Gone are the days when receivers were an afterthought in the first round of your fantasy draft, the thought would be when in the 2nd round would Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens, or Randy Moss go. It’s interesting that the last one of the three is back in the NFL and is still expecting to produce both for their team and possibly on your fantasy team. For the first time in a long time a wide receiver scored more fantasy points than any running backs did in 2011. This is 2012 and the NFL equals passing, this isn’t George Halas and Vince Lombardi’s NFL anymore. There are plenty of receivers and the pool is very deep. If you don’t get a top rated receiver don’t worry there are plenty more to pick from, but don’t wait too long to secure your #1 receiver in your draft because they will fly off your draft board quicker than most seasons.
It’s exciting to actually have a Bears spotlight at the wide receiver position! Hello Brandon Marshall! The Chicago Bears leading receiver all time is Johnny Morris who played in the 60′s so anticipation for the 2012 offense is very high. I know everyone in Chicago is expecting a huge season with the reunion of Marshall and Jay Cutler. Fantasy wise Marshall is getting selected in 2nd-3rd rounds. The sleeper of the group is Earl Bennett, he should get #2 or #3 cover guys on him all season which could lead to some big games, but he still will go undrafted in most 10 team leagues. The wild card of the group has to be Alshon Jeffery. Jeffrey is a no brainer pick in dynasty leagues, and depending on the depth of your keeper list should be selected between 10-14 in keeper leagues. In redraft leagues Jeffrey will go late or undrafted. The one player most people steer clear of unless they are in 12 team leagues or have some absurd return yardage rule is Devin Hester. Fantasy wise he is Mr Inconsistent. Hester with a return TD could make you a winner for the week, but if you count him to produce week in and week out, you end up on the losing side way too much.
Top 10 Fantasy Receivers
1. Calvin Johnson
Johnson had a healthy Stafford for an entire season and it turned out pretty good. No reason to think that Johnson is going to slip far from his 1681 yard and 16 td season. Johnson has been going as high as 3rd in fantasy mock drafts! Johnson is golden if you get bonus points for 100 yard games, he had 8 games of 100 plus yards including two of 200 plus last year.
2. Julio Jones
Yes this is probably higher than most have Jones, but he has all the talent and after a solid first season should be ready to explode in 2012. He had 959 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns while missing 4 games last year and he averaged 17.8 yards per catch. With Matt Ryan entering his prime and Roddy White on the other side of the field if the Falcons ever open up there playbook the sky is the limit for Jones this season.
Andre Johnson is a fantasy beast when he is healthy, and that is the biggest concern as he approaches his early 30′s. Johnson stats when healthy for an entire year read something like this 105 catches for 1,480 and 9 touchdowns. Now if he can just not blow out a hamstring again. Johnson also has TD hog Arian Foster on his team too which could help or hurt his fantasy production. Johnson is high risk high reward the question is how much gamble is he worth!
The great thing about Fitzgerald is that it doesn’t matter if it’s Kurt Warner, Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, or Neil Lomax behind center, Larry is going to catch a lot of balls for over a 1,000 yards and get around 10 touchdowns. Yes, he’s that good and even with the uncertain dark cloud hovering over the QB position in Arizona one thing is for sure Fitzgerald is a true #1 NFL receiver and worthy of a first round pick in your draft.
5. Wes Welker
Depending on your league format Welker is either great to have on your roster or really great. If your in a point per reception league Welker has to be one of the top 4 wide receivers selected. He’s going to catch between 110-120 balls a season. The only downside of Welker is if your in a TD only league, because Welker only averages 6 TD’s a season. New England loves to throw the ball and Welker is the security blanket for Tom Brady!
So much for receivers waiting to bust out in year three myth. Green had over 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign to go along with 65 receptions and 7 touchdowns. Green along with QB Andy Dalton will have to avoid the dreaded sophmore slump together to add to their highly successful rookie seasons. Green should give you 1,200-1,300 yards and 8-10 touchdowns this year.
Jennings is going to give you 80 catches for 1,200 yards to your fantasy team in his sleep. The only question for Jennings is how many touchdowns is he going to get this season. Aaron Rodgers throws the ball all over the lot, but also is very good and spreading out the wealth. There is a lot of fantasy fire power on this team and a few Td’s were lost the day the Packers signed Cedric Benson. Jennings is a solid pick as your top fantasy receivers in 2012.
8. Dez Bryant
Here’s the flip side of the 3rd year receiver myth. Bryant who has improved last season nearly doubling his rookie season will explode with tons of fantasy receiving points in 2012. Romo throws it a ton and Bryant should and could pass the 100 catch and 1,000 yard season plateaus and he’s one tough guy to get to the ground so expect quite a few Sportcenter hightlight touchdowns thrown in for good measure! Bryant will be a top 10 fantasy receiver at the end of this season barring injury to himself or Romo.
9. Hakeem Nicks
Nicks has battled injury in the pre-season and always seems to miss at least a game in the regular season,but his stats are rock solid! 1,100 yards receiving and 7-11 touchdowns in an offense led by Eli Manning that wants to throw the ball a lot even though Coughlin will say he wants to run the ball every play. Nicks lost some TD’s last season to Victor Cruz, but I think that will fade a bit after teams get more tape on Cruz.
10. Marques Colston
Some receiver has to be on the end of Drew Brees record setting amount of yardage! Go ahead pencil Colston in for 80 catches 1,200 yards 8TD’s. Very consistent fantasy scorer that may get more looks from Offensive Coordinator Drew Brees this season. His biggest competition will be Jimmy Graham for every touchdown.
2012 BREAKOUT Wide Reciever
Thomas is another 3rd year receiver that so far has not fulfilled the high expectations set for him by the fans or the organization. Thomas gets the golden opportuinty to catch balls thown to him by Peyton Manning. His last two QB’s were Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow so you know why Thomas should breakout this season. Thomas mock draft spot varies but he will not last two long once you reach the mid rounds.
2012 Bust of the Year
I could be dead wrong on this, but my gut feeling is any player thats sits all pre-season and decides to sign 3 days before the last pre-season game just so he is guaranteed not to play in the game is doomed for a down year. Wallace may be the exception but hold out players start slow and seemingly get injured pretty early into the season. Wallace will still go pretty high in this weekend’s drafts but you heard it hear first he will not be a top 10 receiver and could be in line for a huge let down for his owners!
Who is in your top 10 receivers? There are a lot of choices and depth it will be interesting who ends up busting and breaking out this season. Good Luck to everyone drafting this week!