AP Photo

AP Photo


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.


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