2013 Fantasy Football Preview: Wide Receivers
Because the wide receiver spot is often an afterthought in fantasy football due to the depth of the position, it's easy to get lost in filling roster holes. If you are one of those people, take your right hand and slap yourself with it because you are doing a grave injustice to one of the most important positions in fantasy — if you are a lefty, use your right hand anyway…just because…
In most traditional leagues, you start three wideouts. That's three slots out of (again, average) nine that you submit each week. When you are talking about one-third of your fantasy points a week, you sure as heck better put some thought into exactly who you are putting in those spots before you hit the submit button.
Nugget of insight planted, here are my top 50 wideouts entering the 2013 season.
Hall of Fame Tier
Can't miss studs. Best of the best.
1. Calvin Johnson – Detroit
122 catches for 1,964 yards in 2012 gets you the top spot in this list. Would like to see more than five touchdowns this season though.
2. A.J. Green – Cincinnati
3. Dez Bryant – Dallas
4. Brandon Marshall – Chicago
In his first season with Chicago, Marshall set career highs with 118 catches, 194 targets and 1,508 yards.
5. Julio Jones – Atlanta
Pro Bowl Tier
Minimal risk. Will consistently produce at top level.
6. Demaryius Thomas – Denver
The main question surrounding Thomas is whether new addition Wes Welker will steal some touches away.
7. Andre Johnson – Houston
8. Percy Harvin – Seattle
9. Roddy White – Atlanta
10. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona
Although turning 30, Fitzgerald is looking to bounce back from his worst season as a pro. The addition of quarterback Carson Palmer should help this.
11. Wes Welker – Denver
Going from Tom Brady to Peyton Manning. I can think of worse changes.
12. Randall Cobb – Green Bay
13. Victor Cruz – New York Giants
New contract but still the same old complaints. However, if his fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks can stay healthy, indecision from defenses on who to double team should lead to plenty of big games for both.
14. Vincent Jackson -Tampa Bay
15. Marques Colston – New Orleans
16. Jordy Nelson – Green Bay
Role Player Tier
Minimal Risk/High Reward
17. Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City
18. Eric Decker – Denver
19. James Jones – Green Bay
20. Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants
21. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis
The Colts are going with a new playbook this season, which hopefully doesn't translate to early season gaffes by the offense. Entering his 13th NFL season, this is only Wayne's third different playbook.
22. Pierre Garcon – Washington
High Risk/High Reward
23. Cecil Shorts – Jacksonville
24. Steve Smith – Carolina
25. Steve Johnson – Buffalo
26. Danny Amendola – New England
Amendola will have some big shoes to fill in replacing Wes Welker. Good thing he has Tom Brady throwing him the ball. Trust in the Patriots gift for keeping production with different players when it comes to drafting Amendola.
27. Torrey Smith – Baltimore
28. Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh
With Mike Wallace's departure to Miami, the receiving corps is now led by Brown. Until other receivers step up, open looks may be hard to find for this speedster.
29. Mike Williams – Tampa Bay
30. Mike Wallace – Miami
31. Tavon Austin – St. Louis
Rookie receivers traditionally aren't anywhere near to surefire but considering Austin immediately becomes the number one receiving option for the Rams, consider him a safe pick.
32. T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis
33. Kenny Britt – Tennessee
34. Miles Austin – Dallas
35. Greg Jennings – Minnesota
Early word out of Vikings camp has quarterback Christian Ponder not turning heads. Lack of a reliable QB could seriously hurt Jennings' production this season.
36. DeSean Jackson – Philadelphia
37. Lance Moore – New Orleans
Guys with talent that are borderline starters
38. Josh Gordon – Cleveland
39. Anquan Boldin – San Francisco
40. Mohamed Sanu – Cincinnati
41. Emmanuel Sanders – Pittsburgh
As the number two receiver for the Steelers, Sanders will have both opportunity and the open looks to create some serious numbers this season.
42. DeAndre Hopkins – Houston
43. Ryan Broyles – Detroit
44. Sidney Rice – Seattle
It's put up or shut up time for Rice as he enters the third year of a $41 million, five-year deal. With Golden Tate breathing down his neck and the addition of Percy Harvin, the time is now for Rice.
Need a start for bye-weeks or injuries then say no more.
45. Alshon Jeffery – Chicago
46. Brandon LaFell – Carolina
47. Kendall Wright – Tennessee
48. Golden Tate – Seattle
49. Chris Givens – St. Louis
50. Santonio Holmes – New York Jets
Because someone has to catch the occasional Sanchez ball in a Jets game other than the other team, Holmes could have some nice numbers at times.
Photo Credit: Getty (C. Johnson, A. Johnson), Icon (R. Wayne, T. Austin)