Unlike running backs, wide receivers tend to have a much longer shelf life, which makes them very keeper friendly in the fantasy football world.
Getting 1-2 young elite wide outs on your roster can solidify your team’s strength year after year. While youth is always a great commodity in keepers, veteran wideouts are still extremely valuable. This is especially true since the receiver position is one of the hardest to learn, and most wide outs take two or three years to fully acclimate to the NFL game.
So, if you’re eyeing that shiny rookie wide out who is going to be the next great thing, it’s always good to snag some proven guys to balance out your roster. That being said, here are my (Bruno Boys Dominic) Top 30 keeper league WRs.
1. Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)—Age 25
Meet the new crown jewel of wide receivers. There is no questioning his talent, determination, or character. He’s a team guy, loves the game, and has put up double-digit TDs and over 1,400 yards for the past two seasons. The only thing that raises concern is whether or not Matt Leinart (or whomever Warner’s successor will be) can get him the ball.
The good news is, no matter who it ends up being, Fitzgerald should automatically make them better.
2. Andre Johnson (HOU)—Age 28
The only thing keeping him from the No. 1 spot is the fact that he is three years older than Fitzgerald, and has not caught as many TDs. The latter should soon change, though.
He’s on a young and talented offense, and has a QB with top five potential throwing him the ball. He’ll make a strong case for that number one spot by the end of the season.
3. Calvin Johnson (DET)—Age 23
Youth, outstanding talent, and a stellar character make Megatron one of the most attractive fantasy football receivers for a keeper league, or any league for that matter.
With a rookie as his QB, he’ll no doubt end up dropping on some people’s lists, but last season he hauled in 12 TDs and over 1,300 yards with Dan Orvlovsky throwing to him. All that was on an 0-16 team. Just imagine what he’ll do when the team gets better.
4. Greg Jennings (GB)—Age 25
When a young stud receiver has a young stud QB throwing him the ball, it’s a beautiful thing. Jennings has no doubt become Rodger’s favorite down-field target. He’s totaled over 2,000 yards and 21 TDs over the past two years. As QB Aaron Rodgers gets better, so will Jennings. Long-time receiver Donald Driver may still have enough gas in the tank to produce, but it’s Jennings' turn, and everyone knows it.
5. Roddy White (ATL)—Age 27
White’s TD totals need to increase for him to truly belong here, but the Falcons’ superb running game and ball-control play calling from the coaches for a rookie QB can be blamed for that.
Last season, the coaches learned that Matt Ryan is the real deal, and Roddy is definitely his No. 1 guy. As the coaches let Ryan throw the ball more, White will be the one who benefits the most. The addition of Tony Gonzalez may take some scores away, but it will also create some space for this speedy receiver to make big plays.
6. Randy Moss (NE)—Age 32
If you’re building for the long-term future, Moss may not be your guy. If you’re looking for 3-5 years of elite production, that’s another story.
Plenty of risk does come with taking Moss. He’s older, making him more prone to injuries or his body slowing down. If the Patriots win the Super Bowl in the next year or two, he may call it quits and go out on top. However, you just can’t argue with 23 TDs. Anyone linking his production with Brady should note that Moss put up 11 TDs and 1,000 yards last year with the Pro Bowl QB on the sidelines.
7. Anquan Boldin (ARI)—Age 28
Boldin remains one of the toughest and most skilled wide outs in the league. He missed four games last year with (literally) a broken face and still came back to finish the season strong, totaling 11 TDs and over 1038 yards. No matter where he ends up next year, he’ll remain a great fantasy receiver. If he ends up playing under the right circumstances, he’ll reach elite status.
8. Brandon Marshall (DEN)—Age 25
Oh, if he only had a brain. Marshall is super talented and has all the characteristics of a top notch receiver.
Unfortunately, that includes the diva complex.
Marshall will definitely be on a new team either this year or the next, and if he lands in the right spot, could be a top five player for years and years. The problem is, he needs to show he can stay out of trouble on and off the field. Until he does that, his immaturity and bad decision making serve as a big red warning sign to owners.
9. Marques Colston (NO)—Age 26
Under the Saint’s prolific passing game, Colston is virtually a lock for double-digit TDs every season. That is, if he can remain healthy.
After micro-fracture surgery, that’s a big if.
Still he has plenty of upside: he’s only 26, he’s QB Drew Brees' first look on the field, and the Saints should be a powerful offense for the next several years. So, if all medical signs look good, there’s no reason he can’t put up huge numbers going forward.
10. Reggie Wayne (IND)—Age 30
Last year, he experienced a significant drop in TD totals, but that’s understandable considering the entire team suffered when Manning was banged up. Age is catching up to him, but history has shown us that if there is one thing a receiver wants to be, it’s Peyton Manning’s favorite target.
As long as the Colts can continue their success in the passing game, Wayne is good for another five years of solid production.
11. Steve Smith (CAR)—Age 30
Smith may be 30, but he’s good for at least another three to five seasons of spectacular fantasy production. He has put up over 1,000 yards for the last four seasons, and is the No. 1 guy for Jake Delhomme.
The only reasons he’s not higher in the keeper rankings are that his size makes him more vulnerable to injuries, and Carolina’s elite running combination of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart may continue to steal TDs from his stat column.
12. Braylon Edwards (CLE)—Age 26
Edwards may be remembered for dropping balls in a very disappointing 2008 season, but his 16 TDs in 2007 were no fluke. He’s on a bad team right now, and while it’s true he gets a case of the dropsies too often, so does Terrell Owens, one of the most highly-touted receivers out there.
Edwards is in a contract year; not only will he be playing for his next gig this season, but after it’s over, it’s not unlikely that he ends up somewhere that could spike his value big time (maybe perhaps, the boys in blue?). Regardless of where he ends up, he has the size, speed, and skills to be a top fantasy option.
13. Dwayne Bowe (KC)—Age 24
The loss of Tony Gonzalez may force more double teams, but it’s also going to give Bowe more opportunities to score. Last year, he brought in seven TDs and over 1,000 yards. If Cassell can prove he’s for real, Bowe could easily become the consistent double-digit TD guy you want on your team each season.
14. Vincent Jackson (SD)—Age 26
Despite last year, the run game has been the focal point of San Diego’s offense for awhile, and that may not change in the near future; however, Rivers is maturing into a fine QB, and Jackson is quickly becoming his go-to guy. He’s a huge threat in the red zone, and has the speed and size to go deep.
The Chargers' offense is absolutely dynamic, so grabbing this guy before he becomes a legitimate stud would be wise.
15. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (SEA)—Age 32
The success of Houshmandzadeh relies heavily on the health of QB Matt Hasselbeck. Though, in all fairness, he could do a lot worse than back-up QB Seneca Wallace. The good news is Hasselbeck has looked phenomenal in preseason, and if he can keep it up, T.J. will be raking in the TDs. Temper your expectations in terms of longevity, and don’t expect more than three or four good years going forward.
16. Wes Welker (NE)—Age 28
His TDs dropped to a mere three in 2008, but with Brady back, he should return to his 2007 numbers (eight TDs). Welker has racked up over 100 receptions in the past 2 seasons, making him extremely valuable in PPR leagues. He’s a tough player who’s unafraid to take a hit in the middle in order to make the catch. Brady loves him for it, and more importantly, he loves throwing him the ball.
17. Chad Ocho Cinco (CIN)—Age 31
If you got fantasy points for flair, he’d be atop this list. Ocho Cinco is 31, but still a very talented receiver. He’ll have to prove that both his body and attitude can remain healthy and productive in 2009, but with Carson Palmer back, expect him to look Ocho’s way often. Three big questions remainm though: Can Palmer stay on the field?, can Cinco stay out of trouble?, and will losing Houshmandzadeh help or hinder his fantasy numbers?
18. Roy Williams (DAL)—Age 27
Williams has really underperformed considering he has all the tangibles to be a great wide receiver. With a year under his belt learning the Cowboys' offense and developing chemistry with QB Tony Romo, Williams could flourish this year in Dallas and finally become the No. 1 we’ve been waiting for him to become. If that happens, he’ll instantly become an extremely valuable keeper.
19. DeSean Jackson (PHI)—Age 22
As a rookie he registered three TDs, 62 receptions, and almost reached 1,000 yards receiving. While that may not seem all that impressive, Jackson is still learning and has a few flaws in his game to correct. He’s blazing fast though, extremely talented, and plays on a powerful Eagles offense. New rookie wide out Jeremy Maclin is certainly a red flag, but Jackson has too much potential not be in this list.
20. Michael Crabtree (SF)—Age 21
Crabtree would've been higher in this list, if not for a hold out that is threatening to ruin his rookie season, if it hasn't already.
He’s got tremendous upside. He’s a freakish athlete with great hands and a competitive nature; however, he was marked for having some character issues coming into the draft, and has done nothing to dispel those concerns.
In fact, he’s pretty much proclaimed a diva status without touching the field. So why even bother you ask? Like I said before, huge upside.
21. Eddie Royal (DEN) – Age 23
22. Anthony Gonzalez (IND) – Age 24
23. Donnie Avery (STL) – Age 25
24. Chris Henry (CIN) – Age 26
25. Percy Harvin (MIN) – Age 21
26. Lee Evans (BUF) – Age 28
27. Santonio Holmes (PIT) – Age 25
28. Antonio Bryant (TB) – Age 28
29. Jeremy Maclin (PHI) – Age 21
30. Hines Ward (PIT) - Age 32
*THIS ARTICLE WRITTEN BY BRUNO BOY DOMINIC BROWN. FOR MORE FANTASY FOOTBALL INSIGHT AND ADVICE, CLICK THE LINK BELOW.*