Fantasy Football Guide: Wide Receivers

A profile of the top aerial options for your fantasy roster.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

The NFL is a passing league, we all know this.  Looking at each offense in the NFL, plus multiple running backs battling injury questions, the wide receiver position looks like the deepest position in fantasy this year. Though many players will put up good numbers, these are the guys that will set your team apart.

The top 5:
Calvin Johnson – Detroit: Megatron was an absolute beast last season and so far has looked great in the pre-season.  Johnson probably won't start off the season with eight touchdowns in the first four games like he did last year, but he should still be the best in the league.  If you're a believer in the Madden curse, you might think twice about taking Calvin.  I don't like to draft receivers in the first round, but if I can get him early in the 2nd round I'm jumping all over that chance.

Andre Johnson – Houston: One of the best in the league when healthy, Andre Johnson has the size and speed to dominate a game.  Quarterback Matt Schaub is always looking Johnson's way first and foremost and with the development of a superior running game, Johnson should reap the benefits of defenses having to mind the running game…again, as long as he stays healthy.

A.J. Green – Cincinnati: Green was probably the biggest rookie upgrade any team had last year.  At times it seemed like Green was the only legitimate receiver on his team and despite double-teams every week, he still produced.  With a few more options in Cincinnati to draw some attention away from him, I see Green having another good year.
Roddy White/Julio Jones – Atlanta: Using a 2nd/early 3rd round pick on either of these two should be a smart move.  Jones was explosive as a rookie and should put up big fantasy numbers.  White is Mr. Consistency in Atlanta and though Jones might give you a few big point totals, White will give you points every week.  Quarterback Matt Ryan should have a great year throwing to these two.

Brandon Marshall – Chicago: Marshall racked up big yards with bad quarterbacks in Miami.  Remember how good he was in Denver?  Remember who his quarterback was?  That's right, Jay Cutler.  Now that Marshall is reunited with a more mature Cutler under center, I expect a big year from him.

Later round steals:
Brandon Lloyd – New England
Percy Harvin – Minnesota
Remember what it was like when Tom Brady had a legit deep threat?  Well Brandon Lloyd should finally give the Patriots the outside threat they've been lacking the last few years.  Lloyd has also been following offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels from Denver, to St. Louis, to New England because he has been great in McDaniels' offense.  Harvin proved late last year that he is a viable fantasy weapon with Christian Ponder throwing him the ball.  Now with Ponder being the day one starter, Harvin should be a consistent option though he may miss a game or two over the course of a year.

Be careful when drafting:
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona
Dez Bryant/Miles Austin – Dallas
Fitzgerald will most likely be a top 10 receiver again this year, but that depends 100% on whether he has a quarterback that can actually get him the ball.  If the ball isn't ever thrown, Fitz can't make the catch.  With the recent injury to TE Jason Witten, many will be tempted to draft Bryant or Austin high.  Both have extreme boom or bust potential.  The only thing consistent about Bryant is his inconsistency and both battle injuries.  Either way, I'm comfortable with letting someone else take that risk.

J. Lance Moose is a contributor and lead football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JLanceMoose, and subscribe on Facebook

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