Nine receivers went off the board in the fifth round, and all of them hold legit WR2 value. We have a relatively deep class of WR2 / WR3 type receivers for fantasy leagues this year, so keep this in mind if you choose to drop down at the position and grab your receivers within rounds four through seven.
41. Marques Colston
The old standby Marques Colston will give you his normal production, but at this point in the draft I would target receivers with better upside that went after him like Bowe, Bryant, Nicks, Smith, Harvin and especially Thomas.
42. Dez Bryant
It’s all about maturity with Dez Bryant as he needs to display crisper route running and the ability to condition himself to the point of playing at a high level for 60 minutes of football.
Let’s not be too hard on the third-year receiver as this will be his first full offseason as a pro because of the lockout last year. Even teammate Miles Austin attributed his poor health was due to lack of conditioning in the offseason, so expect Bryant to have a better year.
43. Dwayne Bowe
Another contract situation to keep an eye on as Dwayne Bowe doesn’t seem happy with this franchise tag. Can’t blame him, but hopefully we will see him get to camp on time. If so, Bowe stands in as a quality late WR2 to early WR3 addition.
Quarterback Matt Cassel needs a productive rushing attack to set up the passing game, and he should get that with Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis playing against the easiest schedule vs. the run.
Does strength of schedule mean anything? In this case it does, as the Chiefs had the easiest schedule on paper before the 2010 season, and found great success on the ground.
It took Bowe a little while to get started that year, but when he did, we saw one of the greatest seven-game runs in the history of fantasy football from a receiver. Maybe that won’t happen again, but Bowe is primed for a bounce-back year if he gets on the field in time for camps.
44. Hakeem Nicks
A foot ailment may cost Hakeem Nicks all of training camp. The concern shouldn’t be if Nicks gets back for week one, but more that he won’t be able to work on his conditioning throughout the summer, which is likely to set up other injuries upon his return.
Personally I’m staying away unless I can grab him as a WR3 or WR4, if he should miss up to three weeks of training camp.
45. Steve Smith
The addition of Cam Newton to the Panthers offense proved to be the fountain of youth for Steve Smith, as he got off to a hot start. In truth, Smith’s game never really diminished he just had to deal with horrible quarterback play.
I didn’t like the odds of Newton helping him last year, but from Week 1 on it was clear Smith was primed for a comeback.
Maybe Smith doesn’t have the same numbers as last year, but he’s still a great WR2 on your roster.
46. Vincent Jackson
The situation in Tampa Bay would suggest that Vincent Jackson is a worthy top 30 receiver for fantasy leagues, but I’m passing on him. I understand a good running game will help Jackson with free releases off the line as defenses load eight in the box to stop Doug Martin.
That’s great, but I still need to see more from Josh Freeman before I’m willing to believe in Jackson as even a WR3, and I likely won’t be convinced with a few big plays in the preseason.
Freeman has a long way to go as a starting quarterback, to be the player we thought he was last summer. Look to Mike Williams as a sneaky WR4 to WR5 as he will serve as the possession receiver and when they play from behind, he should produce high reception numbers.
As for Jackson, heck the guy couldn’t even play consistent football with Philip Rivers as his quarterback and Norv Turner designing the offense for mismatch opportunities. How will be do better or even the same in Tampa Bay?
47. Percy Harvin
A late-season surge put Percy Harvin as a WR1 down the stretch, but health concerns will always be in the back of fantasy owners' minds with this talented receiver. With good reason as Harvin seems to think he’s a fullback at times on the field, crashing into defenders.
It helps him break tackles and make plays, but if you take Harvin make sure you have depth to help you when he’s out of the lineup. When active, Harvin has WR1 upside because he will be the top target in this offense and his use in the running game ads value.
48. Demaryius Thomas
Lammey also goes on to discuss how Thomas has dominated in OTAs the times he’s watched him.
This will be a big breakout year for Thomas and we shouldn’t view him as some player who is getting extra hype because of postseason heroics. Thomas likely won’t be the top possession receiver on the team, as Eric Decker seems to be the favorite in that regard, but Thomas is the top receiver for fantasy purposes and could be a WR1 this year.
49. Miles Austin
Blaming his injury-filled year on poor conditioning, I’m willing to give Austin a pass because of the lockout. It’s sad to say, but we knew certain players were going to struggle because of the shortened offseason, we just didn’t know who it would be.
Give Austin another chance and now that the Cowboys offensive line has had a year to work together, Tony Romo should have a cleaner pocket to work from. It also helps that Laurent Robinson is gone, as he was a pest to Austin and Bryant’s value down the stretch.
50. Michael Vick
Believe in Philadelphia this year as the team has added quality pieces on defense and seem primed to win the East. We can’t forget about the Cowboys and especially the Giants as contenders, but if Vick is focused in his first full offseason as the Eagles starter, he should be primed for a bounce-back year.
Just two years ago Vick was one of the top players in fantasy leagues and while I don’t see him returning to that production, he’s a clear QB1 and worthy of a fifth-round pick.
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