, he will need polishing anyway so he will carry much risk and likely little reward this season.
Andre' Davis CLE HT 6'1'' WT 193 AGE 25 EXP 3
2002 CLE 16 37 420 11.4 6 3 7 0
2003 CLE 16 40 576 14.4 5 5 28 0
  Avg 16 39 498 12.9 6 4 18 0
Davis spent most of his second season playing as the #3 wideout along with Dennis Northcutt. In week 11 when Kevin Johnson was gone, Davis took the #2 role over and responded with a big 117 yard game with one touchdown. Morgan eclipsed 100 yards as well and made that one game the first time in 21 years the Browns had two 100 yard receivers in one game. Unfortunately, Davis hardly kept up that level of production and Dennis Northcutt actually fared better as the #3 receiver. This will be Andre’s third season in the NFL and the coaching staff expects him to have a breakout season, especially with the veteran Jeff Garcia as quarterback. Davis has already had his breakout game and all indicators point to him looking for his breakout season in 2004. The addition of Kellen Winslow Jr. could eat into Davis’ number but he will be playing the same split end position that Garcia once found Terrell Owens.
Donald Driver GB HT 6'0'' WT 185 AGE 29 EXP 6
2001 GB 9 13 167 12.8 1 3 38 1
2002 GB 16 70 1064 15.2 9 8 70 0
2003 GB 15 52 621 11.9 2 5 51 0
  Avg 13 45 617 13.7 4 5 53 0
Driver started last season with a severe neck sprain in Minnesota after falling awkwardly during a diving catch. He had missed time during the preseason with a pulled right hamstring and once he finally got back on track by week four of the season, he never approached his level of fine play from 2002. Driver ended with only 621 yards and two scores, a dramatic drop-off from the previous season. He had only one game over 100 yards and only three games with more than 60 yards. His decline was in part related to his initial neck injury, but also reflected the increased roles and development of both Robert Ferguson and especially Javon Walker. Thrown in Ahman Green cruising for yardage in every game and big 2002 year appears more of a delightful blip in his career than the start of good things. This season will see Driver continue to be even less impact as the play of Walker and Ferguson improves.
Tim Dwight SD HT 5'9'' WT 180 AGE 29 EXP 7
2001 SD 10 25 406 16.2 0 2 24 1
2002 SD 16 50 623 12.5 2 12 92 1
2003 SD 9 14 193 13.8 0 9 88 0
  Avg 12 30 407 13.7 1 8 68 1
Dwight will be a starting receiver this year but after six years, his best was 1999 when he had 669 yards and seven scores with the Falcons. He sustained a knee injury early last year and later had a collapsed lung in week 11 which ended his season. He never had more than 48 yards in any game and never scored. Using his 2002 season as a guide, he still never turned in more than 81 yards in a game and only scored twice though he did manage to top 50 yards in six games. Dwight is too small for a starting role and plays far better in the slot where his speed is an asset and his workload is relatively light. He has practiced with the first team in mini-camp but his eventual role will be determined later. Consider Dwight as only a deep fantasy backup receiver with minimal upside in the Chargers offense and yet obvious risk from injury. With rookie Philip Rivers in charge at least eventually, the Chargers pass attack will likely be even worse than in recent seasons. San Diego heads into the season with two starting wideouts that combine for 11 years of experience and yet had only 16 catches in 2003.
Kevin Dyson SD HT 6'1'' WT 208 AGE 29 EXP 6
2001 TEN 16 54 825 15.3 7      
2002 TEN 11 41 460 11.2 4 2 -4 0
2003 CAR 1 2 15 7.5 0      
  Avg 9 32 433 13.4 4 1 -2 0
The highpoint to Dyson’s career came in 2001 when he had 825 yards and seven touchdowns. That was right after 2000 when he missed 14 games due to injury and before 2002 when he missed five games. He was finally released to the Panthers where he promptly tore his Achilles tendon and was lost for all but one meaningless game in the season. After five years, Dyson has only two defining characteristics. He has the stretching-yet-too-short catch in the Super Bowl and he was drafted ahead of Randy Moss. Those are neither highpoints. Dyson only signed a one-year contract with the Chargers so even they are leery of what Dyson will be able to provide (and for low long). Considering Dyson will be the best receiver in San Diego, he is worthy of drafting deeply in drafts on the premise he has the opportunity and talent but his injury history and the lower grade passing in San Diego likely merits only final fantasy draft round consideration.
Troy Edwards JAX HT 5'10'' WT 196 AGE 27 EXP 6
2001 PIT 16 19 283 14.9 0 5 28 1
2002 STL 14 18 157 8.7 2 3 21 0
2003 JAX 12 35 487 13.9 3 3 -9 0
  Avg 12 35 487 13.9 3 3 -9 0

Edwards had a new life with the Jaguars last season and gained 111 yards in his first game. That would be his season best. By the end of 2003, Edwards was the starting slot receiver but his numbers decreased almost every week. Once Kevin Johnson joined the team in week 12, Edwards would never have more than 27 yards in any game. While Troy had many more targets until Johnson came to town, he still did not do much with them. In his best effort after his first game, he had six catches for 67 yards and no scores. The next week his production went into the tank with Johnson to attract passes. While Johnson is now gone to Baltimore, he has already been replaced by the rookie Reggie Williams who should prove to catch even more passes than Johnson did. Edwards will get slot play this season but the team is higher on Cortez Hankton who could end up replacing him. Hankton may develop into the #3 receiver by the end of training camp and has already been very impressive in mini-camps. Forget Edwards other than the deepest of drafts unless he is shipped to yet another team.

Update 8/12/04: Since Edwards is holding onto his own for now, he deserves the bump up in recognition that he will still be getting playing time this season as the rookie learns the ropes. He still is worth little more than the deepest of back-ups.

Bobby Engram SEA HT 5'10'' WT 185 AGE 31 EXP 9
2001 SEA 16 29 400 13.8 0      
2002 SEA 15 50 619 12.4 0      
2003 SEA 16 52 640 12.3 6      
  Avg 16 44 553 12.8 2      
Engram comes off his best season as a Seahawk, scoring six touchdowns and gaining 630 yards on 52 catches from the slot. He failed to get any 100 yard games but turned in six games over 50 yards and had a three game stretch with consecutive scoring games. After 8 seasons, Engram has settled into being a very effective #3 receiver on a team that can pass. For leagues that reward reception points, Engram becomes a more valuable commodity with an average of over three per game and seven match-ups had at least four catches in 2003. Engram has little upside but is a valued component of an offense that posts a lot of yards and points through the air. He makes for a great deep back-up receiver on a fantasy team that offers far better consistency than most #3 receivers and that lower risk makes him worth drafting. He could be pushed by Taco Wallace for some playing time but Engram easily has another year or two of good play.
Lee Evans BUF HT 5' 10" WT 197 AGE 23 EXP R
ROOKIE BUF 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Taken with the 1.13 pick, Evans comes in as the Peerless Price clone that was missing last season. Josh Reed did not step up to his opportunity and with such an early pick, it is certain that Evans will get his own chance. Considered a polished and consistent receiver with natural skills, Evans sports a sub 4.4 speed that will make a nice complement to Eric Moulds. While Evans may not get as many catches as the bigger players taken before him, his speed may mean he does more with what he does get – ala Peerless Price. He will likely not be too consistent in his first season, but should turn in some nice games along the way. Evans is expected to challenge for the #2 receiver spot starting in training camp and it is only a matter of time before he secures it. Evans makes a great pick in a dynasty draft and should provide at least enough production to make him a deeper pick in a draft league.
Robert Ferguson GB HT 6'1'' WT 209 AGE 25 EXP 3
2002 GB 14 22 293 13.3 3      
2003 GB 13 38 520 13.7 4 1 -8 0
  Avg 14 30 407 13.6 4 1 -4 0
Ferguson improved his numbers during his second season, but not nearly as pronounced as teammate Javon Walker did. Ferguson caught scores in only three games and topped out with 85 yards against the Raiders in week 16. He started the season as the #2 receiver but Walker impressed the coaching staff enough to bypass him on the depth charts. Ferguson was hampered last season by sprained knees and ankles, reinjuring the knee twice and ending the season with a bruised knee. In spite of the injuries, Ferguson showed a willingness to play hurt and has several good efforts when healthy. Ferguson took a back seat to Walker last year and that will not change. He will improve his numbers from 2003 and with Brett Favre throwing the passes, will be due for an increase in fantasy value this season.
Brian Finneran ATL HT 6'5'' WT 210 AGE 28 EXP 6
2001 ATL 12 23 491 21.3 3      
2002 ATL 16 56 838 15 6      
2003 ATL 12 26 368 14.2 2      
  Avg 13 35 566 16.2 4      
Finneran is like the old pick-up truck for the Falcons. Utilitarian yet unspectacular, they have often tried to replace him and yet never have found a reason to get rid of him. Brian will be the starter when the season opens, but that will likely not last all year. The Falcons acquired Michael Jenkins this season in the NFL draft and he is a younger clone of Finneran in size but with better speed and hands. Finneran broke his left hand last season and suffered from a knee sprain which limited him but at the age of 28, his career likely peaked in 2002 with his 838/6 TDs. Last season he never exceeded 55 yards in any game and may not reach that this season. With Vick at the helm, Finneran never had more than four catches and actually had less use as the season ended.
Larry Fitzgerald ARI HT 6' 2" WT 223 AGE 20 EXP R
ROOKIE ARI 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0

Denny Green’s old ballboy from his Minnesota days has certainly “made good”, being the first receiver taken in a draft considered unusually deep at the position. At 6’ 3” and 225 lbs., Fitzgerald was almost unstoppable last season for Pittsburgh. He had 92 receptions, 1672 yards and 22 TD’s. He has tremendous hands, great ball control and while he is not a burner (4.55/40), he gets everything out of a catch with great awareness and open field moves. He is considered a good student of the game with a great attitude. Fitzgerald’s outlook for this season is likely limited since Anquan Boldin will be the first read for Josh McCown and Larry did come out to the NFL after only his sophomore season. Both he and Boldin provide good possession targets with good size, but there are only so many footballs around to share. Temper your expectations for the young player stepping up into the big league this season, but in a long-term view Fitzgerald has all the intangibles and plays for a head coach that once made great use of a two receiver set with Randy Moss and Cris Carter.

Update 8/12/04: With Boldin on the sideline for at least 8 weeks, probably up to 12 weeks and possibly longer, Fitzgerald now gets to earn all that money. The best receiver in the NFL draft has the best opportunity to excel as a rookie receiver now. This could turn into Boldin II but installing a new offense that suddenly no longer has its' best receiver and running back is not likely a recipe for a big year. He could move higher if he wows in training camp but realize the risk is present here.

Jabar Gaffney HOU HT 6'1'' WT 195 AGE 24 EXP 3
2002 HOU 16 41 483 11.8 1      
2003 HOU 14 34 402 11.8 2 1 13 0
  Avg 15 38 443 11.8 2 1 7 0
Gaffney enters his third season but the chance he will breakout is unlikely. He lost the #2 spot to Corey Bradford last season and down the stretch never had more than three catches a game or more than about 60 yards. He had four games with no catches at all and three others with only a single catch. Gaffney may still catch on, but he is taking more time to develop and has already been passed by Johnson and Bradford on the depth charts. Gaffney will play a #3 role again with some impact for the Texans but not enough for your fantasy team to warrant a draft selection.
Justin Gage CHI HT 6'4'' WT 216 AGE 23 EXP 2
2003 CHI 9 17 338 19.9 2      
  Avg 9 17 338 19.9 2      

Gage has been anointed as the #2 receiver and hopes to be everything that David Terrell was not. Gage has tremendous size at 6’4” and enough speed to get separation. While depth charts are never official this early, he has already been promoted above Terrell and his level of play last season coupled with impressive mini-camps have already gained favor with the new coaching staff. The Bears will be reverting to a similar offense employed by the Chiefs and Gage offers a very big target for Rex Grossman. Justin is only in his second season and will take time to hit his stride, but he has a great opportunity to shine for his new coach with a new offensive scheme. He’s already been making spectacular catches in mini-camps and should only get better.

08/22/04 - Gage actually drops a bit from his inability to remain healthy and the obvious drop in importance of wideouts with the loss of Marty Booker. Just a little slide here but his promise may end up just that and not enough delivery.

Joey Galloway TB HT 5'11'' WT 197 AGE 33 EXP 9
2001 DAL 15 52 699 13.4 3 3 32 0
2002 DAL 16 61 908 14.9 6 4 31 0
2003 DAL 15 34 672 19.8 2 4 22 0
  Avg 15 49 760 15.5 4 4 28 0
Galloway turns 33 this year and he hasn’t had a 1000 yard season since 1998. But after his trade to Tampa Bay. Jon Gruden has been excited with the raw speed that Galloway still possesses and the staff is salivating at the thought of how to use him. In 2002, Galloway had 908 yards and six scores but fell to only 672 yards last year when Parcells came to town and brought Terry Glenn along for the ride. At 33, Galloway’s past injury history is a concern but he won’t be asked to play a heavy possession role. His primary duty will be stretching the defense and getting behind the safety, particularly in obvious passing situations. He was swapped for Keyshawn in essence, but comes over as an entirely type of receiver with different expectations. He still carries a bigger name from his big 1998 season but has never delivered on his potential since. 2003 offers him a new start and a last hurrah as well, on a team that will use the split end on the deep routes that he is best suited to run. Brad Johnson can throw a deep ball and Galloway is expected to be on the other end.
Rod Gardner WAS HT 6' 2" WT 218 AGE 26 EXP 4
2001 WAS 16 46 741 16.1 4 1 16 0
2002 WAS 16 71 1006 14.2 8 1 1 0
2003 WAS 16 59 600 10.2 5      
  Avg 16 59 782 13.3 6 1 9 0
Gardner will continue to man the split end position under Joe Gibbs. The move away from “all players are receivers” under Spurrier should see the Redskins become more traditional in their use of wideouts and that can only benefit Gardner. He broke the 1000 yard mark in 2002 under Spurrier but that was without any real competition. In 2003 with Coles on board as Spurrier’s prized free agent, Gardner fell to only 600 yards on 59 catches and dropped from 8 touchdowns to only 5. Rod has the speed to get deep but was not used in that capacity last season when his average fell from 14.2 to only 10.2 yards per catch. His rookie year was 16.1 before Spurrier came to town. The longest catch he would have was around 10 to 13 yards in most games and his best was 35 yards last year. Recall as a rookie he had three over 50 yards. Gibbs will install an offense that is less predicated on throwing a lot of receivers out in routes and more using the talent he already has for better use. That will spell a definite increase for player who was the 15 th overall pick in the 2001 draft.
David Givens NE HT 6'0'' WT 215 AGE 24 EXP 3
2002 NE 13 9 92 10.2 1      
2003 NE 11 34 510 15 6      
  Avg 11 34 510 15 6      
Givens was the leading scorer for Patriot wideouts last season with six touchdowns on only 34 receptions. He was most impressive in the final three weeks of the season when he had three scores and totaled 206 yards and 16 catches. He enters his third season in 2004 and was tendered a one-year, $380,000 contract by the Patriots as an exclusive-rights free agent. It is expected that a contract extension will be agreed upon to prevent Givens from being a restricted free agent next season. David furthered his cause in the playoffs last year. He had eight catches for 68 yards and one score in the AFC Championship game and caught five passes for 69 yards and a score in the Super Bowl. Now that he is the established #2 receiver alongside Deion Branch, Givens should see a definite increase from last season’s ten games and has already established himself as a favorite target for Brady when the end-zone nears. For a seventh-round draft pick in 2002, Givens has already well exceeded expectations.
Terry Glenn DAL HT 5'11'' WT 195 AGE 30 EXP 9
2001 NE 3 14 204 14.6 1      
2002 GB 15 56 817 14.6 2      
2003 DAL 16 52 754 14.5 5 3 55 0
  Avg 11 41 592 14.5 3 1 18 0
Glenn joined the Cowboys with little more to recommend him than being experienced playing for Bill Parcells. By mid-season, he had already logged two 100 yard efforts and scored five times – three coming in one game against the Lions. In the second half of the season, Glenn was inconsistently used, gaining as much as 97 yards and turning in a big goose egg in week 14 against the Eagles. The addition of Keyshawn Johnson should help Glenn to attract less coverage and will allow him to turn in a few nice games like last season but the Cowboys will be running better and sharing the fewer passes even less this year. Look for Glenn to tease once again but be in an offense that will never see him return to the productive, consistent numbers of years past.