Fantasy Football: Scouting the wide receivers
By Ed Barkowitz
Philadelphia Daily News
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: Ran an offseason camp in his hometown near Minneapolis that attracted a number of current players, plus retired guys Jerry Rice and Cris Carter. Fitzgerald takes being footballís best wide receiver seriously.
Andre Johnson, Texans: Love the chemistry heís developed with Matt Schaub. In fact, because Houston has a more reliable quarterback, bump Andre Johnson ahead of Calvin Johnson.
Randy Moss, Patriots: If you start your team with a high pick at running back, getting Moss late in the second round isnít so bad; early third round is even better.
Greg Jennings, Packers: Traditionally, the third season is when many players leap from good to great. Thatís what Jennings did in 2008 (80 grabs, 1,292 yards) and itís why the Packers gave him a new contract.
Calvin Johnson, Lions: How on earth did this guy catch 12 touchdowns last season? Even if youíre not excited about Matthew Stafford, Johnson will get his numbers.
Steve Smith, Panthers: As long as the Panthers have that powerful run game, red-zone chances for Smith will be limited. Carolinaís offense scored 45 touchdowns last year, 15 in the air, easily the lowest ratio in the league.
Roddy White, Falcons: Cashed in on his last two seasons, when he posted at least 80 catches and 1,200 yards each. Donít sweat that eight-day holdout it took to get his $50 million deal.
Marques Colston, Saints: Should get back to double-digit touchdowns now that heís healthy again.
Roy Williams, Cowboys: Notice how quiet Cowboysí camp has been this year? Getting rid of T.O., among others, will do that. Williams will be the primary guy and is a decent sleeper for a big year.
Anquan Boldin, Cardinals: hated the way he staggered to the 2008 finish line by missing the final two games after failing to record 100 yards or a score in Weeks 13 to 15.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks: Will be Seattleís top receiver, but should be your No. 1 only if youíve already nailed down your running backs and quarterback.
Brandon Marshall, Broncos: Do you really want a guy who has more baggage than a Robinson Luggage warehouse as a No. 1 receiver? Roll the dice in the middle rounds only if youíre feeling good about your first four picks.
Percy Harvin, Vikings: An intriguing prospect as a third wide receiver. Make sure your league credits wide receivers for rushing yards and return touchdowns, because the Vikings will use Harvin extensively.
Braylon Edwards, Browns: He was fantasy poison last year, prompting some to label Edwards as no better than a No. 3. Rubbish. Itís a contract year and the guy does have remarkable talent. Donít be afraid to reach for him as a second receiver.
Santonio Holmes, Steelers: The Super Bowl aside, Holmes had a mediocre season last year with 821 yards and five scores. Donít dare make him anything higher than a No. 3.
DeSean Jackson, Eagles: A sizable portion of the fantasy population will never forgive Jackson for prematurely celebrating that touchdown against Dallas. Irrational fantasy fans. Isnít that redundant?
Terrell Owens, Bills: Take Lee Evans instead.
Eddie Royal, Broncos: Will be the biggest beneficiary if (when?) teammate Brandon Marshall has his meltdown.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs: Love the guyís talent, but have this feeling that a fallout with fiery coach Todd Haley is only a matter of time. Call it a hunch, a guess, womenís intuition, whatever.
Devin Hester, Bears: There has to be concern about Hesterís ability to get off the line consistently in press coverage. Want a deep sleeper from the Bears? Earl Bennett, who will start opposite Hester and played with Cutler at Vanderbilt.
On the way up: Greg Jennings, Packers
On the way down: Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
Riskiest pick: Brandon Marshall, Broncos
Sleeper: Braylon Edwards, Browns
Please avoid: Terrell Owens, Bills
Top rookie: Percy Harvin, Vikings
THE TOP 50 (with bye weeks for each team)
1. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals 4
2. Andre Johnson, Texans 10
3. Randy Moss, Patriots 8
4. Greg Jennings, Packers 5
5. Calvin Johnson, Lions 7
6. Steve Smith, Panthers 4
7. Roddy White, Falcons 4
8. Reggie Wayne, Colts 6
9. Marques Colston, Saints 5
10. Roy Williams, Cowboys 6
11. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals 4
12. Wes Welker, Patriots 8
13. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks 7
14. Brandon Marshall, Broncos 7
15. Vincent Jackson, Chargers 5
16. Anthony Gonzalez, Colts 6
17. Lee Evans, Bills 9
18. Braylon Edwards, Browns 9
19. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs 8
20. Santonio Holmes, Steelers 8
21. DeSean Jackson, Eagles 4
22. Santana Moss, Redskins 8
23. Eddie Royal, Broncos 7
24. Percy Harvin, Vikings 9
25. Lance Moore, Saints 5
26. Donald Driver, Packers 5
27. Devin Hester, Bears 5
28. Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers 8
29. Kevin Curtis, Eagles 4
30. Hines Ward, Steelers 8
31. Steve Breaston, Cardinals 4
32. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals 8
33. Derrick Mason, Ravens 7
34. Terrell Owens, Bills 9
35. Bernard Berrian, Vikings 9
36. Laveranues Coles, Bengals 8
37. Steve Smith, Giants 10
38. Kevin Walter, Texans 10
39. Torry Holt, Jaguars 7
40. Josh Morgan, 49ers 6
41. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets 9
42. Ted Ginn Jr., Dolphins 6
43. Donnie Avery, Rams 9
44. Patrick Crayton, Cowboys 6
45. Nate Washington, Titans 7
46. Devin Thomas, Redskins 8
47. David Clowney, Jets 9
48. Domenik Hixon, Giants 10
49. Nate Burleson, Seahawks 7
50. Earl Bennett, Bears 5