Once thought of as second class citizens and an afterthought once quarterbacks and running backs were taken care of, wide receivers have gotten more attention in fantasy football over the past three seasons, and at least one or two have started to garner first round attention. The NFL has turned into a pass first league, and if there wasn’t a shortage of three down backs, I would assume that four to five receivers would be going in the first round or first 15 picks. Most fantasy leagues you are required to have more wide receivers than any other position, so their importance is still unquestioned. Many leagues require four receivers, so below you will find the top 50 at the position to help with your fantasy drafts.
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1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
122 catches, 1,964 yards, 5 TDs
If one thing is for sure, Calvin Johnson certainly lived up to his nickname of Megatron! He was a man among boys and certainly was the most unguardable receiver in all of football in 2012. However, if you were in a non-PPR league you were likely a little disappointed by the fact that he scored just five times, but the other numbers were so gaudy they should have made up for it. Johnson again will be a matchup nightmare for each and every cornerback that he faces, but what I like about him is you don’t hear anything about him being flashy or full of himself. Johnson is a slam dunk first round pick and I can see him being drafted anywhere from the fifth pick on, depending if your league is PPR or not. He’s the best in the business right now and the easy choice as the first wideout off the board.
2. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
97 catches, 1,350 yards, 11 TDs
Be still my beating heart!!!! I’m not sure if I have had a man crush on anyone quite like I do for AJ Green in quite a number of years. He’s big, he has great hands, I’d like them all over my body……..whoa! Sorry about that folks. Andy Dalton continues to improve, and Green is just impossible for one guy to stick. There’s no reason to think he won’t match these numbers or perhaps increase them a little, and is a borderline late first round pick, but absolutely an early second rounder. Injury is the only thing that can stand in the way of this guy, as he is indestructible.
3. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
94 catches, 1,434 yards, 10 TDs
If I love AJ Green in dirty, dirty ways, Demaryius Thomas could certainly have me as sloppy seconds. Everything that I said about Green fits with Thomas except that he has a better quarterback, and even has more weapons around him to keep the defense from keying in on him. The addition of Wes Welker could have a negative draw on him, but I just think he is so damn good that there will be enough passes for everyone to go around, and Thomas is the only one who is not an oompah loompah for Manning to target near the redzone. He could threaten 15 touchdowns this season.
4. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
79 catches, 1,198 yards, 10 TDs
He is one half of probably the best tandem of wide receivers in the NFL. I’m not sure if there is a player that scores more touchdowns of 40 yards or more since he came into the league. Jones is really tough to guard, is able to get behind defenses, and has a quarterback that loves to throw the deep ball. When he is at home it is like a track meet on the turf, and he is one of the more dangerous threats in the league. While Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez are still there to share the ball with, I think it is definite that Jones is the best receiver on the team at this point.
5. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
118 catches, 1,508 yards, 11 TDs
He might be a pain in the ass, but there are fewer receivers that are more talented than Marshall. He is the clear cut number one receiver for the Bears, and he and Jay Cutler have an obvious chemistry on the field. He might not catch as many passes in 2013, but I bet he will be close and the touchdowns will be among the top of any wide receiver in football. If Jay Cutler actually has some pass protection just imagine what these numbers could be.
6. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
92 catches, 1,382 yards, 12 TDs
Man, do I have a man crush on every single receiver? It is impossible to think that I could own all three receivers that I have thrown myself at in this article, but Bryant is another guy that I absolutely love. In fact, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he could be the top receiver in fantasy football, I know Dez thinks he can be. The Cowboys love to throw and Bryant is the best they have. I have absolutely no problem with him as your top receiver and if you choose him in the mid to late second round, you have made a good pick.
7. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
71 catches, 798 yards, 4 TDs
I know the quarterback situation was pretty damn awful last season as the Cardinals threw out one pathetic signal caller after another, but I think they might at least have a serviceable guy in Carson Palmer. All he has to do is take a three step drop and hit Fitzgerald. He is too good to just be average again, and while many will be down on him, I expect a huge bounce back from Fitzy. I think he will get back to over 95 catches and 8-10 touchdowns.
8. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
92 catches, 1,351 yards, 7 TDs
White isn’t getting nearly the attention he used to or he deserves in fantasy circles with the emergence of Julio Jones, and while he might not be the number one anymore he is certainly 1a, and still one of the most consistent receivers in the business. I still love Roddy White and see no reason to think that he won’t catch at least 90 passes and close in on ten touchdowns again. Atlanta has perhaps the best passing offense in football, and no matter his age, White will be a big part of it.
9. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
118 catches, 1,354 yards, 6 TDs
Welker leaves one Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady and heads to another of the best of all time and will catch passes from Peyton Manning. Now, the Broncos already have a short, white, slot receiver in Eric Decker, but they didn’t bring Welker over for nothing. He is going to be their go-to, possession guy when they need a big third down, or just a clutch catch. Welker is no spring chicken anymore, but his game isn’t built on speed, it is deception, and just getting open and having great hands.
10. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
86 catches, 1,092 yards, 10 TDs
I have to admit that I didn’t believe in Cruz after his first big year with the Giants, and it might have been almost halfway through last year that I finally came around to him. It might be the ridiculous salsa dance in the end zone, it might be that I have/had an unusual love for Hakeem Nicks, but at this point there’s no denying that Cruz is the more consistent, and big play receiver on the Giants. He isn’t overly tall, but he doesn’t drop many passes, and as shown by the 99 yard touchdown against the Jets, his quickness is one of his bigger assets. I believe that Cruz can even increase his reception numbers from here and easily match his touchdown production again as I believe that Eli Manning will throw more scores in 2013.
11. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
80 catches, 954 yards, 8 TDs
When Greg Jennings was hurt, there was a concern in Green Bay of who was going to step in and be the go to receiver for the Packers. James Jones was the touchdown man, but it was Randall Cobb who was the guy who caught the bulk of the passes, but he also was an awesome return man. With Jennings out of town and shipped to Minnesota, I see no reason that Cobb isn’t the favorite target of Aaron Rodgers this season. I think he will threaten that 100 catch mark, and I also believe that he will approach the ten touchdown plateau. I look at Cobb as the slightly poor man’s Wes Welker.
12. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
106 catches, 1,355 yards, 5 TDs
People started to write Wayne off at the beginning of the 2012 season, figuring he was too old and he was going to be dealing with a rookie quarterback. Well, it turns out this Luck kid is pretty good, and he also knows where his bread is buttered as he looked for Reggie Wayne early and often in his first year. All of a sudden the Colts’ offense looks rebuilt very quickly and Wayne again looks like a top wide receiver. I think his numbers will stay relatively similar, and if he could find the endzone two to three more times, he will be one of the top dozen or so receivers in fantasy football.
13. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
72 catches, 1,384 yards, 8 TDs
Moving from San Diego you weren’t quite sure what VJax was going to bring to the table, but he certainly brought his big play ability and solidified himself as one of the top 15 receivers in fantasy football. Josh Freeman had a solid campaign, but questions are still abound of whether or not he will succeed in 2013, and as Freeman goes so does Jackson. I believe Freeman will be good enough, and that Jackson will again be a dynamic threat to score with the football whenever he catches it. He might not be a top flight guy, but Jackson certainly is a great option to be your number two receiver.
14. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
59 catches, 801 yards, 3 TDs (13 games)
I know a lot of people are hoping that the Chiefs offense will take the next step now that they have Alex Smith at quarterback, but I have to tell you after watching him as the signal caller for the 49ers for many years that I’ve never been impressed. He can’t throw the ball down the field, and that is Bowe’s strength as a big play receiver. That being said, there is still plenty of opportunity for Bowe to use his big body to overpower cornerbacks and be able to catch a lot of passes, but I think there will be more along the lines of the 10-15 yard variety, more than the 25-30 yard variety.
15. Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings
36 catches, 366 yards, 4 TDs (8 games)
Speaking of Jennings, he found a new home this offseason in Minnesota, and although he won’t have the same quality quarterback throwing him the ball, I still believe that he will be successful. Jennings missed half of last season due to injury, but all reports are that he will be fine this season, and with the defense paying attention to Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, and even Kyle Rudolph, it doesn’t seem like there will be room for blanket coverage on Jennings. He is an awesome WR2, and should bring plenty of production to your fantasy team.
16. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
83 catches, 1,154 yards, 10 TDs
Colston has been in the league for quite a while now, and while he isn’t one of the top five receivers as he was earlier in his career, I think that Colston has now become underrated. He has had some injury issues throughout his career, but he has had at least seven touchdowns for four straight seasons. He isn’t a 100 catch guy, but he’s a shoe in for at least 80 catches and seven touchdowns, and with a few receivers taking their talents out of New Orleans, he could be in line for even more.
17. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
73 catches, 1,174 yards, 4 TDs
A few years ago it seemed that Smith’s relevance in fantasy football was coming to an end, until the team drafted Cam Newton and he got a sudden jolt in value again. You’d like to see him score some more touchdowns, but you’d also like to see the Panthers attempt to try to get a decent second receiver to take some attention away from him. Smith is getting up there in age, but he still has plenty of value and isn’t a terrible WR2.
18. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
44 catches, 633 yards, 4 TDs (10 games)
Garcon has had a tough time staying healthy, but when he was in there last season, it was obvious that he and Robert Griffin have developed some chemistry. Between toe and shoulder injuries, Garcon wasn’t full strength last season. Garcon did have four games where he had more than five catches, and five games where he logged more than 75 receiving yards. He’s always had talent, but this is likely the first time where he has been the top receiving target, and if he can stay healthy I like Garcon to be a big play receiver in 2013.
19. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
112 catches, 1,598 yards, 4 TDs
Like Calvin Johnson he racked up a ton of catches, and a boat load of yards, but the four touchdowns are just unacceptable. If any of you have been following me for any length of time you know that I don’t like Andre Johnson. To me, he is brittle, and tends to miss multiple games most seasons. But my real issue was where he was always drafted, which was often among the top three receivers in fantasy drafts. With the influx of new talent that certainly has changed, but he still isn’t going to be a guy I want to draft. Ever.
20. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
53 catches, 692 yards, 3 TDs (13 games)
Here is one of the more talented receivers in the game, but if you can’t stay on the field, what good are you to fantasy players? Nicks played in 13 games last season, but I will guarantee you that not all of them were full games. Multiple ailments cost him time, and while he is healthy going into the season, Nicks seems to be one of those guys that injuries seem to find. He is built like a brick shithouse and isn’t easy to tackle, but until he can play 16 full games, I have to drop him down the rankings some.
21. Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
64 catches, 836 yards, 8 TDs
Wallace was the prized free agent receiver, and I have to admit that I did not envision him going to Miami. However, the Dolphins offense is going to be more geared towards the pass this season, and while I’m not sure that quarterback Ryan Tannehill has the arm to get the ball 40-50 yards down the field when Wallace gets behind the offense, I also think that Wallace is going to have to be more of an all-around receiver this season, and not just a deep threat. I like Wallace to eclipse the 80 catch mark, and again threaten to collect 10 touchdowns.
22. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
49 catches, 855 yards, 8 TDs
While it was a mass exodus of sorts for the Baltimore defense after their Super Bowl win, they didn’t lose too many pieces of the offense. Torrey Smith will be expected to do even more with Dennis Pitta out for the season, and that alone should help his touchdown numbers. I am a big Smith fan headed into to 2013, and I also believe he can approach the 80 catch mark and really take the next step to being a solid second fantasy receiver.
23. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
63 catches, 667 yards, 3 TDs (11 games)
The Patriots are hoping that Amendola walks right into the role that Wes Welker had before he took his talents to Denver. Amendola is a PPR machine, and has been for a couple of years, but his problem is staying on the field. Amendola has never been able to get through a full season, and the Patriots are banking a lot that he will be able to stay healthy. If he does, Amendola does have the capability to get 100 catches, but I don’t think he will get quite that many, and probably have five to seven touchdowns.
24. Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills
79 catches, 1,046 yards, 6 TDs
Maybe I like Johnson more than I should, but I think he flies under the fantasy radar a little bit. I know the Buffalo offense isn’t very good and the running backs get the majority of the touchdowns, but I still think he is a quality receiver. He’s dealing with a hamstring issue in camp, but it is still five weeks until games start. Whether it’s Kevin Kolb or EJ Manuel under center, the Bills still don’t have a quality quarterback, but either way Johnson should still have a productive season. He is a great third wide receiver.
25. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
49 catches, 745 yards, 7 TDs (12 games)
This is way too many white receivers in the top 30! Nelson had a huge breakout season in 2011, and unfortunately injury stopped him from being as effective last year. He is an effective receiver who is able to get open what seems at will sometimes. He isn’t an overly quick or speedy receiver, but he still can get it done. He just had some knee surgery but word is he should be ready for Week 1. Even if he isn’t, I wouldn’t expect him to miss more than two weeks or three at the most. Nelson could easily get 70-80 catches, and while he won’t see the 15 touchdowns from two years ago again, six to nine scores seems reachable for Nelson.
26. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams
114 catches, 1,289 yards, 12 TDs (3 rushing TDs) at West Virginia
Austin is a short guy at 5’9” but he plays taller and has amazing speed. He ran a 4.28 at the combine, and has the Rams organization very excited. He can get behind the defense, he can come out of the slot, he can run reverses, he could return kicks, he is a very versatile and exciting player. Sam Bradford will need to step up this year if Austin is going to become a fantasy stud. I have a lot of faith in him, and if he doesn’t go too soon in drafts, I hope to have him on many of my fantasy teams.
27. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
45 catches, 700 yards, 2 TDs
Jackson has been on a downward swing of fantasy production in the last four years, but it seems like this season might be a bounce back for him. He still has good speed and still has good hands. The Eagles have lost Jeremy Maclin, and now the future of Riley Cooper is somewhat in question after he pulled a Paula Deen. I think Jackson is going to have a good season and have about 65-70 catches and six or seven touchdowns.
28. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
66 catches, 787 yards, 5 TDs (13 games)
This will be the first chance that Brown has to be the lead receiver in the NFL as Mike Wallace went to Miami. Brown isn’t your prototypical top receiver, and he isn’t ever going to be a 100 catch, 15 touchdown kind of guy. I do believe he will increase his numbers in each category, but I still see him as a solid WR3.
29. Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars
55 catches, 979 yards, 7 TDs (14 games)
From the middle of October until the end of the season, Shorts was one of the most dynamic receivers in the NFL. He had a string of a touchdown in four straight games, and had at least 75 receiving yards in six of seven games. My only concerns with Shorts is that he isn’t a proven player just yet, and the quarterback situation is still awful. I still really like Shorts as a third receiver, but there are still a couple of question marks associated with him.
30. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
66 catches, 943 yards, 6 TDs
As Dez Bryant has gotten better and better, Austin’s numbers have gotten worse and worse. Don’t get me wrong, he is still a very good receiver, but at this stage he is a WR3. Austin is a solid slot receiver, and his touchdown numbers are still decent. The Cowboys are a pass-first team, and there’s still a chance for Austin to post better numbers than he has in the past couple of seasons.
31. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers
65 catches, 921 yards, 4 TDs
When Michael Crabtree went down with the Achilles injury, Boldin basically became the Niners number one receiver until Thanksgiving. He’s getting up there in age, but Boldin has always been a guy who isn’t afraid of going across the middle, and has great hands. Boldin didn’t do much during the regular season, but he certainly woke up during the Ravens’ Super Bowl run. I look for him to be the lead receiver for much of the regular season, and in PPR leagues he has a little extra value.
32. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
63 catches, 996 yards, 9 TDs
Williams had a fantastic rookie season, and then fell apart in his second season and scored just three times, and so many people gave up on him. Williams had a fantasy resurgence as he had Vincent Jackson to take attention away from him, and again he was a touchdown threat again. This season should be no different as the receiving situation is the same, but many people also have question marks about Josh Freeman. I still have confidence to not have a ton of catches, but to find his way to the end zone six to eight times this season.
33. Aaron Dobson, New England Patriots
57 catches, 679 yards, 3 TDs (at Marshall)
Dobson had an impressive career at Marshall, and now it seems he will have a large role in the Patriots offense with the number of weapons that they have lost. He is a good sized receiver at 6’3” and quarterback Tom Brady has a history of making receivers better with his ability to make the tough throws. With Danny Amendola as their top receiver, and the fact that he is fairly injury prone, there’s a good chance that Dobson could have a huge role in the offense, and perhaps even more than he is ready to take on here in the preseason.
34. James Jones, Green Bay Packers
64 catches, 784 yards, 14 TDs
With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson missing time due to injuries during the season, Jones had a much bigger role in the offense and obviously made the most of it during 2012. Jennings has left town, but Nelson will at least start the season healthy, and I don’t see any way that he has near the touchdown total he had in 2012. Jones will be the number three receiver in Green Bay, and while that usually isn’t great, the Packers throw more than possibly any other team. Early on with Nelson out of the lineup he will have some added value but Jones has the chance to have more touchdowns than any third receiver, but to expect 14 from him again is just unrealistic.
35. Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders
51 catches, 741 yards, 7 TDs
Moore has shown flashes of brilliance in his two seasons in the NFL, but between injuries and inconsistency he has yet to take the next step towards greatness. Some of that also has to do with the quarterback situation, and I’m not sure that has been solved now with Matt Flynn. He is better than anyone they have had in years, but I’m not ready to call Moore a star yet. He still can be your third wide receiver, but he has the capability to be so much more.
36. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
85 catches, 1,064 yards, 13 TDs
Decker had an amazing season last year and brought himself into a similar role that Wes Welker had in New England. Soooooo, the problem with Decker is that Wes Welker came to the Broncos and now will have the same role that he did in Denver, and as much as that will be good for Welker, that takes the targets away from Decker. I’m not saying that he isn’t going to be used in the offense at all, but it will be on a smaller scale and he will have a lot of trouble matching those thirteen touchdowns from last year, and will likely struggle to steal to score eight times.
37. Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams
42 catches, 698 yards, 3 TDs
Givens showed so many different things last season. He showed the big play ability as he had a 50+ yard catch in five straight games. He showed consistency in small doses, as he had at least fifty receiving yards in seven games in an eight game stretch. And he showed good speed and was able to get behind defenses, even some of the best corners. I believe that Givens is being WAAAAY undervalued right now, and with his height advantage over Tavon Austin, could be the Rams top receiver this season. You aren’t hearing his name a whole heck of a lot but he could do plenty of surprising in 2013.
38. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
82 catches, 1,405 yards, 18 TDs (at Clemson)
Hopkins was another early pick on a wide receiver, as Houston tries to find a complement (and in my opinion a successor to) Andre Johnson. Everything you read about Hopkins is the size of his hands and his ability to make tough catches. He has pretty good speed as well, and the Texans like to throw so he has a chance to be very good, the question marks of course come with his lack of experience. On sheer talent, you have to believe that Hopkins will have a fairly successful rookie season.
39. Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
45 catches, 688 yards, 7 TDs
With Percy Harvin possibly missing the season, and Sidney Rice having some voodoo procedure on his knee in Switzerland, all of a sudden Tate is looking like a big part of the Seahawks passing game. From the controversial Hail Mary play against the Packers to the end of the season, Tate showed the ability to have a big effect on your fantasy matchup, and as long as Harvin and Rice are in question Tate climbs faster and faster up the draft board. I still feel he is WR4, he has the possibility to be even more.
40. TY Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
50 catches, 861 yards, 7 TDs
Of all of the breakout players in 2012, I’m not sure that too many have the staying power that Hilton has. He has incredible speed, he can line up on either end, can line up in the slot, can be used on a running play, and that versatility will give him the edge over Darrius Heyward-Bey. Hilton has the chance to be the big play threat across the field from Reggie Wayne, and while he isn’t going to be a guy who averages seven catches a week, he is going to be the one to have three catches and 105 yards and a touchdown. Hilton is a huge big play threat to get behind the defense and while he might be a high risk/high reward player, I like his potential for reward.
41. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
24 catches, 367 yards, 3 TDs (10 games)
Jeffrey had a disappointing rookie season, but he was a rookie, the Bears’ offense wasn’t at its best most of the season, and he also had some injury problems. 2013 is a fresh start for Jeffery, and he has come into camp on a mission. He is physically gifted at 6’3” and 216 pounds, and has very good hands. Brandon Marshall is still the top guy in Chicago, but considering the pass offense has to be better and the offensive line has been redone, Jeffery should have much better numbers this season, and is a legitimate late third or solid fourth receiver on your squad.
42. Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers
56 catches, 814 yards, 5 TDs (14 games)
Floyd has often failed to take advantage of opportunities given to him because of inconsistency and injuries, but never has a better chance to succeed been thrust on him than in 2013. With Danario Alexander now out for the season, Floyd should slide right into the number one receiver role with this team. The running game hasn’t been successful since LaDainian Tomlinson left town, and Rivers is going to have to throw to someone. Floyd is the best of the bunch, and while he might be the number one guy, I’m still not expecting huge numbers from him, but he still can be a low end WR3 or good WR4 or flex play.
43. Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
45 catches, 589 yards, 4 TDs (14 games)
If Britt could stop being such an asshole, and possibly stop being hurt, he could be one of the top ten receivers in the NFL. Unfortunately at this point we can’t trust that he will ever be healthy or stop being an asshole. He is either a suspension or an injury just waiting to happen. Jake Locker also isn’t a reliable quarterback, so there is a lot working against Britt. He has talent working for him, but that’s the only positive. I can’t see making Britt more than a WR4, but if he ever got himself straight he could possibly be a WR1.
44. Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers
44 catches, 626 yards, 1 TD
Roles have been a little hard to figure with the Steelers over the past couple of seasons as Mike Wallace was the top guy and then Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown sharing the second receiver role. Well, it seems that Sanders will be the number two guy, but regardless of who is which number both guys will be starting. I think you can easily expect Sanders to increase his catches by 50% and I think it is a no brainer that he will get his touchdown total to at least five and as high as seven.
45. Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions
22 catches, 310 yards, 2 TDs (10 games)
Rookie Ryan Broyles wasn’t given the chance to start many games, and he wasn’t on the field for many plays, but he was actually pretty decent when he was between the sidelines. Unfortunately a torn ACL cost him the rest of his rookie season, but he is back on track to be ready for 2013. The Lions need someone to step up to be the second receiver besides Calvin Johnson and my money is on Broyles. Expect him to at least double his statistics across the board with the ability to do even more if things break his way.
46. Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks
50 catches, 748 yards, 7 TDs
Rice went to Switzerland this preseason to have some voodoo procedure done to his knee and hopefully he is going to be OK, and while we don’t know about the prognosis, so far it seems he is going to be fine. With Harvin out, Rice again becomes the Seahawks number one receiver again considering he is healthy, so you should probably expect him to have similar numbers, although I expect his catches to increase the rest to stay similar. Considering his voodoo knee problems, I’m not sure you can consider him healthy.
47. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
50 catches, 805 yards, 5 TDs
Gordon is physically gifted, he has the talent to be a top receiver on an NFL team, and showed flashes of greatness, although I wonder if he has the maturity to be that guy. The Browns’ passing attack is very questionable at best, but if someone on that team is going to be an effective receiver it is going to be Gordon. There’s such a question mark with Gordon. Will he be a big time receiver, or will he continue to give us a glimpse of his potential? I’m not ready to trust him, but I understand his talent as well.
48. Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
46 catches, 778 yards, 5 TDs (at Tennessee)
Patterson is much taller than his fellow rookie Tavon Austin, but like Austin he was used in many different ways in college, as a receiver, running the ball, returning kicks, etc. Patterson was drafted by the Vikings to replace the departed Percy Harvin, and he has the chance to be as dynamic and exciting as Harvin was without the whining, headaches, and injury risk that Harvin was. So far, Patterson has been working more with the second team offense in training camp, but I expect that to change as we get closer and closer to the season and he could be a high impact rookie.
49. Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints
65 catches, 1,041 yards, 6 TDs
With Devery Henderson out of town, Moore is now going to be the second wide receiver for one of the top passing offenses in football. He isn’t a really tall guy, but Moore is able to get open, and should have no trouble getting down the middle of the field and possibly having a big impact on fantasy matchups. I expect more catches from Moore, but not much of a difference in his touchdown catches and is a solid fourth receiver, but not much more than that.
50. Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals
16 catches, 154 yards, 4 TDs (9 games, 3 starts)
The Bengals struggled to find a consistent second receiver to take some of the pressure off AJ Green, and while they tried a few different options, Sanu did well before losing his season to a foot injury. He had all four of his touchdowns in his final three games, and was creating a decent chemistry with Andy Dalton. At 6’2” and 210 pounds, he has the physical tools to be a successful NFL receiver, and with the Bengals being a pass first team and the defense being focused on Green, Sanu has a chance to see a lot of single coverage.