2010 Wide Reciever Outlook

By Mike Cannici

The 2010 season is upon us and like every other football fan on the planet, I cannot wait.  My name is Mike Cannici and today I am going to take an in depth look at my 2010 fantasy football WR rankings.  These rankings are geared around regular draft formats and auctions as well as keeper leagues.   I have been playing fantasy football for ten years now. I’ve participated in 23 leagues, and have only missed the playoffs twice.  I may not officially be an expert, but great value will come from this article as I am an experienced and successful fantasy football player.  Based on my years of success and experience and knowledge of auction, draft, and keeper leagues I feel as though I have a lot that I can contribute to this site and its readers.  Without further ado, here are my receiver rankings for the 2010 season.

Tier 1   (TOP of the line wideouts to build your receiving corps around, draftable in the first two rounds and going for anywhere around $40-50 in auctions. $200 salary cap, most common)

1. Andre Johnson—- Far and away the #1 guy.  The last two seasons Johnson has compiled over 3,100 receiving yards and 17 TDs.  While he has never scored double digit TD’s in a single season, he is consistent and is in a great offense with a quality QB getting him the ball.  I see no reason why he shouldn’t be the # 1 WR off the board and make for an excellent keeper in dynasty leagues.

2. Larry Fitzgerald— Fitzgerald would have a shot at the #1 spot if Matt Leinart was a proven competent quarterback. Fitzgerald is one of the most consistent guys in the NFL but because of Leinart and the departure of Anquan Boldin, there are some question marks regarding Fitzgerald this year.  I do believe his athleticism and hands will be enough to overcome those issues and he should still finish the year as a top 3 WR and potentially #1. UPDATE: Fitz suffered a MCL sprain in his last preseason game will be out from the remainder of the preseason. He is still expected to be ready for week 1 however.

3. Randy Moss—— The days of Brady to Moss dominating week in and week out may be numbered.  However, we should believe that with Tom Brady still playing quarterback in New England and this year being the last year of his contract, all signs point to a great year for Moss. He’s scored double digit TD’s, had at least a 1,000 yards receiving and 69 receptions for three straight seasons.  There is no reason why Moss’ productivity should take a hit. Don’t hesitate to take this guy as your #1 WR in the middle of the 2nd round if AJ and Fitz are gone.  With Brady fully recuperated from his knee surgery, Moss could be in for a monster season.

4. Reggie Wayne— — Wayne has been the model of consistency over the past few seasons.  Even though he struggled a bit down the stretch last season, he still put up more than respectable numbers. I expect him to have another 1,000 yards and 8-10 TDs this season despite the countless targets Indianapolis has.  Defenses can’t afford to double cover Wayne too often, so he will get his numbers.  There really is no reason to be wary of Reggie Wayne, as he’ll get his.

Tier 2  ( The Mid #1 wideouts draftable anywhere from late 2nd to early 4th round who could easily finish in Tier 1 and going for around $28-39 in auctions.)

5. Roddy White— With Matt Ryan continuing his development as one of the best young players in the league, White is capable of making the leap into the top three at his position.  Since 2007, White has averaged 85 receptions and nearly 1200 yards, making him a surefire #1 receiver and a 2nd or early 3rd round pick in PPR leagues.

6. Calvin Johnson— Johnson is a guy who, along with White, could make the leap next year into the top tier of wide-outs.  He’s a big, physical receiver who has a ton of talent. The main concerns with Johnson are with his health and his QB, who should improve enough this year to get “Megatron” the ball and elevate him into the top wide-out we all expected in ‘09.  Johnson is not a major play in PPR leagues as he recorded just 48, 77, and 67 catches respectively the last three seasons.  Barring an injury to either him or Stafford, look at the 77 receptions and 12 TDs he put up in ‘08 and set your expectations accordingly.  If Megatron drops in drafts below guys like Miles Austin, Sidney Rice and DeSean Jackson, he will likely end up being a steal.  He becomes a great pick as well in keeper or dynasty leagues, especially if you can get him at a discount after his numbers dipped last season.

7. Miles Austin— Austin is a guy I saw play back in my High School days, but he was known more as a basketball player back then.  However, I am glad to see he’s showing the potential many saw in him back in North Jersey in 01’ and 02’.  He’s both a speedy and physical receiver who runs great routes, has good hands, and dates Kim Kardashian which may or may not be good for Austin and his fantasy owners.  It took Roy Williams demise for Austin to get his first real opportunity last year and he definitely made the best of it.  The only issue with him is longevity, as he’s only done it for one year. With that being said, I wouldn’t hesitate drafting him as my #1 WR after the top six are gone.  Austin was the NFL’s top breakout wide receiver of 09’ at WR, and may very well outperform last season’s numbers.  In keeper and dynasty leagues sign this guy for the max contract as he will meet or exceed your expectations.

8. Brandon Marshall— Here’s a guy I absolutely love in 2010 because of his size, ability, strength and the fact that he caught 100 balls from Captain of the Mediocre, Kyle Orton.  Why can’t he do that again with Chad Henne, who really came on at the end of ’09?  Marshall is an absolute beast and a tremendous playmaker who can make any corner look silly (except Revis, who he’ll have to face twice this year, or maybe Asomugha).  I see a similar season receptions-wise, around 90, as well an increase in yardage and TD numbers between 8 and 12.  Draft Marshall with confidence in the third or fourth rounds of your draft and don’t be afraid to pay a good price for him in your auctions and dynasty leagues as he will be well worth the money.

Tier 3  (Guys in the 4th -7th rounds I believe will pay big dividends on draft day and figure to invest in the $19-26 range in auctions)

9. Steve Smith (Carolina)— Smith is flying under the radar a bit because of an arm injury.  As of today, (8/17) he is back on the field and should be good to go for week one.  You can’t break your arm three times in one year, can you?  Smith developed a good relationship with new QB Matt Moore at the end of last year, putting up 78 yards, 83 yards and a TD, 157 yards and a TD, and 60 yards and a TD during the games Moore started.   Don’t worry about his arm; he’ll be just fine and can provide you quality high end WR2 and probably low-end WR1 numbers so draft him with confidence. Be careful not to overpay if your league mates are concerned with his arm and wait the extra round.  Fantasy is all about value, so talk him down in the days and weeks leading up to the draft and see what you can get him for on draft day. You can probably get him at solid value in auction leagues as well.

10. Sidney Rice— This spot would have been Vincent Jackson’s if he wasn’t holding out, so instead the ‘09 breakout player with a bad hip jumps to this spot.  Why?  While he was oft-injured in his first two seasons and had different QBs throwing him the ball which led to his struggles, Rice was healthy last year with Brett “the ageless wonder” Favre throwing him the ball which led to a HUGE ‘09 season.  There are some concerns with the hip and Favre’s return but I don’t think either of those things will be an issue week one.  As I said with Smith, talk the injury and Favre’s uncertainty up and see what kind of value you can get him at in your drafts.  I like this guy a lot in 2010. Favre will be back and it should be back to business. You shouldn’t jump all over him just yet in dynasty and keeper leagues with his QB in question, but for redraft leagues, jump on board.  UPDATE: 8/24- Obviously you know Favre is back unless you live in the woods in Alaska. However the big news is that Sidney Rice had surgery on his hip today and will miss at least half the season. Downgrade him severely at this point. Still he’s worth a late draft selection to stash on your IR and is still worth about $10 dollars in auctions.

11. Desean Jackson— I play a lot in PPR leagues so I don’t usually value guys like this in my top 12. Jackson, however, is a different story, Kolb won’t get the ball to him downfield quite as much as Donovan McNabb did, but he should get some shorter passes and turn them into big plays with his speed. This year he can climb into the high 70’s low 80’s in receptions with Kolb at the helm.  Keeper/Dynasty leagues bump this guy up a few spots based on his age but the immaturity and inconsistency may still be there so don’t go nuts. As a WR2 with WR1 upside it may be worth the gamble.

12. Greg Jennings— I’m not a huge fan of Jennings, but with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, his value takes a significant boost.  With 35 year old Donald Driver’s offseason knee surgery looking like a major issue, Jennings may be in for another “ubpar year with all the double coverages he will see.  If Driver proves healthy, or if Jordy Nelson and James Jones finally step up it will help Jennings immensely.  I’d look for around 82-88 receptions, 1100 yds and 7-8 TD’s this year at best from Jennings.

13. Marques Colston— Here’s a guy who is surrounded by more talent and targets than probably any other receiver on this list thus far.  That is the primary reasonI am not a huge fan of him, and couple that with his injury history and I think drafting him as a High end #2 WR is a big mistake.  Don’t draft him as anything more than a low level #2. If he struggles early on, try and move him for some value.  Talk him up if you must.  Colston, will not be terrible but he won’t live up to the pick you need to use to get him. Definitely do not pass any of the above or the two below here in ppr leagues to get him.

14. Anquan Boldin— I love Boldin’s prospects this year. I think he’s in a better situation with the Ravens then he would have been in with Arizona with Matt Leinart at the helm.  I think Flacco will improve tremendously this year. While Boldin is lining up opposite Derrick Mason and not Larry Fitzgerald, Mason is no slouch. The guy is tough as nails and if you need any evidence, look how quickly he recovered from the fractured face he suffered against the Jets. He was back within three weeks. Even with the games he’s missed over the years, he still puts up better or similar numbers to some low end WR1.  I’ve had this guy on many teams over the years and have never once disappointed. This year if you own him, you won’t be either.  Look for him in the 5th round of your draft and I wouldn’t condemn you for taking him over Jennings or Colston as he just might be a little safer.

15. Steve Smith(NYG)— PPR machine last year in the “new” high-powered passing attack of my G-Men.  With the development of Hakeem Nicks, I see this offense putting up similar if not better passing numbers than last year. Even if the running game picks it back up I would expect another 95+ receptions and 1,000yds. He did slow down late last year but I think he continues with his production and will be very solid in PPR leagues.

Tier 4 – I call this my breakout tier of wideouts (except Ocho and Welker) who maybe catapult into low tier 2 or high tier 3 in 2011. These wideouts are mid rounds picks with big upside. Invest $15-21 in auctions

16.  Chad OchoCinco—He’s not a breakout candidate by any means but I still think he has a lot left in the tank. With the addition of Terrell Owens, I think that will actually help him rather than hurt him.  If and when there are double teams or safeties over the top, they will be on Owens side since he’s more of a deep threat, opening up 85 for the underneath stuff.  Esteban, as they call him in the new Madden, no joke go check it out, will put up similar numbers to last year as long as Palmer stays healthy.  Draft him confidently as a low end #2 WR and reap the rewards.

17. Michael Crabtree— Crabtree is the first “breakout” player I’m writing about on this list for 2010. He is also a keeper of mine in a league.  I can’t wait to see what he can do with a full training camp and preseason under his belt.  He put up very respectable numbers last year in 11 games, as he was targeted 86 times and caught 48 of them. 56% of his targets became receptions. Crabtree’s numbers from last year projected over a full season would give him around 70 receptions and about 1,000 yds. I believe he exceeds both those marks this year and puts up about 6-7 Tds. This may be the last year you can get this guy as a WR2 or 3, so spend the money on this guy, it will be a great investment. Draft him as a low-end #2 with #1 upside and don’t believe the negativity about Alex Smith. Crabtree will succeed regardless of who is under center.

18. Wes Welker— Another PPR machine, Welker would be ranked higher if wasn’t for the ACL injury.  Welker looks good so far in camp, making cuts and not showing any negative signs.  If that keeps up, then bump him up a few spots on your draft board because right now it looks like he’ll be ready for week 1.  He’s another guy that you may be able to wait on or get for a few dollars under his value if others in your league are being scared off by the injury.

19. Hakeem Nicks— The “Plaxico replacement” in Giants land has showed major signs of being more than capable of achieving that.  Nicks, who had only 9 starts in ’09, as well as playing on a broken foot had 74 targets, catching 47 of them for 790 yards and 6 TD’s last year. On A BROKEN FOOT he put those numbers up which is just a remarkable feat. This is coming from a guy who broke every bone in his foot and ankle. I know how painful that is.  That gives me that much more respect for the guy.  Nicks has huge potential as well and I can easily see him getting double digit TD’s and over 1,200yds receiving this year. Take him as Mid level #2 with ELITE upside. Bid a little more aggressively in dynasty and keeper leagues because this dude is legit. He fits the Anquan Boldin mold.

20. Dwayne Bowe— Will the real Dwayne Bowe please stand up? Really, stand the heck up already dude. The positive spin is that he’s immensely talented, and isn’t in the coach’s dog house like last summer. What’s holding him back most is what’s between his ears.  Bowe, going into his 4th season, will finally become what we all saw flashes of in his rookie year. He will shake that taboo of LSU guys not being able to cut it as pro’s and become a solid #2 WR.

Tier 5 (These guys are mid-round guys some with upside, some are safe vets that will not be sexy but will get the job done.  Auction owners spend around $12-16 on these guys and you’ll thank me)

21A- Benard Berrian- Now with Rice out for at least half the season and Percy and his headaches Berrian could be in a for a very productive year. Brett Favre is going to have to throw to somebody and it’s not gonna be Visante Shiancoe allday. Berrian is still a speedy receiver who can get open and Favre of course can get him the ball.

21B- Percy Harvin— Here’s a high upside guy with loads of talent, and tons of speed, but sadly, also has problems with migraines.  Many in my family suffer from them and I hear that they are by no means fun.  I have been lucky enough to never have them, but I can imagine how hard it is to play pro football with that lingering issue.  He is another guy like Sidney Rice who benefits from Favre, but I believe since he’s more of a slot guy would do just fine with Jackson or Rosenfels at QB too.  His big issue is what’s going on in his head, literally, but different than Bowe’s.  Take him as a low-end WR2 or 3 with confidence and he should outperform the pick.

22. Hines Ward—In the last couple of years, Hines hasn’t gotten much respect on draft day but he always finishes with top 20-25 numbers.  He’s good for 80+ catches and around 1,000yds year in and year out.  Ward will be without Big Ben for at least a month, but if Leftwich or Dixon can be somewhat productive until Ben gets back, he’s in for another solid season.

23. Mike Sims-Walker— Love this guy, but he’s injury prone, inconsistent and in an offense that boasts the possible BEST PPR RB around in MJD.  Sims-Walker has nice upside but is still is unproven. I would still love to have him as my #3 WR.

24. Terrell Owens— Terrell Owens in Cincinnati with Ocho Cinco definitely makes for an interesting story.  That storyline hould be fun to watch this season.  I still think he’s got enough speed and good enough hands to be a solid WR3 in most leagues, but if you’re going into your draft expecting Owens to be the 2007 version you’re going to be disappointed.

25. Santana Moss— Moss isn’t a sexy name, unless we’re talking about Randy, but for years with Jason Campbell manning the controls he put up solid WR2 and 3 numbers.  Now he has McNabb as his QB and I would expect better numbers. Take him as your WR3 and you may be pleasantly surprised when he gives you WR2 numbers.

26. Vincent Jackson— This guy pisses me off.  We all know he’s worth more than the 600K San Diego wants to pay him this year but seriously dude this hold out isn’t helping you or your fantasy owners. Well it may help those of us in Dynasty/Keeper leagues because we can get him very cheap and have him for next year.  However for those re-draft leagues be easy.

27. Dez Bryant— Bryant is a multi-talented rookie who will all but eliminate Roy Williams from the equation by mid-season.  It usually takes Rookie wideouts a while to adjust but the big physical WRS are the ones that breakout the quickest. You will have to temper your expectations for this season a little, but in dynasty and keeper leagues, make a pass at him a little earlier than others as he will be a big time receiver sooner than later.

28. TJ Houshmanzadeh— It seems like so long ago when people were in love with this guy, but he has fallen since he left Cincy. He should still put up decent numbers but it’s probably best just to leave him alone.

Tier 6 (Undervalued Guys with BIG upside draftable in the round 8-14 range and in the $6-12 range in auctions)

29. Pierre Garcon— This guy could easily end the year in the top 20 when it’s all said and done. The Frenchman from Mount Union will bring Indy back to the hay days of Harrison/Wayne, and I will bet my life on that.  I’m a big fan of this guy and don’t worry about going the extra $1 or jump the extra round to get him, as it will pay HUGE dividends in the end.

30. Johnny Knox— This guy has gained a ton of hype so far along with his teammate Devin Aromashadu but I think Knox is the man to own in the new Martz offense. It looks like he is Jay Cutler’s favorite target this preseason. Right now he might not be the #1 on the team but he will be there by seasons end so grab this guy as your #3 and you won’t be disappointed.

31. Jeremy Maclin— Now entering his sophomore campaign, I look for Maclin to disappoint fantasy owners.  He has all the tools you need to be a successful WR in the NFL , but I think at some point Jason Avant or another receiver comes out of the wood work and forces him to the #3 spot.

32. Malcolm Floyd— This guy is a big receiver who has never fully lived up to his potential, but had a solid season last year with 776yds but only 1 TD.  He’s the guy now in SD, assuming Vincent Jackson continues his inauspicious absence, and I think he will succeed.  Take him in the 10-11th round and I think you’ll have yourself a very nice #3 or 4 WR.  He’s similar to Jackson in that he won’t have a ton of receptions but I think with his size and speed he could give you 80% of the VJax yards and TD totals.

33. Santonio Holmes— Here’s another guy who will miss some time, because he made some bad decisions. However, a more seasoned Mark Sanchez will be able to get this guy the ball a lot in position to succeed..  He’s a playmaker with a troubled past but tremendous talent.  When he returns from suspension he should be a nice addition to the Jets offense.

34. Mike Wallace— Wallace could be a quality WR3 this year, as long as Big Ben stays away from strip clubs during his suspension and makes it back. I don’t think he’ll have a ton of value until Ben comes back in early October, so don’t pay more than you have to for him unless you’re in a dynasty or keeper league. He does have big time talent and as long as you draft him as your #4 and not # 3, you’ll walk away a happy camper.

35. Robert Meachem— He had a “breakout” 09’ and could continue that theme in 2010 but I just don’t see it. Meachem is already banged up and as I said earlier in the Colston post, Brees has 100 different options to get the ball too.  He won’t be terrible, just don’t see him living up to the hype right now. He’s currently being drafted as the 25th WR in mock drafts, which would make him a low end 2 or high end WR3 in 12 team leagues. I believe that is too high a standing for Meachem.

36. Lee Evans— Someone is going to get the ball in Buffalo and with T.O. gone, it’s going to be Evans.  As bad as people have thought he’s been over the past few years, he hasn’t finished outside the top 28 of WR’s in any of those years.  By no means overpay for him, but based on where he’s been going he can be a be a decent pick for you late in your draft.  Draft him as a #4 or #5 WR and watch him outperform his 09’ season and give you quality mid level #3 WR numbers.

37. Braylon Edwards— Edwards, is a big physical receiver who had a breakout season with Cleveland in ‘07 but has done little since then.  I look for him to improve greatly this year especially with Holmes missing the first month of the season.  He has got all the attributes you look for in a #1 receiver.  He just needs to step his game up and with that new look Osama beard he may get it done. At the middle to end of your drafts he could be a nice value pick for you.

38. Donald Driver— Driver has bum knees, and is in his mid 30’s but people have been down on him for years now and he still produces.  He’s definitely on the decline but if he can stay healthy he might have 1 or 2 more solid years in him. Draft him with confidence as your #5 WR and it could just work out to one of those same boring but productive seasons of the past.

39. Kenny Britt— Britt was a guy I loved out of college, but he’s got some immaturity and conditioning issues. If he can get past those issues, Britt is a big physical receiver who showed flashes last year and can be very productive for you in 2010. Don’t let him slip by you on draft day as I project big things from this kid. Taking him as your #5 WR it’s a low risk/high reward pick.

40. Steve Breaston— The new #2 in Arizona with Matt Leinart.  He was great a few years ago as there slot guy but not sure he can do the same as there # 2.  I like their new slot guy, Early Doucet much more for the upcoming season but Breaston isn’t a terrible option as your WR5 late in drafts or for $5-$7. if you pay any more you’ll be in for a big disappointment.

41. Mike Williams(TB)— This talented young rookie has all the makings of a future star in this league.  I love QB Josh Freeman’s big arm and think he will have an above average sophomore campaign, which will help Williams value.  Dynasty/Keeper owners look at this kid in the middle of your drafts or in the mid first round of your dynasty rookie drafts as he will be a star for years in this league.

42. Devin Aromashadu— The other Devin in Chicago showed some flashes late last season and I think he has a bright future in this league.  Aromashadu developed a nice relationship with Big Money Jay Cutler at the end of last year and should improve upon that in the 2010 campaign.  He is the Devin to own in so jump on him as your #5 and enjoy the ride to a #3.

43. Julian Edelman— Not much to say here, he’s Wes Welker light. If Welker were to miss time, bump Edelman up about 12-15 spots from here especially in PPR leagues. Number 5 WR right now with tremendous PPR upside in the future or right away with a Welker injury.

44. Jericho Cotchery— The “third wheel” in Gang Green’s receiving corps but probably the one who’ll be the most consistent week in and week out.  Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards will have some huge games, but they’ll also have some duds. You shouldn’t expect 15-20 pts a week from Cotchery, but 8-12 pts consistently in PPR formats sounds about right.

45. Derrick Mason— Mason is not a sexy pick like Donald Driver and Lee Evans but is a staple of consistency that can definitely help you. Having newly acquired WR Anquan Boldin opposite him in Baltimore this season could pay major dividends.

TIER 7  (  Pure upside and sleeper potential in this tier, guys you can get from rounds 14 and higher or for under $5 in auctions )

46. Golden Tate— I don’t consider this guy as much of a sleeper as I do a high upside guy.  The Seahawks are weak at WR and I believe Tate has the ability to step in week 1 and be there number two guy.  Tate will have his rookie growing pains but I think if you can get him late in your draft or on the cheap, he’s worth the gamble.  In dynasty and keeper formats you’ll probably have to pay the price to get him, but then he can be yours for years to come.  Don’t overdraft the guy as you never should overdraft anyone but if he’s lurking around in your redraft or shallow keeper league take a chance on him as your #5+ WR.  As I stated earlier, at this point, you’ve drafted your “go to” guys, and now it’s time for some upside picks.

47. Donnie Avery and Laurent Robinson— I put these guys both in at #47 because honestly, I think they both can put up the same production. It’s going to be tough with a rookie QB in Bradford, but I definitely see one becoming a diamond in the rough.  Avery started off the ’09 season on a tear before he suffered a season ending leg injury.  Both guys have big upside, so late in your draft take a chance on both because I promise at least one will pay big dividends by season’s end.

48. Austin Collie and Anthony Gonzalez— Who will emerge as the #3 this year? The answer here will come down to how Gonzalez has recovered from his injury.  Whoever becomes the odd man out will suffer a big hit in numbers and the other will be able to produce around 65-75 receptions and over 800yds with 4-5 TD’s.  If your draft isn’t until end of pre-season then you’ll know who should be getting the call week 1 in the slot. If your draft is coming up soon I would put my money on Collie mainly because Gonzalez’s injury status.

49. Early Doucet— Here’s another LSU guy who really didn’t get a chance until the ’09 playoffs.  I like him a lot this year, especially since he can beat you two ways. He can go underneath or down the field. Doucet is the receiver in Arizona who will benefit most from Leinart’s weak arm and put up solid numbers across the board.  Early is not a starter as of yet but could transition his way into your flex spot by mid season in ppr leagues.  Look for him very late in your drafts and take shot, you’ve got nothing to lose at that point.

50. Jacoby Jones— Jones was productive last year as he had 6 TD’s in fairly limited playing time. This kid’s raw talent is just too good to keep off the field. I’d look for Jones to start opposite the man child Andre Johnson and by October start to emerge as a Flex wideout. Take a flier on him if his preseason hype hasn’t gotten around to your league mates yet.

Good luck drafting everyone and any questions or suggestions; you may email me at mtcannici@gmail.com.

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