Onto the league divas and in a pass heavy league perhaps the most important picks of your draft. Wide outs can be unpredictable at points and it’s because of this that it’s important to grab a reliable pass catcher before the board is ravaged. So let’s take a look at the top guys coming into the 2011 season.
1 – Andre Johnson – Speed, height, and bulk would be an adequate physical description of Johnson. He is without question Matt Schaub’s first target and is on pace for 100 receptions every season and defenses struggle to cover him each game. The return of Owen Daniels should help to boost Johnson’s production as defenses will have to alleviate pressure on him to account for Daniels, and the same can be said of Arian Foster’s impact.
Point: You can expect good numbers from him each week that he plays.
Counterpoint: His history of injuries make you wonder if he’s going to play each week and his lack of double digit TDs in a season are worrisome.
2 – Roddy White – The Hot Rod is a top flight player who ranks behind Johnson by only a hair. He is clearly the guy that Matt Ryan is looking to each time he throws, as his increase in receptions show (115 receptions, 30 more than 2009), and has proven to be a reliable threat in the redzone, though he is not always the first option.
Point: Solid, no doubt pick.
Counterpoint: New additions may cause the ball to be spread around more.
3 – Calvin Johnson – Megatron or the other Johnson. Calvin is probably one of the most talented receivers playing today. Though he plays on an offense that can’t seem to keep it together, he has still been able to light up the stat boards. There are high hopes for a Stafford to Johnson connection in Detroit and a 100 yard 3 TD game between the two to back the hype.
Point: Megatron put up solid numbers without Stafford under center so it’s safe to say his fantasy success is not dependent on Stafford’s health.
Counterpoint: He tends to have nagging injuries that can make you sweat on game days when deciding to play or bench him.
4 – Hakeem Nicks – Nicks has beast written all over him. He exploded out of the gate last year with a 3 TD game and quickly established himself as the prime target for Eli Manning. He is a redzone monster and should continue to be this season. Also, with Steve Smith coming off of knee surgery, there could be more balls thrown his way if Smith is slow to return.
Point: Nicks has a knack for scoring and could see an increase in receptions.
Counterpoint: Nagging injuries have plagued his first 2 seasons and could force him out of a game or 2 this season.
5 – Reggie Wayne – Wayne is the number 1 wide out in Peyton Manning’s offense, so on that alone Reggie should be in the top 10 at wide receiver. Wayne has also had back to back seasons with 100 receptions making it 3 out of the last 4 years with 100 receptions. Austin Collie came on strong last season, but multiple concussions leave a question mark on his ability to come back this year at the same form. Leaving Wayne to only have Dallas Clark as real competition for balls being thrown. He should get a rise in TDs this season as well.
Point: Consistent production makes him a safe pick.
Counterpoint: Reggie disappeared in 4 games last season against under performing teams like Jacksonville and Cincinnati where he didn’t top 42 yards or score a TD.
6 – Greg Jennings – In a Green Bay offense where the ball is spread around, Jennings has managed to remain a solid option in fantasy leagues. Despite a slow start he managed to close the season on a more consistent note and is Aaron Rodger’s first option, as he had 7 more receiving TDs than any other receiver on the team with 12.
Point: A good offense goes a long way in getting good fantasy numbers and Green Bay will be on a Super Bowl high.
Counterpoint: Jermichael Finley ate into a lot of short yardage receptions and could be a big redzone threat this season if he recovers well from his knee injury.
7 – Larry Fitzgerald – Oh Fitz, what are you doing so low on the boards? Well, no matter how great a receiver is, you got to have a quarterback to get the ball to him. Even with his lack of a consistent QB, Fitz managed 90 receptions and 1,100 yards. It’s terrible to see a receiver like him go to waste in his prime, but I can’t place him higher than this without a better QB under center. However, this rating is subject to change if the likes of Kevin Kolb or Donovan McNabb were to make their way to Arizona.
Point: One of the best receivers in the game, fantasy or not.
Counterpoint: No QB = big risk each week.
8 – Dwayne Bowe – From week 6 to week 12 last season, he was the best wide receiver in fantasy. He scored 2 or more TDs in 5 of those 7 game stretch and was over 100 yards 4 of those times. Many soured on Bowe just as quick, as he tanked in the fantasy playoffs. The good news is that Matt Cassel and Todd Haley have a good deal of faith in Bowe. Also, the renewed work ethic by Dwayne over the off-season paid off and restored what was a dwindling faith between Bowe and Haley who had been at odds. He could be the complete package at the receiver position if he can bring it all together and could yet again be a fantasy dynamo.
Point: Bowe established himself as the go to guy for Matt Cassel and remains a redzone threat on a young offensively talented team.
Counterpoint: His stretch came against mostly bad defenses and he didn’t show enough consistency to rank him higher.
9 – Mike Wallace – He already had the speed, but Wallace saw a bump in receptions by 21 last season and with Hines Ward getting a bit long in the tooth as they say, he could become even more involved in the offense. He will definitely be a threat to the deep ball as Roethlisberger had no problems heaving the ball up for Wallace to go get, but if he becomes more involved in the short passes he could be in for a huge season.
Point: He can strike at almost any point in the game for big yards and scores.
Counterpoint: Deep threats can help and hurt fantasy teams.
10 – Mike Williams – I don’t generally like placing a lot of faith in second year players, but Williams hit the ground running when came into the league scoring in his first 2 games. He has great rapport with Josh Freeman and showed the ability to score on a consistent basis with 11 TDs on the year.
Point: All the tools to be a fantasy difference maker.
Counterpoint: Could be in line for a sophomore slump with defenses planning for him and the young Bucs.
These are my top guys though I have some hovering right under 10 that I think could go either way like DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, and Marques Colston. As well as the fact that the lockout could be over soon (fingers crossed) and free agency could effect some rankings. Til next time guys.
About the Author
Written by David Willow
My name is David Willow. Your NFL and Fantasy Jedi. I have lived in Dallas, TX most of my life. I have been following both football and basketball since I was a child. I love being able to research and analyze different players and teams. I've been a fantasy sports enthusiast for around 8 years with some titles to back that. I have a Bachelors degree in History with a minor in English. Other hobbies include me being part of an acting workshop for five years, playing guitar, and working out. Hit me up with any comments, questions or opinions.