Scouting the Wide Receivers


Danny Amendola, St. Louis: The thought is he could become the Wes Welker new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had in New England. Thing is, Amendola already is. He had 85 catches last year, but for only 689 yards.

Miles Austin, Dallas: Numbers slipped across the board last year after Tony Romo (collarbone) got hurt. But Romo has had a good camp and Austin's value is up.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City: He will have to find consistency to take that next step up the wide receiver food chain. Until then, he's a good low-end No. 1 and a fine No. 2.

Kenny Britt, Tennessee: Only Jose Baez would make Britt his No. 1 receiver and who knows whether Casey Anthony's lawyer is even in a fantasy league. Britt, who has immense talent and a ridiculous penchant for landing on police blotters, is best drafted as a mid-No. 2 wide receiver.

Dez Bryant, Dallas: Has as much raw talent as anyone in the league and had a good training camp to erase any worries about last year's fractured ankle.

Plaxico Burress, Jets: Do like Andy Reid did and pass on this guy. Burress contributing in fantasy this year is a shot in the dark. (Groan.)

Josh Cribbs, Browns: De-emphasized role on special teams gives his value as a wide receiver a boost. Now if only Brian Sipe could come back.

Lee Evans, Baltimore: Joe Flacco might not be Peyton Manning back there, but he's not Ryan Fitzpatrick, either. Evans could be a late-round steal, especially if the people in your draft are using preseason magazines that still have him playing for Buffalo.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona: A key force behind the Cardinals having to overpay for Kevin Kolb, Fitzgerald is all smiles now after signing a lucrative contract extension. A happy Larry Fitzgerald will be a productive Larry Fitzgerald.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati: This rookie's terrific skills will be neutralized while rookie Andy Dalton finds his way as the starting quarterback. If the early returns are any indication, that could be sometime around 2013.

DeSean Jackson, Eagles: He's a great option in leagues that reward long-distance touchdowns, but a low No. 1 receiver in those that don't. Be careful not to confuse his fantasy value with his importance to the Eagles.

Vincent Jackson, San Diego: The pass-first Chargers have their best playmaker back. Jackson turned 28 in January and is in the prime of his career.

Greg Jennings, Green Bay: The return of tight end Jermichael Finley figures to put a dent in Jennings' numbers a bit.

Andre Johnson, Houston: Had 1,200 yards receiving in 13 games last year, most of them while dealing with a high ankle sprain. He turned 30 over the summer, but still should be the first receiver taken.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit: ESPN's Cris Carter created a stir in Detroit when he said Johnson was not among football's top six receivers. The analyst went with (in order) Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, Reggie Wayne, DeSean Jackson and Roddy White. Personally, from a true football standpoint and not fantasy, I'd put him second behind Andre Johnson. How about you?

Stevie Johnson, Buffalo: Will be forgotten about because the Bills stink. They still don't have a reliable quarterback, but they also traded Lee Evans.

Julio Jones, Atlanta: A rookie like Green, only he has Matt Ryan as his quarterback. Has looked good early and might find his way as a high No. 3 fantasy wide receiver before too long.

Brandon Lloyd, Denver: Having run-happy coach John Fox take over for Josh McDaniels was a bigger blow to Lloyd's value than whoever emerges as the starting quarterback.

Brandon Marshall, Miami: If you can stomach Chad Henne as his quarterback, Marshall's worth a stab. He had 86 catches last year, but just three for touchdowns.

Hakeem Nicks, N.Y. Giants: Eight of Nicks' 11 touchdown catches came in the first half of last season. There's a lot of buzz that he's a top-five wide receiver. That feels a little high.

Mike Sims-Walker, Rams: Has a healthy 13.5 yards per catch in his career and somebody's going to have to go deep for quarterback Sam Bradford.

Steve Smith, Eagles: Worth a late-round stash while his knee injury heals and the availability of Jeremy Maclin becomes better known.

Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh: Entering his third season, a traditional milepost in the careers of wide receivers. The Steelers have opened up more of the playbook so that he's not just running fly patterns.

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis: His value is directly linked into whether Peyton Manning is recovered from offseason neck surgery to start the season (and play well). The Colts expect Manning to be in there.

Roddy White, Atlanta: If rookie Julio Jones is the real deal, he will help the Falcons but impact White's fantasy value. Would you settle for 85-90 catches and 1,100 yards out of Roddy?

Mike Williams, Tampa Bay: Is ranked high by many based on the 11 touchdowns he had last year. It's worth noting he only had one 100-yard game and his 65 receptions were tied for 25th league-wide.

Roy Williams, Chicago: Hard to put any faith in this guy, even with a late-round pick. Johnny Knox, who led the Bears in receiving last year and still was demoted by offensive coordinator Mike Martz, is the better roster stash.


On the way up: Mike Williams, Tampa Bay

On the way down: Marques Colston, New Orleans

Riskiest pick: Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis

Sleeper: Lance Moore, New Orleans

Late-round look: Denarius Moore, Oakland

Please avoid: Roy Williams, Chicago

Top rookie: Julio Jones, Atlanta

THE TOP 50 (With Bye Week)

1. Andre Johnson, Houston, 11

2. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona, 6

3. Calvin Johnson, Detroit, 9

4. Vincent Jackson, San Diego, 6

5. Roddy White, Atlanta, 8

6. Greg Jennings, Green Bay, 8

7. Miles Austin, Dallas, 5

8. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh, 11

9. Hakeem Nicks, N.Y. Giants, 7

10. DeSean Jackson, Eagles, 7

11. Wes Welker, New England, 7

12. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis, 11

13. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay, 8

14. Anquan Boldin, Baltimore, 5

15. Brandon Lloyd, Denver, 6

16. Sidney Rice, Seattle, 6

17. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City, 6

18. Dez Bryant, Dallas, 5

19. Brandon Marshall, Miami, 5

20. Kenny Britt, Tennessee, 6

21. Julio Jones, Atlanta, 8

22. Marques Colston, New Orleans, 11

23. Mario Manningham, N.Y. Giants, 7

24. Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis, 11

25. Santonio Holmes, N.Y. Jets, 8

26. Lance Moore, New Orleans, 11

27. A.J. Green, Cincinnati, 7

28. Robert Meachem, New Orleans, 11

29. Steve Smith, Carolina, 9

30. Stevie Johnson, Buffalo, 7

31. Percy Harvin, Minnesota, 9

32. Santana Moss, Washington, 5

33. Lee Evans, Baltimore, 5

34. Danny Amendola, St. Louis, 5

35. Denarius Moore, Oakland, 8

36. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco, 7

37. Mike Sims-Walker, St. Louis, 5

38. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles, 7

39. Austin Collie, Indianapolis, 11

40. Chad Ochocinco, New England, 7

41. Andre Roberts, Arizona, 6

42. Malcom Floyd, San Diego, 6

43. Davone Bess, Miami, 5

44. Johnny Knox, Chicago, 8

45. Steve Smith, Eagles, 7

46. Mike Thomas, Jacksonville, 9

47. Josh Cribbs, Cleveland, 5

48. Roy Williams, Chicago, 8

49. Early Doucet, Arizona, 6

50. Nate Washington, Tennessee, 6