5 Bold Fantasy Football Predictions for the 2013 NFL Season: Wide Receivers
Fantasy football fans, it's that time of the year again.
Training camp has started and fantasy football drafts are starting up. Fantasy players across the country are checking relentlessly to see if there are any new injuries or names rising up depth charts.
With less than two weeks until the first NFL preseason, here are five bold fantasy football predictions for the wide receiver position in the 2013 season.
Torrey Smith Will Break the 1,000-Yard Mark
If you had asked me how Torrey Smith would do this season a week ago, I would have said he would have been a No. 3 fantasy receiver at best.
Oh, how much has changed in a week.
The Baltimore Ravens took a major hit, losing Dennis Pitta for the entire 2013 season. Pitta was going to be Joe Flacco's go-to target and fill in after losing Anquan Boldin.
In his first two NFL seasons, Smith has been Flacco's vertical threat. Smith may only catch a couple of passes per game, but chances are one of those receptions was going to go for a huge gain. He ranked fourth last year in average yards per reception, with 17.4 per catch.
In 2013, though, Smith is going to not only be the Ravens' deep threat, but he is also going to have to become Flacco's main receiving target at all times. Smith will be replacing both Boldin and Pitta this year as a possession receiver. Who else can Flacco throw to? Jacoby Jones is only a vertical threat. Tandon Doss has hardly any experience.
With Smith as the only legit receiver on the Ravens roster, expect him to be targeted close to 10 times per game. Look to draft him as a low-end No.2 fantasy receiver.
Mike Wallace Will Be a Disappointment
Think Mike Wallace's 2012 season was a fluke?
Wallace had his worst season last year, recording just 836 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Compare that to his 2010 and 2011 seasons, when he caught for over 2,300 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns combined.
It's time to face it. The Wallace from 2010 and 2011 is not coming back now that he is a member of the Miami Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill is not even in the same league as Ben Roethlisberger, and the Dolphins are nowhere near as good as the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tannehill is only entering his second season, and the Dolphins don't have a legit run game. You think opposing teams aren't going to focus their pass coverages on Wallace and force the Dolphins to try to beat them with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas? Last I checked, the Dolphins' other receivers, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson, don't seem to really strike any fear into many NFL secondaries.
Take Wallace as a No. 3 fantasy wideout at best. That's all he is going to be worth.
Larry Fitzgerald Will Be a Top-3 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver
2012 was by far the worst season of Larry Fitzgerald's career, and without a doubt in my mind, he will never have another season like that.
Fitzgerald is one of the most physically gifted athletes in the NFL. The man is a flat-out beast. Now that he finally has a legit quarterback again, Fitzgerald will become a top-three fantasy football wide receiver again.
Carson Palmer was able to throw for more than 4,000 yards with the Oakland Raiders. Re-read that sentence again.
The Oakland Raiders.
His wide receivers were Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Trying to compare either of those receivers to Fitzgerald would just be an insult.
Under head coach Bruce Arians, Fitzgerald is going to shine again. Fitzgerald should be drafted by the middle of the second round at the latest and will have at least 1,200 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
Tavon Austin Will Be the Best Rookie in Fantasy Football
Is there really any competition going up against Tavon Austin as the top wide receiver for the St. Louis Rams?
With Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson gone, Austin is clearly the most talented playmaker on the roster. I know he is a rookie, but within the first few weeks of the NFL season, he is quickly going to become Sam Bradford's go-to receiver.
There's a reason why the Rams traded up to the No. 8 spot in the NFL draft to take Austin. He is going to be one of the most exciting players in the NFL. The man can do it all, whether it's receiving, rushing or returning. Expect Austin to have a rookie season very similar to Percy Harvin's.
Pierre Garcon Will Be a Top-15 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver
If there is one thing you can take away from the Washington Redskins' season last year, it's that when Pierre Garcon was playing, the Redskins were a completely different team.
In the 10 games he played in last season, the Redskins went 9-1. In Garcon's last seven games of the regular season, he was targeted 52 times and recorded 33 receptions for 475 receiving yards and three touchdowns. It's clear that Robert Griffin III is going to look for Garcon whenever the Skins are throwing the ball.
After dealing with a nagging foot injury all last year, Garcon should finally be healthy for the 2013 season. Even if RG3 isn't the same type of scrambler he once was, he is still a great quarterback. With Garcon and RG3 playing together for a full season, you can easily expect Garcon to have more than 1,000 receiving yards and at least eight touchdowns.