Fantasy Football Player Analysis: Wide receiver

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

 

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

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

We drop more wide receiver knowledge on the fourth page.

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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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