POSITION BATTLES – WIDE RECEIVER (AFC)
(R) = ROOKIE
Stallworth has been suspended indefinitely. Patten, at age 35, was likely brought in for depth and insurance as the team looks to a youth movement. Massaquoi is a possession receiver who’s willing to go over the middle, but will need to work on his fundamentals. Robiskie is also a possession receiver who is smart, polished and should push for the starting job immediately. Early reports from spring OTAs had him emerging as the favorite to start opposite Edwards. Look for Robiskie to win the job by the start of the regular season.
Hall has the best size of the three players, but he has missed 25 games the last two years and only has one reception since being drafted. While the team is high on Garcon, he played sparingly last season and only registered four receptions for 23 yards. Collie is smooth, athletic, an excellent route runner and has great hands. He was drafted for the slot position and should push for the starting job. Reports from spring OTAs have Garcon emerging as the No. 3, while praise was passed onto Collie for his diligence by quickly learning the playbook. Look for Garcon to start the season as the starting No. 3, but he’ll be on a short leash as Collie overtakes him during the season.
Williamson has the most speed of the group, but he has terrible hands and will be coming off the bench again this season.
All three are unproven in the role, but they are intriguing prospects. Smith, a former college quarterback, has good size and decent hands, but he lacks speed. Clowney has speed, but questionable hands. Stuckey got off to a good start last season and then faded. Early reports had Clowney opening OTAs, only to lose ground to Stuckey. Stuckey will likely start the season as the No. 2 WR, but Clowney is a dark horse and the battle may not be decided until the start of the season. It is worth noting for fantasy purposes, at this point the position is only worth a possible waiver wire until one or the other emerges. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the No. 2 WR position could easily end up being the fourth target in the offense behind Cotchery, Keller and the running backs.
Ginn Jr. is certain to start as the team’s No. 1 WR. He has plenty of speed, talent and upside, but lacks the physical game to be a true No. 1 WR.
Walker tried to retire last year and the team talked him out of it. He played in eight games before being placed on IR. He has yet to see the field this offseason. DHB, the first WR off the board in this year’s draft, has the most upside, but some believe he will need to get stronger for this level. He injured his hamstring in OTAs this spring and was sidelined for a month. Then, he re-injured it. This is not good news for a guy who had unreliable hands to begin with and was mostly used as a decoy in college. Am I jumping the gun by saying right now, that DHB will end up being a bust in the NFL and fantasy? Schilens was the leading receiver on the team from a year ago and reportedly stood out as the team’s best receiver during OTAs. Higgins was the second-leading receiver from last season and has looked good, not outstanding. Murphy has good hands, he runs well, and he was also considered a sleeper in the draft. Schilens will likely win out the No. 1 job during training camp and Higgins the No. 2 job with Murphy being a dark horse to push one or the other early on. Then you throw in the Al Davis factor and it could end up being a WRBC.
If Derrick Mason remains retired and the team does not sign a veteran to take the No. 1 WR job, the prospects are just plain bad. Mark Clayton becomes the veteran on the team with four years experience and is just flat out – not a No. 1 WR. Remember Peerless Price? Great complimentary receiver behind Moulds in Buffalo, but once he was traded to Atlanta and thrust into a No. 1 role he was a bust. Think of Clayton in the same manner or at least, overrated. He will now be lining up against the opposition’s best cornerback and they’ll have a tougher schedule this year. Demetrius Williams is a player who can stretch the field, but has not developed. He was also still feeling pain in his surgically repaired ankle during OTAs. If he can overcome the injury before the start of the season, he may be the only one on the team that would be worth a late-round flier in the passing game.
Andre Caldwell reportedly solidified the slot position during OTAs.
San Diego Chargers:
Vincent Jackson is a risk for a possible suspension due to a second DUI charge.