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2004 Player Statistics and Analysis: Wide Receivers
Updated: August 27, 2004
Player Rankings Projected Stats Cheat Sheets
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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z || QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DF
Az-Zahir Hakim DET HT 5'10'' WT 189 AGE 27 EXP 7
2001 STL 16 39 374 9.6 3 11 50 0
2002 DET 10 37 541 14.6 3 4 3 0
2003 DET 14 49 449 9.2 4 3 51 0
  Avg 13 42 455 10.9 3 6 35 0
The plus side to Hakim is that he is very consistent. The downside is that he is never consistently good. Last season he returned from the hip injury of 2002 and started slowly but he never exceeded 72 yards in a game even though the Harrington spent much of the season just throwing it to anonymous silver helmets. With Roy Williams on board and Charles Rogers healthy, Hakim will return to the only job he has ever been suited for – a good slot receiver that can score the occasional long touchdown but will never be a consistent, valuable fantasy receiver. Look for his numbers to fall this season with more viable targets out in pass routes but for him to toss at least one or two good games. He’ll be in a rotation with Tai Streets and likely lose most time to him.
Dante' Hall KC HT 5'8'' WT 193 AGE 26 EXP 5
2002 KC 16 20 322 16.1 3 11 54 0
2003 KC 16 40 423 10.6 1 17 66 0
  Avg 16 30 373 12.4 2 14 60 0
Dante Hall had four touchdowns as a returner last season, but only turned in one as a receiver. He had ten more catches in 2003 and managed two 100 yard efforts. His smaller size has prevented him from becoming more than a #3 receiver which he shares with Marc Boerigter. Chris Horn has looked good this spring in NFL Europe and could find himself in the rotation for 2004. With Hall so valuable as a kick returner, there is no reason to expect that his reception totals are due to increase and he will continue to be a player capable of turning in a handful of big afternoons but without any consistency that could make him be a worthwhile fantasy player. There is no clue as to when he might go off for those couple of games. If your league counts return touchdowns even for receivers, then Hall becomes a consideration but even with that Hall was not a scorer for the bulk of the remaining 2003 after mid-season.
Cortez Hankton JAX HT 6’0”' WT 204 AGE 23 EXP 2
2003 CAR 16 17 166 9.8 0 0 0 0
  Avg 16 17 166 9.8 0 0 0 0
Hankton was an undrafted rookie in 2003 and yet still made the team and played in almost every game. Where Cortez has excelled has been in practice, particularly this off-season where he has been considered spectacular during mini-camp and has spawned confidence that he could develop into a big play #3 receiver for the Jaguars. Cortez will still have to pass Troy Edwards on the depth chart, but that seems to happen wherever Edward’s plays. The Panthers are not a big passing team and the #3 receiver will not likely catch more than 30 balls a season but Hankton could surprise this season with a few big games if he continues to develop well and surpasses Edwards for playing time. Consider Hankton only in the deepest dynasty leagues as a flier, but with Jimmy Smith getting older, there could be an adjustment upwards for all Jacksonville receivers in the next year or two.
Marvin Harrison IND HT 6'0'' WT 178 AGE 32 EXP 9
2001 IND 16 109 1524 14 15 1 3 0
2002 IND 16 143 1722 12 11 2 10 0
2003 IND 15 94 1272 13.5 10 1 3 0
  Avg 16 115 1506 13.1 12 1 5 0
Harrison comes off his worst season in five years and yet he still had the 5 th best yardage (1272) in the NFL for 2003. Harrison is simply what happens when Peyton Manning lets go of the ball and his fantasy value mirrors Manning – a nice reflection to have. In 2002, Harrison led the universe with 143 catches and was adamant that he could do even more in 2003. He was on pace for a 110 catch, 1500 yard season before suffering a hamstring injury in week 10 against the Jaguars which forced him to miss the next week as well. Harrison was once known as a player with monster stats for the first half of the season and then a major cool down in the second half but he has proven that incorrect the past two years. Along with Manning, Harrison is about as low risk, high production as they come and is in his final contract year.
Ike Hilliard NYG HT 5'11'' WT 205 AGE 28 EXP 7
2001 NYG 14 52 659 12.7 6 1 21 0
2002 NYG 7 27 386 14.3 2 1 7 0
2003 NYG 13 60 608 10.1 6 2 19 0
  Avg 11 46 551 11.9 5 1 16 0
Hilliard comes off one of his worst seasons in the NFL, gaining only 608 yards and scoring only twice in 2003. For the fourth consecutive season, he failed to play all 16 games. In 2003, he had a knee injury in week 14. In 2002, he missed the last nine games with a dislocated shoulder that required surgery. He has had bruised lungs, foot surgery and even a neck injury his rookie year. He is not the poster child for durability. He played with pain after hurting his knee in week eight but could no longer take it and sat out the final three games of 2003. Hilliard had arthroscopic surgery on his knee this spring and has been slowly getting back into practice shape and speed. While he had his body in the shop, he also had a torn tendon in his finger repaired. Ike admitted his wife has brought retirement as an option, but has re-committed to playing this season and has shown up to the fun that a Coughlin camp always provides. Ike has always been a solid #2 or #3 fantasy receiver but only for so long as he is healthy (which is historically limited). In a new offense with a new quarterback, consider Hilliard an extra risk this year.
Torry Holt STL HT 6'0'' WT 190 AGE 28 EXP 6
2001 STL 16 81 1363 16.8 7 2 0 0
2002 STL 16 91 1302 14.3 4 2 18 0
2003 STL 16 117 1696 14.5 12 1 5 0
  Avg 16 96 1454 15.1 8 2 8 0
Holt used 2003 to focus solely on football. He dropped his radio show and handed his web site and clothing line over to managers. His new dedication went pretty well. Holt ended the season with the highest number of 100 yard games (10), was 3 rd for wideouts with plays inside the 10 yard line (10), scored in 10 different games and led the NFL with 1696 receiving yards. His previous knock was that he always had the yards but not the scores. He ranked only behind Randy Moss when he scored 12 times last season. At the age of 28, he is in his absolute prime and has quickly meshed with Marc Bulger in only the first season that Bulger was a starter. The Rams actually have a slightly easier schedule for receivers than most teams and Holt will benefit from it. He is very low risk since he has never gained less than 1300 yards in a season the past four years and last year had 15 more passes thrown to him than any other wideout in the league. His 117 receptions were also tops in the NFL.
Joe Horn NO HT 6'1'' WT 206 AGE 32 EXP 9
2001 NO 16 83 1265 15.2 9 1 4 0
2002 NO 16 89 1314 14.8 7      
2003 NO 15 78 973 12.5 10 2 15 0
  Avg 16 83 1184 14.2 9 1 6 0
2003 was Horn’s best season as a scorer for New Orleans, phoning in 10 touchdowns for the season thanks to his memorable four trips to the payphone against the Giants in week 15. His receiving yardage was down to only 973 as he separated his shoulder in week 16 and was unable to finish the season. Otherwise, he would have seen his fourth consecutive 1000 yard season and in four seasons with the Saints, he still has never scored less than seven touchdowns on the season. Horn turns 32 this year and was hampered by injuries in 2003. He had surgery last February to remove loose cartilage from his knee that he twisted in week one and still played on the entire season. Horn has worked in the off-season to return to health and by early June already felt “95%” with confidence he would be 100% by training camp. Horn is the undisputed #1 receiver for the Saints but should see more help this season from a healthy Donte Stallworth, Jerome Pathon and even newly acquired Germaine Crowell who has already impressed HC Jim Haslett. There are only so many passes to share, but Horn always comes first in the scheme.
Darrell Jackson SEA HT 6'0'' WT 201 AGE 26 EXP 5
2001 SEA 16 70 1081 15.4 8 1 9 0
2002 SEA 13 62 877 14.1 4 3 3 0
2003 SEA 16 68 1137 16.7 9      
  Avg 15 67 1032 15.5 7 2 6 0
After falling back from his fine 2001 performance, Jackson turned the afterburners back on again in 2003 and turned in a career-best 1137 yards and nine touchdowns. He was 2 nd out of all NFL receivers with three games of multiple touchdowns and his 16.7 yards per catch was his best effort yet. Koren Robinson took much of the focus from Jackson in 2002 but when Koren had attitude problems and a case of the drops in 2003, Jackson stepped up his play and kept the Seattle passing game headed in the right direction. He was re-signed to a six-year, $25 million contract this spring which is the second-largest in franchise history. Seattle wants him around and included an $8 million bonus. Seattle returns all skill players this season and their outlook is good for an even better season. Jackson has established great chemistry and confidence with Hasselbeck and provides a very reliable #2 fantasy receiver that will often score like a #1.
Michael Jenkins ATL HT 6' 4" WT 217 AGE 21 EXP R
ROOKIE ATL 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Last season the Falcons passing attack faltered without Michael Vick and Peerless Price was unable to turn into a possession receiver of any note since he is only 5’11” and 190 pounds. Price is about speed deep – that was his great value to the Bills the previous season. While Brian Finneran has provided a possession role the past two years when he played, consider that Jenkins comes in at 6’4 ½” and 217 pounds. Jenkins also has good speed (4.5) for a receiver his size. Jenkins is considered mature and has been the star player for the Buckeyes the past couple of years and is used to being relied on. Jenkins could be a nice fit for the Falcons and while he is the same height as Finneran, he is faster and more polished. Jenkins could surprise and is worthy of a later pick in any fantasy draft. In a dynasty league, his value is higher since he combines possession ability with decent speed.
Andre Johnson HOU HT 6'2'' WT 221 AGE 23 EXP 2
2003 HOU 16 66 976 14.8 4 5 -10 0
  Avg 16 66 976 14.8 4 5 -10 0
The third overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft delivered the goods in surprising fashion for a rookie. In only his first season, Johnson logged three 100 yard games and was 16 th in receiving yardage and 19 th in receptions in the NFL. Consider too that Johnson was very affected by the injury to David Carr and his four worst games came when Carr was out. He fell only 24 yards short of a 1000 yard season in spite of the quarterback woes. In his first four games, he had 26 catches and 346 yards which if sustained would have been a 1400 yard season. Johnson is now considered part of the Houston “Big 3” of him, Carr and Davis. With Carr healthy again and the offense actually returning all skill position starters in 2004, this season should prove very bright for the talented youngster. He displayed not only good ability to catch the ball in traffic; he had the speed for several long passes last season. Johnson will be a factor in Houston for many years and he should be a factor for your team in 2004.
Bryant Johnson ARI HT 6'2'' WT 214 AGE 23 EXP 2
2003 ARI 14 35 438 12.5 1      
  Avg 14 35 438 12.5 1      

No one expects a great deal from a rookie, but that doesn’t help much when Johnson was selected before Boldin. There’s a comparison he is likely to carry his career. Johnson suffered a sore shoulder for a few games last season but even when healthy, he did little to justify why he was drafted so early. With the draft of Larry Fitzgerald, Johnson will slide back to a #3 receiver and he still needs more seasoning before he plays anyway. Johnson is not untalented by any means; he is just taking the traditional development time needed at the position. His problem is that new head coach Denny Green did not draft him and already used the 1.03 from the 2004 draft to take a replacement for him. Look for Johnson to turn in the occasional decent game, but he will need Fitzgerald to either get injured or be an outright flop in order to get the same opportunity that he squandered last season.

Update 8/12/04: Johson gets the bump up with the injury to Boldin, but he himself has not made camp yet due to a stress fracture that should take two more weeks to heal. On this disaster-in-the-making Cardinal team, it is reasonable to assume the later half of most games will be passing (if not earlier) and until Boldin returns he would be the #2. Still likely does not mean a lot.

Bethel Johnson NE HT 5'11'' WT 201 AGE 25 EXP 2
2003 NE 12 16 209 13.1 2 1 -12 0
  Avg 12 16 209 13.1 2 1 -12 0
Johnson was the 2.13 pick by the Patriots in 2003 and was drafted primarily for his speed. Johnson clocked a 4.3 at the combine in 2003 and legitimately is one of the fastest receivers in the league. He suffered from abdominal problems late in the season and only had 16 catches on the year and two scores. Bethel has had continual problems with his “insides”, suffering a ruptured spleen in 2001 and an intestinal blockage that required surgery while in college. During this off-season, he once again had an unplanned surgery on his stomach but is expected to be fine by the opening of training camp. Johnson is a burner – no question. But he plays on a team that spreads the passes around exceptionally well and he is at best the fourth most common target. Add in his health issues and he is better left for someone else to draft.
Chad Johnson CIN HT 6'2'' WT 192 AGE 26 EXP 4
2001 CIN 10 28 329 11.8 1      
2002 CIN 14 69 1166 16.9 5      
2003 CIN 16 90 1355 15.1 10      
  Avg 13 62 950 15.2 5      
Johnson had his breakout in 2002 when he gained 1166 yards with five scores. By the end of 2003, he had even bigger improvements – 21 more catches, 189 yards and twice the touchdowns. Johnson had the 4 th most 100 yard games (5) and the 4 th best yardage (1355) in the NFL. His 10 scores tied for 3 rd in the league as well. Johnson is supremely talented and likes to argue that no quarterback can overthrow him because he is so fast. This season he gets to find out if that holds true for Carson Palmer who has yet to every throw a pass during a regulation game. There is no question that Johnson has top-five talent in the league, the forecasting challenge this season is the effect of Palmer behind center instead of Jon Kitna. The Bengals face a daunting schedule but within that could be even more work for Johnson. Consider Johnson as slightly more risky this year until Palmer proves bigger than his schedule but know regardless that Johnson will turn in some big games.
Keyshawn Johnson DAL HT 6'4'' WT 212 AGE 32 EXP 9
2001 TB 15 106 1266 11.9 1      
2002 TB 16 76 1088 14.3 5      
2003 TB 10 45 601 13.4 3      
  Avg 14 76 985 13.0 3      
Johnson reunites with Bill Parcells this season after being benched for the final six games of 2004 by the Buccaneers. Johnson has always been considered as one of the most ego-centric receivers in the NFL, from his “Give Me The Damn Ball” memoirs to finally managing to completely disaffect the entire coaching staff of a team that was the reigning world champions. Now Me-shawn lives in Dallas. Keyshawn’s best years were under Parcells and he had immediately expressed interest in playing for the Cowboys once his Tampa Bay career crashed. At the age of 32 and with only nine scores in the past three seasons combined, his return to the good years is less likely. Dallas coveted him because Parcells believes he can bring the best out in Keyshawn and at 6’4”, he can provide a valuable possession role missing in the offense last season. His best seasons were five or six years ago and he now goes to a team that more resembles the Buccaneers he just left than the Jets teams in the 90’s. Parcells will get the possession catches from him, but big yardage games and scores will continue to be secondary to his role of moving the chains on third down. His height helps him come down with the ball but his lack of speed doesn’t add many yards after the catch.
Kevin Johnson BAL HT 5'11'' WT 195 AGE 28 EXP 6
2001 CLE 16 84 1097 13.1 9      
2002 CLE 16 67 703 10.5 4      
2003 CL-JX 15 58 634 10.9 3      
  Avg 15 70 811 11.6 5      
The Ravens made a draft day trade to acquire Johnson who is now on his third team in only two years. After a high of 1097 yards and nine scores in 2001, Johnson has slid the last two seasons as he is replaced and shuffled off to other teams. After being benched in Cleveland, his relationship with head coach Butch Davis quickly soured and he was placed on waivers where the Jaguars grabbed him last year. The biggest problem with Johnson is himself, since he is an average receiver and his production relies on how many passes he can get. In Baltimore, that is not likely to be anymore than he had in either Cleveland or Jacksonville and most likely less. Johnson is a mildly interesting pick deeper in the draft since historically he is good for at least a few yards each game. Unless team dynamics change, he will not be good for much more than that.
Joe Jurevicius TB HT 6'5'' WT 230 AGE 30 EXP 7
2001 NYG 14 52 714 13.7 3      
2002 TB 13 37 423 11.4 4      
2003 TB 4 12 118 9.8 2      
  Avg 10 34 418 12.4 3      
Jurevicius tore his MCL last year and ended the season on the injured reserve. After starting the year with two scores against the Eagles, he injured his knee and after seven weeks of rehab he was unable to play more than two games before his knee worsened. After six seasons, Joe has never played a full 16 game schedule. His 6’5” height is attractive in the endzone but his four scores in 2002 were a career high and at the age of 30, Jurevicius is not likely to turn into a full-time player in the NFL. The drafting of Michael Clayton ensures the Buccaneers will have a tall, excellent possession receiver for years to come so Jurevicius will continue in a support role. Jurevicius has continued to receive treatment for his right knee and was unable to fully participate in mini-camps but is expected to be healthy for training camp His final mini-camp in June saw him limping again and his back tightening. With McCardell threatening to hold out, Jerevicius will get more use if he proves healthy – no guarantee there.
Eddie Kennison KC HT 5'11'' WT 192 AGE 31 EXP 9
2001 KC 12 31 491 15.8 1 5 22 0
2002 KC 16 53 906 17.1 2 7 58 0
2003 KC 16 56 854 15.3 5 2 9 0
  Avg 15 47 750 16.1 3 5 30 0
Kennison comes off his best scoring season in the NFL other than his 1996 rookie season (924/9 TDs). His 56 receptions are a career-best and after the mid-point of last season, Kennison turned in several nice efforts. He gained 508 yards in the final eight games compared to only 346 yards in the first half of the season. This takes a little more importance given that he switched sides with Johnnie Morton last year and apparently settled in well once the season was well under way. He logged over 80 yards in four of his final eight games. This is in contrast to Morton who did not turn in as good production for the year or second half as did Kennison. With Morton turning 33 this season, the likelihood is that Kennison will see more action in 2004.
Ashley Lelie DEN HT 6'3'' WT 200 AGE 24 EXP 3
2002 DEN 15 35 525 15.0 2 4 40 0
2003 DEN 16 37 628 17.0 2 8 43 0
  Avg 16 36 577 16.0 2 6 42 0
Lelie came into last season as the “sleeper” receiver who was expected to dramatically increase his numbers in 2003. He rewarded fantasy owners with a combined 183 yards and scores in each of his games in week three and four. His next big game never materialized until week 16 against the Colts. By year’s end, his numbers fairly matched his rookie season and the year was considered a bust against expectations. Even HC Mike Shanahan stated Lelie played worse than his rookie season. This year Lelie needs to step up during his pivotal third season. His 6’3” frame with only 200 pounds last season was not big enough to work off jams and he has devoted the off-season to gaining 12 pounds of muscle for 2004 and has been working out with Plummer. Even though the Broncos have lost receivers from last year, they’ve drafted Darius Watts in the second round and also expect him to make an immediate impact. Lelie is in control of his own destiny and is making the right steps during the off-season. What is favorable is that Lelie will get ample opportunity to step up his play and he has already looked better and stronger. Figure him to be a very solid “average” fantasy receiver with excellent upside given the chance and need for him to succeed.
Brandon Lloyd SF HT 6'0'' WT 192 AGE 23 EXP 2
2003 SF 11 14 212 15.1 2      
  Avg 11 14 212 15.1 2      

Lloyd has gone from being the 27 th pick in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL draft to being a starting receiver for opening day. His 14 catches last year must have been very impressive. While Lloyd does benefit from the loss of Streets and Owens, he has consistently been impressive in practice last year and even more so in mini-camps during the spring. He’s added seven more pounds from his playing weight of 2003 and has been given an almost unique opportunity for someone with only 14 catches in the NFL. His fantasy value will likely be lower this year as the offense staggers through year one of a complete rebuild and he has missed the chance to practice with Rattay who is mending from a groin injury. Lloyd has talent but his biggest boost this season will come from the volume of passes as a starting receiver. Expect him to turn in the odd nice game but likely miss the consistency needed of a fantasy starter.

08/22/04 - Lloyd gets the bump up as the most impressive receiver on a team likely needing to throw a lot. He doesn't rise that far since they may not throw well.

Dane Looker STL HT 6'0'' WT 190 AGE 28 EXP 3
2003 STL 16 47 495 10.5 3      
  Avg 16 47 495 10.5 3      
Thanks partially to the broken leg of Kevin Curtis in the preseason, Looker spent the entire season as the #3 receiver for the Rams and gained 495 yards with three touchdowns. He had at least three catches in 12 of 16 games but never gained more than 50 yards in any game. Looker signed a one-year offer by the Rams this year and is already preparing for his #3 role again this year. His lower production means that Looker is not a fantasy option unless you need someone who will almost always get a little something with the odd chance he could score. His value rises slightly for leagues that reward receptions. HC Mike Martz is pleased with the aspect that Looker brings to the offense. His only risk is that Curtis heals enough to steal time or that Mike Furrey does more with his second season and warrants a promotion.
Derrick Mason TEN HT 5'10'' WT 188 AGE 30 EXP 8
2001 TEN 14 73 1128 15.5 9      
2002 TEN 14 79 1012 12.8 5      
2003 TEN 16 92 1303 13.6 8 3 11 0
  Avg 15 81 1148 13.9 7 1 4 0
Mason comes off a career best in yardage (1255), receptions (95) and 2 nd best for touchdowns (8). He had nine games of at least 90 yards and the only fantasy owners he disappointed were those with bonuses for 100 yard games. He had five games of 98 or 99 yards but only three over the century mark. Mason only scored in five games in 2003 but was very consistent the entire year with yardage. He’s turned in 1000+ yard seasons for the past three years and with the loss of Wycheck and McCareins his role should be only bigger this season. Steve McNair and Mason are both at their prime for big years and the Titans will have younger players at RB, WR and TE than years past. Mason is a lock for a good yardage/reception season and will turn in enough touchdowns to make him well worth being a #1 fantasy receiver still available in drafts after you grab all those running backs.
Keenan McCardell TB HT 6'1'' WT 191 AGE 34 EXP 12
2001 JAX 16 93 1110 11.9 6      
2002 TB 14 61 670 11 6 1 3 0
2003 TB 16 84 1179 14 8      
  Avg 15 79 986 12.4 7 1 2 0

It only took 11 years for McCardell to show his best. He comes off career highs for yardage (1179) and touchdowns (8) but it cannot be considered a break-out season at the age of 33 last year. His first season with the Buccaneers only produced 670 yards and six scores but his 2003 production was just a bit better than he had in Jacksonville in 2001. After the loss of Alstott and eventually Keyshawn Johnson, McCardell was the last man standing for veteran receivers in 2003. His production actually took a downturn in the final six games when Keyshawn left and he only scored once after week 11. McCardell still has two years left on his contract but has been a no-show in mini-camp angling for a new contract. Jerry Rice held aside, McCardell is the oldest starting receiver in the NFL and his bargaining power at 34 years old is less in spite of his fine 2003 performance. The Bucs may move him to the slot and allow Michael Clayton some early experience at his future position. McCardell is currently threatening to sit out training camp and even the entire season if needed, and the Bucs are preparing in case that happens. Until this is resolved, consider McCardell as very risky.

Update: McCardell's insistence he get a new lucrative contract, in spite of being 34-years old, continues on into training camp and the Buccaneers have made their final offer to him they do not intend on changing.

08/22/04 - As his holdout continues, he is only hurting himself more. He may sign by the start of the season but it may not be the with TB. Then again, at his current rate he won't sign with another team until after the season starts and someone gets desperate (much as he should consider himself).

Darnerien McCants WAS HT 6' 3" WT 210 AGE 26 EXP 4
2002 WAS 8 21 256 12.2 2 1 9 0
2003 WAS 14 27 360 13.3 6      
  Avg 11 24 308 12.8 4 1 9 0
When Spurrier came to the Skins in 2002, he found two unknown players that he liked. Derrius Thompson had a decent year in 2002 and then was a flop in Miami. Darnerian McCants may be the one he got right. McCants tied with Coles for the most touchdowns scored (6) by a Redskin even though he only had 55 less receptions. At 6’3”, he is the tallest option in the endzone and has enough speed to make a valuable #3 receiver. He has already caught a favorable review from Gibbs during mini-camp and signed a contract-extension this spring. Catching the favor of the new head coach is a very good thing. He will still contend with Taylor Jacobs and newly acquired James Thrash for playing time, but neither of them have looked as good nor been as productive as McCants. Training camp should clear the roles more but McCants takes the early lead.
Justin McCareins NYJ HT 6'2'' WT 218 AGE 26 EXP 4
2001 TEN 3 3 88 29.3 0      
2002 TEN 16 19 301 15.8 2 2 18 0
2003 TEN 16 45 799 17.8 7 1 13 0
  Avg 12 22 396 21 3 1 10 0
McCareins had a breakout performance last season of sorts, gaining over 70 yards five times and four of those came in the final six games. More importantly, he scored touchdowns for four consecutive weeks and ended with seven scores on the year. As an RFA, he attracted attention with his impressive second half of the season and was lured away to the Jets. Last season New York had acquired Curtis Conway to complement Santana Moss but after that dismal failure, HC Herman Edwards and company decided to go after the rising star. That meant McCareins. Justin was drafted at the end of the fourth round by the Titans in 2001 out of Northern Illinois and can run a 4.45/40 but is not considered to have great straight speed. At 6’2” he has the size to stay competitive on all passes. He was second on the Titans last year in yardage and receptions and tied with Mason for the most touchdowns (7). He is still a young player and has to learn a new offensive scheme. His performance last season already exceeded early expectations but McCareins could continue to develop with the Jets, particularly beside Santa Moss who will receive the bulk of attention by the secondary. Changing teams at this point in his career will likely cause a small downturn in his numbers from 2003 but he has definite upside for the future.
Freddie Mitchell PHI HT 5'11'' WT 190 AGE 26 EXP 4
2001 PHI 10 21 283 13.5 1 2 -4 0
2002 PHI 16 12 105 8.8 0      
2003 PHI 16 35 498 14.2 2      
  Avg 13 28 391 13.9 2 2 -4 0
The 21 st overall pick in the 2001 draft has yet to make that selection seem more than a wasted opportunity. Mitchell was considered improved in 2003, but 498 total yards indicates how low that bar truly was. He had catches in every game except the Giants in week seven but never had more than 60 yards or four catches in any week. He scored only twice the entire season which was, sadly, a big step up for him. Mitchell should start the year as the #3 receiver again, but now that Terrell Owens is there the chances that he gets a trickle down are even less this year. He could lose time to Billy McMullen as well who has caught the coaches’ eyes this spring. Consider Mitchell only as fantasy roster filler. He does offer some consistency, but never enough to make any difference.
Quincy Morgan CLE HT 6'1'' WT 209 AGE 27 EXP 4
2001 CLE 16 30 432 14.4 2 2 27 0
2002 CLE 15 56 964 17.2 7 3 7 0
2003 CLE 16 38 516 13.6 3 3 -4 0
  Avg 16 41 637 15.4 4 3 10 0
Morgan slid back to only 516 yards and three scores last season after delivering a big 964 yards, seven touchdown 2002. He only managed one game over 100 yards and exceeded 50 yards only four times the entire season. He suffered from the flip-flop at quarterback in 2003 and the entire offense was pulled down with poor blocking and only his one Arizona game rekindled his long ball ability. This season is bound to be better with a new quarterback in Jeff Garcia but the return to his 2002 numbers is less likely given the emergence of Andre Davis, the re-signing of Dennis Northcutt and particularly the drafting of Kellen Winslow Jr. who will undoubtedly share in the possession catches this season. Morgan is solid in that he catches balls every game but his upside will be limited unless Garcia starts to throw much more to the flanker for the first time since joining the NFL.
Johnnie Morton KC HT 6'0'' WT 190 AGE 33 EXP 11
2001 DET 16 77 1154 15 4 1 6 0
2002 KC 13 29 397 13.7 1 10 124 0
2003 KC 16 50 740 14.8 4 8 94 0
  Avg 15 52 764 14.7 3 6 75 0
Morton did show an improvement over 2002 when he only managed 397 yards in his first season as a Chief and was moved to split end in 2003. He rose to 50 catches and 740 yards with four touchdowns but turned in six games of 30 yards or less including a no catch game against the Raiders in week 12. Morton has never been more than a good #2 receiver and now at the age of 33, it is unlikely he will see any better numbers than last season. He is too inconsistent to be considered a viable fantasy receiver and with too many sub-par games to make him worth the risk as even a fantasy back-up. The Chiefs make great use of their tight end and running back when they pass and since they two of the very best in both positions, there is neither the need nor the talent at wideout to expect any change. Chris Horn could end up taking away the scant opportunities that Morton already has.
Randy Moss MIN HT 6'4'' WT 204 AGE 27 EXP 7
2001 MIN 16 82 1233 15 10 3 38 0
2002 MIN 16 106 1347 12.7 7 6 51 0
2003 MIN 16 111 1632 14.7 17 6 18 0
  Avg 16 100 1404 14.1 11 5 36 0
Moss comes off his career-best with 1632 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2003. Moss has never fallen below 1233 yards in a season for the past six years and the kicker is that he is only 27 years old. He likely has three or four more good years – maybe more for “the freak”. He has been hobbled with plantar fasciitis in his left foot and was held out of contact drills in the first development camp. This injury bothered him for the final six weeks of 2003 and yet he still scored seven times and logged four games over 90 yards including 160 yards against the Rams in week 13. In mini-camp, he ran at full-speed in spite of pain. Moss is now wearing orthotic inserts in his shoes to help. Moss says he will “probably be about 85% this season” and gauging by last season’s performance, that is still better than possibly all other receivers. He later laughed off the reports by saying he would play each game “at the highest speed possible”. Last season he led all NFL receivers with five games of multiple touchdowns and had the most plays inside the ten yard line (14). Moss may be bothered by his foot, but he not only plays hurt, he plays hurt at a very high level.
Santana Moss NYJ HT 5'10'' WT 185 AGE 25 EXP 4
2001 NYJ 5 2 40 20 0 1 -6 0
2002 NYJ 15 31 441 14.2 4 6 40 0
2003 NYJ 16 74 1105 14.9 10 10 67 0
  Avg 16 53 773 14.7 7 8 54 0
Moss was a supposed disappointment as a rookie when he was selected with the 16 th overall pick in the 2001 draft. He injured his left knee and required surgery that season, allowing him only a cameo showing at the end of the year. Moss played the slot in 2002 but only had 31 catches while playing third fiddler to Wayne Chrebet and Lavernues Coles. Last season was his third and like so many others, it was his magic breakout year. Santana shined from the second week onward, gaining 142 yards against Miami and by week 12, he had scored in eight of the first twelve games. By late in the season, Wayne Chrebet was out for the year and only Curtis Conway and Kevin Swayne were healthy enough to play. Since Moss was coming off his seventh consecutive game with a score and the secondary spent all their focus on him, his numbers predictably dipped for the final month. This year Moss gets Justin McCareins to help out and a healthy Wayne Chrebet to man the slot. Thrown in a healthy Jonathan Carter and the man they said was too little will be even bigger.
Eric Moulds BUF HT 6'2'' WT 204 AGE 31 EXP 9
2001 BUF 16 67 904 13.5 5 3 3 0
2002 BUF 16 100 1287 12.9 10 1 7 0
2003 BUF 13 64 780 12.2 1      
  Avg 15 77 990 12.9 5 2 5 0
Moulds went high in 2003 drafts thanks to his career best 10 touchdowns the previous season, but factoring in what he would have done without missing weeks, he would have ended up right around where he always does – in odd-numbered years. In ’02, ’00 and 98, Moulds turned in around 1300 yards and averaged 8 touchdowns a season. In ’03, ’01 and ’99, he averaged around 900 yards and 4 touchdowns. While the trend is hardly enough to expect a big 2004, there are other reasons to expect a bounce back. Moulds thrived with a seasoned Peerless Price going deep and taking the safeties. Last year, Josh Reed really only had one great game and that was when Moulds was out. This year Moulds gets Reed back, but the Bills also added Lee Evans to the crew who is almost a Price clone in size and ability. The Bills rushing game should also fare better with Henry and McGahee which will help concern the defense. Barring injury, Moulds has always been good for around 900 yards and maybe five scores. At 30 years of age, he is entering his third year with Bledsoe and is still in his prime. Figure on Moulds ending much closer to 2002 than 2003.
Muhsin Muhammad CAR HT 6'2'' WT 217 AGE 31 EXP 9
2001 CAR 11 50 585 11.7 1      
2002 CAR 13 63 823 13.1 3 3 40 0
2003 CAR 15 54 837 15.5 3 2 -2 0
  Avg 13 56 748 13.4 2 2 13 0
If you based Muhammad’s value last summer on his previous season, your expectations were right on. Moose produced an almost exact mirror of his 2002 season with around 830 yards and three touchdowns. Since his best seasons were in 1999 (1253/8 TD and 2000 (1183/6 TD), Muhammad has spent his the prime of his career locked in at numbers worthy of only fantasy backups the last three seasons. The style of play now – great defense and rushing - means that Muhammad simply is not likely to get the opportunities to shine anymore. He is at the point in his career where downturns are common but in this offense, he has little to go down and still matter. The emergence of Steve Smith only makes matters worse. Muhammad is a good possession receiver, but remains more as a blast from the past than a “breakout” player. He had three 100 yard games in 2003 but only one in 2004.
Kendall Newson MIA HT 6’2” WT 183 AGE 24 EXP 2
2003 MIA 6 2 55 27.5 0 0 0 0
  Avg 6 2 55 27.5 0 0 0 0

Newson was drafted with the 7.11 pick of the Jaguars in 2002 but was waived prior to the season. Newson was later picked up as a free agent in February of 2003 by the Dolphins and was released as a part of the cut to 53 players by Miami last summer and then re-signed to the practice squad. He was finally activated late in the season and had catches in only one game. While chances are excellent that Newson will continue to be a non-factor, he is the leading candidate to fill the #3 receiver spot for the Dolphins. Both J.R. Tolver and Sam Simmons are also battling for the role but entering training camp Newson has looked better so far this off-season. Consider Newson only if he does secure the job by the start of the season but limit any expectations regardless. The Dolphins are no big passing team and Chris Chambers, David Boston and Randy McMichael will take the lion’s share of passes regardless who lines up as the #3.

Update: Newson only enters his second year, but the Dolphins have liked the look of this youngster in camp and he deserves a watch during training camp now that Boston is out of the picture. Temper your expectations, but realize too that unless another receiver is brought into the fold from free agency or a trade, Newson has a shot at the #3 or even #2 receiver role in Miami this season.

08/16/04 - Newson was an up and comer in the Miami offense and was #3 with Boston leaving but has received an Achilles tendon injury that initially is considered to likely be season ending.

Dennis Northcutt CLE HT 5'11'' WT 175 AGE 27 EXP 5
2002 CLE 13 39 614 15.7 5 7 91 1
2003 CLE 15 62 729 11.8 2 12 83 0
  Avg 14 51 672 13.3 4 10 87 1
Northcutt re-signed with the Browns to a three-year deal, ending the constant speculation and bickering that he was not in the Brown’s long-term plan and was not a valuable member of the offense. The fact that no other team would throw significant money or opportunity at him was undoubtedly a major component in his decision as well. With Davis now the #2 receiver, Northcutt can supply the #3 role that feeds directly into his strengths as a speedster with an ability to catch the deep ball. Of course Garcia’s knock has been that he cannot throw long very well, but Northcutt will provide enough production to tease fantasy owners with the occasional big game as he has done the last two seasons. Northcutt will not offer much consistency from game to game, but provides a decent back-up in deeper leagues.
Kassim Osgood SD HT 6'5'' WT 209 AGE 24 EXP 2
2003 SD 16 13 278 21.4 2      
  Avg 16 13 278 21.4 2      
If a dark horse “sleeper” type does exist on the Chargers, it would likely be in Osgood. Like Parker, Osgood was an undrafted free agent last season out of San Diego State. At 6’5” and 209 pounds, he has the size advantage over all other Charger receivers and turned in a 102 yard effort in Pittsburgh during week 16 last year. The Chargers receiving situation is a mess at best, but Osgood showed a glimpse of big play ability and has only minimal competition he has to work though. Like Parker, Osgood is more likely to turn in a good game or two to spike interest and then disappoint the rest of the season. Osgood was not highly touted coming out of college and the likelihood he catches fire for any team is slim. On the Chargers squad it is likely even less. He is only a second-year player but if he delivers enough this year, he could set himself up for something better in 2005.
Terrell Owens PHI HT 6'3'' WT 226 AGE 31 EXP 9
2001 SF 16 93 1412 15.2 16 4 21 0
2002 SF 14 100 1300 13 13 7 79 1
2003 SF 15 80 1102 13.8 9 3 -2 0
  Avg 15 91 1271 14 13 5 33 0
The Mouth That Roared finally bought the ticket out of San Francisco where passing was king and heads to Philly where passes have had only a platonic affair with wideouts. There is not denying that Owens is supremely talented (just ask him) but his attitude coupled with the size of his paycheck has made him the highest profile receiver to swap teams in decades. One of Owens greatest complaints about the 49ers was the lack of long passes. He now goes to a quarterback who certainly has the arm to get downfield; McNabb has just never had the occasion to do it much the past years. Owens has topped 1100 yards the past four years and scored less than 13 touchdowns only once in that time. There is some risk here. Receivers changing teams invariably take a year to adjust and Owens is 31 years old and has missed games the past two seasons. In eight seasons, he only once has started all 16 games. The intrigue is that all those other receivers were never as good as Owens and McNabb will have the chance to open up the offense like never before. Owens got his way finally, now’s the time to put up.
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