Welcome to the refreshed part one in a series of Draft Prep articles leading up to training camp. PART TWO- QB here and part THREE-TE here, Part FOUR RB here) This week the focus is on fantasy WRs. We ranked all 32 teams based on their Fantasy Points Against Strength. We will break down each team and profile each WR. You will also find helpful information on 2009 Yards Per Attempt, 2010 Strength of Schedule and 2010 Fantasy Playoff schedules.
Don’t worry about Fantasy Points Against data here being grabbed just from 2009. The engine used here has been hard at work cranking out “defensive ranking against fantasy position” projections all spring. The “FPA” values you see here include 2010 adjustments for the draft additions, free agency additions, coaching changes in the offseason, defensive scheme updates, daily fantasy news updates and up to the day depth charts. In addition, the FPA values are also weighted against their strength of opponents in 2009 and then again against their strength of opponents in 2010.
Each week we will post a new skill position until we deliver a complete skill position Draft Sheet for your late summer drafts.
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Team Rank: All teams are listed in order of our FPA season rank. This means the #1 ranked DAL pass catchers will have the least resistance against their position all season. #32 ranked STL will face the toughest opponents against their position.
Tip: Draft all players from the top 10 and ignore all players from the bottom 10 and use the middle to help you make tough decisions in your draft.
YPA: Yard Per Attempt in 2009. This includes pass interference penalties because the player was involved in a pass route attempt. (Thanks KC Joyner) This is a good measure of the player being involved in long pass plays in the teams offense as well as potentially “Yards After Catch”. In TD only leagues this doesn’t matter but in performance scoring leagues this is gold.
Tip: Always take a player with a higher YPA when making draft decisions.
ADP: Average Draft Position in 2010 early drafts. This average is across about 20 of the top Fantasy Football sites and all their mock and expert drafts. (Thanks Fantasy Football Nerd). This is a great indicator of where other owners in your league may draft each player, NOT a ranking for our recommended draft positions. That Draft Sheet is coming this summer. This helps you see where players are most likely going to be available in your drafts.
Tip: Use ADP to determine in what order to draft your players since players with a higher ADP will likely go fast in your draft.
Chart: Each chart is an exclusive look at the Fantasy Points Against ranking for each opponent for each week, given a 16 week season. The number reflects the rank of the opposing team factoring in the fantasy points given up to WRs. This is NOT based on 2009, this is fresh 2010 rankings provided our prognostication engine and can only be found here. Every other site or magazine you see is using straight 2009 totals, not the 2010 adjustments. It reflects over 100 hours of adjustments for scheme changes, coaching changes, injury returns, drafted immediate impact starters and weighted by the performance of the team over the last 5 weeks of the 2009 season only.
Tip: The lower the number, the better the start. #1 is the best matchup that week in the NFL, #32 is the toughest. BYE weeks are represented as gaps in the chart.
What to Look for: Players with high YPA and trends of low FPA ranks against especially during weeks 14-16 (fantasy playoffs). A good combination of low ADP and a high rank in FPA with a lot of involvement in the offense= value.
1. (FPA score: 82.3)
- Miles Austin (YPA 11.2) ADP: 24
- Dez Bryant ADP: 95
- Roy Williams (YPA 6.9) ADP: 163
- Patrick Crayton (YPA 9.5) ADP: 356
The Dallas passing game will be a gold rush for fantasy drafts this summer. Grab Tony Romo, Jason Witten or any of the WRs listed here. Each has their own value at different points.The passing game might start slow, but will DOMINATE in the late season.
However, your strategy might involve NOT drafting Miles Austin (ADP 24) because he will cost your a high 2nd round pick , but trying to instead to possibly trade for him after weeks 3-5 to an owner who may be unhappy with three weeks of poor performances and may be in need of a WR during the DAL BYE week in week 4. If you can pull off the trade for let’s say a WR with a fast start like…Brandon Marshall who starts strong those first 4 weeks, then drops off for the season.
Austin was the best WR in the NFL last year and yet he’s being valued as a mid- late top 10 WR in nearly every fantasy draft guide. He’s ranked as the #1 WR on our draft board (ahead of Andre Johnson) and is worthy of a first or second round pick in the right situation. If he makes it down to the second round, take him immediately regardless of who else is on the board.
This is a steal waiting to happen.OR…you can wait patiently for the Roy Williams/ Dez Bryantsaga to work itself out. You can grab Bryant in round 8 and stash him as a flex until after their BYE where that #2 spot will explode due to opposing teams correcting against Austin. Williams claims that it’s finally “coming together” for him with Tony Romo.
This might be one of the best values in the draft. The injury to Dez Bryant will blow some of the hype off of him in your drafts since he may still be injured by the time you draft. But he still has spot start value during his week 6-15 run. You can do worse.
Dez will be able to continue to study the playbook over the next two weeks while he waits to shed his walking boot. This should help him in his quest to unseat Williams.
Despite Bryant’s ankle injury, owner Jerry Jones isn’t prepared to guarantee that Patrick Crayton will make the Cowboys’ final roster.
Let us just state one VERY important thing here… This prediction hinges completely on the DAL offensive line coming together during camp. Otherwise, you could possibly see something similar to what happened to Rodgers/Jennings in GB in the first half of last season. Just a caution and something to watch. OT Doug Free played a string couple series in the Hall of Fame Game and appeared to have solidified the starting role in place of booted Flozell Adams.
All pass catchers enjoy the leagues BEST fantasy playoff schedules with exception of week 16 vs ARI. A lot can change, but with an average FPA of 7, you can count on this being a soft road to a championship regardless of how things shake out.
2. (FPA score: 89.7)
- Calvin Johnson (YPA 7.5) ADP: 19
- Nate Burleson (YPA 8.1) ADP: 123
- Bryant Johnson (YPA 5.5) ADP: 351
DET has one of the most pass favorable schedules in the NFL in 2010.
The player to look for here is Calvin Johnson. Some owners may be disenchanted with his injury-proned 2009 season. DET will enjoy more balance with new additions in the passing game and a capable RB in the backfield. Calvin Johnson could easily post a 150+ catch season if he stays on the field. Although his career high is only 78, due to injuries. There are a lot of “ifs” that need to come through, but if they do, Calvin could be a good consolation prize if he falsl to the bottom of the second round.
Calvin Johnson is an excellent candidate for a STUD during the first half and then just after his BYE, his second half it gets tougher. DRAFT him, love him till his BYE and pretend to need BYE help by unloading him.
Johnson has been “pretty much unstoppable” in training camp despite “excellent” coverage by CB Chris Houston. According to beat writer Tom Kowalski, the Lions are forcing the ball to Johnson in the redzone, and he’s making the catch “almost every time.” To keep the defense guessing, he’s running more than just fade routes. Johnson is a good bet to lead all receivers in touchdowns this season.
Johnson projects to see fewer double and triple teams this season, with Nate Burleson and Tony Scheffler commanding attention adjacent him and Jahvid Best in the backfield. Burleson has the best chance of rising out of the mix with possibly 100 catches. he will get those in Megatron double team situations. The problem is that he has missed time in each of his past 2 seasons.
Calvin could be the guy you trade away to get a chance at Miles Austin around their bye weeks. If you hold on to Calvin, the week 16 match against MIA is championship gold.
3. (FPA score: 91.0)
- Sidney Rice (YPA 11.3) ADP: 29
- Bernard Berrian (YPA 7.1) ADP:134
- Percy Harvin (YPA 9.0) ADP: 54
Its all about Brent Favre in MIN. He will be back and his receivers will benefit.
The 29-year-old Bernard Berrian (“B Twice”) has moved to the back burner in Minnesota’s offense, with Sidney Rice as the team’s clear-cut No. 1 receiver, and Visanthe Shiancoe and Percy Harvin commanding plenty of targets. We’d view Berrian as no more than a WR4 for 2010 fantasy leagues. He has a round 12 value now so he will be waiver-bait early. if Berrian has any value, it is because he is a “favorite” target of Favre, who has been known to force it.
In addition to Percy Harvin, Vikings WR Sidney Rice also packed on about eight pounds of muscle this offseason. Harvin, one of the strongest receivers in the league, didn’t really need the added muscle, but it should help the thinner Rice absorb hits and avoid injuries. Rice will work out at Larry Fitzgerald’s offseason camp in July for the second straight summer.
Harvin disclosed that a tweaked ankle forced him out of Saturday’s first practice. Yet he confirmed that his ankle tweak is not a concern. “I feel good. I’ll continue to follow the program, the rehab, but I feel fine,” Harvin said. It’s just one of the usual training camp nicks and nothing to worry about.
Sidney Rice caught 44 % more of his passes with Favre at the helm than in 2008. So if Favre is back , expect Rice to shine despite opposing Defenses focusing on him. Rice also did a great job on both short passes and long ones against any kind of opposing corner. He is a borderline WR1 and could be an excellent WR2.
Rice has a great YPA but a round 3 price tag. If you snag him as a WR2 you will be a stud, although he may have low WR1 production and some tough spotty weeks. Rice has had a lot of talk about his offseason (or last season) injury. NFL.com’s Steve Wyches notes that there’s “little concern” at Vikings camp that Sidney Rice (hip) won’t be ready for the regular season. Rice has been confident about his status for Week 1 as well. Wyche suggests that Rice’s “progression into serious work” will be timed to coincide with Brett Favre’s arrival, likely after the second preseason game.
Vikings coach Brad Childress confirmed Wednesday that Rice (hip) is “a ways away” from coming off active/PUP.
MIN WRs #3 playoff schedule is great as it lowers steadily from week 5 through week 14 with a brief respite in week 15. The schedule promises HUGE early season value up until the week 4 BYE.
4. (FPA score: 92.4)
- Braylon Edwards (YPA 7.7) ADP: 98
- Jericho Cotchery (YPA 8.8) ADP: 120
- Santonio Holmes (YPA 9.9) ADP: 106
The value here is the 5 weeks of excellent matchups and potentially two amazing playoff weeks.
There will be some up and down early on. Keep in mind that the Jets ran the ball like, 600+ times last year (521 actually) so a major swing in offensive scheme would have to be coming as well as some clarity in who will be the #1WR before you buy in here.
Coach Rex Ryan is already on record as saying the “ground ‘n’ pound” ratio of 59-41 will balance out more this year. The Ravens and Falcons made similar adjustments last season,allowing Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan more leeway in their second seasons. Mark Sanchez will inch closer to No. 20 among QBs if this comes true.
But who do you grab? It is all about Jerricho Cotchery. He has a decent YPA and a cheap 10th round price tag, but he led NYJ in targets last year and shouldn’t be as threatened by Holmes as Edwards will be. Cotchery does well against all types of matchups and will actually start for 4 games while Holmes is out. Week 3 he could be the #1 rated WR bases on matchup and consistent production. If he can parlay that into more time when Holes gets back, a 100 catch season could be a reality. He is a good WR3 and if you find a fool who you cna trade him to after he blows up in week 3, then…well, get a better league.
The Jets are working on having suspended WR Santonio Holmes learn all three receiver positions after he played almost strictly the “X” spot — or split end — as a Pittsburgh Steeler, yet he is being tagged with a four-game suspension to start 2010.
When he returns, he could have value. His value may take from Cotchery, but Holmes’ ability to beat individual matchups could have a lot of value after he returns. He might be thought of as a deep threat, but he has elite short pass numbers. Of all NYJ WRs, Holes has the best schedule since he misses 2 bad ones. he still has to form a relationship with Sanchez, but he will miss 1/3 of the fantasy season.
Braylon Edwards will play the entire fantasy season (barring injury) and could lead the league in deep passes. He will remain the deep threat, but on a team that doesn’t go deep too often. That could change this year.
Cotchery will be your late round steal who will give you off and on WR2 value for a WR3 price. If things hold on late in the season, the passing game could pay dividends in the fantasy playoffs with the BEST weeks 14-15 schedule in the league.
5. (FPA score: 93.7)
- Steve Smith (YPA 8.3) ADP: 43
- Mario Manningham (YPA 8.5) ADP: 136
- Hakeem Nicks (YPA 10.9) ADP: 58
- Derek Hagan
If you can afford to stash a NYG WR to see what happens, you might be in luck with a tremendous weeks 11 – 16. The best push through post schedule there is. Domenik Hixon will miss the entire 2010 season with a torn right ACL but this squad was deep.
Steve Smith led the NFC in receptions in 2009. 9 of his 16 games had 10 or more targets.
Steve Smith is currently a steal as a round 4 grab, but he can pay round 2 production late in the season. Mario Manningham is a round 12 price tag but could drop again.
Smith is a big sleeper, currently valued as a WR2, we predict WR2 numbers and possibly top half of WR1 numbers in the fantasy post season. He has to stay healthy that long to acehive this value and he indicated Saturday that an exam on his groin revealed on a minor groin strain. *ALERT* It’s not known when he will return to practice, but this is great news for the Giants. The injury bug had been creeping from the offensive line out to the wide receivers. He’s clearly Eli Manning’s favorite target and will be a strong when he returns to practice.
If it helps, Manningham just got assigned to punt returns and that could potentially be a sign that the Giants would decrease his offensive role. While he’d likely continue to rotate into three-receiver sets, it could give Hakeem Nicks (and his 10.9 YPA) a deserved upper hand on the full-time split end job. Nicks might be the best value at his position.
Manningham (groin) sat out a few days, but the missed time won’t help Manningham’s odds of holding off Nicks. Nicks returned from his own injury Thursday night after missing just two days. Expect Manningham to stick to situational deep threat duties this season.
Nicks ran as the Giants’ first-team split end during Monday’s training camp practice, opposite flanker Steve Smith. Manningham is meanwhile getting a shot to claim the top punt returner job.
You will have to pay top 20 prices for Smith, and he is worth it, but Nicks could come much cheaper and still enjoy an amazing post season schedule.
Nicks had the makings of a true WR2 sleeper with a lot of talk coming out of camp about big expectations. Even WR Smith said he thinks Nicks will have a “breakout season”. Then the training camp jinx set in: *ALERT* Nicks went down with a right knee injury at the end of Tuesday’s practice and will undergo an MRI to determine the severity. Nicks was able to stand up, but needed a cart to get to the locker room. A source said that “early indications are positive” Nicks’ MRI will take place Tuesday night. He’ll have more tests on Wednesday, and a team update is expected by Thursday.
All these other WRs are enough to keep defenses off Smith, who should not see a drop in targets in 2010.
Smith has only two individual tough corner matchups and all WRs have 6 bottom 10 matchups and the SECOND BEST fantasy playoff schedule of all WRS (2nd only to NYJ). Get a piece of this action in the playoffs though….its is nearly a guarantee for production. I mean, wow.
6. (FPA score: 94.7)
- Nate Washington (YPA 6.5) ADP: 170
- Kenny Britt (YPA 10.7) ADP: 104 / Lavelle Hawkins ADP: 305
- Justin Gage (YPA 6.0) ADP: 220 / Damian Williams
First, this is Chris Johnson’s team. He will get 80% of the carries and a lion share of passing looks on 3rd down. The other factor is the development of the passing game with Vince Young as a passer not a runner. He did a great job of this in 2009 so you can expect Fischer to develop this further. CJ will need some balance to continue to attack. This means someone must catch passes.
Young TE Jared Cook showed up heavy to OTAs so he will be more of a blocker than pass catcher. Both Nate Washington and Kenny Britt are banged up going into the training camp so there will be no fast starts.
Beat writer Jim Wyatt notes that Britt at least appears to be in better shape at the start of training camp than he was this offseason. Britt has legit No. 1 receiver potential and is easily the top talent among Tennessee’s receivers. He’ll have to prove it on the field in August, though, to move into the starting lineup.
Britt is still behind Lavelle Hawkins on the depth chart, earning his way back into coach Jeff Fisher’s good graces after horrible OTAs. ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky believes it will be a “huge disappointment” if Britt isn’t the Titans’ top receiver by the end of preseason action. He’s got a lot of ground to make up in August. Keep Hawkins in mind as a really deep sleeper if Britt continues to fall off.
Britt returned to practice Saturday after sitting out Friday with hip flexor tightness. *ALERT* Britt suggested Friday that the injury could keep him out for “some time,” but he had plenty of incentive to return to practice after a rough week. He’ll have to turn it on over the next month to bypass Washington or Justin Gage on the depth chart.
Washington aggravated his sprained wrist when he landed on the turf after a pass, causing his hand to bend back the wrong way. Washington has been trying to strengthen his wrist so it can absorb more impact. If he wants to hold down his starting job for Week 1, the former Steeler had better get healthy before Britt (hip flexor).
There is reason to get excited if Britt has a good camp. Even though all other WRs had horrible seasons and that was blamed on bad QB play, Britt posted double-digit YPA totals against nearly every level of CB competition and did the same against non-CBs. Just as importantly, his overall and vertical YPA totals were also at that level. The 54.4% vertical target rate was a top 20 rate and his overall target rate could improve if he lands a starting job.
Justin Gage and Nate Washington will enter training camp as the Titans’ starting receivers. Rookie Damian Williams (signed) is listed as the Titans’ No. 1 kickoff returner and punt returner on the team’s latest depth chart. although Fisher admitted concern Friday with his hamstring injury so he is currently on the teams active/PUP list. Williams (calf) will return to the practice field Saturday. Williams will be slated in as the primary kick returner and could be a difference maker on special teams, something the Titans have been lacking in recent years. He projects as a project at wide receiver, but for now he’ll focus on honing his return skills.
Reports from Titan’s camp indicate that veteran corners are physically challenging this young group of receivers.
Any WR in the Tennessee offense is something of a risk but Britt is more than worth taking a chance on. Definitely worth a WR3 you might be able to pick up as a #4 in the 9th round.
You do not care about the three early season weeks against OAK, DEN and DAL, let this develop and maybe invest in a 9th round pick for Britt and he can be a stash for a potential mid to late season run. You may find yourself contemplating Washington in a midseason waiver pick up since TEN enjoys a great week 6-9 going into their BYE. If you have Britt you will love him as a value Flex WR with WR2 potential in the fantasy playoffs and you would pay the same price for him as other WRs like Eddie Royal or Santonio Holmes.
7. (FPA score: 95.7)
- Lee Evans (YPA 7.4) ADP: 106
- James Hardy ADP: 309 / Steve Johnson ADP: 350
- Roscoe Parrish ADP: 354 / Easley (r)
The biggest issue here is who will be throwing the ball. Position battles are not won during OTAs, but Brohm appears to have an early lead and this could only make things worse come week 1. But if the passing game can click, you could enjoy a great early season run for Lee Evans until week 4. Evans finally has a coach who might be willing to go all out to take advantage of his vertical receiving skills.
A quick look at his schedule shows at least four games (Miami twice, Detroit and Jacksonville) that could be double-digit games. That makes him a good #4, but if the more vertically-inclined Fitzpatrick wins the starting QB spot, he could be valued as high as a #3. Evans doesn’t do as well on short routes as he does on long ones so Fitzpatrick would be the one you want throwing him the ball if you grab him.
Evans is a 9th round grab this summer and he can give you WR2 value for a flex WR cost for about 5 great matchups this season. Roscoe Parrish appears to be the third receiver and the battle for their second will continue into camp between James Hardy and Steve Johnson. For now, Johnson opened training camp as the starter opposite Evans at wide receiver.
WR David Nelson pulled his hamstring during Wednesday night practice. There is no timetable for the injury, but coach Chan Gailey said Nelson would be “out a while.” The Bills wideout situation is getting uglier by the day, as Nelson was reportedly impressive during spring practice and had a chance to challenge Parrish for time at the slot.
Watch out for the running game kicking in late in the season during fantasy playoffs. This decent schedule does also ONLY include ONE Revis game in week 4 with the other coming week 17. But we are talking 9th round players where some teams are grabbing early DSTs and TEs. Great value for a potential mid season boomer and quality spot start. His 5 good matchups are 5 more than a lot of top WRs this year.
8. (FPA score: 96.7)
- DeSean Jackson (YPA 10.8) ADP: 25
- Jeremy Maclin (YPA 8.5) ADP: 71
- Jason Avant (YPA 10.4) ADP: 226
The main focus of the PHI passing game this summer is the development of Kevin Kolb. He has potential and The Eagles are expected to run a more traditional West Coast offense this season with Kevin Kolb at the helm.
Donovan McNabb had great arm strength and poor accuracy. Kolb is the opposite. The Eagles will run more short slants and curls to give explosive wideouts DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin chances for big yards after the catch. Kolb’s pinpoint accuracy allows receivers to catch the ball in stride. So expect Jackson to lower his YPA and not be on the receiving end of so many desperate McNabb bombs this year.
Maclin has major individual matchup issues this year. Although the team has a good season in general, No receiver has a tougher individual schedule in 2010 than Maclin.As a result, we cannot recomend drafting or picking him up and we lower his projected WR2 value ot a low end WR3 or WR4. The Eagles indicated Maclin suffered “a hyperextended left knee.” Maclin has since returned to practice. He was thought to have hyperextended his knee in Tuesday’s practice, but it was later diagnosed as a bone bruise. He was not limited in Saturday’s return and was not sporting any type of sleeve or knee brace. The injury shouldn’t have any long-term effects.
Jackson has shined in one-on-one drills so far in camp. “He missed multiple practices with a back strain, but whenever he’s on the field, Jackson shows he’s the best player on the field,” says Sheil Kapadia of Philly.com. Jackson owners should be happy to hear that he’s practicing well, but those who have yet to draft need to realize he’s the definition of high-risk high-reward.
This unit will need to gel fast to deal with an early season soft matchups and then a tough week 5-7 run before their BYE in week 8. This could be a good time to target a PHI WR in a trade for the good week 9-11 and then a juicy weeks 15 and 16.
Be patient because there are 5 late season match ups no higher than the bottom 10 against WRs. DeSean Jackson is going in round 3 so he will need to be consistent all season to maintain that value.
If Jackson can keep opposing defenses off of him, then he can really cash in on 9 bottom 10 matchups evenly spread throughout the season. However if he stays exclusively a long bomb threat, then this could make him a little bit less of a value. He is an excellent WR2 option due to schedule alone, but shouldn’t be considered as your first WR off the board.
9. (FPA score: 99.8)
- Chaz Schillens (YPA 7.4) ADP: 137
- D. Heyward-Bey ADP: 215
- Louis Murphy (injured) ADP: 173 / Johnnie Lee Higgins
OAK has a softer late season schedule but no fun getting there. Look for Chaz Schillens on waivers after their week 10 BYE after everyone gives up on OAK and take a flyer. He is worth a WR4 price with upside so you may not have to draft him to try him out this season. He has a lot of hype because he saw a lot of long targets in 2009. Campbell isn’t much of a long bomber, so his value may not rise with a capable QB this year. He is a WR4 at best.
It is hard not to root against any Al Davis draft pick, but the rave reviews from Darious Heyward-Bey’s offseason continue to pour in, just remain skeptical about how much progress he possibly could have made. He’ll have to produce in training camp and in preseason games before even thinking about taking a flier in redraft leagues after doing nothing in 2009. But if you are a savvy fantasy player, you will not touch him until he actually proves he can be productive (unlike how Davis does it), which he has yet to do.
Louis Murphy missed Saturday’s practice with a concussion after taking a knee to the head on Friday. “Nnamdi [Asomugha] kneed me in the back of the head,” said Murphy. “Finished practice, felt pretty good. Woke up for the second practice with a horrible headache.” Coach Tom Cable confirmed that he will follow “protocol,” keeping Murphy out for a day or two. Murphy was then able to return to practice.
Still experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired left foot, Schilens watched morning practice from the sidelines Saturday.
TE Zach Miller will most likely be the most valuable pass catcher on this team in 2010.
You really cannot ignore the weeks 11, 12, 14 and 16 on their schedule. Watch this closely if you are in a flex league because of someone actually develops a rapport with Campbell, then they could have some good flex value in the fantasy post.
Their #9 rank comes based on schedule only (specifically fantasy playoffs) it is just too bad there isn’t enough talent or stability to take advantage of it.
10. (FPA score: 101.7)
- M. Massaquoi (YPA 7.3) ADP: 142
- Josh Cribbs ADP: 182
- Chansi Stuckey (YPA 4.9) ADP: 274
- Brian Robiskie ADP: 275
Right now Josh Cribbs is penciled in opposite as the second receiver to do not get too excited by Chansi Stuckey.
Cribbs could be worth his late round price tag if your league awards you for Return TD or even yards. He will also be featured in the wildcat, but will not run it. Cribbs is another guy I ran into last spring who told me Seneca Wallace would be the main wildcat focus with Cribbs on the field at the same time. There was some speculation that he would be a RB, but he will be a WR. He really doesn’t have good hands so do not expect to see him used outside a utility role.
There is something to be said for Mohamed Massaquoi, he did a lot with his starting role in 2009, he had a very high 55 long passes targets and a 7.3 YPA that was 6th in the league. Those give him value.
CLE ranks high because they face 6 bottom half defenses against opposing fantasy WRs. They have 4 very good spot start weeks and that could be worth waiver consideration. Nothing above a WR4 though.
11. (FPA score: 101.9)
- Greg Jennings (YPA 13.9) ADP: 32
- Donald Driver (YPA 9.7) ADP: 76
- James Jones (YPA 7.3) ADP: 188
- Jordy Nelson ADP: 250
Aaron Rodgers will be the top fantasy quarterback in 2010. He appears to be neck and neck with Brees and Manning, but do not forget that A-Rod scored 4 rushing TDs and 300+yds rushing in 2009. Either way, you want to be on the receiving end of his projected 30+ passing TDs in 2010.
The GB passing game will go nuts weeks 1-7 until they hit Revis Island. But after their week 10 BYE they will enjoy one of the best fantasy playoff schedules in the league for WRS.
Greg Jennings can be a great WR2 that will pay WR1 dividends in the playoffs. Tough weeks 12-13 and a great start. #4 overall WR Playoff projection. Despite a poor 2009 start, he still performed well against tough corners. He also has an excellent 13.9 YPA which means he can produce from anywhere on the field. Consider him just outside the top 3 WRS late in the season and a golden WR2 this year.
Though a fantasy disappointment, Jennings was the Packers’ most reliable wideout all year and most explosive down the stretch, ringing up 11 grabs of 20+ yards in the last six games. Donald Driver only had two 20+ yarders during the same span. With Driver a candidate for drop-off going on age 35, expect Jennings to retake his role as Green Bay’s No. 1 receiver in 2010. However Driver could have sneaky value since he only has 2 matchups against tough corners in 2010. So if he hangs on, he could be a great WR3 on your squad. Just not a WR2.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel believes Driver’s role on offense may decrease this season despite his contract extension. The Journal-Sentinel has hinted at this on numerous occasions over the last few months. If the Packers want their 35-year-old receiver to last through the end of his newly-minted contract extension (thru 2012), they’ll have to scale back Driver’s snaps. Jordy Nelson and James Jones remain deserving of more playing time. The Green Bay Press-Gazette speculates that Nelson “might have taken a step ahead” of Jones.
Another player to watch is James Jones who will be left undrafted but depending on Driver’s season, Jones could see good targets by the time GB heats up in their fantasy playoff push. However Jones would have one of the league’s worst cornerback matchups all season if he stay in that spot.
12. (FPA score: 104.7)
- Devin Hester (YPA 8.8) ADP: 113
- Earl Bennett (YPA 8.2) ADP: 221
- Johnny Knox (YPA 7.5) ADP: 118
- Devin Aromashodu ADP: 105
The addition of Mike Martz * should* mean good things for the CHI passing game. You can learn more about the oMatic feelings on the subject here.
The real question is whether the passing game can click with Martz’s system early enough in the season to take advantage of a decent mid season WR schedule. If they can, you have yourself some excellent trade bait. Devin Hester, Jonny Knox and Devin Aromashodu are all going in round 9 and round 10 of current drafts, so you are looking at a cheap draft or a early waiver pickup that could give you a decent streak after the teams week 8 BYE.
So who is rising up? According to the Chicago Sun Times, new Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz “has big plans for Devin Hester.” Offensive coordinator Mike Martz singled out Devin Aromashodu as a guy the Bears “want to get the ball to more.”
Jonny Knox has perhaps the most playmaking ability of the contenders. Devin Hester, who has been practicing at the flanker spot instead of the slot, is expected to be the other starter. Trendy fantasy sleeper Devin Aromashodu is given 3-to-1 odds to start, which should tell you how close the race is between all three. Earl Bennett came in at just 10-to-1. Bennett is working mostly with the second-team offense at the start of training camp.
According to ESPN Chicago, Johnny Knox is “firmly entrenched” as the Bears’ starting split end.
New offensive coordinator Mike Martz is extremely nit-picky when it comes to the “little things” receivers do, so it’s quite promising that Knox — a D-IAA product — has come along quickly with regard to route running and the like. Quickly emerging as one of our favorite WR3 sleeper candidates, Knox is squarely on the radar as a late-round fantasy pick going just a couple picks after Hester. His 11.0 vertical YPA was a top 40 ranking. He fared quite well against both red and yellow rated CBs.
Knox has been targeted 55 times in team drills so far during camp, 16 more than anyone else on the roster. Hester and TE Greg Olsen are tied for second with 39 targets apiece. Aromashodu is fourth with 32, but he has the highest catch percentage. This partially confirms that Knox’s skills are translating best into Mike Martz’s offense, and also shows how far Knox is ahead of Aromashodu. Olsen’s target total is perhaps the most surprising, but we still strongly recommend letting someone else gamble on Olsen.
Martz likes to go vertical to his split end and Knox has a very good chance of landing that role. Knox may have done well against red and yellow rated CBs, but twelve matchups against the toughest CB’s in the league this year is still daunting.
CHI has some sweet spots in their schedule, which lands them this high. Weeks 4, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 15 are all nice spot starts, but with so much uncertainty and a high potential for poor QB play, it is best you wait on these guys. If you look closer, the individual matchups are worse than the entire team, yes 12 matchups rated “poor” in 16 games means expect very little from the CHI passing game (again).
13. (FPA score: 106.7)
- Reggie Wayne (YPA 9.0) ADP:15
- Dallas Clark ADP: 40
- Pierre Garcon ADP: 82/ Anthony Gonzalez ADP: 167
- Austin Collie ADP: 123
You can see in the chart that you cannot really rely on any schedule consistency at all until a well timed playoff run in weeks 9-12 but a couple tough weeks leading into your fantasy playoffs and we know they will sit in week 16 if they need to.
Reggie Wayne is a solid bet and you will pay a round 2 price for him. He will get nearly all of Manning’s looks but has more downside than you might expect. He will see 30 targets and do something with them, but he doesnt do that well against tough matchups.
It might make more sense to gamble on whomever comes out of the Gonzales/Garcon competition this summer. The coaches may just be deferring to Gonzalez’s experience here. Garcon had value because he was the top “long ball” target for IND in 2009 and he provied he could produce against any level of opposing corner.
Gonzales will have to prove he can get healthy and stay healthy after missing all of last season with a knee injury and the majority of OTAs with a hamstring injury. Colts coach Jim Caldwell confirmed Sunday that Gonzalez (hamstring, knee) will not begin camp on active/PUP.
Austin Collie and Gonzalez have been splitting time in the slot during training camp. The concern is that the two will continue to rotate as “inside” receivers into the regular season, canceling each other out in fantasy leagues. Collie does not play outside, and Gonzalez’s skill set is best suited for the slot.
The winner of that competition will likely go in round 7-8 and can have some value there.
Do not forget Dallas Clark who basically led IND in targets last season. Clark should be the best fantasy receiving option again this year because of his price tag and Red Zone activity.
14. (FPA score: 107.3)
- Mike Simms-Walker (YPA 8.7) ADP: 53
- Mike Thomas ADP: 207
- Troy Williamson ADP: 280
- Kasim Osgood
Mike Sims-Walker is the man to watch here. There is no clear-cut prospect for the #2 WR so this could mean good things for targets for MSW. Its a similar situation to TEN where the running game will drive the offense. MSW does very well against tough corners and destroys non-corner matchups. he faded down the stretch or we would consider him a sleeper. Call him a sleeper WR3, but an expensive WR2.
Calf and knee issues limited him when he caught just 16 balls over the final six games of the season. If healthy, Sims-Walker could end up as a steal in the middle rounds of drafts this summer. He is currently going in the 5th round and that is a pretty good spot for him. If he can stay healthy he can produce good WR3 numbers for a WR4 price.
JAX WRs have a tasty playoff schedule but have a really tough road to climb weeks 5-13. But if he lingers on waivers during the season, stash him and keep him on deck for a good playoff run.
Stay clear of Troy Williamson, he is one of the worst all around WRs int he NFL. Jack Del Rio indicated that Williamson is very much in the mix for the Jaguars’ No. 2 receiver job. Del Rio insists Williamson is actually playing better in this year’s camp than he did last year before a breakout preseason. He’s battling Mike Thomas and Jarett Dillard, though Dillard has been sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot. Don’t expect fantasy value to come out of this situation unless Thomas begins to clearly separate.
15. (FPA score: 110.0)
- Michael Crabtree (YPA 8.3) ADP: 52
- Josh Morgan (YPA 7.2) ADP: 184
- Tedd Ginn Jr (YPA 6.1) ADP: 380 / Jason Hill ADP: 259
This is a run first offense and they just got two major boosts on the offensive line in the draft and that will make an immediate impact on the run game. However, this will also benefit Alex Smith and his targets.
Vernon Davis is a big part of the offense with 13 TDs in 2009. Michael Crabtree should enjoy a full season and his first offseason to gel with his team. This might take a few TDs from Davis.
Crabtree is a trendy sleeper this season because of one reason: He was targeted 84 times in only 11 games and that over a sixteen-game season and it equals 122 targets. Pro-rate a 52% vertical rate into that and it would mean 63 vertical target, which is an excellent number. The vertical routes mean a lot but they don’t completely eliminate Crabtree’s abysmal short pass showing. His 4.3 YPA there was the fourth lowest in the league. He also didn’t do squat against tougher cornerbacks and his 5.1 YPA against soft CBs doesn’t add up. Since Crabtree’s proven performance rates him as a WR3, that’s where he should be valued. A good value at that, any higher and he will get lost in a run first offense.
Crabtree moved into the slot for three-wide receiver sets during OTAs, with Ted Ginn entering at split end. Though Ted Ginn will be no better than the 49ers’ second-team split end, he ran with the first team in three-receiver sets during OTAs. Singletary indicated that the competition between Josh Morgan and Ginn is still wide open for the starting WR2 spot. Niether is fantasy relevant. Ted Ginn has been impressing so far in his first camp as a 49er.
It sounds like Ginn has an early edge for third receiver duties, ahead of Jason Hill and afterthought Brandon Jones. In three-receiver formations, we’re guessing that Ginn and Josh Morgan are outside, with Michael Crabtree in the slot. The 49ers suddenly have a potentially explosive receiver corps.
SF has the #8 best passing playoff schedule and Michael Crabtree should be playing ball late and trying to keep Gore fresh with some passing by then. Scoop up crabtree as a WR2 in the early season with potential to give WR1 stats late.
16. (FPA score: 110.0)
- Randy Moss (YPA 9.2) ADP: 11
- Wes Welker (YPA 8.9) ADP: 83 / Julian Edelman ADP: 144
- Torry Holt (YPA 8.1) ADP: 249
NE WRs will have a really inconsistent season. Wes Welker (knee, shoulder) began 2010 on the PUP list, but has now been removed and practiced with his team Saturday. Wes told me personally that he wouldn’t start the season on the PUP. Thanks for the early season scoop buddy!
I spoke with Wes at his infamous Playboy mansion party appearance in March and he promised he would start the season on the active roster. It is enough to stay away from Julian Edleman as a sleeper and enough for me to take a flier on Welker at a great round 8 bargain, if he stays in the 8th. he may not because of his training camp revival news.
ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss calls Brandon Tate the “top candidate” to play in three-receiver sets with Moss and Welker. The Pats need another legit outside threat opposite Moss, and Tate has the talent excel in the role. Rookie WR Taylor Price is projected to be the fifth receiver, with Edelman handling a jack-of-all-trades role as the No. 4. The squeeze is on for Torry Holt’s roster spot.
Randy Moss is an easy second round WR1 if he drops that far. If not, skip him. Some Pats fans appear to be taking him in late round 1…stay away. That is a WR going up against Revis twice this fantasy season…so even if he goes off every other week, he still gets two near gooseeggs. he didn’t do that well against tough corners last year (including Revis) and has the chance to get up to 13 bad individual corner matchups this year. We say pass due to his price.
17. (FPA score: 1110.2)
- Dwayne Bowe (YPA 7.3) ADP: 57
- Chris Chambers (YPA 8.4) ADP: 131
- Dexter McCluster ADP: 161 / J. Urban
Dwayne Bowe and Todd Haley have not had a great relationship thus far. Chris Chambers is still in the mix and a pretty balanced offensive approach do not point to anything too exciting for Bowe. Bowe may never have another season like he did in 2008 and we consider him a pass all around in 2010.
Chambers showed the ability to post good numbers against tough defenses. So if anyone has value, it might be Chambers. Look at him as a spot starter you can find on waivers for those two sweet matchups after their BYE.
Dexter McCluster is expected to be utilized out wide, in the slot, at running back, in the return game, and even as Wildcat trigger man as a rookie.
If that multi-faceted role sounds familiar, it’s because Josh Cribbs performs very similar duties with the Browns. It’s also an indication that McCluster will have a much bigger impact as an NFL player as opposed to a fantasy asset.
However McCluster’s value in special teams might be in jeopardy, as he has struggled in an intrasquad scrimmage, fumbling two straight punt returns. McCluster reportedly “wasn’t a factor on offense, though the Chiefs didn’t seem intent on getting him the ball.”
KC WRs have a tough run of opponents with 6 top 5 teams against WRs and on the other side, really weak opponents against the run. Stay away from the KC passing game.
18. (FPA score: 112.0)
- Chad Ochocinco (YPA 8.6) ADP: 48
- Terrell Owens ADP:115 / Antonio Bryant (YPA 7.2) ADP: 110
- Andre Caldwell (YPA 5.5) ADP: 262 / Jordan Shipley / Matt Jones
Chad Ochocinco found his lifemate on national television, not a woman, but Terrell Owens. It appears that CIN got a chance to look at Antonio Bryant’s expensive knee injury. Chad finally has a chance to play opposite a 15+ catch a game WR for the first time in his career.
Ocho really didn’t get a chance to make a fantasy impact with the very run heavy CIN offense in 2009. He had a poor stretch of less than 4 FPTs a game early on until he caught fire. He is going in round 4 now and that might be too high a value. Things got a bit more crowded and they do not have an early schedule to look forward to for WRs. Do do not get too excited for early results.
Jordan Shipley and Andre Caldwelare locked in behind Chad Ochocinco and T.O ( and Antonio Bryant) on the Bengals’ depth chart, according to ESPN’s James Walker. Bryant is currently listed ahead of Terrell Owens on the Bengals’ first depth chart.
Bengals.com named Shipley “Best Newcomer” in the team’s most recent minicamp, and he already appears to be in sync with Carson Palmer in the slot. Jerome Simpson and Matt Jones have also impressed in practices, but Caldwell will be Shipley’s primary competition this summer.
Antonio Bryant never could shake the knee problems last year after undergoing a preseason meniscus surgery that resulted in complications. The Bengals are calling his missed practice time “veteran rest,” and they don’t appear to be seriously concerned. Still, it’s a situation to monitor in training camp.
The Bengals are reportedly waiting to see what Bryant (knee) can do over the final three preseason games before they solidify his offensive role. Bryant won’t test his knee before next week, meaning he’ll miss the preseason opener on Sunday. The coaching staff wants to know “if he can give them anything before they decide to cut some younger players,” says Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson. In other words, if Bryant doesn’t perform well in preseason action, he won’t be a part of the offense to start the season.
Owens is one of the best Red Zone WRs in the game and CIN has been middle of the pack in Red Zone TDs (converting only 50% of their 50 visits for TDs). Even with that low number, CIN had a LEAGUE LEADING 64% RZS% to WRs. T.O can only help keep them there. Don’t sleep on TE Gresham and WR Shipley either. Knock Palmer up a few notches too.
However, Ocho may totally fall off. He disappeared in 2009 when facing red rated Corners’s last year and that constitutes half of his 2010 schedule. He didn’t do a lot better against yellow rated CBs and they comprise most of the rest of his 2010 lineup. Consider Ocho done.
There is a min 2-game stretch weeks 8 and 9 and again week 13 and 14 that these receivers could have value. But overall, expect lower performance than draft price from Ocho and T.O in a run heavy offense. BTW Revis factor=1 in week 12.
19. (FPA score: 112.0)
- Santana Moss (YPA 8.0) ADP: 80
- Devin Thomas ADP: 158
- Malcolm Kelly ADP: 322
As long as the suspension talk doesn’t heat up again, Santana Moss is an undervalued WR2/3 as the Redskins’ No. 1 receiver. Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that no discipline is forthcoming for Moss in regard to Moss’ alleged dealings with HGH distributor Dr. Anthony Galea.
Having the big arm of Donavan McNabb on board will help with longer passes downfield and that feeds to Moss’ strengths. If Moss misses time, this helps Malcom Kelley, not Devin Thomas.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan singled out Santana Moss as the team’s most impressive receiver in this early practices.”In these two days, Santana [Moss] stepped up,” Shanahan said. “It was good to get him out here. I was expecting him to be rusty, but he didn’t look it.” The offseason knee scope looks like a non-issue heading into training camp.
Moss had an 11.5 vertical YPA and that is solid. So is the 8.0 overall YPA. Moss did a good job against good individual matchups. Moss is really hard to slot. He doesn’t get quite enough volume to be considered a WR2 and he doesn’t have the upside of a lot of WR3s. He’ll be put into the #3 slot on volume alone but there are better #3s out there.
No need to draft trendy Devin Thomas from WAS, Thomas hasn’t displayed the consistency Mike and Kyle Shanahan like to see from wideouts during OTAs, according to beat writer Jason Reid. So his value will not rise too much before the season. He is going in round 14 vs round 7 for Moss so if you want a piece of this action, try Thomas off waivers after week 1…or Malcom Kelly.
Also keep in mind the two TE combo of Chris Cooley and Fred Davis will factor into the passing game as well, since Donovan likes his TEs. Maybe grab a Redskins TE instead.
20. (FPA score: 113.4)
- Arrelious Benn (r) ADP: 166
- Mike Williams / Maurice Stovall ADP: 289 / Reggie Brown ADP: 337
- Sammy Stroughter ADP: 311
When you fire your offensive coordinator right before the season and change QBs twice, it is hard to find an identity. The youth in QBs and WRs should mean a more conservative approach this year.
Josh Freeman gave some life to a terrible offense but needs to develop rapport fast with one of the rooks now that Bryant is gone.
With two rookies at WR1 and WR2, you could either steal a no name off waivers for weeks 3-7, but then plan to dump them again because TB faces 5 top 5 Defenses against fantasy WRs. Not a good combination.
Michael Clayton has value as a run blocking WR, which helps Caddy..but not your fantasy team. Consider him a throw away player at best.
Rookie Mike Williams is getting “a lot of first-team work” as the Bucs’ split end at the start of training camp. Asked why a rookie is getting so much action with the starters, coach Raheem Morris answered “he’s earned it.”
WR Maurice Stoval has emerged as the favorite to start at flanker for the Bucs. The report contradicts an earlier suggestion from ESPN that Stovall’s roster spot was in jeopardy because he was low on the depth chart. Tampa Trib writer Roy Cummings is at practice every day, and almost certainly has a better grip on the goings-on for the team he covers directly. Cummings also quotes Bucs WRs coach Eric Yarber: “Right now Stovall is with the 1s. He’s having a real good camp.” Stovall lacks big-playmaking ability, but appears to be beating out Arrelious Benn, with Sammie Stroughter ticketed for the slot. ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas speculates that only one of Michael Clayton and Maurice Stovall will make the Bucs’ final roster.
As far as rookie Arrelious Benn, I defer to KC Joyner of ESPN:
” I did a set of tape/metric breakdowns on some of the top WR prospects in the 2010 draft for ESPN The Magazine. Benn was one of those in the analysis and his metrics were easily the worst of study. He didn’t do much vertically and wasn’t as good as advertised on shorter routes. Some of that was likely due to poor quarterbacking but the scouting eye said a lot of it was Benn. He has the physical attributes but he isn’t a refined receiver”. Words to live by.
TB has a decent couple games mid season and a decent playoff stretch after a very tough midseason. Stay clear of the young WR corps and bet on the running game instead.
21. (FPA score: 113.4)
- Roddy White (YPA 9.0) ADP: 20
- Michael Jenkins (YPA 8.8) ADP: 234
- Harry Douglas ADP: 285
Roddy White should have another decent low-end WR1 campaign but do not forget Michael Jenkins and Harry Douglas coming back from injury. All pass catchers will need a resurgence from Matt Ryan.
Tony Gonzales will get his share so factor him in. White will might be a little expensive at 20 overall.
Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey singled out Roddy White for having an outstanding offseason.
Mularkey said White’s had “maybe one of the best (offseasons) as a receiver since I’ve been in the league.” “It’s been great for our passing game with timing and everything since he’s been here and worked as hard as he has,” added the former Bills coach and Steelers offensive boss.
White ranked 63rd in the league in long pass targets, and Douglas ranked 65th expect the same in 2010. This is a run first team.
Falcons WR Michael Jenkins suffered a shoulder injury in Friday night’s practice and will miss 4-6 weeks. Jenkins fell hard to the ground after a Matt Ryan incompletion. Having scored only one touchdown in 2009, the starting split end is valued more for his superior run blocking, while slot WR Douglas is viewed as more of a potential asset in fantasy circles.
ATL WRs have 6 really bad matchups this season so if you think you can work with 5 or so good games from a second round draft pick cost, then take White. I would pass and maybe grab Jenkins or Douglas off waivers for the few spot starts that look good on the schedule instead. White himself goes up against 7 of the top Corners in the NFl in 2010, drop him lower on your list and take him as a WR2 only.
However, take a peak at the fantasy playoffs. Weeks 13-16 are the worst in the league.
22. (FPA score: 117.7)
- Steve Smith (+) (YPA 7.7) ADP: 42
- Dwayne Jarrett ADP: 278
- Brandon LaFell ADP: 251/ Kenny Moore ADP: 386
CAR should have an interesting season with Matt Moore in the pressure cooker and Jimmy Clausen waiting in the wings for his shot.
Throw another log on the fire of uncertainty with the injury to Steve Smith .
Steve Smith acknowledged that he put himself and his team in a bad situation by playing in a flag football league and fracturing his arm. Smith said he was “just having fun” and it was a “freak accident,” but he has also resigned not to play again until he’s retired from the NFL.
Smith once led the NFL in medium and long passes, but last year he averaged those together to rank 60th in the NFL. This year he faces 6 of the leagues best corners and that as well as the QB issues, could make him no more than a WR2 value.
In addition Smith doesn’t have much help on the other side. Dwayne Jarrett is all CAR has to offer but he has only had 33 catches in three seasons.
WR Kenny Moore, who is subbing for Steven Smith (arm), has been a standout at Panthers’ camp so far. According to beat writer Darin Gantt, “If Moore keeps practicing the way he has, and blocks with vigor, he’s going to make a strong case for a starting job when Steve Smith comes back.” The battle between LaFell and Jarrett is already tilting toward the rookie, and Moore’s play could end up pushing Jarrett right off the roster.
Do not spend a pick on rookie Brandon LaFell, he faces 8 terrible corner matchups this season so he has little chance to do anything.
Beware of all players regardless, but if you need more convincing, their late season schedule is miserable except for week 16 and you will not get that deep in the post if you spend a 4th round pick on Steve Smith.
23. (FPA score: 123.7)
- Andre Johnson (YPA 9.9) ADP: 7
- Kevin Walter (YPA 9.1) ADP: 132 / Jacoby Jones ADP: 162
- David Anderson (YPA 7.5)
The HOU passing game means one thing: Andre Johnson. His pure skill should allow them to continue to dominate. However keep in mind HOU may already have some strength in the running game with the addition of Ben Tate and the return of Owen Daniels to the passing game cannot be overlooked. This all leads to less looks for Andre than in 2009. He is still one of the highest volume WRs in the game and gets a lot of long pass targets.
In 2008, Johnson overcame one of the leagues worst FantasyoMatic rankings, so he is a beast.
Andre is getting some love as a 1st round WR (even top 10). He has the talent but that value may be due to his excellent 2009 campaign where the passing schedule was one of the best in the league and HOU threw the ball more than nearly everyone. Pass if he falls to you in the 1st as a QB or RB should have better value. Johnson should be taken no earlier than the second round because of his very tough schedule against corners he didn’t do well against in his past seasons. So smile as other owners spend a 6-12 pick on him this year.
Johnson got his paper this offseason so you have to wonder how it may impact his play? he is still a STUD, just not worth a top 6 pick, perhaps in PPR.
The other thing to consider is the rough fantasy playoff schedule. You certainly cannot pay 1st round prices for a WR1 who will have tough goings in the fantasy post.
Do not forget Kevin Walter, currently going in the 12th round, but you can’t be sure why the Texans overpaid to keep Walter ($8 million guaranteed) when Jacoby Jones Showed so much promise last year.
Coach Gary Kubiak reiterated that Walter and Jones are going “head-to-head” for the No. 2 starting job in camp. “Kevin’s the starter; he’s earned that right,” said Kubiak. [But] we’ve got a heck of a player (Jones) pushing to be a starter in this league. It’s one of the most interesting fantasy camp battles in the league this summer. If Jones can push Walter into the slot, he’s among the best breakout candidates due to a decent individual matchup rating for that WR position.
24. (FPA score: 125.7)
- Donnie Avery (YPA 6.3) ADP: 127
- Laurent Robinson ADP: 176
- Danny Amendola
- Brandon Gibson / Keenan Burton ADP: 294
You must be reading this one just for fun. Completely ignore the STL passing game in 2010. Poor Sam Bradford inherits at least another 2 years of bottom dwelling and there isn’t enough experience in the WR core to help out either.
The Rams are equally splitting first-team receiver snaps four ways at Organized Team Activities, between Donnie Avery, Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson, and Danny Amendola.
None of them have any value at all, especially considering their 6 game run against the league’s best Defenses and a date with Revis in week 16. Completely avoid.
25. (FPA score: 178.7)
- Vincent Jackson (YPA 11.3) ADP: 56
- Malcom Floyd (YPA 10.8) ADP: 111
- Legedu Naanee ADP: 209
I wouldn’t touch an SD WR this season. If you want to see a complete breakdown of the SD Passing game, check out our recent post here.
The Vincent Jackson holdout is a big distraction and could not only go into camp, but into the season. No single player has more draft day risk than Vjax.
You should be quite concerned about Jackson’s 2010 season. Chargers will not deal V-Jax, and the star receiver has made it known that he has no qualms about holding out into the season.With five years already accrued, Jackson could sit out the season and gamble on unrestricted free agency with a new CBA in 2011. If Jackson sits or is even traded, then Legedu Naanee would replace him.
He will also have issues should he want to stay in SD, the Pro Bowler has been suspended 3 games to open the 2010 season. In addition, one of those three games is the softest matchup that the SD WRs have in 2010.
Whether or not Jackson is on the Chargers’ 2010 roster, it sounds like Legedu Naanee is going to start 3 games to open the season, with Malcom Floyd filling in as the nominal “No. 1 receiver.” Craig Davis would be No. 3, and Antonio Gates‘ targets would also rise.
Floyd, 29, was somewhat disappointing after overtaking Chris Chambers at split end down the stretch last year, failing to top four catches from Weeks 8-16. However, he did finish fourth in the league in yards-per-catch average, and exploded for 140 yards on nine grabs in Week 17 with Floyd’s performance in last year’s finale may be a sign of things to come early in 2010. His 10.8 overall YPA was nearly as good as Vincent Jackson’s 11.3 and his vertical YPA was even closer (13.1 for Jackson, 12.9 for Floyd). The 63.6% vertical target percentage was third in the league and the multiple double-digit YPAs clearly indicate just how good Floyd was last year. He also posted these numbers in what amounted to a partial season, having taken over for Chambers in the middle of the 2009 campaign. Floyd should have some upside for a good WR3 at a WR5 cost.
To give you more details on the tough SD playoff stretch: Rivers faces these three safeties (Eric Berry – KC, Dashon Goldson-SF, Chris Crocker-CIN). These safeties ranked in the top of the league against the pass in 2009 and have no drop off. Antonio Gates it matched up against literally 2 of the top 3 defenders against fantasy TEs (Jarrad Page-KC, Michael Lewis-SF and Roy Williams-CIN). Floyd is matched up against 2 of th etop 5 WR defenders in the league (Brandon Carr-KC, Shawnte Spencer- SF and Leon Hall-CIN). Then VJax matches up against Brandon Flowers -KC (6.9 Yards Against is one of the best in the NFL), Then Nate Clemens (7.9 YPA), and Jonathan Jospeh-CIN (6.7 YPA is even better than Flowers). If you actually look at who the individual matchups are, these are some of the worst in the league for the fantasy playoffs at each position. Steer clear!
A brutal week 15 cannot help, and with a healing O Line (hopefully McNeill for 16 games) and a bright, young prospect in Ryan Mathews, things could be moving a bit more towards the run in SD this season. It is worth passing on all SD WRs, but if you have to grab one, take Floyd and plan to not start him but maybe 4 weeks all season, where he could do well.
26. (FPA score: 131.7)
- Marques Colston (YPA 10.5) ADP: 31
- Robert Meachem (YPA 12.3) ADP: 73
- Devery Henderson (YPA 9.6) ADP: 171
- Lance Moore ADP: 213
Scrolling through this post looking for the Super Bowl champs? Well, here they are all the way down toward the bottom.
Sure, all the talent returns, but that means passes to go around for Marquez Colston, Henderson, Meachem and even a returning Moore. Thats a lot of mouths to feed and the Saints have had problems with injury in the receiver core in the past few years so if they ALL return and stay healthy, targets could drop all around. It is something to think about.
For example, Colston played 16 games but barely topped the 100 catch mark last year. Payton will keep spreading the ball around since that works for him and he shouldn’t be changing too much from their championship season. He could still be a quality WR2, but he will not fall that far.
Many say Brees could be in for 5000 yards, but only because their defense is horrible and they may actually have to pass for 4 quarters every week to win games.
Colston (knee) led all receivers with four catches for 73 yards in the Saints’ Black and Gold scrimmage Saturday. Colston’s performance is noteworthy coming off an offseason knee scope.
There are only two weeks where maybe a guy like Henderson could be valuable as a waiver pickup. Meachem had the highest vertical YPA of any receiver in the league last year. He racked up double-digit YPAs against every level of corner and did the same against non-corners. he has th ebest value of any Saints WR due to his individual matchups.
Saints WRs have a horrifying stretch of 7 out of 8 games in a row against top 5 teams against WRs. With no clear cut #1, let your other owners buy in on the champs and take your picks elsewhere.
27. (FPA score: 132.3)
- Brandon Marshall (YPA 7.6) ADP: 23
- Davone Bess (YPA 7.2) ADP:181
- Greg Camarillo (YPA 10.9) ADP: 319 / Brian Hartline ADP: 222
The MIA passing game has been loaded with possession receivers in recent seasons and now they gain one of the leagues best big play receivers, Brandon Marshall. This moves Devone Bess to the #2 slot where he might actually be better suited.
Marshall did have offseason surgery. All signs point toward Marshall’s procedure being minor, even though it’s still unknown if he’ll truly be 100 percent for training camp. No one surrounding the Dolphins appears concerned, and fantasy owners shouldn’t be either. He will need to get back soon to click with Chad Henne and a new offense.
Marshall has been “everything he’s advertised to be” in the Dolphins’ first week of camp, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Omar Kelly. Marshall was reportedly “unstoppable” in red-zone drills Wednesday. He’s been consistently roasting top-flight young CBs Vontae Davis and Sean Smith.
Marshall has been the top targeted WR in the NFL for the past two seasons, but that will change in MIA. I have spoken to some MIA fans who seems to think that Marshall fixes their “deep threat” problems. Not the case, folks. Although he led the league in targets the past two years, he was 57th in those two years in passes over 20 yards. So set realistic expectations here.
Regarding the other side, Greg Camarillo lined up as a starting flanker receiver at Dolphins OTAs. Camarillo, Brian Hartline and Davone Bess will all likely get a shot to line up across from Brandon Marshall. But with Bess ticketed for his natural slot role, the job will likely come down to Camarillo vs. Hartline. Most members of the Miami media are already on the record thinking that Hartline will end up winning out.
It should be Camarillo, though. He does well against all types of defenders and had a good 10.9 YPA last year. If he doesn’t get lost in the mix, he may have a couple weeks of waiver pickup value.
However, as a high end Round 2 WR1, even Marshall is too expensive to draft that high since between weeks 9 and 16, he doesn’t play a single team in the bottom half of the league against WRs.
28. (FPA score: 137.3)
- Eddie Royal (YPA 5.1) ADP: 126
- Brandon Stokley ADP: 355
- Jabar Gaffney ADP: 163
- Demaryius Thomas ADP:130 / Eric Decker
Eddie Royal and Demaryious Thomas are both going in around the 8th or 10th rounds thus far, which is indicative of there being no clear but #1 just yet. Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post reports that Royal is seeing most of his reps in the slot during training camp.
Royal played very poorly against all levels of cover in 2009 and is not expected to do much better in 2010. Thomas is a rookie that would need consistency at the QB position to make any waves in 2010.
Thomas, and even rookie Eric Decker, played in pro style offenses but Thomas played in an option offense.
Fox 31s Josina Anderson reports that Decker suffered a left foot sprain, not left ankle sprain like previously speculated. *ALERT* Anderson also reports that a pre-MRI detected evidence of a previously existing high ankle sprain. If the MRI confirms aggravation of Decker’s previous Lisfranc fracture he’ll be looking at missing extended time.
Thomas was also injued the same day. *ALERT* His left foot injury is an aggravation of his pre-Combine fracture. Sunday’s tests, including a CT scan, are expected to determine whether the soreness is from “old or new damage, a combination of both, and to what extent.” One source tells Anderson the initial belief is that “it’s not that serious.” Thomas reportedly struggled early in camp, lacking confidence in his foot.
Royal and Jabar Gaffney were the Broncos’ starting wide receivers to begin training camp and appear to have those position’s locked down due to rookie injuries.
DEN suddenly has to start planning to use the pass more than the run after the beat down on their RB squad in the first weekend of training camp.
Do not forget that by the time DEN loses a couple games, the fans will be calling for Tim Tebow and that cannot add to consistency and rapport.
DEN has a miserable schedule against opposing defenses. Facing the top 2 secondaries and 4 other top 10 defenses, its best to leave all catchers alone. WRs face 7 of the top ten CBs in the NFL in 2010, so our advice is to “shut down” the DEN passing game.
29. (FPA score: 139.3)
- Anquan Boldin (YPA 9.0) ADP: 41
- Derrick Mason (YPA 7.9) ADP: 100
- Mark Clayton (YPA 7.5) ADP: 390
Anquan Boldin will be overhyped, but maybe an owner will get disenchanted with him after drafting him way too high and only has a tough up and down first half thru his BYE. He also faces 8 of the leagues best corners and he has the propensity to get shut down easily. Those come early and then late so expect nothing more than a middle of the season run at best.
He wont ever get a chance to heat up. The schedule is really rough with 7 games against the leagues top 10 teams against WRs. You cannot afford a WR1 in the 4th round who may not be able to pay off late in the season. As a WR2, he is a steal.
Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is calling Boldin and Derrick Mason his “1A and 1B receivers.” However if that is true, then Mason may get moved out of his comfortable “underneath” spot so that Boldin can flourish there. If so, he moves to a spot he has never played.
Though Mason has had an obvious rapport with Joe Flacco the past two seasons, Boldin is a good bet to bypass him as the go-to receiver. Cameron also confirmed that Donte’ Stallworth will compete with Mark Clayton for the No. 3 role, provided Clayton signs his tender offer. The Ravens now have more depth at the position that any other time in franchise history, however the schedule may rain on their parade. They will face a “parade” of the best corners in the NFL this year.
Keep in mind also that BAL was 3rd and 4th in the league the last two seasons in rushing attempts, so that scheme isn’t going anywhere too soon.
30. (FPA score: 145.0)
- Hines Ward (YPA 9.1) ADP: 55
- Mike Wallace (YPA 11.3) ADP: 87
- A. Randle El (YPA 7.8) ADP: 302
- Limas Sweed ADP: 377
You will have to be a fool, or on auto-draft to take anyone in the PIT passing game this year.
Not only will PIT be without Big Ben in the first 4 games, but they face no easier than a top 9 defense against WRs in that same span. Most likely Ben will be back after the week 5 BYE, then a tough game and an easy stretch only to slide back up to the SECOND WORST schedule for WRs in the entire NFL for the playoffs.
How about two Offensive line injuries already this year and one lost for the year?
Mike Wallace is a better bet than Hines Ward because he is younger, cheaper and has a better YPA.
Once Big Ben gets back from suspension, its too late. The PIT passing game will get killed late in the season. They will knock you out of the playoff race and will not help you get there.
31. (FPA score: 146.7)
- Larry Fitzgerlad (YPA 7.5) ADP:13
- Steve Breaston (YPA 9.3) ADP: 86
- Early Doucet ADP: 147
Larry Fitzgerald is always on top of draft boards. However if you look closely, he had the worst YPC of his career in 2009. His deep ball numbers were about par, but do not expect Fitz to see a lot of long arm from Matt Lienhart in 2010. There is also a bit of QB controversy and discussion of a shift to the run. We drop Fitz 5 spots below the average ADP because of all these factors alone.
Anquan Boldin is off to BAL and Steve Breaston should step up. However, Early Doucet should see more time as a #3 WR. He was 14/145/2 in just two playoff games last year and could be on a role. Either of these guys would have more value just because they are cheaper in your draft, but they have the same issues we mention with Fitz above.
Doucet is more of an Antwan Randel El than a Boldin. He may get 40-50 receptions this year, tops.
Do not be surprised if third round pick, Andre Roberts, strikes up good chemistry and becomes the ‘new’ Breaston.
Unfortunately for ARI, the soft schedule comes early when Lienhart could still be getting used to the first team.
Most pundits say ARI will go with a more run heavy offense in 2010, taking a few targets from Fitz. They will have to have a lead most games to make that happen, so perhaps some 4th quarter comebacks could help make up the difference.
Nice start for Fitzgerald, but it may come at the cost of Leinhart getting comfortable first. They face 3 of the top 5 Defenses against fantasy WRs after their BYE. If you own an ARI WR of get one, then plan a big blockbuster trade to give them away during their BYE because most of their easy matchups will be done by then. ARI has the second worst fantasy playoff schedule for WRs in the NFL this year.
32. (FPA score: 149.2)
- TJ Houshmandzadeh (YPA 7.9) ADP: 85
- Deion Branch (YPA 6.1) ADP: 291
- Golden Tate ADP: 155 / Deon Butler ADP: 318
There is really nothing to hang your hat on in SEA this year. New coach, uncertainty at QB and a new offensive scheme.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh (sports hernia surgery) said that he is about “85 percent” healthy. he is a valuable possession receiver, seeing 138 targets last year. But that doesn’t translate well to fantasy value. If you can grab him as a low end WR3, then do it, but you will not want him higher nor will you be able to draft him if you decide to draft him for trade bait.
Houshmandzadeh has resumed participating in individual drills. While it’s good that Housh is feeling well and practicing lightly, we’d be very concerned with any 33-year-old coming off an injury that has a tendency to recur.
Housh said he plans on asking for the ball even more this year. T.J. also expressed disappointment regarding the lack of competition during team practices in 2009, and the veteran WR seemingly wants to play a bigger role in 2010. Said Housh, “I just felt like I was less involved in the offense last year than I was in Cincinnati, and in Cincinnati, we had more weapons. That was baffling to me.” Housh is being overvalued in fantasy drafts this year.
SEA will have the worst start of all WRs in the league due to their terrible first three matchups. This could mean more troubles with the QB situation and might lead to no one getting momentum or rapport and that hurts rookies like Golden Tate.
Greg Johns of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes that Hasselbeck is excited about what he’s seen so far out of rookie wide receiver Tate. “Golden Tate just makes plays,” Hasselbeck said after practice. “I know they’re on him to be a little more disciplined in his route running and attention to detail and those kinds of things, but he just makes plays.”
The good news is that SEA will move towards a pass happy offense and Tate should contribute. However, except for a couple games here and there, SEA will have a tough road to any victories and the absolute WORST weeks 13-16 in the NFL for WRs.
If you want to bet on anyone, try John Carlson. Seattle has one of the shakiest wide receiver groups in the league, and Chris Baker’s signing will alleviate much of Carlson’s in-line blocking duty. Carlson was the No. 11 overall fantasy TE in 2009, and No. 7 in 2008. Plus, Matt Hasselbeck calls him a “fantasy sleeper” in 2010.
However, take a peak at the fantasy playoffs. Weeks 13-16 are the worst in the league.
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