Fantasy Football Preview: Wide Receivers

Today, I’ll discuss who my top 5 fantasy wide receivers are, the 3 to avoid, and the 3 sleepers, those players who many won’t draft and that you can steal in late rounds.

Andre Johnson is one of the top receivers in the league and the same goes for in fantasy leagues.

Top 5 Fantasy Wide Receivers:

1. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Projections: 203 points, 100 receptions, 1500 yards, 9 TD
Last Year: 86 receptions, 1200 yards, 8 TD
Bye Week: 11

This guy is a machine. Remember that amazing back-of-the-endzone catch he had last season against the Ravens with like a minute left in regular playing time to tie it up? Yeah, that’s what he does all the time. He’ll go early but not until the 2nd round probably.

2. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
Projections: 189 points, 75 receptions, 1300 yards, 10 TD
Last Year: 76 receptions, 1300 yards, 12 TD
Bye Week: 8

Ok, Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings is possibly the strongest QB/WR team right now. You know Rodgers will basically never miss Jennings, then it’s up to Jennings to see what he can do after the catch. I’m taking him over Roddy White because of that even though ESPN has Roddy White ranked 2nd.

3. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Projections: 193 points, 101 receptions, 1300 yards, 10 TD
Last Year: 115 receptions, 1400 yards, 10 TD
Bye Week: 8

Just like Houston has one of the top trios in the NFL (QB/WR/RB combo), so does Atlanta. Roddy White is part of that trio. Matt Ryan to Roddy White will score you tons of points all season long.

4. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Projections: 185 points, 72 receptions, 1200 yards, 12 TD
Last Year: 77 receptions, 1100 yards, 12 TD
Bye Week: 9

They don’t call him Megatron for nothing. He had a really good season last year without having a steady, good QB. Now, with Matthew Stafford as the Lions’ QB, and a solid one at that, CJ will be great this year.

5. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Projections: 187 points, 100 receptions, 1300 yards, 10 TD
Last Year: 90 receptions, 1100 yards, 6 TD
Bye Week: 6

Larry Fitzgerald owners world-wide were pissed the entire season, including me. But that’s what you get when the QB throwing to him in not memorable. This season, the Cards have Kevin Kolb who is lucky he has Fitz because he’ll catch almost anything thrown in his general direction. That means that Kolb will be throwing to him A LOT as sort of a safety blanket. He’ll have a comeback year, don’t worry!

Top 3 Wide Receivers to Avoid:

1. Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos
Projections: 141 points, 64 receptions, 1000 yards, 6 TD
Last Year: 77 receptions, 1500 yards, 11 TD
Bye Week: 6

Wide receivers are the hardest to deal with in fantasy football because you get guys like Brandon Lloyd every year. Last season, he led all WR in fantasy. He came out of nowhere and had a career year. That will not happen again. Most people in your league thinks it will and will draft him way too early. Let them make that mistake. Don’t do it yourself.

2. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
Projections: 163 points, 82 receptions, 1100 yards, 9 TD
Last Year: 72 receptions, 1200 yards, 15 TD
Bye Week: 6

He’s like DeSean Jackson. A home run hitter or strike out guy. He either has huge receptions and games or is completely absent from games. The reason I have Bowe on the list and not Jackson is actually 2 reasons: 1. Jackson has Vick throwing to him whereas Bowe has Matt Cassel and 2. Jackson has more of an impact and is a bit more reliable for every game than Bowe is.

3. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
Projections: 75 points, 36 receptions, 500 yards, 5 TD
Last Year: 55 receptions, 700 yards, 6 TD
Bye Week: 7

Three easy reasons to avoid him: Him and QB Alex Smith really don’t get along; the QB is Alex Smith; he has major issues with his foot and has yet to start running this season, meaning he may not even play in all 16 games this season, much less play a lot and play well. AVOID.

Wide Receiver Sleepers:

1. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Projections: 162 points, 77 receptions, 1100 yards, 9 TD
Last Year: 45 receptions, 600 yards, 6 TD
Bye Week: 5

Last season, he still put up some not-bad numbers despite not knowing the playbook AND not having Tony Romo throw to him. This season, both of those negatives are no longer and he’s prepared to have a really good year.

2. Mario Manningham, New York Giants
Projections: 132 points, 63 receptions, 900 yards, 7 TD
Last Year: 60 receptions, 900 yards, 9 TD
Bye Week: 7

With Steve Smith coming off an injury and possibly not being ready for Game 1, Manningham may be getting a lot more receptions and yardage. It’s also his contract year, so he needs to impress. Oh, and he had crazy stats the last 3 games last season: 16 receptions, 350 yards, and 4 TDs.

3. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Projections: 69 points, 38 receptions, 500 yards, 3 TD
Last Year: 16 receptions, 200 yards, 0 TD
Bye Week: 11

I hate to have to remember the Divisional Round of the playoffs last season but this is the guy who burned Webb in that amazing pass/catch by Roethlisberger and Brown to set-up the win for the Steelers in that game. I’m not saying he should start for you every game but he will get thrown to a lot more and score some TDs. A solid back-up.

There you have it. The 3 most important positions of fantasy: running back, quarter back, and wide receiver. Over the next week or so I’ll finish up with a look at tight ends, defenses, and kickers, the 3 positions you worry about the least even after your back-ups.

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