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Fantasy Football Focus - Wide Receivers

This article has been submitted by Patrick Tye.

Unlike picking quarterbacks and running backs, wide receivers can be difficult to draft because players at this position struggle to put up big numbers every week. In addition, we must also consider whether a WR’s team has a running game to keep defenses honest, an offensive line that will allow their quarterbacks enough time to make proper reads and of course, injuries. Despite all of these considerations however, the top wide receivers in the previous year remain near the top this season but there are some young wide outs on the rise who could make an impact on your draft this season.

Pick ‘Em

1. Randy Moss, New England Patriots: 2007 Stats ? 98 Receptions, 1, 493 Yards, 23 Touchdowns

Nobody expects Moss to match his record setting 2007 season, but with Tom Brady still delivering the ball and New England enjoying the league’s easiest schedule, look for Moss to have another strong season. Whether outrunning defensive backs to catch a bomb or out jumping a defender in the red zone, Moss is the clear cut number one wide receiver in football right now. Single season records are nice, but with one or two more huge seasons Moss will quickly find himself amongst the best of all time.

2. Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys: 2007 Stats ? 81 Receptions, 1, 355 Yards, 15 Touchdowns

While other receivers from the Draft Class of 1996 are slowing down, Owens continues to put up big numbers. Though he had fewer receptions than 19 other receivers, tight ends and running backs last season, he puts up the yardage and touchdowns that fantasy owners want. Owens seems content in Dallas and if we are to believe he is as selfish as he is portrayed, T.O. could be in store for a big season since he needs approximately 70 catches and 1,000 yards to join the top five all time in those categories and only one touchdown catch to surpass Christ Carter for number two all time.

3. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals: 2007 Stats ? 100 Receptions, 1, 409 Yards, 10 Touchdowns

Playing opposite Anquan Bolden (71 receptions, 853 yards, 9 touchdowns) is a double edged sword for Fitzgerald. Although Bolden takes defensive pressure off of him, he also takes crucial stats as well. With that being said however, Fitzgerald had a tremendous season last year and is still playing with two quarterbacks who love to throw the football deep. After cementing his place among the NFL’s best last season, Fitzgerald was awarded with a 4 year, $40 million dollar contract in the off season so there is little reason to believe there will be a drop off in the desert this season.


1. Braylon Edwards, Cleveland Browns: 2007 Stats? 80 Receptions, 1,289 Yards, 16 Touchdowns

After a break-out season, I am in now way suggesting Edwards is a “sleeper” in the traditional sense of the word. While 80 receptions and 16 touchdowns are excellent numbers for any wide receivers, I am putting Edwards under the sleeper category because he could emerge this season as the top fantasy wide receiver in the NFL. With Derek Anderson throwing the ball and Donte Stallworth, Josh Cribbs, Kellen Winslow and Jamal Lewis keeping defenses honest, Edwards should put up numbers that at least rival Moss, Owens and Fitzgerald.

2. Chris Chambers, San Diego Chargers: 2007 Stats ? 66 Receptions, 970 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

After overcoming off the field troubles and playing on a terrible Dolphins team, Chambers flourished after being traded to the Chargers. With San Diego boasting one of the leagues best offenses in the NFL, Chambers should benefit from a full season with a veteran team. Despite a couple of down seasons, remember Chamber’s had 82 receptions, 1,118 yards and 11 touchdowns a couple of seasons ago playing with yet another untalented Dolphins offense.

3. Jabar Gaffney, New England Patriots: 2007 Stats? 36 Receptions, 449 Yards, 5 Touchdowns

As the fourth receiving option behind Moss, Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth, Gaffney still put up impressive numbers and enjoyed 7 late-season starts. With Stallworth now playing in Cleveland, expect Gaffney to see even more passes thrown his way. Though he is best described as a journeyman, look for Gaffney in the later rounds as a nice addition to better known receivers.

Stay Away From:

1. Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers, 2007 Stats ? 82 Receptions, 1048 Yards, 2 Touchdowns

Although Driver has looked great in previous seasons, approach him with caution the season now that Brett Favre has jetted to New York. As Sports Illustrated outlined in their on-line fantasy preview, Driver used to get looks simply because Favre was comfortable with him. Pay attention to last night’s preseason game to see how Aaron Rodgers does in his first game as the Packer’s starter. Chemistry will make or break the Packers this season but don’t risk the success of your fantasy team on the 33 year old Driver before we see how he and Rodgers gel.

2. Issac Bruce, San Francisco 49ers, 2007 Stats ? 55 Receptions, 733 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

I will be the first to admit part of Bruce’s poor season was the result of playing on a struggling Rams’ team last season but don’t expect a rebirth in the Bay Area. Yes, I know he is playing for former coach Mike Martz but the 35 year old wide-out still needs someone to get him the ball and I don’t know if Alex Smith, J.T. O’Sullivan or yes, even Shaun Hill can do that in 2008. Bruce had some great seasons under the Dome in the Show Me State but a lost step and a weak team in San Fran will not bode will for the potential Hall of Famer.

3. Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis Colts, 2007 Stats? 20 Receptions, 247 Yards, 1 Touchdown

Before last season, Harrison would have easily been a top 3 fantasy receiver but it appears age has caught up with Peyton Manning’s (former) favorite target. Battling a serious knee condition and potential legal charges, Harrison has been passed on the Colts’ Reggie Wayne and potentially Anthony Gonzalez. I think many people will be tempted to draft Harrison on name recognition alone this year but I doubt he will be able to match the numbers he is accustomed to in previous seasons. If you can get him late in the draft, he will help your team but avoid drafting him too early.

Aside from the top five wide receivers, there is still value that can be found at wide receiver. Can Reggie Wayne or Marques Colston emerge as top fantasy players this season? How will Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh co-exist in Cincy? Can Lee Evan’s excel in Buffalo know that James Hardy gives the Bills’ a red zone threat? A quarterback and running back should be your first priority but remember to draft your wide receivers wisely.

This article has been submitted by Patrick Tye.

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3 Responses to “Fantasy Football Focus - Wide Receivers”

  1. Blake Murphy Says:

    I don’t feel at all bad about giving away my #1 fantasy sleeper this year. In fact, I gave it away by naming my fantasy team Walls of Jericho (Cotchery). “Y2J” Jericho Cotchery is going to peak all over everybody’s face this year.

  2. Douglas Says:

    haha isn’t he your sleeper every year??

  3. Blake Murphy Says:

    Only because of his name before. My plan is to build a team of players who’s names I’ll never have to say (Andrigga Jigaa, Walls of Jericho, Michael Burner, The Great Selvini, etc)

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