The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, Guest. You are not logged in.   | Login  |  Help
HOME FANTASY DRAFT KIT IN SEASON ARTICLES NEWS STATS FORUMS TEAMS PLAYERS NFL DRAFT NFL ABOUT myHuddle

FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT KIT

2009 Player Rankings: Wide Receivers
Updated: September 10, 2009
Sort This Page By: Rank Movement: Huddle Rankings: Projected Stats: Huddle Cheat Sheets:
Tier 1
Randy Moss - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 1
Keeper: 4
Auction 10: 30%
Auction 12: 25%
2006 OAK 13 42 553 13.2 3      
2007 NEP 16 98 1493 15.2 23      
2008 NEP 16 69 1008 14.6 11 2    
Avg   15 70 1018 14.3 12 1 0 0
Proj FA   95 1370   16      

Even without Tom Brady, Moss ended 2008 ranked as #2 with 11 touchdowns though that was well short of his record 23 scores the previous year. He ended with 1008 yards for the 9th time in his career over 1000 yards. The more important stats were the 98 catches for 1493 yards and 23 touchdowns that Moss accumulated the last time Brady was healthy. By all accounts, Brady returns at 100% strength and Moss actually now has two years in the system instead of being brand new as in 2007.

Moss did cool down some in 2007 towards the later part of the season but as was discussed last summer prior to Brady’s injury – even if Moss drops is he still the #1 wide receiver? He was the consensus best wideout to draft in 2008 so what is different this year other than he knows the system better? There is a slight risk that if Brady is injured, Moss will suffer more since Matt Cassel is gone and Kevin O’Connell has almost zero track record but the same was said of Cassel last year.

Moss is an elite talent in his prime in perhaps the optimal offense. The only real question is if you can actually like any other wideout more than Moss.

Andre Johnson - HOU YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 2
Keeper: 2
Auction 10: 26%
Auction 12: 22%
2006 HOU 16 103 1147 11.1 5 3 14  
2007 HOU 9 60 851 14.2 8      
2008 HOU 16 115 1575 13.7 8      
Avg   14 93 1191 13.0 7 1 5 0
Proj HOU   110 1600   10      

No doubt Johnson will be an early name called in your league draft and rightfully so – he could be argued to be #1 among all wideouts. Last season his 1575 yards and 115 catches both ranked best in the position and his only “downside” is that he doesn’t score as many touchdowns (Ala Owen Daniels). Johnson has never scored more than eight touchdowns during his six years in the league but has topped 100 reception in his last two healthy seasons.

Johnson has been top notch regardless if it was Sage Rosenfels or Matt Schaub as the quarterback but this year Rosenfels has been replaced by Dan Orlovsky. However, the coaching staff is very confident that there will be no drop in productivity should Schaub miss games again this year. In a point per reception league, it is hard to argue that Johnson is NOT the top wideout to draft. He a rare talent that can make any quarterback look better.

Larry Fitzgerald - ARI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 3
Keeper: 1
Auction 10: 25%
Auction 12: 20%
2006 ARI 13 68 941 13.8 6 1 5  
2007 ARI 15 100 1409 14.1 10      
2008 ARI 16 96 1431 14.9 12      
Avg   15 88 1260 14.3 9 0 2 0
Proj ARI   105 1420   12      

The main weapon in this offense is not only Larry Fitzgerald, but even when he is the only weapon he is pretty much unstoppable with Kurt Warner throwing the ball. Fitzgerald was tied for the NFL lead with 12 receiving touchdowns last season and ranked #2 with 1,431 yards. It was a career best year for a player that already has three seasons with 10+ touchdowns and 1400+ yards. With Warner re-signed and a schedule that is one of the easiest in the NFL, there is no reason why Fitzgerald shouldn’t have yet another stellar season.

The Boldin situation impacts the Cardinals but not so much for Fitzgerald who will get his catches regardless who lines up on the other side. And Fitzgerald gets to play @SF, @DET and STL in weeks 14 to 16 so he’s a premiere wideout with what should be great weather and matchups when you need him most. Last season often hits the productivity of most wideouts – not so with Fitzgerald. His only downside is that he will be appearing on the cover of the Madden NFL 10 video game.

Tier 2
Calvin Johnson - DET YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 4
Keeper: 3
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 18%
2006                  
2007 DET 15 48 756 15.8 4 4 52 1
2008 DET 16 78 1331 17.1 12 3 -1  
Avg   16 63 1044 16.5 8 4 26 1
Proj DET   96 1340   11      

That Johnson tied for the league lead in TD grabs last season with Dan Orlovsky and others throwing the ball to him and virtually nothing else on the Detroit offense to draw any defensive attention is one of the great mysteries of our time. Defense coordinators had to be going into games thinking if they stopped Johnson they’d stop the Lions, and yet he scored in eight of 11 games even after Roy Williams was traded. Clearly, he’s something special.

Detroit’s quarterback position seems a bit more settled heading into 2009: Johnson will either be catching balls from Daunte Culpepper, who has more than a passing familiarity with the concept of throwing deep to a dominant, athletic receiver from his days with Randy Moss; or first overall pick Matthew Stafford, whom the Lions expect to be feeding Johnson for the next decade. Calvin also has upgraded wingmen in Bryant Johnson and Ronald Curry; both are good enough to draw at least some defensive attention but not so good they’ll threaten Johnson’s targets. It also doesn’t hurt that Johnson’s new OC, Scott Linehan, spent time in Minnesota when the Vikings implemented the “Randy Ratio” in an effort to throw 40% of their passes to their star wideout. Moss increased the number of routes he ran in order to give him a broader set of options, and one can assume the Lions have similar plans in store for Johnson.

Bottom line: dude scored a dozen touchdowns last year with no quarterback and no supporting cast. Is there any reason to expect his numbers to decline if the team around him is improving, even if it’s ever so slightly?

Greg Jennings - MIN YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 5
Keeper: 5
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 18%
2006 GBP 14 45 632 14.0 3      
2007 GBP 13 53 920 17.4 12      
2008 GBP 16 80 1292 16.2 9      
Avg   14 59 948 15.9 8 0 0 0
Proj MIN   82 1300   11      

Jennings roared out of the gate last year as the Packers’ leading fantasy receiver in each of the first six games. His pace slowed after that as he and Donald Driver split that honor equally the rest of the way, but the end result was an uptick across the board for Jennings—except in touchdowns, where he backslid slightly from the dozen he recorded as a sophomore.

There’s no question Jennings has usurped Driver as the Packers’ No. 1 receiver; he was the most-targeted wideout 12 times last season and accounted for almost 38% of Aaron Rodgers’ wide receiver targets last year. And with Rodgers moving quickly into the upper echelon of fantasy quarterbacks, his favorite wideout is on pace to join him in the rarified fantasy air. If you need further selling points, consider that Jennings not only led the NFL with eight catches of 40 or more yards, he also moved the chains with 55 of his 80 catches resulting in first downs. Improved protection would only serve to provide more downfield opportunities for a wideout who averages 16 yards per catch for his career.

Steve Smith - CAR YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 6
Keeper: 6
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 18%
2006 CAR 14 83 1166 14.0 8 8 61 1
2007 CAR 15 87 1002 11.5 7 9 66  
2008 CAR 14 78 1421 18.2 6 5 40  
Avg   14 83 1196 14.6 7 7 56 0
Proj CAR   86 1360   9      

Hidden somewhere behind the incredible rushing exhibition put on by the Panthers last year was the fact that Smith turned in his second best season with 78 catches going for 1421 yards and six scores. Granted the touchdowns were not that high (something to do with 28 rushing touchdowns) but that great rushing attack allowed Smith to get a bit farther down the field and he had a career best 18.2 yards per catch. He had eight efforts top 100 yards.

There is nothing changed here. Smith had a somewhat quiet year and yet still ranked #3 in the NFL with 1421 receiving yards and the Panthers have one of the better passing schedules for wideouts this year, coupled with a horrible schedule for running backs. Bottom line – it will be harder to move the ball via the run and yet easier via the pass. That only serves to make Smith even more attractive.

08-11-09 Update: Smith fell heavily on his shoulder and while x-rays did not show any breaks, he'll be laid up most of the preseason at least and it could bleed into the regular season.

08-30-09 Update: Smith has already recovered from his shoulder injury and played in the third preseason game. He's safe to draft again.

Reggie Wayne - IND YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 7
Keeper: 7
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 16%
2006 IND 16 86 1310 15.2 9      
2007 IND 16 104 1510 14.5 10 1 4  
2008 IND 16 82 1145 14.0 6      
Avg   16 91 1322 14.6 8 0 1 0
Proj IND   93 1290   9      

Wayne had a down year in 2008 when he only managed 82 catches for 1145 yards and six scores. Those were his lowest totals in three years and a dramatic drop from 2007 (1510/10 TDs). But he still has exceeded 1000 yards in each of the last five seasons while averaging over eight scores per year. Wayne, like Manning, is a very safe pick because he will always play at least well enough to be top ten and he so far has never had a down year or missed a game due to injury. Marvin Harrison is finally gone for good and leaves Wayne as the clear-cut best wideout but that is not lost on opposing defenses as well. Wayne saw more coverage last year thanks to Harrison no longer commanding respect. That played into Wayne’s lower performance.

The Colts should have a better rushing game this year which could actually benefit Wayne by presenting a more balanced offense for opponents to defend against. If you can get Wayne as your WR1 you can be sure he’ll be no less than very good. And he comes cheaper this year – possibly a bargain considering his lack of risk.

Roddy White - ATL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 8
Keeper: 8
Auction 10: 20%
Auction 12: 16%
2006 ATL 15 30 506 16.9        
2007 ATL 16 83 1202 14.5 6 1 -2  
2008 ATL 16 88 1382 15.7 7 2 4  
Avg   16 67 1030 15.7 4 1 1 0
Proj ATL   88 1330   8      

Playing with only Chris Redman and Joey Harrington in 2007, his second season saw him deliver 83 catches for 1202 yards and six touchdowns. No matter that the Falcons had opted to hand the reins of the team to a rookie quarterback last year. Roddy White was one of the better undervalued sleepers of 2008. Instead of suffering a lapse as Matt Ryan went through his own growing pains, White ended up with 1382 yards to rank #4 in the NFL last season. He went from five games over 100 yards to seven efforts over the century mark. His seven touchdowns were only average but reflected how well Michael Turner was doing near the goal line and the reality that White was the only Falcons receiver that defenses needed to worry about for the second year in a row. Michael Jenkins turned in just 777 yards on 50 catches for second best on the team.

Now the question will be – how does Tony Gonzalez change the dynamics here? No doubt that he will command plenty of attention from Matt Ryan but will it come at the expense of White or will he actually be a benefit for White who no longer automatically is the only player the safety worries about? The Falcons will have a slightly tougher rushing schedule so Turner may not be quite the machine this year but it is still the best bet to consider White as likely no better in touchdowns – Gonzalez is a far better goal line target. But White should maintain his yardage and catches with the rest of the passing game allowing Gonzo to become a factor. Remember too that Matt Ryan is a one-year veteran this time and not just a rookie learning the game this season. White remains a safe play with perhaps less upside than last year.

Marques Colston - NOS YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 9
Keeper: 12
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 10%
2006 NOS 13 70 1038 14.8 8      
2007 NOS 16 98 1202 12.3 11      
2008 NOS 11 47 760 16.2 5      
Avg   13 72 1000 14.4 8 0 0 0
Proj NOS   88 1140   10      

(-Risk) (+Upside) Colston missed five games last year and played gimpy in others until week 10. Then, finally, he gained 678 yards on 42 catches for five touchdowns over the final eight games. That was much more like the pace he had in 2007 when he turned 98 catches into 1202 yards and 11 touchdowns. Colston had a procedure in January to his knee that was later disclosed to be a microfracture surgery on a small hole in his kneecap. He was running in May and is expected to be ready for June minicamps and training camp but any surgery is an obvious risk and Colston nor the Saints let on that it happened in January.

Colston could have a monster year if he is truly healthy and early word is that the Saints are not concerned with his health as they acquired no free agent wide receivers and drafted none as well. He’ll be a definite watch in training camp but until he still is limited in training camp, consider him good to go for this year.

Chad Johnson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 10
Keeper: 10
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 10%
2006 CIN 16 87 1370 15.7 7 6 24  
2007 CIN 16 93 1440 15.5 8 6 47  
2008 CIN 13 53 540 10.2 4      
Avg   15 78 1117 13.8 6 4 24 0
Proj FA   82 1280   7      

(-Risk) (+Upside) If Chad Johnson could ever get out of the way of Chad Johnson, he might actually get that ticket out of Cincinnati that he’s been begging to get for two years. The situation has been tenuous enough that if he was suddenly traded at any time before the season, it would shock no one. It does appear that yet again Ochocinco will remain in Cincy but this annual drama has never been concluded. It probably will not since the Bengals need him and thanks to his signing a nice contract a short few years ago, he’s tied to the team until his contract expires or he actually makes himself look like he would be worth taking a gamble on by another team.

The reality with him is that until last year, he had six straight seasons with 1150+ yards and averaged eight touchdowns per season. He led the NFL in receiving yards for two consecutive years. By his numbers, he looked like an elite wideout so long as he was playing with Carson Palmer. It’s easy to forget that he had a career best 1440 yards in 2007. But even in those good years the issue with him was that he was so wildly inconsistent and spiked his stats with two or three monster games per season along with some pitiful efforts. He was a fantasy team killer when he would go many weeks with minimal games.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh is gone and Laveranues Coles was acquired to replace him. Houshmandzadeh had become the favored receiver in this offense in part because of the attention that Chad demanded and also because he offered a great possession ability over the middle and in the endzone. This is a chance for Chad to reclaim his place as the true #1 wideout in Cincy but that remains to be seen. The bottom line is that he has everything to play for if he wants out and a great opportunity with Palmer back and Houshmandzadeh gone. Chances are good that he will far further in drafts than he should, but he’s a risk to replicate his inconsistent ways.

Dwayne Bowe - KCC YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 11
Keeper: 9
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 10%
2006                  
2007 KCC 16 70 995 14.2 5      
2008 KCC 16 86 1022 11.9 7      
Avg   16 78 1009 13.1 6 0 0 0
Proj KCC   98 1280   7      

(+Upside) It would seem hard to imagine Bowe having a breakout third season when he’s had almost exactly 1000 yards and six scores in both of his first two NFL seasons. He was the third most targeted player (157) in the league last year and the Chiefs will be without Tony Gonzalez this year. That was 155 more targets last year that need to find new home in 2009. The Chiefs are in a rebuilding year and there is every reason to believe that they will throw just as much or more than they did in 2008. This should be a golden opportunity for Bowe to join the ranks of the most productive wideouts in the NFL.

What may complicate this is that Bowe no longer has Gonzalez there to draw attention – can Bowe thrive when he is the main focus of the secondary? His work ethic has been called into question before – will he work even harder to be that stud #1 receiver that is schemed against by every defense? Bowe may be the only notable weapon of the Chiefs this year and the defense may not care about anyone else.

Drafting Bowe may take a small leap of faith from the change in offense, quarterback and the loss of Gonzo but his opportunity and situation is ripe for a huge season. The payback could be huge.

09-12-09 Update: Bowe began camp as second string which will never last but he's not as sharp in camp as desired and dropping passes as well. He slides down a few spots but the Chiefs are really having a lack of any other receivers so Bowe will play a big role by default.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 12
Keeper: 11
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 10%
2006 CIN 14 90 1081 12.0 9 3 6  
2007 CIN 16 112 1143 10.2 12 5 14  
2008 CIN 15 92 904 9.8 4 1 9  
Avg   15 98 1043 10.7 8 3 10 0
Proj FA   82 1110   9      

Houshmandzadeh finally left the Bengals and landed in Seattle where he signed a five-year deal worth $40 million that included $15 million in guarantees. This is the player the Seahawks want to be the center of the passing game. He had an less productive season in Cincinnati last year with Carson Palmer out but when Palmer did play, Houshmandzadeh was cranking out the 90+ catch seasons with 1100 or so yards and up to 12 touchdowns. Houshmandzadeh later admitted that a big part of him coming to Seattle was Hasselbeck ($40 million helps too).

The offense will be new in Seattle this year with OC Greg Knapp there and should make nice use of the possession receiver Houshmandzadeh playing flanker. Expect much the same use in Seattle as he had in Cincy – over the middle, move the chains and make first downs and then be the #1 target in the endzone. His yardage is highly unlikely to go up here but he should manage to keep nearly the same catches in this West Coast variant.

Anquan Boldin - SFO YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 13
Keeper: 13
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 10%
2006 ARI 16 83 1203 14.5 4 5 28  
2007 ARI 12 71 853 12.0 9 1 14  
2008 ARI 12 89 1038 11.7 11 9 67  
Avg   13 81 1031 12.7 8 5 36 0
Proj SFO   80 1020   9      

(+Upside) Despite a ton of rumors and speculation, Boldin was not dealt to another team before or during the NFL draft and as of yet has not been signed to a bigger contract by the Cardinals. While both sides posture, the reality is that Boldin really is worth the money that he is asking for and ranked #2 among all wideouts with 11 receiving touchdowns last year. His downside is injury – in six seasons he has lasted all sixteen games twice in his career. His 11 scores last year came in just 12 games played. Boldin had a hamstring issue during the spring as a reminder of his durability problems.

Playing in Arizona, Boldin is a formidable weapon that deserves fantasy attention because he already has four seasons over 1000 yards despite missing 16 games over the last six years. He was much more productive in the first half of 2008 but that was indicative of his career. So far, Boldin has not committed to reporting to training camp in late July so the drama may not be over just because he has not been traded.

Wes Welker - DEN YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 14
Keeper: 14
Auction 10: 10%
Auction 12: 8%
2006 MIA 16 67 687 10.3 1      
2007 NEP 16 112 1175 10.5 8 4 34  
2008 NEP 16 111 1165 10.5 3 3 26  
Avg   16 97 1009 10.4 4 2 20 0
Proj DEN   111 1140   6      

What’s not to love about a 5-9, 185 pound slot receiver that has caught 223 passes in the last two years? Welker ranked #2 in the NFL with 111 catches last year and he had 112 with Tom Brady in 2007. Welker went from 112 receptions for 1175 yards in 2007 to 11 catches for 1165 yards last year without Brady. That’s not only consistency, it’s reliable league-leading receptions regardless who is playing quarterback. Granted his touchdown totals fell from eight to only three last year but in a league with reception points, Welker is money every week.

Welker should see an increase in touchdowns with Brady back but there’s no reason to expect different on yards and catches. Welker’s a true fantasy gem

Tier 3
Terrell Owens - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 15
Keeper: 17
Auction 10: 10%
Auction 12: 6%
2006 DAL 16 85 1180 13.9 13      
2007 DAL 15 81 1355 16.7 15 1 5  
2008 DAL 16 69 1052 15.2 10 7 33  
Avg   16 78 1196 15.3 13 3 13 0
Proj FA   65 970   8      

(-Risk) Onward to team #4 and it is safe to say that being “a Super Bowl contender” no longer is a primary consideration for Owens to join a new team. After being surprised by the Cowboys release, Owens landed with the Bills on a one-year, $6.5 million contract that rewards him as a #1 wideout and ensures that he’ll never sign another big contract since he’s 36 years old. While Owens has greatly improved his game attendance in Dallas with just one game missed in three years, he continues to have at least smaller injuries he plays with and his rate of drops has never been higher.

That all said, Owens has scored 28 times in the last three years. He has topped 1000 yards in seven of the last eight years. And no team pays $6.5 million on a charity case – Owens will be the primary part of the Bills attack this year. He’ll just have to do that with the most inexperienced quarterback of his career. And playing in Buffalo where the dry spell on superstar wideouts is approaching two decades. Owens has a big name and he has always produced big numbers. But last year with Romo and an offense that threw him the ball 141 times (8th best), Owens only caught 69 passes (23rd best) for 1052 yards. He only managed two games over 100 yards and that includes week 17 in Phillly. Owens has the talent still though he is finally in a decline. His durability improved in Dallas but he’s turning 36 years of age and that does not bode well. He’s a big risk this year and going to the Bills for just one year says the entire NFL is leery of him.

Bernard Berrian - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 16
Keeper: 18
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 6%
2006 CHI 15 51 775 15.2 6 2 5  
2007 MIN 16 71 951 13.4 5      
2008 MIN 16 48 964 20.1 7 4 26  
Avg   16 57 897 16.2 6 2 10 0
Proj FA   64 1020   7      

Berrian gave the Vikings exactly what they were hoping for when they overpaid him last offseason. Despite seeing a 33% decline in his receptions, Berrian’s yards per catch spiked north of 20 and he established career highs in both yardage (964) and touchdowns (seven). Thirty-six receivers saw more balls come their way, but Berrian maximized his role as Minnesota’s deep threat by parlaying those limited opportunities into fantasy numbers that ranked him as a solid WR2. And of course, Berrian fulfilled his ultimate purpose—stretching the defense for the Vikings’ ground game.

The Vikings remain dedicated to the running game, but that doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for Berrian. For starters, he’ll have a more accurate quarterback (either Sage Rosenfels, Brett Favre, or an improved Tarvaris Jackson) throwing the ball his way. Rosenfels ranked second behind Drew Brees in yards per attempt among quarterbacks with at least 100 passes last year, so he’d certainly provide more opportunities than Jackson’s heave-and-a-prayer approach. And with Percy Harvin attracting defensive attention in addition to safeties creeping into the box to slow Adrian Peterson, Berrian should see plenty of single coverage down the field—coverage he demonstrated last year he’s more than capable of defeating. It’s tough to bank on a Vikings receiver as a fantasy WR1 given their quarterback uncertainty and commitment to the run, but another season as a more-than-helpful fantasy WR2 is queued up for Berrian.

DeSean Jackson - PHI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 17
Keeper: 15
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 6%
2006                  
2007                  
2008 PHI 16 62 912 14.7 2 17 96 1
Avg   16 62 912 14.7 2 17 96 1
Proj PHI   71 1060   5      

The Cal speedster (4.3/40) had a relatively spectacular rookie season when he had 62 receptions for 912 yards and two scores to lead the Eagles. He even had 96 rush yards and scored on a run. He set a franchise record with a 14.7 YPC and showed once again just how mediocre all non-Terrell Owens wideouts are in Philly. Jackson enters his second season more experienced and with the new rookie Jeremy Maclin sure to eventually be across from him. With Westbrook a health concern (and all his receptions) and the Eagles getting a second weapon in Maclin, this should be a very nice season for Jackson and his first trip to 1000 yards in his career.

Braylon Edwards - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 18
Keeper: 16
Auction 10: 8%
Auction 12: 4%
2006 CLE 16 60 879 14.7 6 4 12  
2007 CLE 16 80 1289 16.1 16      
2008 CLE 16 55 873 15.9 3      
Avg   16 65 1014 15.6 8 1 4 0
Proj FA   72 1020   5      

(-Risk) (+Upside) The Browns ranked 31st or worst in wideout catches, yards and scores. One player more than any could be blamed – Edwards. He built expectations up with 80 catches for 1289 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2007 and while most expected him to have a decline, the question then was “how much could he really fall after such a big year?” The answer – a lot. A whole lot. Enough to almost singlehandedly kill his fantasy owners who spent no worse than a third and likely a second round pick on him in 2008.

Edwards ended last season with stats close to 2006. He had 55 catches for 873 yards and three scores. His biggest problem was only catching 39% of the passes thrown to him last year. It was as if Edwards had lost all concentration in some games and was a big part of why the Browns struggled last year (hardly the only reason though). He was the subject of many trade rumors in the offseason but nothing transpired and besides, the Browns already gave up on Winslow. They could hardly afford to start all rookies this year thanks to Donte Stallworth’s legal problems.

Expect some improvement from last year with an easier schedule and hopefully some consistency at quarterback from Brady Quinn. The new offensive system should suit his talents so long as he holds on to the ball. He’s a risk until he can prove he has rediscovered his 2007 form and taking Edwards as anything more than a WR3 is optimistic and a risk. To his credit, he only had two games over 100 yards and one came in the two starts by Quinn (@BUF).

Santana Moss - WAS YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 19
Keeper: 21
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 3%
2006 WAS 14 55 790 14.4 6 7 82  
2007 WAS 14 61 808 13.2 3 3 13  
2008 WAS 16 79 1044 13.2 6 1 27  
Avg   15 65 881 13.6 5 4 41 0
Proj WAS   70 960   5      

The new offense last year didn’t really affect Moss’ numbers since he had a very standard season of 79 catches for 1044 yards and six touchdowns. He managed to play all 16 games for only the second time in Washington and his 1he new offense last year didn’t really affect Moss’ numbers since he had a very standard season of 79 catches for 1044 yards and six touchdowns. He managed to play all 16 games for only the second time in Washington and his 13.2 yards per catch was right in line with his average in Washington. Moss had his one big season in 2005 and hasn’t repeated it since. The killer with Moss – he tends to have monster games and mostly nothing games. Last year it was three games with more than 140 yards and no others more than 75 yards. Almost half of his games had less than 50 receiving yards and he scored only once after midseason. Moss is too inconsistent to be a fantasy starter but his overall numbers – and 2006 – usually mean someone else in your league will try to rely on him

Roy Williams - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 20
Keeper: 22
Auction 10: 6%
Auction 12: 3%
2006 DET 16 82 1310 16.0 7 2 2  
2007 DET 12 63 836 13.3 5 2 1  
2008 DAL 10 19 198 10.4 1 1 13  
Avg   13 55 781 13.2 4 2 5 0
Proj FA   64 890   6      

When the Cowboys acquired Williams at mid-season last year, it set immediate dreams of a passing frenzy since the Cowboys finally had “two #1” wideouts. It did not work out that way (and rarely does). Williams remained overshadowed by Terrell Owens and never had more than three catches for 51 yards playing for the Cowboys. Williams was also bothered by a plantar fascia injury as well. It appeared a big waste of money but then came the release of Owens and moving Williams to the split end spot. That should help him become the focal point of the passing offense and help him to increase the 11.9 yards per catch last year back up to his more typical 15.0 YPC.

The Cowboys are intending to go to a more run-heavy attack but that really only affects the secondary receivers. Witten and Williams will still get the same passes as they would have since Dallas will still have plenty of reasons to throw every game. Williams has also dropped eight pounds to pick up some speed so he can run more vertical routes this season. Chances are best that Williams will play as a solid WR2 for your team but hoping him to be a top 12 wideout (and hence a WR1) is too optimistic for this changing offense.

08-28-09 Update: Williams injured his shoulder in practice and is considered day-to-day with a deep contusion.

Lee Evans - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 21
Keeper: 24
Auction 10: 4%
Auction 12: 3%
2006 BUF 16 82 1290 15.7 8      
2007 BUF 16 55 849 15.4 5      
2008 BUF 16 63 1017 16.1 3 1 22  
Avg   16 67 1052 15.7 5 0 7 0
Proj FA   50 880   6      

When Evans signed that big $37 million, four year contract last year, little did he know he would not be the #1 wideout going into 2009. At least that will be the expectation of everyone outside the Evans family tree. Evans peaked in 2006 when he had 1292 yards but last year only served up 63 catches for 1017 yards and three scores – the lowest of his career including his rookie season. What’s even worse was that he never scored in the final ten games of the season. Evans broke 100 yards four times last season and to his credit is the fact that two of his worst games both came with Trent Edwards out and J.P. Losman as the starter. Evans biggest problem – or rather limiting factor – is that there has yet to be any other receiver on the Bills that the secondary has to worry about – at least until now.

What the Owens-effect might be remains to be seen on this team with a young quarterback and a scheme that ranked in the bottom ten for passes, completions and passing yardage last year. That could result in fewer passes coming to Evans. It could mean more. Historically, the guy across from Owens has not typically fared well though none have offered the talent level of Evans (since Jerry Rice that is). What Evans should offer is at least a WR3 level of production which is where he’ll likely be drafted. But he may have the promise of being a notch better than that depending on the progress of Trent Edwards and how defenses react to this new offensive look. If nothing else, this should mean more long completions for Evans since the safety will likely now shadow Owens and streaking down the sideline is where Evans is playing to his best strength.

Lower your expectations for Evans from previous seasons since he will not perform as well but don’t think he no longer has value. He could end up just about as good depending on how things develop.

Kevin Walter - TEN YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 22
Keeper: 23
Auction 10: 4%
Auction 12: 3%
2006 HOU 11 17 160 9.4   1 3  
2007 HOU 16 65 800 12.3 4 5 30  
2008 HOU 16 60 899 15.0 8 3 23  
Avg   14 47 620 12.2 4 3 19 0
Proj TEN   62 820   7      

Walter was one of the rare late round gems in drafts last season and while every stud wideout has “the other guy”, few have one as productive as Walter was across from Andre Johnson. In 2007, Walter turned in 65 catches for 800 yards and last year rose to 899 yards on 60 catches. The bigger change – he went from just four scores in 2007 to eight last year. Walter only had one game over 100 yards in both of the last two seasons as a starter but he’s inconsistent enough that he’s too risky to consider a fantasy starter unless reception points are involved. He’s a great bye week replacement player for your fantasy because he’ll almost always get around four catches for 40+ yards every week with a shot at two or three times those fantasy points.

Lance Moore - NOS YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 23
Keeper: 39
Auction 10: 4%
Auction 12: 3%
2006 NOS 3 1 10 10.0        
2007 NOS 16 32 302 9.4 2 2 7 1
2008 NOS 16 79 928 11.7 10      
Avg   12 37 413 10.4 4 1 2 0
Proj NOS   64 880   6      

Lance Moore was a genuine surprise last year when he went from mere wideout depth to being the starting flanker and catching 79 passes for 928 yards and ten touchdowns to lead the Saints. With Colston and Shockey both injured and playing less than 100% in many games, Moore became the primary receiver in the #1 passing attack in the NFL. Not bad for a player that went undrafted in most leagues. Moore was angling to be a highly drafted wideout this year but he suffered a torn left labrum and dislocated his left shoulder lifting weights during the offseason. Moore will be three months beyond the surgery to correct his shoulder when training camp opens but that may not be enough. Moore himself has said his goal was to be ready by week one.

There is at least a chance that the Saints may have injury problems with both the starting wideouts but Colston’s prognosis has been more optimistic. Moore is a definite training camp watch and until he is proven to be healthy, consider him only as disposable depth.

07-22-09 Update: Moore expects to be 100% sometime during training camp but the Saints will take it easy on him. That makes Moore a sleeper of sorts because he'll carry risk and yet the potential for a big season.

08-17-09 Update: Moore is finally practicing again after his shoulder surgery is finally healed. He is cleared for full contact and already has a nice chemistry with Drew Brees.

Derrick Mason - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 24
Keeper: 42
Auction 10: 4%
Auction 12: 3%
2006 BAL 16 68 750 11.0 2 1 -4  
2007 BAL 16 103 1087 10.6 5      
2008 BAL 16 80 1037 13.0 5 1 3  
Avg   16 84 958 11.5 4 1 0 0
Proj FA   71 930   5      

The 35-year old Mason enters his 13th NFL season still the primary receiver for the Ravens and 2008 served up his seventh 1000 yard season in the last eight years. But Mason went from a career high 103 catches in 2007 to just 80 receptions last year for 1037 yards and five touchdowns. Overall – pretty normal if not average year for Mason. Then again, he hasn’t managed over 1100 yards in four seasons or more than those five scores. Mason hasn’t had the big step down yet and appears stuck at around those 1000 yards and five scores. His two games over 100 yards in 2008 both came in the first half of the season.

The Ravens did nothing to add a new receiver to the fold so Mason will again be the main recipient of Flacco passes. But Mason had to undergo shoulder surgery in the offseason that may cut into training camp as Mason heals. He is adamant that he will be ready by week one of the season. Mason is what he has always been – a fairly reliable wideout that you wish could be your WR3 but ends up costing you like a WR2. Not much upside or downside here other than his age and shoulder issue.

07-25-09 Update: Mason has not filed retirement papers still but then again has not said he has changed his mind. Until he does decide to play this year, he not worth anything more than a final pick in the draft.

08-01-20 Update: And on again. Mason has recommitted to playing this season.

Santonio Holmes - NYJ YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 25
Keeper: 25
Auction 10: 4%
Auction 12: 3%
2006 PIT 16 49 824 16.8 2 1 13  
2007 PIT 13 52 942 18.1 8 5 17  
2008 PIT 15 55 821 14.9 5 2 9  
Avg   15 52 862 16.6 5 3 13 0
Proj NYJ   60 910   5      

Holmes never had the third year breakout last year and actually declined some when he had 55 catches for 821 yards and five touchdowns. But expect that he will go higher this year after his nine catches for 131 yards and a score got him the Super Bowl XLIII MVP award. Holmes was consistent last year with more than 50 yards in most games but he never had a 100 yard effort until the Super Bowl. Nice timing for the Steelers, less so for fantasy owners who were looking for a step up from the 942 yards and eight touchdowns he had in 2007.

Holmes has slowly been increasing his number of catches each year but still has only 55 for a career high. Look for another incremental increase in 2009 where a clear leap forward won’t happen despite the faith fantasy fans have in him.

Laveranues Coles - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 26
Keeper: 30
Auction 10: 4%
Auction 12: 3%
2006 NYJ 16 91 1098 12.1 6 2 14  
2007 NYJ 12 55 646 11.7 6      
2008 NYJ 16 70 850 12.1 7 2 9  
Avg   15 72 865 12.0 6 1 8 0
Proj FA   68 900   5      

(+Upside) The 31-year old nine year veteran leaves the Jets for the second time and inherits the flanker role of Houshmandzadeh. The move could prove particularly beneficial for Coles who will play with the most talented quarterback of his career. He’s played with Chad Pennington, Brooks Bollinger, Vinny Testaverde and Patrick Ramsey as his starting quarterbacks. And yet still he had three seasons over 1000 yards and typically ended with at least 850 yards every year while averaging six scores over the last four seasons.

This is an excellent chance for Coles to string some nice years before he gets too old. He is in his prime and now actually will play with a quarterback who has been to a Pro Bowl. And Chad Ochocinco will command more respect from safeties than Jerricho Cotchery, Rod Gardner or Wayne Chrebet ever did. That’s all opportunity for Coles who will likely be undervalued in many drafts this summer.

Devin Hester - CHI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 27
Keeper: 28
Auction 10: 4%
Auction 12: 2%
2006                  
2007 CHI 16 20 299 15.0 2 7 -10  
2008 CHI 15 51 665 13.0 3 6 61  
Avg   16 36 482 14.0 3 7 26 0
Proj CHI   64 890   5      

(+Upside) Certainly no one stands to benefit more from Jay Cutler coming on board than does Hester. But he’s always been over-valued in the fantasy world by those who can only remember his record-setting special teams play back in 2006. Last year was Hester’s best chance and yet his third season ended with a pedestrian 665 yards on 51 catches (just a 13.0 YPC) and three touchdowns. He has never produced a 100 yard game in his career and was overshadowed by the receiving ability of a 230 pound running back last year. But Cutler has a big arm and can throw a much better deep ball than Kyle Orton could last year.

The offense preferred to throw to the running back and tight ends more than the wideouts last season so expecting fantasy relevant numbers by any wideout here is optimistic. There is upside here, but it makes sense to make Hester part of your depth to see what happens. Do not draft him expecting a week one starter.

Ted Ginn Jr. - CAR YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 28
Keeper: 26
Auction 10: 4%
Auction 12: 2%
2006                  
2007 MIA 16 34 420 12.4 2 4 3  
2008 MIA 16 56 790 14.1 2 5 73 2
Avg   16 45 605 13.3 2 5 38 1
Proj CAR   74 950   4      

Ginn enters his third season but a breakout year would truly be a surprise. Last year saw him with 56 catches for 790 yards and two touchdowns which was incrementally better than his rookie season. The Dolphins have not thrown much to the wide receivers who were below average in every passing category including being jus t 31s t in wide receiver scoring among all NFL teams. Ginn did not help himself with dropping passes but the Fins did not acquire any competition for him so Ginn has a chance to develop for another season. Look for what he has already d one – an incremental increase.

Hines Ward - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 29
Keeper: 34
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006 PIT 14 74 975 13.2 6 2 30  
2007 PIT 13 71 732 10.3 7 3 11  
2008 PIT 16 81 1043 12.9 7 1 4  
Avg   14 75 917 12.1 7 2 15 0
Proj FA   65 870   5      

The 33-year old Ward is certain to retire as a Steeler after signing a four-year, $22 million contract extension through 2013 when he will be almost 38 years old (assuming he would play for that long). Ward’s place on the team is more than merely a player and in many ways he is the heart of the offense. Yet again this season he is recovering from injuries sustained during the season. His knee is healthy again and his shoulder (rotator cuff) surgery went well and should allow him to be ready for training camp. Ward is coming off his best season since 2003 and turned in 81 catches for 1043 yards and seven scores last year. It was his first 1000 yard season since 2004.

It’s unlikely that Ward will further improve his stats this year and he’s probably not going to even match 2008 since Santonio Holmes is assuming the #1 role (albeit slowly) and the Steelers should not have to throw as much this year. Ward only has a couple of big games a year but he almost always has five or so catches for around 70 yards. That’s a low end WR3 but his consistency heightens his value.

Eddie Royal - SDC YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 30
Keeper: 19
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006                  
2007                  
2008 DEN 15 91 980 10.8 5 11 109  
Avg   15 91 980 10.8 5 11 109 0
Proj SDC   68 850   5      

The 2.11 pick by the Broncos paid off immediate dividends last year when Brandon Marshall was suspended for week one and Royal started his career with nine catches for 146 yards and one score in Oakland. He managed two more trips past the century mark as a rookie and ended with 91 catches for 980 yards and five scores. His rookie season was so promising that he would have been a top 25 wideout this year with the same offense and quarterback… not going to happen. Now Royal gets to be the #2 wideout in a new offense that is directed by Kyle “never had a 100 yard receiver” Orton. It is a reason for concern and Royal has to be downgraded as no better than the second best option for Orton who spent last year throwing to tight ends and the running back.

Donald Driver - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 31
Keeper: 29
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006 GBP 16 91 1288 14.2 8 7 16  
2007 GBP 15 82 1048 12.8 2 2 4  
2008 GBP 16 74 1012 13.7 5 2 4  
Avg   16 82 1116 13.6 5 4 8 0
Proj FA   66 850   5      

While Driver joined Greg Jennings north of 1,000 receiving yards and caught 74 balls last season, there is no doubt he’s dropped a peg in the Packers’ pecking order. Not only are his catch and yardage numbers trending downwards, his yards-per-catch is a solid three yards less than Jennings; can you say, “possession receiver”? Not that there’s anything wrong with being the No. 2 in a potent Green Bay passing game, and a dramatic dip in Driver’s numbers would be somewhat surprising. However, he’s always been an inconsistent scorer, and with his yardage totals slipping and Jennings firmly ensconced as Aaron Rodgers’ go-to guy… at this point in his career, Driver is a fringe fantasy WR2 at best.

Donnie Avery - KCC YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 32
Keeper: 27
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006                  
2007                  
2008 STL 15 53 674 12.7 3 10 69 1
Avg   15 53 674 12.7 3 10 69 1
Proj KCC   65 850   5      

Avery had a fairly encouraging rookie season when he caught 53 passes for 674 yards and three scores last year and he even added a rushing score. He had to nurse a sore hip for several weeks but never missed a game. Now with the departure of Torry Holt, Avery finds himself as the clear #1 wideout for the Rams. He’ll also have to learn a new offense this year and no longer enjoy the benefits of playing across from Torry Holt. Expect Avery to have an improved season but his fantasy value won’t merit a start other than in the biggest of leagues.

09-12-09 Update: Avery has a stress fracture that will sideline for 4 to 6 weeks and he'll likely miss at least one season game. Avery will still be the #1 thanks to a lack of other talent on the team but he's missing time in the new offense and will likely start the year still injured.

Brandon Marshall - CHI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 33
Keeper: 20
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006 DEN 10 20 309 15.5 2 2 12  
2007 DEN 16 102 1325 13.0 7 5 57  
2008 DEN 15 104 1265 12.2 6 2 -4  
Avg   14 75 966 13.6 5 3 22 0
Proj CHI   62 780   6      

(-Risk) (+Upside) Marshall would be a top ten wideout this year easily had Cutler remained in Denver in the same offensive scheme that saw Marshall deliver 104 catches for 1265 yards and six scores last year. He had 102 receptions for 1325 and seven scores the previous season. But… now HC Josh Daniels is implementing a new offense and gunslinger Jay Cutler has been swapped for game manager Kyle Orton. It will have an impact on Marshall and how much could be significant. In his two seasons where he remained healthy, Orton never had a wideout with more than 64 catches for 750 yards and four scores (Muhsin Muhammad – ’05). Marshall has seven career 100 yard games. No receiver has ever had a 100 yard game under Orton. It could be argued that Orton never had a wideout as good as Marshall. It could also be argued that Marshall has never had to play with a quarterback like Orton. This season will answer the eternal question – can a wideout make a quarterback or does a quarterback make the wideout?

Marshall has also underwent hip surgery in the offseason and was using crutches but was expected to be healthy by training camp. He needs to gain chemistry with Orton obviously, as well as learn the new offense. There is also the potential for a suspension stemming from a March arrest when Marshall was carrying a firearm. The case was dropped but a suspension has not been ruled out. The assumption in the projections is that Marshall will not be suspended and will be updated if needed.

Marshall is yet another player who is coming off a great year but he is in a new situation for 2009 that is almost certain to see a downturn in stats. Couple in a lack of time spent with the new offense and Orton so far and it’s likely someone will draft Marshall too early in your draft based solely on his name. Marshall is also a multiple offender against the NFL player policies and anything other transgression would be no less than a month off. He’s just a major risk this year and plays a harder schedule as well.

08-22-09 Update: Marshall is angling to be either a steal in drafts or an absolute bust with no middle ground. And it is starting to appear more likely to be getting worse instead of better. His risk is growing daily as his situation grows more contentious.

08-28-09 Update: It is getting worse. Consider Marshall as undraftable until the situation clears up. He has been suspended by the team for detrimental conduct and is acting like the headcase that scared so many teams away from him in the draft.

Tier 4
Anthony Gonzalez - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 34
Keeper: 31
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006                  
2007 IND 13 37 576 15.6 3      
2008 IND 16 57 664 11.6 4      
Avg   15 47 620 13.6 4 0 0 0
Proj FA   70 840   5      

(+Upside) Gonzalez reaches the magical third season and he could have a break out year of sorts. He has shown decent progression in his first two seasons and ended 2008 with 57 catches for 664 yards and four touchdowns. There is no doubt that Reggie Wayne takes the double teams and leaves Gonzalez with single coverage which will help. The departure of Marvin Harrison is another boon to Gonzalez’s cause – this year is why they drafted him at the end of the first round in 2007. Chances are best that Gonzalez just shows another year of incremental improvement though since the Colts are using many more two tight end sets now and the rushing effort should pick up for 2009. With Peyton Manning tossing the ball, the third year Gonzalez makes very attractive fantasy depth for your roster.

Muhsin Muhammad - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 35
Keeper: 33
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006 CHI 16 60 863 14.4 5      
2007 CAR 16 40 570 14.3 3      
2008 CAR 16 65 923 14.2 5      
Avg   16 55 785 14.3 4 0 0 0
Proj FA   62 820   5      

First season back in Carolina for the 36 year old Muhammad and he turned in his best year since 2004 when he exploded for career marks in his last season with the Panthers. Not exactly a compliment for the Bears passing game when Muhammad is more productive (65-923, 5 TDs) last year as a #2 wideout on a team that is the #1 rushing offense than as the #1 wideout in Chicago for three years. Coming into his 14th season it is safe to assume that his best seasons are behind him and that his age will start to show but Muhammad remains a safe if unexciting fantasy receiver. He’s great for bye weeks since he almost always gets a few points but he’ll be hard pressed to produce numbers that warrant him being an every week starter.

Steve Breaston - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 36
Keeper: 32
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006                  
2007 ARI 16 8 92 11.5   2 8  
2008 ARI 16 77 1006 13.1 3 2 8  
Avg   16 43 549 12.3 2 2 8 0
Proj FA   70 810   5      

No doubt the most popular sleeper if Boldin leaves the Cardinals. Breaston showed great improvement in his second season when he had 77 catches for 1,006 yards and three touchdowns last season playing from the slot. Playing in place of Anquan Boldin for four games last year, Breaston turned in two games over 90 yards and a touchdown in each while the two other match-ups were far less productive. But Breaston did manage three games over 100 yards and already has been the most productive slot receiver as of last year.

Breaston is worth owning regardless if Boldin is there or not (since he is often hurt anyway). But if Boldin does leave, look for Breaston to turn in a classic third year breakout thanks to playing with Warner and across from Fitzgerald.

Steve Smith - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 37
Keeper: 35
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006                  
2007 NYG 5 8 63 7.9        
2008 NYG 16 57 574 10.1 1      
Avg   11 33 319 9.0 1 0 0 0
Proj FA   72 920   3      

(+Upside) Smith is the only wideout you can truly feel good about drafting from the Giants this year and “the Other” Steve Smith could very well have a breakout third season. Smith takes over for Amani Toomer after 57 catches for 574 yards and one score last year – just like Toomer would do. Smith now becomes the only starter that is unlikely to be challenged. Manning will need to throw this season and that should benefit Smith first. Expect him to lead the team in receptions and yards though touchdowns could end up elsewhere.

Jerricho Cotchery - PIT YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 38
Keeper: 37
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006 NYJ 16 82 961 11.7 6 5 25  
2007 NYJ 15 82 1130 13.8 2 5 38  
2008 NYJ 16 71 858 12.1 5 2 8  
Avg   16 78 983 12.5 4 4 24 0
Proj PIT   70 860   4      

(-Risk) (+Upside) Cotchery gets the chance to finally be the #1 wideout for the Jets but whether he’ll do much with the opportunity remains to be seen. Laveranues Coles is gone and likely replaced with only David Clowney or Chansi Stuckey. That’ll mean that Cotchery now becomes the marked man by the secondary. His best season came in 2007 when he had 82 catches for 1130 yards but he fell back to just 858 yards last year despite playing with Brett Favre.

No doubt that the Jets will need to throw this season and that Cotchery should be the leading receiver (assuming the tight end Keller doesn’t). How much that will be worth depends on what happens with Mark Sanchez. That makes Cotchery a risk, but also with much upside and he’ll come cheap enough that he will be worth the gamble. Take him as your receiver depth and see if he becomes a starter for you.

Vincent Jackson - TBB YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 39
Keeper: 38
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006 SDC 13 27 453 16.8 6 3 16  
2007 SDC 16 41 623 15.2 3      
2008 SDC 16 59 1098 18.6 7 4 69  
Avg   15 42 725 16.9 5 2 28 0
Proj TBB   50 740   5      

Jackson really took his playing to the next level in 2008 when injuries to Chris Chambers and Antonio Gates led to more use for the fourth year wideout. He ended with 59 catches for 1098 (team leader) and seven touchdowns. Even more remarkable was that Jackson had 18.6 yards per catch. His season ended with almost double his previous best (2007 – 41-623, 3 TD). While some of his workload stemmed from other receivers playing injured or absent from games, there was no denying the chemistry that he has formed with Rivers and in particular with deep passes.

Jackson has a potential DUI conviction which should be resolved in plenty of time for training camp but if he is found guilty, he’ll likely get at least a one game suspension or more from the league. Jackson is only worth being depth and bye week replacement so one week or two to start the season shouldn’t affect your plans.

Antonio Bryant - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 40
Keeper: 36
Auction 10: 3%
Auction 12: 2%
2006 SFO 14 40 733 18.3 3      
2007                  
2008 TBB 16 83 1248 15.0 7 2 22  
Avg   15 62 991 16.7 5 1 11 0
Proj FA   60 800   4      

Bryant finally had a season that met his potential when he spent a year out of football and then returned to play for the Bucs. He ended with a team high 83 catches for 1248 yards and seven scores – all career high marks by a large margin. But his one magic year did not result in a new contract. The Bucs slapped a franchise tag on him and coughed up $9.8 million dollars for this year. That means, even according to Bryant, that this is a “show me again so I will believe it” year.

What will present a challenge is that all the coaches are gone from last year and a new West Coast offense is being installed. The new offense still does not have a starting quarterback and even when one is named, it could and probably will change as the season progresses. Until Josh Freeman is the started, it will change and that could be 2010 before that happens. Bryant also will have Kellen Winslow there vying for passes unlike last year when Bryant was about all there was to catch the ball. He’ll likely fall in stats this year but still will offer fantasy value. Problem is someone else in your league will take him too early expecting 2008 to repeat.

Torry Holt - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 41
Keeper: 45
Auction 10: 2%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 STL 16 93 1188 12.8 10      
2007 STL 16 93 1189 12.8 7      
2008 STL 16 64 796 12.4 3      
Avg   16 83 1058 12.7 7 0 0 0
Proj FA   66 750   4      

Torry Holt 2.0 is likely not an upgrade. Granted, he is only 33 years old in a position that has seen others at least contribute nicely for another year or so but Holt has been hampered by a balky knee for a few seasons despite his insistence that his decline was all about the team around him. He caught only 64 passes last year from a career low 119 targets. He ended with 769 yards and three touchdowns. It was his only season below 1000 since his rookie year when he had 788 yards and six touchdowns. His yards per catch has been declining since 2004 and fell to just 12.4 last season.

Now Holt has left the Rams and Marc Bulger for the Jaguars and David Garrard. The Jaguars did throw better than the Rams last year but have never been above average in NFL terms and less so from a fantasy perspective. Not since Jimmy Smith (or since Garrard took over) has any wideout had more than 65 catches for 761 yards in a season. In fact, the leading wideout last year was Matt Jones with almost exactly the same stats that Holt had (65-761, 2 TD vs. 64-769, 3 TD). Holt claims he has years of quality playing time ahead of him but so far in this offense, what he did in St. Louis last year was the same as the best that ever happened with Garrard.

And the Jaguars are only committed for one year and $3 million which not only shows how little they expect to happen but the fact that Holt signed it shows he knows that was all he could hope to get. It is not unusual for a quickly fading star to change teams for the final year or two. It is highly unusual to ever see them improve their numbers this late into a career that has been on the decline in an offense that was fairly built around him as the receiver. He’ll be drafted too early by the high risk optimist in every league.

Chris Chambers - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 42
Keeper: 40
Auction 10: 2%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 MIA 16 59 677 11.5 4 8 95  
2007 SDC 16 66 970 14.7 4 3 12  
2008 SDC 14 33 462 14.0 5 1 1  
Avg   15 53 703 13.4 4 4 36 0
Proj FA   55 720   4      

Like Tomlinson and Gates, Chambers spent much of 2008 with nagging injuries and even missed two games. He suffered through ankle problems much of the year and then ended with a neck sprain. He only had 462 yards on 33 catches for five scores in his worst NFL season ever. In 2007, a healthy Chambers turned in 66 catches for 970 yards and four scores. He started 2008 with all five touchdowns coming in the first five games. It was a lost season for Chambers and at 31 years of age, he should return to form in 2009 with several good seasons left to play. He’s not going to be a major sleeper because his production is limited on the Chargers by Tomlinson and Gates, but Chambers comes as a bigger bargain this year and is a solid choice for fantasy depth that could return to your starting lineup in a pinch. The emergence of Vincent Jackson will also cap what Chambers can do.

Nate Burleson - DET YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 43
Keeper: 58
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 SEA 14 18 192 10.7 2      
2007 SEA 16 50 694 13.9 9 2 4  
2008 SEA 1 5 60 12.0 1      
Avg   10 24 315 12.2 4 1 1 0
Proj DET   50 660   5      

Burleson underwent reconstructive knee surgery during last season and should be ready to play in 2009. He’s already been running in minicamps and will be ready for training camp. Burleson will likely play split end if he can prove healthy and remain that way. Unlike Deion Branch, Burleson has been healthy the first two seasons in Seattle before suffering his knee injury in week one last season. He’s a slightly better bet than Branch but needs to show up in training camp to prove how well he has recovered from his knee surgery.

Nate Washington - TEN YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 44
Keeper: 41
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 PIT 16 35 624 17.8 4 3 8  
2007 PIT 16 29 450 15.5 5 1    
2008 PIT 16 40 631 15.8 3 5 18  
Avg   16 35 568 16.4 4 3 9 0
Proj TEN   40 660   5      

(+Upside) Washington came over to Tennessee with a six-year contract worth $27 million and with $9 million guaranteed. That means it doesn’t matter that he struggled in minicamp learning the new offense, he will be given the split end position barring a melt down or a heroic effort by the rookie Kenny Britt. Expect Washington to hold off the rookie and turn in a decent season that likely won’t produce enough to warrant being a fantasy starter. The Titans ranked in the bottom three in all receiving categories for wideouts in the NFL last year and Washington is just an incremental improvement.

Tier 5
Justin Gage - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 45
Keeper: 46
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 CHI 2 4 68 17.0        
2007 TEN 16 55 750 13.6 2      
2008 TEN 12 34 651 19.1 6      
Avg   10 31 490 16.6 3 0 0 0
Proj FA   43 710   4      

Gage was the #1 receiver last year when he caught 34 passes for 651 yards and six scores but his workload decreased from the 55 receptions he had in 2007. The Titans have brought in Nate Washington and drafted Kenny Britt and either could eventually overtake Gage on the depth chart but to start the season Gage will remain the flanker and likely remain there all season. Washington and Britt can sort out the split end and slot positions but this offense is hardly pass-friendly. The Titans wideouts ranked 30th in targets, catches, yards and touchdowns last year. That means even the #1 wideout may not be worth a fantasy start unless it is a bigger league.

Michael Jenkins - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 46
Keeper: 49
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 ATL 16 39 436 11.2 7 1 2  
2007 ATL 15 53 532 10.0 4      
2008 ATL 16 50 777 15.5 3      
Avg   16 47 582 12.2 5 0 1 0
Proj FA   50 750   2      

After five seasons in the NFL, the former first round pick in 2004 has yet to top 777 yards in a season. The good news is that finally happened last year when the Falcons added a legitimate quarterback in Matt Ryan. Playing with Michael Vick never helped any wide receiver, much less Jenkins. In 2007, Jenkins lost his starting job to Laurent Robinson and the 6’4” wideout became miscast as a slot receiver but Robinson left in 2008 and Jenkins reassumed his flanker role in the offense.

Jenkins probably doesn’t have a lot of upside thanks to Roddy White exploding last year and the addition of Tony Gonzalez who will now be “the guy who is not Roddy White”. His four touchdowns last year could also decline but the offense may just get better across the board so figure Jenkins as a decent bye week filler but likely not much more.

Percy Harvin - SEA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 47
Keeper: 48
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                  
2007                  
2008                  
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj SEA   40 570   5      

The selection of Harvin with the 21st overall pick in Round One represented a bit of a departure for the Vikings. Harvin’s numerous character red flags—more than one analyst characterized him as a first-round talent with free agent-caliber character, a point dramatically emphasized by his reportedly testing positive for marijuana at the Scouting Combine—didn’t seem to mesh with Brad Childress’ code of conduct, but with Chilly’s job likely on the line talent trumped table manners. Harvin also seemed an odd fit in a run-first offense that has failed to demonstrate much if any creativity under the Childress/Darrell Bevel regime. Mix in concerns about Harvin’s durability (another attribute Vikings fans were reminded of when Harvin missed the team’s first rookie minicamp due to extreme dehydration) and the pick has all the earmarks of a desperate move from a coach clingling to his job.

On the flip side, of course, is Harvin’s weath of talent. The Vikings reportedly added 20-30 plays specifically for Harvin during the OTAs he was able to attend, including some in Minnesota’s version of the Wildcat formation. And when Harvin is on the field, defenses will have to account for him—opening yet another running lane for Adrian Peterson. As an added bonus, the Vikings plan to use Harvin to jump-start a moribund return game; though he did not handle those chores in college, his speed and playmaking ability in the open-field certainly indicate he has the skills to do so.

Ultimately, fantasy owners looking at Harvin will have to make the same risk vs. reward assessment the Vikings did. On the plus side, Childress has demonstrated he’ll give his hand-picked players every opportunity (see: Jackson, Tarvaris) and Harvin demonstrated on college’s biggest stage that he has the talent to make plays and break games open. On the negative: Harvin’s ability to stay on the field (whether it be health-related issues or character concerns), the Vikings’ run-first offense and quarterback questions, and a 20-plus year history of Florida wide receivers flaming out at the NFL level.

Patrick Crayton - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 48
Keeper: 62
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 DAL 15 36 516 14.3 4      
2007 DAL 15 50 697 13.9 7      
2008 DAL 16 39 550 14.1 4 1 11  
Avg   15 42 588 14.1 5 0 4 0
Proj FA   39 510   5      

Crayton is back to playing flanker in minicamp and no doubt will start out that way in training camp as well. But he is no lock to keep the position since the coaching staff prefers Miles Austin. He just does not have the experience that Crayton does for now. Crayton has been as good as 50 catches for 697 yards and seven scores during pass happy 2007 but his standard is more around 500 yards and four scores much like he had last year. The Cowboys are throwing less this year (if they can) and that will come straight out of what Crayton could do – assuming he continues to hold off Miles Austin. As it stands, Austin is the more interesting play since only he has upside.

Troy Williamson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 49
Keeper: 80
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006 MIN 14 37 455 12.3        
2007 MIN 11 18 240 13.3 1 2 29  
2008 JAC 8 5 30 6.0 1 1 1  
Avg   11 20 242 10.5 1 1 10 0
Proj FA   40 560   4      

Williamson has a chance to step up this year and contribute but the same has been true every year. His move to Jacksonville resulted in a career low five catches for 30 yards for a 6.0 YPC which is average for a 270 pound fullback but not so good for a 203 pound guy who was supposed to be the speedster.

09-09-02 Update: Amazingly, Williamson has risen to being the #2 wideout to open the season. It is more an indictment of the quality of other receivers than it is any great success by Williamson.

Laurent Robinson - FA YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 50
Keeper: 44
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2006                  
2007 ATL 15 37 437 11.8 1      
2008 ATL 6 5 52 10.4        
Avg   11 21 245 11.1 1 0 0 0
Proj FA   42 560   4      

(+Upside) Robinson was traded to the Rams during the NFL draft after missing much of his second year because of head and hamstring injuries. His rookie season saw him catch 37 passes for 437 yards and one score when he eventually became the starting flanker in Atlanta in 2007. Robinson will compete with Keenan Burton for the #2 role and either wideout is likely to assume the slot otherwise. The new West Coast offense may not be best suited to the vertical speed game that Robinson prefers.

08-22-09 Update: Still purely fantasy depth, but Robinson is showing that he is becoming more and more important to this offense that will need desperately to throw the ball each week. He's turning into a sleeper as the starting flanker and the #1 wideout until Donnie Avery is healthy.

   
Go To Wide Receiver Rankings 51 - 100 >>        Go To Wide Receiver Rankings 101 - END >>

Related Features

Ease of Schedule for Quarterbacks
Ease of Schedule for Running Backs
Ease of Schedule for Receivers
Better Than Average Rankings
Consistency Rankings
a d v e r t i s e m e n t
a d v e r t i s e m e n t