Wide Receiver Drafting Essentials for 2013

Can Dez Bryant bring back the magic from 2012?

Can Dez Bryant repeat the magic from 2012?

When it comes to drafting wide receivers for the 2013 Fantasy Draft, all fantasy owners must basically focus on the top 20-25 in the league.

To help with your draft this season, Fantasy Buzzer did a quick breakdown of the talent available.

All NFL Preseason rankings (no matter what the source) are based on past player performance, statistical analysis and conjecture.

Wide receivers are the flakiest positions in fantasy football. 150 yards and 2 touchdowns one week could lead to a two-catch, no touchdown performance the following week.

The following top wide receivers can be broken down into (FIVE) categories:

  • Must Own
  • Top Notch
  • Rock Solid
  • Best of the Rest

More than any other fantasy football position, you have to patient with them, because for every monster game they post, there is a single digit fantasy disaster hiding just around the corner.

 MUST OWN: 

Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant

A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones

Barring a catastrophic injury, it would be extremely hard to go wrong with any on these receivers during the 2013 season.

Calvin Johnson is a no-brainer, although we really hope he can manage to find the end zone more this season.

Dez Bryant is a WILD CARD and presents considerably more risk than the ‘Must Own’ receivers on this list. Bryant has the potential to surpass Calvin Johnson as this year’s best fantasy wide receiver. He could also fall flat on his butt for six games and put up the same kind kind of mess he gave fantasy owners during the first half of the 2012 season.

Bryant was a fantasy bust for five of the first nine games last season. During Week 6, he hung 95 yards and two touchdowns on the Ravens and inexplicably came back in Week 7 against the Panthers with two catches for a whopping 14 yards.

He did virtually the same thing Week 8 when ran over the Giants with 5 catches for 110 yards and then disappeared the next week against Atlanta registering just one catch for 15 yards. Hopefully that up and down play is behind Bryant, but keep it in the back of your mind.

On the flip side, A.J. Green is Mr. Consistency – Week in and week out; he catches touchdowns or registers 100-yard receiving days. How he does it with Andy Dalton throwing him the ball is one of the great mysteries of the world.

Brandon Marshall was a one-man wrecking crew for Chicago last year. With more than 1,500 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, he gave every fantasy owner a reason to smile. Look for more of the same this year.

Demaryius Thomas is having his best camp ever and Peyton Manning loves this guy! Thomas is committed to improving upon all his career highs from last season where he pulled in 94 catches, 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns. There’s no receiver who is better equipped for success during the upcoming season except Calvin Johnson.

Julio Jones is another fantasy beast who has a nose for the end zone – The scary thing about Jones is that he is getting better. He’s dealing with hamstring tightness during the preseason, but should be all ready to go for the start of the regular season.

TOP NOTCH:

 Roddy White, Andre Johnson, Randall Cobb, Victor Cruz

Roddy White is straight money in any fantasy league. He’s nursing a sprained ankle, but will certainly be ready to rock for game one of the regular season in New Orleans. This guy hasn’t missed a single game in 8 years and puts up 1,300 yard receiving seasons like it’s his job. (Well it is) He’s always a threat in the end zone, even though his touchdowns totals have declined over the past two seasons.

Playing opposite of Julio Jones, defenses are often left with no good options when trying to cover these two standouts. Stick double coverage on either Jones or White and the other is sure to burn you.

Some clowns are reporting that the Texans Andre Johnson has lost a step – Don’t believe it. Johnson didn’t miss a beat during the 2012 season finishing with 112 receptions for 1,598 yards, second only to Calvin Johnson. He may not dance with the 1,600 yard mark again, but he is top ten receiver through and through.

Randall Cobb is locked in as the #1 receiver in Green Bay and barring injury should have another over-the-top year in terms of fantasy production. He’s been limited throughout the preseason with a biceps injury, but the Packers have been content to let him rest. During the 2012 season, Cobb registered 954 yards receiving yards and scored 8 touchdowns. If he stays healthy this year, look for him to bring in around 1,200 yards in reception and score double-digit touchdowns.

Victor Cruz got his money, now can he keep up numbers during the 2013 season? He’s been on crutches and in a walking boot since jamming his heel on August 18th during a preseason game. Bruised heels are very tricky injuries and only time heals them properly. His playmaking skills are off the chart, but if he’s stuck with a bad wheel, he could lose his fantasy appeal very quickly. If you are a fantasy owner who likes to live on the edge, snatch him up in the 3rd round. If you are more risk averse, you might want to grab a safer option.

ROCK SOLID:

 Larry Fitzgerald, Dwayne Bowe, Wes Welker, Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson

The Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald is unquestionably one of the most talented receivers in the game. Sadly for wide receivers, you have to have a quarterback throwing to you that doesn’t suck. Even if Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer puts on a show and hits Fitzgerald with every pass, the good times can last for only so long. The Cardinals offensive line is downright offensive and the quarterback is going to take a beating every single week.

Palmer is 33-years-old and has a history of giving up on teams when they start losing. Even if Arizona begins the season with four straight wins like they did last year, the team’s success is likely to be short-lived. Fitzgerald should surpass his 2012 totals of 71 catches for just under 800 yards and 4 touchdowns, but not by much. He’s a great player on a bad team.

Like Fitzgerald, Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe has suffered career setbacks because of sub-par quarterbacks in the past. He gets a definite fantasy boost with the arrival of Alex Smith from the 49ers. Smith doesn’t have a rocket arm, but he is accurate and that’s just what the doctor ordered for Bowe.

Bowe had a mediocre 2012 season where he collected 59 catches for 801 yards and 3 touchdowns. His season ended against the Browns during Week 14 when he broke a couple of ribs. Having Alex Smith at quarterback with Andy Reid calling the shots should help Bowe register a solid bounce back season in Kansas City.

Don’t sleep on Reggie Wayne! Andrew Luck has complete faith in Wayne and that explains why he hit him with 106 receptions last season that totaled 1,355 yards. He may not get to 1,300 yards again, but he is a “Rock Solid” fantasy receiver.

Vincent Jackson’s 72 catch season for 1,384 yards and 8 touchdowns was one of the most impressive performances from any wide receiver last year. To reach those kinds of numbers with the Josh Freeman throwing to you is nothing short of remarkable. Jackson is top-tier receiver with incredible talent, but having him on your team means having to rely on the bumbling Josh Freeman and that should make any fantasy owner very, very nervous.

Best of the Rest:

 Marques Colston, Danny Amendola, Eric Decker

The Saints Marques Colston has been a fantasy staple for each of the seven years he’s been in the league and this year will be no different. His foot issues are slightly troubling, but he dealt with them all season long and still posted 1,154 yards to go along with 10 touchdowns. Drew Brees is always looking for Colston and that’s good news for all fantasy owners.

Eric Decker has completely tumbled down fantasy draft boards out of the top 20 with an Average Draft Position of 56. Overlooking Eric Decker is terrible mistake that can cost you dearly. During the 2012 season, Decker hauled in 85 catches for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns. There is NO reason he can’t match those numbers from last season. If you need a wide receiver in the 4th or 5th round, go get him and you can thank me later.

Sorry, but I’m not jumping on the Danny Amendola bandwagon. I don’t care if Tom Brady loves him or not. If he’s hurt and he can’t play, then he can’t produce. If you decide to draft him, remember to keep your fingers crossed and load up on the rabbit’s feet and horseshoes – Good luck, my friend!

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