Fantasy Football Midseason Report Cards: Grading the Top 25 WRs

Craig RondinoneCorrespondent INovember 5, 2010

Fantasy Football Midseason Report Cards: Grading the Top 25 WRs

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Running backs and quarterbacks might be more valuable, but decent wide receivers are still necessary for fantasy football success and are definitely more important than tight ends, kickers and defenses.  

    Receivers are to fantasy football what outfielders are to fantasy baseball—the pool of players is so deep and talented that owners normally focus on other positions early in their drafts. 

    But you cannot win fantasy leagues with a couple of scrubs as your wideouts, even if your backs are Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice.   

    So here is a look at my preseason top 25 wide receivers and how all of them are faring as we reach the halfway point in the 2010 campaign. 

25. Santana Moss, Washington Redskins

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 48 receptions, 604 yards, 2 TD

    Despite having to deal with Donovan McNabb’s cardiovascular deficiencies and being stuck with 700-year-old Joey Galloway on the other side of the field, Moss is having a much better time in Washington than President Obama is.  

    First Half Grade: A-

24. Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 24 receptions, 513 yards, 3 TD

    Holdout Vincent Jackson has not been missed, as Floyd has jumped at the chance to get more targets from Philip Rivers. Floyd's 21.4 yards per catch ranks third in the NFL, so going deep has not been a problem. 

    First Half Grade: B+

23. Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 28 receptions, 307 yards, 3 TD

    Injuries and Father Time look like they are going to cost Driver a seventh consecutive 1,000-yard season. He has no 100-yard games yet and has missed time due to quadriceps trouble. 

    First Half Grade: C-

22. Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 22 receptions, 289 yards, 2 TD

    Meachem is a home run threat without any home runs. Meachem's lack of big plays is one of the reasons New Orleans' offense has not been Super Bowl quality this season. He is showing some signs of life lately, though, so do not give up on this speedster yet.   

    First Half Grade: D

21. Bernard Berrian, Minnesota Vikings

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 9 receptions, 87 yards, 0 TD

    I am utterly embarrassed that I ranked this clown this high back in August. He had a chance to shine while Sidney Rice was sidelined, yet he disappeared like he was a figment of our imaginations. Berrian should stick to playing the wingman role on reality shows from here on out. 

    First Half Grade: F

20. Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 27 receptions, 365 yards, 3 TD. 

    Ward got a raw deal while Ben Roethlisberger was suspended because he could not manage much in terms of fantasy points with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch chucking him the ball. His fantasy value will go back to normal now that Big Ben is back. 

    First Half Grade: C-

19. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

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    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 31 receptions, 385 yards, 3 TD

    Crabtree’s diva behavior would be easier for fantasy owners to stomach if he posted the huge numbers other head cases such as Terrell Owens have this year. In fairness to Crabtree, though, it is not like he has Joe Montana as his quarterback. 

    First Half Grade: C

18. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 21 receptions, 357 yards, 6 TD

    The inconsistent and eccentric Bowe has made his way out of head coach Todd Haley’s doghouse after over a year and is finally finding the end zone.  There is no reason a talent like him cannot rack up 1,000 yards and 10 TD every season.

    First Half Grade: B

17. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 45 receptions, 525 yards, 8 TD

    Eli Manning no longer misses Plaxico Burress. Nicks has become Manning’s go-to guy, especially in the red zone, thanks to his leaping ability, size and hands. Nicks is tied with Calvin Johnson with eight touchdown grabs and is a legitimate fantasy stud. 

    First Half Grade A

16. Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 29 receptions, 392 yards, 4 TD

    Sims-Walker is the only receiver in the slide show who has had two games where he failed to catch a single ball. Art Monk he is not. But his 153-yard performance against the hapless Dallas Cowboys last weekend got him back in fantasy owners' good graces.

    First Half Grade: C

15. Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 39 receptions, 458 yards, 2 TD

    Ochocinco’s legs must be tired from a year of waltzing on Dancing With the Stars and being chased by horny gold-diggers on his VH1 dating show. Teammate and fellow reality star Terrell Owens has been much more productive.

    First Half Grade: B-

14. Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 38 receptions, 518 yards, 5 TD

    Larry Fitzgerald might miss Boldin in Arizona, but the feeling does not appear to be mutual. Boldin is thriving in Baltimore as the main option in the Ravens’ passing attack and has re-emerged as a No. 1 receiver in the eyes of fantasy owners. 

    First Half Grade: A-

13. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 26 receptions, 309 yards, 2 TD

    This Smith has now become "the other Steve Smith." His fantasy value has sunk to an all-time low since Carolina has no one who can consistently throw accurate passes and no running game to take the pressure off of him. Smith is doing all he can, but it's not enough for fantasy owners.

    First Half Grade: D

12. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 46 receptions, 527 yards, 2 TD

    The way Drew Brees spreads the ball around has always cost Colston catches and yards, but the limber and lanky Hofstra product still ranks fifth in receptions and is having a solid season, especially in PPR leagues. 

    First Half Grade: B+

11. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 32 receptions, 471 yards, 5 TD

    Green Bay’s deep threat was a forgotten man in the Packers’ game plans early in the season. It was as if he had hurt Aaron Rodgers’ feelings and was being snubbed. The worst seems to be over, however, as he is averaging almost 100 yards per game over the last three weeks.  

    First Half Grade: B

10. Steve Smith, New York Giants

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 43 receptions, 471 yards, 2 TD

    The best Steve Smith in fantasy football officially resides at the Meadowlands and is one of the best possession receivers in fantasy football. His only problem in 2010 has been the emergence of Hakeem Nicks, who has probably robbed him of a few touchdowns. 

    First Half Grade: B

9. Brandon Marshall, Miami Dolphins

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 47 receptions, 588 yards, 1 TD

    Marshall has kept his mouth closed and his hands open during his first season with the Fins. Quarterback Chad Henne has not been able to get him the ball while he is near the end zone, though, and one touchdown at this point of the season is far below what fantasy owners were expecting.

    First Half Grade: B

8. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 43 receptions, 641 yards, 2 TD

    I might be grading on a curve here because Austin is a Monmouth University product like myself, but he is proving that 2009 was no fantasy fluke. His grade would be even higher if he didn't have so many key drops in recent weeks.

    First Half Grade: A-

7. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 19 receptions, 395 yards, 3 TD

    Jackson was having another above-average season—especially in distance leagues—until Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson almost decapitated him. We can only hope that the NFL's most exciting receiver can pile up 50-plus-yard touchdowns in bunches when he returns from his concussion.

    First Half Grade: B

6. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 49 receptions, 641 yards, 3 TD

    It has been a war of attrition in Indianapolis this season, and Wayne looks like he might be the last receiver standing when all is said and done. Pencil him in for a seventh-straight 1,000-yard season unless the Indy injury big bites him, too.  

    First Half Grade: A-

5. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 54 receptions, 747 yards, 5 TD

    White has been as dynamite as Jimmy Walker was during the Good Times years. Matt Ryan’s favorite target always gets open and racks up receptions despite not having another star receiver distracting opponents. If he has not been the best receiver in fantasy football this season, then he has been the second-best. 

    First Half Grade: A

4. Randy Moss, Tennessee Titans

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    Jim Prisching/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 22 receptions, 313 yards, 5 TD

    Moss has already worn out his welcome with two teams less than halfway through the season. He has no 100-yard games yet, but four times already he has finished contests with two receptions or less. He now goes from Tom Brady and Brett Favre to Vince Young. Hope Tennessee’s locker room food is more to his liking. Denver's Brandon Lloyd should be the one rated as a top five WR, not this nimrod.

    First Half Grade: D

3. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 35 receptions, 403 yards, 4 TD

    It is hard to blame Fitzgerald for his mediocre numbers. Without Anquan Boldin on the other side of the field, Fitzgerald is facing constant double teams. And with Derek Anderson and Max Hall throwing ducks and dying quails at him, not even Jerry Rice in his prime could post Pro Bowl numbers. 

    First Half Grade: B-

2. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 38 receptions, 538 yards, 8 TD

    The second-best receiver is also the second-best Johnson at the position—and the third-best Johnson in fantasy football when you count Tennessee’s Chris. 

    But this Johnson is tied for first among all wideouts with eight touchdown catches, and most came with backup quarterback Shaun Hill winging the passes his way. 

    And "Megatron" screwed himself out of another score in the opening week when he laid a possible game-winning TD on the ground against Chicago.

    First Half Grade:

1. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Receptions/Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: 39 receptions, 594 yards, 3 TD

    Johnson has had more trouble battling a pesky ankle injury than he has battling double and triple coverages. Give the guy tremendous credit for gutting it out. 

    Johnson has had three games with both 100 receiving yards and a touchdown and is still eighth in yards despite missing one week due to injury and another due to a bye.  

    First Half Grade: A-