Fantasy Effects of the Offseason – Wide Receiver | July 20, 2012
With Training Camp not far away and NFL fantasy players preparing hard for their big night it’s time to take a look at the Wide Receivers who have been effected by this past offseason.
Brandon Lloyd – New England Patriots
The one thing the Patriots lacked last season on offense was the deep ball option, with Ochocinco never emerging as the weapon he could have been. Lloyd will add this option as he is very capable of running deep routes and as he knows McDaniels from Denver and St. Louis. The last time Tom Brady had a genuine deep threat combined with McDaniels as offensive coordinator he threw for 50 TDs with over 20 of them going to that deep threat. Lloyd may not be Randy Moss but he is a great deep threat who never gives up on the ball which is sure to endear him to Brady.
Demarius Thomas – Denver Broncos
I don’t know if you’ve heard but the Broncos QB situation has changed dramatically with Peyton Manning replacing Tim Tebow. This is a huge upgrade in the passing game and even though the addition of Jacob Tamme at TE will cut into the targets the outside WR’s will see Thomas (and potentially Decker) will still get a huge increase in targets on last year. Now Manning may not been keen to go deep early in the season but as his strength and confidence grows Thomas will become a lethal receiving threat and has the potential to be top 5 if Manning stays healthy.
Michael Crabtree – San Francisco 49ers
It may seem that the addition of two quality receivers along with the emergence of Smith to Davis bond in the playoffs would signal a drop in Crabtree’s opportunities but that is not the way I see it going. Crabtree’s position on the outside should not be threatened by Manningham who is primarily a slot receiver and having Moss on the opposite side, providing he still has the pace, should serve to take the attention away from Crabtree. The upgrades at wideout suggest that the 49ers are going to move more towards a passing game and if they do Crabtree has high number 2/ low number 1 receiver upside.
Vincent Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jacksons big money move to Tampa raised eyebrows on both sides as it seemed that the system Tampa will use possibly will not suit him. Jackson had a tendency to give up on balls in SD and now he hass been paid he could put even less effort in. This is a horrible problem for TB with a young QB coming off a bad year and if Jackson gives up on too many balls the team may give up on him. The Bucs are also going to lean heavily on the run game with Doug Martin meaning the targets could be down and he is by no means the only decent option they have.
Mike Wallace – Pittsburgh Steelers
Wallace has been one of the most ignored stories of the offseason with a threatened hold out over contract issues but that is not what is going to affect him this year. The Steelers brought in Todd Haley with the instruction of get back to what we’re used to, pounding the rock. This combined with the emergence of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders means Wallace could see a significant reduction in targets and for someone who is not a big red zone threat his TD total could take a big hit. He has dropped down draft boards a little so could be a bargain if he can overcome a lack of targets or the Steelers have to change tactic due to injury.
Santonio Holmes – New York Jets
Shocking as it may seem but a Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow QB conundrum is bad news for wideouts. This team is going to the run the ball into oblivion and then run the ball more and only using the passing game to keep defences thinking. Holmes may see an increase in red zone targets with Burress gone but he is a serious dressing room problem especially if his targets drop as expected. Another guy who I’m very down on but with how late you will be able to draft him he may be worth the risk especially in best start leagues.
Jerome Simpson – Minnesota Vikings
Simpson has a ban to start the season but when he comes back he should slot in as the second wideout in Minnesota. The main rival to his targets will be Rudolph, Harvin and whoever is at RB out of Peterson and Gerhart. With Harvin being injury prone and Rudolph an emerging TE there is a chance he could become the top target in this offense once he comes back. A great player to stash on your roster for once he returns.
Mike Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Williams suffered from the dreaded Sophomore slump last season and his downturn fell in time with Freeman’s bad season which just added to highlight the drop off from his rookie year. This year with the addition of V.Jax Williams will no longer be the number 1 receiver and as long as he can beat out Benn for the starting wideout job he has a good chance of seeing a high percentage of the limited targets in this offense.
Randy Moss – San Francisco
The big question surrounding Moss is whether he still has the pace to be a deep threat. If he does then the possibility of him being used to keep the defence on their heels and stop them committing a large number of men to the box is one that the 49ers are sure to use and should ensure he sees a high number of snaps which could lead to a high number of targets. He showed he could prosper with a lower level QB the year he played with Cassel in New England and Smith is an improvement on him.
Justin Blackmon – Jacksonville Jaguars
After the success of AJ Green and Julio Jones in their rookie year people may feel that Blackmon can have a similar year this year but he is not the talent that Green is and his QB committee doesn’t inspire confidence. Should see the majority of the teams targets this year and if Lewis and Robinson can be effective they may draw some of the attention off of him.
Michael Floyd – Arizona Cardinals
He will be learning behind one of the best WR in the game and even though the QB quality isn’t there he has a great chance to receive a lot of single coverage. Could be a decent number 3 receiver this year and if the QB situation gets sorted out then in the long run has a chance to be a great fantasy option.
Kendall Wright – Tennessee Titans
Has a great chance to shine in his rookie year with the news about Britt’s knee surgeries which leaves fantasy owners unsure how to continue. Nate Washington was brilliant in the absence of Britt last year but the team lacked a second wide threat. CJ2K is sure to see a high number of carries and Washington will see a lot of targets as should Cook but Wright has the opportunity to grow a rapport with young QB Jake Locker.
Rueben Randle – New York Giants
Victor Cruz is more of a slot player and the loss of Mario Manningham leaves a spot open in the receiving core which has the potential to be extremely prosperous with Manning at QB. Nicks offseason injury means he could be a bit slow out the gate giving Randle the chance to earn Manning’s trust early. A great late round pick up as Giants receiver seem to explode every year with one of the elite triggermen.