Fantasy Tiers – All Hands On Deck

Tier 1

Larry Fitzgerald - Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald - Arizona Cardinals

 
 
Seen as the Best Wideout in the game today, Fitzgerald is coming off a career year, in 2008.  Fitz set career highs in Yards (1431), YPC (14.9), and Touchdowns (12), catching everything thrown his way.  Fitz also had the fortune of having a healthy Kurt Warner for the entire season, and a weak running attack.  The Cardinals also had Todd Haley, an offensive monster, calling the plays, and did anything to get Larry the ball.  Once Boldin went down with various injuries, Fitzgerald put the team on his back, and catapulted himself as thee best pass catcher in the game.  This season, Fitz will most likely be the first receiver off the board, but will he be the best by season’s end?  Fitzgerald’s success depends on both Kurt Warner, and Anquan Boldin.  If Boldin is healthy all season, Fitz will face less double teams, and take advantage of each opportunity.  Warner (38), may decide to show his age this season, which would hinder Fitz’s production brutally.  However, with a healthy team around him, expect much of the same from Fitzgerald.  Look for 95-105 Catches, 1,400 Yards, and 12 TD’s.
 
 
 
Andre Johnson - Houston Texans

Andre Johnson - Houston Texans

 
 
Arguably the Best Wide Receiver in the League; that no one knows!  Johnson isn’t as flashy, flamboyant, nor an owner of the proclaimed, “Diva Mentality,” of your typical wideouts.  Like Fitzgerald, Johnson also set career highs last season, in Catches (115), Yards (1575), and TD’s (8).  Johnson doesn’t have the luxury of playing with the components that Fitzgerald does.  Johnson lacks consistency from his Quarterback, Running Back, Offensive Line, Coaches…I could go on.  Basically, Andre Johnson is a one man army, for the Houston Texans.  Although they do finally have a solid go to running back now (Steve Slaton), they are still a team on the rise.  Johnson proved what he could do with having some slight stability at QB, hauling in 115 passes.  With Tight End Owen Daniels, steadily improving, the Texans offense should take a major step in a positive direction.  If Kevin Walter can improve upon his play from last season, Johnson will only continue his dynamic play.  If Texans QB, Matt Schaub, can put together a full season, it will do wonders for Johnson’s fantasy production.  Look for the one man army to continue his reign on opposing defenses, with 105-110 Catches, 1,400-1,500 Yards, 12 TD’s.
 
 
Calvin Johnson - Detroit Lions

Calvin Johnson - Detroit Lions

 
 
The future of the NFL, lives in Detroit.  Known as, “Megatron,” Johnson transformed into the total package for the Lions, equaling the hype that surrounded his entrance to the league.  With the Lions not winning any games last season, it was hard to find any bright spots within the team’s production.  However, Johnson showed enough potential, the Lions dealt away former number one wideout, Roy Williams, to Dallas.  Johnson immediately stepped into the #1 role, and filled in nicely, posting 1,300+ Yards, and 12 TD’s.  It’s difficult to imagine Johnson improving on those numbers, however, he’ll be the focal point of the offense this season, so it is very possible.  The Lions are in the middle of a QB controversy, and will likely be involved in one all season.  Dante Culpepper has the arm strength and is known for his ability to get the ball down field, with his days in Minnesota to serve as evidence.  However, number one draft pick, Matthew Stafford, will make it hard for the coaching staff to keep him on the bench.  Either way, both are better than the QB’s that threw to Johnson for a majority of last season, which spells success.  Johnson should have a season that will have him mentioned along with the Larry Fitzgerald’s, Randy Moss’s, and Andre Johnson’s of the league.  Look for Johnson to improve in each category this year, with 90-105 Catches, 1,400 Yards, and 14 TD’s.
 
 
Randy Moss - New England Patriots

Randy Moss - New England Patriots

 
 
Going into his 3rd season in New England, Moss has seen it all.  An undefeated, record-breaking season, come to a tragic end, followed by his equally record-breaking quarterback go down in the first game of the season.  The saying goes, third time’s a charm, right?  Let’s hope so!  With Tom Brady back to full health, and back under center, Moss should be back to normal this year.  While he shouldn’t equal his record total in TD’s (23), he should easily be in double digits again.  With the hunger, and bitter taste of 2007’s ending, Moss and the Patriot Offense should strike back with a vengeance.  While fantasy owners shouldn’t expect a duplication of 2007, they should expect to see elite production.  Expect Moss to bounce back from his down year of 2008, to a more Moss-like season.  90 Catches, 1,300-1,400 Yards, and 14-16 TD’s, should be about right for, “The Freak.”
 
 
Tier 2
 
 
Reggie Wayne - Indianapolis Colts

Reggie Wayne - Indianapolis Colts

 
 
New head coach, new starting wideout playing across from him, same Reggie?  After taking the reigns from Marvin Harrison over the last 2 seasons, as the number one Wide Receiver, Wayne looks to continue his pace.  However, Harrison will no longer be lining up next to Wayne, in a Colts uniform.  Harrison became a cap casualty over the offseason, and the prolific tandem along with Manning, is no more.  With the season presenting various questions for Indy, look for Manning to lean heavily on Wayne this season.  Last season the Colts had to deal with a rehabbing Peyton Manning, causing Wayne’s numbers to be down from his 1500 Yard, 10 TD, 2007 performance.  With Manning taking more of a leadership role than ever, look for a major bounce back from Wayne this season.  Owners should expect around 90 Catches, 1300 Yards, 10 TD’s.
 
 
Greg Jennings - Green Bay Packers

Greg Jennings - Green Bay Packers

 
 
Very similar to Wayne, Jennings will be entering a season, on a virtually clean slate.  Aaron Rodgers is now entrenched as the Green Bay Starter, with no Brett Favre controversy entering the year.  With a fully focused Rodgers, and a budding chemistry between him, and Jennings, look for a very solid year from 4th year wideout.  Jennings erupted in 2007, scoring 12 TD’s, and followed it with an increase of nearly 30 Catches, and 400 Yards in ’08.  This season should allow Jennings to tie everything together, and improve in virtually every category.  Look for Jennings to haul in 90 Catches, top 1,300 Yards, and 11-12 TD’s.
 
 
Roddy White - Atlanta Falcons

Roddy White - Atlanta Falcons

 
 
White can almost be seen as a Poor Man’s Larry Fitzgerald.  He’s the best Wideout on his team, and has improved each year in the league.  Over the last two seasons, White has caught 171 Passes, 2,584 Yards, and 13 TD’s, all while averaging over 15 Yards Per Catch.  White was fortunate to play with last year’s Rookie Sensation, Matt Ryan, which he got to grow along with.  With All-Pro TE, Tony Gonzalez in the mix, look for less double-teams, in White’s direction.  The injury to young phenom, Harry Douglas, will put a damper on a very promising offense, but not enough to stop White’s fantasy up-rise.  Expect White to continue to improve, along with his talented Quarterback, and improve in the Touchdown area, cracking double digits for the first time in his career.  Look for White to amass, 90 Catches, 1,300 Yards, and 10 TD’s.
 
 
Marques Colston - New Orleans Saints

Marques Colston - New Orleans Saints

 
 
The former unknown Hofstra standout, turned NFL Star, looks to finally put together a second 16 game season, since his 2007 campaign.  Marques Colston has been very injury prone throughout his 3 year NFL Career.  However, when Colston is healthy, it’s hard to find a better Possession Receiver in the league.  Colston is always one of the league leaders in targets, each season he plays.  Playing in New Orleans, a very extremely pass oriented offense, Colston has thrived.  In only 11 injury filled games last season, Colston amassed nearly 800 yards, and averaged over 16 Yards Per Catch.  Entering 2009, look for flashes of his 98 Catch, 11 TD, 2007 Performance.  Drew Brees is gearing up for another run at Dan Marino’s yardage record, as well as another push towards playoff contention.  Look for Brees to lean on Colston, as long as he’s healthy.  Expect 100-105 Catches, 1,200-1,300 Yards, and 11 TD’s.  
 
 
Steve Smith - Carolina Panthers

Steve Smith - Carolina Panthers

 
 
Conventional Wideout’s aren’t supposed to be under 6 feet tall.  Intimidating Wideout’s definitely wouldn’t be under 200 pounds.  But, when you’re Steve Smith, 5’9 and 185lbs, can be more than intimidating.  Smith could be the most dangerous Wideout in the league, if he could stay healthy.  However, this isn’t all Smith’s fault, who has experienced his fair share of quarterback inconsistency as well.  In an abbreviated season, due to suspension, Smith totaled over 1,400 Yards, and nearly 80 Catches, in 14 games last year.  If Jake Delhomme can stay healthy, and continue is solid play, Smith could find himself in the end zone much more often.  While Smith has always been a Yardage Machine, the TD’s haven’t quite matched that production.  Smith, entering his 9th season, has only eclipsed 10 TD’s, once in his career.  With a healthy Delhomme, and the return of the dominant rushing attack, look for Smith to finally hit double digits TD’s once again.  Owners of a healthy Smith should expect 80-90 Catches, 1,300-1,400 Yards, and 10 TD’s. 
 
 
Anquan Boldin - Arizona Cardinals

Anquan Boldin - Arizona Cardinals

 
 
Boldin, The Beast!  Anquan Boldin is like a linebacker, that happens to play Wideout, for Arizona.  Unfortunately, Boldin’s style of play is both a gift and a curse for his owners.  Boldin has the ability to take each pass to the house, with his very physical style of play.  However, that same style of play is what has caused Boldin to miss 8 games, over the last two seasons.  In the 12 games he played in last season, Boldin was able to haul in 89 Passes, and 11 TD’s.  If only he could’ve put together a 16 game season, he would have been well over 100 catches and possibly 15+ TD’s.  While Boldin at 100% health spells fear for the opposition, it would be music to his owners’ ears.  In good health, look for Boldin to haul in 90 Catches, 1,250-1,300 Yards, and 11 TD’s.
 
 
 
Tier 3
 
Brandon Marshall - Denver Broncos

Brandon Marshall - Denver Broncos

 
 
It’s extremely difficult to place Marshall in the 3rd Tier of Wideouts.  Especially with Marshall topping 100 Catches, and 1,200 Yards, in back to back seasons.  Marshall is easily a Tier One talent, with a combination of size, strength, and speed, similar to that of Andre Johnson.  However, when you have Kyle Orton, aka Tina Turnover, as your Quarterback, Tier 3 is where you’re doomed.  Marshall, along with rising star, Eddie Royal, form a formidable tandem in Denver.  Marshall hauled in 104 passes last season, despite missing one game due to suspension.  While Orton was solid in his starting role for Chicago last season, his play in the preseason state otherwise.  Orton has been a mainstay in blooper reels for his, “Left Handed Pass Attempt.”  With Marshall’s legal troubles behind him, ultimately avoiding a lengthy suspension, Marshall would be poised for a career year.  However, with Cutler now playing in Chicago, and a totally new offensive system, there’s no telling what the season will hold.  If Orton can be as solid as he was last season, look for Marshall to grab 90 Catches, 1,200 Yards, and 7 TD’s.
 
 
Terrell Owens - Buffalo Bills

Terrell Owens - Buffalo Bills

 
 
Even at the ripe old age of 35 (36 in December), Owens is still a physical freak of nature.  Although he saw a drop in Catches, Yards, and Touchdowns, last season, he is entering a new year, with a new team.  The first year T.O. factor is in effect, which spells success for his owners.  Whenever, Owens joins a new team, the first year is always part of the, “Honeymoon.”  Owens has flourished in his new environments, playing as if he has something to prove to those that wrote him off.  However, unlike the other two situations, Owens will be playing with a far less talented Quarterback, in Trent Edwards.  It’s hard to make T.O. a Tier 2 talent this season, with both age, and talent, all coming into play more-so this years, as opposed to others for Owens.  While Owens will help Edwards develop, his production will suffer unlike his other first year runs.  I expect T.O. to haul in 70-75 Catches, 1,200 Yards, and 10 TD’s.
 
 
Dwayne Bowe - Kansas City Chiefs

Dwayne Bowe - Kansas City Chiefs

 
 
As one of the most targeted wideouts in the game, what can be expected from Dwayne Bowe?  Entering his 3rd season in the league, Bowe is now in a start over situation, once again.  With a new head coach, and offensive system, to pair with a brand new Quarterback, Bowe is a hard talent to decipher.  Matt Cassel is entering his first season as a franchise QB, which he’s never had to fathom, since high school.  This will also be a test to see if what we saw in New England, was for real, or a flash in the pan.  How fast Cassel and Bowe can gel, will be very important to the overall production of the Chiefs.  Also to change the pace, Bowe will be without all pro, Tony Gonzalez, at Tight End.  Ultimately, this could spell trouble for Bowe, as he’ll be swarmed by defenses all season, as the lone legit pass catching threat.  Bobby Engram came over from Seattle in the offseason, but it remains to be seen if he can draw enough attention to free Bowe up, at times.  Bowe owners should expect between 75-85 Catches, 1,100-1,200 Yards, and 8 TD’s.
 
 
Chad "Ochocino" Johnson - Cincinnati Bengals

Chad "Ochocino" Johnson - Cincinnati Bengals

 
 
Speaking of a Wideout that’s difficult to peg this season, we come to Mr. Esteban Ochocinco.  Johnson had an awful season last year, both on and off the field.  He undoubtedly burned any fantasy owners who took a chance, on the once, top flight talent.  Last year was Johnson’s first season under 85 catches and 7 TD’s, within the last 6 seasons.  Johnson was always a sure bet for 1,200 Yards, and several memorable touchdown celebrations to go with it.  However, if Johnson’s defense, he dealt with inconsistency at Quarterback, with Carson Palmer being injured a majority of the season.  Ocho also began the season very disgruntled, and practically begging to be traded before the season began.  So what should we expect this year?  With Johnson’s bad play last year, it’s very likely that he’ll slip under the radar in your draft, and will likely return very favorable results.  Ocho has seemingly come into this year with not just a new name, but a new attitude, and same old football skill-set that made him a top flight talent.  Look for Johnson to get back to form, pending Palmer’s health, and put up true CJ85 numbers.  Expect 80-85 Catches, 1,200 Yards, and 7 TD’s.
 
 
T.J. Houshmandzadeh - Seattle Seahawks

T.J. Houshmandzadeh - Seattle Seahawks

 
 
After a very successful career as a Bengal, Housh has stepped out on his own, and will be Seattle’s number one Receiver.  With a streak of 3 consecutive 90 Catch seasons, it’s a wonder if Housh can keep that going in a new environment.  T.J. was easily the most reliable, and less flamboyant, Wideout in Cincinnati.  However, with a talent like Chad Johnson across from him, it was easy for Housh to steadily produce, and go unnoticed.  But, his production wasn’t unnoticed by fantasy owners, and Housh was often taken ahead of the aforementioned Johnson.  With Matt Hasselbeck looking to bounce back, and a very questionable running attack, expect Housh to live up to his expectations.  Going from a pass-happy organization, to one that is equally as pass orientated, look for Housh to thrive.  Expect 90 Catches, 1,100-1,200 Yards, and 9 TD’s.
 
 
Roy Williams - Dallas Cowboys

Roy Williams - Dallas Cowboys

 
 
Now entrenched as the number one guy in Dallas; Can Williams handle that?  While it remains to be seen, Williams is the man, and will be Romo’s top target at Wideout.  Although Jason Witten will be whom Romo will rely on early and often, the chemistry with Williams should develop as the season progresses.  However, with Williams experiencing an injury in a recent Dallas practice, he status will be one to watch going forward.  In Detroit, before Megatron stepped onto the scene, Williams was Detroit’s go to guy on offense.  Williams’ best season came in 2006, when he put up 82 Catches, 1,310 Yards, and 7 TD’s, in his 3rd year in the league.  2006 was also the only season that he was able to stay healthy, and also in the process of growing as an NFL talent.  If some how, Williams can stay healthy this season…look for a rebirth of 2006.  Williams could mirror his 2006 numbers to the T, with 80-85 Catches, 1,200 Yards, and 8 TD’s.
 
 
DeSean Jackson - Philadelphia Eagles

DeSean Jackson - Philadelphia Eagles

 
 
DJax exploded onto the scene last year, as Philadelphia’s top wideout, and has continued that trend in this year’s preseason.  Jackson has been the most impressive wideout at Eagles camp, and should improve upon his numbers from last season.  With the Eagles’ philosophy of spreading the ball around, it’s difficult to imagine an Eagles wideout reaching at least 70+ catches.  However, 2009, could spell the end to that trend.  Jackson has reportedly looked very focused in this year’s training camp, and will only benefit from the development of rookie wideout, Jeremy Maclin.  If Maclin can mirror Jackson’s production as a rookie, he’ll put major pressure on defenses, which will cause teams to cover Jackson in a one-on-one basis.  Jackson will abuse most defenders in single coverage, and will see a dramatic rise in production.  Look for Jackson to catch between 75-80 Passes, 1,100-1,200 Yards, and 10 Total TD’s.
 
 
Vincent Jackson - San Diego Chargers

Vincent Jackson - San Diego Chargers

 
 
VJax has had the hype train surrounding him for a year or so now, and finally showed flashes why, last season.  Jackson made strides to becoming the number one wideout, in San Diego.  With Philip Rivers’ huge season last year, Jackson had to play major part, and will need to take the next step for the Chargers to have similar success.  Hauling in nearly 60 passes last year, look for Jackson to improve in every category this season.  He looks to enter this season as a healthy option, and that will need to remain the case, if Rivers is to trust him as the go to guy.  Expect 80 Catches, 1,200 Yards, and 10 TD’s.
 
 
 
Best Of The Rest
 
 
lee-evans
 
Ton of talent, bad team around him.  Evans hasn’t had a legit Quarterback to throw him the ball since he’s been in the league.  If so, Evans would be found in the Tier 2 talent pool, rather than somewhere near the bottom of the 3rd Tier, borderline Tier 4.  With T.O. playing across from him, it should free Evans up for more targets this year.  However, with Trent Edwards still manning the ship, it’s difficult to depict what’s to come for Evans. 
Welker
 
In a Points Per Reception League, Welker is a Tier One Talent, in a standard league, Tier 3-4.  The problem with Welker is, he needs 110-115 catches it be relevant, and even with that, he hasn’t topped 1,200 Yards.
Eddie_Royal
 
An explosive rookie year, which will be hard to surpass.  Adding to the difficulty, Kyle Orton!  Like Marshall, an improper ranking considering individual talent, but considering the Quarterback, this is just right.
 
bernard berrian
 
Could very well put up Tier 2-3 numbers, but that depends on Favre’s consistency.  Favre is another year older, another year slower, and another team deeper.  If we get the first half Jets Favre, success.  If we get the second half Favre, bury Berrian on your bench.
 
braylon-edwards1
 
A year ago, Edwards was arguably the top wideout to be taken.  After last season, you can find him here.  Inconsistency at Quarterback isn’t an excuse here, it’s Braylon’s hands!  High Risk, Medium-High Reward.
 
anthony gonzalez
 
Should be very good this year, but he’s still a year away from being a reliable every week fantasy starter. 
 
71465304RB005_Indianapolis_
Rookie QB as the starter, means who knows what we’ll get from Cotch!
 
donnie-avery
 
Until the franchise replaces an aging, declining, Bulger as the starter, Avery’s talent will always be limited.
santana_moss 
Two Words, Jason Campbell! 
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Comments
2 Responses to “Fantasy Tiers – All Hands On Deck”
  1. Sportzguytofly says:

    Nice Job, especially on most if not all, I just want to point out how Boldin who is being ranked a tier 3 guys has virtually the same stats as Fitz in the past 2 season, with more TD’s. Thats including the injury. It’s safe to say he was 1a and fitz was 1b before last season, yet he is third tier. Also, Chad85, while everyone is high on his return to glory, he had one of the worst fantasy years every virtually killing his GM, he hasn’t proven in preseason that he is deserving of tier 3 in my opinion, meanwhile you have B. Edwards as the best of the rest, when they had similar season.

  2. Sportzguytofly says:

    my apologies boldin is tier 2, but I think he will have a better season than Fitz.

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