As we wrap up our Fantasy Football debate, we get to focus on the pass-catchers. For years, wide receiver has been the deepest position on the field and it’s gotten even deeper as the league has gotten more pass-happy and more teams have turned to four- and five-wideout sets. It means that you can get value at receiver in the later rounds, but later round picks breed inconsistency. Sure, that eight catch, two touchdown game in Week Three was great, but following that up with three more weeks of nothing doesn’t win anything but heartache. Alas, there is help at the top in the form of a trio of receivers that you can count on to be playmakers and, more importantly, point scorers week in and week out.
Marcas on Andre Johnson
For my money, Dre is the best, most consistent receiver on the board. So many other elite fantasy receivers have been affected by a change at the quarterback positions (see: Fitzgerald, Larry), but Andre Johnson is quarterback proof. He led the NFL in catches in 2006 with David Carr slinging the rock.
Since Matt Schaub has taken over, things have only gotten better for Johnson. He’s caught over 100 passes in two of the last three seasons and gone over 1,500 yards receiving in those years. It’s likely that only a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss three games last season prevented him from making it three straight seasons. Even then, he was the league’s leader in receiving yards per game.
Johnson is a prototype wide receiver – tall, well-built, good speed and great hands – and will have the added benefit of having Arian Foster drawing splitting the attention of opposing defenses. Oh, and if you needed one more reason to consider Dre as your top pick…he gets six games a year against the AFC South which collectively was one of the worst divisions against the pass in 2010.
Kamaal on Roddy White
Last season Roddy White entered the 100 reception club for the first time. He showed he could handle more targets and deliver on tough difficult catches. He has developed chemistry with Matt Ryan and they are the NFL’s newest elite QB/WR tandem. White has a solid TE in Tony Gonzalez that any NFL secondary has to account for; the Falcons have a consistent running game which gives Roddy a lot of one on one opportunities in the play-action game, and its offensive line protected Matt Ryan giving Roddy more time to make a play.
The Falcons use the 2011 draft to trade and selected Julio Jones from Alabama, one of the best WR coming out of college. The acquisition of Jones will allow more chances to make plays without a consistent double team. Roddy White has started every game in the last two seasons, so durability is not an issue. The most undisputed statistic for why you should select Roddy as your #1 ranked WR is he led the NFL in 179 pass targets. Bottom line the Falcons will find a way to get the ball to Roddy.
Roddy White has the great combination of hands, speed, and size that we all crave from our fantasy WR. After a NFC best 13-3 regular season record and #1 seed, the Falcons ran into the “buzz saw” that was the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and were defeated 48-21 in a home loss embarrassment. The defeat should be the motivation the Falcons need to maintain their legit status in the NFC. Roddy White was saying all of the right things in the offseason, and I expect him to have another 100/1000/10 of receptions/yards/touchdowns. Roddy White is going to be the most productive WR in 2011, his time is now.
Clenard on Larry Fitzgerald
After watching the comical circus of Arizona Cardinal quarterbacks last season, I’m sure you’ve written Larry Fitzgerald off as a candidate for your number one wideout ranking. Personally I would’ve done the same if I didn’t believe that help was on the way. With that being said, I present to you the return of “Fitz”.
1,137 yards and six touchdowns on 90 receptions are just above pedestrian numbers from a NFL receiver. Put those same stats behind Fitzgerald’s name and you immediately think “down year”. But to have those stats with Derek “I take sailing balls over receivers head serious” Anderson and two rookie quarterbacks throwing him the ball is a testament to how good Fitz really is. Keep in mind that he is still Arizona’s first and best option having been targeted 174 times last season.
If indeed Kevin Kolb becomes a Cardinal then make room for Fitz in that argument of Andre Johnson or Roddy White. Most are going to ask what’s Kevin Kolb done to entice me to partially put my season into his hands. The answer is nothing, but the quarterbacks in Arizona last year were barely 7 on 7 touch worthy. I’m sure an upgrade in signal caller no matter the significance will get Fitz back to double digit touchdowns, a place Andre Johnson’s never been might I add.