Wide Receiver

UPDATED TIGHT END RANKINGS

Friday, 15 August, 2014

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Don’t be that fantasy owner that loves to think if they don’t draft Jimmy Graham or Julius Thomas that they don’t have to worry about getting a tight end. The days of having a couple of makeshift tight ends and still surviving are over. If you don’t get a quality tight end you may lose a valuable double digit in points every week.

Try to get one in the top five to seven if you’re going to wait. Don’t be one of the other five to six owners stuck with a project or inconsistency.

1. Jimmy Graham
The man got paid and unlike other super stars that get the big checks, Graham’s productivity shouldn’t wane. There are concerns with Drew Brees’s oblique injury but I wouldn’t expect that to hamper Graham. If anything it would affect Brees’s deep ball.

2. Jordan Cameron
Cameron was the mystery guy last preseason that carried it over to the regular season. There won’t be Brandon Weeden to contract everyone’s talent on the field and likely no Josh Gordon either. Draftees of Cameron should be confident in the upgrade of Manziel and Hoyer.

3. Vernon Davis
Any type of escalated improvement mechanically with Colin Kaepernick and the passing game will mean a monster year for Davis. He was the main threat a year ago and teams still couldn’t stop him. Kaepernick’s reads were limited to protect the football but I expect to see a leap in the way the 49ers unleash Kaepernick.

4. Julius Thomas
Thomas was the hidden gem coveted by Peyton Manning career followers. I do expect Manning’s numbers to dip a bit in 2014 as the Broncos do a better job of preserving Manning for the playoffs.

5. Rob Gronkowski
When will the Gronk actually be healthy and return to the field. His latest setbacks have hindered him to possibly missing the majority of the preseason. At this time even ranking Gronk as a top five tight end is risky. But all plans in New England are to bring him back when he is 100 percent. If that 100 percent is late September and he finishes a full 12 to 13 games, his value still super seeds the rest of the NFL tight ends.

6. Kyle Rudolph
7. Zach Ertz
8. Jason Witten
9. Greg Olsen
10.Martellus Bennett
11.Charles Clay
12.Tyler Eifert
13.Heath Miller
14.Garrett Graham
15.Dennis Pitta
16.Antonio Gates
17.Dwayne Allen
18.LaDarius Green
19.Coby Fleener
20.Eric Ebron

UPDATED FANTASY FOOTBALL WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Thursday, 14 August, 2014

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It’s the third day and a row that I have unveiled new updated fantasy football rankings. Today I’ll delve into the wide receivers as we look at filling your top three starting wideouts and bench fillers.

1. Calvin Johnson
If there is a consensus amongst every fantasy football fanatic and correspondent it’s here. Megatron added another level last year that I didn’t think was possible.

2. AJ Green
Out of all the potential top five to ten receivers, Green still has the most upside in terms of improvement. That’s scary to even think of, but he is only in his fourth season. Cincinnati has kept growing offensively which should only bolster Green’s 2014 season.

3. DeMaryius Thomas
The train that keeps Peyton Manning’s stats humming for ridiculous Hall of Fame accolades is Thomas. The connection these two have already is amazing. Well I guess if Tim Tebow had success with Thomas than Manning would never show his age.

4. Julio Jones
If 100 percent healthy I see no reason to keep Jones from the top five. He is in a system that thrives on getting the receivers unlimited looks every game. He still possesses uncanny size to speed combination, as well as a young strong duo with quarterback Matt Ryan.

5. Dez Bryant
The combustion for an incredible season or one that leaves Dallas in crumbles seems to be the way Bryant’s track record has been. Last year he shook aside the criticism and matured on the football field. Certain stretches of the season he was the top wideout in the league. But Dallas gets in its own way more than any other team in the NFL. This may be the year that things begin to unravel and that’s why I have Bryant down a bit.

6. Keenan Allen
Some fantasy analysts are afraid of the second year fall off from Allen, not me. San Diego is one of those teams that can throw the football more and benefit opposed to running the football consistently. They have a short immediate passing offense that helped Danny Woodhead and Allen become valuable last year. Look for more of the same this season.

7. Jordy Nelson
The pack attack is back in 2014. Last year was ineffective due to a plethora of injuries that plagued the team. Assuming the team can have a bit of better success in that department, it’s safe to predict a natural high reward season from Nelson.

8. Brandon Marshall
Marshall’s demeanor is the exact opposite from what we saw as a Dolphin and Bronco. Since he sought out help for his mental disorder it has brought on a new and improved Marshall all around. The way he was going before he looked like the next TO, Chad Johnson, and other over the top wideouts that fell dramatically in their 30′s. Now he looks like a rejuvenated player that may continue to be a top ten fantasy wideout for the next couple of seasons.

9. Antonio Brown
Pittsburgh Steelers fans are expecting a typical bounce back season from the Steelers. I’m on the opposite side and think we will see some of the same results as a year ago. Inconsistency plagued by a defense that has a ways to go for improvement. That bolds well for Brown owners as he will be able to be in second half delight situations of Big Ben air attacks.

10. Alshon Jeffrey
A prime reason that Marshall may continue to be a beast in Chicago is the rockstar on the other side of him. Jeffrey is a Brandon Marshall duplicate which is a scary proposition to face on a weekly basis.

11. Randall Cobb
12. Victor Cruz
13. Larry Fitzgerald
14. Percy Harvin
15. Pierre Garcon
16. Roddy White
17. Vincent Jackson
18. Michael Floyd
19. Andre Johnson
20. Wes Welker
21. DeSean Jackson
22. Mike Wallace
23. Jeremy Maclin
24. Michael Crabtree
25. Cordarelle Patterson
26. Eric Decker
27. Kendall Wright
28. Torrey Smith
29. Terrance Williams
30. Sammy Watkins
31. TY Hilton
32. Marques Colston
33. Brandin Cooks
34. Julian Edelman
35. Golden Tate
36. Cecil Shorts
37. Reggie Wayne
38. Kelvin Benjamin
39. Mike Evans
40. Reuben Randle
41. DeAndre Hopkins
42. Anquan Boldin
43. Markus Wheaton
44. Justin Hunter
45. Tavon Austin
46. Dwayne Bowe
47. Riley Cooper
48. Kenny Stills
49. Brian Hartline
50. Greg Jennings

WIDE RECEIVERS ON THE DECLINE

Saturday, 9 August, 2014

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I find it funny how running backs and quarterbacks get the bulk of discussion in terms of age and performance. Speculation of their jobs being overtaken appear continuously throughout their tenure as a professional. For a wide receiver though it’s the opposite and downplayed. When a receiver diminishes it’s like saying goodbye to a common worker in a regular job field.

It’s an after thought and the next young performer steps in without a discussion to the level of a quarterback or running back.

I’m ending that buck with this column. The focus is on wide receivers on the downside of their pro careers and fantasy football success.

Reggie Wayne
As dynamic as Wayne’s career has been you have to wonder if this comeback is truly in the best interest of the Colts organization or Wayne. I’m going to lean to Wayne. He has had a heck of a career that actually started off slow during Marvin Harrison’s heydays. The descent is inevitable. You just hope that Wayne ends on good football grounds and not the way a receiver like Torry Holt did. In fantasy football rankings he is sitting in the later 20′s. That may be too high until we see how he responds from injury and adapting back to full game speed.

Vincent Jackson
By all means Jackson probably has another year or two as a starting wide receiver left in him. But I’m discounting the high value he is receiving for fantasy football this season. Jackson lacks break away speed as evidenced by him getting tracked down several times last year. 80 percent of receivers would have scored on the touchdowns he was tracked down on. His size and knack to catch the ball in traffic for touchdowns keeps the fantasy radar locked on him. Look for Jackson’s numbers to diminish from a year ago.

Marques Colston
By the drafting of Kenny Stills last year and Brandin Cooks this year the Saints are preparing for the end for Colston. Injuries have taken their toll on Colston but he has still managed to be a solid WR3/WR4 in fantasy football. If Colston had to learn a new system or play with another quarterback he likely wouldn’t be even a top 50 wide receiver. His rapport with Brees allows him to maintain credible fantasy status.

Others: Greg Jennings and Hakeem Nicks

TOP 20 FANTASY FOOTBALL TIGHT ENDS

Thursday, 19 June, 2014

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Graham is the only fantasy position ranking that won’t move in 2014.

It truly was not that long ago where tight ends use to be an after thought on fantasy football draft day. You had the Shannon Sharpe’s and Ben Coates of the world and then everybody else. Heck, there was even a time when certain fullbacks could be drafted for fantasy value (Larry Centers/Mike Alstott). It seems as the use of a fullback faded teams started to realize the value of a new breed tight end.

Slowly other NFL teams began to seek out a capable versatile pass catching tight end. Now we are at where we are today. A true top to bottom league with high end tight ends. This translates into a much more interesting position filler. Here is a look at June’s top twenty tight ends.

1. Jimmy Graham- His contract squabbles with the Saints is all financial. Once September comes along the Saints will be using the former U basketball player as a continued aerial assault killer. Graham’s basketball skills have truly helped transform his skills on the football field. Last year was amazing to see the repetition of throws Brees would throw his way. Yet he still would haul in a whopping percentage of them.

2. Julius Thomas- Last season was a make or break year for Thomas. Denver had kept him on through his struggles and believed in him. Finally last year he was able to breakout. At the same time he rose to fantasy football stardom. Continued growth from Thomas will keep the Broncos right where they’ve been. Deep into the post season.

3. Jordan Cameron- Even though Cameron’s quarterback is in question, I’ll still keep him as a top three tight end. He showed enough through the gauntlet of quarterbacks last season. This year he’ll have one of two options. Brian Hoyer, who he fared extremely well with last year, or rookie Johnny Manziel. Consider Cameron’s chances of a one year wonder non-existent.

4. Vernon Davis
5. Rob Gronkowski
6. Jason Witten
7. Charles Clay
8. Jermichael Finley
9. Martellius Bennett
10. Jordan Reed
11. Dennis Pitta
12. Eric Ebron
13. Antonio Gates
14. Zach Ertz
15. Coby Fleener
16. Garrett Graham
17. Tyler Eifert
18. DeLanie Walker
19. Dwayne Allen
20. LaDarius Green

JUNE WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Wednesday, 18 June, 2014

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1. Calvin Johnson- Johnson still qualifies as the best receiver. Just do not expect the all world numbers of a year ago.
2. Dez Bryant- There was a large stretch of last season that it looked like Bryant would hold the top receiver ranking in the NFL. This from a receiver that people were dogging just a few seasons ago. He has turned it around and will eventually supplant Johnson.
3. Brandon Marshall- Since Marshall has worked on his image and his conduct, he has been off the charts. Him and his wife need to thank the Bears organization for dragging him out of Miami.
4. AJ Green- I have some concerns over the Bengals offense this upcoming season. They haven’t limited Green thus far in his career, but a regression from Dalton surely would. Jason Campbell is not an electric quarterback from a fantasy standpoint.
5. Julio Jones- All eyes are expectant of Jones and the Falcons offense to regain its form.
6. Alshon Jeffrey- Jeffrey did wonders on two of my fantasy football teams last year. He’ll get repaid by owners like myself, and attraction from everyone else that saw his dynamic games. The only reason he isn’t higher is because Marshall is obviously Cutler’s top target still.
7. Keenan Allen- Allen resurrected franchises that picked him up off the waiver wire. Each week we kept waiting for his one month wonder, than two month wonder to end. It never did. Philip Rivers has shown in his career that when he finds a top target, he is going to keep hitting them. Those figuring Allen will slip this year should think again.
8. DeMaryius Thomas- I fully believe that this season is going to be a slightly different approach from the Broncos offense. Manning will not have the type of seasons we have seen the past two years. Instead expect them to run the football more to prepare properly for teams in the playoffs like the Seahawks.
9. Antonio Brown- Pittsburgh has been too strong of an organization to slip another season. Brown has seen Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders depart the past few seasons. It’s his role to flourish in and he will for fantasy football fans.
10. Larry Fitzgerald- Fitz is going to be one of those career long great wide receivers that keeps his name and respect amongst the NFL and fantasy football participants.
11. Randall Cobb
12. Vincent Jackson
13. Pierre Garcon
14. Andre Johnson
15. Torrey Smith
16. Jordy Nelson
17. Michael Crabtree
18. Victor Cruz
19. TY Hilton
20. Roddy White
21. Julian Edelman
22. Wes Welker
23. Cordarelle Patterson
24. Jeremy Maclin
25. Mike Wallace
26. Marques Colston
27. Kendall Wright
28. Cecil Shorts
29. Riley Cooper
30. Michael Floyd
31. Eric Decker
32. Mike Evans
33. Danny Amendola
34. Emmanuel Sanders
35. Percy Harvin
36. Dwayne Bowe
37. Reuben Randle
38. Tavon Austin
39. Robert Woods
40. DeAndre Hopkins
41. Golden Tate
42. Steve Smith
43. Brian Hartline
44. Brandin Cooks
45. Doug Baldwin
46. Anquan Boldin
47. Sammy Watkins
48. Marvin Jones
49. Terrance Williams
50. Greg Jennings

EASY MONEY WITH CALVIN JOHNSON OR NO?

Thursday, 12 June, 2014
AP Photo

AP Photo

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What Calvin Johnson did in 2013 was as ridiculous a season a wide receiver can have. The closest that I can remember having a season like that was David Boston’s lone breakout year, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss’s 1998 season. For Boston and Moss that ceiling would never be replicated to that extreme. Owens was able to still be a fantasy touchdown machine for a string of years.

Owners know Johnson’s last season is long gone old news. His numbers almost single handily gave fantasy owners the gateway to a fantasy playoff birth. By having him on their team owners were able to count themselves an easy double digit checkoff week to week. And this wasn’t the normal double digit variety some receivers posted. Sky high results in standard leagues he sometimes posted high twenty to low thirty results. I won’t even step into the realm of his PPR results.

Quick trigger fantasy owners are going to be absent minded in putting any thought into Johnson’s 2014 potential season. He is megatron after all. Results don’t need to be thought upon.

Well maybe they should. As noted earlier athletes that have a premium season tend to regress some. At the position of receiver any type of downgrade can put you in the mix of ten to fifteen receivers. There just is not as high of a gap between receivers like there is in other football positions.

That has to be a factor when deciding on drafting Calvin Johnson.

Another is Johnson faced the poorest division in terms of NFL secondaries last year. Chicago and Green Bay were banged up all season in the secondary, and Minnesota’s young cornerbacks were going through growing pains. Of those nearly 1500 receiving yards, Johnson also faced the Cowboys for an all world game of nearly 300 yards receiving and the Steelers for nearly 200.

Both of those defenses were also torched consistently. To the point that quarterbacks such as Andy Dalton and every NFC East quarterback had extreme success.

Take away those key signature games and fill them in with average Johnson receiving yards, and he would have likely finished around 1150 yards receiving.

That puts him still as an elite receiver but not by a huge stretch in terms of yardage. Johnson’s never ending value comes in the area of touchdowns. He can be banked upon to reach double digit touchdowns year after year. His size and uncanny leaping ability is undeniable.

But will the rest of the NFC North finally catch up to Johnson and limit his consistent big numbers versus them? And will Johnson’s matchups in the AFC and non-division NFC teams gear up to stop him better?

It’s all a higher probability than last season.

This isn’t a bust label on Calvin Johnson. Rather it is a cautious high first round alert. Fantasy owners are becoming more unconscious with the new norm of drafting a non-running back in round one. Using that train of thought can come back to bite you in a quick hurry.