Fantasy Football Week 1: Young WRs Who Will Star in Openers

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 24:  Wide receiver Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals catches a 16 yard touchdown reception past cornerback Gregory Gatson #31 of the San Diego Chargers during the third quarter of the preseason NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 24, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL season gets underway Thursday night, so here are a few young wide receivers that fantasy football owners should start in Week 1.

Obviously A.J. Green is the best young receiver in the game. If you have him, start him. If you are facing him, good luck.

The receivers on this list are players who may be overlooked. They are talented players but haven't been able to consistently put up big numbers.

Check out this list of the top fantasy wide receivers entering the 2013 NFL season:


Here are the young wideouts who should be given a chance in Week 1.


Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

Although the Chicago Bears are going up against a tough Cincinnati defense, fantasy owners would be wise to give Alshon Jeffery a start.

Cincinnati ranked seventh in the NFL in pass defense by allowing only 212 yards through the air. Chicago needs someone to step up this week and take the pressure off star receiver Brandon Marshall.

Jeffery is a talented player, but he had trouble staying healthy last season. The 23-year-old caught only 24 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns. He had 80 yards and a score in the season opener last year.

Jay Cutler is a strong-armed quarterback. He was able to rely on Marshall last season in their first season since being reunited. Marshall had 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns on 118 catches. Opposing defenses are going to plan around him, so look for Jeffery to be targeted a lot this season.

The 6'4" receiver will be a big threat near the goal line. He's got good size and great jumping ability, so Cutler should be able get him quite a few touchdowns this season.

Jeffery is a receiver who will punish teams for doubling Marshall. The Bengals are likely to put Leon Hall on Marshall, so Jeffery should be able to get open and catch passes. 

Chicago has the luxury of having two tall receivers, and it will be Jeffery who turns into the receiver that the Bears need him to be.


Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have Larry Fitzgerald on one side of the field, so they are hoping that Michael Floyd can have a breakout season.

Floyd was a first-round pick in 2012, but he didn't have a great season. He had only 562 yards and two touchdowns on 45 catches. It took him until Week 9 to have a game with over 36 receiving yards. 

His first catch, which came in Week 3, was a touchdown, and he didn't score again until his final catch of the season in Week 17.

Arizona was a mess at the quarterback position last year, so that is part of the reason as to why he didn't put up big numbers. With Carson Palmer throwing the football, Floyd deserves a start against the St. Louis Rams in Week 1.

The Rams allowed 225 passing yards per game last year, which ranked in the middle of the league. New coach Bruce Arians likes to be aggressive on offense, and he has a quarterback who can make big throws.

At 6'3", Floyd is a receiver who uses his size to go up and get the ball. He has great hands and will catch balls in the middle of the field.

Having a reliable quarterback will help Fitzgerald and Floyd. The Cardinals get the Rams to start the season, so it would be a smart choice to give Floyd a start as he looks to have a breakout year.


Greg Little, Cleveland Browns

Picking a Cleveland Browns receiver may not be a smart choice for much of the season, but Week 1 is a different story. Josh Gordon will miss the Browns' opener, so Greg Little will be expected to play a big role in Norv Turner's offense Sunday.

The Browns will host the Miami Dolphins, a team that ranked 27th in pass defense in 2012, to start the season. 

Little had 647 yards and four touchdowns on 53 receptions in Brandon Weeden's rookie season. The quarterback won the starting job, so the two should be able to connect more this season. 

Turner is considered to be one of the best offensive coordinators in the league. He will make his system fit Weeden's strengths. 

Little has big-play ability who has good size at 6'2". He can make tough catches, and his playmaking ability makes him the team's biggest threat.

Trent Richardson is going to be pounding the ball all game, which should help open up the passing game. 

The Dolphins didn't have a great pass defense last season, so give Little a start if you have a spot up for grabs.


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