Friday, June 14, 2013

2013 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers

1. Calvin Johnson: For the second year in a row, Calvin Johnson led the league in fantasy points by year end. From Week 9 to Week 16, Johnson averaged 17.5 fantasy points per game, and this magnificent run helped Megatron break Jerry Rice's single season receiving yard record. Calvin Johnson was tackled on the opponent's one yard-line six times last year, so expect the touchdown total to increase in 2013. Defenses are still stumped by Johnson's pure athleticism, and he will continue to dominate for years to come.

2. Brandon Marshall: Brandon Marshall is the ideal fantasy wide receiver; great hands, reasonable size, and enough speed to make him a legitimate deep threat. After reconnecting with quarterback Jay Cutler in Chicago last season, Marshall recorded 1,508 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Despite a weak offensive line and constant double teaming from opposing defenses, Marshall finished as the second best fantasy wide receiver in the league. Not much should change in 2013.

3. AJ Green: In just his second year in the league, AJ Green recorded 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns in Cincinnati, proving he is an elite wide receiver in the league. A weak quarterback and no second string wide receiver to to take the pressure off Green has not deterred Green from producing astounding numbers. Cincinnati's offense revolves around Green, since quarterback Andy Dalton struggles with the deep ball. AJ Green will have relatively inconsistent numbers unless Dalton can strengthen his arm.

4. Percy Harvin: A sprained ankle prevented Harvin from finishing the 2012 season, but fantasy owners have high hopes for Harvin next year. Percy Harvin recorded 62 receptions for 677 yards, and six of his first eight games resulted in double digit fantasy points. Harvin is always at risk of injury, but instead of quarterback Christian Ponder throwing him the ball, Rookie of the Year candidate Russell Wilson will be taking the snaps. If Harvin can remain healthy, this wide receiver could give Calvin Johnson a run for his money as the top fantasy wide receiver in the league.

5. Dez Bryant: Through the first three weeks of the 2012 season, Dez Bryant was averaging 5 fantasy points per game, causing many fantasy owners to grow concerned. It was not until Week 10 when Dez Bryant was able to score consistent fantasy points week after week. In Bryant's final 8 games of the season, he averaged 17.75 fantasy points per game, and finished the year with 1,382 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. The slow start last season may be a red flag during the draft, and hopefully Bryant will be more consistent in 2013.

6. Larry Fitzgerald: Larry Fitzgerald had a disastrous 2012 season, with no injuries to blame for the drop-off. The quarterback problems in Arizona (Kevin Kolb, John Skelton) were awful, as they threw for many interceptions and a low completion rate. Hopefully, newly-acquired Carson Palmer can help Fitzgerald get back on track. We have high hopes for Fitzgerald in 2013, and we expect him to exceed expectations.

7. Julio Jones: Julio Jones has dangerous competition in Atlanta, as he shares a backfield consisting of Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Steven Jackson. Jones has incredible hands, capable of catching a passes across the middle, or snagging a ball out of the air deep in the end zone. Luckily, teams can not double team Jones or else Matt Ryan will dump the ball off to White or Gonzalez. Jones has the advantage over White in terms of athleticism, but the two are capable of tremendous statistics each week.

8. Randall Cobb: Former Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings signed with the rival Minnesota Viking in the off season, and as he leaves Green Bay, someone will have to fill the void. We believe Randall Cobb will be that guy. Randall Cobb plays out of the slot in Green Bay, and will dominate the middle part of the field. His 954 yards and 8 touchdowns is expected to see a drastic increase in 2013, and Cobb adds to his value with a decent running ability, as he recorded 132 rushing yards last year.

9. Roddy White: As mentioned before, Roddy White has fierce competition in the Falcons' backfield, and as a result, he has not replicated the same numbers from years earlier. White will be 32 next November, but he is still capable of performing. White scored just 7 touchdowns last year, as Ryan prefers to pass to tight end Tony Gonalez or Julio Jones in the red zone. White has enough left in the tank to be a top 10 wide receiver, but he will not be a first round draft pick unless Jones and Gonzalez are out of the lineup.

10. Demaryius Thomas: Once Peyton Manning arrived in Denver, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas transformed into a star. Thomas finished fifth overall in fantasy points among wide receivers, even with teammate Eric Decker finishing eighth. Now, slot receiver Wes Welker will be playing for the Denver Broncos, and it is more than likely that he will take away a large portion of Thomas' targets. Thomas will remain Peyton's number one target, but Wes Welker clearly hurts his draft value.

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