Fantasy Football: The NFL's 12 Best Wide Receivers
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Through Week 9 of NFL Football, these Wide Receivers have had the best starts in Fantasy Football: Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace, Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Steve Smith, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz.
Let's take a look at why.
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Jennings remains the favorite target of Aaron Rodgers, who—if you haven't heard—is on pace to set several new passing records. Jennings could have another 12-touchdown season and may even catch a career-high 1,446 yards.
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That puts him on pace to finish the season with an impressive 1,736 yards.
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Although Kevin Kolb has shattered the hopes of many Larry Fitzgerald fans, Fitzgerald continues to put up decent numbers most games. Through eight, he's caught 38 passes for 646 yards and three touchdowns. That puts him on pace to finish with roughly the same fantasy value as 2010.
Since he's already been targeted 70 times, there's little reason to hope Kolb can connect with Fitzgerald more consistently to do any better.
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Through eight games, he has six touchdowns and will continue to be the Patriots' most dangerous long-ball threat.
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Although Smith has scored only four touchdowns through eight games, his ridiculous average of 20 yards per catch for a total of 918 yards puts him among the NFL's elite.
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Brandon Marshall is coming off a 106-yard game in which he scored against one of the best cornerbacks in the game.
Although he's been a disappointment for fantasy owners, who were hoping he would improve on last year's less-than-stellar 3 touchdown total, Marshall continues to average over 80 yards per game and is third in the NFL with 78 targets.
If he can stop dropping so many passes, especially in the red zone, he could finish the among the NFL's best.
Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz
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Obviously you can't expect that kind of production every week, but with the often depleted Chargers' offense, Jackson can put up some big stats.
Fantasy owners will be quick to forgive both Rivers and Jackson for their less than stellar starts to the season if they can produce anything like their game with Green Bay for the rest of the season.
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A.J. Green is one of those players who make it exciting to watch football, even when tied to the less than stellar offense of fellow rookie Andy Dalton. If Green can find himself on a better offense, he could become the next Calvin Johnson, or else he may end up just the next Larry Fitzgerald.
With just under 600 yards and five touchdowns through eight games, Green is already a great start in most fantasy formats.
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Julio Jones is the unwelcome upstart receiver for fans of Roddy White. The Falcons seem to have recovered from their unprepared start to the season, so if Jones can stay healthy, he could potentially contend with A.J. Green as the best receiving rookie of 2011.
With White's talent drawing opponents' best coverage, Jones is open to catch the clutch passes from Matt Ryan, who in Week 9 was able to connect with Jones for two touchdowns and 131 yards.