It was a tale of two season for Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts and Dwayne Bowe of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, as Wayne had 106 receptions for 1,355 yards and five touchdowns, while Bowe had 59 catches for 801 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games played. Quarterback play surely was a difference maker, as Wayne became the top target for Andrew Luck while Bowe had to attempt to corral passes from a struggling Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn.
Bowe and Wayne are widely ranked in the upper part of preseason rankings right now, but is one a better option for fantasy football owners in 2013?
The Case For Reggie Wayne
After a dismal season in 2011 that saw him fail to reach 80 catches for the first time since 2004 and 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2003, Wayne enjoyed a nice rebound season in 2012. His catch total was the second-highest of his career (106) and his yardage output (1,355) tied for the second-most of his career. Wayne was also targeted 195 times last season, good for second-most among wide receivers.
Wayne was targeted 18 times in the red zone, but only converted five for scores. Some correction could come in that department this season, but it’s worth noting that Wayne has only reached double-digit touchdowns three times in his career, including exactly 10 twice.
The Case For Dwayne Bowe
After a breakout season in 2010 (72 receptions for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns) and another solid campaign in 2011 (81 catches for 1,159 yards and five touchdowns), Bowe’s numbers fell off a cliff in 2012. The Chiefs lack of firepower in the passing game was the main culprit, and the fact he caught just 52 percent of his targets can be partially blamed on a lack of accuracy from Cassel and Quinn.
The Chiefs upgraded their quarterback situation this offseason by trading for Alex Smith, and Bowe’s skill set and size (6’2″, 220 lbs.) seem like an excellent fit for new head coach Andy Reid’s offensive system.
Wayne and Bowe are both the No. 1 wide receiver for their teams, and despite being a notch below the elite at the position that has value for fantasy owners on draft day. But the choice for me here is Bowe. Why? Let’s count the reasons.
1. Bowe will turn 29 on Sept. 21, while Wayne will be 35 on Nov. 17.
2. Wayne’s production in 2012 was largely driven by volume, and he is likely cede opportunities to younger players this year, most notably wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Coby Fleener. The potential of a more run-oriented offense in Indianapolis also stands to reduce Wayne’s target total.
3. Bowe should benefit from having a head coach with an offensive acumen, and he may be the most talented wide receiver Reid has ever had, with apologies to Terrell Owens.
4. Wayne’s numbers have virtually nowhere to but down in 2013, while Bowe’s production could improve significantly if he is able to stay healthy.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.