Fantasy Football Player Analysis: Wide receiver

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

 

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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
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
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
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

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

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.

Page 6 brings you through WR No. 60.

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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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