It may not be nearly as deep as the quarterback position, but there sure are a heck of a lot of talented wide receivers to choose from in fantasy drafts this summer. Similar to the signal callers, a ton of wideouts broke out into very productive fantasy options in 2012. With that being said, of course there are a ton of guys I love at the position for the upcoming season. Let’s not waste any time, shall we?
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers: I am all in on Cobb this year. In fact, I have him inside the top-10 among my wide receiver rankings (9th). The only person who may be higher on Cobb than me is the guy throwing him the football, Aaron Rodgers. The Packers quarterback stated that he thinks Cobb can be a 100-catch guy, and that he will be a “big time star.” Honestly, I can’t say I disagree. After already leading the team in targets in 2012 (104), that number is only expected to increase, especially with the departure of Greg Jennings. He’ll continue to line up in the slot, as he operated out of that area 84.4 percent of the time a season ago. This bodes well for his fantasy prospects, as he is practically uncoverable for opposing linebackers. I fully expect him to be Rodgers’ favorite target, and by the way, he’s entering his magical third season. Say what you want about that. If he can finish better than all fantasy receivers in points per snap (0.26 standard, 0.40 PPR), I can’t wait to see what he does in 2013.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs: Earlier on in the offseason, Bowe stated that he would lead the league in receptions and touchdowns this season. I’m not sure if I am that high on him, but I continue to believe that Bowe is one of the most overlooked talents in the game of football. Don’t forget. Back in 2010, Bowe caught 72 balls for 1,162 yards and a whopping 15 scores, which ended up leading the league. Keep in mind, that was during a worse situation than the Chiefs offense is in now. Bowe clearly has the talent to be a top fantasy wide receiver, and now, he may finally have the right pieces around him. The team brought in veteran quarterback Alex Smith, as well as pass-happy head coach Andy Reid. The last time Reid had a prototypical number one wide receiver, Terrell Owens caught 77 balls for 1,200 yards and 14 scores. While Smith has never helped one of his receivers eclipse 1,000 yards, he was also always in a very run-heavy offense in San Francisco. And over the past five seasons, the Eagles’ offenses under Reid have only finished outside the top-10 in passing attempts once, while Michael Vick has averaged 36.16 tosses per game during his time in Philly. Bowe will be very busy in 2013.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: I already wrote a separate article declaring my love for Brown this season, but since I’m so high on him, why not reiterate a bit? In 2012, Brown missed three games, but still caught a respectable 66 balls for 787 yards and five scores. He was also only targeted 14 less times than number one wideout, Mike Wallace. For the past two seasons, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has always had eyes for Brown in the passing game, and now that Wallace is out of the picture, Brown’s production will surely increase. I feel like people need to realize how good this guy really is. In 2012, Brown only dropped 2.9 percent of his 105 targets. Only five receivers had a lower drop rating on as many targets. He was also targeted a tad over eight times per contest last season, and that number will likely spike as well. In offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s intermediate passing offense, Brown will flirt with 90 catches, barring injury. Let’s just hope Big Ben can stay upright as well.
Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: One of the most underrated wide receivers in all of football, Williams is always on my fantasy radar. In fact, I almost drafted him in every mock I have done this summer. Over the last three seasons, Williams is tied for ninth in receiving touchdowns. His 23 touchdowns during that span are very impressive, as he continues to serve as the team’s primary red zone option. Quarterback Josh Freeman has targeted him quite often over the years, posting totals of 127,124 and 127 throughout his career. It’s a make-or-break year for Freeman in 2013, and I think he takes the next step, which will benefit Williams’ fantasy production. He won’t be a huge yardage guy, but double-digit touchdowns are always a possibility.
Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins: When healthy last season, Garcon was a huge fantasy producer. Of course, he dealt with a serious foot injury for the majority of the season, but from weeks 12-17 from last season, Garcon was targeted a healthy 46 times, posting 475 receiving yards and three scores. Those numbers resulted in 62 fantasy points, which made him a top-20 option during that span. Garcon stated that he is fully healthy, and if he can stay on the field this season, he definitely has top-15 upside at the position. He and quarterback Robert Griffin III have developed a strong rapport, and Garcon should continue to be his favorite target throughout the 2013 season.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.