The AFC South have some serious firepower at the top before thinning out, but there are plenty of quality receivers from this division that can help impact your fantasy lineup.
1. Andre Johnson
Otherwise known as the man the Lions regret not drafting. Johnson has developed into one of the top two or three best receivers in the NFL and has done so while playing mostly with sub-par QBs. With his overall size, speed and strength, he’s virtually impossible to cover one-on-one, and last year, playing with the combo of Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels, managed 115 catches for 1,575 yards and eight TDs.
We think he takes an even bigger step this year. Look for another 100-catch season, with at least 1,500 yards and over 12 TDs.
2. Reggie Wayne
Long before Marvin Harrison first injured his knee in 2007, Wayne had already supplanted him as Peyton’s go-to guy. And in 2007, he delivered with over 1,500 yards and 10 TDs. Last year however, playing on a team ravished by injury, his production fell and he only netted 1,145 yards and six TDs.
Not horrible numbers, but not what we’ve come to expect from the former Hurricane. This year, look for a bounce back and over 1,200 yards and 10 TDs for this fantasy star.
3. Torry Holt
Jacksonville is actually an intriguing spot for Holt. After suffering through a horrendous season in 2008, one which saw the Rams “throw in the towel” en route to a two-win season, Holt now finds himself on another team that is also reeling from a sub-par year. And he slides right in as the No. 1 guy.
It’s hard for us to envision him putting up Rams-type numbers in this offense, but he’ll still get a majority of Garrard’s passes and we see him finishing off with a 1,000 yard season and nine TDs.
4. Anthony Gonzalez
With Harrison no longer in Indy, Gonzalez will become the full-time starter opposite Wayne. And last year, playing as the third wideout and fourth receiving option after Wayne, Harrison, and Clark, he had a few outstanding showings such as his 138 yard, nine catch game in Minnesota. Overall, he totaled 664 yards and four TDs.
Look for Gonzalez to break the thousand yard mark this season and double his TD total with eight.
5. Nate Washington
One thing that was noticeably missing in Tennessee last season was the threat of a vertical passing game. So they went out and signed Steelers wideout Nate Washington in free agency. As the Steelers’ No. 3 receiver in 2008, Washington finished with 631 yards and three TDs, but an impressive 15.8 yard average per catch.
With more looks now will come more catches, yards, and TDs, and we expect Washington and Collins to hook up on a few bombs. Expect 900 yards and between six and eight TDs.
This guy rarely gets noticed, but he’s pretty good. In fact, he’s a very solid late round/waiver wire type fantasy sleeper. Starting opposite Andre Johnson, who obviously commanded a lot of double coverage, Walter totaled 899 receiving yards and eight TDs.
He should approach those totals once again in 2009.
Johnson could come off the board as early as the end of the first round. If not, because there’s a run on running backs, he’ll surely be taken atop round two. Wayne will go in round two as well. After that, Holt will be a good choice in rounds three and four, while Gonzalez shouldn’t last beyond round six. Washington can be had in round eight and Walter will probably still be there at the end.