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Tiering Up – Wide Receivers

Tier One

Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith (Car), Greg Jennings, Anquan Boldin, Reggie Wayne, Roddy White, Marques Colston, Wes Welker, Braylon Edwards

These are the upper echelon of fantasy receivers.

 While most would argue that Braylon Edwards shouldn’t be listed in the same breath as Randy Moss, these guys are bonafide #1 fantasy receivers. Braylon Edwards is a year removed from a 16 touchdown season and just last year he was being considered for this tier. The reason I place him so high is that

Cleveland really doesn’t have any other options in their receiving game. Their offense may end up stinking this year but Edwards will be getting a ton of looks in the passing game. Even if he continues dropping balls (which I don’t think he will), he should post decent stats worthy of this tier. Anquan Boldin is option 1b in

Arizona’s aerial show with the only real knock on him being his inability to stay healthy. Greg Jennings will be sharing balls with many quality receivers but Rodgers has proven his affinity for finding

Jennings for long touchdown strikes.

 From all accounts, Marques Colston is sound after an injury plagued 2008 campaign and we have all seen what numbers he’s capable of when healthy.

 

 

 

  

 

Tier Two

Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson, Anthony Gonzalez, Eddie Royal, Santonio Holmes, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Chad Ochocinco, Hines Ward, Terrell Owens, Brandon Marshall

This tier features the very best of the #2 receivers in the league.

 Ok, Brandon Marshall belongs in the top tier talent-wise but I really don’t see him keeping his head on straight for a full season. If he doesn’t, Eddie Royal is next in line to receive the bronco’s share of receptions in

Denver. Ochocinco will experience a nice rebound this season with a healthy Carson Palmer tossing him the pill. I don’t see Pro-Bowl numbers for him but 1,000 yards and nearly 10 touchdowns is a lock. Dwayne Bowe deserves a mention as someone else whose talent is top tier caliber but with all the upheaval in Kansas City, it remains to be seen how well Matt Cassell plays and how much of the offense filters through Bowe. Hines Ward is still Big Ben’s first read near the goal line and on third down. Whatever he’s lost in speed, he will make up with opportunities on which he rarely fails to capitalize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tier Three

Santana Moss, Derrick Mason, Antonio Bryant, Bernard Berrian, DeSean Jackson, Lee Evans, Devin Hester, Donald Driver, Lance Moore, Torry Holt, Roy Williams, Laveraneus Coles, Domenik Hixon, Kevin Walter, Chris Henry

This is the tier where drafters can really find some fantasy gems. I expect at least a few of these guys to outperform their draft position and finish in the top 15 fantasy wide receivers. The guy I have pimping all off-season and drafted on 3 of my 4 fantasy squads is Chris “one man crime wave” Henry. I should have drafted him on the fourth team but that’s another story. He was always third fiddle behind

Chad and TJ in Cincy. Now, he’s only technically behind Ocho and Coles but I wouldn’t be surprised if he finished with better numbers than either of them. For better or worse, he got hitched and finally seems to have put his troubled past behind him. Lance Moore burst on the fantasy scene last season with 10 touchdowns and remains Brees’ second wide receiving option in the Saints vaunted passing game. There are plenty of fantasy points to go around in

New Orleans and he will be a main beneficiary.

 

Tier Four

Donnie Avery, Steve Breaston, Nate Burleson, Patrick Crayton, Devery Henderson, Steve Smith (NYG), Jerricho Cotchery, Justin Gage, Ted Ginn Jr, Chris Chambers, Joey Galloway, Limas Sweed, Kevin Curtis, Muhsin Muhammad, Josh Morgan

This tier represents guys who will be very solid #3 fantasy wide receivers. Donnie Avery might eventually attain the next highest tier but coming off a pre-season stress fracture, he ends up here. Steve Breaston may be the best #3 wide receiver in the league and according to Larry Fitz, he is only getting better. Jerricho Cotchery might be a little low but he hasn’t proven he can handle the #1 receiver duties on his own team and he’ll be catching balls from a rookie quarterback. I like one of either Chris Chambers or Joey Galloway to rebound from disappointing 2008 seasons. Galloway had 1,000 receiving yards just two years ago as his team’s receiving option and now he’ll be lining up against the opposition’s third best cornerback. Given Michael Crabtree’s holdout and threat to possibly miss the season, Josh Morgan’s stock is on the rise. I don’t know exactly how that translates into numbers but if Shaun Hill turns out to be a serviceable starting quarterback, Morgan will have a solid season.

 

 

Tier Five

Isaac Bruce, Chaz Schilens,

Mark Clayton, Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney, James Jones, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Nate Washington, Laurent Robinson, Jordy Nelson, Jeremy Maclin, Troy Williamson,

Mark Bradley, Bobby Engram, Davone Bess, Hakeem Nicks, Deion Branch, Greg Camarillo, Earl Bennett, Kenny Britt, Jason Avant, Maurice Stovall, Brandon Stokley, Miles Austin, Michael Clayton, Robert Meachem

These tier features some solid #2 and decent #3 fantasy receivers.

  I expect at least a couple of these guys to have pretty decent years, if everything breaks their way.

  Percy Harvin, while intriguing, is still a rookie but he will be exploited due to his world class speed and separation. Either Jordy Nelson or James Jones could post very decent stats given

Green Bay’s potentially explosive passing game. Davone Bess is a guy I like because from everything I have read, he will be on the field a lot for the Dolphins and he may have the best hands on the team. Another guy who may have reportedly turned the corner is Robert Meachem of the Saints. Although I have him listed below his teammate Devery Henderson, he could easily wrest the #3 receiver position from Devery in the Saints dangerous passing attack. He probably won’t be an every week starter but as a bye week fill-in, he could be huge. I also like Brandon Stokley more than most especially if

Marshall flakes out this season.

  

 

Tier Six

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Brian Hartline, Malcom Floyd, Devin Thomas, Demetrius Williams, Keenan Burton, Antwaan Randle El, Bryant Johnson,

Mike Sims-Walker, Dwayne Jarrett, Bobby Wade, Jerheme Urban, Sam Hurd,

Mike Furrey, Brian Robiskie, Josh Reed, Malcolm Kelly, Roscoe Parrish, Andre Davis, Pierre Garcon, Jabar Gaffney, Louis Murphy, Austin Collie, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Javon Walker, Shaun McDonald, Brad Smith, David Anderson, Mohamed Massaquoi, Marty Booker

The main difference between the receivers in this tier and the tier above is opportunity. Many of these guys are buried so deep on their team’s depth chart that they will only become relevant if there is an injury to a player ahead of them. Darrius Heyward-Bey does not qualify for this tier using this criteria but he’s still a rookie in a very bad offense. I wouldn’t expect much out of him this season. The rest of these players are merely flyers in fantasy terms. Select them at your own risk and hope that you can squeeze a couple weeks of respectable fantasy production should you need them.

 

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