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Faceoff: Who is the #2 WR?

August 28th

Clayton Gray: If Calvin Johnson is gone, who are you taking at wide receiver? Why?

Jeff Haseley: Chances are, if Calvin Johnson is gone, I'm not going to be taking the second ranked wide receiver, because I'll likely be taking the best running back available. For purposes of this question though, I believe the second best wide receiver is Andre Johnson. I am a bit concerned with his latest injury though. It adds to a long line of injuries to his lower extremities, which can be nagging, especially for a wide receiver. Johnson is clearly the best receiving threat on the team by far. I expect him to dominate all categories (targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns). He has a very capable quarterback in Matt Schaub, who has made a career of finding success thanks to Johnson. As long as he is healthy, he's my #2 WR pick behind Calvin Johnson.

Will Grant: I like Andre Johnson as the #2 guy as well, but given his recent injury history, if I were targeting the #2 receiver, I'd look for more of a proven talent. Larry Fitzgerald is going to be solid, regardless of who lands at quarterback in Arizona, and you can't really go wrong by taking him as your #2 guy. There are plenty of other possibilities, but Fitzgerald still plays at a high level, and still gets 8+ targets a game. He's a big play threat and can really bust open a game, making him a dangerous guy to have on your fantasy roster. Add in the fact that Ryan Williams should be 100% and running well, and the Cardinals will have a solid offense that will prevent Fitz from being double-covered every snap.

Andy Hicks: I have to agree with Will, Larry Fitzgerald would be the guy I'd be looking at. He doesn't have the injury history of Andre Johnson. He doesn't have the competition for ball that Greg Jennings will have. He doesn't have a major rival for playing time like Roddy White/Julio Jones or Hakeem Nicks/Victor Cruz do. He has a proven history for multiple years unlike A.J. Green. He has no known behavior issues and is at the same club as last year, unlike Brandon Marshall.

It won't matter who Fitzgerald has as his QB, he'll be the number 1 target. The running game has never been that dominant in Arizona and that won't change this year. Fitzgerald is about as safe a choice as you can get at WR this year and his production is almost certain to be WR1.

Steve Holloway: I agree with Jeff that after Calvin Johnson is taken, I will have more of a tendency to look at the remaining running backs or the top quarterbacks. Another reason for this is that I belive that there are about a dozen wide receivers that are capable of finishing in the top five.

However, for purposes of this question I would definitely take Andre Johnson as the next wide receiver because of the top tier wide receivers, he has the least challenge for targets combined with a talented quarterback.

Fitzgerald's quarterback is not nearly as good as Matt Schaub and their complimentary receivers are better than Houston's. Roddy White has Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez. Similarly, Aaron Rodgers has several top receivers to choose between.

Andre Johnson will have the opportunity to maximize his targets as long as he stays healthy and I would go with him despite the supposed injury risk.

Ryan Hester: The receiver I have ranked second is different than the second receiver I'd select. With the lack of depth at RB, the surplus of depth at WR, and the presence of elite options at QB and TE, I'm not selecting any WR not named Calvin Johnson in any of the first two rounds -- and possibly not even in the third.

While I have Larry Fitzgerald ranked as my #2 WR, the bottom line is that I'd rather wait 1-3 rounds after he's being taken and take one or more of the following players who have a chance to end up as a top-three WR -- despite not being ranked there no):

  • Julio Jones
  • Brandon Marshall
  • Greg Jennings
  • Steve Smith
  • Roddy White
  • Dez Bryant

Sigmund Bloom: It still has to be Larry Fitzgerald. With Kevin Kolb fading, and John Skelton showing last year that he is willing to throw to Fitzgerald in any coverage at any place on the field, Fitzgerald is still ahead of the rest of the WR1 pack after Calvin Johnson. That doesn't mean that I would advocate taking him in the 2nd round. The wide receiver depth is too overwhelming to ignore in the 4th/5th/6th rounds, making it wiser to address other positions early.

Heath Cummings: I'll be the guy out on a limb here, but what about the guy that finished second last season? Jordy Nelson finished ahead of both Johnson and Fitzgerald in 2011, is younger than both, and has a better quarterback than both. Greg Jennings is the obvious reason why many aren't picking Nelson, but we know how serious the NFL is getting about concussions and Jennings still isn't practicing after his last one. I don't believe Nelson will match his 16 TDs from last year, but there's a very good chance his receptions and yardage increase. Reports out of camp have been glowing regarding Nelson this preseason and in that offense he should have yet another monster season.

Jeff Pasquino: I'm all in on Julio Jones. Pass-happy new offense, hungry young talented player, up and coming quarterback who has never won a playoff game, and a broken down tailback in Michael Turner. Everything points towards Jones having a ridiculously big upside this season with over 140 targets, 80+ receptions, 1300 yards and double-digit touchdowns.

Anthony Borbely: I have to go with Larry Fitzgerald. He has been a top-five receiver in five of the last seven years and is one of the rare players that can put up solid numbers with poor play from his QBs. The short answer is that there are a few receivers that are capable of putting up big enough numbers to be should be considered as the second receiver, but none has the high floor that Fitzgerald does.

Mark Wimer: I'm not very fashionable this year, but at #2 wide receiver I'm taking Wes Welker. He is Tom Brady's security blanket, he has a knack for finding soft spots in zones, and I expect the Patriots' passing attack to be explosive and prolific as far as scoring goes this year. Even with Gronkowski and (perhaps) Brandon Lloyd finding the end-zone regularly, I still think Welker scores high single-digit TDs and sees over 100 receptions/well over 1,000 yards receiving.