Roddy White or Andre Johnson. Andre Johnson or Roddy White. Fantasy owners are forging internal battles pertaining to the topic of which wideout deserves to be chosen first in upcoming fantasy football drafts.
KFFL's experts offer their takes on which receiver to select and why.
- No. 1 receiver in a prolific passing offense - quarterback Matt Schaub has taken a liking to Johnson and offers reliable play at the position
- Strong running game to help take pressure off him - Arian Foster led the league in rushing
- Complementary targets around him adequately draw defensive attention; when they don't, Johnson is talented enough to consistently beat double-teams.
- Steady production for most of his career - three seasons with at least 103 catches - two years with at least 1,500 yards
- His short list of negatives includes a fairly extensive injury history and having never scored double-digit touchdowns in a season
- Consistently a strong performer that has improved over the last two seasons - has caught at least 83 passes in each of the last four years, topping out at 115 last season
- Improving young quarterback in Matt Ryan, a strong running game to rely on powered by Michael Turner and an impressive rookie receiver addition in Julio Jones to help alleviate some double-teams
- Durable - has never missed a game in the NFL
- A touchdown threat, having scored 21 total over the past two seasons
- Atlanta's defense is improving and is hardly above putting the offense in passing situations
- Will have a hard time replicating last year's lofty performance, especially in the reception column. Expect fewer grabs with a higher yards-per-reception average and a similar touchdown total
Cory J. Bonini
It's a close call that really could go either way depending on your draft style, although I favor the nine-year vet. Johnson is the same age as White despite having two more seasons of experience, with only slightly more mileage. White is more likely to come down to his 2007 to 2009 totals than his eye-opening effort of a year ago.
Johnson's health is about the only thing you have to be concerned about with him, whereas White's supporting cast is improving and could steal looks (Jacquizz Rodgers and Julio Jones, specifically). I have nothing against Atlanta's star wideout, but Johnson's sheer athleticism has me leaning his direction.
Gary Kubiak was desperate to unearth a running game, and the revelation of Arian Foster has balanced Houston's O. Atlanta's slow transition has gone the other way, with more emphasis on high-percentage completions. More importantly, though, Roddy White hasn't yet missed an NFL contest. Last year he played through a balky knee and still posted a career high in receptions and scored 10 times. Andre Johnson has missed at least three games in three of the last six seasons. Johnson is naturally more gifted, but not enough that White is at a disadvantage when taking into account the other factors, especially for an investment of this magnitude.
Both WRs reside in potent offenses with bell cow RBs and steady offensive lines. AJ's stellar 2010 would've matched White's if his ankle didn't cost him three games. He's "healthy" following microfracture surgery, but that's another strike in his long injury history.
White led 2010 receiving options in targets and saw top-10 red zone looks. He's on a Manning-Harrison plane with the blossoming Matt Ryan. Atlanta is nurturing their vertical game; Houston is embracing their ground forces. Their foci are heading in opposite directions. Julio Jones' arrival and Tony Gonzalez's name will also attract defensive attention.
All things equal, it's the freakish AJ. But that first-round risk? Give me White.
The offenses of the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans are similarly explosive; they possess reliable running games and love to threaten secondaries with their vertical passing attack. Houston may be shifting to a more run-first mentality, but Johnson's ability to chew up double-teams puts him in a tier of his own.
The only real knock on Johnson is his extensive injury history. White, on the other hand, is a safer, more consistent source of receptions, although I'm expecting a small drop from '10. On raw talent alone, Johnson is the easy selection. It's a very tough call, but for me, it's just too hard to pass up on Johnson's unique skills.
Consensus choice: Draw
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