Wide receiver may be the most exciting position in fantasy football. All the sleepers that come out of nowhere play WR.
Marques Colston, a 2006 seventh-round pick, not only taught America that Hofstra plays football, but also proved that owners who monitor the fantasy free-agent market and pick up surprise studs early in the season can make up for any draft-day mistakes.
You should start drafting the top WRs like Chad Johnson and Steve Smith in the late second-to early third round. Once the top WRs start to go, they fly off the shelves fast so make sure you're not concentrating on backup RBs too early, leaving you with mediocre receiving talent.
Although WR is the easiest position to improve with in-season free-agent transactions, don't spread yourself too thin on draft day.
Following are one guy's rankings:
1. Chad Johnson (CIN)
"Ocho-Cinco" has a healthy Carson Palmer, Chris Henry suspended for the first eight games, and a solid No. 2 in T.J. Houshmandzadeh to draw attention off him. What's not to love?
2. Steve Smith (CAR)
Smith is the little man that could. After he catches the ball, which is often, he is the most electrifying receiver in the league. With no one else making anything happen for Carolina, Smith should see a lot of looks.
3. Terrell Owens (DAL)
He led the league with 13 TDs last year and with Tony Romo one year wiser and Terry Glenn one year older, Owens should put up monster numbers again, if he stays out of trouble.
4. Torry Holt (STL)
Steven Jackson, Drew Bennett and Isaac Bruce are all part of a stellar Rams offense, but Holt is still No. 1. Tied for third with 10 TDs last year, Marc Bulger always looks for and finds Holt.
5. Reggie Wayne (IND)
This is the year that Reggie Wayne finally overtakes Marvin Harrison as Peyton Manning's primary big-play threat. Wayne is entering the prime of his career and should reach 12 TDs this season.
6. Marvin Harrison (IND)
At 35, Harrison is still one of the most consistent receivers in the league, letting his play do the talking for him. He may well make me pay for putting him in the No. 6 spot, but I think age will catch up and knock him out of that elite echelon of WRs.
7. Larry Fitzgerald (AZ)
Fitz is about to become a fantasy stud. Big body, big hands and big ups, Fitzgerald should make Matt Leinart's job very easy. Just lob it up into the end zone and watch the Minnesota native make plays.
8. Roy Williams (DET)
Jon Kitna boldy predicted he will throw 50 TDs, the Lions will win at least 10 games, and Williams fueled the wild pipe dreams by saying "hopefully we can put up 40 points a game." If they fulfill half of any of those predictions, Williams is in for a big year.
9. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
The former seventh-round pick came into his own last year in his fifth NFL season. Any receiver opposite Chad Johnson with Carson Palmer at QB is going to have a big year and Houshmandzadeh is that guy. The fact that he will face single coverage most of the time bumps him above the next four WRs.
10. Javon Walker (DEN)
Two years removed from tearing up his right knee, and three years since he caught 12 TDs and collected 1,400 yards, Walker looks to return to his prime form with uber-talented QB Jay Cutler developing into the rightful heir to John Elway. He would be bumped up a few spots if it weren't that Walker is the ONLY threat in the Broncos' air attack. Defenses will be keying on him.
11. Lee Evans (BUF)
In his three-year career, Evans has scored nine, seven and eight TDs. The Wisconsin product is the Bills' only home run threat and after catching 82 balls for 1,290 yards a year ago, blossoming QB J.P. Losman will look his way often.
12. Andre Johnson (HOU)
Johnson is the only thing going for the Texans, who will rely on 30-year-old Ahman Green to carry the run game.
He consistently is around the 1,000-yard mark but only scores 5-6 TDs a year. Maybe new QB Matt Schaub will buy enough time behind the Texans' Swiss cheese O-line to throw a couple more scores.
13. Donald Driver (GB)
Brett Favre needs seven TD passes to usurp Dan Marino's all-time passing TD mark of 421 and Donald Driver will likely be the player who catches the record-setting pass. Coming off a 1,300 yard, eight TD effort last season, Driver returns as Favre's go-to-guy.
14. Marques Colston (NO)
Colston exploded for seven TDs by week nine before suffering a sprained ankle that hampered the Saints' WR for the rest of the season.
Many people, including me, are skeptical of a sophomore slump. Reports out of camp suggest otherwise and that Colston and Brees have a strong rapport.
Type in "NFL Fantasy File: Marques Colston" on Youtube to get a glimpse at his immense talent.
15. Anquan Boldin (AZ)
16. Calvin Johnson (DET)
17. Plaxico Burress (NYG)
18. Randy Moss (NE)
19. Laveranues Coles (NYJ)
20. Hines Ward (PIT)
21. Reggie Brown (PHI)
22. Deion Branch (SEA)
23. Santana Moss (WAS)
24. Joey Galloway (TB)
25. Darrell Jackson (SF)
26. Braylon Edwards (CLE)
27. Mark Clayton (BAL)
28. Terry Glenn (DAL)
29. Chris Chambers (MIA)
30. Vincent Jackson (SD)
31. Donte Stallworth (NE)
32. Jerricho Cotchery (NYJ)
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