Positional rankings: Wide receivers
With the popularity of point-per-reception leagues taking hold in fantasy football, wide receivers are receiving -- sorry the pun -- more love these days on draft day. Because of PPR, wideouts like Randy Moss are not only going in the first round, they're going in the top seven of most drafts. And it's not uncommon to see two or three wideouts go in the first round and more than half of the picks in the second round go towards WRs.
Why? Because at one point-per-reception, a 100-reception wideout is equal to a back who scores 15 or more TDs. The points can add up in a hurryn and the top wideouts even find a way to separate themselves from the pack of second tier WRs. Last year, 17 different wideouts had 80 or more receptions, but only five of those had 100-plus receptions. Also, a total of 10 wideouts had 10 or more TD receptions last year, up from five in 2006, as the passing game is becoming more and more a part of the NFL game plan for top teams.
Here now are the top 75 wideouts to grab on draft day, in order of preference:
1. Randy Moss, New England
Moss had a season for the ages as he set an NFL record with 23 TD receptions and finished with 98 receptions and 1,493 yards. He had nine 100-yard receiving games and he caught at least five passes in a game 12 times. He was a major question mark heading into last season, but he's now the top wideout in fantasy football and someone who will go seventh or eighth in most drafts as he's projected to top 1,300 yards again with 16 TDs.
2. Terrell Owens, Dallas
Like Moss, Owens had no problems last year in Dallas and he came through with one of his best seasons ever. He missed just one game to injury and finished with 15 TDs, while catching 81 passes for 1,355 yards. He had six 100-yard receiving games and caught at least five passes in a game 10 times. As long as he's happy, he will be productive, so expect another season of 1,200-plus yards, 80-plus receptions and 15 TDs.
3. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis
Wayne escaped Marvin Harrison's shadow last year and became an elite wideout, catching a career-best 104 passes for 1,510 yards and 10 TDs. He finished fourth in WR scoring and had at least five receptions in a game 12 times. He also caught at least one TD pass in nine games and had six 100-yard receiving games. Even if Harrison returns healthy, Wayne is the man in Indy and he will produce another 90-plus reception, 1,400-plus yard, 11 TD season in '08.
4. Braylon Edwards, Cleveland
After a tumultuous '06 season, Edwards grew up and became an elite fantasy wideout, catching 80 passes for 1,289 yards and 16 TDs. He finished third in WR scoring as he had at least one TD reception in 11 games and caught at least five passes in eight games. He also had four 100-yard receiving games, and at the age of 25, the sky is the limit for this young star. Grab him in the second round this year and expect a season of 80-plus catches, 1,200-plus yards and 14 TDs.
5. Andre Johnson, Houston
Johnson missed nearly half the season with a knee injury, but when he was healthy he was a star. In just nine games, he finished with 60 receptions for 851 yards and eight TDs. He scored a touchdown in every game but two, had four 100-yard receiving games and had at least five catches in every game but one. He is an injury risk, but the upside is just too great to ignore as he could post 100-plus catches, 1,200-plus yards and 12 TDs if he stays healthy for 16 games.
6. Chad Johnson, Cincinnati
With the threat of a holdout now gone, CJ is back in the top 10 for wideouts, although his fuse could light at any time. He is unquestionably one of the top WRs in fantasy football as last year he finished with 93 catches for 1,440 yards and 8 TDs. He had four 100-yard receiving games, but he also was held without a TD in 12 games. More consistency is needed by Ocho Cinco, but by season's end he will still finish with 90-plus receptions, 1,200-plus yards and nine TDs.
7. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
Fitzgerald reached the 100-catch plateau for the second time in the last three years as he also duplicated his career highs with 1,409 yards and 10 TDs. He missed one game to injury, but he was dominant in the second half as he scored nine TDs in his last eight games and had at least five receptions in 12 games. He also finished with four 100-yard receiving games and will bounce back again this year with a season of 90-plus catches, 1,300-plus yards and 10 TDs.
8. Steve Smith, Carolina
Smith was a victim of Jake Delhomme's injury last year and his value plummeted as a result. He got off to an incredible start when Delhomme was healthy, catching 15 passes for 271 yards and four TDs during the first two games, but then the bottom fell out when David Carr had to replace Delhomme. He went on a seven-game scoring drought and finished with 87 catches for 1,002 yards and 7 TDs. But with Delhomme back, Smith should be back in the 85-90 reception range and finish with 1,200-plus yards and nine TDs.
9. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati
While Chad Johnson whined a lot last year, Housh just went about his business and became one of the top wideouts in the NFL. He set career highs in receptions 9112), receiving yards (1,143) and TDs (12) for the second straight season to finish seventh among all WRs in scoring. He caught at least five passes in a game 13 times and had at least one TD catch in 10 games. He will be the main target again this year and even with CJ back, Housh will finish with 100-plus catches, 1,100-plus yards and 11 TDs.
10. Marques Colston, New Orleans
With the Saints struggling early last year, Colston was a fantasy dud as he had just two TD catches in his first seven games. But he caught fire after that and had nine TD catches in his last 10 games, adding four 100-yard games. He also had at least seven catches in eight of those last 10 games as he finished the season with 98 catches for 1,202 yards and 11 TDs. In this potent offense, Colston is a lock for another 90-reception, 1,200-yard, 10-TD season.
11. Plaxico Burress, NY Giants
Despite suffering an ankle injury early in the year that lingered all season long, Burress played all 16 games and was a monster in the playoffs as the Giants surprised everyone to win the Super Bowl. He finished with only 70 catches during the regular season, but still came through with 1,025 yards and 12 TDs. He caught TD passes in just three of his final 10 games, but he's expected to be fully recovered from the ankle injury to start this year and should rebound with a season of 75-plus catches, 1,100-plus yards and 10 TDs.
12. Torry Holt, St. Louis
Even though the Rams were a mess last year, Holt still came through to match his '06 reception total (93) and almost match his receiving yards (1,189). But his TD total dropped from 10 to 7 and he's falling into the middle-to-late third round in offseason drafts now because of his inconsistency last year. Still, if the Rams stay healthy Holt could be a solid bargain in '08 as he should catch at least 90 passes for 1,100-plus yards and 8 TDs.