A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look through the top 150 players and identify players that should outperform their draft position.
Player with 9 Votes
Vincent Brown, SD
Mike Brown: Even before the injury to Danario Alexander, Brown was in a prime position to make serious strides this season. The Chargers have lacked that prototypical number one receiver since Vincent Jackson left town, and Brown appears to be the best bet to assume that mantle. He's got excellent ball skills, runs terrific routes, and has good hands. It's that darned injury bug that set back his development last season. But all signs point to him being recovered from that, and it would be a pretty big upset if he isn't the number one receiver in San Diego by season's end.
David Dodds: He was looking good in 2012 before an ankle injury cost him the season. Now healthy, he is again having a great camp. The Danario Alexander injury cements Brown as the top target on a team that will be required to thrown often to catch up. The OL is possibly the league's worst though so Brown might need to do a lot of his damage after the catch.
Will Grant: Brown has some serious injury concerns, and he’s been nursing a hamstring injury through the early pre-season. Yet if he can stay healthy, Brown has a great chance to become the top receiver for the Chargers this season. Granted, San Diego won’t throw for 4500 yards this season, but Brown should still see plenty of action. Injuries do drop him down a few pegs, but he should still outperform his current draft position.
Jeff Haseley: I was high on Vincent Brown before Danario Alexander was lost for the year with a torn ACL. Brown has excellent route running skills and does a great job of fighting for the ball in traffic. San Diego may be passing quite often in 2013, which plays into Brown's value. He is a candidate to lead the Chargers in receptions and receiving yards and is a steal as the 46th WR off the board.
Ryan Hester: After missing all of 2012 with a broken ankle, Brown should return healthy this season. He entered 2012 with a lot of hype as the team was hinting that they would build their passing game around him. Despite a regime change and new head coach, Brown is receiving similar hype this offseason. The season-ending ACL tear to Danario Alexander is further indication that San Diego will utilize Brown more than any other pass-catcher on the roster. If he stays healthy, he should lead San Diego in catches in under Head Coach Mike McCoy – a great offensive mind who was Denver’s Offensive Coordinator last season.
Aaron Rudnicki: Brown looked poised for a breakout season in 2012 but had his year end prematurely due to a gruesome injury. Danario Alexander wound up breaking out instead with 7 touchdowns in his last 8 games, but it was him who suffered a preseason injury this year. That creates a big opening for someone to fill as the main playmaker for the Chargers this year and Brown looks like the most likely candidate. He averaged over 17 yards per catch as a rookie so he has some big-play ability, but will also attack the ball over the middle and can make people miss in the open field.
Kyle Wachtel: After the season ending injury for Danario Alexander, the chances of a breakthrough for Brown have risen substantially. He’s a favorite to lock down a starting role as long as he is healthy and has the upside to become a low-end WR2 / high-end WR3. You can expect his ADP will also rise accordingly, but there may be some lag, allowing you to secure him for a bargain price.
Matt Waldman: If there was a receiver who looked like the next Reggie Wayne in college but then flashed Fitzgerald-like skills at winning jump balls in near-impossibly situations as a pro, Brown was that guy. New head coach Mike McCoy has already stated that Brown is the best route runner on the team and he’s slated to rotate with the starters to begin the season. Don’t be surprised if that rotation Brown will soon state as “me, myself, and I” by October and it translates to solid WR2 production for fantasy owners.
Jason Wood: Brown stepped into the Chargers last year as a rookie and was a standout each and every day of the preseason. There was little doubt he would play an immediate role and vie for a starting role. Brown’s maturity, grasp of complex offensive schemes, and his route running all served him well to reap quick rewards. Then an ankle injury set all that aside. The great news is fantasy owners are forgetting about Brown, in spite of the fact he’s 100% healthy and has been dominant in OTAs.
Player with 6 Votes
Chris Givens, StL
Sigmund Bloom: Givens generated a lot of buzz in the offseason and early in camp, and he then caught a long bomb and a short touchdown in a very limited appearance in the first preseason game. He looks like he’ll be a strong candidate as a boom/bust WR3/flex, and Givens could be more if Jared Cook, Brian Quick, or Tavon Austin aren’t ready for prime time. He’s worth at least two rounds better than his 11th round ADP.
David Dodds: Despite the fantasy community anointing talented rookie Tavon Austin as the WR1 for the Rams this season, all signs point to Chris Givens being that guy. With his blazing speed, Chris has huge upside in the alter rounds.
Jeff Haseley: The Rams will be passing more in 2013 and Chris Givens will be a big recipient of Sam Bradford's passes. The fantasy community still sees the Rams as a fair to good passing offense, but that is about to change this year. Chris Givens' value has not caught up with his ADP yet. His WR51 ADP is criminally low. Get on this bandwagon before the rest of your league figures out how good he'll be.
Bob Magaw: Chris Givens was the first player taken on day three of the 2012 draft, leading off the fourth round. He has the suddenness, burst and deep speed to rocket past unfortunate defensive backs tasked with slowing him down. In a promising rookie campaign, Givens defined explosiveness, breaking a nearly 30 year old league record for a rookie (set by Willie Gault in 1983), with a 50+ yard reception in five straight games. He has added about five pounds of muscle in the off-season, and is looking to diversify his role as more than just a deep threat. After the departure of Danny Amendola to New England and Brandon Gibson to Miami, Givens is the sole incumbent starting WR. With defenses distracted by rookie receiver Tavon Austin and top free agent TE Jared Cook, it will be difficult to double team him. The Rams appear to be building a more wide open, spread passing attack, and with an uptick in opportunity, Givens could nudge his nearly 700 receiving yards (on just 42 catches) in the direction of the 1,000 yard club. He has some attributes and traits reminiscent of Mike Wallace.
Aaron Rudnicki: Givens showed off his big play ability as a rookie last year and should be in line for a bigger role in 2013. Tavon Austin was a very high draft pick and is obviously going to get most of the preseason attention, but Givens has a full year of working in the offense with Sam Bradford already. With no established focal point in place for the Rams offense, Givens has a great opportunity to separate himself from the pack and become the team’s #1 WR.
Jason Wood: As my colleague Matt Waldman remarked during the April draft, the Rams are trying to re-create the Oklahoma offense for Sam Bradford. While most fantasy owners are betting on rookie mighty mite Tavon Austin, my money is on Givens as the breakout star. He was impressive as a rookie in spite of being used in limited capacity, but has graduated to the entire playbook in his 2nd year. He’s got rare speed and size and projects as Sam Bradford’s top downfield option.
Players with 3 Votes
Miles Austin, Dal
Sigmund Bloom: Miles Austin might have trouble staying healthy, but he is usually a solid WR2 producer when he is at least close to full speed. He is in a good pass offense and he has an uberstud on the other side to draw coverage. Even if Austin is only a WR2 for you for 6-8 games, that is worth a seventh/eighth round pick.
Mike Brown: A perennial 1,000-yard receiver is sitting out there in the middle rounds, and you're leaving him there for the likes of second-rate running backs and marginal quarterbacks? Craziness. Austin has been passed by Dez Bryant in the Dallas pecking order, but with the frequency with which Dallas throws it, there are more than enough footballs to go around between the two of them. Not to mention, Austin will be facing the lesser coverage this season, and comes at a huge discount. Don't be surprised when he finishes as a top-15 receiver.
Steve Holloway: Austin has had durability issues the past two seasons, but still finished as WR28 in 2012 and finished as WR3 and WR12 in 2009 and 2010. He should be roaming a little freer with Dez Bryant finally producing up to his lofty expectations. Even with missing games and playing through injuries, Austin has scored 31 TDs over the past four seasons and averages 15.3 ypc for his career. He should be more productive than his ADP in 2013.
Kenny Britt, Ten
Sigmund Bloom: Britt is the kind of pick that can win your league for you. He has shown that he has the talent to produce like a top five option at wide receiver, but his knee was never right last year. Early reports are that Britt looks like the player he was before his ACL tear. The reward is more than worth the risk in the eighth round.
Chad Parsons: The middle rounds of a draft are where champions are made. It is not from going with safe, low-ceiling players that may be backend starters or quality bench. The players that win titles fit the mold of Kenny Britt. They are talented, high-ceiling players with some blemish that discounts their purchase price. Britt has off-field concerns to the point where some are in pools to predict when Britt will get arrested. He has dealt with injuries throughout his career on-the-field to the point where he has missed 19 games over the past three seasons. In addition, the Titans passing offense is led Jake Locker, who has struggled with consistency over his time as a starter. Those are a lot of hurdles to clear in order to realize his obvious potential as a WR1 in fantasy terms. If Britt had an ADP in the fifth round, that would be quite a bit of risk tolerance to draft him. Instead, the risk is built in to this year’s asking price. As a WR4 in the seventh or eighth round range, Britt is an ideal risk-reward play. All the reports indicate Britt is well on his way to being right physically to start the season and has his priorities straight, which has not previously been the case. Of the receivers in this range of the draft, few have the potentially explosive impact of Kenny Britt.
Matt Waldman: Since the day at Radio City Music Hall when I unknowingly told Kenny Britt’s cousin that I was disappointed with the Titans decision to pick the Rutgers receiver, I have not been a fan. However, all the talk thus far has been how Britt has diligently rehabbed his knees and looks like the pre-injury player on the verge of becoming a reliable primary weapon. I’m feeling optimistic that Britt has gone the path of Dez Bryant and gotten more serious about becoming a dedicated professional and not just a man-child monster talent. Between Jake Locker and Ryan Fitzpatrick, I think a healthy, focused Britt is finally a value I can get with.
T.Y. Hilton, Ind
Will Grant: T.Y. Hilton finished as WR25 during his rookie season. He’s had another full summer to work with Andrew Luck and he’s looked pretty solid in the pre-season so far. Reggie Wayne played well above what people expected from him last season and it’s not too much of a stretch to see him take a step back. Colt fans are going to be happy to see the Luck to Hilton connection take a step forward this season and Hilton should outperform his current draft position.
Matt Waldman: Hilton is going to be moved around the offensive formation this year and that spells trouble for defenses. His stock might move up a bit because Darrius Heyward-Bey is dealing with a knee sprain in camp, but even then I think Hilton will be underrated. The second-year player from FIU has great speed, good hands, and terrific skill in the open field. Look for Hilton to compare favorably to DeSean Jackson at the Eagles receiver’s best by season’s end.
Mark Wimer: T.Y. Hilton averaged 17.2 yards per catch last season (103 targets for 50/861/7 receiving) as a rookie. Now that he has a year of experience (and a year's worth of chemistry with Andrew Luck), he should easily eclipse all of those numbers. I think he's a lock for fantasy wide receiver #2 numbers with elite (wide receiver #1) production as his upside. Darrius Heyward-Bey has never gotten it done on a consistent basis and has missed reps in training camp due to a sore knee. Though Heyward-Bey started on August 11, he didn't have a catch, while Hilton ripped off 3/61/1 on three targets during the exhibition. I'd love to get Hilton this year (and have drafted him often) - he's certainly a stupendous value at 32nd wide receiver selected (his current ADP).
DeSean Jackson, Phi
Heath Cummings: All signs point to Michael Vick winning the starting job in Philadelphia, and that’s a very good thing for Jackson. He’s been a much more productive receiver with Vick at the helm. With Jeremy Maclin lost for the season there’s really no question who Vicks favorite target will be. If Jackson stays healthy he should be a WR2 in 2013.
David Dodds: The Maclin injury practically guarantees a big role in this offense. His speed should also be used to keep defenses from stacking too many in the box to stop a likely run-oriented Philadelphia game plan on most weeks. This has career year written all over it.
Jason Wood: The trend has not been Jackson’s friend, as Jackson’s numbers have fallen consistently from his stellar 2009 season when he made the Pro Bowl as both a receiver and returner. Yet, he’s only 27 years old and has tremendous incentive to perform well in what is essentially a contract year. Had Andy Reid stayed in Philadelphia, I wouldn’t view Jackson as favorably but Chip Kelly offers a new lease on life and runs an offense that will seemingly value Jackson’s versatility as both a receiver and a runner.
Hakeem Nicks, NYG
James Brimacombe: People are being scared by Nicks injury invested numbers from 2012, and now his contract battles are also a worry. He is a fantasy WR1 when he is healthy and plays on a strong offense with a strong QB in Eli Manning. Lots of value with 80 catches, 1000+ yards, and 8-10 TDs a real possibility.
Steve Holloway: Nicks finished as WR8 and WR12 in 2010 and 2011, despite missing four games over those two seasons. In 2012, he struggled most of the year with injuries, missing three games and playing at less than full speed in many others. He regressed from averaging 77 catches per year to only 53 and had a career low 692 receiving yards, 3 TDs, and only 13.1 ypc. His ADP has dropped even farther as Nicks has missed some pre-season work. Meanwhile Reuben Randle have impressed in Nicks’ absence. Nicks’ fall down the draft boards only increases his value this year, especially if he gets healthy by the beginning of the season.
Aaron Rudnicki: Nicks has already proven in the past that he is a dominant receiver when healthy, but a foot injury left him hobbled and a shell of his former self in 2012. He appears to be healthy heading into the season, however, and also has added motivation as he’ll be playing for a new contract next year. It won’t be a surprise if he posts big numbers and finishes the year as a clear WR1 for fantasy owners.
Cecil Shorts, Jac
James Brimacombe: In his second year with a combination of Gabbert and Henne at QB, Shorts somehow put up a 55/979/7 stat line in just 14 games. He is a WR2 with WR1 upside and is a player that somehow may fall onto your lap in rounds 5-7.
Bob Magaw: Cecil Shorts was one of the most surprising and successful breakout wide receivers in 2012 in just his second year as a former fourth rounder from tiny Mount Union. Finishing around top 20 (55-979-7) despite playing just 14 games, he produced at closer to a top 10 level once he ascended into the starting lineup. Shorts will be even more involved with the looming four game suspension of 2012 first rounder Justin Blackmon to begin the season. He is a dangerous weapon in the open field with explosive RAC skills, and looks capable of replicating the big play ability he flashed repeatedly last year.
Aaron Rudnicki: There is a lot to like about what Shorts did in 2012 as he put up some great numbers despite playing in one of the league’s worst passing attacks. The 4-game suspension for Justin Blackmon to start the year should ensure that he remains the primary option in the passing game on a team that will likely be playing from behind almost every week. The one concern is possibly having to rely on Blaine Gabbert to get him the ball, but Chad Henne should be able to win and keep the starting QB job.
Torrey Smith, Bal
Heath Cummings: The only way that Smith isn’t hugely undervalued is if he hasn’t improved at all on routes underneath. With AnquanBoldin and Dennis Pitta both gone quarterback Joe Flacco needs Smith more than he ever has. I’ll bet on Smith’s elite speed and say that he’ll finish the year ranked far above where he’s currently being drafted. Third year breakouts do happen, and they often happen when very talented receivers figure out how to run better routes, I’m betting Smith will in 2013.
Chad Parsons: It is difficult to understand why Torrey Smith is not getting more love heading into this season. Anquan Boldin and his 111 targets from 2012 are gone. That leaves Dennis Pitta and Ray Rice as the only other established options in the passing game. In addition to that trio, Jacoby Jones is the only receiver with any real NFL experience under his belt. Jones has been anything but consistent and it is doubtful that changes in any significant way in 2013. Smith enters his third season and will have plenty of opportunities to expand his game to the short and intermediate areas of the field as defensive backs have to respect his deep speed. Smith has the makeup of a receiver poised to take the next step after two seasons that have been more sizzle than substance.
Mark Wimer: Smith is expected to become Joe Flacco's go-to guy now that Anquan Boldin hangs his cleats in San Francisco. With Ray Rice to menace teams in the short-to-intermediate pass ranges and Rice's legitimate threat to run the ball on every down, Smith should pop plenty of long-gainers during 2013. Smith should easily outstrip his position as 23rd wide receiver off the board.
Golden Tate, Sea
Mike Brown: This is a case that is as much about opportunity as it is about talent (although to be sure, Tate has got both). With the injury to number one receiver Percy Harvin, there is a void in Seattle for someone to post big receiving totals. Granted, the team doesn't throw it a great deal like some other teams in the league, but even the lower volume teams toss it around for 3,500 - 4,000 yards per year. Someone has to pick up that slack, and from all reports Tate has had an excellent offseason. Sidney Rice, the other option to fill in as the team's number one guy, has too much mystery surrounding his health - Tate is the guy to own here.
Jeff Haseley: Golden Tate should benefit greatly from Percy Harvin's absence. Tate is being lined up all over the field and figures to be a major contributor on offense in 2013. Tate should easily be able to outperform his draft position as the 48th WR off the board.
Matt Waldman: He edges Chris Givens for the final spot on my list because he’s going to be playing that Harvin role in the Seahawks offense. He has shown improvement as a receiver every year and I have always loved his will to fight for the ball. Think of Tate as a more dynamic player who is on a Hines Ward-like trajectory. He’s not there yet and may never get there, Steeler fans (so relax about the comparison), but methinks he’s a bargain compared to Kendall Wright, Denarius Moore, and half of the WR in the range of picks 10-15 spots ahead of him on this ADP list.
Players with 2 Votes
Marques Colston, NO
Ryan Hester: Colston is one of many New Orleans players who I expect to perform above expectations. The return of Head Coach Sean Payton (who is arguably the best play-caller in the league) and the motivation to come back from the black eye that was the bounty scandal make New Orleans a dangerous team in 2013. Colston could finish the year as a low-end WR1, making him a bargain at this price. I’d select him over Jordy Nelson, Dwayne Bowe and Vincent Jackson – all players who are being drafted ahead of him on average.
Andy Hicks: Colston is about as safe a receiver as you can have for your fantasy squad. He keeps falling in drafts because he doesn’t have top 6 upside, but a better WR2 you could not have. He is the lead wide receiver on a dynamic passing offense and has a very high floor compared to those who will get drafted around him. Not every pick has to be a boom or bust selection, so take him at his value price.
Michael Floyd, Ari
Mike Brown: Everyone assumes that Larry Fitzgerald will return to form this season in Arizona due to expected improved offensive line play and the addition of QB Carson Palmer. What that indirectly means is that Floyd will get to face single coverage, and often times not the other team's best cornerback. With his physical skills, the Cardinals' expected difficulty running the football, and a strong-armed quarterback to get him the ball, Floyd is poised for a breakout season.
Bob Magaw: Michael Floyd’s stock has dropped after he got off to a slow start in his rookie season, and because the Cardinals had one of the most inept passing offenses in the league. Since that time, the Cardinals have added new head coach Bruce Arians, a new quarterback in Carson Palmer, and Floyd is running with the first team opposite Larry Fitzgerald. One of the greatest wide receivers in Notre Dame history, he has impressive measurables (nearly ran a sub-4.4 at 6’3” and 220 pounds during his Combine). Floyd has the size to play the ball in the air like his mentor Fitzgerald, as well as the combo of power and movement skills for a big receiver to be a dangerous open field runner after the catch. Promisingly, he finished a disappointing year on a high note, flashing the talent that made him the 13th overall pick in the 2012 draft, with 8 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown week 17.
Vincent Jackson, TB
Adam Harstad: Outside of his holdout-marred 2010 season, Vincent Jackson has four straight WR1 finishes, including a 1300 yard season last year. Only Roddy White can claim a better track record of success. Jackson hasn't lost a step, as his league-leading 19.2 yards per reception last year demonstrated. He's going to be more comfortable in the offense, and should be a reliable fantasy WR1 this year just like he is every year.
Steve Holloway: Jackson was an effective, but lightly targeted receiver through his career with the Chargers. He had the most targets in his seven year career a year ago with Tampa Bay and still had only 114. He has only topped 60 catches twice but he has three top twelve finishes, primarily because he has is so effective down the field and around the goal line. Most expect that Tampa Bay will run the ball early and often, but look for Jackson to possibly set career highs for targets, receptions and yards this season and he could score double digit TDs for the first time in his career.
James Jones, GB
James Brimacombe: With Jennings now in Minnesota, another door just opened up for Jones in the explosive Green Bay passing game. He was a favorite of Rodgers when they Packers were in the Redzone, as he scored a massive 14 receiving TDs in 2012.
Mark Wimer: James Jones led the NFL with 14 receiving TDs last year - and he was under-utilized with just 108 targets for 68/784/14 receiving last season. There will be an extensive work-sharing arrangement between Jones, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson this year, sure (assuming Nelson rehabs his knee surgery in time for regular season) - but doesn't everyone have Aaron Rodgers as one of the top two fantasy quarterbacks in the league this year? Jones could easily surpass last years' numbers, especially in terms of receptions and yardage - he defines a value pick at 29th wide receiver taken off the board.
Emmanuel Sanders, Pit
Jeff Pasquino: Just a few seasons ago, the debate in Pittsburgh was whether Antonio Brown or Emmanuel Sanders would be the second starter for the Steelers opposite of Mike Wallace. Now both Brown and Sanders are slated to start with Wallace signing in Miami. Sanders will have to hold off rookie Markus Wheaton this year and maintain starter status, and if he does then he is a definite bargain wide receiver this year considering the upside of a solid fantasy WR3 that he represents.
Jason Wood: Emmanuel Sanders was almost Tom Brady’s newest target as the Patriots signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet. The Steelers smartly matched the offer, keeping Sanders in their control. Sanders will pair with Antonio Brown as the new starting tandem for Ben Roethlisberger, as Mike Wallace has flown the coop to Miami. Sanders (5’11”, 180 lbs.) is a different kind of player than Wallace, but no less dangerous particularly when given a chance to make plays with the ball in his hands. Don’t be surprised if Sanders doesn’t lead the Steelers in receptions, and finish as a top 25 receiver in the process.
Steve Smith, Car
Andy Hicks: Smith may be closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but given that he will be taken as a WR3 this year and Carolina have posed no threats to his status as the undisputed target leader for the Panthers, he should be a safe bet to exceed his draft slot. He has only once in 10 years finished outside the top 20 fantasy receivers in a non injured year and that was the year the Panthers imploded and started Jimmy Clausen. Smith has a great on field rapport with Cam Newton and was unlucky not to post better stats last year.
Mark Wimer: Smith has finished as the sixth-best and 19th-best fantasy wide receiver since Cam Newton arrived in Carolina, while notching the second (17.6) and third-best (16.1) average yards per catch in his career over the past two seasons. He's a legitimate threat to land among the top-12 fantasy wide receivers this year (especially as he gets to face the Falcons (23rd-ranked pass D), the Saints (31st) and the Buccaneers (32nd-ranked pass D) twice during 2013). Smith screams value at his current ADP of 25th fantasy wide receiver selected.
Reggie Wayne, Ind
Andy Hicks: Wayne was the highest targeted receiver in the league last year and while everyone else looks for the hot young receiver or players with upside, Wayne will fall in drafts and become incredible value. With just a couple more touchdowns last year, everyone would be talking about Wayne as a WR1 for this season, but with Andrew Luck improving it is only a matter of time before he looks to his leading receiver and the touchdowns come. The receptions and yardage are almost a given.
Kyle Wachtel: Andrew Luck resuscitated the value of the six-time Pro Bowler. Although he is aging, he has not missed a game in 11 seasons and his strong route running has allowed him to excel with a loss of speed. A dropoff from his 195 targets in 2012 should be expected, but his catch-rate should normalize and another 90-catch season may be in the cards.
Players with 1 Vote
Tavon Austin, StL
Bob Magaw: The Rams moved up eight spots to take Tavon Austin eighth overall in the 2013 draft, despite his 5’8” and 180 pound stature. The former West Virginia star brings to the table a freakish combination of electrifying sub-4.4 speed, elite quickness and dazzling open field moves. With the hole left in the wake of wide receiver Danny Amendola’s departure to the Patriots, Austin will fill a big role immediately. The Rams are expected to be creative in getting the ball in his hands in a variety of ways, not restricted to the slot. Against Oklahoma last November, he had a ridiculous 572 total yards (including an absurd 344 rushing yards on 21 carries!), in one of the most remarkable performances in recent memory. Wide receiver Chris Givens and tight end Jared Cook will make it difficult for defenses to key on Austin. A smaller version of Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb.
Justin Blackmon, Jac
Jeff Pasquino: Justin Blackmon has fallen out of favor in many drafts, with two major strikes against him before Week 1 - a four-game suspension that he must serve plus a terrible offensive team and quarterback in Jacksonville. I have come full circle on Blackmon though, as his ADP puts him way down in the WR4 range (about the 40th WRs off of the board), and with his WR2 or WR3 upside on a per-game basis, he is worth adding to your fantasy squad this year. Blackmon projects to be a valuable contributor to fantasy teams in October and later in the year, so even with four missed contests he represents good value for 2013. Long term (2014 and beyond) his value increases, but only if he keeps his nose clean and if Jacksonville starts to generate offense.
Anquan Boldin, SF
Jeff Pasquino: The San Francisco 49ers need someone to step up to fill the big hole left behind in the wake of the Michael Crabtree injury. Odds are that both Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis will be the two names at the top of the list, both for need and also for targets this year from QB Colin Kaepernick. Boldin will leverage his veteran skill and savvy with his third NFL franchise to become the top wide receiver for a team in need of leadership and production.
Dwayne Bowe, KC
Cian Fahey: Bowe has been a fairly consistent performer at the wide receiver position over the past three seasons. Of course, his production wouldn't tell you that because of the awful quarterback play that he has endured at times in Kansas City. Alex Smith should improve on what Bowe has played with throughout his career to this point, while the expectation in an Andy Reid offense is that he will have more opportunities than ever to connect with his receivers.
Antonio Brown, Pit
Andy Hicks: Brown is clearly the number one receiver in the Steelers offense following the departure of Mike Wallace to Miami and a perfect fit for a Todd Haley offense. The other receivers are either rookies or not good enough, so Brown should be in a position to justify his huge payday in 2012 with a career year. He finished the year with a touchdown in each of his last 4 games and given that he averaged over 8 targets a game before Wallace left, he should easily achieve WR2 status and be pushing for even better.
Ryan Broyles, Det
Kyle Wachtel: After not one, but two surgeries to repair a torn ACL, it’s terrific news to hear Lions’ beat reporter Chris McCosky describe his route running as "fluid and precise." He is on track to be ready for the season opener and made a strong impact during his short stint with the team last season. Playing in an offense that will challenge for the lead in passing attempts and with Calvin Johnson demanding extra defenders, Broyles may rack up easy yards and receptions.
Larry Fitzgerald, Ari
Cian Fahey: The difference between Carson Palmer and John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley or Brian Hoyer is monumental for Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald never had a quarterback who could throw accurately down the sideline last season, while Palmer was consistently dropping balls over defenders to his diminutive receivers. Even though he is expected to move into the Reggie Wayne/Hines Ward role in Bruce Arians offense, Arians should still be able to return the big plays to Fitzgerald's game. That should return the touchdowns and the production that has been hampered in recent years.
Pierre Garcon, Was
Ryan Hester: Garcon was a WR1 when healthy last season. There was preseason buzz in 2012 about the harmony between Garcon’s ability to get free behind the defense and the deep passing ability of Robert Griffin III. With his quarterback returning from injury but already cleared to practice, Garcon should be primed for high-end WR2 numbers this season.
Brian Hartline, Mia
David Dodds: While Mike Wallace sulks on the sideline, Brian Hartline is developing important chemistry with Ryan Tannehill. Brian set career highs in receptions and yards in 2012. He actually finished with over 1,000 yards receiving yet managed just 1 TD. That's an anomaly that can only improve this season.
DeAndre Hopkins, Hou
Jeff Haseley: Hopkins is exactly what Houston has been seeking as a complimentary receiver to Andre Johnson for quite some time. I would not be surprised to see Hopkins have 7-8 targets a game with an average of 4-6 receptions. Perhaps his biggest contribution will come in the red zone, where he'll be a common target in the end zone. 65 receptions, 900 yards and 6-7 touchdowns is not an unreasonable expectation for the rookie.
Greg Jennings, Min
Steve Holloway: Jennings has missed 11 games over the past two seasons and averaged a career low 10.2 ypc last year. As a result, he is well down most prognosticators lists. He will undoubtedly be the number one option for the Vikings’ passing game this season, but will quarterback Christian Ponder improve either his completion percentage or his career 6.2 ypa? I anticipate Jennings crisp route running will help Ponder considerably and expect Jennings to have his most opportunities since he was targeted 140 times in 2008.
Lance Moore, NO
Adam Harstad: Lance Moore is perpetually underrated. In the last five years, he's finished 13th, 20th, 27th, and 34th (in 14 games).. He's one of the favorite targets in the league's most prolific passing offense, and should prove once again to be a very strong WR3 or passable WR2 who can be had for WR4 prices.
Sigmund Bloom: Patterson electrified the crowd in his preseason debut, and he has the profile of the kind of rookie that can become a big part of his offense right away. Patterson is lethal in the open field, and he should get a lot of short targets - even a few carries. It’s not unreasonable to expect him to at least an upside bye/injury play at wide receiver in deep leagues, but Patterson could also be a lot more than that - certainly more than you should be able to get in the 13th round of your draft.
Rueben Randle, NYG
Jeff Pasquino: Rueben Randle is locked in as the third WR for the Giants, and with Hakeem Nicks unable to stay healthy, Randle has big, big upside even if Nicks suits up in any given week. If and when Nicks gets hurt, Randle will be the immediate starter. Randle could become the WR2 for the Giants next season if New York moves on from Nicks.
Mike Williams, TB
Heath Cummings: I can only guess that people are still scared off by Williams' sophomore slump because this ADP is nowhere close to what he's produced in his other two seasons in the league. In 2012 Williams was a mid-level WR2 and actually outperformed Vincent Jackson over the second half of the season. It also doesn't hurt a thing that the 4th year receiver is entering a contract year.
Kendall Wright, Ten
James Brimacombe: I have a hard time ignoring Wright after he put up 64/626/4 statline in his rookie season on a very mediocre offensive team. Many are suggesting Kenny Britt is about to break out as the Titans go to WR, but I think it is Wright who improves on his rookie numbers and starts to open up the offense with his speed and explosive play ability.
More from FBG Staff:
2014 Inseason Page: Week 16 - December 19
Roundtable #16 - December 18
2014 Inseason Page: Week 15 - December 13
Roundtable #15 - December 11
2014 Inseason Page: Week 14 - December 7
Roundtable #14 - December 4
2014 Inseason Page: Week 13 - November 30
Roundtable #13 - November 27
2014 Inseason Page: Week 12 - November 23
Roundtable #12 - November 20