The Den rolls on! In this article, we’ll tackle the wide receiver position. This is a position where you can draft rookies and actually have them be contributors to your team this year. In fact, I’ll be highlighting four guys that I think will make an impact in 2005 – and obviously beyond. While I normally don’t advocate spending much time looking at rookies in a dynasty draft, these four guys should get strong consideration, especially if you are currently set at other positions in the short term. They could be the final piece to your championship puzzle.
I say ‘normally’, because every year there are 3-4 rookie WRs that are capable of making a fantasy impact right away. This is not the case for other positions. Look at QB this year, I don’t see any rookie having fantasy value in 2005. Even RB is thin as I’m only projecting two guys having marginal fantasy impact in 2005. Able bodied WRs seem to come down the pipeline year after year, which is why you should adjust your rankings accordingly. However, if you’ve followed my advice and stocked up on RB, you might be set at the position which would allow you to grab one of the top WRs in the first round, while backloading on the rest of this year’s RB rookie crop.
Just to recap, the Dynasty Den is geared towards those of you in dynasty leagues, so the rankings listed here will reflect that. In other words, these rankings are based on what I believe the player’s overall career will be like in the fantasy sense, this is by no means a ranking of how I think these players are going to perform in 2005.
Here’s how we’ll be breaking down the players:
Great White – Guys that have value in both the short (redraft) and long (dynasty) term
Hammerhead – Guys that may have short term value, but do have long term value
Blue – Guys that have an outside chance at helping in the short term, more likely will have long term value
Leopard – Virtually no short term value, slight chance of having some long term value
Sand – No short term value, little to no long term value
As always, if you think I’m a fool, drop me a line here: firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t always get a chance to respond to everyone (sorry!), but I do read everything. Thanks in advance and good luck!
These guys I see having a significant fantasy impact in 2005 so those of you in redraft leagues would be wise to keep an eye on them.
Troy Williamson, Minnesota (1, 7, South Carolina)
The Vikings have struck gold in Williamson, and if you ended up with him on your dynasty team, you did as well. It won’t be easy to make fans forget the guy named Randy Moss, but early reports are that Williamson has been tremendous in camp so far. Making the tough catch look easy while making the acrobatic catch as well. Could end up being a force in 2005 as well as beyond. Perfect team for him in Minnesota.
Mike Williams, Detroit (1, 10, Southern California)
One thing that is holding me back from having Williams as my top rookie WR is that he’s on the Lions. Detroit has had a hard time getting highly touted rookie offensive players to perform on the field. Yes, it’s unfortunate that Charles Rogers has broken his collarbone (twice!), is there something in the Ford Field air? Probably not. All kidding aside, Williams looks to be a very strong long term player that could produce some numbers in 2005.
Mark Clayton, Baltimore (1, 22, Oklahoma)
Clayton is another guy that it’s hard to be too high on because of the team that he is on, could it be that times are achangin’ in Baltimore? Signing a viable WR (Derek Mason), drafting a rookie WR high, could Boller prove to be a sleeper in 2005??? There’s not much standing in the way of Clayton becoming the starter for the Ravens, that just leaves the question is it worth it to own a WR on the Ravens. I see Clayton and company putting the ball up a little more this year, good long term future here.
Braylon Edwards, Cleveland (1, 3, Michigan)
As a Wolverine fan, I’m hoping that Edwards does not end up being a dud like David Terrell was a few years before him. His numbers from college speak for themselves, and the Browns already think enough of him that they traded away Andre Davis. Edwards will end up WR3 on what will be a pathetic Browns team in 2005, but the pieces are falling into place for this team to contend in the next couple of years.
We drop down a notch here, not sure these guys will have much of an impact in 2005, but could perform well in 2006 and beyond.
Roddy White, Atlanta (1, 27, Alabama Birmingham)
White just misses out on being ranked as a Great White. His progress has been slowed by an ankle injury, but in the meantime the Falcons are clearing the way for him to be the starter by dumping Peerless Price. White ends up in this group because the Falcons don’t seem to get the ball into the hands of their wide outs enough to warrant strong fantasy consideration. That said, within a year or so, he’ll be a fantasy producer.
Chris Henry, Cincinnati (3, 83, West Virginia)
The Bengals can still be baffling at times, yet looking deep down some of the things they do seem to make sense? For instance, they must have seen something in Henry that many of us couldn’t see on draft day when they signed him to a five year contract for about the same money as a second round pick. If nothing else, that’s an indication that they want him to be around for a while and they think he’s got the skills to stick. So far, he’s backed up those expectations from the front office, so much so that the Bengals released Peter Warrick, clearing some space on the depth chart for Henry.
Mark Bradley, Chicago (2, 39, Oklahoma)
Is it me or are many of this year’s WR prospects on traditionally terrible passing teams? Who is the QB in Chicago this year anyways? And what of Cedric Benson? As for Bradley, it’s looking like he’ll end up a starter, passing Justin Gage at some point in 2005, and that alone bumps him up the list. Decent long term prospect for Bradley’s fantasy career as well.
Jerome Mathis, Houston (4, 114, Hampton)
Mathis is a speed demon making a strong push for Corey Bradford’s spot in the lineup. Houston is doing all the right things as far as building up the franchise, Mathis could be around for a while to enjoy the fruits of the Texans’ labors.
Chad Owens, Jacksonville (6, 185, Hawaii)
How refreshing is it to talk favorably about a guy named Owens! The late round pick has been very impressive in camp and may already have passed Troy Edwards and Matt Jones on the depth chart. Looks like C.Owens will be around at least for a while, which is always the first step in a low WR pick’s NFL progression.
Matt Jones, Jacksonville (1, 21, Arkansas)
Perhaps a bit of a harsh ranking for a guy picked in the first round, but Jones has a lot of catching up to do. The holdout hurts (as is the case with any rookie), but reports are that he’s slowly working his way back into the favor of the coaching staff. Unfortunately, he’ll probably end up WR3 on a team that rarely goes three wide.
A few guys I couldn’t bring to rank as Hammerheads reside here singing the blues.
Reggie Brown, Philadelphia (2, 35, Georgia)
Based no sheer numbers alone, Brown will be Philadelphia’s third WR. That, however, doesn’t carry much fantasy value. With all his antics, you know Terrell Owens will be the main guy once the season starts, so he’ll be drawing most if not all of Donovan McNabb’s attention…and if he doesn’t, he’ll hear about it between plays.
Brandon Jones, Tennessee (3, 96, Oklahoma)
Jones has been battling some nagging injuries thru camp, which may have hindered him a bit, but at the same time the coaches like to see that from a rookie. He won’t end up that high on the 2005 depth chart so his playing time will be limited.
Craphonso Thorpe, Kansas City (4, 116, Florida State)
I’m not sure there’s not a better fantasy name in this year’s rookie class, on so many levels. As for on the field, Thorpe is a long term prospect for the Chiefs. A broken leg in college probably knocked him down a couple rounds in the draft, a player worth keeping a long term eye on.
The ranks become thinner as the guys listed here likely have little to no value for 2005, and will have to struggle to stick around to make any impact in the future.
Roscoe Parrish, Buffalo (2, 55, Miami, FL)
Looks like Parrish is having wrist surgery and may miss the entire 2005 season.
Terrence Murphy, Green Bay (2, 58, Texas A&M)
Murphy is questionable for the start of the season with an injured knee, he’ll be low on the depth chart anyways.
Vincent Jackson, San Diego (2, 61, Northern Colorado)
Jackson looks like he’ll make the team, fifth on the depth chart.
Courtney Roby, Tennessee (3, 68, Indiana)
Though Roby is battling for third on the depth chart, prospects for his fantasy impact in 2005 are slim.
Fred Gibson, Pittsburgh (4, 131, Georgia)
Gibson may end up working some in the kicking game, but that’s about all in 2005.
Roydell Williams, Tennessee (4, 126, Tulane)
Another guy in the mix for WR3 on the Titans, which in itself does not carry much (if any) fantasy value.
These guys have their work cut out for them in making the team, making a roster, or making a practice squad.
Chase Lyman, New Orleans (4, 118, California)
For the second time in 2 years, Lyman tore is ACL, done for 2005.
Airese Currie, Chicago (5, 140, Clemson)
Stress fracture likely puts an end to his 2005 season before it began.
Larry Brackins, Tampa Bay (5, 155)
Brackins was late in getting things going, will have a hard time making a good impression.
Rasheed Marshall, San Francisco (5, 174, West Virginia)
Marshall is making the transition from QB to WR, will be a major work in progress.
Tab Perry, Cincinnati (6, 190, UCLA)
Low draft picks have a hard time sticking, Perry will struggle to make the team.
Dante Ridgeway, St.Louis (6, 192, Ball State)
Nothing great to mention here, nothing terrible, deep on the depth chart if he can stick.
Craig Bragg, Green Bay (6, 195, UCLA)
Bragg is a decent utility guy, just not a worthy fantasy guy.
Marcus Maxwell, Detroit (7, 223, Oregon)
Prospects for him making the team aren’t great.
Paris Warren, Tampa Bay (7, 225, Utah)
His claim to fame is that he was the best target at Utah for Alex Smith, that’s about all so far.
LeRon McCoy, Arizona (7, 226, Indiana, PA)
Will have a hard time making the team.
Harry Williams, New York (7, 240, Tuskegee)
Not much room on the roster for him.
JR Russell, Tampa Bay (7, 253, Louisville)
Decent speed, but a crowded pool at WR to fight thru.