2009 fantasy wide receiver rankings for the upcoming season

Published on June 9, 2009 by     

larry_fitzgerald

Team Player Analysis

Arizona Cardinals

1. Larry Fitzgerald
(Auction: $22)
Fitzgerald might be the most athletically gifted wide receiver in the league. His soft hands and leaping ability make him almost impossible to cover downfield. With Kurt Warner under center and Anquan Boldin on the opposite side of the field, Fitzgerald is positioned to post solid fantasy numbers week in and week out. The Cardinals will continue to throw the football a ton in 2009, so Fitzgerald should continue to be successful. He’ll be the first wide receiver selected, likely in the second round but occasionally in the first, in the majority of fantasy drafts. Bye: Week 4

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
94
1,405
13
0

Team Player Analysis

Houston Texans

2. Andre Johnson
(Auction: $21)
Johnson exploded for his fantasy owners last season, posting career bests in receptions (115) and yards (1,575) and tying his career best in touchdowns (8). A strong, physical receiver with great hands, he had eight 100-yard games and caught seven or more passes 10 times. He was second in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com behind only Larry Fitzgerald. Johnson has developed a nice rapport with Matt Schaub and is one of the most targeted receivers in the league. He should be considered one of the elite fantasy receivers. Bye: Week 10

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
107
1,490
10
1

Team Player Analysis

Detroit Lions

3. Calvin Johnson
(Auction: $21)
Despite the fact that the Lions had a virtual carousel of quarterbacks and finished without a single win, Johnson was still able to produce enormous numbers in 2008. He recorded career bests across the board, including an impressive 1,331 yards 12 touchdowns, even while battling constant double teams. The athletic wideout from Georgia Tech will continue to be the focal point of the team’s pass attack under new coordinator Scott Linehan, whose offensive philosophies helped Randy Moss thrive while in Minnesota. Whether it’s Daunte Culpepper or No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford under center, Johnson proved last season that he can put up enormous numbers even with a less-than-reliable quarterback. The man who’s come to be known as “Megatron” will be a surefire second-round selection in drafts. Bye: Week 7

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
85
1,395
11
1

Team Player Analysis

New England Patriots

4. Randy Moss
(Auction: $19)
Moss was the unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver in fantasy football heading into last season’s drafts. However, his value and production fell after the loss of Tom Brady to an injured knee in Week 1. Moss still finished with a respectable 11 touchdowns, but he was not as consistent. Now that Brady is slated to return, fantasy owners should expect Moss to rebound. There’s no reason to believe he can’t reclaim his spot as one of the elite wide receivers in fantasy football. Look for Moss’ name to be called in the second or third round in most drafts. Bye: Week 8

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
91
1,255
13
1

Team Player Analysis

Arizona Cardinals

5. Anquan Boldin
(Auction: $18)
Boldin, who might be the toughest receiver in the NFL, produced tremendous fantasy numbers last season. Although he missed four games, he still finished with 89 receptions, 1,038 yards and a career-best 11 touchdowns. Boldin’s one downfall is his tendency to get injured, but his statistical potential makes him worth the risk. With Kurt Warner at QB and Larry Fitzgerald drawing attention on the other side of the field, Boldin has advantages other receivers can only dream about. If he stays healthy, he is a lock to post 1,000-plus yards and 8-12 TDs in 2009. Bye: Week 4

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
83
1,295
10
2

Team Player Analysis

Carolina Panthers

6. Steve Smith
(Auction: $17)
Smith has established himself as one of the top wideouts in fantasy football. Despite missing the first two games last season, he still had 78 receptions, a career-best 18.2 yards-per-catch average and the second-highest yardage total (1,421) of his career. He finished sixth in fantasy points among receivers on NFL.com. Smith loses some of his luster with his lack of touchdowns. He found the end zone just six times in 2008 and has averaged seven scores the past three seasons. Still, he is a No. 1 wideout and will be drafted in the second or third round. Bye: Week 4

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
83
1,380
8
1

Team Player Analysis

Indianapolis Colts

7. Reggie Wayne
(Auction: $17)
Wayne has become a staple among fantasy’s top 10 wide receivers. While his numbers fell last season compared to his 2007 totals, he will rebound in 2009. Marvin Harrison‘s release should mean more targets for Wayne. Of course, the presence of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning also makes Wayne more attractive in drafts. Barring injuries, he’s a virtual lock to post his sixth consecutive season with 1,000 receiving yards, with 7-9 touchdowns. Wayne, a No. 1 fantasy wideout, will come off the board in the third round on draft day. Bye: Week 6

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
98
1,335
8
1

Team Player Analysis

Atlanta Falcons

8. Roddy White
(Auction: $17)
White proved that he was no one-season wonder, posting his second consecutive 1,000-yard season as the top option in the Falcons’ pass attack in 2008. Even with a rookie in Matt Ryan under center, White finished with career best across the board and produced seven 100-yard performances. He also finished with more fantasy points on NFL.com than Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, so White has shown that he belongs in the upper echelon of wideouts. With the continued development of Ryan, the addition of Tony Gonzalez and an offense that has an effective ground game with Michael Turner, there’s no reason to believe White’s statistical success won’t continue this season.Bye: Week 4

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
85
1,245
8
1

Team Player Analysis

Green Bay Packers

9. Greg Jennings
(Auction: $17)
For the first time in his career, Jennings played in all 16 games last season. He took over as the top wide receiver in Green Bay, posting career bests in receptions (80) and yards (1,292) to go along with an impressive nine touchdowns. He was fourth in fantasy points at the position behind only Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson. The Packers will continue to throw the football and utilize Jennings as the top option in the passing attack. He should be seen as a No. 1 fantasy starter in most leagues. Bye: Week 5

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
77
1,260
8
1

Team Player Analysis

Kansas City Chiefs

10. Dwayne Bowe
(Auction: $16)
Fantasy owners looking to target a breakout wide receiver should look to Bowe. A third-year wideout, he is positioned to have his best season. The addition of new coach Todd Haley, who has had a lot of success with wide receivers in the NFL, is a good reason to expect big numbers from Bowe. Haley’s offense is certain to feature Bowe in a passing attack that also includes Matt Cassel, who will take over as the team’s top quarterback. A low-end No. 1 fantasy wideout with the tools to reach an elite level, Bowe will be a hot name in 2009. Bye: Week 8

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
92
1,235
8
1

Team Player Analysis

New England Patriots

11. Wes Welker
(Auction: $16)
Welker has established himself as one of the best fantasy options in PPR leagues. The durable veteran has averaged 111.5 catches and 1,170 yards in two seasons with the Patriots, and his stock won’t fall with Tom Brady back under center in 2009. Welker isn’t the sort of wideout who will put up explosive numbers like teammate Randy Moss, but he’s a reliable possession receiver who isn’t afraid to make the tough catches. While his lack of TDs leaves much to be desired, Welker’s overall level of production makes him a valuable option in all formats. Bye: Week 8

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
107
1,215
7
1

Team Player Analysis

Denver Broncos

14. Brandon Marshall
(Auction: $15)
Marshall’s fantasy value has taken a hit. He lost his quarterback, Jay Cutler, in a blockbuster trade with the Bears and he is coming off a surgical procedure to repair an injured hip. He is expected to be back for training camp but will have limited time to establish a rapport with Kyle Orton. Marshall also dodged a league-imposed suspension during the offseason, so he’ll be active when the season starts. In a best-case scenario, he’ll be a viable No. 1 fantasy wideout. He’ll be worth taking in the third to fifth round in most standard fantasy drafts. Bye: Week 7

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
92
1,235
7
2

Team Player Analysis

New Orleans Saints

13. Marques Colston
(Auction: $15)
Over the 2006 and 2007 seasons, Colston averaged an impressive 84 receptions for 1,120 yards and close to 10 scores. He took a step back last season, as knee problems limited him to 11 games and required an arthroscopic procedure during the offseason. Colston is expected to be 100 percent in time for training camp, so the ailment shouldn’t alter his value. In fact, he’ll still be seen as a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy wideout while playing in a pass-heavy offense. He is almost certain to come off the board in the first four rounds. Bye: Week 5

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
82
1,130
8
1

Team Player Analysis

Dallas Cowboys

14. Roy E. Williams
(Auction: $15)
Williams’ numbers decreased across the board last year, when his season was split between the Lions and Cowboys. But after Terrell Owens’ offseason release, Williams is once again a top wideout. He is extremely talented and possesses great hands, and an increased role in a productive Cowboys’ offense bodes well for his draft value. In fact, it would be a shock if he didn’t post 70 receptions, 1,000-plus yards and 7-9 TDs in 2009. He has had injury problems and comes with some risk, but it will be hard to pass on him once the truly elite receivers are off the board. Bye: Week 6

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
73
1,155
8
2

Team Player Analysis

Buffalo Bills

15. Terrell Owens
(Auction: $14)
Owens’ stock has fallen after a tumultuous 2008. T.O., who turns 36 in December, saw his reception, yardage and touchdown totals decrease last season. While the Bills are certain to throw more often, the development of Trent Edwards will have an impact on what Owens can accomplish. T.O. has also dropped more passes in recent seasons, and few wideouts have found success at his age. He’s worth drafting as a No. 2 wideout, but with the combination of a young passer and windy, cold weather, owners should temper expectations. Bye: Week 9

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
71
1,070
8
1
Team Player Analysis

Seattle Sehahawks

16. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
(Auction: $12)
For the first time in his NFL career, Houshmandzadeh won’t be wearing a Bengals uniform. Now in Seattle, he is almost certain to see his numbers fall compared to his best seasons. The Seahawks plan to run more under new coordinator Greg Knapp, who hasn’t had a 1,000-yard receiver in his offense since 2003. That should change in 2009, but Houshmandzadeh isn’t going to post explosive numbers. Fantasy owners should consider Houshmandzadeh less of a No. 1 wideout and more of a mid-level No. 2 option in all formats. Bye: Week 7

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
78
1,045
7
1

Team Player Analysis

Cincinnati Bengals

17. Chad Ochocinco
(Auction: $11)
Ochocinco was one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football last season. He had significant statistical decreases across the board and was active in just 23 percent of NFL.com leagues during fantasy’s championship week. The loss of Carson Palmer for most of the season was a big reason for his hardships, so the quarterback’s return will improve the wideout’s stock in 2009. With Palmer back and Laveranues Coles on the other side of the field, Ochocinco should get back over the 1,000-yard mark. He’s a bit of a risk but is still worth a middle-round pick as a No. 2 wideout. Bye: Week 8

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
75
1,040
7
1

Team Player Analysis

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

18. Antonio Bryant
(Auction: $11)
One of the better fantasy sleepers of last season, Bryant put up career numbers across the board despite being out of the league in 2007. He was especially effective down the stretch and actually led his position in points on NFL.com during the fantasy postseason (Weeks 14-16). That includes an incredible 200-yard, two-touchdown performance on a Monday night against Carolina. The Buccaneers have undergone an overhaul since last season, however, adding a new coaching staff and several new faces to the roster. The team also lacks a clear-cut No. 1 quarterback, so fantasy owners do need to temper their expectations for Bryant in 2009. A risk-reward player because of his overall lack of consistent success, he’ll be worth a middle-round selection as a No. 2 fantasy wideout. Bye: Week 8

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
75
1,110
6
1

Team Player Analysis

San Diego Chargers

19. Vincent Jackson
(Auction: $11)
Jackson finally fulfilled his potential in 2008, posting career bests across the board, including the first 1,000-yard season (1,098 yards) of his NFL career. Because he can stretch defenses, Jackson passed Chris Chambers as the best fantasy wideout on the Chargers’ roster. While his lack of consistent production is a concern — Jackson had 60 or fewer yards nine times last season — the emergence of quarterback Philip Rivers, plus the age and decline of LaDainian Tomlinson, means Jackson should remain prominent. He is a viable No. 2 fantasy wide receiver. Bye: Week 5

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
64
1,060
6
1

Team Player Analysis

Philadelphia Eagles

20. DeSean Jackson
(Auction: $10)
A rookie in 2008, Jackson caught 12 passes for 216 yards in his first two NFL games. He went on to finish with 62 receptions and 912 yards, but his rookie season is remembered for what should have been a 61-yard touchdown against the Cowboys in Week 2. Jackson prematurely released the ball while celebrating before he crossed the goal line, leaving many owners short six points. Despite the gaffe, he still has great upside. In a pass-heavy offense led by Donovan McNabb, the wideout should produce improved numbers and develop into a viable No. 2 fantasy option. Bye: Week 4

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
73
1,035
6
2

Team Player Analysis

Denver Broncos

21. Eddie Royal
(Auction: $10)
Royal was a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners in his rookie season, posting an impressive 91 receptions for 980 yards. He hauled in five or more passes in 11 of 16 games, had three 100-yard games and was a tremendous complement to Brandon Marshall. Despite being left undrafted in most fantasy leagues, Royal still finished in the top 20 in points among wideouts on NFL.com. He loses some value with Kyle Orton, not Jay Cutler, at quarterback in Denver, but Royal should be considered a low-end, middle-round No. 2 wideout who has added value in PPR leagues. Bye: Week 7

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
82
995
6
2

Team Player Analysis

Cleveland Browns

22. Braylon Edwards
(Auction: $8)
Edwards ranked among the top five fantasy wide receivers heading into last season before suffering huge decreases in production. He was targeted 138 times, but a serious case of the “dropsies” limited him to just 55 receptions, including just three for touchdowns. Despite his failures, Edwards is still clearly the top option in the team’s passing attack after the offseason trade of tight end Kellen Winslow. He will get enough opportunities to post 1,000-plus yards and 5-7 touchdowns in 2009. Fantasy owners should consider him a risk-reward No. 2 wideout. Bye: Week 9

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
68
1,035
7
2

Team Player Analysis

Minnesota Vikings

23. Bernard Berrian
(Auction: $8)
Berrian, a true speedster with the ability to stretch defenses in the vertical pass attack, recorded career bests in yards and touchdowns in 2008. While the Vikings offense is based on Adrian Peterson and one of the league’s most prolific ground attacks, Berrian will remain prominent in a passing game that should improve after the offseason addition of Sage Rosenfels. That potential upgrade at quarterback will be a positive for Berrian, who should be able to at least duplicate his 2008 totals. While he will have some inconsistent weeks because of the nature of the team’s offense, Berrian should still be seen as a low-end No. 2 fantasy receiver. He’ll come off the board in the middle rounds in most standard leagues. Bye: Week 9

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
55
985
7
1

Team Player Analysis

Pittsburgh Steelers

24. Santonio Holmes
(Auction: $8)
Holmes will forever be remembered for the toe-tapping catch he made in the corner of the end zone to help the Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII. But in fantasy circles, he was considered a bit of a disappointment in 2008. In what some believed would be his breakout season, Holmes finished with decreased numbers in yards and TDs. He went from being a starter in 95 percent of NFL.com leagues in Week 1 to just 42 percent in fantasy’s championship week. A low-end No. 2 receiver, he still has 1,000-yard potential and will come off the board in the middle rounds. Bye: Week 8

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
64
975
7
1

Team Player Analysis

Indianapolis Colts

25. Anthony Gonzalez
(Auction: $7)
Gonzalez will be the most coveted sleeper at wide receiver this season. Entering his third year, he is in line for a more prominent role in the Colts’ prolific offense after Marvin Harrison‘s release. Gonzalez has the advantage of a star quarterback in Peyton Manning and a veteran wideout in Reggie Wayne drawing coverage, so the components are in place for a career season. He won’t produce the same numbers as Harrison during his prime years, but he should catch upwards of 70 passes with 1,000-yard potential. He will be drafted as a No. 3 wideout in most leagues, but he could turn into more. Bye: Week 6

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
76
1,055
6
1

Team Player Analysis

Pittsburgh Steelers

26. Hines Ward
(Auction: $6)
Ward scored seven touchdowns last year and had his first 1,000-yard season since 2004. Although he is 33, Ward has still been able to produce good numbers for fantasy owners. He’s hauled in 70-plus passes in each of the last three seasons, including 81 in 2008. He’s also been a nice source of touchdowns. However, the days of being a No. 1 fantasy wideout like he was in 2002 and 2003 are clearly in the rearview mirror. Ward will still post solid numbers at times, but his overall totals will be closer to that of a No. 3 fantasy receiver. Bye: Week 8

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
72
1,005
6
0

Team Player Analysis

Buffalo Bills

27. Lee Evans
(Auction: $6)
Evans has failed to meet the expectations of fantasy owners since breaking out in 2006. For 2009, his value took a hit with the addition of Terrell Owens, but he now has the advantage of fewer double teams and less pressure to produce as a true No. 1 wideout. What’s more, he’ll be able to use his top-notch speed against single coverage to stretch defenses. Evans won’t see a spike in his level of consistent production and is now a high-end No. 3 fantasy wideout, but he should see increased chances to make big plays and score more touchdowns with Owens in the mix. Bye: Week 9

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
67
955
6
1

Team Player Analysis

Washington Redskins

28. Santana Moss
(Auction: $6)
Moss was one of the best receivers in fantasy football the first four weeks of last season, when he caught 27 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep that production going all season. In fact, he had just one 100-yard game and three touchdowns in his final 12 starts. That hurt his stock in fantasy drafts. Moss is a fast, playmaking receiver, but he’s only had two monster seasons. And, as evidenced in 2008, he can also be inconsistent. In an offense that leans on the run, that scenario isn’t likely to change in 2009. He is a high-end No. 3 fantasy wideout. Bye: Week 8

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
68
1,010
5
2

Team Player Analysis

New Orleans Saints

29. Lance Moore
(Auction: $5)
One of last season’s best waiver-wire additions, Moore’s ownership on NFL.com went from zero percent in Week 1 to 97 percent in fantasy’s championship week. He came out of nowhere to produce career bests across the board, including 10 touchdowns, and in the process became a viable No. 2 fantasy wideout. Despite his impressive 2008 numbers, however, fantasy leaguers need to temper expectations for Moore this season. Marques Colston, who missed significant time last season, will be back in the mix and remains the top option for Drew Brees. He’s also coming off shoulder surgery in the offseason, so his status for training camp must be monitored. Barring setbacks, he’ll be a nice addition in the middle rounds as a No. 3 fantasy wideout. Bye: Week 5

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
65
900
7
1

Team Player Analysis

Baltimore Ravens

30. Derrick Mason
(Auction: $4)
Last year, Mason posted 1,000-plus yards for the seventh time in his last eight seasons. He only had two 100-yard games, but he posted five or more receptions in nine of 16 regular-season games. That level of production gives him added value in PPR leagues. Mason isn’t going to be a stat-sheet monster in a Ravens’ offense based heavily on the run, but he’ll do just enough to be a solid No. 3 fantasy wideout or flex starter. Mason, who should have one more good season left at the age of 35, is worth a middle- to late-round choice in most fantasy drafts. Bye: Week 7

2009 Projections
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TDs
Fumbles lost
76
1,020
5
1

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