Time to cover another fantasy position that can make or break your team. Wr’s are crucial in fantasy. Every year it seems like there are guys that breakout, and guys that are huge busts (Braylon Edwards in ’08, still haven’t forgiven him for that). Wide outs are valuable because there are always decent ones on the waiver wire. Like i said in the RB’s preview, these are the rankings as of today, injuries and suspensions can occur which could possibly throw these off. (Note the injuries that have already taken place).
1. Calvin Johnson:
Not even going to waste my time writing a long explanation for this one. Almost 2,000 yards last year…absolutely absurd. I see nothing but improvements to the Lions O by adding a lineman and Reggie Bush, which means Megatron should pick up right where he left off.
2. AJ Green: AJ had a bit of a scare a couple days ago when he hurt his knee. Luckily for the Bengals and fantasy owners, Dr’s concluded that it was just a bruise. I don’t think that bruise or opposing defenses will be able to slow him down this year, as him and the Red Rider continue to develop together. Green was sensational last year, 1350 yards and 11 TD’s, and with another year of experience for him and his quarterback, I’m predicting he finishes somewhere around 1,500 and 12 tuddys in 2013.
3. Brandon Marshall: Love B-Marsh as a person and a player. But Cutler loves him even more (118 receptions for Brandon last year). There is no question who Cutler is throwing to when he drops back. It doesn’t matter how covered he is, Marshall is getting the rock. Targets are crucial to wide outs in fantasy, which is why i love B-Marsh. Also, first year head coach Marc Trestman loves to air it out, and Marshall has been on record already saying how much the Bears already love this new offense.
4. Dez Bryant:
I just have a good feeling about Dallas’s offense this year. Jerry decided to back Romo by paying him big bills, which i think will ultimately help him play better. Dez is super talented and broke out last year with 1,382 yards and 12 TD’s. When Demarco Murray is healthy the Cowgirls have a very balanced offense, and Jason Witten and Miles Austin keep the double teams at bay for Dez.
5. Juliooooo Jones:
I waffled over this one for a long time. First i had him at 8, then i moved him to 4, finally i settled here at 5. I just don’t know about taking Julio as a top 5 wideout when he doesn’t even finish number 1 in catches on his team. Roddy White is the safe target for Matty Ice. But Julio is the big play guy. We saw what Julio could really do last year, and this year I think we see it even more. The benefit of Rowdy Roddy White being opposite Julio is it keeps defenses from keying in on Julio. I think Jones gets enough big plays this year to solidify himself as a top 5 fantasy wide out.
6. Andre Johnson: What? This old guy at 6?!? The Natural is still a top 5 WR talent in my opinion, he has just been hurt a lot lately. When healthy, this guy can ball. He was banged up all last year and still was close to 1,600 yards (only 4 TD’s though). 1 thing he’s been missing his whole career is a legit threat opposite him. I think the Texans have that now in rookie DeAndre Hopkins. Kubiak says Hopkins has been very impressive early on in camp. If Hopkins can prove himself early and take some pressure off Andre, i see a big 2013 for The Natural in my crystal ball.
7. Demaryius Thomas: Be warned, there are a lotttt of hands that could be touching the ball for the Broncos this year. Thomas had a big year last year, but I think the addition of Welker could actually hurt him. The guy eats catches like I eat my grandmother’s lasagna. But I still like Thomas as a top 10 wide out. Peyton Man-thang knows how to get the ball to all of his weapons, and i think DT will still be the priority as the outside deep threat. Any fantasy points that DT loses to Welker in yards, he will make up for in touchdowns.
8. Roddy White: Rowdy’s tuddys were down to the lowest they’ve been since 2008. But he is always a reliable target and still piles up the catches. The falcons offense is poised to have another big year, and Roddy White will be right in the middle of it. I feel like this guy is always a lock for around 1,300 yards. Even if he doesn’t have the huge 2 TD games that Julio sometimes has, he will always provide consistent points week to week for your team. I love consistent players in fantasy.
9. Larry Fitzgerald:
With a consistent QB, this guys is one of the first 3 WR’s off the board every year. I just couldn’t bring myself to leave such a talent out of the top 10. While an improvement from Skelton, I just don’t know if Carson Palmer is the answer for Larry. But i do think Palmer is experienced and good enough to get Larry back to relevance. I mean all you have to do is lob it up to this guy for christs sake how hard can it be. I think Fitz finds pay dirt 10 times this year.
10. Vincent Jackson: V-Jax is a physical specimen, and has always been a great downfield threat. I like what Tampa Bay did this offseason and i think they can make a playoff push. Doug Martin provides the balance that Josh Freeman needs. Mike Williams is solid opposite Jackson as well. I think V-Jax could have a very good year.
11. Randall Cobb: Almost got to 1,000 yards last year to go along with his 8 touchdowns. I’m high on Cobb as well as Jordy Nelson this year now that Jennings is gone. Jordy Nelson is the more talented downfield threat, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he finished with more fantasy points than Cobb, but i like Cobb’s versatility and the number times Rodgers looks Cobb’s way. Cobb is the safer pick because he works the slot and will get more targets. He is also good for a punt return or 2 every year.
12: Victor Cruz: I would probably put Cruz ahead of Cobb if i didn’t see Cruz complain about his brand new contract. The guy just signed for good money then complains like come on Vic figure it out kid. But I like Cruz’s ability to get fantasy points nonetheless, with a healthy Hakeem Nicks with him, the sky is the limit for the giants passing game. You know Cruz will get catches and yards working the middle of the field, but the question is can he mimic all those big plays he had last year?
13: Jordy Nelson: Like I said before, i’m high on the Green Bay wide outs. Nelson is the best of the bunch when he’s healthy. I have Cobb a couple spots ahead of him, but I really think if Nelson stays healthy he has a shot to have the biggest year. But both should be solid options.
14. Marques Colston: With Sean Payton back, Brees can go back to just playing QB. There used to be a lot of hands reaching in the pot in New Orleans, but the departure of Meachem last offseason helped Colston have a solid year last year. They throw it a lot, he’s bound to catch a good amount of em.
15. Wes Welker:
You know he’s going to work the slot and get catches, but there is too much talent on the outside of this Broncos offense for Welker to up around double digit TD’s in my opinion. Peyton will get him the rock, and he will be a solid constant fantasy WR, just not a fantasy stud.
16: Reggie Wayne
17: Danny Amendola
18: Hakeem Nicks
19: Steve Smith
20: Mike Wallace: (Tanny can throw the long ball…could be a sleeper).
21: Torrey Smith
22: Antonio Brown
23: Eric Decker
24: Dwyane Bowe
25: James Jones
This was tough, there is so much talent in the 16-25 range. I think any of those guys especially Torrey Smith, Antonio Brown, and Amendola can have great years. There guys outside this top 25 that can easily finish top 15. Guys like Greg Jennings, Desean Jackson (in Chip’s offense), Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt could easily have big years. This year wr’s go deep.
– Steve Butabi