Fantasy Football Player Analysis: Wide receiver

by Cory J. Bonini on July 23, 2012 @ 17:42:00 PDT

 

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KFFL's player analysis will be updated and expanded on regularly through the offseason. Be sure to sound off in the comments section below!

1) Calvin Johnson | Detroit Lions | 6-foot-5, 236 pounds | 6th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
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9810815631713121403015011215

Fantasy analysis: Johnson is a safer bet for a huge season than his wide receiver counterparts. The monstrous wideout plays the majority of his games in a dome and works out of a pass-happy offense with a legit quarterback. Johnson plays in the more prolific passing conference on a team with a suspect defense that forces the offense to throw. Detroit's top dog is a physical freak of nature and has competent receivers around him to help take off some of the pressure. Even still, Johnson has the rare skill set that allows him to dominate against double-teams. It will be tough to replicate his numbers from last year, but if anyone can come close, it will be the one they call Megatron. Johnson's ADP is seventh overall, and he is the only receiver worthy of a first-round pick this offseason.

2) Larry Fitzgerald | Arizona Cardinals | 6-foot-3, 218 pounds | 9th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
8696105312038100402201811

Fantasy analysis: Fitz is coming off a strong season, despite having little to work with at quarterback. He will be 29 this summer but hasn't missed a game in four straight seasons. Quarterback John Skelton, who favored Fitzgerald heavily last year, will battle Kevin Kolb for the starting job this offseason. Fantasy owners should be rooting for Skelton to win it. He has a big arm and can take advantage of the veteran receiver's downfield abilities, as evidenced by a 17.9 yards-per-reception average during games in which Skelton was heaving the ball. Monitor the QB battle and trust Fitz as the second safest choice for a huge fantasy season at the position. His average draft position is 21st overall.

3) Greg Jennings | Green Bay Packers | 5-foot-11, 198 pounds | 7th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
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6676876102646030150147

Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers

Fantasy analysis: Jennings' 2011 season was cut short by a hamstring injury that cost him the final three games. He racked up 949 yards on 67 catches and scored nine times. His yards-per-reception average came down to 14.2 after being 16.0-plus the prior three seasons. Aaron Rodgers loves Jennings and has full trust in him. The veteran receiver is a deep threat with impressive after-the-catch ability, which enables him to take short routes for big gains. The Packers' O is about as pass-happy as they come, and it never hurts having arguably the best quarterback in the league chucking the ball your direction. Jennings caught at least six passes in seven of his 13 games, scoring in nine of those contests. He is a consistent force and is rarely an all-or-nothing performer. We have confidence in him as one of the top fantasy receivers in 2012. His average draft position is the middle of the third round.

4) A.J. Green | Cincinnati Bengals | 6-foot-4, 211 pounds | 2nd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
879713141464101204027011013

Fantasy analysis: We love what Green was able to do as a rookie, and he should be able to capitalize on that performance with a full offseason of learning nuances of the system. Undoubtedly, Andy Dalton and Green are on the same page in an offense that doesn't boast a lot of playmakers. As a rookie, he was able to beat double coverage with regularity and make spectacular grabs in coverage. From an intangible standpoint, Green is extremely dedicated to his craft. He has spent the offseason studying film and refining his mechanics with the coaching staff. He led the league in receptions of 35 yards or more with 11, which was the most in the NFL for a rookie since Randy Moss' 14 in 1998. Green is a focal point in the passing attack at all times; 68 percent of his receptions came when the game was within seven points. The former Georgia star is learning all three receiver spots to allow him to move around for more mismatches. Additionally, he has learned to vary his route speed and show more patience as a route-runner. Green is a second-round selection, on average, as the second receiver off the board. Both figures are just a tad too early for us to be comfortable with.

5) Victor Cruz | New York Giants | 6-foot, 204 pounds | 3rd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
849410381188681721510169

Fantasy analysis: Cruz salsa danced his way into the hearts of fantasy owners across the world last season after seemingly coming from nowhere. Don't write him off as a one-year wonder. He was having an extraordinary preseason in 2010 before falling to injury. His out-of-this-world production last year (82-1,536-9) probably will come back to Earth this season, but a moderate step back still makes him a viable fantasy WR1. Cruz has chemistry with Eli Manning and benefits from Hakeem Nicks seeing consistent double coverage. The caveat with Cruz is Nicks' injury history: Should Nicks (foot) be slow to recover from offseason surgery or fall to a new ailment, Cruz's value takes a significant hit. He averaged at least 16.0 yards per reception in half of his games played. Expect his season-long 18.7 yards-per to come down. A lack of proven talent behind him could mean more receptions, however. Cruz is a somewhat risky No. 1 and goes, on average, in Round 3.

6) Mike Wallace | Pittsburgh Steelers | 6-foot, 199 pounds | 4th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
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65751045119581017215101811

Fantasy analysis: Pittsburgh will open up the offense after replacing the mundane Bruce Arians with Todd Haley as the chief play-caller. The Steelers don't have a proven running game at the moment, with Rashard Mendenhall (knee) being months away from receiving a clean bill of health. No. 2 receiver Antonio Brown stepped up last year to help take some pressure off Wallace. Pittsburgh's defense is on the decline, which should lead to more situations of necessity passing. A contract dispute lingers between the Steelers and Wallace, but he is expected to suit up in Week 1. The fourth-year receiver made strides in 2011 to become a well-rounded receiver. He is no longer just a speedy big-play option. Fantasy owners are opting for Wallace in the middle of the fifth round, which makes him a phenomenal value as a No. 1 fantasy wideout.

7) Roddy White | Atlanta Falcons | 6-foot, 211 pounds | 8th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
86961099124957030150158

Fantasy analysis: It is a rarity to call a receiver coming off back-to-back 100-reception seasons "undervalued," but White fits the bill. He has scored 18 touchdowns over the last two years (29 spanning the past three), while topping 1,150 yards in five straight campaigns. Atlanta will be opening up their offense in a big way, and Matt Ryan is coming into his own as a borderline top-flight fantasy quarterback. Last year's rookie sensation, Julio Jones, only further helps White's chances, as teams will not be able to commit as much defensive coverage shading to White's side. The AFC South is hardly a defensive conference. White is a safe choice as a No. 1 receiver and has a fair amount of upside because of the philosophy change under new OC Dirk Koetter. Fantasy owners are drafting R-Dubs as the 14th receiver off the board, on average, in the mid-fourth round. That is the definition of a steal, my friends.

8) Wes Welker | New England Patriots | 5-foot-9, 185 pounds | 9th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
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98108965111568030150169

Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots

Fantasy analysis: Welker's contract issue is really a non-issue, as far as we're concerned. He will report, Tom Brady will throw to him (a lot), and fantasy owners will rejoice. In the meantime, take advantage of his late fourth-round ADP, if you're an early drafter. Welker is coming off a career-high nine-TD season, at 30 years old, no less. He is Brady's favorite target and has such a knack for finding the soft spot in zone coverage. The veteran wideout is one of the top WR choices in leagues that reward for receptions, but his catch tally is likely to take a step backward in '12. He has another set of hands to contend with (Brandon Lloyd), and a distracting offseason could play a factor. Draft Welker as early as the high third round in PPR getups.

9) Dez Bryant | Dallas Cowboys | 6-foot-2, 225 pounds | 3rd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
9710713431493101204018011013

Fantasy analysis: There is no denying Bryant's raw talent, and he played remarkably well in his second year for not having an offseason. Big things are expected of him, and we're not alone in this, but how he handles the pressure will be the telltale sign of his potential for true greatness. To this point, the pressure has apparently already taken its toll, as he has been charged with domestic violence for attacking his own mother. It is hard to imagine Bryant escaping discipline from above with following his latest transgression. He snatched 63 balls for 928 yards and scored nine times in 2011, missing one game as he battled a deep thigh bruise along the way. Bryant's individual talent and physical skill set are arguably second to only Calvin Johnson's. A healthy Miles Austin will also help him greatly, since defenses will not be able to solely focus on stopping No. 88. As long as he stays healthy and isn't suspended, Bryant is an elite fantasy receiver in the making. Draft him as a low-end No. 1 or ideal second, only if he somehow comes away unscathed from this latest problem; he typically goes in the fifth round.

10) Andre Johnson | Houston Texans | 6-foot-3, 225 pounds | 10th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
961061177132757030150158

Fantasy analysis: Injuries have derailed Johnson's career, to the point some people probably forget just how good he is. An offseason knee scope was the latest in a lengthy list of procedures for Johnson, but he should be 100 percent for Week 1. AJ is one of the most physically gifted receivers in the NFL, but you have to count on him missing time. He has missed time in three of the past five seasons. At 31 years old, how much does he have left in the tank? We think a few good years, if his body holds up. Houston's offense has evolved into a run-heavy approach, but that should become more balanced with a healthy Johnson in the mix. Consider him a classic boom-or-bust pick that really could make your squad a contender or have you cursing his name. Johnson goes, on average, in the early third round.

11) Julio Jones | Atlanta Falcons | 6-foot-3, 220 pounds | 2nd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
708010501200101204020011013

Fantasy analysis: The sophomore receiver has lofty standards to live up to if he wants to please fantasy owners in 2012. Jones is going before Roddy White in fantasy drafts, albeit only by a few picks in the same round. Jones has the size, speed and athleticism to dominate in the NFL, as he showed flashes of in 2011. We are not quite ready to anoint him the top receiving target in Atlanta, but this offseason's installation of a wide-open passing attack will enable the youngster to post strong fantasy numbers even as a second fiddle. The Falcons will chuck the ball more than ever under Mike Smith's watch, and few defenders can stop Jones one on one. Injuries are a notable concern with him, and you'll have to pay a steep price to find out if 2012 is his breakout year. Jones goes in the fourth round, on average.

12) Hakeem Nicks | New York Giants | 6-foot, 215 pounds | 4th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
63731006115657030150158

Fantasy analysis: Nicks is coming back from a fractured foot that required offseason surgery. All signs point to him being ready for Week 1, if not training camp. His conditioning may be shaky early in the season, but as long as he can remain on the field, Nicks' physicality puts him among the best WR1 options fantasy owners could ask for. He will come cheaper than warranted in most cases, since fantasy owners can be scared of injured players, especially those with a history of ailments. He has averaged 77.5 receptions, 1,122 yards and nine touchdowns per year in the last two seasons, missing four games in total. Watch Nicks' offseason recovery process. He will fluctuate in our rankings as more information becomes available. Draft him as a strong No. 2 if you can, as he is coming off the board in the fourth round.

13) Marques Colston | New Orleans Saints | 6-foot-4, 225 pounds | 7th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
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8292995114568030150169

Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints

Fantasy analysis: Colston is always an injury risk, but he is also arguably Drew Brees' favorite target. Three straight seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards and seven or more scores makes Colston one of the most consistent, reliable targets you can ask for in a prolific passing attack. Robert Meachem is gone, and defenses will focus their attention on stopping Jimmy Graham. We expect Brees to rely on the players he has the most confidence in without Sean Payton on the sidelines. Colston is typically drafted in the early fifth round.

14) Vincent Jackson | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 6-foot-5, 230 pounds | 8th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
6676110412548100301501811

Fantasy analysis: Jackson is coming off a fine season with the San Diego Chargers and should pick up where he left off now that he is a Buc. The offense will have a strong emphasis on the ground, but that doesn't matter for the style of player Jackson is. A deep threat through and through, V-Jax should be on the end of Josh Freeman bombs as Tampa's No. 1 wideout. He won't catch a lot of passes, but a 17.5 yards-per-reception average over his career says it all. Tampa Bay's offensive line is about as good as they come, and Freeman has a lot to prove. Jackson is an awesome No. 2 fantasy receiver this year. He is usually taken in the fifth round.

15) Jordy Nelson | Green Bay Packers | 6-foot-3, 217 pounds | 5th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
869612811431101203015011013

Fantasy analysis: If Nelson was looking to make a statement in 2011 with his play, he did that and then some! The big-play wideout caught 68 passes for 1,263 yards and a whopping 15 touchdown passes. He caught at least five balls in seven games and scored in 10 games, logging multiple TDs in four games. In 2010, Nelson teased with flashes of this potential. It would be foolish to expect him to replicate last year's scoring figures, but he should be able to come close to 70 receptions and 1,200 yards again. His size is an asset in the red zone, as illustrated by his seven scores in this area of the field last year. Nelson is a mildly risky pick as your second receiver and goes in the fifth round, on average.

16) Stevie Johnson | Buffalo Bills | 6-foot-2, 210 pounds | 5th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
425253168146030150147

Fantasy analysis: An offseason procedure on his groin has Johnson very close to 100 percent heading into training camp. He battled the injury last year. Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has an affinity for Johnson, and the signal-caller has worked hard this offseason to improve his game. The veteran receiver is coming off a slight statistical regression, which we attribute to the injury. He makes for an awesome No. 3 fantasy receiver or a passable WR2 in all scoring formats and has a seventh-round ADP. Look for that figure to move up the draft board as he displays his health in camp.

17) Miles Austin | Dallas Cowboys | 6-foot-2, 215 pounds | 7th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
465658873857030150158

Fantasy analysis: Austin missed six games last year because of a nagging hamstring injury. Speculation about his conditioning heading into last year's shortened offseason had crept up, but he has come in this offseason in outstanding shape. Austin is in position to have a strong year, as defenders will focus on stopping the more talented Dez Bryant, leaving the veteran to see a lot of single coverage. However, Bryant's potentially looming suspension could affect Austin in a negative way. He is a big-play threat and has quality size in the red zone. Don't forget that Tony Romo has a ton of confidence in him. Owners are opting for Austin in the fourth round as the 11th receiver to come of the board. That is just a hair earlier than we like him, but he should be a strong WR2 with low-end No. 1 upside.

18) Brandon Marshall | Chicago Bears | 6-foot-4, 230 pounds | 7th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
9810812541404101204020011013

Fantasy analysis: Marshall is reunited with Jay Cutler, who will be under quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates once again. The Bears have promoted Mike Tice to offensive coordinator. His system is a general pro-style offense that will rely heavily on Marshall as a possession receiver. Rookie wideout Alshon Jeffery enters the fray, and he should help take some pressure off Marshall. The veteran's ceiling is rather limited, but he has more upside than he did while with the Miami Dolphins the past few years. Marshall is better in point-per-reception setups, and he has struggled to find the end zone in his pro career. Consider him a great No. 2 choice (with low-end WR1 potential) in PPR affairs.

19) Dwayne Bowe | Kansas City Chiefs | 6-foot-2, 221 pounds | 6th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
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6676876102668030150169

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Fantasy analysis: Bowe is in a bit of a contract squabble with the team over receiving the franchise tag this offseason, but we are confident a deal will be hammered out in short order. He exploded with 15 touchdowns in 2010 and came back to reality with only five a year ago; he should approach double-digit scores this year if Matt Cassel remains healthy. The offense will focus on the ground game, although Bowe will remain a fixture in the aerial attack. He could greatly benefit from Jonathan Baldwin stepping up to draw more coverage, and the healthy return of tight end Tony Moeaki (knee) only gives the team more weapons for defenses to concern themselves with. Bowe has a tempered ceiling, which is that of a possession receiver, making his value at its highest in PPR formats. He goes on average in the late fifth round, which is a reasonable value if he reports on time.

20) Percy Harvin | Minnesota Vikings | 5-foot-11, 184 pounds | 4th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
60707579075721271101400259

Fantasy analysis: Harvin wasn't happy, now he is happy, but only for this year... An offseason of soap opera drama is never good. Yet, Harvin is in position to excel. He will be more involved in the passing attack if his offseason spat resonated with the coaching staff. Christian Ponder should only improve in his second year, and Adrian Peterson's knee injury could lead to more passing. Jerome Simpson came in to help take off some pressure on Harvin, too. The smallish wideout has more value in PPR leagues and could help in scoring systems that reward for individual special teams return plays. Draft him as a marginal No. 2 receiver in PPR and a third in standard scoring; his ADP is the fourth round in conventional setups, which is a little high.

21) DeSean Jackson | Philadelphia Eagles | 5-foot-10, 175 pounds | 5th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
5464922107257285350158

Fantasy analysis: The sky is the limit for Jackson and the Eagles' offense this season, but a healthy Michael Vick will be key in their success. D-Jax was paid and now will have to earn it. He is a classic deep threat, with an all-or-nothing statistical profile. Jackson, who has injury concerns, probably will not top 65 receptions, and his touchdown production is tough to count on. His season-long numbers will look better than the lack of weekly consistency he offers. D-Jax has more value in non-PPR leagues and comes off the board with an ADP of the early seventh round.

22) Steve Smith | Carolina Panthers | 5-foot-9, 185 pounds | 12th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
657582197124040240125

Fantasy analysis: Smith enjoyed a total resurrection in 2011, as rookie quarterback Cam Newton relied heavily on him. Smith played all 16 games for the first time since 2005. Don't forget that on draft day. He is 33 years old and has scored double-digit touchdowns in one season of his career. Newton clearly has an affinity for Smith, and essentially no receiver on the team is threat to steal significant touches from the veteran wideout. Be cautious if you select Smith, expect some regression, and draft more stability at the position to cover your tail. He goes, on average, in the fifth round.

23) Eric Decker | Denver Broncos | 6-foot-3, 218 pounds | 3rd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
657578693657040190158

Fantasy analysis: Decker has worked closely with Peyton Manning this offseason and should benefit from the added reps. He came close to breaking out in 2011, but the Tim Tebow experiment derailed his year from a fantasy perspective. Decker has downfield speed and red zone ability. He has sure hands and showed a nose for the end zone last season. His fantasy value rides on Manning's effectiveness, as the backup situation in Denver is ugly. Decker is a slightly risky No. 3 fantasy receiver who could pay WR2 rewards. Consistency could be an issue, especially early in the year, but he is worth the gamble at the right price. Decker's ADP is the late ninth round.

24) Jeremy Maclin | Philadelphia Eagles | 6-foot, 205 pounds | 4th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
6878867101768030150169

Fantasy analysis: Maclin's 2011 season was probably doomed before it began. An offseason illness plagued him, and he ended up missing three games because of various injuries. Healthy, and seven pounds of muscle added, Maclin enters this offseason in great shape poised to rebound and provide fantasy footballers a staple in their passing game. In 2010, Maclin was consistent and provided fantasy owners with stability. Last year should be erased from your mind, as that simply wasn't Maclin as we know him. Much of his success rides on Michael Vick remaining healthy. Maclin checks in as a sixth-round pick, on average, which is fair value for the slight bit of risk you assume.

25) Torrey Smith | Baltimore Ravens | 6-foot-1, 205 pounds | 2nd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
5565921107157040200158

Fantasy analysis: As a rookie in 2011, Smith displayed poise and showed off his big-play skills. He averaged 16.7 yards per catch and put the ball across the stripe seven times. Anquan Boldin should be good enough to keep Smith from seeing a lot of double-teams. The speedster led the NFL in average depth of target at 19.4 yards. Baltimore's D could require more passing from the offense this year, and Joe Flacco has a Howitzer for a right arm. It is easy to be worried about Smith regressing as a sophomore. However, he has worked to improve his route-running skills and his hands - Smith's foremost flaw. All-or-nothing players are tough to gauge; he scored seven touchdowns in five games and 43.6 percent of his fantasy points scored came in two games. Know what you are getting if you draft Smith, who goes in the late sixth round, on average.

26) Antonio Brown | Pittsburgh Steelers | 5-foot-10, 186 pounds | 3rd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
971071261141168281310169

Fantasy analysis: Brown emerged as blossoming No. 2 target for the Steelers last year, catching 69 balls for 1,108 yards and two touchdown passes. He isn't afraid to go over the middle and make touch receptions. The Steelers' offense will open up under Todd Haley this year, which bodes well for Brown. As a sophomore, he caught at least four passes in 11 games and broke the 100-yard barrier three times. Finding the end zone appears to be a problem for Brown, who has just two TD receptions in 25 NFL games. We will give him the benefit of the doubt since he has started only three games in his career. Expecting 1,100 yards again may be optimistic, but it isn't unattainable. He is a strong No. 3 fantasy receiver or a marginal second choice for those in deep leagues. Brown is almost overvalued with an ADP of the early sixth round.

27) Mike Williams | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 6-foot-1, 212 pounds | 3rd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
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657578693657040190158

Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fantasy analysis: Tampa Mike endured the dreaded sophomore slump in 2011, catching eight fewer touchdown passes than the year before. His per-reception average dipped by 2.9 yards, as Tampa Bay's offense floundered across the board. The Bucs hired disciplinarian head coach Greg Schiano to replace Raheem Morris. This change should help rein in the turnovers and make the offense more efficient. Williams will play second fiddle to Vincent Jackson, which bodes well for his chances of seeing fewer double-teams. The Buccaneers' OL has improved, arguably becoming the best in the league. Williams is a sneaky sleeper pick since so many owners many have soured on him after last year. His ADP is the middle of the 11th round. Take advantage of this extreme value.

28) Darrius Heyward-Bey | Oakland Raiders | 6-foot-2, 210 pounds | 4th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
203022337313040260114

Fantasy analysis: DHB turned in a respectable performance in his third season, registering 975 yards on 64 receptions. He put the ball in the end zone four times. A full offseason with Carson Palmer should go a long way, although the Raiders are moving to a West Coast system. There could be early growing pains. Heyward-Bey has drawn positive reviews this offseason, so maybe the light bulb has finally turned on for the maligned former first-round choice. He makes for an intriguing complementary player for fantasy owners as a No. 3 or flex play most weeks. DHB has a potential suspension looming after an offseason driving under the influence of alcohol charge. Pay attention to the outcome of this situation. He is chosen at the turn of the eighth and ninth round, on average.

29) Santonio Holmes | New York Jets | 5-foot-11, 192 pounds | 7th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
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Fantasy analysis: Holmes is a risky fantasy selection for a number of reasons. The chance that Tim Tebow could start is atop the list, but Holmes' attitude isn't far behind. New York will employ a heavy ground-and-pound mentality this year, and we question whether Holmes is really in the mold of a No. 1 receiver. Fantasy owners should view him as a WR3. Beware: His consistently inept play will be frustrating to deal with. He caught three or fewer passes in nine games last year, and he topped five receptions just twice. His average draft position is the seventh round.

30) Greg Little | Cleveland Browns | 6-foot-2, 220 pounds | 2nd year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
172717632602030150103

Fantasy analysis: Little's first pro season was remarkable if you take an in-depth look at his situation. He didn't play a lick of football in 2010 in college after a suspension, didn't have an offseason to speak of, and had to deal with next to nothing at quarterback in his first NFL campaign. Little finished with a 61-709-2 line on the year. He will have a full offseason to learn the intricacies of the system and get on the same page as rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who is a clear upgrade at the position. The Browns should have a stronger running game, too, and Little shed 11 pounds to become more explosive. His natural skill set is enough to allow him to beat doubles, and a breakout year could be in the cards. His ADP is the early 10th round.

31) Michael Crabtree | San Francisco 49ers | 6-foot-1, 214 pounds | 4th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
7484999114968030150169

Fantasy analysis: Crabtree showed signs in 2011 of being what the Niners thought he could be when he was drafted. He is finally healthy entering training camp and has more talent around him than ever before to help alleviate some of the pressure. Currently, head coach Jim Harbaugh says Randy Moss is running as the No. 1. Crabtree could flourish if Moss has a renaissance season. The former Texas Tech star is not a big-play wideout in the NFL. His possession receiver attributes make him a strong option in PPR leagues. Crabtree has struggled to find the end zone, and even though Alex Smith made strides last year, he still doesn't instill fear in defenses. Crabtree is a safe but uninspiring No. 3 in leagues that reward for receptions and a fourth in standard setups. He goes in the eighth round, on average.

32) Robert Meachem | San Diego Chargers | 6-foot-2, 215 pounds | 6th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
152530545502040160103

Fantasy analysis: Vincent Jackson is out, and Meachem comes over from the New Orleans Saints to replace V-Jax as Philip Rivers' deep threat. A one-trick pony, this new Charger has a nose for the end zone. The Chargers' offense will return to more of a ground-oriented system, but that won't keep Rivers from taking his shots downfield. Meachem has struggled with his hands in the past, so that is a concern. He has to learn a new offense and adjust to Rivers. This ranking is a gutsy one based on a little more potential than factual reasoning. However, if you want to roll the dice, Meachem provides a great gambling chip. His ADP is the ninth round.

33) Reggie Wayne | Indianapolis Colts | 6-foot, 198 pounds | 12th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
697979894835030150136

Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Fantasy analysis: Andrew Luck needs a No. 1 target, and Wayne still has enough in the tank to deliver. The veteran wideout will serve as the primary weapon in the passing game and really cannot be any worse than he was last year, which largely wasn't his fault. The Colts' defense figures to be shoddy, so count on plenty of passing. It seems unlikely the team will handle Luck with kid gloves. Wayne may have lost a step or two at 33 years old, but he is a sure-handed possession receiver at this point. Draft him as a quality third receiver that slightly more value in PPR setups. He is a middle-round target in 12-team leagues.

34) Sidney Rice | Seattle Seahawks | 6-foot-4, 202 pounds | 6th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
233333748724030150125

Fantasy analysis: Rice underwent dual shoulder surgery but has bounced back nicely this offseason. Nevertheless, any time a player has 11 stability anchor points placed into each shoulder, there is room for considerable concern. Injuries have derailed his career all but one season. A potential quarterback change looms in Seattle, and their offense runs through Marshawn Lynch. That could change, especially if Lynch misses time because of a potential suspension. Rice's ceiling is rather limited because of the offense around him. Taking him out of the game won't take a lot of effort by defensive coordinators, as long as Seattle struggles to find someone to step up alongside him. Rice is going in the early ninth round and deserves a look as a fourth fantasy receiver.

35) Malcom Floyd | San Diego Chargers | 6-foot-5, 225 pounds | 7th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
334363978924030150125

Fantasy analysis: Floyd is the de facto No. 1 receiver for the Chargers' offense, but we all know it will run through Antonio Gates. Robert Meachem is the better fantasy value, although Floyd has a role to play. Unfortunately, it is all too often being the body on the trainer's table. He has battled injuries with regularity in his career (played one full season in his career). Floyd has been a deep threat with the Chargers, and while he still will see shots downfield, look for his yards-per-catch average to lower without Vincent Jackson taking all the double-teams. Floyd has red zone potential and should be drafted as a high-upside No. 4. His ADP puts him in the mid-eighth round.

36) Pierre Garcon | Washington Redskins | 6-foot, 212 pounds | 5th year

Fantasy analysis: Garcon should provide Robert Griffin III with a deep target, a role Santana Moss seems no longer capable of filling. The former Colt is not a true No. 1 but may be by default in this patchwork receiving corps. Expect growing pains with a rookie quarterback and a new offense to learn, but Garcon should have a respectable season. He goes, on average, in the eighth round, which is slightly earlier than we would like to take a chance on him.

37) Brandon Lloyd | New England Patriots | 6-foot, 200 pounds | 10th year

Fantasy analysis: The sure-handed veteran followed offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, with whom he has enjoyed his greatest NFL success, to the Patriots this offseason. Lloyd has considerable familiarity with the system and will benefit from Tom Brady's precision. There are a lot of mouths to feed in this offense, and Lloyd has to build chemistry with the star quarterback. Expect big-play production that may come in spurts. Lloyd's ADP is the seventh round.

Anquan Boldin, WR, Baltimore Ravens

38) Anquan Boldin | Baltimore Ravens | 6-foot-1, 220 pound | 10th year

Fantasy analysis: In 2011 Boldin posted a career-best 15.6 yards-per-reception average. Always an injury risk, the vet could see fewer targets from Joe Flacco with an emergence by Torrey Smith. Our expectations for Smith remain tempered. You can find acceptable value in Boldin as a third fantasy wideout, and he is a great fourth candidate. His best worth is in PPR leagues, and he typically comes off the board in the 10th round.

39) Demaryius Thomas | Denver Broncos | 6-foot-3, 229 pounds | 3rd year

Fantasy analysis: Peyton Manning really hasn't had a weapon like Thomas at his disposal before. Size, speed and physicality are the hallmarks of his game. Thomas hasn't worked as closely with No. 18 this offseason as teammate Eric Decker has, and we're hesitant to put a lot of weight into endorsing him, or Manning, for that matter. Thomas probably will go earlier than we feel is warranted, but if you want to roll the dice, his typical draft placement is a spendy sixth-round choice.

40) Kenny Britt | Tennessee Titans | 6-foot-3, 215 pounds | 4th year

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
354550165146030150147

Fantasy analysis: Britt is coming off an ACL tear after starting the 2011 season at a torrid pace. He had another procedure done earlier in the offseason to help improve his recovery. The fourth-year receiver underwent yet another surgery in the offseason. He had his other knee scoped in June; Britt may not be on the field in time for the start of training camp, but he has a shot at playing Week 1. Temper your expectations. Britt seems to be a little overvalued right now (early seventh-round ADP), and you cannot forget his lengthy history of off-the-field mishaps when assessing his risk-reward ratio. Britt's latest altercation may result in a suspension. He may be back to form late in the season, but it is tough to recommend taking a chance on him at this time.

41) Titus Young | Detroit Lions | 5-foot-11, 174 pounds | 2nd year

Fantasy analysis: Young's rookie season was promising. He finished with a 48-607-6 line in this high-flying offense. Nate Burleson remains the starter opposite Calvin Johnson, but Young could surpass him at some point. Young moves all over the place, which helps create mismatches. He is an intriguing sleeper choice as a potential breakout player because of his speed and the volume of single-coverage he will see. Young's ADP is the middle of the 11th round.

42) Lance Moore | New Orleans Saints | 5-foot-9, 190 pounds | 7th year

Fantasy analysis: Moore is a trusted target of Drew Brees and should benefit from the loss of Robert Meachem in the free agency. The smallish, injury-prone receiver has a knack for finding the end zone through his ability to exploit soft spots in zone coverage. New Orleans' already aerial-slanted offense could pass a lot more this year if the defense suffers from personnel loses. Moore is a somewhat undervalued WR3 with an ADP of the late 10th round.

43) Denarius Moore | Oakland Raiders | 6-foot, 190 pounds | 2nd year

Fantasy analysis: The young Raiders wideout caught five touchdown passes last year and displayed big-play ability (18.7 average). A full offseason should help him gain chemistry with Carson Palmer, but Moore enters a fairly complex West Coast offense. The talent is there, and he could break out as early as this year. Look for him in the middle rounds as a WR3, but he is a safer No. 4 fantasy receiver because of his inexperience and big-play nature. He comes off the board in the early ninth round, on average.

44) Brandon LaFell | Carolina Panthers | 6-foot-2, 210 pounds | 3rd year

Fantasy analysis: LaFell will be asked to step up in his third year, as Cam Newton needs more targets that he can rely on. Offensive philosophy could keep his numbers in check, however, and the Panthers traded for Louis Murphy this offseason. LaFell has downfield presence and could be a surprise standout in 2012. Draft him as a No. 5 receiver gamble in the waning rounds of your draft.

45) Jonathan Baldwin | Kansas City Chiefs | 6-foot-4, 230 pounds | 2nd year

Fantasy analysis: If physical talent equaled instant success, Baldwin already would be an NFL star. He has battled maturity issues in recent years and will be playing in a mundane offense with a pedestrian quarterback. The sophomore is a risk-reward pick and could be a steal at the right price. His 13th-round ADP is about as early as conservative drafters should consider him.

Chad Johnson, WR, Miami Dolphins

46) Chad Johnson | Miami Dolphins | 6-foot-1, 188 pounds | 12th year

Fantasy analysis: Ocho is coming off his worst pro season and is hungry for success in South Beach. At 34 years old, his best days are behind him, but that doesn't mean he is as awful as what you witnessed last year. Miami may have to throw a lot this year, regardless of the quarterback, and No. 85 has mild upside. He is a No. 5 or even sixth fantasy receiver - better suited for reception-rewarding leagues. He a late-round flier pick.

47) Michael Floyd | Arizona Cardinals | 6-foot-3, 225 pounds | Rookie

Fantasy analysis: Despite being a first-round pick, Floyd may not begin the year as a starter. However, we expect raw talent to eventually win out, and it is tantalizing to think what he could be against single coverage opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Watch Floyd's status throughout the preseason, as he may come down in our rankings. Draft with caution. His 11th-round ADP is aggressive.

48) Brian Quick | St. Louis Rams | 6-foot-3, 220 pounds | Rookie

Fantasy analysis: St. Louis desperately needs help at receiver, and Quick could be first in line to step up. He will vie for a starting gig and has a physical presence that should make him productive in the red zone. He is coming from Appalachian State, which makes the transition to the NFL likely a steep one for him. Draft him as a gamble late in the draft.

49) Nate Washington | Tennessee Titans | 6-foot-1, 177 pounds | 8th year

Fantasy analysis: The veteran enjoyed a breakout season in 2011 by snagging 74 receptions for 1,023 yards and scoring eight total times. He has found the end zone 19 times in the last three years and displayed a lot of chemistry with Jake Locker last year. Washington is overvalued as a ninth-round pick, on average. It is rare a wideout finally puts it all together in his seventh year. Kendall Wright and an eventually healthy Kenny Britt will keep Washington's numbers suppressed.

50) Laurent Robinson | Jacksonville Jaguars | 6-foot-2, 205 pounds | 6th year

Fantasy analysis: We always knew Robinson had legitimate NFL-caliber talent, but he was in an ideal situation to excel last year. As Dallas' No. 3, L-Rob had no pressure to succeed and developed into a great red zone target for Tony Romo. He will have more of the spotlight on him in Jacksonville, and Blaine Gabbert is no Romo. The Jags have suspect and inexperienced targets around Robinson, too. He is only worth drafting as a late value pick to fill out your receiving corps.

51) Danny Amendola | St. Louis Rams | 5-foot-11, 188 pounds | 4th year

Fantasy analysis: An elbow injury sidelined Amendola for 15 games last year after a near breakout 2010 season put him on the fantasy map. He is a great possession receiver and has sure hands for clutch situations. Finding the end zone may be a problem for Amendola, and he now enters his third offense in as many years. His value is much greater in point-per-reception leagues. Draft Amendola as a WR4 in PPR and WR5 otherwise.

52) Davone Bess | Miami Dolphins | 5-foot-10, 193 pounds | 5th year

Fantasy analysis: Bess is a classic possession receiver with little big-play ability. He has natural hands and should benefit from the addition of Chad Johnson. We expect a rebound from the Hawaii product, but he remains nothing more than a low-end No. 4 PPR commodity. Non-PPR owners can land him as a fifth wideout, but his upside is so limited we believe he should be reserved exclusively for PPR setups.

53) Randy Moss | San Francisco 49ers | 6-foot-4, 210 pounds | 13th year

Fantasy analysis: Reports suggest Moss is the best receiver in Niners camp and hasn't lost much, if any, of his trademark speed. We are concerned about Alex Smith being able to get him the football, and Moss didn't exactly look like his former self the last time we watched him play. Draft him as a No. 4 fantasy receiver; he doesn't come with much risk as a fifth. Moss' ADP is Round 12.

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

54) Doug Baldwin | Seattle Seahawks | 5-foot-10, 189 pounds | 2nd year

Fantasy analysis: Baldwin came out of nowhere last year - well, Stanford, to be fair - and hauled in 51 balls as a rookie. He may have a new quarterback and a healthy Sidney Rice to contend with. Nevertheless, we like his chances of being a WR4 in PPR leagues. You can usually land him around the 11th round, but we recommend waiting on him as long as you can because of the uncertainty in Seattle.

55) Stephen Hill | New York Jets | 6-foot-4, 215 pounds | Rookie

Fantasy analysis: Hill is a gifted physical specimen, but he comes from a spread offense and has little actual experience as anything other than being a deep threat. Expect a few big plays, but the rook will probably be too frustrating to play with any consistency. Draft him as a fifth fantasy receiver in deep leagues if you're looking to gamble.

56) Golden Tate | Seattle Seahawks | 5-foot-10, 202 pounds | 3rd year

Fantasy analysis: This very well could be a make-or-break season for Tate if he wants to remain with the Seahawks long term. He isn't a very good route runner, struggles with his hands at times and has failed to gain consistent separation at the next level. Tate is worthy of a speculative pick late in your draft, but we have little reason to believe he will break out.

57) Santana Moss | Washington Redskins | 5-foot-10, 189 pounds | 12th year

Fantasy analysis: The veteran receiver probably won't be on your fantasy radar in 2012, but he deserves consideration as late-round roster filler. Moss is just one year removed from an 1,115-yard season. He has a better quarterback situation, in theory, and more help around him. Moss is a WR5 in deep formats.

58) James Jones | Green Bay Packers | 6-foot-1, 208 pounds | 6th year

Fantasy analysis: The Packers have a plethora of weapons at Aaron Rodgers' disposal, and Jones could be the primary guy any given week. Figuring out which week that is could be a nightmare for fantasy owners. A great deal of Jones' production came in two games, including while Greg Jennings was on the mend late in the year. Jones has potential for more work if something happens to Donald Driver; consider the former a No. 5 fantasy receiver.

59) Justin Blackmon | Jacksonville Jaguars | 6-foot-1, 210 pounds | Rookie

Fantasy analysis: Blackmon has to learn an NFL offense, build chemistry with a suspect quarterback, overcome off-the-field issues, and prove he physically can do it in the NFL. Gaining separation could be a problem for him. Erratic production probably will be the story of his rookie effort. Draft him as a late gamble in deep PPR leagues.

60) Devery Henderson | New Orleans Saints | 5-foot-11, 200 pounds | 9th year

Fantasy analysis: The vet still has speed to burn and should benefit from the loss of Robert Meachem. Drew Brees is likely to rely on those he has most comfort with, making Henderson a candidate for better-than-expected production. He is a flier in very deep leagues as a No. 5 or, better yet, sixth fantasy wideout.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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