Fantasy Football 2011: Why Calvin Johnson Is a Top 3 Fantasy Wide Receiver

Max MinskerCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 03: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions drops to the end zone after catching a touchdown pass between Derrick Martin #29 and Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 3, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 28-26. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Everyone knows Calvin Johnson is one of the game's best receivers. There's no question about that. What people do argue about are his merits as a top fantasy wide out.

The receiver pool seems to be loaded towards the top, so where does Megatron fit in?

Andre Johnson and Roddy White are clearly the top two receivers, but after that you could make a case for any number of players. Greg Jennings, Hakeem Nicks, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson can all make a case for that next spot. 

Although each one is a top flight receiver, they all have their flaws. Nicks struggles with injuries and that offense figures to run more this year. Fitzgerald still doesn't have much around him despite the trade for Kolb.

Green Bay's offense has plenty of options and now that Finley is back they have another red zone target. Calvin Johnson plays on a team with an injury prone quarterback.

Johnson should be considered the best from that group, mainly because of the improvement the Lions have made offensively. The Lions have acquired many talented pieces around Johnson in recent years, so their offense is ready to explode.

Jahvid Best may not be a feature back, but he is electrifying on the ground and also in the passing game. They also have second year tight end Brandon Pettigrew who should make huge strides this season. Nate Burleson isn't a great No. 2 receiver, but he gets the job done when considering the other talent in that offense.

Of course, the key to the offense is quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford has had a hard time staying healthy throughout his career, but it seems like experts think it's bad luck. If he can stay healthy for a full season, the Lions offense could be tough to beat.

The Lions throw quite a bit and if Stafford can step in and lead that offense then Johnson might have the most to gain. Best is explosive but he can't be relied on to carry the load in the running game and the other running backs on the roster aren't worth giving 100 carries to.

My guess is they will be aggressive and let Stafford air it out. 

Johnson is easily one of the most talented receivers in the NFL. Combine that with an improving pass first offense that targets him in the red zone and it's easy to see how he could have his best overall season yet.

I have Johnson ranked eleventh in my rankings and I have no problem taking him at the beginning of the second round.

I'm excited about his potential this season to say the least.