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FANTASY FOOTBALL PRE-SEASON FEATURES

2005 Player Rankings: Wide Receivers
Updated: September 5, 2005
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Tier 1
Marvin Harrison - FA* YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 4
TD Only: 1
Keeper: 4
Auction: 16%
2002 IND 16 143 1722 12.0 11 2 10  
2003 IND 15 94 1272 13.5 10 1 3  
2004 IND 16 86 1113 12.9 15      
Avg   16 108 1369 12.8 12 1 4 0
PROJ FA*   91 1260   14      

If you are looking for no-risk and high production from your #1 wideout, there?s little reason to look farther than Marvin Harrison. He?s never had less than 1100 yards per season for the last six years and has never dipped below ten touchdowns in that time. He?s exceeded 100 catches in a season four times in his career and has yet to have an off year. Harrison has only missed one game in the last six years as well.

Marvin turned in 86 catches for 1113 yards and 15 touchdowns last year to tie his scoring record. It doesn?t hurt when a receiver plays with the best quarterback in the game and even less so when that receiver is the best on the team. With the explosion in Indianapolis of scores in 2004, Brandon Stokley and Reggie Wayne merely added to the totals ? they did not detract from what Harrison did.

With four 100 yard efforts and 11 games of at least one score, Harrison tied with Javon Walker as the most consistently good wideout last season. He ranks around that every year and there is no reason to assume he is due for any decline. With so many other headaches for the secondary to face, Harrison is a lock to produce at least his average and as always, can turn in a few monster games to shoot him to the top of the position.

Randy Moss - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 1
TD Only: 2
Keeper: 1
Auction: 22%
2002 MIN 16 106 1347 12.7 7 6 51  
2003 MIN 16 111 1632 14.7 17 6 18  
2004 MIN 12 49 767 15.7 13      
Avg   15 89 1249 14.4 12 4 23 0
PROJ FA   97 1380   13      

(-Risk) (+Upside) Until last season, no wideout of the acclaim of Moss had ever changed teams and the others that did invariably suffered a decrease in production that lasted at least a season or two. And then Terrell Owens became an Eagle and turned in an outstanding season.

There is no doubt that Moss will be used just as heavily as he was in Minnesota and the ownership and coaches have always craved an exciting ?bombs away? passing game that can change the game in one play and please the fans. No other receiver has that ability as much as ?the freak?. He has averaged almost 13 touchdowns a season since his rookie year and in a full season has never produced less than 1233 yards. His year was shortened in 2004 thanks to a lingering hamstring problem and yet he still had 13 touchdowns in 11 games. His 83% of games with a score dwarfs any other wideout last year.

Trading Culpepper for Collins is not the positive that Owens had when going to McNabb, but Collins has the arm and wits to make good use of his new receiver. He certainly has carte blanche to throw to him. Moss will always attract attention but at least Oakland will have a better running game this season to help out and the re-signing of Jerry Porter is a positive as well. Supremely talented and a lock for at least a top five performance, Moss shouldn?t be avoided merely because he changed teams. There is more risk on a new team, but there has always been rich reward in owning Moss.

Terrell Owens - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 5
TD Only: 3
Keeper: 5
Auction: 15%
2002 SFO 14 100 1300 13.0 13 7 79 1
2003 SFO 15 80 1102 13.8 9 3 -2  
2004 PHI 14 77 1200 15.6 14 3 -5  
Avg   14 86 1201 14.1 12 4 24 0
PROJ FA   86 1310   13      

(-Risk) Owens went to the Eagles in the much-publicized move last season and instead of experiencing a decrease in production, Owens was headed for a career best before fracturing his fibula and injuring the ankle socket in week 15. Until that date, he had scored in nine of thirteen games and rolled up 14 touchdowns ? best in the NFL. Only on road trips to PIT, NYG and WAS did he fail to either score or gain over 100 yards. Owens was alone in the NFL for wideouts with exceeding 100 yards in half of his games. Almost no other receiver managed the feat in over just a third of their games.

That?s sadly not the triumphant story going into this season. After only one year with the Eagles and after signing a lucrative seven-year contract for $48 million with a $10 million singing bonus, Owens thinks that is not enough. He is holding out at this time, intends on holding out through training camp and even (as always) for the entire season without yet another deal.

Didn?t take long for Owens to do what he does worst. If all was roses with management, it would be easy to make the case for Owens as the most valuable fantasy receiver this season. Now there is more risk, bad blood brewing and a situation that may require a leap of faith in order to draft him. Obviously this is worth tracking very closely this summer and for a long view, many feel he will now only play one more year for the Eagles ? if that even happens. Depending on the source, Owens will either show up and play or will become a poster child for how a team can refuse to cater to players who ask for too much.

08/11/05 Update: Owens had a heated exchange with HC Andy Reid and has been suspended from the team for the next week. This situation is getting uglier, not better. While Owens has great talent, I would not touch him in a draft personally. He is ranked 8th currently and could be anywhere from the #1 WR to not playing at all. That sort of risk is best to allow someone else to take.

08-26-05 Update: Owens is back with the team and turned in a great performance in the last preseason game. He played as he did last year - almost the entire passing game was to him. He is evidently going to play under his contract but consider him still an injury risk (he tweaked his groin in his one game) and with Owens - you just never know what to expect.

Tier 2
Chad Johnson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 3
TD Only: 4
Keeper: 3
Auction: 18%
2002 CIN 14 69 1166 16.9 5      
2003 CIN 16 90 1355 15.1 10      
2004 CIN 16 95 1274 13.4 9 4 39  
Avg   15 85 1265 15.1 8 1 13 0
PROJ FA   101 1400   12      

(+Upside) Johnson ended his fourth season with almost duplicate numbers from 2003 but the bulk of that happened in the last half of the season. Johnson suffered a bit of a scoring drought as Carson Palmer learned the ropes in his first year starting and Johnson only had two scores by week 10 ? a disappointment for a player who had been taken as a top ten receiver in all fantasy drafts. For those who still hung on, he rewarded the wait with five touchdowns in four straight weeks and at least 80 yards receiving in each.

Palmer finally started to gain the needed chemistry with Johnson and returned the star receiver to the top of the boards until Palmer went out injured in week 14. Johnson?s yardage took a nosedive again though he did score twice against the Giants in week 16.

The outlook for 2005 is very bright for the outspoken and talented receiver. Palmer is healthy again and ready to resume what was becoming one of the hottest hook-ups in the league before the injury last year. The offense is no longer in any learning stage and Rudi Johnson is signed for the long-term. Consider Johnson as one of the first receivers taken in the draft this summer and one that has upside from already top ten numbers.

Javon Walker - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 6
TD Only: 5
Keeper: 6
Auction: 15%
2002                  
2003 GBP 16 41 716 17.5 9 2 1  
2004 GBP 16 89 1380 15.5 12      
Avg   16 65 1048 16.5 11 1 1 0
PROJ FA   95 1300   12      

(+Upside) Walker came off an impressive rookie season and promptly had a break-out season that would make almost any third year players green with envy. His 1380 yards were third best in the NFL last year and his 12 touchdowns were better only by four players. There were no hot and cold periods involved here, Walker tied with Joe Horn and Marvin Harrison for the most consistent play in the league with five 100 yard games and ten different match-ups with touchdowns scored. He was second only to Randy Moss by turning in a touchdown and/or 100 yards in 75% of his games.

Entering now his fourth season, Walker belongs in the top echelon of fantasy wideouts for this and many years forward. At least as long as Brett Favre is still playing and needing to distribute about 30 scores a year. Since Favre is back in 2005, Walker makes a solid first receiver for your fantasy team that will likely be impossible to reach past the third round.

With such a great 2004 season, it is hard to say he will do better but so far he has yet to establish where his upside ends. He has basically doubled the production of each previous season for three years and while that cannot happen again without challenging reason and all NFL records; he still is a low risk for repeating his 2004 season. And that level of production and consistency is worth paying for in your draft.

Andre Roberts - ARI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 5
TD Only: 5
Keeper: 5
Auction: 2%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ ARI                

No analysis available.

Reggie Wayne - IND YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 8
TD Only: 6
Keeper: 8
Auction: 12%
2002 IND 15 49 716 14.6 4      
2003 IND 16 68 838 12.3 7      
2004 IND 16 77 1210 15.7 12 1 -4  
Avg   16 65 921 14.2 8 0 0 0
PROJ IND   86 1210   12      

(+Upside) Wayne was expected to breakout in 2003 when he entered his third season but his 838 yards and seven scores were a disappointment against expectations. That sentiment was quickly washed away when he used his fourth season to serve notice that playing the #2 wideout on a Peyton Manning team was like working at the mint and pulling your pay off the assembly line. How hard is that really?

Wayne ended with 1210 yards to rank 8th in yardage last season and his 12 touchdowns were bettered only by four other receivers. This from a #2 option in an offense. He scored in ten games and had four 100 yard efforts, allowing him the fourth best consistency in the league last year. Now that he has hit his stride, the only aspect left to discover is how high his upside extends.

Given that he has the full confidence of Manning and showed progress even within last season, Wayne should be considered a lock to at least maintain the lofty numbers from 2004. With some luck and a guy named Peyton around, he could be even better. In four years, he has always improved from the prior season. While Wayne remains the #2 in Indianapolis, he?s guaranteed to be a #1 wideout for a team in your league.

Torry Holt - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 2
TD Only: 7
Keeper: 2
Auction: 18%
2002 STL 16 91 1302 14.3 4 2 18  
2003 STL 16 117 1696 14.5 12 1 5  
2004 STL 16 94 1372 14.6 10      
Avg   16 101 1457 14.5 9 1 8 0
PROJ FA   105 1490   11      

Entering his seventh season in the NFL, Holt remains one of the premier wideouts in the game and a perennial contender for best receiver in the game. While he started slower last year with defenses stacked against him, Isaac Bruce exploded for four straight 100 yard games to make they recall that more than Holt was in the game. Holt ended the season as strongly as ever and had a second best six 100 yard games in 2004. His 94 catches were only two behind league leader Derrick Mason and his 1372 yards were 4th best in the league, only 35 yards off the tops by Muhammad.

Holt scored 10 times last year and coupled with his yardage totals had him end up in the top five fantasy wideouts for the second season in a row. He?s in his prime, he?s at the top in his position and he offers great consistency in the most inconsistent position.

The Rams have an outstanding schedule to play against this year and with Bulger entering his third season as the starter, there is no reason to expect Holt to not at least meet his production from last year. If Jackson makes the defense respect the run more, it only frees up Holt that much more. He?s had 211 catches in the last two seasons ? more than any other player. Expect him to rightfully be one of the top two or three receivers taken in every draft.

Joe Horn - FA* YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 7
TD Only: 8
Keeper: 11
Auction: 14%
2002 NOS 16 89 1314 14.8 7      
2003 NOS 15 78 973 12.5 10 2 15  
2004 NOS 16 94 1399 14.9 11      
Avg   16 87 1229 14.1 9 1 5 0
PROJ FA*   96 1350   11      

Horn enters his tenth season armed with a new six-year contract that ensures he retires as a Saint. He is 33 years old now and that suggests retirement is not all that distant in the future. Based on his career best season of 2004, it is not in the near future either.

Horn was tremendously consistent scoring last year with ten games of at least one touchdown ? second to only Marvin Harrison. His 1399 receiving yards were second only to Muhsin Muhammad. The main difference here is that while most of the NFL witnessed secondary wideouts doing better in 2004, Horn remained the clearly dominant receiver in New Orleans last season.

His age is a very minor concern and his potential for a great season is always high. He is a lock to gain around 1200 to 1300 yards a season if healthy and he has topped ten scores in each of the last two years. In a position that has the greatest inconsistency anyway, Horn is a highly valued wideout in drafts and makes a great #1 receiver often available after you already have two running backs. The Saints schedule is about the same as 2004 and there have been no personnel changes. His performance should mirror a great 2004 season.

Tier 3
Steve Smith - CAR YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 10
TD Only: 9
Keeper: 9
Auction: 10%
2002 CAR 15 54 872 16.1 3 1 -4  
2003 CAR 16 88 1110 12.6 7 11 42  
2004 CAR 1 6 60 10.0        
Avg   11 49 681 12.9 3 4 13 0
PROJ CAR   82 1160   9      

(-Risk) (+Upside) Smith came away from a sterling 2003 season when he ended up much like what Muhammad became in 2004 ? the focus of the passing game and almost ?uncoverable? even though everyone knew he would get the pass. He turned that into a very profitable new contract and then proceeded to pull a hamstring in the final preseason game of 2004. He managed to make it back to the field for week one against the Packers where he suffered a broken leg and was lost for the year after only six catches.

In his place, Muhsin Muhammad had a career year of legendary proportions. The Panthers allowed Muhammad to leave for Chicago so 2005 allows Smith to once again take the primary role and resume what had been so impressive from 2003.

Keep an eye on Smith in training camp for signs that his leg is completely healed and not a factor. To his benefit, it will be almost exactly one year of healing by the time the season starts and Smith is noted for being a very serious and devoted workout warrior. Expect him to resume his productive ways and rekindle the fires of 2003 with even less competition than any time in his career.

Nate Burleson - DET YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 9
TD Only: 10
Keeper: 16
Auction: 10%
2002                  
2003 MIN 16 29 455 15.7 2      
2004 MIN 16 68 1006 14.8 9 6 49  
Avg   16 49 731 15.3 6 3 25 0
PROJ DET   83 1170   9      

(+Upside) The news that Randy Moss was leaving was not met with sadness to anyone holding Burleson on their fantasy team. Nate enters the 2005 season as the #1 wideout on a club that features the quarterback who had the most passing yardage in the NFL last season. In only his second season, Burleson turned on 1006 yards and an impressive nine scores. Now he enters his third year when most wideouts break out and he couldn?t ask for a better situation.

When Moss was out for five weeks last season, Burleson didn?t really experience a huge jump in production. From weeks seven to eleven he had one great game against the Packers but otherwise was held to less than 54 yards in the other three match-ups. What was very encouraging was that Burleson scored in four of those five games. His big season last year was largely four monster games coupled with a dozen others less impressive.

Burleson has to be expected to improve in his third season with an offense that will look his way first on passing downs. The addition of speedy Troy Williamson should work to stretch the defense leaving Burleson with more room underneath. Look for a definite increase in catches and yards but his touchdown totals will be harder to rely on. He ended around 15th best in most leagues last year and he?ll definitely be worth adding to your roster as a #2 wideout. Problem is that you?ll not likely reach him with anything less than a first receiver pick due to the optimism and potential he carries into 2005.

Roy Williams - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 13
TD Only: 11
Keeper: 10
Auction: 10%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 DET 14 54 817 15.1 8 1 1  
Avg   14 54 817 15.1 8 1 1 0
PROJ FA   81 1140   9      

(+Upside) Roy Williams came to the Lions in 2004 as half of what was expected to be an explosive duo along with Charles Rogers. Since week one saw Rogers only last for a single play, Williams found himself to be ?the man? almost from the start. He responded very well for a rookie, scoring four times in the first three weeks and averaging 90 yards per game. And then, as all true Lion receivers must, he suffered an injury which affected him for almost the entire season.

Williams had a high ankle sprain but only missed two games. He ended the year with 817 yards and eight touchdowns which were excellent numbers for a rookie even if he had been healthy for all sixteen weeks. Williams wasn?t.

The season will start with Roy still in the split end spot with Rogers takes the flanker. Mike Williams will man the slot and together the trio could produce some great numbers. With an impressive rookie season and a healthy ankle once again, Williams is the least risky receiver to take from the three and regardless of what Rogers or Mike Williams produces, Roy will get this possession catches and he is the only one with significant playing time in the offense and with Harrington. And with this offense, there?s no chance the secondary will be loading up against Roy ? he should be even better in 2005.

Armanti Edwards - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 12
TD Only: 12
Keeper: 12
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA                

No analysis available.

Andre Johnson - HOU YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 12
TD Only: 12
Keeper: 7
Auction: 10%
2002                  
2003 HOU 16 66 976 14.8 4 5 -10  
2004 HOU 16 79 1142 14.5 6 4 12  
Avg   16 73 1059 14.7 5 5 1 0
PROJ HOU   87 1260   7      

(+Upside) If you need proof that Johnson should have a bright career, consider that his 2118 receiving yards are more than any other top 5 draft pick managed in their first two seasons for the last 20 years. He comes off a sophomore season that witnessed four 100 yards efforts and scores in five different games. Johnson had a red hot start to the season with weeks two through five producing four scores and 467 yards but his production largely dipped for the rest of the year, only scoring twice and failing to reach even 50 yards in any of his last four games.

Johnson was injured in the Vikings game of week five and even though he spent a few weeks listed as questionable, he continued to play. Johnson is a certain star in the league and the main impediment to him reaching the highest levels of production is the offensive scheme and the fact that Houston has no other receivers even remotely close in talent to him. He commands constant double coverage- or more - and the results are telling.

Johnson will continue to improve; he is as talented as likely any wideout in the league and just now entering his third season. That talent will ensure he remains worthy of being a #1 fantasy wideout but the overall offense will likely prevent him from entering the highest tier of receivers.

Darrell Jackson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 11
TD Only: 13
Keeper: 13
Auction: 10%
2002 SEA 13 62 877 14.1 4 3 3  
2003 SEA 16 68 1137 16.7 9      
2004 SEA 16 87 1207 13.9 7      
Avg   15 72 1074 14.9 7 1 1 0
PROJ FA   85 1210   8      

Jackson skipped mini-camps this season on a presumed holdout, but he signed a six-year contract worth $25 million in 2004 and his absence in May camps mainly just angered HC Mike Holmgren. While Jackson is the primary receiver in Seattle and clearly the best weapon besides Alexander, he still has never gained over 1200 yards in a season nor topped even ten scores. His 87 catches in 2004 were a career high but his yards per catch were the lowest since his rookie season when he rarely played.

Jackson is a very good fantasy receiver to own if he doesn?t cost too much. He will deliver around 1200 yards and eight scores a year in this offense that has not changed. He turned in five 100+ yard receiving efforts and his touchdowns were spread out through six games during the season last year. He is solid and there is always upside for a little more production in that offense but so far, it has been amazingly static around that 1200/ 8 TD level.

There is no real reason to expect any changes to Jackson unless he actually does continue to holdout during training camp. His numbers don?t warrant a big jump in pay during mid-contract since he is delivering exactly what he already was when he signed that contract. Expect a solid season from Jackson and a good, consistent performance each week that won?t win you many games, but he won?t be the reason you lose either. With Robinson now gone, Jackson is even more important to the Seahawks.

Michael Clayton - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 14
TD Only: 14
Keeper: 12
Auction: 8%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 TBB 16 80 1193 14.9 7 5 30  
Avg   16 80 1193 14.9 7 5 30 0
PROJ FA   85 1200   8      

(+Upside) Clayton was the fourth receiver drafted in 2004 but he dominated all other rookie wideouts last year, ending up around 12th best in his position in most scoring scenarios. His 1193 yards were 12th best in the league and he was 350 yards better than 2nd best rookie Lee Evans (843). Evans had two more touchdowns but Clayton was an instant star who landed in the right situation last year.

His scoring came almost entirely during the second half of the season and while he only had two 100 yard efforts, he was tremendously consistent with yardage ? even if he were a veteran. Twelve of his games had at least 60 yards receiving and he is just getting started. For any rookie to have 80 catches speaks volumes about how polished and mature Clayton was when he entered the NFL.

Clayton provides the possession role but he?s also a factor in the redzone and can provide the occasional long gainer as well. With Galloway healthy again and Ike Hilliard on board, Clayton won?t be asked to carry the passing game on his shoulders and more importantly won?t be the only receiver to concern the secondary. He?s only getting started and already has been in the top dozen receivers in the league ? that?s a player worth riding while he rises. Only an improved running game in 2005 will throw any risk into Clayton improving on already impressive numbers.

Anquan Boldin - SFO YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 16
TD Only: 15
Keeper: 14
Auction: 8%
2002                  
2003 ARI 16 101 1377 13.6 8 5 40  
2004 ARI 10 56 623 11.1 1 1 3  
Avg   13 79 1000 12.4 5 3 22 0
PROJ SFO   88 1140   8      

(-Risk) (+Upside) After an astounding ?rookie of the year? season in 2003, Boldin carried high expectations into last summer until he suffered a meniscal tear in his right knee that required ten weeks on the sideline before he could hit the field again. Shaking off the rust and general soreness from his knee injury, he only managed to snare a handful of short passes in his first three games before starting to regain his form.

Boldin was also held back from having to learn a new offense and a new position since the rookie Larry Fitzgerald was given the flanker spot while Boldin moved to split end. He only scored one touchdown last year but did end on a higher note, recording two 100+ yard efforts in the final four games.

The outlook should be much brighter this year, with the offense in its second season and Kurt Warner on board to toss the rock. The addition of the speedy Arrington should also help give the defense much more to think about and Larry Fitzgerald will be one year better. The Cardinals have a light schedule this season and while Boldin may not equal his rookie year when he was the only real receiving option, he?s in line for a solid season with upside if Warner can improve the offense.

Ashley Lelie - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 17
TD Only: 16
Keeper: 17
Auction: 7%
2002 DEN 15 35 525 15.0 2 4 40  
2003 DEN 16 37 628 17.0 2 8 43  
2004 DEN 16 54 1084 20.1 7 3 5  
Avg   16 42 746 17.4 4 5 29 0
PROJ FA   78 1140   8      

Entering his third season in 2004, Lelie did experience a breakout year as expected and had scored in six of his first eight games before cooling down for the rest of the year. Lelie has improved in each season and in 2004 topped 1000 yards for the first time. He only caught 54 passes last season but ranked #1 in yards per catch as the only player over 20 yards per play.

Lelie is a great long ball option for Plummer but his ability will develop into more since he has the size to also play a possession role and with Rod Smith now 35 years of age, Lelie will become the clear #1 receiver in Denver no later than next year ? possibly this season even with Rod Smith around.

Lelie has become a solid fantasy receiver though he has not turned in any monsters games so far. But he?s already shown good chemistry with Plummer and a nice, upward path to his progress every season. Expect no less than what he managed in 2004 and with a tougher schedule in 2005, he has nice upside for even bigger numbers this year.

Donald Driver - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 21
TD Only: 17
Keeper: 19
Auction: 4%
2002 GBP 16 70 1064 15.2 9 8 70  
2003 GBP 15 52 621 11.9 2 5 51  
2004 GBP 16 84 1208 14.4 9 3 4  
Avg   16 69 964 13.8 7 5 42 0
PROJ FA   75 1050   8      

Just when Driver seemed to be returning to the same obscurity he showed in his first three years, he turned in a career best season in 2004 with 1208 yards and nine touchdowns, just a bit better than the 2002 season that gave him his good name. And now 2002 is no longer considered a freak year ? Driver really is that good.

While Robert Ferguson was slated to move up and take over the #2 role last season, Driver would have none of that. After the first month of the season had Ferguson getting more passes and Driver doing less, Ferguson had an Achilles strain to his left foot and never again challenged Driver for the #2 role. From week five onward, Driver had eight touchdowns and four games over 100 yards. Only seven receivers had more touchdowns last year than Driver did. Only eight wideouts had higher yardage.

The Packer offense returns all the same players and the schedule is the same strength as last season. This unit is good enough to go on autopilot though an expected improvement on the defensive side may reduce the need for late game passing. Driver still goes too cheaply in drafts in spite of his top ten numbers from 2004. He makes a tremendous #2 wideout for your team and offers probably less risk than your #1.

Drew Bennett - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 19
TD Only: 18
Keeper: 23
Auction: 7%
2002 TEN 15 33 478 14.5 2      
2003 TEN 12 32 504 15.8 4      
2004 TEN 16 80 1247 15.6 11 1 12  
Avg   14 48 743 15.3 6 0 4 0
PROJ FA   68 970   8      

(-Risk) Bennett started the year as the #2 wideout but was expected to be challenged by Tyrone Calico. That never happened thanks to Calico missing the season due to injury and after a furious flurry of three games near the end of the season, Bennett ended up 1247 yards ? 7th best in the NFL last year. His 11 touchdowns were four more than even Derrick Mason had. Through the first eight games, Bennett only had 388 yards and one score. In the final half of the season, no other wideout was hotter. He totaled 859 yards and ten scores in those final eight games.

His claim to fantasy fame came in a three week burst that totaled 517 yards including a 233 yard effort against KC. He had ten touchdowns in three games. In the other 13 games of the year, he only scored three times and averaged only 56 yards per game. That is far more similar to his norm.

Bennett will undoubtedly be drafted too early this season by fantasy owners looking at total stats and remembering that monster 233 yard, 3 TD effort against the pathetic KC secondary. He does assume the #1 role with Mason gone but that should mean lesser numbers from more attention, not more production. There is a new offense to learn and McNair is back as the starter. Last year, Bennett played seven times with McNair and only scored once with an average of 54 yards per game.

Tier 4
Laveranues Coles - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 15
TD Only: 19
Keeper: 15
Auction: 8%
2002 NYJ 15 89 1264 14.2 5 6 39  
2003 WAS 16 82 1204 14.7 6 10 39  
2004 WAS 16 90 950 10.6 1 3 -3  
Avg   16 87 1139 13.2 4 6 25 0
PROJ FA   89 1250   7      

(+Upside) Coles has spent the last two seasons with the Redskins where he was the #1 receiver, but with Spurrier that only meant he got the most of many passes to many receivers. Last year he also had many passes ? the most thrown to him of any wideout in the league (167) but he only caught 90 of them. Some thought that was still a heroic effort considering the accuracy of those passes and he was bettered only by five other receivers for catches in 2004.

The story of this year is reuniting him with the quarterback he had in his breakout third year of 2002. That season he had 1264 yards and five touchdowns. That year he ended on a hot streak for the final seven weeks when he never gained less than 70 yards in a game and had three match-ups of 114, 158 and 126 yards. He began to click with Pennington finally just in time to get shipped off to the Washington ?money is no object? Redskins.

His great finish to the 2002 season with Pennington was a bit driven by a soft schedule for that time period but regardless, Coles has become a very reliable possession target regardless of the quarterback. He has never scored more than seven touchdowns in any season but he has remained over 80 catches in each of the last three years. Figure him to get better as the year progresses and to maintain that natural possession role he has perfected. His lack of touchdowns limit him from becoming a top wideout but his consistency with yardage makes him a solid #2 choice for a fantasy team.

Hines Ward - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 18
TD Only: 20
Keeper: 18
Auction: 7%
2002 PIT 16 112 1329 11.9 12 12 142  
2003 PIT 16 95 1163 12.2 10 11 61  
2004 PIT 16 80 1004 12.6 4 7 25 1
Avg   16 96 1165 12.2 9 10 76 0
PROJ FA   90 1180   7      

(+Upside) After two straight seasons with at least ten scores, Ward reverted almost exactly to his production of 2001 (within one yard). He simply no longer was the focus of the offense as he once was when Ben Roethlisberger took over. Complicating matters as well were all the rushing attempts that were winning games. There was simply much less need to throw the ball than ever before.

Now that Burress has left, the pendulum should swing toward Ward more as clearly the most talented receiver on the team. In the games when Burress was out of the line-up in 2004, Ward still was no better but late season saw the Steelers already winding down for a playoff run and ahead on the scoreboard in every game. It is very promising for 2005 that Ward had over 100 yards and a score in both playoff games with Roethlisberger.

Unless the running game somehow falters and Roethlisberger begins to throw significantly more, there is no career year facing Ward in 2005. He will be the primary receiver but that hasn?t meant much in the last year. He should improve on his totals from 2004, but merely the loss of Burress does not immediately equate to Ward returning to his previous level of production. The offense has changed and Ward is no longer the primary scorer, he?s merely a very good possession receiver that is no longer used as heavily.

Chris Chambers - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 26
TD Only: 21
Keeper: 24
Auction: 3%
2002 MIA 14 52 734 14.1 3 6 78  
2003 MIA 16 64 963 15.0 11 4 30  
2004 MIA 15 69 898 13.0 7 9 76  
Avg   15 62 865 14.0 7 6 61 0
PROJ FA   65 930   7      

(+Upside) After four seasons in the NFL, Chambers has a good name in fantasy football in spite of never once exceeding 963 yards in one season. His eleven touchdowns in 2003 were reason to take notice but last year he fell back to only seven scores and 898 yards even though he had a career high of 69 receptions.

Since the Dolphins are in a rebuilding year and installing a new offense, Chambers will have a tough time reaching his first 1000 yard season and with the drafting of Ronnie Brown, there is no doubt that the run will be used more heavily this season. That could actually help Chambers who suffered in 2004 when the defense never respected the run. Notable too is that Chambers has had big touchdowns totals in the past, but he typically pumped up his stats with a few big games. 2004 was actually his best with consistency since he had four 100 yard efforts against only two the previous season even though his overall yardage fell.

Consider Chambers to be more risky than last year with the new offense taking time to come together. Only three of his seven scores last year came from Feeley. Look for a similar performance to 2004 this season and that is probably the high side. As the primary receiver in Miami in a year that they will undoubtedly need throw much of the time, his downside is not that low. He makes a suitable #2 fantasy receiver and a safe pick with that expectation.

Lee Evans - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 23
TD Only: 22
Keeper: 20
Auction: 4%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 BUF 16 48 843 17.6 9 5 85  
Avg   16 48 843 17.6 9 5 85 0
PROJ FA   63 940   7      

(+Upside) The Bills grabbed Evans with the 13th overall pick in the 2004 draft to provide the Peerless Price clone that had been missing for two years. Mission accomplished. Evans scored as many touchdowns as Price did in his one big season before jetting off to obscurity in Atlanta.

The exciting aspect to Evans? rookie season was that he was actually the #3 best fantasy receiver for the final six weeks of the season, catching 29 passes for 469 yards and seven scores over that time period. Now Evans has to adjust to a new quarterback in J.P. Losman and that could delay progress. Evans has been magic with the longball though and there?s a lot less learning curve for hitting him streaking the sideline than completing a crossing pattern. The learning curve may not be long at all if Losman can deliver on his promise.

Expecting Evans to improve what are already stellar numbers for a rookie may be a tall order with a new first-year quarterback, but his ability to catch deep passes and stop running only when the grass changes color means he?s a reasonable risk to take as a #2 fantasy wideout. He?ll likely never have a high volume of catches, but he?ll do a lot with the ones he does catch.

Deion Branch - IND YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 25
TD Only: 23
Keeper: 22
Auction: 4%
2002 NEP 13 43 489 11.4 2 2    
2003 NEP 15 57 803 14.1 3 1 11  
2004 NEP 9 35 454 13.0 4      
Avg   12 45 582 12.8 3 1 4 0
PROJ IND   68 930   7      

(-Risk) (+Upside) Branch was entering the magic third season in 2004 and after promising progress, he was expected to have a break-out season. His first game ? 86 yards and a touchdown ? seemed in line with expectations. Then in week two against the Cardinals, Branch suffered an apparent knee sprain that the NE injury spin machine cloaked, dismissed and trivialized. He did not return to the field for seven games, a long time for those fantasy owners waiting for HC Belichick to dive into the waters of honest disclosure.

Deion ended with 454 yards and four touchdowns for his eight full games played. In his absence David Patten became the preferred scoring target for Brady and Branch had his supposed break-out year delayed. With Branch healthy and Patten gone, there is no reason why 2005 should not be the big year expected in 2004.

The Patriots have a complicated passing scheme that does spread the ball around more than almost any other team. But Branch is clearly the wideout with the most talent, speed and situation to matter most. Branch was already improving in 2003 and with his 2004 campaign cut short by injury; many have forgotten the expectations that this former second round pick should have this year. He?ll likely not get enough passes to turn into a #1 fantasy receiver for your team but he?ll make a great #3 guy with upside to become a solid #2.

Larry Fitzgerald - ARI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 27
TD Only: 24
Keeper: 21
Auction: 3%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 ARI 16 58 780 13.4 8 8 14  
Avg   16 58 780 13.4 8 8 14 0
PROJ ARI   65 920   7      

(+Upside) While Fitzgerald may not have made the rookie splash that Boldin had the previous year, his freshman effort was considered both promising and a success. He ranked only behind Michael Clayton for rookie wideouts and ended the season with eight touchdowns, only seven wideouts had more than him in 2004.

The Cardinals are in the second year of the new Denny Green inspired offense and are looking to create a ?pass first? scheme that will rely heavily on both Boldin and Fitzgerald. The first receiver taken in the 2004 rookie draft, Fitzgerald failed to turn in his first 100+ yard effort but did top the 90 yard mark three times. He also had back-to-back weeks with two touchdowns in games against STL and SEA ? both divisional rivals.

Look for Fitzgerald to continue to improve and become an even bigger part of the offense. Once Boldin returned last season in week eight, Fitzgerald?s numbers dipped for about a month before rising back up. He should enjoy Warner as the quarterback and with a lighter schedule than most, the Cardinals passing game should look much improved in 2004. Fitzgerald shouldered a big load with Boldin out last year but with new weapons for the offense and a bit more experience, he?s a lock for improvement in 2005.

Eddie Kennison - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 28
TD Only: 25
Keeper: 32
Auction: 3%
2002 KCC 16 53 906 17.1 2 7 58  
2003 KCC 16 56 854 15.3 5 2 9  
2004 KCC 14 62 1086 17.5 8 2 15  
Avg   15 57 949 16.6 5 4 27 0
PROJ FA   58 900   7      

After nine seasons in the NFL and four different teams, Kennison comes off his career best effort and first 1000 yard season when he finished with 62 catches for 1086 yards and eight touchdowns. That makes the three last seasons with over 850 receiving yards and his scoring has gone from only scoring once in 2001 to increasing every season up through the eight this year. Kennison ended as the fifth best wideout in the league for 100 yard games (5 out of 14, 36%)

Kennison is 32 years of age ? not ancient by receiver standards but certainly older than most who are just now starting to be a fantasy force. He missed two games last year with a hamstring strain but otherwise has been fairly healthy the last three years. The Chiefs need that to continue.

The KC schedule is tougher this season and that may result in even more passing. Kennison is definitely the wideout to grab first from the team and his production over the last three seasons continues to improve. Consider him a safer pick than he has ever been and a safe risk to provide numbers you want from your #3 fantasy wideout. With some luck, he may do even better.

Brandon Stokley - BAL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 33
TD Only: 26
Keeper: 25
Auction: 3%
2002 BAL 8 24 357 14.9 2 6 31  
2003 IND 6 22 211 9.6 3      
2004 IND 16 68 1077 15.8 10      
Avg   10 38 548 13.4 5 2 10 0
PROJ BAL   64 850   6      

It is a pretty safe bet that an offense is scoring well when the #3 receiver scores more touchdowns than all but eight wideouts in the NFL ? and two of those were on his own team. Stokley?s ten scores were better than 25 other wideouts that were the primary receiver for their team.

To further add to the incredible situation, Stokley had five games over 100 yards and three games with more than one touchdown. The difference that Stokley has as opposed to either Harrison or Wayne is that he turns in lower games in off weeks. Basically, with Stokley in 2004 he either performed barely commensurate with a #3 fantasy wideout or you won your game that week because Stokley went nuts again.

Stokley is a lock to be drafted highly this season and he?ll likely warrant the pick in total points but his inconsistency ? the larger amount of lower games ? means he should not serve as more than a #2 fantasy wideout. He makes a better #3 but after last year ? that won?t happen.

08-05-06 Update: Stokley is likely to miss the first game of the season with his dislocated shoulder. He falls a few spots from lower overall projections and a slight risk that he may not return immediately 100%.

Isaac Bruce - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 20
TD Only: 27
Keeper: 30
Auction: 5%
2002 STL 16 79 1075 13.6 7 3 18  
2003 STL 14 69 981 14.2 5 2 17  
2004 STL 16 89 1292 14.5 6      
Avg   15 79 1116 14.1 6 2 12 0
PROJ FA   77 1080   6      

Bruce is no youngster at 33 years of age, but he remains a consistent performer. He comes off a 1292 yard season that was his best since 2000. He started red hot last year with four consecutive 100 yard games thanks to secondaries focusing their attention on Torry Holt but he cooled and only had two more similar efforts in the last 12 games.

Bruce may wear down a bit during the season due to his age but he is a very consistent yardage receiver that makes a rock solid #2 or #3 wideout for a fantasy team. He scored in six different weeks and had over 75 yards in ten of his match-ups. Throw in that he has only missed one game in the last six years and Bruce still makes sense for your team despite his advancing years.

Look for his age and lack of big yardage games last year to allow him to drop a bit farther in drafts than warranted. With Holt an established star and Jackson likely to pump up the running game, Bruce should be a lock for a consistent role as a possession receiver with enough scores to make him a positive addition to any fantasy team.

Rod Smith - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 24
TD Only: 28
Keeper: 28
Auction: 4%
2002 DEN 16 89 1027 11.5 5 6 9  
2003 DEN 15 74 846 11.4 3 10 98  
2004 DEN 16 79 1144 14.5 7 5 33  
Avg   16 81 1006 12.5 5 7 47 0
PROJ FA   75 1000   6      

Rod Smith now is tied with Jimmy Smith as the oldest starting wideout in the league this year and unlike Jimmy, Rod has played full seasons every year since 1997 which includes topping 1000 yards in seven of his last eight years.

Smith led the Broncos with 79 catches last year and he turned in a respectable seven touchdowns. His 2004 season turned around a two-year decline that was expected from the aging star and he has shown a good chemistry with Jake Plummer. In only one game last year did he fail to have at least five catches and he almost always stayed at or above 75 yards per game. In spite of his consistent play, he only once managed to crest 100 yards when he turned in freakish 208 yards against the Falcons in week 8.

Smith has slowed down a step and yet he still is relied on for the possession catches and he?s smart enough to find the endzone around half of his games. The Broncos will have a much more challenging schedule in 2005 and he will be needed more than ever. Ashley Lelie is stepping up his production but Smith will remain consistent thanks to the possession role. He cannot rank as a #1 fantasy receiver but makes a solid #2 with consistent performance with the chance ? at least once a year ? to turn in the monster game.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 30
TD Only: 29
Keeper: 34
Auction: 3%
2002 CIN 16 41 492 12.0 1      
2003                  
2004 CIN 15 73 978 13.4 4 6 51  
Avg   16 57 735 12.7 3 3 26 0
PROJ FA   64 940   6      

(+Upside) When Peter Warrick was injured last year, Houshmandzadeh stepped up in a big way, turning into a consistent #2 complement to Chad Johnson and recording three 100 yard games. Over his final six weeks, he scored four times and only once fell below 64 yards in a game. After an encouraging second-year in 2002, Houshmandzadeh suffered a severe hamstring injury that robbed him of any playing time in 2003. With Warrick out, T.J. reminded the fantasy world of his progress that was cut short only by injury the previous season.

Warrick is still with the team though he has not been practicing as he continues to heal from his knee surgery. He may be dropped or traded away but regardless of what happens to Warrick, the Bengals are very pleased with the dimension that Houshmandzadeh brings to the passing offense. He will be the starter for 2005 and Carson Palmer enters his second season as the signal caller for the Bengals ? two very positive aspects for considering T.J. this season.

Chad Johnson is becoming one of the elite receivers in the league and with his talent, Houshmandzadeh will get a healthy dose of single coverage that he has already shown to be able to exploit. In almost all cases last year, T.J. was much more effective on the road than at home which mirrors the general success of the team, not unlike Reggie Wayne had been in 2003. Look for Houshmandzadeh to take the next step up and become a solid fantasy receiver this year and beyond.

Muhsin Muhammad - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 29
TD Only: 30
Keeper: 31
Auction: 3%
2002 CAR 13 63 823 13.1 3 3 40  
2003 CAR 15 54 837 15.5 3 2 -2  
2004 CAR 16 93 1405 15.1 16 3 15  
Avg   15 70 1022 14.6 7 3 18 0
PROJ FA   76 960   6      

(-Risk) Talk about leaving on a high note. Muhammad waited until his ninth season and final year of his contract to turn in the best performance by any wideout in the NFL last year. He scored an astonishing 16 touchdowns ? more than the four previous seasons combined. His 1405 yards led the entire league. He was within three catches for the NFL lead in that category as well.

Talk about magic years. Steven Smith left in week one and the running game fell apart. Up until week 8, there was no real sign that he was about to explode thanks in no small part to a kind schedule and the fact he was the only real weapon for the Panthers. In the final ten games, Muhammad reeled off 14 scores and 1115 yards. Too bad no one believes that he?ll ever come close to those numbers again. Transferring to Chicago alone ensures it.

Muhammad cashed in on his success but he is 32 years old and other than one freak season, he?s never been more than a moderate possession receiver with usually less than six scores a year. He?s good enough for a #2 fantasy spot because he?s been consistently average, but any notion that he will even replicate his average seasons is likely to disappoint. The Bears had the 31st ranked passing attack last season and it was more than merely personnel. A new offense to learn along with the rest of the team will spell mediocrity for Muhammad and a getting back to the basics of who he has always been.

08-14-05 Update: Muhammad falls a few spots with the loss of Grossman. He'll be needed more than ever but with only Chad Hutchinson and the rookie Kyle Orton currently available, even this ranking may be optimistic. Make Muhammad another player that someone else is likely better off taking off of solely name recognition.

Derrick Mason - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 31
TD Only: 31
Keeper: 35
Auction: 3%
2002 TEN 14 79 1012 12.8 5      
2003 TEN 16 92 1255 13.6 7 3 11  
2004 TEN 16 96 1168 12.2 7 1 -3  
Avg   15 89 1145 12.9 6 1 3 0
PROJ FA   78 920   6      

(-Risk) Over the last four years, Mason has never failed to eclipse 1000 yards and had at least seven scores in three of those four seasons. For a 5?10? wideout who was not even the first receiver drafted by his team in 1997, Mason has done very well for himself and has been a consistent performer who typically either scores a touchdown or exceeds 100 yards in half or more of his games.

2005 will be the first time that Mason tries life in the NFL without Steve McNair as his quarterback or the Titans as his team. One of the hottest free agents this season, Mason was snapped up by Ravens who offered him a five-year deal. There is no doubt that Mason is the #1 wideout in Baltimore.

What is in doubt is how well the Ravens will use him and if his numbers will suffer. Kyle Boller has never been successful throwing downfield in spite of having Brandon Stokley, Kevin Johnson and Travis Taylor. The offense has always been predicated on running Jamal Lewis and throwing to Todd Heap, balanced by a top-notch defense. Look for Mason?s numbers to suffer in the transition and hope that Boller can finally deliver on the expectations that his first round selection warranted.

Donte' Stallworth - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 35
TD Only: 32
Keeper: 36
Auction: 2%
2002 NOS 13 42 594 14.1 8 2 2  
2003 NOS 11 25 485 19.4 3 1 3  
2004 NOS 15 58 767 13.2 5 6 37  
Avg   13 42 615 15.6 5 3 14 0
PROJ FA   63 870   6      

(+Upside) Stallworth entered his third season in 2003 but did not experience the break-out many were hoping to see. His final yardage (767) was a career best but nothing dramatically different than the first two year. Worse yet he had three nice 100+ yard efforts and yet ten games were under 50 yards. The only real positive from 2004 was that he only missed one game and he had four scores in the final seven weeks.

His role is made that much more solid with the departure of Jerome Pathon to Seattle and the drafting of Chase Lyman in the 4th round of the NFL draft poses no threat for at least this season if not well beyond. Stallworth worked very hard in the offseason of 2004 to improve his flexibility and conditioning to help him stay healthy all season. Stallworth suffered a hip pointer in week seven that affected him for three weeks but otherwise he was not a lingering injury problem like in his first two seasons. Most critical ? he avoided the hamstring issues that had plagued him for two years.

Stallworth still has upside and still should be considered short of his potential so far. He may not develop into a true #1 at any point in his career but he is turning in big games from the #2 spot even if only occasionally. He is a risk to consider a fantasy starter, but his potential makes him a definite consideration as a first line back-up on your roster.

Keary Colbert - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 37
TD Only: 33
Keeper: 37
Auction: 2%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 CAR 15 47 754 16.0 5      
Avg   15 47 754 16.0 5 0 0 0
PROJ FA   60 820   6      

(+Upside) Colbert was chosen by the Panthers with the 30th pick in the second round of the 2004 draft ? the 10th wideout taken. He ended up outperforming over half of those taken before him. He had caught the attention of the coaching staff during the preseason and already was slated for slot work when the injury to Steve Smith expanded Colbert?s playing time.

Colbert played well from his initial start in week two until week 12 and had recorded four scores and two 100 yard games but he spent the final month of the season with very lackluster production as the Panther?s passing game became little more than pass-and-catch with Muhsin Muhammad. By the end of the season, the Panthers entire style of play had deviated from expectations and it?s unreasonable to consider Colbert?s freshman effort as anything but promising and successful.

He?s still a ways off from becoming a top threat in the league but he is progressing into being a solid starter as the #2 receiver with upside as he develops. Playing in an offense that obviously can throw well will only help him along the learning curve. Consider Colbert only as a bye week filler or wideout depth for your team but in a dynasty league, he?s worth much more from potential alone.

Troy Williamson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 38
TD Only: 34
Keeper: 27
Auction: 2%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   50 760   6      

(+Upside) The Vikings surprised many when they ignored Mike Williams ? A Randy Moss clone in many ways ? and selected Williamson with the 1.07 pick in the 2005 NFL draft they had acquired in the trade with Oakland involving Moss. It is true; Williamson is not all that similar to Randy Moss other than both have great speed and a perceived lack of speed of Mike Williams was the deciding factor between the two.

If Williamson is similar to any other wideout, he would be closer to Marvin Harrison who is slightly smaller than Troy and both were the speed merchants coming into the NFL draft. Harrison went with the
19th overall pick in the 1996 draft to a team that would later obtain a great quarterback in Manning. Williamson went 7th to a team that already has Culpepper.

Playing in South Carolina, Williamson only had 43 passes for 835 yards and seven scores as a senior, hardly as many as either season that Mike Williams had at USC. But Tice and company craved a new receiver that could immediately stretch the field and Troy has been clocked as fast as a 4.31/40 (Mike Williams had a 4.57 at the combine). The plan is to start the season with Williamson playing the slot and taking immediate advantage of his deep skills. It will either result in some nice long scores or at least open up the middle and help out the rushing game. A rookie playing a #3 role is always hard to rely on but his situation and long-term outlook will have Williamson drafted as a starter in some deep leagues.

Brandon Lloyd - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 44
TD Only: 35
Keeper: 43
Auction: 2%
2002                  
2003 SFO 11 14 212 15.1 2      
2004 SFO 13 43 565 13.1 6      
Avg   12 29 389 14.1 4 0 0 0
PROJ FA   47 670   6      

(+Upside) With the departures of Cedrick Wilson and Curtis Conway, Lloyd starts this season with all the 2004 receiving yardage by wideouts other than 202 yards and one score. His meager 565 yards was second to Wilson (641) for the wideout lead though his six scores were tops in the receiving game last season.

The new regime of HC Mike Nolan brought on board OC Mike McCarthy from New Orleans and as the new offense is being installed, Lloyd is the lone ?veteran? receiver after playing for only two seasons. He?ll likely have to gain chemistry with rookie Alex Smith sooner than later and incredibly will be double covered since there is no other receiver that one average NFL cornerback shouldn?t be able to handle.

The 49ers will need to throw as much as last year but that didn?t equate into any appreciable numbers for Lloyd other than the touchdowns. If you had to have a 49er receiver for some reason, then Lloyd is clearly the one to get but there should not be any fantasy league rule mandating a 49er wideout has to appear on any roster this year. This offense will start slow and strive for sluggish by the end of the season and although the trash time should suggest an increase is in store for Lloyd, it didn?t make much difference in 2004.

Emmanuel Sanders - PIT YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 44
TD Only: 35
Keeper: 44
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ PIT                

No analysis available.

Tier 5
Jerry Porter - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 34
TD Only: 37
Keeper: 26
Auction: 2%
2002 OAK 16 51 688 13.5 9 4 6  
2003 OAK 9 28 361 12.9 1 1 10  
2004 OAK 16 64 998 15.6 9 1 -4  
Avg   14 48 682 14.0 6 2 4 0
PROJ FA   71 920   5      

(+Upside) Porter fell only two yards shy of his first 1000 yard season and tied a career best with nine scores in 2004. That performance was actually impressive given that the Raiders had absolutely no threat of a rushing game and as it worked out, only featured Porter and an ever-changing cast of wideouts who had never been starters in the NFL before last year. Porter was a magnet for the secondary last year and constantly was doubled or triple covered.

He ended with the nine scores but six of them came in two games against the weak TEN secondary and a surprisingly effective challenge to Champ Bailey in Denver. Otherwise, he only had five match-ups that produced any scores and he ended with only three 100 yard efforts on the year. This season has Randy Moss lining up on the other side and with that the single coverage that Porter will undoubtedly enjoy.

Porter is no longer the #1 wideout and while he will get lesser coverage this season, he?ll also be receiving fewer looks from Collins. Expect Porter to become a nice complement to Moss and to turn in his first 1000 yards season with fewer scores than last season. He?s no great possession player and is best used on deep routes, but he?ll get enough yardage on a weekly basis to allow him at least moderate fantasy consideration. He should be viewed as a decent back-up for your team but nothing more until the offense shows what change Moss and Lamont Jordan will bring to the team.

Braylon Edwards - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 36
TD Only: 38
Keeper: 33
Auction: 2%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   63 850   5      

Edwards was the first receiver taken in the NFL draft with the 1.03 pick by the Browns. That would normally herald great optimism for his rookie season but the ex-Michigan star probably could not find a tougher situation in which to start his NFL career.

There is no denying his talent, speed and playmaking ability and the expectations will be high from the start but the Browns are only now beginning to install a new offense and relying on Trent Dilfer to command the progress. The loss of Kellen Winslow has given the green light for Edwards to start in order to get some height in the passing game. Until Winslow crashed, the plan was to slowly bring Edwards along but now there is a big need that he will fill. While a tragedy for Winslow, it could prove fortuitous to Edwards in posting fantasy points this season.

Edwards is a must have in dynasty leagues that can take advantage of his development (and that of the offense around him), but it will likely take most of the season before he begins to really shine ? too long to rely on with a draft pick that will likely cost a starter. He?s a lock for a good NFL career, an uneven rookie season and being drafted too early this summer.

Santana Moss - WAS YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 42
TD Only: 39
Keeper: 41
Auction: 2%
2002 NYJ 15 31 441 14.2 4 6 40  
2003 NYJ 16 74 1105 14.9 10 10 67  
2004 NYJ 15 45 838 18.6 5 6 18  
Avg   15 50 795 15.9 6 7 42 0
PROJ WAS   43 800   5      

(-Risk) The Redskins not only had one of the poorest passing attacks in the league last year, they ranked at the bottom of the NFL in big plays down field. Those ones that give instant great field position and can change the scoreboard with one play. They did not exist in Washington last year. HC Joe Gibbs made the move this year to change that.

Swapping out disgruntled Laveranues Coles for the speedster Moss was meant to directly address the need for long completions. It also gets Coles grumbling out of the locker room ? win/win.

Though he had a big third year when he gained 1105 yards and ten scores, he returned to a more normal amount of production in 2004 with 838 yards and five touchdowns. And like any long ball specialist, he had a few very big games and a whole lot of little ones. Something that will undoubtedly be repeated in Washington since that is the role they want him to play. If anything, his yardage should decrease.

Justin McCareins - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 43
TD Only: 40
Keeper: 42
Auction: 2%
2002                  
2003 TEN 16 45 799 17.8 7 1 13  
2004 NYJ 16 56 770 13.8 4 2 -5  
Avg   16 51 785 15.8 6 2 4 0
PROJ FA   55 770   5      

(+Upside) McCareins was acquired last year as one of the rare exclusive rights free agents to change teams and he turned a surprisingly good third season in Tennessee into a starting role as the #2 for the Jets last year. While he did not lead the team in receiving yardage, his 56 catches was tops and nine better than Santana Moss. He offered a consistent performance in most weeks with 60 or 70 yards and he scored in four different games.

Last year McCareins was paired with Santana Moss who has only been effective as a long ball threat, not in the possession role that McCareins supplied last year. With the addition of Laveranues Coles this year, McCareins won?t likely continue as the primary target for Pennington. Having Coles on board may actually help McCareins do more with the catches he does get, but the volume is likely to decrease from last year.

McCareins makes an adequate #3 fantasy wideout since he is fairly consistent with yardage each week, but that may remain stagnant or even decrease slightly with Coles on the team. McCareins is not a common target in the endzone and he only had four scores last year. His upside is a little limited with a new #1 to compete with and a slightly different scheme but he already has the chemistry with Pennington. He is a great fantasy back-up but not likely much more this season.

Charles Rogers - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 46
TD Only: 41
Keeper: 44
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 DET 5 22 243 11.0 3 2 17  
2004 DET 1              
Avg   3 11 122 5.5 2 1 9 0
PROJ FA   53 750   5      

(-Risk) (+Upside) Explosive, fast, playmaker and game-breaker. All words that no one has uttered about Rogers in two years. The first receiver taken in the 2003 NFL draft lasted five games in his rookie year before breaking his collar bone and becoming familiar with injured reserve. In 2004, he lasted for exactly one play (an incomplete) before breaking his collar bone. Again. He became familiar with injured reserve. Again.

Take Three for Rogers will have him start the season once again as the starting flanker but will have fellow top draft picks Mike and Roy Williams on the field as well. Rogers ran a 4.3/40 in college and a broken shoulder bone doesn?t affect speed. With the tall Williams duo to prevent the defense from loading up against any one receiver, Rogers has the opportunity to get single coverage and finally display what all that speed and game-breaking ability is supposed be.

Given his injury history and the lack of playing time for two years now, Rogers is a big risk to rely on for 2005 though his upside is undeniable. The best situation is to grab Rogers as your back-up wideout. He?s too hard to rely on and yet much too intriguing to miss out on as well. Rogers has been almost forgotten after two years and yet his injuries should have no effect on his ability ? the one that made him the first receiver taken in 2003.

Bobby Engram - FA* YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 48
TD Only: 42
Keeper: 64
Auction: 1%
2002 SEA 15 50 619 12.4        
2003 SEA 16 52 640 12.3 6      
2004 SEA 13 36 499 13.9 2      
Avg   15 46 586 12.9 3 0 0 0
PROJ FA*   51 730   5      

(+Upside) After nine years in the NFL, Engram has varied through various roles in both Chicago and Seattle and the same inevitable conclusion has been reached. Engram is a #3 wideout that can be a good addition to a team but never great. He is no game breaker and at the age of 32, he?s more akin to a possession receiver coming out of the slot.

His 499 yards last year happened in a season that the Seahawks needed him to do more. Instead, they grabbed the ancient Jerry Rice for his swan song and left Engram doing exactly what he has always done ? adding a few catches a game and a handful of yards with only the rare touchdown or 70+ yardage game to make new fantasy players believe they are spotting a sleeper unfolding.

With Koren Robinson gone, Engram enters into training camp as the named #2 receiver with only journeyman Jerome Pathon to battle. Engram could end up a decent sleeper type from volume of passes though even with realized upside wouldn?t likely make him more than a WR3 for your fantasy team. He?s miscast as a #2 for Seattle but a lack of other candidates could last the entire season.

Terry Glenn - FA* YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 49
TD Only: 43
Keeper: 50
Auction: 1%
2002 GBP 15 56 817 14.6 2      
2003 DAL 16 52 754 14.5 5 3 55  
2004 DAL 6 24 400 16.7 2 1 -3  
Avg   12 44 657 15.3 3 1 17 0
PROJ FA*   54 720   5      

Terry Glenn returns to find his old quarterback Drew Bledsoe commanding the offense and with that the memory of the best seasons that Glenn ever had in the NFL. The rarely durable wideout suffered what was initially considered a severely sprained foot but later turned into torn ligaments that ended his NFL season when he went on injured reserve at the end of October last year.

Glenn was having a solid season with two scores and two weeks over 90 yards in his first five games and he was on pace to improve on his 2003 season until the injury. But Glenn has been in the league for 10 years and in that time has only once actually started 16 games (2000 ? New England). He?s been considered a lockerroom problem his entire career when he was not linked to Parcells.

This year the Cowboys offense should slow down with an improved running game and defense and the need to throw will be less. That doesn?t mean the speedy Glenn won?t catch some long balls, it just means that there will be fewer opportunities and even less need that he remains a possession target in each series. Expect that Glenn scores several long touchdowns and that he balances that with several low production games and all too likely ? a few weeks missed recuperating from his next injury.

Travis Taylor - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 53
TD Only: 44
Keeper: 53
Auction: 1%
2002 BAL 16 61 869 14.2 6 11 105  
2003 BAL 16 39 632 16.2 3 11 62  
2004 BAL 10 34 421 12.4        
Avg   14 45 641 14.3 3 7 56 0
PROJ FA   49 660   5      

(+Upside) Taylor finally wore out his welcome in Baltimore and came over to the Vikings in the offseason. A first rounder from 2000 has never met expectations not unlike every other receiver in Baltimore during that timeframe. Taylor missed a month at the start of 2004 due to a groin injury but he has been rather durable otherwise ? that?s about his only positive so far.

With the Vikings, Taylor should end up in the mix on multiple receiver sets much like Kelly Campbell for the last few seasons. But Burleson, Robinson and Williamson will clearly get the lion?s share of action and Taylor doesn?t present much potential unless someone gets injured. It may even take two wideouts to go down before Taylor matters.

There?s always the chance that Taylor?s lack of success was related to being in one of the poorest passing offenses his entire career. But in Minnesota he won?t get the opportunities at least early on to yield much fantasy value. An intriguing pick deep in a dynasty league, he?s not worth a shot for anything this season.

08-26-05 Update: Taylor has been impressive so far and has more upside than Marcus Robinson as the #2 wideout. There is no guarantee he will remain above Robinson on the depth chart, but between the two players, Taylor has the better chance at fantasy relevance this season.

Reche Caldwell - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 54
TD Only: 45
Keeper: 52
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 SDC 9 8 80 10.0   5 39  
2004 SDC 6 18 310 17.2 3 4 45  
Avg   8 13 195 13.6 2 5 42 0
PROJ FA   46 650   5      

(+Upside) The ex-Florida star was taken in the second round of 2002 by the Chargers and allowed to simmer for two seasons before getting a starting nod in his third year. True to form for many, Caldwell was experiencing a break-out season and had scored three times in the first four games before tearing his ACL and missing the rest of the season.

He is expected to return well enough for training camp but any time a player tears his ACL there is always concern that the following season will still feel some effects from the layoff and injury. The Chargers became a good passing team in 2004 even with Caldwell out thanks to TE Antonio Gates and the acquisition of Keenan McCardell. This year is even better situated for a break out for Caldwell if he can rise to the challenge without any lingering effects from last year.

He has plenty of upside and likely will become the #1 in San Diego in the next year or two if he can show improvement since McCardell is getting old. He cannot be considered as anything more than fantasy depth for now until there is proof that his knee is again healthy and that the Chargers will return to using him after discovering the advantages of Gates last year. McCardell is nothing more than a good possession receiver and there is a place for someone to step up into a productive, scoring role. 2005 will give the evidence if that will be Caldwell who is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Reggie Williams - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 45
TD Only: 46
Keeper: 58
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 JAC 14 27 268 9.9 1      
Avg   14 27 268 9.9 1 0 0 0
PROJ FA   56 750   5      

(+Upside) Williams was the 9th overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft and came to the Jaguars as the heir apparent to the aging Jimmy Smith. For that to happen, he?ll need to make some very fast progress.

Williams was used sparingly last season and never had more than five catches in any game with his standard being only one. He only scored once and in short, he played very much like a rookie that came out after his junior year and was not ready for the rigors and demands of the NFL quite yet. He was drafted on talent and ability that he flashed at Washington where he was a star. He can still deliver that again but it is just taking longer than most 9th overall picks are expected to need.

In his defense, Williams was likely also hampered by the continual injuries to Leftwich which affected the passing game. He has already impressed in mini-camps this season and has lost about ten pounds that has resulted in noticeably more speed and ?bounce?. He?s learning the ropes and should see an increase in production this season but he also appears to need the standard three years to integrate into the NFL. Expect that Williams looks better this year but don?t use more than a deep back-up spot for him since he appears to be a year away from starting to break out.

08-05-05 Update: After a very forgettable rookie season, Williams is looking very much like the first round rookie that the Jaguars thought they were drafting. He has lost 10 pounds and looks quicker. So far he has been the star of the training camp at a time a new offense is being installed that will focus more on vertical, downfield passing.

Matt Jones - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 55
TD Only: 47
Keeper: 49
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   45 560   5      

(+Upside) The Jaguars made perhaps the most intriguing pick of the draft when they selected the ex-Arkansas quarterback-turned-wideout. Here is a player that is certain to be wildly surprising or disappointing. No middle ground. Jones has never actually played wideout other than in the Senior Bowl. He only threw for 2073 yards and 15 scores last year as a quarterback, but he ran for an SEC record 662 yards and six touchdowns. While he is a 6'6", 242 lb. quarterback, he also runs a 4.4/40 - about as fast as almost any wide receiver that is likely six inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter. He is a bit of an athletic freak in his ability.

His size suggests a tight end and his speed says wideout. His background was quarterback. What he ends up as remains to be seen but guaranteed that all astute fantasy fans will be watching to see what happens. Byron Leftwich needs a good target in the redzone and Jones could end up a project that pays big dividends. He'll likely be drafted far too early this summer since "potential" is always a hot seller.

Training camp and a few preseason games are needed to evaluate how well he will make the transfer in positions. This is a case of a great athlete fitting in where he can in the NFL and there is obvious optimism when a team spends a first round pick. He may end up the next Hines Ward and he is taller and faster than Ward. But there is obvious risk associated. In a dynasty league, he?ll likely be a guilty pleasure ? no idea what you are exactly getting but it feels like you may be stealing something. His biggest challenge is to avoid the bane of many rookies ? hamstring problems. He already suffered a tweak in minicamps and had hamstring issues in college.

08-26-05 Update: For never having played receiver until he left college, Jones has been very impressive and played with the first team offense in the preseason game against the Falcons. He nabbed a beautiful one handed catch for a 48 yard gain and so far gives optimism that he can make the transition from quarterback to wide out and make a differnce for the Jaguars.

Antonio Bryant - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 50
TD Only: 48
Keeper: 62
Auction: 1%
2002 DAL 16 44 733 16.7 6 6 40  
2003 DAL 16 39 550 14.1 2 2    
2004 CLE 15 58 812 14.0 4      
Avg   16 47 698 14.9 4 3 13 0
PROJ FA   68 720   5      

Bryant finally paid the price for flipping his soiled jersey at HC Bill Parcells last summer when he was part of a mid-season trade between the Browns and Cowboys who wanted to swap ineffective wideouts.

His time in Cleveland provided two great fantasy games and eight other forgettable Sundays. In spite of the Browns? tremendous need to pass, Bryant was unable to provide much more production than the Quincy Morgan he replaced. With Andre Davis back as a starter, the selection of Braylon Edwards is a shot directly across the bow of Bryant who will now return to his #3 role as he had in Dallas once Edwards learns the ropes ? probably in 2006. There?s a chance that Dennis Northcutt could challenge for time in the #3 role as well.

Bryant did replace Davis last season when Andre was injured but so far there is no indication - all things healthy again ? that Bryant will remain a starter now that Edwards and Davis are slated to take the primary roles. The passing game is not shaping up well in Cleveland this season and the demotion that Bryant received after the 1.03 pick in the NFL draft spells a definite drop from the fantasy radar for the once promising player. He?s not without value in dynasty leagues due to his age, but his situation in Cleveland this year likely won?t produce many fantasy points.

07-28-05 Update: The starting flanker spot has wavered by reports between Bryant and Andre Davis. Entering into training camp, it appears now that Bryant has the edge over Davis but it is not a certainty. Training camp will shake out who the starter will be across from Braylon Edwards.

08-23-05 Update: The trade of Andre Davis to the Patriots coupled with some impressive play these last two weeks has Bryant a lower risk and higher reward player this season. The Browns will have to throw in most games and Bryant will be the clear #2 along with the rookie Braylon Edwards.

Eric Moulds - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 32
TD Only: 49
Keeper: 38
Auction: 3%
2002 BUF 16 100 1287 12.9 10 1 7  
2003 BUF 13 64 780 12.2 1      
2004 BUF 16 88 1043 11.9 5 5 19  
Avg   15 84 1037 12.3 5 2 9 0
PROJ FA   62 880   4      

Moulds rebounded from his injury-plagued 2003 season and continued his odd pattern. Every other season he has exceeded 1000 yards and his 1043 last year just managed to keep the pace that goes back eight years. If he fails to hit 1000 this season, it extends his streak to nine years ? all but his rookie campaign.

While Moulds had ten scores in 2002, that was an aberration; his five touchdowns in 2004 was far more in line with his standard and he?s only topped five scores once in the last five years. At 32 years of age, he?s starting the downturn that relegates him to possession catches and not many of those are in the endzone. Add in a new quarterback with J.P. Losman preparing for his first NFL start and it?s all too likely that Moulds will once again dip back below 1000 yards and five scores would be likely high end for what to expect.

Moulds has a name that draws more attention in a draft than is warranted thanks mostly to his freakishly high 2002 season under a different offensive scheme and quarterback. He?ll provide solid numbers each week; they just won?t often be very high. He only had one 100 yard game in all of last season. Look for him to provide a great #3 fantasy wideout but he?ll likely be drafted as a #2 wideout and disappoint.

David Givens - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 41
TD Only: 50
Keeper: 40
Auction: 2%
2002                  
2003 NEP 11 34 510 15.0 6      
2004 NEP 15 56 872 15.6 3      
Avg   13 45 691 15.3 5 0 0 0
PROJ FA   62 880   4      

Givens was the top receiver for the Patriots last season, ending with 872 yards on 56 catches but only scoring three times. He had a twisted ankle and sprained knee that didn?t prevent him from playing but affected his performance in two games. With the injury to Branch, Givens was elevated on the depth chart and had a very good sophomore season playing a possession role. Were it not for the two injuries that slowed him, Givens would have likely topped 1000 yards last year, something not seen in New England since Troy Brown?s 2001 season.

With Patten out and Branch back into the equation, Givens remains the same as last season. He is entering his third season and has shown nice progress, but the Patriots passing scheme spreads the ball around so much that it will be difficult to see much increase in Given?s production this season. He was a rare target in the endzone last season but then followed that by being the only wideout who caught a touchdown in three playoff games last January. His possession role can only go so high in an offense not designed to give an individual receiver more than around 60 passes or so a season.

Count on Givens retaining a nice yardage total that will be consistent enough to count on his possibly as a #4 wideout for your team. He likely won?t have the scores that make him worth more but weekly yardage totals will keep him a consistent, moderate contributor. The Patriots have also acquired David Terrell who may cut into the action and training camp will need to determine of Patten?s role is safe or not.

Plaxico Burress - PIT YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 40
TD Only: 51
Keeper: 45
Auction: 1%
2002 PIT 16 78 1325 17.0 7      
2003 PIT 16 60 860 14.3 4 1 -7  
2004 PIT 11 35 698 19.9 5      
Avg   14 58 961 17.1 5 0 0 0
PROJ PIT   46 690   4      

(-Risk) (+Upside) After four seasons with the Steelers, Burress finally left the stable to see what life without Cowher would be like. Going to the Giants with Coughlin and a second year rookie quarterback in an offense that throws neither often nor particularly well makes it tough to reach incentive clauses. Burress replaces Ike Hilliard and brings more speed and a lot more height to the Giant passing game. He?ll be a positive, whatever that ends up meaning.

The Giant wideouts were struggling in the new offensive scheme last year. They had disappointed all who drafted Toomer or Hilliard and then Manning took over later in the year. That removed any remaining shred of fantasy value from the wideouts.

In his entire career, Burress has never exceeded 1008 yards or seven scores and now that he joins an offense that was sluggish on a good day last year, chances are better that Burress will experience a decrease this year. The scheme alone will prevent a receiver from being a fantasy star and until Peyton?s little brother turns out at least half as good, Burress is someone to let others draft on name recognition, not on potential this year.

Keenan McCardell - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 51
TD Only: 53
Keeper: 75
Auction: 1%
2002 TBB 14 61 670 11.0 6 1 3  
2003 TBB 16 84 1179 14.0 8      
2004 SDC 7 31 393 12.7 1 1 3  
Avg   12 59 747 12.6 5 1 2 0
PROJ FA   56 770   4      

(-Risk) McCardell came over to the Chargers in week seven last year after having spent 2004 eating corn chips on his couch while never hearing the phone ring to tell him he was as valuable as he thought he was. The Bucs finally relented and the Chargers found a primary receiver right when their need was the greatest since Reche Caldwell had been lost for the year.

McCardell filled exactly as he always has ? a very good possession receiver that allowed a freakishly high 2003 season to inflate his sense of self-worth. McCardell ended with 393 yards in seven games, about normal for the aging wideout. McCardell signed a two year extension in the off-season worth $7.6 million, so he will be around until 2007 when he turns 38 years old.

McCardell is not big enough to be considered an endzone threat and not fast enough to be a long ball weapon. He?s lost a step but still knows how to play the middle of the field where he has made a living for 13 years with five different teams. With Tomlinson, Gates and even Reche Caldwell around, there is no real upside to McCardell beyond consistent yardage points each week. He?s a #3 fantasy wideout when you waited a little too long.

Reggie Brown - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 61
TD Only: 54
Keeper: 54
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   47 660   4      

(+Upside) Brown was selected with the 2.03 pick by the Eagles as the 7th receiver taken in the 2004 NFL draft. He comes to Philly considered as a complete player who will do anything needed to help his team win. That includes being a great downfield blocker, a special teams player and best receiver in Georgia last year.

He is considered as someone who is ?developing? which otherwise read indicates he is considered a bit raw and in need of direction and experience to improve his game. He?s not afraid to go over the middle, unlike all the other Eagle wideouts besides Owens and could end up being a good fit for a team that stresses someone playing within the system.

He deserves some fantasy consideration this year because he appears to have at least as much talent as the other non-Owen wideouts and he finds himself in a good situation to improve and get noticed without all those entrenched veterans above him. He has the one quality that Pinkston and Mitchell (since released) don?t have. He has not proven yet to be sub-standard. In a dynasty league he is worth taking and holding but for 2005, only consider him as a very deep fantasy back-up that may do nothing this year. But his upside deserves to get him drafted just to see if anything will happen.

08-06-05 Update: The impressive rookie now finds himself in a perfect situation playing with Donovan McNabb and vying for the #2 spot with Pinkston out. Brown has the look of a sleeper this season.

Joey Galloway - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 60
TD Only: 55
Keeper: 67
Auction: 1%
2002 DAL 16 61 908 14.9 6 4 31  
2003 DAL 15 34 672 19.8 2 4 22  
2004 TBB 10 33 416 12.6 5 2 19  
Avg   14 43 665 15.8 4 3 24 0
PROJ FA   42 600   4      

(-Risk) Galloway enters his 11th NFL season with both great optimism and significant risk. Galloway missed the first half of the 2004 season with severe groin injury that continued to affect him in the initial weeks back. He has remained healthy for a full season only twice in the last six years and at the age of 34, he?s not likely to be any less injury-prone in 2005.

That all said, Galloway was impressive when he was healthy last year. He scored five touchdowns in the final five games as he synched up with Brian Griese and offered a valuable complement to Michael Clayton. Those games were against some of the worst secondaries in the league and the Buccaneers were always trailing in the game, so don?t read too much into that. He still never topped 100 yards last year.

His value in 2005 is contingent on how healthy he will be ? never a given and always a realistic risk. His best years are behind him but Tampa Bay resigned him in the offseason to an undisclosed contract. Lower your expectations for Galloway anyway, and then subtract how many games you think he will be injured. Divide by Ike Hilliard and a new rushing game and Galloway becomes little more than fantasy roster filler.

Eric Parker - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 65
TD Only: 56
Keeper: 56
Auction: 1%
2002 SDC 7 17 268 15.8 1      
2003 SDC 7 18 244 13.6 3 3 21  
2004 SDC 13 47 690 14.7 4 4 53  
Avg   9 27 401 14.7 3 2 25 0
PROJ FA   32 460   4      

Parker has been in the league for three seasons and makes an intriguing player for the Chargers with some promise of better seasons ahead. Pressed into heavier service last year with the loss of Caldwell, Parker responded with two 100 yard games late in the season and he scored four times on the year. With Caldwell returning, Parker is expected to move back to a #3 role but he?s been an effective downfield target that could continue to have some fantasy value.

If the ACL injury of last year still haunts Caldwell, there is a chance that Parker could find himself in a #2 role eventually and with McCardell already 36 years old and only signed through 2006, Parker could use this contract year to show enough to warrant staying with the Chargers for when McCardell is gone.

His fantasy value for 2005 likely won?t be high thanks to playing #3, but he?ll likely turn in the occasional good game to make people notice. Parker needs to show more this year to turn his NFL career into a starting gig and he has every motivation to show up in 2005 and make the most of any passes thrown his way.

Marcus Robinson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 70
TD Only: 57
Keeper: 69
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 BAL 15 31 451 14.5 6      
2004 MIN 16 47 657 14.0 8      
Avg   16 39 554 14.3 7 0 0 0
PROJ FA   40 460   4      

Robinson enters 2005 as the starting flanker but it may not last the entire season. The Vikings spent their 1.07 pick on Troy Williamson and it wasn?t to find a situational #3 receiver. What Robinson brings to the receiving mix is height ? something otherwise missing since Moss left. Robinson played in every game last year and ended with only 657 yards but he scored eight times largely from being a good endzone target.

The Vikings want to pass less this season and gain more balance but Robinson will serve as a possession receiver and with that should produce the yardage to make him fantasy relevant. If he is used again in the redzone he could challenge Burleson in fantasy points.

There is some upside to Robinson this year thanks to his height and catching ability but Troy Williamson puts more risk on Robinson maintaining the same level the entire season. For the first half of the year, expect that Marcus will provide at least average yardage and could end up better with scoring but beyond mid-season, the development of Williamson will directly affect Robinson.

Kevin Curtis - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 69
TD Only: 58
Keeper: 59
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 STL 1 4 13 3.3        
2004 STL 14 32 421 13.2 2 3 24  
Avg   8 18 217 8.3 1 2 12 0
PROJ FA   37 480   4      

In the complex passing scheme of St. Louis, there actually is no ?#3? wideout because when they shift to multiple receivers, they often put both Curtis and Shaun McDonald on the field at the same time. Sometimes they mix them. Together they are more #3A and #3B.

Curtis didn?t play until the third week of the 2004 season but he caught passes in all but two of the remaining games. He had as many as six catches a week and ended on a high note with a 99 yard effort against the Jets. He isn?t consistently used and that affects his fantasy value but he does turn in enough good games to be noticed. Curtis had 235 yards and one score in the playoffs, the only time he has been clearly more productive than McDonald.

Unless the Rams decide to use either Curtis or McDonald more heavily than the other, consider them as a great benefit to Bulger?s numbers every week but individually not worth spending a fantasy pick on this season. Curtis will likely go first in fantasy drafts this summer because of the fresh memory of two playoff games but the Rams scheme hasn?t produced a clear #3 wideout since Hakim left.

Keyshawn Johnson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 39
TD Only: 59
Keeper: 39
Auction: 2%
2002 TBB 16 76 1088 14.3 5      
2003 TBB 10 45 601 13.4 3      
2004 DAL 16 70 986 14.1 6 2 13  
Avg   14 64 892 13.9 5 1 4 0
PROJ FA   63 860   3      

Johnson comes off his best season for touchdowns (6) in the last four years and that was largely thanks to the Cowboys losing Terry Glenn and having few suitable replacements waiting in the wings. His 70 catches was surprisingly high considering expectations and his 14 yard per catch average was actually one of his best ever thanks to several long catches.

Johnson ideally is there to provide the possession catches around ten yards down the field to keep the chains moving. He was never fast and at 33-years of age, he?s even slower and less high-jumping than he once was. His production this season should almost certainly dip downward with the return of Glenn, a better rushing game and the emergence of Jason Witten as the preferred pass target.

Look for Johnson to provide the possession role in an offense that will be much more about ball control this year. He?ll provide at least some yardage every week but his better efforts are behind him and the Cowboys will not need him to be more than what he is ? a tall, somewhat slow possession receiver that can get the catch in traffic and not do a lot with it when he has the ball.

Mike Williams - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 57
TD Only: 60
Keeper: 47
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   45 630   3      

(-Risk) (+Upside) Every draft needs some interesting twists and turns and perhaps none in 2005 were more remarkable than the selection of Mike Williams by the Lions who already had spent top ten overall draft picks on Charles Rogers and Roy Williams for the last two seasons. This trio is ? at least potentially and on paper ? the greatest set of receivers ever drafted over a three year period.

Though he was away from football for one season, Williams was the best wideout in the 2005 rookie class on many draft boards. He?s considered to be a spectacular and athletic receiver that was at times unstoppable at USC. He is tall enough for any possession work and has tremendous body control to make all the tough catches. In short, he is expected to be a very complete receiver in all facets and had he gone to a team with no obvious #1 receiver, he?d be a lock to end up a starting fantasy wideout this year.

But he went to Detroit where there already are not one but two playmakers that came out of college with similar accolades and expectations. Williams will be given the slot which will allow him to integrate into the professional level without being the focus of the offense or defense. With Charles Rogers so far unable to prove he can last more than a handful of games, there?s always the chance that Mike ends up an every-down player anyway. For 2005, take him only as a backup and even then, don?t expect much. In a dynasty league his stock rises, but with such a stocked set of wideouts in Detroit, he still will not have the value such a high draft normally commands.

Amani Toomer - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 52
TD Only: 61
Keeper: 51
Auction: 1%
2002 NYG 16 82 1343 16.4 8 1 2  
2003 NYG 16 63 1057 16.8 5 1 5  
2004 NYG 15 51 747 14.6        
Avg   16 65 1049 15.9 4 1 2 0
PROJ FA   57 800   3      

After five consecutive seasons over 1000 yards, all it took was a new run-first offense to be installed and a rookie quarterback to take over to send his production into a tailspin. For the first time since his rookie season (when he only had one catch), Toomer failed to score any touchdowns. Toomer was hampered for much of last season with a hamstring strain that lingered on.

At the age of 31, Toomer is no young man but he is still an accomplished possession receiver who should continue to fit into the new scheme that stresses ball control. Toomer was unable to score even with Warner at the helm for the first ten games but he still had two 100 yard efforts. When Manning came in, Toomer never rose about 59 yards in any match-up. Not a confidence builder for 2005.

Consider Toomer to be exactly what he always has been ? a solid possession receiver that historically has a couple of big games but invariably only hangs around 50 to 60 yards per game in a possession role. He?s a safe pick that will come cheaply this season but one with little upside beyond the yardage standard each week. He makes a great #3 receiver for your squad while you are waiting for some sleeper to catch fire.

Samie Parker - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 62
TD Only: 62
Keeper: 63
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 KCC 3 9 137 15.2 1      
Avg   3 9 137 15.2 1 0 0 0
PROJ FA   42 500   3      

(+Upside) Parker is an intriguing player. He was drafted with the 4.09 pick in the 2004 NFL draft and impressed the coaches in practice enough to get a shot when Johnnie Morton was injured for the final three weeks of the season. Parker scored in his first game and gained 84 yards against the Broncos.

While hardly jaw-dropping numbers, Parker is gaining favor in a team that currently has two wideouts over the age of 32. The Chiefs will be looking for replacements for both Morton and Kennison eventually and therein lays the greatest value of Parker. In a dynasty league, he makes a nice player to tuck away and see if he continues to improve and become worthy of starting.

The departure of Johnnie Morton has Parker penciled in as the #2 wideout and he?s likely as good as any other wide receiver on the team in spite of only being a second-year player. The Chiefs are looking at bringing in a veteran for the #2 position and several potential candidates exist after the June 1st cuts like Freddie Mitchell, Koren Robinson and the like. If a veteran is added, it will likely push Parker down a notch to the #3 position but he is the only current wideout for the Chiefs with a bright future.

Marty Booker - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 58
TD Only: 63
Keeper: 57
Auction: 1%
2002 CHI 16 97 1183 12.2 6      
2003 CHI 13 52 715 13.8 4 3 -7  
2004 MIA 15 50 638 12.8 1 1 -8  
Avg   15 66 845 12.9 4 1 0 0
PROJ FA   50 700   3      

Booker came over in a surprising trade last summer and while he played all but the final game, his impact was far less than expected. He ended with his worst season in four years and only scored one touchdown. Other than three 90+ yard games against NE, BUF and ARZ, he never managed to catch for more than 50 yards in a game. Considering the big need in the passing game last season for Miami, Booker was a flop.

Certainly that cannot be entirely attributed to Marty in light of the overall offensive meltdown by the team and the revolving door at the quarterback position. Booker also suffered a high ankle sprain but played in pain to help the team. It was a forgettable year for all players in Miami.

This season the Dolphins will be installing a new offense and that should depress production in the passing game for at least the first half of the season. A.J. Feeley also will be the starter which does not generate much confidence that the team will instantly become a passing threat. Look for Booker to assume a possession role that complements Chris Chambers and that will result in more yardage than scores. He has very limited upside this year but should provide at least solid yardage every week, making him worthy of being a #4 fantasy wideout at best.

Greg Lewis - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 56
TD Only: 64
Keeper: 66
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 PHI 6 6 95 15.8        
2004 PHI 14 17 183 10.8   4 16  
Avg   10 12 139 13.3 0 2 8 0
PROJ FA   50 600   3      

No analysis available.

Cedrick Wilson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 59
TD Only: 65
Keeper: 61
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 SFO 15 35 396 11.3 2 1 -4  
2004 SFO 15 47 641 13.6 3 1 6  
Avg   15 41 519 12.5 3 1 1 0
PROJ FA   49 690   3      

(+Upside) Wilson signed a four year contract with the Steelers for $8 million with a $2 million signing bonus. The official word is that he will compete with Antwaan Randle El to replace the departed Plaxico Burress. The dollars already say Wilson has the job.

There is a dramatic difference between Wilson and Burress and physically it starts with about 7? in height. Burress is a towering player that can go up high to get the pass and is a natural target in the endzone. Wilson is only 5?10? and makes his living best by running down the sideline quickly for a long pass. He won?t out jump anyone, but he can run past at least a few cornerbacks.

The Steelers threw down a lot of cash for a fifth year player who has never had more than 641 yards in a season or more than three touchdowns. He only has six scores in his entire career. Add in that the Steelers are not a throwing team and Wilson?s first season in the black and gold may actually improve his numbers, but only because they have never been very high. Outside of Hines Ward, there is no Steeler wideout that appears to have much fantasy value and expect that Wilson will be drafted in every league this summer and yet rarely if ever used.

Mark Clayton - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 64
TD Only: 66
Keeper: 48
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   45 600   3      

(+Upside) The 22nd overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft brings proven playmaking ability to a team that definitely needs some spark downfield. Clayton was very successful at Oklahoma and is considered a natural pass-catcher with tremendous vision and hands. His only downside with NFL scouts was his less than ideal size (5?10?, 191 lbs.) that could present a problem getting off the line in the pros.

The Ravens intend on starting Clayton in the slot and allowing him to do what he does best ? find the open spots and make a secondary pay for allowing him to catch the ball. With Derrick Mason as the split end, Clayton won?t have to worry about any double teams nor dealing with a cornerback directly opposing him.

He is considered very polished and if the Ravens are successful installing a passing game that actually uses wideouts, he could make some noise even in his rookie season with some longer catches turned to even longer runs. He won?t likely get the volume of passes to make him a top tier wideout anytime soon if ever, but the playmaker will get the opportunity to show 21 other teams that they should not have passed on him. The quarterback ? not Clayton ? is what will limit him the most.

08-06-05 Update: Clayton's holdout continues and even if he comes into camp soon, he is losing very valuable practice time with Kyle Boller. He is also not doing himself any favors by being stubborn over maybe a $60,000 difference between what he wants and the likely $8 million contract offered by the Ravens who are considering it a final offer.

Andre' Davis - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 67
TD Only: 67
Keeper: 60
Auction: 1%
2002 CLE 16 37 420 11.4 6 3 7  
2003 CLE 16 40 576 14.4 5 5 28  
2004 CLE 7 16 416 26.0 2 1 -3  
Avg   13 31 471 17.3 4 3 11 0
PROJ FA   39 470   3      

(+Upside) Andre Davis entered into his third season last year and was primed to make some noise as the #1 wideout in Cleveland. After a slow start, he finally began to produce good fantasy numbers by his third game and for the next three weeks never fell below 93 yards while scoring twice in that timeframe ? one being a 99-yard catch and run. Unfortunately, he suffered a case of turf toe which made him a weekly watch (and not play) until finally being placed on injured reserve at the start of December when the season and all meaning in Cleveland had been lost.

Davis is expected to return as the #2 wideout for the Browns now that Braylon Edwards will be starting. With the loss of Kellen Winslow, the Browns are looking to accelerate Edwards into a starter since he is also tall and use Davis because of his speed to stretch the field. Both Dennis Northcutt and Antonio Bryant will figure in for multiple receiver sets.

Davis makes a decent back-up for your fantasy team since he does have upside however tough it may be for him to realize this year as the new offense starts to come together. Making him anything more than your #4 wideout is likely wishful thinking and Davis always carries an injury risk.

07-27-05 Update: Davis was the early leader to assume the flanker spot for the Browns this year to add deep speed to Braylon Edward's role as an "everything" receiver. Entering into training camp, it now appears that Bryant will start out more likely to get the start which would push Davis into a #3 role which would still make use of his deep speed. Training camp will show the exact roles the two will play this year.

08-23-05 Update: Davis was traded to the New England Patriots in exchange for a draft pick thought to be fifth-round in 2006. This is like the Siberia of the NFL for wideouts who want to have a big individual year. Davis has great speed and will likely end up as the #3 or #4 wideout with a few nice games from long catches and others where he disappears.

David Patten - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 63
TD Only: 68
Keeper: 65
Auction: 1%
2002 NEP 16 61 824 13.5 5 2 6  
2003 NEP 5 9 140 15.6   1 4  
2004 NEP 16 44 800 18.2 7 1 5  
Avg   12 38 588 15.8 4 1 5 0
PROJ FA   42 620   3      

Now on his fourth team, Patten enters his ninth NFL season and signed a signed a five-year contract worth $13.5 million that included a $3.5 million signing bonus. In case you believe that shows some long-term commitment to Patten, realize that at the age of 31, there is virtually no chance he will play out that entire contract.

His best fantasy value will happen if Rod Gardener finally manages to get traded or just released. That should send the journeyman Patten into a #2 role that will keep him on the field every play. Problem is that still won?t likely be enough to make him more than just fantasy roster filler on your team. Last year Gardener only managed to gain 650 yards during a year that the rushing game struggled and the Redskins lost ten games. They needed more production from their receivers than they likely will in 2005.

Patten now has a name thanks to last year but he?s been shuttled around between NYG, CLE and NE before landing with the Redskins. He comes off a career best fantasy season but it?s not like he suddenly broke out at the age of 31 years old. He?s never had more than 824 yards in any of his nine seasons and playing in Washington is not likely to change that.

Michael Jenkins - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 72
TD Only: 69
Keeper: 70
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 ATL 8 7 119 17.0   1 2  
Avg   8 7 119 17.0 0 1 2 0
PROJ FA   45 530   3      

(+Upside) Jenkins was acquired with the 29th overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft and the former Ohio State star was considered to be a mature, developed wideout ready for the NFL. That only resulted in his first catch being in week eight for 46 yards which incidentally was his highest yardage total for any game last season.

The Falcons were a run first (and second and third) team last season and Jenkins only had 22 passes thrown at him for the entire year. This includes week 16 when against the Saints he failed to catch any of his six throws. While it would be easy enough to tag Jenkins as a bust, the reality is that the Falcons were the worst in the league for throwing to the wide receiver position last year so where the blame lies is not necessarily solely Jenkins?s.

There is a mandate of sorts this year for Vick to throw better and more often. That was made critically obvious in the NFC Championship game when the Eagles shut down the rushing, blanketed Crumpler and dared Vick to throw. Jenkins is not a write-off for his career but for the 2005 season, consider him hands off along with his Falcon brethren until either Vick ?gets it? or gets hurt.

Roddy White - ATL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 74
TD Only: 70
Keeper: 71
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ ATL   39 470   3      

White joins the reigning NFC ?Second Fiddles? in almost the exact same way that Michael Jenkins did last year, both at the end of the first round. Together they should make a duo that most coaches crave ? Jenkins as the tall possession receiver and White as the speedster to stretch the defenses. Problem is that Peerless Price is also there and even more relevant is that the Falcons have not shown the ability to throw to the wideouts under Vick.

White has some promise even for this year though. Consider by most to be underrated coming out of the small school of Alabama Birmingham, he is a fast runner with leaping ability and a penchant for the big play. That could fit into the Michael Vick?s ability to throw deep patterns though it never really happened with Peerless Price. White as a slot receiver will have the opportunity for a few big plays this year and he could show up in the box scores with some nice long scores. In fantasy terms, it?ll look nice but he?ll be far too inconsistent to consider a viable fantasy option this season.

He?s a bit of a project that could come around as a big play receiver, but more proof that the Falcons can make that happen is needed before giving White any fantasy relevance.

Shaun McDonald - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 76
TD Only: 71
Keeper: 77
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 STL 5 10 62 6.2   2 7  
2004 STL 15 37 494 13.4 3 4    
Avg   10 24 278 9.8 2 3 4 0
PROJ FA   34 480   3      

Along with Kevin Curtis, McDonald provides the outside firepower on multiple receiver sets and he actually nudged past Curtis in production with slightly more consistent play. He only scored three times all season but he had a span of seven games during mid-season when he topped 70 yards in four games. He still has yet to see a 100 yard game and with never more than six catches per game; he likely won?t have it this season as well.

McDonald is a very good #3 or #4 wideout for the Rams and he can stretch the field, but his lesser use makes him stay just outside fantasy relevance. With Bruce and Holt firmly entrenched, there is no expectation that the same offense with the same players will result in any different roles this year.

While he may play #3A to the #3B of Curtis, McDonald is the slightly more used wideout and between the two is a better fantasy choice. That still won?t get you more than 77 yards in a game balanced out by far too many sub-30 yard fantasy game killers. Let McDonald stay on the waiver wire until there is a reason to expect roles to change in St. Louis.

Antwaan Randle El - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 66
TD Only: 72
Keeper: 68
Auction: 1%
2002 PIT 16 47 489 10.4 2 19 134  
2003 PIT 16 37 364 9.8 1 14 85  
2004 PIT 16 43 601 14.0 3 8 34  
Avg   16 42 485 11.4 2 14 84 0
PROJ FA   36 550   2      

(+Upside) After three years in the league, the ex-Indiana quarterback has an opportunity now to follow in the footsteps of the ex-Georgia quarterback named Hines Ward. Unfortunately, not much in the past three years suggests Antwaan was merely pacing himself. Last season, Burress missed from week 12 until the end of the season (played some in week 16). During that time Randle El had one big game against the Giants (who didn?t?) but otherwise was largely ineffective. He only scored again in the final week when no one was still trying.

Complicating the chance to become the #2 wideout is the acquisition of Cedrick Wilson from San Francisco. The Steelers signed him to a four year contract with the intention of him replacing Burress. Since Randle El is a three year veteran with the team, it is only appropriate to call the competition open until Wilson takes the job as expected.

Randle El has never shown the same open field moves that served him so well in college and he hasn?t proven to be more than a #3 wideout. The Steelers were already in the bottom five for passing yardage last season and the loss of Burress is not likely to prove positive this season. Leave Antwaan alone in your fantasy drafts this season. He has never scored more than three times in any season and that appears the high side for his potential in 2005.

Corey Bradford - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 71
TD Only: 73
Keeper: 73
Auction: 1%
2002 HOU 16 45 697 15.5 6 2 -11  
2003 HOU 15 24 460 19.2 4      
2004 HOU 14 27 399 14.8 3      
Avg   15 32 519 16.5 4 1 0 0
PROJ FA   43 600   2      

(+Upside) Bradford once had promise of becoming a fantasy relevant player while in Green Bay but after joining the Texans in 2002 his career peaked with the 697 yards and six scores while Andre Johnson was still in college. In the last two seasons, Bradford has declined in yards and scores while serving as a #3 option for David Carr.

Bradford scored three times last year but there was nothing about them that suggested it would be regular or easy to determine when they would happen. He peaked at only 65 yards in a game and only five times managed to exceed 32 yards in any game. Bradford was hampered by a groin strain for part of last season but signed a one-year contract in the offseason to remain with Houston.

Bradford is fantasy filler much as he is an afterthought in Houston. He?ll play in every game and more often than not have a catch or two, but nothing to spark any confidence that he will have fantasy value this season or beyond. The drafting of Jerome Mathis last April will likely give Bradford all the competition he can stand to remain the #3 ? and possibly more.

08-23-05 Update: Bradford has enjoyed a great camp this summer and the coaching staff is confident that he will play well opposite Andre Johnson this year. Since Jabar Gaffney has been slow in coming off a shoulder injury and staph infection, Bradford's role is even more certain even if the Texans do not throw very much.

Az-zahir Hakim - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 75
TD Only: 75
Keeper: 74
Auction: 1%
2002 DET 10 37 541 14.6 3 4 3  
2003 DET 14 49 449 9.2 4 3 51  
2004 DET 8 29 479 16.5 3 1    
Avg   11 38 490 13.4 3 3 18 0
PROJ FA   39 440   2      

For reasons no one ever truly understood, the Detroit Lions took a very average #3 slot receiver and tried to make him into a starting wideout. Back in 1999 and 2000, Hakim turned in decent years (677 yards, 8 TD?s and 734 yards, 4 TD?s) back when the Rams were recreating the pass-happy attack in St. Louis. Even though he settled back down to only 374 yards and four scores in 2001, the Lions still thought he would become a star in Detroit.

Hakim?s production during his three seasons as a Lion were wonderfully consistent, it just wasn?t anything special. In spite of playing as the #1 or #2 receiver in those years, he always ended with around 500 yards and three touchdowns a season. He also never remained healthy in any given year because he was never suited for every down play. With the drafting of Mike Williams last April, even the Lions could not figure out any reason to keep him.

Hakim appeared to have signed with the Chiefs but ended up not accepting the veteran minimum offer ($655,000). At press time, he was expected to sign with the New Orleans Saints where he will compete for the #3 role against Devery Henderson and Talman Gardner. He should win that battle.

Chris Henry - CIN YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 90
TD Only: 76
Keeper: 55
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ CIN   21 340   2      

(+Upside) Henry was taken with the 3.19 pick by the Bengals and comes to the team as the perfect college wideout. He not only is 6'4" and considered a supremely gifted natural athlete, he's also tagged as being an attitude problem who is inconsistent. So far he has flashed brilliance on the field occasionally while mixing that with violating team rules and attracting unsportsmanlike penalty flags.

There is no question that he has big time skills and physical gifts, it is just that many believe he will never get out of his own way in order to maximize what he could be. With both Kelley Washington and Peter Warrick returning from injuries, there is a chance that Henry could slide into the #3 spot for the Bengals and he could do something with it if he suddenly finds maturity, motivation and discipline.

After Henry was drafted, Chad Johnson has taken him on as a personal project and hopes to mentor the talented enigma. Henry is worth grabbing late in any dynasty draft on the hope he does develop unlike so many in his same situation. As a #3 wideout at best this year, he's not likely to have much value in a redraft league.

Justin Gage - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 79
TD Only: 77
Keeper: 86
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 CHI 9 17 338 19.9 2      
2004 CHI 12 12 156 13.0        
Avg   11 15 247 16.5 1 0 0 0
PROJ FA   34 480   2      

No analysis available.

Bryant Johnson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 81
TD Only: 78
Keeper: 82
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 ARI 14 35 438 12.5 1      
2004 ARI 15 49 537 11.0 1 2 -6  
Avg   15 42 488 11.8 1 1 0 0
PROJ FA   32 460   2      

Johnson, AKA ?the guy that was supposed to be Boldin?, was the second receiver taken in the 2003 draft before being almost entirely obscured by Anquan Boldin during their rookie campaigns. With Boldin out for the first half of 2004, Johnson had a great opportunity to show improvement and gain the attention the first round pick was assumed to deserve.

Problem was that he did little to show he was any better.

Johnson moved back to the slot position once Boldin returned last year and actually had a more success with the fewer passes that he received. He only scored once all year and yet his two best games came against SF and SEA in weeks 15 and 16. Perhaps Johnson is merely following the three year plan that most receivers require and yet perhaps he just will never be as good as initially billed. With both Boldin and Fitzgerald in the way, he likely will never get the opportunity to become a big part of the offense and appears a better fit for the occasional work in the slot. He?s only worth a very deep pick in a fantasy draft as filler; he showed last year that he would be a long-term project at best.

Ike Hilliard - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 87
TD Only: 79
Keeper: 87
Auction: 1%
2002 NYG 7 27 386 14.3 2 1 7  
2003 NYG 13 60 608 10.1 6 2 19  
2004 NYG 16 49 437 8.9   3 34  
Avg   12 45 477 11.1 3 2 20 0
PROJ FA   27 380   2      

(-Risk) After eight seasons with the Giants, Hilliard was released and landed with the Buccaneers for 2005. During the off-season in 2004, Hilliard contemplated retirement but relented to return for one final horribly ineffective season with the G-men. He never scored a touchdown not unlike Amani Toomer but he managed to participate in all 16 games unlike his previous four seasons that were shortened due to injury. Then again, his 49 catches indicate he wasn?t used enough to expose him to many hits.

Hilliard has always been an injury risk and there is some question exactly how much his heart is in the game. He?s never been much more than a decent possession receiver even though he?s not that tall or big. After nine years, he is a veteran presence that Gruden prefers and can offer a better fill-in for when Galloway is injured than the previous slate of Tim Brown, Charles Lee, Bill Schroeder or Joe Jurevicius (all no longer with the team).

There?s no reason to expect that Hilliard has anything more than minimal year as he plays out his final time in the NFL. Don?t expect that Hilliard provides more than a #3 target in the passing offense and that makes him even less fantasy relevant than any other time in his career.

Jabar Gaffney - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 89
TD Only: 80
Keeper: 88
Auction: 1%
2002 HOU 16 41 483 11.8 1      
2003 HOU 14 34 402 11.8 2 1 13  
2004 HOU 15 41 632 15.4 2 4 30  
Avg   15 39 506 13.0 2 2 14 0
PROJ FA   27 380   2      

(-Risk) Gaffney plays the sidekick to Andre Johnson but the attention the secondary showers on Andre doesn?t translate into much more production by Gaffney. He only scored twice last season and only once topped 100 yards in a game. Gaffney offers some amount of consistency from games to game but invariably it is merely consistently mediocre.

The Texans passing game became unhinged in the later part of 2004 and other than the one nice game against the Bears; Gaffney did almost nothing for the final seven weeks of the season, Not the type of progress that inspires any confidence that 2005 will be much better. Gaffney had shoulder surgery in the offseason but is expected to be ready for training camp.

Gaffney is not a big player but acts mainly in a possession type role in the ball control scheme in Houston. Consider him as decent fantasy roster filler that will likely get you a few points to cover a bye week but anything beyond that is unlikely and impossible to rely on.

08-23-05 Update: Gaffney is still slow to recover from a shoulder injury and later staph infection. He'll likely see Corey Bradford take most the action this year across from Andre Johnson.

Clarence Moore - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 73
TD Only: 81
Keeper: 78
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 BAL 14 24 293 12.2 4      
Avg   14 24 293 12.2 4 0 0 0
PROJ FA   39 490   3      

The towering Moore was selected with the 6.34 pick in 2004 out of Northern Arizona, far behind the 3.19 pick of Devard Darling. He did not attract much notice if not even a fighting chance as a sixth round pick to a team noted for not throwing well.

While Moore exceeded 45 yards only once all season, he did play in 14 games and had catches in twelve including two different games with two touchdowns in each (his only on the season). At 6?06?, Moore is actually more akin to a tight end than a typical wideout and he came into use in week three when Heap was out injured.

Moore is currently expected to man the flanker spot while Mason takes split end and the rookie Mark Clayton fills the slot. It?s a good spot for a very tall, possession-type of receiver that is a bit slow (4.55/40) but can fight for the ball in traffic, particularly in the red zone. There?s not enough passing to make that role have much fantasy value and the two new weapons for Boller will also affect what Moore can do. Consider him only as a very deep pickup with little upside unless he develops into a red zone threat.

Brandon Jones - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 80
TD Only: 82
Keeper: 93
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   35 440   2      

(+Upside) The Titans were hurting for wideouts this year and went hunting in the NFL draft, coming away with three taken out of the eleven team picks. Jones went with the second selection of Tennessee in the third round and comes in as a productive wideout who spent most of his time in the shadow of Mark Clayton and Mark Bradley at Oklahoma.

The Titans are not only looking for wideouts to step up, they are installing a new offense with Ex-USC HC Norman Chow who is already familiar with Jones after his Trojans just stomped the Sooners in the National Championship game.

Jones is no burner, but he is reasonably fast and a natural pass catcher. He has a good opportunity to be noticed with the Titans since there are so few receivers of note. He?s considered likely to assume a #3 wideout role in the NFL and that may only be eventually, but he?s worth keeping an eye on just because of his situation.

08-05-05 Update: The Titans drafted three rookies this spring looking for one to step up into a #3 role this season. So far in training camp, Jones has been the most impressive player even though he was not the first drafted.

Rod Gardner - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 77
TD Only: 83
Keeper: 72
Auction: 1%
2002 WAS 16 71 1006 14.2 8 1 1  
2003 WAS 16 59 600 10.2 5      
2004 WAS 16 51 650 12.7 5 3 7  
Avg   16 60 752 12.4 6 1 3 0
PROJ FA   29 330   2      

Gardner enters his fifth season with the Redskins if he remains with the team, but at the time of this writing, it looks unlikely. The Redskins tried shopping him around the league and Rod turned down the few offers he received likely believing he was of greater worth than those who would employ him.

The reality with Gardner is that he really has done little in four seasons and his career best was 2002 when he was the team leader with 1006 yards and eight scores. That was the first year that Steve Spurrier brought his pass happy scheme to Washington D.C. and Gardner was the only wideout even average in talent that year. Once Coles showed up in 2003, it didn?t matter whether the coach was Spurrier or Joe Gibbs ? Gardner turned in identical 650 yard, five touchdown seasons.

Wherever Gardner ends up, even if it still with the Redskins though that falling out seems complete, don?t consider him as anything more than a #3 wideout on an NFL team and purely a backup receiver for all but the deepest fantasy leagues. Gardner?s? sense of self-worth wasn?t shared by NFL team owners and should not be any higher with fantasy team owners.

07-28-05 Update: Gardner is signing with the Panthers but at this date he can only be assumed to fill in a #3 role at best since Steve Smith and Keary Colbert have locks on the starting roles. Gardner may become more of a factor later in the year as he becomes more involved in the offense, but early on he remains outside the realm of a fantasy starter.

Patrick Crayton - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 84
TD Only: 84
Keeper: 106
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 DAL 5 11 132 12.0 1      
Avg   5 11 132 12.0 1 0 0 0
PROJ FA   28 400   2      

No analysis available.

Ronald Curry - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 85
TD Only: 85
Keeper: 76
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 OAK 5 5 31 6.2   1    
2004 OAK 12 50 679 13.6 6 1 -3  
Avg   9 28 355 9.9 3 1 0 0
PROJ FA   30 390   2      

Curry started his second season with some quick promotions as the Raiders discarded Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. He quickly became a viable #2 receiver in the offense and by week thirteen had already scored six times and 679 receiving yards. At that rate, he would have challenged a 1000 yard season if he remained healthy, particularly likely since he was getting better as the season progressed and his final two games produced 251 yards and three touchdowns.

Unfortunately, Curry tore the Achilles tendon in his foot and was lost for the remainder of the season. He underwent surgery that would require six months of rehabilitation but there is optimism that the outside threat would be ready in time for training camp and would not lose any of the speed that make him so dangerous. The Raiders have a policy of not allowing any interviews prior to preseason so his progress won?t be known until August.

The addition of Randy Moss moves Curry down the depth charts anyway and his injury cast a shadow of doubt on what his role and effectiveness will be in 2005. He is a definite watch this summer since he has the talent to be a contributor but there?s many more questions left to be answered before he has reliable fantasy value. Until better information can be known, expect Curry to be slow to return from injury and to be only a bit player in the offense this season.

Mark Bradley - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 83
TD Only: 86
Keeper: 81
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   21 300   2      

Bradley comes from the pass happy Oklahoma attack and after the starters of Muhammad and Wade; he?s the only Bear receiver with enough potential to warrant fantasy consideration if only for dynasty leagues.

He is considered a bit of a project but with great upside. He?ll likely get involved in special teams as a returner and he?s shown big play ability in college enough to warrant a try in the NFL. He?s reasonably fast but not a burner (4.45/40) and his 6?1?, 200 lb. frame is slightly undersized for his height. Whatever he becomes in the NFL will likely take a season or two or three. Considering the Bears don?t throw that much, he may never blossom into what he could be.

What he does bring is natural ability, great work ethic and a willingness to do whatever the team needs. In mini-camps, the consensus was that he?ll make a great deep ball receiver. He?s worth keeping an eye on as a #3 receiver in Chicago for big plays but it?s unlikely he?ll get the playing time this season to make his fantasy relevant.

08/11/05 Update: Bradley turned in a HOF game record 131 yards receiving playing against third string defensive backs who will be back to laying asphalt in a month. But he was undeniably impressive and deserves a bump up. Even more so for a keeper league.

Brian Finneran - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 82
TD Only: 87
Keeper: 102
Auction: 1%
2002 ATL 16 56 838 15.0 6      
2003 ATL 12 26 368 14.2 2      
2004 ATL 11 23 258 11.2 2      
Avg   13 35 488 13.5 3 0 0 0
PROJ FA   32 390   2      

Finneran may end up with the occasional odd pass reception and could even catch a touchdown or two, but being buried on the depth chart for the Atlanta Falcon wideouts is like being the third chair tuba when the school band does a tribute to the Rolling Stones. He'll mostly just sit and watch.

Joe Jurevicius - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 96
TD Only: 88
Keeper: 94
Auction: 1%
2002 TBB 13 37 423 11.4 4      
2003 TBB 4 12 118 9.8 2      
2004 TBB 10 27 333 12.3 2      
Avg   9 25 291 11.2 3 0 0 0
PROJ FA   24 290   2      

The 30-year old Jurevicius comes to the Seahawks and while his 6?05? height has always suggested an endzone threat, that promise has just never materialized. After seven years in the NFL, he has never had more than four scores in any season and topped out with 51 catches four years ago. He?s been constantly injured and even if he is well enough to play, he is still likely nicked up or recovering from something.

Expect that Jurevicius only provides some veteran receiver depth and that he has no real fantasy value in 2005 or beyond for that matter. He?s spent seven years somehow evoking optimism that he would have fantasy relevance and yet never delivered. That train has now officially left the station without him on it.

Darius Watts - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 78
TD Only: 89
Keeper: 90
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 DEN 16 31 385 12.4 1 5 33  
Avg   16 31 385 12.4 1 5 33 0
PROJ FA   43 480   2      

(+Upside) As a rookie, Watts was impressive enough in training camp to jump into the #3 receiver role and with Rod Smith aging; the Broncos are looking for someone to fill his cleats in the very soon future. While Watts didn?t produce eye-popping stats in any game last year, he did manage to play in each and only failed to record a catch in week 17 against the Colts.

Playing in the slot won?t get Watts the experience for a major jump in production this season but he warrants fantasy attention from playing in a offense that can pass well and with Lelie and Smith to draw attention, he should be a lock to improve on a moderately successful rookie campaign. The addition of Jerry Rice may end up decreasing Watts? workload as well.

Watts is a definite keeper in dynasty leagues but in redraft leagues he?s only worth a very deep bench position for your team. He?s progressing as most young receivers will and not having the opportunities to roll up any appreciable numbers yet means his 2005 outlook is limited. Considering his situation in the future, his long-term fortunes appear much higher.

Courtney Roby - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 92
TD Only: 90
Keeper: 80
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   28 380   1      

(+Upside) Roby was drafted by the receiver-poor Titans and although he was only a third round pick, he finds himself in a very good situation to gain playing time as a rookie as does even Brandon Jones who was selected after him.

He comes in as the Hoosier?s all-time leading wideout and his biggest asset is a defense stretching 4.4/40 speed. When the Titans selected Roby, they were not thinking about a possession receiver to stand tall and take hits over the middle.

He is considered to be raw but with good tools and very coachable. He would be merely a project on another team but with the stripping of the shelves in the Titan receiving corps this offseason, there is a need for someone to step up. Considering the #2 Calico is coming off knee surgery, the Titan wideouts all must learn the new system of OC Norman Chow sooner than later. He has the opportunity and situation, but training camp and a few preseason games will give a better clue if he makes any splash this season.

08-05-05 Update: Roby falls a bit with the better playing of fellow rookie Brandon Jones who is taller and bigger than the 189 pound Roby. The situation will continue to develop as training camp progresses, but so far Roby has lost ground in spite of being drafted before Jones.

Troy Brown - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 91
TD Only: 91
Keeper: 91
Auction: 1%
2002 NEP 14 97 890 9.2 3 3 14  
2003 NEP 12 40 472 11.8 4 6 27  
2004 NEP 11 17 184 10.8 1      
Avg   12 51 515 10.6 3 3 14 0
PROJ FA   28 350   1      

(-Risk) Brown was cut by the Patriots and later re-signed but his outlook cannot be considered as anything other than limited. His best plays last year were as a cornerback and he's just an aging star winding down a career. Let him ride the waiver wire - there is virtually no upside here.

Jerome Mathis - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 97
TD Only: 92
Keeper: 95
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   25 350   1      

(+Upside) Mathis was drafted with the 4.13 pick by the Texans and he brings the team one element that has been missing - pure, unadulterated speed. Mathis was the fastest wideout timed at the combine this spring and leaves the Hampton Pirates as arguably the best player out of I-AA football. Of course, that only means he's really fast and he's really raw in NFL terms.

Any player that can turn in a 4.32 40-time is worth considering as a wideout and Mathis has shown the speed and moves to excel in I-AA football. He still is considered inconsistent and at 5'11" and 181 pounds he won't be the biggest wideout that the cornerbacks will face.

Mathis was selected to provide the Texans with more downfield action and his speed should stretch the defense. That could mean better numbers for both Andre Johnson and Domanick Davis but as a rookie wideout, the best Mathis is likely to provide is a handful of game with long pass receptions. He'll still need to show that he's ready to step up to the NFL but if he is combined with Corey Bradford in the planned longer passing scheme, he could become an integral part of bringing the Texans offense to the next level.

Dennis Northcutt - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 86
TD Only: 93
Keeper: 96
Auction: 1%
2002 CLE 13 39 614 15.7 5 7 91 1
2003 CLE 15 62 729 11.8 2 12 83  
2004 CLE 16 55 806 14.7 2 8 19  
Avg   15 52 716 14.1 3 9 64 0
PROJ FA   36 450   1      

After spending a couple of seasons trying to get out of Cleveland, Northcutt has settled back into a #3 role that suits his talents and satisfies his potential. During the implosion of the entire Cleveland offense last season, Northcutt turned in several nice games but that wasn?t the beginning of any trend. He was merely one of the few remaining healthy receivers for Cleveland during a time they were getting pummeled by opponents and trash time yards were very cheap.

This season Andre Davis returns and the Browns acquired Braylon Edwards as the first wideout taken in the 2005 NFL draft. Antonio Bryant also returns for his first full season in Cleveland which doesn?t mean that Northcutt no longer figures into the passing game as a #3 or #4 wideout, but his fantasy value has taken a major tumble. There was talk of using him as a #2 but once Winslow was injured, it shifted roles and once again leaves Northcutt primarily as a punt returner. Northcutt is considered a small yet dangerous receiver.

Keep an eye on Northcutt only in very deep leagues where even #3 or #4 wideouts can make a difference but barring several injuries to the other wideouts, forget Northcutt this season for your fantasy team.

Taylor Jacobs - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 98
TD Only: 94
Keeper: 99
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 WAS 4 3 37 12.3 1      
2004 WAS 8 16 178 11.1   1 -6  
Avg   6 10 108 11.7 1 1 0 0
PROJ FA   22 320   1      

Jacobs has little fantasy value after two very forgettable years but deserves some consideration purely on the word that HC Joe Gibbs likes him and believes he could challenge David Patten for playing time if not a spot on the depth chart.

It is only mildly worth tracking though the preseason because the #3 wideout in Washington is likely comparable to an average tight end in production. James Thrash rolled up only 203 yards and no scores in that position though the offense should be improved in the second year of Gibbs direction.

Let Jacobs ride the waiver wire pine this year but mostly keep notice that he doesn?t remove fantasy value from David Patten. If Gardner is eventually successful in changing teams, it could move Jacobs up into the #3 role but he won?t likely see an every down #2 role short of catastrophic injury to his teammates.

Jerricho Cotchery - PIT YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 99
TD Only: 95
Keeper: 101
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 NYJ 6 6 60 10.0        
Avg   6 6 60 10.0 0 0 0 0
PROJ PIT   18 260   1      

Cotchery was selected with the 4.12 pick in the 2004 NFL draft and he slowly worked his way into the good graces of the coaching staff with solid play in practice. He only had six catches last season but the team already considered the speedy wideout to be the starting #3 receiver for 2005.

That role is slightly less defined this season with the new OC Mike Heimerdinger coming over from Tennessee but Cotchery has not had enough experience and on-field proof to warrant much fantasy consideration yet. That position has yielded around 300 yards and one score each of the last few seasons in New York.

Cotchery is mainly a name on the depth chart right now but he may develop into something more as the #3 wideout. He?s worth keeping a casual eye on this season but nothing more.

Arnaz Battle - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 103
TD Only: 96
Keeper: 100
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 SFO 3         2 14  
2004 SFO 10 8 143 17.9   2 5  
Avg   7 4 72 9.0 0 2 10 0
PROJ FA   18 220   1      

As a sign of just how bad the 49er receiver corps is shaping up this season, Battle enters training camp as the starting split end despite never having scored a touchdown in two years and only having eight catches in the NFL. When Cedrick Wilson left, he took all the experience from the left side of the offense.

Obviously, Battle has no history and would be a huge risk to even draft this season since he may not withstand challenges by Rashaun Woods and P.J. Fleck (who are even less experienced). The only thing going for Battle is that he enters training camp as the starter for an offense that will need to throw often and early. That is not, however, to say it will throw well in any case.

Keep a very lazy eye on the 49er wideouts in the preseason because they will be targeted more heavily than most wideouts in the league. There is precious little apparent talent in the wideouts so any of them could step up and become the starter.

Ricky Proehl - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 101
TD Only: 97
Keeper: 104
Auction: 1%
2002 STL 15 43 466 10.8 4 1 -1  
2003 CAR 14 27 389 14.4 4      
2004 CAR 16 34 497 14.6   1 9  
Avg   15 35 451 13.3 3 1 3 0
PROJ FA   16 230   1      

Proehl is like owning a comfortable old jacket. He?s never been good enough to be considered the first thing you grab but then again there has never really been a reason to get rid of him either. Considering he has been doing this for 16 years speaks volumes about the value of a reliable while moderately productive receiver.

He never scored last season in spite of a pressing need and yet he still turned in 487 yards on 34 catches ? only once in the last six years did he do better. He plays in every game and almost always gets at least a pass or two but he?ll never be more than that if he doesn?t suddenly realize that he is maybe six years older than most receivers are when they retire.

He is a wasted pick in a fantasy draft because he will never be a difference maker with production but he?ll likely still be there until someone notices he?s too old and slow to play the game anymore. A fantasy league should never be so large that Proehl?s two fantasy points a week make him a worthwhile draft pick.

Doug Gabriel - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 102
TD Only: 98
Keeper: 98
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 OAK 1 1 17 17.0        
2004 OAK 16 33 551 16.7 2 2 7  
Avg   9 17 284 16.9 1 1 4 0
PROJ FA   15 220   1      

Gabriel enters his third season after being pressed into service last year due to the catastrophic injury situation with the Oakland wideouts. Gabriel played in every game and after starting out with an 81 yard, one touchdown game in week one, he never against approached those numbers. He only scored one more time in 2004 and never gained more than 60 yards in any single game.

With Randy Moss on the team, there will be fewer passes for all the other wideouts and that will likely hold Gabriel to meager numbers this year. He?ll vie with Ronald Curry for the #3 spot and since Curry is recovering from off-season foot surgery, Gabriel has a leg up on winning that spot at least for the start of the season.

The reality is that the Raiders will want to throw less this season with a Lamont Jordan to mount a rushing attack and there are better receivers to find than Gabriel. At best he?ll turn in a few games with long catches and perhaps a score or two but anything more than that is not expected or reliable. Leave Gabriel on the waiver wire this summer and chances are he?ll still be there next January.

Robert Ferguson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 104
TD Only: 100
Keeper: 105
Auction: 1%
2002 GBP 14 22 293 13.3 3      
2003 GBP 13 38 520 13.7 4 1 -8  
2004 GBP 13 24 367 15.3 1      
Avg   13 28 393 14.1 3 0 0 0
PROJ FA   17 240   1      

Ferguson entered 2004 with a shot at the #2 role in the passing game but never was able to make a dent. He suffered an Achilles strain in week five and was held out of the Detroit game. In week 15, he was clotheslined by JAX safety Donovan Darius and was taken from the field on a stretcher. While a severe injury was feared, Ferguson ended up with merely a neck strain and fortunately he had a full recovery of sensation in his limbs. It was not a good year for Ferguson by any stretch of the imagination.

Even before the injuries, Ferguson had done little to suggest he was taking the next step up in his development. Though he often has as many as eight passes in a game, seven times he only had one catch and once he had none. His sole score came against the Bears in week two.

Ferguson will be back and should hold off Antonio Chatman for the #3 role but there is rookie Terrence Murphy on board now and he already has attracted the attention and accolades of the coaching staff. Ferguson may hang on in a #3 role or he may be replaced by Murphy who is considered a better bet for a speedy slot position. That makes Ferguson a better pickup as a free agent once his role is established. Chances are the Packers will take a look at Murphy eventually and there is not much optimism that Ferguson can hold off the challenge.

Bernard Berrian - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 105
TD Only: 101
Keeper: 108
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 CHI 15 15 225 15.0 2 8 28  
Avg   15 15 225 15.0 2 8 28 0
PROJ FA   14 200   1      

No analysis available.

Sam Aiken - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 107
TD Only: 102
Keeper: 110
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 BUF 3 3 35 11.7        
2004 BUF 11 11 148 13.5        
Avg   7 7 92 12.6 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   12 180   1      

Aiken is the first back-up to the 32-year old Eric Moulds so there could be some optimism that he will step in whenever Moulds decides to hang up the cleats. But Aiken has only had 14 catches during his two seasons in the NFL and has yet to actually score a touchdown. His original rookie contract expires at the end of this season but so far there has not been enough production to assume he will be re-signed during the off-season of 2006.

Terrance Copper - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 110
TD Only: 106
Keeper: 114
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 DAL 6 7 84 12.0 1 1 -1  
Avg   6 7 84 12.0 1 1 0 0
PROJ FA   9 130   1      

No analysis available.

Bobby Wade - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 111
TD Only: 107
Keeper: 115
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 CHI 9 12 137 11.4   5 14  
2004 CHI 16 42 481 11.5   12 76  
Avg   13 27 309 11.5 0 9 45 0
PROJ FA   9 130   1      

Wade was like a microcosm of the Bears passing offense for 2004 - Few people had really heard of him, he showed up for every game and never once made any difference. Wade ended the year with 42 catches from his 87 passes thrown to him and yet never actually scored a touchdown. Only Amani Toomer can claim to have had more passes and yet never scored in a full 16 game 2004.

The revamped Bears offense will still use Bobby Wade as a starter across from new hire Muhsin Muhammad and in a reduced expectations manner, Wade still has some fantasy value since he managed to gain some yardage every week he played. It just only rose above 43 yards once all year.

Consider Wade as only a deeply drafted bye week filler but anything more is just not going to happen in an offense that is new and that has Muhammad and Benson to devote all attention on. If the Bears passing game can take shape, Wade may rise as high as a mediocre back-up.

Roydell Williams - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 112
TD Only: 109
Keeper: 116
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PROJ FA   8 120   1      

No analysis available.

Kassim Osgood - SFO YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Performance: 117
TD Only: 111
Keeper: 119
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 SDC 12 13 278 21.4 2      
2004 SDC 11 15 308 20.5 2      
Avg   12 14 293 21.0 2 0 0 0
PROJ SFO   6 90   1      

At 6?5?, Osgood could be a great target in the endzone and across the middle but after three seasons, he has not managed to progress enough to break into the starting lineup. He?s spent the last two seasons with almost identical numbers in spite of the Chargers desperately needing receivers to step up both years. He continues to be only used in multiple receiver sets and while he scores the odd touchdown, he has more games with no catches.

The Chargers are settling down as an offense with Tomlinson, Gates, McCardell and likely Caldwell and there just isn?t enough room or passes to make Osgood an attractive fantasy option this season. He has not shown enough progress to suggest that his future value will be any greater as well.

Consider Osgood as little more than mere fantasy roster filler with very little chance you will every use him. There is no apparent upside this year for him that he hasn?t already shown incapable of filling in the past.

   
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