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Best Of The Rest of the 2009 NFL Wide Receivers

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IJune 4, 2009

DETROIT - DECEMBER 21: Wide receiver Marques Colston #12 of the New Orleans Saints scores on a six yard pass in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions on December 21, 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The New Orleans Saints defeated the Detroit Lions 42-7.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Depending on your fantasy footballdraft strategy, there’s a good chance that you will only be able to get one of the top 10 WRs in your draft. So who comes next? Here’s a look at some of the top WR2s in this year’s draft and how valuable they could be for your fantasy squad.

A lot of people are excited about the possibilities in 2009 for Dwayne Bowe. This season will be his third, typically the year when receivers blossom. He will be without a doubt the No. 1 receiver on the team so he should continue to get plenty of targets.

Plus, the Chiefs play in the AFC West, a division with some pretty poor defenses. The problem is Kansas City doesn’t have too many other weapons besides Bowe.

In addition to a mediocre running game, they lost a Hall of Famer during the offseason in Tony Gonzalez and replaced him with unknown Brad Cottam. The other receivers are Mark Bradley, who is an adequate receiver, but he won’t give any defensive coordinators sleepless nights and newly acquired Bobby Engram, an aging veteran who is coming off of an injury-depleted 2008 season.

Kansas City upgraded with Matt Cassel under center, but you can expect defenses to double-team Bowe and force the Chiefs to find another way to beat them. Also, I think the verdict is still out on exactly how good Cassel is going to be.

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In my opinion you should consider Bowe a low-end WR2 because of what he’s capable of and how many times he’ll be targeted, but I have seen him as high as the 11th wide receiver taken in some mock drafts and feel there is less risky options available at that stage of the draft (3rd-4th round).

The best of this tier is Marques Colston. A fluke thumb injury shortened his 2008 season, but he seems to be ready to go in 2009. With the season that Drew Brees had last year, Colston very well could have been in the top 10 heading into 2009 if he played in all 16 games in ’08.

Colston is the No. 1 receiver on the team with the best fantasy QB and a bad defense, so they should be playing a lot of catch-up. Why isn’t Colston in the top 10? There’s no question that the Saints offense revolves around Brees.

They didn’t stop scoring despite all the receivers dropping like flies last year. Brees loves to spread the wealth around. Lance Moore (assuming he’s 100 percent after offseason surgery), Jeremy Shockey and Reggie Bushshould all see the ball a lot, and even Devery Henderson is liable to grab some bombs every now and then.

Colston is Brees’ top target, but definitely not his only one. Still, if you’re able to get a top-10 WR and Colston as you’re No. 2, you’re sitting pretty in the receiver category.

It seemed like Wes Welker didn’t miss Tom Bradymuch last year, as his 2008 totals were pretty similar to his 2007 numbers. Don’t expect a repeat of ’07 just because Brady is back, but there’s no reason why Welker can’t have another productive season for the Pats.

His number of receptions and receiving yards were almost identical the past two seasons, but the main difference was three touchdowns last year to eight in ’07. I think he’ll get five or six this yearand lock in his 1,000 yards for a third straight campaign.

Roy E. Williams is the man in Big D now, aside from Jason Witten being Tony Romo’s favorite target. Williams had a pretty dismal 2008 season after being traded to Dallas, but ’08 was a disaster for the Cowboys all over the place. Even without Terrell Owens, I’m willing to give Romo the benefit of the doubt that he is still a good regular-season quarterback.

When you factor in the three-headed monster in the backfield and an All-Pro tight end, defenses will be spread out and Williams should reap the benefits of that. Miles Austin and Patrick Crayton will play nice supporting roles now that T.O. isn’t hogging all the catches. It’s not far-fetched to expect Williams to rebound nicely in ’09.

Broncos fans are breathing a sigh of relief now that Brandon Marshall will avoid suspension. Although Marshall lost Jay Cutler, and it’s a little bit of a downgrade with Kyle Orton throwing him the ball now, Marshall should still have a strong ’09 season.

Orton had a respectable season with the Bears last year and he didn’t have a receiver nearly as good as Marshall. Even with the addition of Knowshon Moreno in the backfield, Denver is notorious for playing running back merry-go-round so the Broncos should stick to the passing game first and foremost.

One thing to keep in the back of your mind about drafting Marshall, assuming nothing happens between now and draft day and he winds up suspended again, is Eddie Royal should see an increased role in this offense and don’t forget about Brandon Stokely.

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2009 NFL Wide Receivers: Best Of The Rest

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