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Keeper League Top Wide Receivers

For as long as I can remember, running backs have been the key to victory in fantasy football. With each passing year, that is becoming less true. There are more running back by committee situations in the NFL than there ever were. When this happens, it puts less of an importance on the running back position in fantasy football. This will lead to people taking some quarterbacks and wide receivers in the first round. If you do this, you have to know which wide receiver to take. Even though there are a lot of running back committee situations, you should still only draft a certain few wide receivers in the first round. Listed below are the wide receivers that can usually be found as keepers.

Most Likely Kept In Most Leagues:
Andre Johnson
Larry Fitzgerald
Randy Moss
Steve Smith (CAR)
Calvin Johnson
Greg

Jennings

Roddy White
Reggie Wayne
Anquan Boldin
Marques Colston

Wide Receivers Available In Most Leagues:
1. Dwayne Bowe (KC) – In 2009, Bowe has the potential to hit the elite status for his position. I’m sure everyone remembers last season in

Arizona
, where Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin were putting up numbers every week. Well, some of that was because of Todd Haley. Haley is now in

Kansas City
… along with Matt Cassel.
Cassel‘s only real weapon to throw to is Bowe, and they will use him as much as they possibly can. Expect a big year out of Bowe.

2. Wes Welker (NE) – Welker has one big thing in store for him this year … Tom Brady. While Welker will not have as good of a season as he did in 2007, he will still have a really good year opposite of Randy Moss. The Patriots will still have to rely on the pass, as they still do not have a solid running game. However, when you have Brady, Moss and Welker … you do not need much else.

3. Roy Williams (DAL) – Roy Williams has had an up-and-down career. For most of his career, he was mired in

Detroit
without a valuable quarterback throwing to him. He put up good numbers in 2006, but his numbers have fallen off every year since due to injury and ineffectiveness. This year, however, he becomes the No. 1 wide receiver again. Only this time, he has a good quarterback in Tony Romo throwing the ball to him. With Terrell Owens out of

Dallas
, look for Owens-type numbers.

4. Brandon Marshall (DEN) –
Marshall is trying to get traded out of

Denver
. This could be looked at both ways. If he were to stay in

Denver
, things could be good. They may not be as good as last season, but Kyle Orton was one of the top quarterbacks last season until his injury. There is no telling where

Marshall
may end up, if traded … keep an eye on his status throughout the offseason.

5. Terrell Owens (BUF) – Owens is running out of teams to play for, and he knows it. This is the reason why he will be on his best behavior in

Buffalo
. History has also shown us that Owens puts up good numbers in his first year with a team. He is currently only on a one-year contract and is going to want more work after this year. Look for some good numbers this year, as he will be the team’s go-to-guy.

6. Devin Hester (CHI) – Hester finally gets the chance to see if he can truly become a wide receiver. Kyle Orton did not have the big arm to get the ball to Hester on a consistent basis. Jay Cutler, on the other hand, does. Hester’s speed with Cutler’s arm makes this duo pretty scary. Hopefully, Hester can prove that he has the route running skills and the hands to become a complete wide receiver.

7. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (SEA) – Houshmandzadeh goes from one aging quarterback to another, but it is a better offense. Matt Hasselbeck is healthy now as is most of the wide receiving core. Julius Jones is an upgrade from Cedric Benson, so it should leave some room for Hasselbeck to get the ball away. Look for around the same numbers from T.J. this year … nothing spectacular, but nothing garbage either.

8. Santana Moss (WAS) – Moss was having a very good year in 2008 until the wheels came off of Jason Campbell. With any luck, the wheels will stay on this year as

Campbell
will be fighting to keep a job. Since
Washington wanted to trade him for Jay Cutler,

Campbell
has something to prove. Moss is his best option.

9. Bernard Berrian (MIN) – Favre-less, Berrian would actually be lower. It is almost a certainty that Brett Favre is going to be a Viking by season’s opener. You saw what Favre did for the Jets with Jerricho Cotchery, Laveranues Coles and Thomas Jones. Favre may not be the best quarterback in the league, but he does make his teammates better. Berrian should almost certainly have a better year in 2009 than in 2008 … especially if No. 4 is in town.

10. DeSean Jackson (PHI) –

Jackson
had a great rookie campaign on a team that revolves around one guy … Brian Westbrook.
Philadelphia has just given Donovan McNabb a fancy new extension and would like to involve

Jackson
in the mix more often. He already is a great special teams player and had around 1,000 yards last year. There will be no sophomore slump here. Draft

Jackson
with confidence.

11. Vincent Jackson (SD) –

Jackson
finally broke out in the NFL in 2008 with Philip Rivers at quarterback. Only problem is that Norv Turner is not a pass-happy coach. They had to rely on the pass last year with the injuries to LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates.

Jackson
will still put up another good year, but not as good as last year. L.T. and Gates will bounce back and take away some of those numbers.

12. Anthony Gonzalez (
IND) – Gonzalez has just been waiting for a chance to shine in

Indianapolis
, and he finally is going to get his chance. With Marvin Harrison out of the mix, Gonzalez is the No. 2 behind Reggie Wayne. Look for Gonzalez to put up his best numbers as a pro.

13. Kevin Walter (HOU) – Kevin Walter may easily be the most underrated player in the NFL. He is overshadowed by Andre Johnson every year … and that is a big shadow to climb out of. Walter was a very consistent player last year, regardless of who was at quarterback. Matt Schaub looked for Walter more than did Sage Rosenfels, so if Schaub can stay healthy, you are looking at a great No. 2 wide receiver on your team.

14. Santonio Holmes (PIT) – Holmes is the No. 1 guy in a run-heavy offense. He had a down year numbers wise in 2008, but looked to pick it back up in the playoffs. If he can carry that momentum into 2009, his numbers should bounce back up to his 2007 form … that is if Ben Roethlisberger can stay on his own two feet and have time to throw the ball.

15. Lee Evans (BUF) – Evans is a No. 1 quality wide receiver, but with Owens in town, he gets bumped down. However, this could actually be a good thing. Teams will now focus on Owens and Marshawn Lynch more. This will leave Evans on the 1-on-1’s that he loves so very much. With less coverage on Evans, he will be able to break out of it more easily and put up some really good numbers. Hopefully, Trent Edwards can stay healthy all year long, as Ryan Fitzpatrick does not have the arm to get it to Evans. Draft Evans and pray for Edwards to stay healthy.

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