Fantasy Football Breakdown 2009: NFC Receivers

Cowboys Roy Williams Football

NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys:

Roy Williams – 19 rec. 198 yds. 1 TD

Miles Austin – 13 rec. 278 yds. 3 TDs

Patrick Crayton – 39 rec. 550 yds. 4 TDs:

So far, the Roy Williams trade has been an utter disaster, but all of the talk coming out of Dallas indicate that last season was an aberration and he is poised to be their number one guy. I was surprised when Williams underachieved after the trade considering his production over the years in Detroit. I don’t see big things happening for Williams, but I can see a 1,000+ yard season with above average TD production. Patrick Crayton is solid as a number three receiver, that’s all, while Miles Austin showed big play ability last season and the Cowboys are hoping he can develop into more than just a spot player.

New York Giants:

Domenick Hixon – 43 rec. 596 yds. 2 TDs

Steve Smith – 57 rec. 574 yds. 1 TD

Hakeem Nicks (rookie)

It seemed as though Hixon and Smith did their best work when Plaxico Burress was in the lineup, as they were not the center of attention. However, the Giants are claiming that it was the lack of time to adjust their offense, and the distraction of the Burress incident, that caused their poor stretch run culminating in an ugly playoff loss to Philadelphia. Nicks has the most potential out of all of the Giants receivers from a fantasy stand point. Hixon is an inconsistent deep threat, while Smith is a very good possession receiver, but not a game changer. Nicks has superstar potential, so it will be interesting to see how quickly he can adjust. Meanwhile, the Giants are hoping Mario Manningham can make an impact, as well as 6’6” rookie Ramses Barden, who is very intriguing.

Philadelphia Eagles:

Kevin Curtis – 33 rec. 390 yds. 2 TDs

DeSean Jackson – 62 rec. 912 yds. 2 TDs

Jeremy Maclin (rookie)

I would advise people to stay away from Curtis, as he is good for the odd big game, but his role is diminishing further each year. Jackson could be on the brink of superstardom, but he really struggles with press coverage due to his size. Hopefully the addition of Maclin, and the emergence of Jason Avant, can allow him to find more open space in defenses. Maclin is a rookie to keep an eye on as he has game changing speed and elusiveness. Keep an eye on him in preseason and training camp to see how quickly he picks up the Eagles’ complex offense.

Washington Redskins:

Santana Moss – 79 rec. 1044 yds. 6 TDs

Antwan Randle-El – 53 rec. 593 yds. 4 TDs

Devin Thomas – 15 rec. 120 yds. 0 TDs

This is a make or break season for Jason Campbell as he is in a contract year and fighting for his starting job. If he can have a big year, than a couple of these wideouts are starting quality, but if he is just his regular risk averse self, than it diminishes this group. Moss did his best work at the beginning of the season, and then faded down the stretch. He is still starting caliber, but Jim Zorn is going to count on second year players, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly to really step up this year. Thomas may be worth a look in the very late rounds or on the waiver wire, but I am still not sold on Kelly. Randle-El is destined for the waiver wire and should not be drafted.

NFC North:

Chicago Bears:

Devin Hester – 51 rec. 665 yds. 3 TDs

Earl Bennett (no catches)

The addition of Jay Cutler makes this unit meaningful again since he loves to spread the ball around. Earl Bennett did not catch a pass last season, but the Bears are hoping that he and his old college QB can regain the chemistry they once had. He is a major sleeper, who is starting to generate a lot of unearned hype, but I wouldn’t touch him until he proves something, and then I would take a look at him from the waiver wire. Hester is still making the transition from return man to number one WR, and is a solid reserve to have in case he breaks out. With Cutler, you know the Bears wideouts are going to get a lot of looks, but I would wait and see who Cutler’s favourite target(s) are before I’d pull the trigger on any of them.

Detroit Lions:

Calvin Johnson – 78 rec. 1331 yds. 12 TDs

Bryant Johnson – 45 rec. 546 yds. 3 TDs (w/ San Francisco)

I was one of the people who pounded Johnson on several of my teams last season, and it paid major dividends. Even with seemingly a different person throwing him the ball each week, he put up stellar numbers. I don’t expect any drop off whatsoever this year, and hopefully Daunte Culpepper can regain his MVP form to make a dynamic duo. B. Johnson did not live up to the money the Niners paid for him, but playing with C. Johnson should allow him to get more open looks, it is just a matter of whether he can catch the ball. Rookie Derrick Williams is an intriguing slot guy, who could see the field early on.

Green Bay Packers:

Greg Jennings – 80 rec. 1292 yds. 9 TDs

Donald Driver – 74 rec. 1012 yds 5 TDs

Jordy Nelson – 33 rec. 366 yds. 2 TDs

The Packers possess one of the best WR corps in the entire league. Greg Jennings is a stud who will be up there among the top wideouts in fantasy football, while Driver continues to get it done at an advanced age. Nelson is intriguing, and could supplant Driver for the number two spot at some point, as he is a lot younger and very talented. James Jones showed promise as a rookie and needs to get back to his 2007 form were he produced some big plays.

Minnesota Vikings:

Bernard Berrian – 48 rec. 964 yds. 7 TDs

Bobby Wade – 53 rec. 645 yds. 2 TDs

Percy Harvin (rookie)

Berrian was a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners last season, and he looks to post his first 1,000 yard season this year. Berrian has outstanding deep speed evidenced on a few very long TDs last year. Percy Harvin is a definite sleeper, and I’m sure some owners will take a chance on him in the later rounds. At this point, he should only be drafted as a reserve until he proves himself. Sydney Rice is another sleeper looking to bust out, and he did have 4 TDs last season despite relatively few receptions or yards.

NFC South:

Atlanta Falcons:

Roddy White – 88 rec. 1382 yds. 7 TDs

Michael Jenkins – 50 rec. 777 yds. 3 TDs

During the Vick years, Falcons’ receivers were always labeled as having bad hands, but as it turns out, maybe Vick’s accuracy was the real problem. Roddy White made his first Pro Bowl last year after developing excellent chemistry with Matt Ryan right away. Look for White to post numbers similar to last years, if not better, with Tony Gonzalez in the fold to take away some of the attention. Jenkins proved himself to be a valuable commodity, and came up big at critical junctures, especially on third down. Jenkins could be a valuable reserve, while Harry Douglas is a sleeper with tons of speed, but not draftable.

Carolina Panthers:

Steve Smith – 78 rec. 1421 yds. 6 TDs

Muhsin Muhammad – 65 rec. 923 yds. 5 TDs

Smith and Muhammad were once again reunited, and did not disappoint. Smith put up Pro Bowl caliber numbers even after missing the first two games of the season, while Muhammad experienced a rebirth of sorts, which led to a very nice year. Smith still remains one of the elite players for his position and shouldn’t suffer any type of let down this year. Muhammad isn’t getting any younger, and I’m sure the Panthers would love for Dwayne Jarrett to step into the number two role, but it doesn’t look as if “Moose” is ready to relinquish that role any time soon. Muhammad is still a solid starter, while Jarrett carries value if one of the guys ahead of him goes down with an injury.

New Orleans Saints:

Lance Moore – 79 rec. 928 yds. 10 TDs

Marques Colston – 47 rec. 760 yds. 5 TDs

Devery Henderson – 32 rec. 793 yds. 3 TDs

The Saints had the best passing attack in the league last year, and that was even with Colston, their best WR, missing time due to injury. He remains the number one guy, and should have a big year. I’m expecting a bit of a drop in Moore’s production with the return of Colston, but he still remains a solid fantasy starter. Brees likes to spread the ball around a lot, so both Henderson and Robert Meachem could be valuable reserves.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Antonio Bryant – 83 rec. 1248 yds. 7 TDs

Michael Clayton – 38 rec. 484 yds. 1 TD

Bryant came literally from out of nowhere last season, and will look to put up similar numbers, as he is still playing for a contract, having been signed to only a one year deal. I don’t doubt he is more than capable, however I am worried who is going to have throwing him the ball. Michael Clayton can be had on the waiver wire, and isn’t much more than a possession receiver. Also, it is time for Dexter Jackson to start proving that he wasn’t a draft mistake.

NFC West:

Arizona Cardinals:

Larry Fitzgerald – 96 rec. 1431 yds. 12 TDs

Anquan Boldin – 89 rec. 1038 yds. 11 TDs

Steve Breaston – 77 rec. 1006 yds. 3 TDs

The Cardinals have, without a doubt, the league’s best receiving trio, with Fitzgerald being arguably the best wideout in the game right now. Don’t be afraid to take either Fitzgerald or Boldin early, as they both should put up sick numbers. Breaston, on the other hand, shouldn’t be touched until the mid to late rounds, as he is slowly losing touches to Jerheme Urban.

St. Louis Rams:

Donnie Avery – 53 rec. 674 yds. 3 TDs

Keenan Burton – 13 rec. 172 yds. 1 TD

The Rams are going young at wideout this season, very young! Neither player has very much experience, although Avery showed flashes last season of becoming a solid wideout. The key for both of these players success will be if Marc Bulger can get time in the pocket to find them. If Bulger can get time, he is one of the more accurate QBs in the league and would make both Avery or Burton solid starting options. Former Falcon Laurent Robinson may be a player to watch as a sleeper considering his potential.

San Francisco 49ers:

Isaac Bruce – 61 rec. 835 yds. 7 TDs

Jason Hill – 30 rec. 317 yds. 2 TDs

Josh Morgan – 20 rec. 319 yds. 3 TDs

Michael Crabtree (rookie)

The ageless Bruce is back for what will probably his last season, and don’t expect much from him, as he will mostly be there more as a mentor than anything. Morgan is a player to watch, as he followed up a dominant preseason with an okay rookie year, but should be relied on more heavily this year. Michael Crabtree is a rookie to keep an eye on this year. He put up record numbers in college, and seems to be the total package. Hill finally showed some signs of life after being selected relatively high in the draft, and should be a solid contributor if he can prove himself in training camp and the preseason.

Seattle Seahawks:

T.J. Houshmandzadeh – 92 rec. 904 yds. 4 TDs (w/ Cincinnati)

Deion Branch – 30 rec. 412 yds. 4 TDs

Nate Burleson – 5 rec. 60 yds. 1 TD

This was a position that got decimated by injuries last season, and had to rely on practice squad players. However, health permitting, the Seahawks WR corps have the making of a very solid unit this season. Houshmandzadeh gives them a possession receiver who isn’t afraid to make the tough catches over the middle, while Branch is a deep threat, who is capable of doing big things when healthy, but so far, that hasn’t been the case in his tenure with the Seahawks. Burleson should be a great fit as the third guy in this unit, and good be a valuable reserve when Branch inevitably gets injured. Houshmandzadeh is not an elite starter, but is a solid one, and Branch may just be worth the gamble this year.

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