Monday, August 10, 2009
2009 Preseason WR Rankings: Round 1
LADD BIRO'S TOP 60 WIDE RECEIVERS
Rankings are based on each player's projected position by the end of the 2009 season. This is a value ranking, NOT a recommended draft order. Players may be drafted significantly higher or lower based upon their perceived value to other owners. Stats listed are from 2008.
RANK PLAYER TEAM GP REC REC YDS REC TDS Comment
1 Randy Moss NE 16 69 1,008 11
Brady's back, and he's looking Moss' way already. Watch them rekindle the magic.
2 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 16 96 1,434 12
The only reason he's not my #1 is because the odds are stacked against any player repeating at the top position in consecutive years. Even the Great Fitz.
3 Andre Johnson HOU 16 115 1,575 8
I love the Houston offense as long as Schaub stays intact. AJ has proven he can catch anything thrown by anybody, but he's clearly at his best with Schaub.
4 Calvin Johnson DET 16 78 1,331 12
If he can put up those stats with the likes of Daunte Culpepper, Drew Stanton, Dan Orlovsky and Jon Kitna, Megatron can do it with Matthew Stafford.
5 Reggie Wayne IND 16 82 1,145 6
Peyton Manning's go-to target is always a solid WR1. He could conceivably double last year's TD production if things fall in place.
6 Marques Colston NO 11 47 760 5
If he can stay on the field, there's no reason Drew Brees' top target can't be an elite WR. So far, he's looked outstanding in camp.
7 Roddy White ATL 16 88 1,382 7
Now that he's signed a rich contract, he's back in camp and rekindling his chemistry with Matt Ryan. His receptions could fall due to Gonzo's presence, but he's still elite.
8 Steve Smith CAR 14 78 1,417 6
There's nothing he can't do on the field. Only question mark is the effectiveness of his QB.
9 Greg Jennings GB 16 80 1,292 9
Another outstanding player who cashed in this offseason. Jennings is the top dog in one of the best WR corps around.
10 Chad Ocho Cinco CIN 13 53 540 4
Lots of ifs surrounding this one, but a healthy Palmer-Ocho combo could post big numbers for both. With Housh in Seattle, Ocho Cinco is the undisputed #1 again.
11 Wes Welker NE 16 112 1,165 3
The top possession receiver in the game gets his All World QB back under center. Look for similar receptions and yards, along with an uptick in TDs.
12 Anquan Boldin ARI 12 89 1,038 11
Assuming he stays in Arizona (which appears all but certain), there's no reason Boldin won't remain an elite option. But injuries are a constant worry.
13 Terrell Owens BUF 16 69 1,052 10
There's no way he'll post double-digit TDs with Trent Edwards as his QB. Look for a modest drop in TO's production in frigid Buffalo.
14 Dwayne Bowe KC 16 86 1,022 7
Cassel's presence gives hope that Bowe will finally achieve his potential. But it may take time for the two to jel.
15 T.J. Houshmandzadeh SEA 15 92 904 4
Should quickly become Matt Hasselbeck's go-to receiver. Housh is still young, and should rebound nicely from a disappointing '08.
16 DeSean Jackson PHI 16 62 912 2
A training camp injury (hyperextended knee) will cost him some valuable reps, but the second-year sensation should take the next steps in Philly's formidable offense.
17 Eddie Royal DEN 15 91 980 5
That's right, I've ranked him well above teammate Marshall. That's because he's expected to be used in multiple ways (possession, long ball) and Marshall is quickly wearing out his welcome with his new head coach.
18 Santonio Holmes PIT 15 55 821 5
The Super Bowl MVP should finally emerge as a productive fantasy WR. But then again, I said that last year at this time.
19 Braylon Edwards CLE 16 55 877 3
He'd put up better numbers if Derek Anderson wins the QB job, but that doesn't seem likely. Edwards was pretty awful last season, so this ranking assumes a decent rebound.
20 Vincent Jackson SD 16 59 1,098 7
I'm a huge believer in Philip Rivers, so I have to give some love to his top WR. Jackson is no Randy Moss, but he's good enough to get the job done.
21 Roy Williams DAL 15 36 430 2
Romo's marching orders will be clear: Get the ball to Roy. Neither can afford to fail.
22 Lee Evans BUF 16 63 1,017 3
With T.O. pulling double teams, Evans will finally have the chance to work against single coverage. That could finally allow him to reach his potential.
23 Donald Driver GB 16 74 1,012 5
He's the old man of the Packers' WR corps, but he still has great hands and decent speed. No reason he can't be a solid fantasy starter for another year.
24 Brandon Marshall DEN 15 104 1,265 6
Every day he's missing from camp he gets further in HC Josh McDaniel's doghouse. A lingering hip injury and a complete lack of familiarity with Kyle Orton are real worries.
25 Hines Ward PIT 16 82 1,047 7
The aging veteran just continues to produce. He'll start declining eventually, but until then, he's as reliable a WR2 as you can get.
26 Bernard Berrian MIN 16 48 964 7
The assumption is that Berrian will be the top WR target on one of the most stacked offenses in the NFL. Whether that translates to consistent production is the question.
27 Antonio Bryant TB 16 83 1,248 7
You'll have to take him much earlier to get him. Don't bother. He is virtually certain to come down from last year's high.
28 Kevin Walter HOU 16 60 899 8
Now the unquestioned #2 WR, Walter needs only to shed the "up one week down the other" label. Houston's offense has awesome upside, and Walter is a big part of it.
29 Torry Holt JAX 16 64 796 3
His best days are far behind him, and now he needs to form a bond with a new QB in a new system. He'll have a handful of decent games, but don't count on much better.
30 Lance Moore NO 16 79 928 10
His upside is very real. Injuries, and competition from Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem, keep his stock in check with me.
31 Santana Moss WAS 16 79 1,044 6
Moss is extremely inconsistent year-over-year, and even game-to-game. With both Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly expected to step up, Moss' targets will likely drop.
32 Jerricho Cotchery NYJ 16 71 858 5
The unchallenged #1 in NY, he will likely struggle with whichever QB is under center. No competent bookend of the other side means he could draw regular double teams.
33 Anthony Gonzalez IND 16 57 664 4
Expected to fill the void left by Marvin Harrison, Gonzalez will still be the third target behind Wayne and TE Dallas Clark.
34 Percy Harvin MIN R * * *
Mark my words: Harvin will be the top rookie WR of '09. Will produce as a receiver, a runner and even a wildcat QB.
35 Domenik Hixon NYG 16 43 596 2
It's hard to know exactly how the Giants' WR corps will shake out, but Hixon appears to be a lock at one starting job. He showed flashes last season when given the chance.
36 Earl Bennett CHI 10 0 0 0
A sleeper who's expected to secure a starting job now that Vanderbilt teammate Cutler is QB, there's a long way between 0 catches and fantasy stardom. Take him late.
37 Chris Henry CIN 12 19 220 2
Though he'll enter the season as the #3 WR, I expect him to outperform newcomer Coles. Henry has great rapport with Palmer, and he's the biggest playmaker on the offense.
38 Patrick Crayton DAL 16 39 550 4
Though Miles Austin has more game-breaking ability, Crayton appears to have the upper hand for the #2 job. His ceiling is fairly low, however.
39 Greg Camarillo MIA 11 55 613 2
More valuable in PPR leagues, Camarillo will likely emerge as Pennington's top target. For what that's worth.
40 Derrick Mason BAL 16 80 1,037 5
Now that he's un-retired, Mason will resume his role as the most consistent WR in Baltimore. As steady and consistent as they come.
41 Laveranues Coles CIN 16 70 850 7
Needs to develop chemistry with new QB in new system. Will be pushed from Day One by Chris Henry.
42 Steve Smith NYG 3 24 241 0
The likely other starter for Eli, Smith is worth a late-round flier as he arguably has more upside than Hixon.
43 Devin Hester CHI 15 52 665 3
Just not convinced he can make a complete transition from return ace to full-time WR. His speed makes him dangerous, but he's too unpolished.
44 Donnie Avery STL 15 54 684 3
Until a stress fracture in his foot ruined his training camp, Avery was the only legitimate fantasy WR on the Rams squad. Now he's out 4-6 weeks. No telling how long it will take him to get up to full speed now.
45 Chris Chambers SD 14 33 462 5
He appears to be on a significant slide. Could even lose his starting job. That's too bad, because he got off to a great start in '08, and he's playing in a high-octane offense.
46 Ted Ginn, Jr. MIA 16 56 790 2
Way too inconsistent to trust, this is a make-or-break season for Ginn. There's little indication that he will "make" it.
47 Justin Gage TEN 12 34 651 6
You'd like to think the top WR on a 13-3 team would be a fantasy stud. Alas, not. Don't count on much better this season, despite all the positive vibes from camp.
48 Steve Breaston AZ 16 77 1,003 3
The #3 WR in Arizona will have his moments. Just not consistently, or in any predictable fashion.
49 Jeremy Maclin PHI R * * *
Rookie WRs are notoriously slow starters, but Maclin could very well match DeSean Jackson's results by year's end. He should supplant Kevin Curtis as a starter by mid-season.
50 Nate Washington TEN 16 40 631 3
Becomes an instant starter in Tennessee (plus), but now must catch passes from Kerry Collins (minus). Meanwhile, Kenny Britt will be nipping at his heels.
51 Mark Bradley KC 12 30 380 3
If Matt Cassel excels, Bradley will benefit. Could be a good free-agent pickup in mid-season.
52 Josh Morgan SF 12 20 319 3
Hard to get excited about any 49er WR.
53 Michael Jenkins ATL 16 50 777 3
Could this be the year he finally plays up to his NFL Draft position? Doubtful, but with Matt Ryan at the helm, it's possible.
54 Mark Clayton BAL 16 41 695 3
His value soared while Derrick Mason was retired. Now, it's back to the dregs.
55 Michael Crabtree SF R * * *
Has threatened to sit out the season and re-enter the 2010 draft. Though I'm not buying it, I'm also not believing he'll make an impact in his rookie season without the benefit of training camp.
56 Miles Austin DAL 12 13 278 3
I've been high on Austin all offseason, but recent reports out of Cowboys camp have been disconcerting. Until the news gets better, his stock remains depressed.
57 Kevin Curtis PHI 9 33 390 2
Will soon lose his starting gig to Jeremy Maclin.
58 Muhsin Muhammad CAR 16 65 923 5
A decent bye-week fill-in, but the years are slowly taking their toll.
59 Joey Galloway NE 13 57 1,014 6
Tom Brady's 3rd WR can be a decent bench player and bye week fill-in. But Galloway is awfully long in the tooth.
60 Mike Walker JAX 9 16 217 0
As injury-prone as they get, but the odds-on favorite to win the starting gig opposite Torry Holt. If he stays healthy, could be a solid sleeper.