The NFL draft is quickly approaching and there has been a lot of movement in the wide receiver circle. What better time to start exploring the 2013 fantasy football running back landscape?
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Megatron shattered the NFL receiving record with 1,964 yards last year. The only knock is on his touchdown total (five). He had 16 and 12 the previous two season respectively, so a return to double-digit scores in highly probable.
2. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Dez finished with 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, but averaged 109.8 yards per game with 10 touchdowns in the final eight games. He showed incredible toughness and dedication playing through his finger injury. He’s arrived.
3. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Marshall finished with 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 118 receptions were tied for second with Wes Welker and his 194 targets were tied for second with Reggie Wayne. Megatron led both categories. Marshall is a physical receiver with a quarterback (Jay Cutler) that loves to throw his way.
4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Green finished with 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. He only had one score in the last six weeks and only topped 60 yards in two of the last five weeks. Despite a “slow” finish, Green is a steady performer.
5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Julio finished with 1,198 and 10 touchdowns. He had five touchdowns in the final six games and a monster game (182 yards, two touchdowns) in the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
6. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Johnson stormed back with 1,598 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 147 yards over the last seven games. He’s still a slight injury risk, having missed 12 games in 2010 and 2011, but he’s still a force.
7. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Thomas finished with 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had six touchdowns in the final seven games. I would rank him higher if Wes Welker didn’t join Eric Decker in the Broncos’ WR corps.
8. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
V-Jax finished with 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns. He only had one touchdown in the final six games, but his size (6′ 5″, 230 lbs) gives him an advantage over the opposing secondary.
9. Victor Cruz, Restricted Free Agent
All signs point to Cruz sticking with the New York Giants. His 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns are slightly disappointing compared to 2011′s 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns, but he remains one of the game’s top threats.
10. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
White has averaged 1295.5 yards and 8.2 touchdowns over the past six seasons. Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Steven Jackson will prevent opposing defenses from keying in on Roddy.
11. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
Crabtree finished with 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns. He really clicked with Colin Kaepernick and finished strong, averaging 83.1 yards with six touchdowns in the final eight games. Crabtree averaged 95 yards and a touchdown in the Niners’ three playoff games.
12. Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks
Harvin averaged 92.4 total yards with five total touchdowns in the first eight games last year. He gets an upgrade at quarterback from Christian Ponder to Russell Wilson. It’s likely that he gets more use in the red zone with Seattle.
13. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
Wayne finished with 1,355 and five touchdowns. He was one of the most heavily targeted receivers last year. Andrew Luck figures to be even better in 2013.
14. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Cobb finished with 1,086 total yards and nine touchdowns. Greg Jennings’ departure to the Minnesota Vikings opens things up for the Packers receivers.
15. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Nelson dealt with injuries for a lot of season, even missing four games. He finished with 745 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s 22 touchdowns in the past 28 games.
16. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
OK, I’ll bite. With Carson Palmer on board, Fitz could return to form. He was limited to 798 yards and four touchdowns last year, but averaged 1,296 yards in the prior five seasons. My only concern is Palmer’s ability to remain upright behind their offensive line. They allowed at least 50 sacks in each of the past three years.
17. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
Colston finished with 1,154 yards with 10 touchdowns. He has had at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in six of his seven seasons.
18. Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
Wallace got paid. He had just 836 yards last year, but has scored 26 touchdowns over the past three seasons.
19. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco really got paid. Anquan Boldin is gone. The Ravens are making the transition to a more pass-happy team. Smith, who had 855 yards and eight touchdowns last year, is ready to take the next step in his third season.
20. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
Decker had 1,064 yard and 13 touchdowns. Welker will cannibalize some of that production.
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