2008 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings
1. Randy Moss (98 catches 1493 yards 23 touchdowns)
2. Terrell Owens (81 catches 1355 yards 15 touchdowns)
3. Reggie Wayne (104 catches 1510 yards 10 touchdowns)
4. Braylon Edwards (80 catches 1289 yards 16 touchdowns)
5. Andre Johnson (60 catches 851 yards 8 touchdowns (9 games))
6. Marques Colston (98 catches 1202 yards 11 touchdowns)
7. TJ Houshmandzadeh (112 catches 1143 yards 12 touchdowns)
8. Larry Fitzgerald (100 catches 1409 yards 10 touchdowns)
9. Torry Holt (93 catches 1189 yards 7 touchdowns)
10. Chad Johnson (93 catches 1440 yards 8 touchdowns)
11. Plaxico Burress (70 catches 1025 yards 12 touchdowns)
12. Steve Smith (87 catches 1002 yards 7 touchdowns)
13. Wes Welker (112 catches 1175 yards 8 touchdowns)
14. Santonio Holmes (52 catches 942 yards 8 touchdowns (13 games)
15. Anquan Boldin (71 catches 853 yards 9 touchdowns (12 games)
16. Roy Williams (63 catches 836 yards 5 touchdowns (12 games)
17. Brandon Marshall (102 catches 1325 yards 7 touchdowns)
18. Calvin Johnson (48 catches 756 yards 4 touchdowns)
19. Marvin Harrison (20 catches 247 yards 1 touchdown)
20. Hines Ward (71 catches 732 yards 7 touchdowns (13 games))
21. Roddy White (83 catches 1202 yards 6 touchdowns)
22. Jerricho Cotchery (82 catches 1130 yards 2 touchdowns)
23. Laveranues Coles (55 catches 646 yards 6 touchdowns (12 games))
24. Greg Jennings (53 catches 920 yards 12 touchdowns)
25. Donald Driver (82 catches 1048 yards 2 touchdowns)
26. Nate Burleson (50 catches 694 yards 9 touchdowns 2 return touchdowns)
27. Dwayne Bowe (70 catches 995 yards 5 touchdowns)
28. Lee Evans (55 catches 849 yards 5 touchdowns)
29. Joey Galloway (57 catches 1014 yards 6 touchdowns)
30. Bernard Berrian (71 catches 951 yards 5 touchdowns)
31. Kevin Curtis (77 catches 1110 yards 6 touchdowns)
32. Santana Moss (61 catches 808 yards 3 touchdowns)
33. Patrick Crayton (50 catches 697 yards 7 touchdowns)
34. Chris Chambers (66 catches 970 yards 4 touchdowns)
35. Isaac Bruce (55 catches 733 yards 4 touchdowns)
36. Anthony Gonzalez (37 catches 576 yards 3 touchdowns)
Notice how both the fantasy QB draft tier list and WR draft tier list have a Patriot in Tier 1, followed by a Cowboy and a Colt in Tier 2. It's really an easy choice with Randy Moss at number 1, it is just a matter of where do you take him overall in a draft? I tend to like him at about 8-10, after the top 5 running backs (LT, AP, S Jackson, Westbrook, Addai), Brady, and maybe Marion Barber. Other than that, I'll take the top wide receiver when I know 15 TD's is the low point (assuming he stays healthy). Really though, do not be surprised if Moss nears 20 again. The juggernaut Patriots did not take anyone by surprise; they simply have the talent offensively to put up massive numbers. He was the elite WR in the league with a new QB throwing to him every year in Minnesota - with a hall of famer in Brady, Moss has reached the Jerry Rice level of WR excellence.
Terrell Owens missed a game last year but has returned from his leg injury in Philadelphia to play 31 / 32 games in Dallas. He is averaging nearly a touchdown per game, and the high octane Cowboy offense should continue. Like the Patriots, we may see a slight decline, but Owens is still more reliable per game than anyone below him.
Reggie Wayne had the year of his life last year, as he and Dallas Clark the Colt WR core through the season. Maybe the biggest dip into Reggie Wayne's value will be the return of Marvin Harrison, who evidently looks healthy but who knows what to expect from him? Anthony Gonzalez also came on the last 4 weeks of the season, but it remains to be seen his role in the offense with a healthy Harrison. Wayne may get less looks, but he is still in a powerful offense and you can expect 1300-1500 yards with double digit TDs.
Braylon Edwards burst onto the scene in his third year, establishing himself as an elite WR for the Browns. His 16 TDs caught were behind only Moss, as Edwards is a monster in the red zone and likes the deep ball as well. You're likely to see the TDs drop a bit but Edwards will probably outperform his 2007 total of 1289 yards. The addition of Donte Stallworth should provide more room for Edwards to work, if not a few less balls his way.
Per game, one could argue Andre Johnson was the #2 receiver in all of fantasy. Johnson however held owners captive with his injury situation, appearing in only 9 of 16 games but performing so well in those games that said owners had to keep him. The Matt Schaub to Johnson connection has proved to be unstoppable, but Schaub himself has health issues behind that suspect offensive line. You may opt for a more safe pick like Houshmandzadeh or someone else you think will play all 16 games, but if he's on the field you are going to get about 100 yards and a TD from Andre Johnson.
Larry Fitzgerald has proven himself to be the top Arizona at this point, but Anquan Boldin still hauls in a decent amount of traffic in Arizona. Fitzgerald has some injury issues himself and has missed a few games the last few seasons, but still has been relatively consistent in the lineup. When you have a questionable quarterback situation like in Arizona, you generally downgrade the wide receivers, but Fitzgerald and Boldin have no problem getting passes from either Matt Leinart or Kurt Warner. Of the last 4 or 5 weeks last year, Kurt Warner threw more TDs than anyone including that Tom Brady guy. Not the best #1 fantasy receiver but you could do much worse.
Marques Colston came out of no where in 2006 to be the top tight end, and now is one of the WR's knocking on the door of the elites. He is almost a sure thing because of the nature of the New Orleans pass-first attack, led by Drew Brees. It's a unique attack that employs lots of outlet passes to Reggie Bush in the flat, leaving the WR's with a bit more room to work. Now they have a legitimate tight end in Jeremy Shockey. Look for a similar year from Colston because of all the looks.
TJ Houshmandzadeh is in a contract year like his friend Chad Johnson, and the Cincinnati passing attack is likely to rebound a mysteriously poor 2007. The Bengals still put up nice numbers last year, but as usual for them turnovers did them in. Houshmandzadeh is the possession receiver for Cincinnati, but even he normally averages more than 10.2 yards per catch. Still, he's guaranteed to get looks and is the touchdown machine in Cincinnati. TJ has 21 TD catches the last two years while Chad has 15 TDs. Also, Chad is the more explosive but inconsistent receiver; he can get you 200 yards and a few TDs but he'll betray you on a few weeks. TJ doesn't have the monster games but will be there for you every week.
Speaking of down years, Torry Holt and the Rams passing attack is looking to gain some revenge after a brutal 2007. Like the Bengal WR's, Holt did his part. Amazingly, Holt had 93 catches for 1188 yards and 10 TDs in 2006...and in 2007 he had 93 catches for 1189 yards and 7 TDs! 1 yard difference, and played 16 games in both years. Look for Holt to have a bigger year in 2008, if the Rams can field an offensive line that can keep Marc Bulger upright. If Bulger goes down, all bets are off, though Holt will still be the main WR. His days of being an elite WR are over, but he is still a #1 receiver on a 10-12 team fantasy league.
Steve Smith is someone who's value is very much tied to his quarterback. When Jake Delhomme is in, Steve Smith is an elite receiver. When David Carr or a similar QB is in, you don't know what is going to happen. Sometimes Smith will still get looks, other times he is ignored all game. His value throughout last year fluctuated because of this; he started off brilliant, then became irrelevant. But at the end he awarded his patient fantasy owners with a 137 yard game and a TD in week 16. Delhomme has a rapport with Smith though and that should continue assuming the two of them stay healthy. Keep in mind though with Smith that he is serving a suspension for the first few games in Carolina, so if you draft him as your #1 receiver remember you'll need quality reinforcements for the first few weeks.
Plaxico Burress has a career high 12 touchdowns in 2007, but still showed his inconsistency too often to be considered a number 1. He is still a very good #2 who can have explosive, 2 TD games any week. Last year though he had games of 2 catches 14 yards, 4 catches 24 yards, 4 catches 47 yards, 3 catches 36 yards, 3 catches 36 yards and 1 catch 6 yards. It is hard to rely on a guy who puts up almost nothing for you, but the guy also scored a TD the first 6 games so his overall numbers look nice.
Hard to tell what will happen with Wes Welker after the record setting season, but he is a hard working possession receiver so you would think not much production would fall off assuming health permits. Donte Stallworth is gone in NE so he may actually get more looks (he had 112 catches in 2007) but at the same time the Patriots will probably be running more often as well. Welker profiles as a very good #2 receiver, a poor man's Houshmandzadeh.
Anquan Boldin is another weapon in that Arizona passing attack, and he put up terrific numbers for missing four games. His monstrous 13 catch 162 yards 2 TD effort in Week 16 aided many owners who had him in the Fantasy Playoffs. Health has become a bit of a question for Anquan but he has a contract to earn so he will be motivated, and the Cardinals will likely be pass-first once again.
Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes led the convoy for Ben Roethlisberger, but they are at different points in their career and provide a different type of target. Ward is the possession receiver, who is starting to get banged up a little bit and miss a few games but also is a red zone target. Passing deep though, Big Ben looks for Santonio. Both missed 3 games but had 15 TDs between them.
Brandon Marshall like Steve Smith was suspended for a few games heading into 2008. Marshall had a breakout sophomore year, catching over 100 balls and 7 touchdowns. Jay Cutler to Marshall looks to be a Denver combo that could last for years, if Marshall's erratic behavior does not disrupt the flow. In weeks 14-17 (fantasy playoffs), Marshall averaged almost 10 catches for 100 yards and 3 TDs in 4 games. He should probably be ranked higher but likely will fall in most drafts farther than he should.
In Detroit we have Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson to watch in 2008. As a sophomore WR, Calvin is primed to break out. Jon Kitna and the offensive line are inconsistent, but Calvin's athleticism and size make it hard to cover him. Having a healthy Roy Williams on the other side should provide dividends for both. Williams is coming off an injury-ruined year, but he lacked some of the explosiveness when he was playing. His 13.3 yards per catch was a career low, as were the 5 touchdowns. Considering his talent he should be putting up closer to his 2006 totals (82 catches 1310 yards 7 TDs), so if he stays healthy look for that as a barometer.
Joey Galloway is a personal favorite ever since the 1990's with the Seahawks, running end arounds for 60 yard touchdowns. He still has the big play ability and is like a lesser version of Plaxico Burress. He'll have those non existent games like he did in Week 16 and 17 (2 catches 36 yards combined) but then he has the breakout games with 2 long TDs. Galloway always carves up divisional foe New Orleans. Almost always he ends up on my team, dropping and dropping in drafts until I take him as a #3 or #4 receiver. You'll have to guess when to play him but if you play your matchups right he'll reward you.
The Jets and Packers receivers are bunched together, because it's hard to know what exactly will happen with the Quarterback switch. Looking at Greg Jennings numbers, you have to think those touchdowns are going to come down quite a bit. If Aaron Rodgers can somehow maintain those deep passing touchdowns, Jennings may keep his numbers up. Still, 12 touchdowns on 53 catches is a TD / catch rate that is unrealistic to keep up. Meanwhile, you will likely see Donald Driver go back ahead of Jennings as the top Packer WR, and even out the TD differential a bit more. Jennings will make the big play more often, but as essentially a rookie Quarterback, Rodgers will lean on the veteran Driver.
Meanwhile Jerricho Cotchery becomes the new Greg Jennings, and he is likely to see his yards per catch continue to go up and the same with the touchdowns. Laveranues Coles at the same time is Driver-like, but a quality veteran possession receiver. Do not discount the offensive line work in New York, this will aid the passing game's numbers and Thomas Jones'. Not quite sure exactly where to rank these receivers but they seem to be solid #3's and average #2's.
Anthony Gonzalez is mentioned at the end because of his last 4 games, where he scored 3 TDs and had almost 100 yards per game. With Harrison back he becomes the #4 option behind Dallas Clark as well, and his numbers would become obsolete. He has to be watched though because of Harrison's questionable injury last year. At the same time, most are reporting Harrison to be well. If this is true he may provide some nice value to owners after killing them last year.