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You down with PPR?

Regardless of the number of points your league awards for receptions, PPR leagues have begun to shift towards receiver-dominant leagues.


Gone are the days of workhorse running backs. Teams now use two or three running backs to attack the ground game
(special thanks to Mike Shanahan for starting this annoying trend.) With that said, it is imperative for your starting WRs to carry your team into your league’s playoffs in 2009.


Below, I’ll make the case for four WRs that will give your team the upper hand during the middle rounds of your draft and four WRs that are better off sitting on someone else’s roster this season.


Four to shoot for:


Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs:

 Yes the Chiefs are not very good. And yes, the Chiefs have a brutal schedule to start the season. But three things are going to benefit Bowe this season: new starting QB Matt Cassel, new pass-happy head coach Todd Haley, and most importantly, fantasy playoff matchups that include
Cleveland and

during Weeks 14-16. Not to mention that Bowe was third in the NFL in targets (157) in 2008 (third only to B. Marshall and A. Johnson), an increase in passes his way should result in a huge number of receptions and ultimately points for your starting lineup. The loss of TE Tony Gonzalez will shift coverage over to Bowe, but while the Chiefs are losing all those games, the ball will be thrown around quite a bit. Bowe will make a nice late No. 1 or a stellar No. 2 WR. (Rounds 2-3)


Anthony Gonzalez, Colts:  

AG falls into your prototypical “Third-Year WR.” He will benefit from the departure of Marvin Harrison and a good rapport with QB Peyton Manning. While subbing for

last season, Gonzalez was able to put up decent numbers while fighting off Dallas Clark for targets from Manning. With a healthy offensive line and running game this season, Gonzalez and the Colts should benefit and prosper. Gonzalez should be in line for 70-80 receptions, 1,000 yards and 5-7 touchdowns, an excellent year for your No. 3 drafted WR who could be your No. 2 by seasons end. (Rounds 5-7)


Lance Moore, Saints:


had his breakout year in 2008, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a big contributor again in ’09. During the 2008 season,

put together a stretch of four games in November that resulted in 21 catches and 5 TDs, not too shabby for someone picked up off of waivers in most leagues. I don’t see another 10-TD season in his future, but as long as the Saints are putting the ball in the air 500 plus times a season, he will benefit with tons of receptions. With a healthy Marques Colston and Reggie Bush back in the lineup,

will benefit from the coverage being rolled to Colston side. Look for

to help your team as a solid #3 or flex player. (Rounds 6-8)


Eddie Royal, Broncos:

Royal is to Kyle Orton what Welker is to Brady. With the addition of new head coach Josh McDaniels, the Denver Broncos will adopt some of the same schemes and pass patterns that have brought so much success to the Patriots the last couple of seasons. Eddie Royal came out of nowhere last season when he shot out of the gate with an explosive game in Week 1 vs. the Raiders (9 receptions, 146 yards, 1 TD). I haven’t forgotten that Jay Cutler is no longer throwing him the ball. It looks like Orton will be that guy this year. Don’t get me wrong, Orton is no Cutler, but he is a serviceable and safe quarterback that is accustomed to a ball control style of offense (a la
Cassel last season). Royal’s numbers were rare for a rookie; 91 catches is nothing to shrug off. All I’m saying is when owners in your league start writing him off because Orton is throwing to him or Brandon Marshall is or isn’t playing opposite of him, just stay quiet and be at ease with Royal as your steady No. 2 or No. 3 WR. (Rounds 5-7)



Four to shoot down:


Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers:

 Plagued with inconsistency throughout his NFL career, Bryant finally put together an excellent season in 2008. Finishing with 83 catches, 1,200 yards and 7 touchdowns is one heck of a season for a WR that has been a castoff for most of his career. The chemistry that Bryant displayed with ex-starting QB Jeff Garcia, now in

, will be hard to duplicate with the mystery man at QB this season for the Bucs. The options look grim in


Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich
or rookie Josh Freeman
– doesn’t sound very scary does it? As



’s sole fantasy-worthy WR, Bryant should still get his chances to make plays, just not as often as you would like. Let him slide to another owner and look elsewhere for WR help this season.


Brandon Marshall, Broncos:

I will start by saying this; I have a man-crush on

. He might be a jerk and have numerous problems off the field, but he can produce like no other when on it. Therein lies the problem. In a one sentence snapshot, here was
Marshall’s offseason: hip surgery and chose to rehab at home and not with the team, his QB was traded to

, unhappy with the Broncos because he wants a contract extension and has now asked to be traded. How was your summer vacation? With all these issues pending, a new coach and a new playbook to worry about,

should have his worst season as pro in 2009. The connection that he and Cutler had during the ’07 and ’08 seasons were fantasy magic. I don’t see that happening with the bearded wonder Orton.

is still a fabulous athlete and great WR, as for drafting him on my team in 2009 … I will pass with a tear in my eye.


Jerricho Cotchery, Jets:

After the saga of Favre in 2008, the Jets are now left with two options: Mark Sanchez
or Kellen Clemens
. The inexperience at QB and the loss of Laveranues Coles


will only bring down the value of Cotchery in 2009. His number last season (111 targets, 71 catches) were acceptable, but with no one to man the other WR spot in

New York

, Cotchery will see the brunt of defensive coverage. The addition of defensive-minded coach Rex Ryan coupled with the youth at quarterback will most likely bring a Ravens-esque offensive philosophy with an increase in the run game. If you are looking for a stable No. 3 WR in the draft this year, my suggestion is to go poking around other NFL rosters.


Terrell Owens, Bills:

T.O. scored 10 TDs and had 1,000 yards last season, which sounds good to most fantasy owners. A closer look will show that five of those TDs were in the first five weeks of the season and 213 of those yards came against the 49ers in November. With all that said, this was Owens’ worst season since 2000. Several factors are going to steer me away from drafting Owens as a No. 1 or No. 2 WR this season, here are two: 1. With questionable hands and numerous drops in seasons past, Owens will now have to deal with the harsh
Buffalo and
New England weather in November and December and 2. I don’t have the confidence in Trent Edwards to get the ball downfield to Owens on a consistent basis … that scares me and pulls me away from drafting Owens in 2009. So, when it comes time to choose your No. 1 or No. 2 WR, picture me standing near the draft board shouting … “Don’t Do It Man; Don’t Do It!”





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