Heading into 2012, fantasy football owners were surely high on New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz on the heels of his breakout 2011 season (82 receptions, 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns; 18.7 yards per catch). He did not repeat that yardage total last season (1,092), but he had more receptions (86) and more touchdowns (10) than in the previous season.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston has been remarkably consistent in recent years, with between 80 and 85 receptions in three straight seasons along with over 1,000 yards and at least seven touchdowns in four straight seasons. Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees likes to spread the ball around, but he and Colston clearly have a solid rapport and there’s no reason that won’t continue in 2013.
Cruz and Colston are a notch below the elite fantasy options at wide receiver, but which is the better choice for this year?
The Case For Victor Cruz
Cruz’s yards per-catch average from 2011 was destined to drop some last year, but dropped passes (11) were an issue that nearly completely negated the fact he had more targets in 2012 (143; 131 in 2011). If not for a very poor finish, with just 10 catches for 88 yards and one touchdown over the final three games, Cruz’s numbers would have been even better.
A return to full health by Hakeem Nicks, who missed three games and was less than 100 percent for much of last season, should help Cruz find more room to operate out of the slot. Second-year man Rueben Randle also could emerge as a force for the Giants, but that is unlikely to impact the number of targets Cruz sees.
The Case For Marques Colston
As previously mentioned, Colston has been one of the most consistent receivers in the league over the last few years. His upside is limited a bit by the number of offensive weapons New Orleans has, but he has at least three catches in 29 of his last 30 games, including all 16 games in 2012.
Colston had 23 red zone targets last season, which tied for third-most in the league among wide receivers, with all 10 of his touchdowns coming in that area of the field. Even with tight end Jimmy Graham returning to full health this year, Colston should see plenty of opportunities when the Saints approach the end zone.
Cruz and Colston are both worth considering as a high-end WR2 in all fantasy formats, but for me this choice comes down to draft day value. I think when it’s all said and done this year Cruz and Colston’s numbers will be comparable, much as they were in 2012, and Colston can almost certainly be drafted a round or two later. So that makes the Saints’ receiver the better option here.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.