It is fantasy football draft time once again, and that means it is time to figure out who should be drafted early and who might slip to later rounds as wonderful sleeper picks. With a number of big issues, such as the CBSSports announcement on Aug. 26 that the New York Jets finally gave up and cut ties with receiver Braylon Edwards, here is a look at the fantasy football 2013 draft wide receivers cheat sheet.
1. Calvin Johnson – There isn’t anyone better in the fantasy football wide receiver ranks than Calvin Johnson. In 2012, he had a career year with 122 receptions for 1,964 yards but he only scored five touchdowns. Johnson is just getting better and better, and if he gets more touchdowns this season, he could be the best player in fantasy football regardless of position.
2. Dez Bryant – This looks like the year that Dez Bryant finally breaks out. After a few years of question marks concerning his attitude and maturity, he finally broke out in 2012. Despite various injuries, Bryant finished with 92 receptions for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. Expect him to break the 100 reception mark this year and challenge Johnson for the face of the fantasy football wide receivers.
3. A.J. Green – A.J. Green is one of the few wide receivers who exploded from his rookie year and never looked back. Green caught 97 balls for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012 and he has nowhere to go but up. As one of the only true wide receiver targets in Cincinnati, he will remain a hot commodity.
4. Julio Jones – The problem with Julio Jones is that he has to share his targets with Roddy White. But what makes Jones so valuable is that he is the long ball threat out of the two, and he can break any play wide open. In 2012, Jones only caught 79 passes but he gained 1,198 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.
5. Demaryius Thomas – Demaryius Thomas was great with Tim Tebow, and some wondered how good he could be with an actually talented quarterback throwing the ball. He showed what he could do in 2012 with Peyton Manning. He caught 94 balls for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns. His receptions might drop some in 2013 with Wes Welker there, but he will still be Manning’s home run guy.
6. Andre Johnson – Andre Johnson falls down a lot of fantasy football draft lists thanks to recent injuries. However, despite playing injured in 2012, he still finished with 112 catches for 1,598 yards and four touchdowns. Don’t let his past injuries sway you, Andre Johnson is still one of the best receivers in football.
7. Larry Fitzgerald – Larry Fitzgerald is the best wide receiver in the NFL who has not had a decent quarterback since Kurt Warner played. In 2012, with backups throwing him the ball, Fitzgerald caught 71 passes for 798 yards and four touchdowns. This year, he has Carson Palmer throwing him the ball, so if Fitzgerald can come back, this is the year.
8. Wes Welker – Wes Welker will not get 150 balls thrown in his direction in 2013, sharing targets with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, but expect him to get a lot of balls anyway. Manning will love a reliable slant runner like Welker and this should be a nice campaign especially for PPR leagues.
9. Brandon Marshall – The biggest problem with Brandon Marshall is that the Chicago Bears offense is so shaky at times. In 2012, he caught 118 receptions for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns, proving that he is the offense. If Matt Forte plays healthy this year, expect those numbers to drop some, but Marshall is still a No. 1 receiver option on any fantasy football team.
10. Victor Cruz – Victor Cruz had an off year in 2012, with only 86 receptions for 1,092 yards, but he still scored 10 touchdowns. The problem last year was that the defenses focused on shutting Cruz down, taking away his big play opportunities. With Hakeem Nicks back to full health, expect Cruz to get more chances for those big plays in 2013.
11. Roddy White
12. Vincent Jackson
13. Randall Cobb
14. Reggie Wayne
15. Danny Amendola
16. Marquis Colston
17. Steve Smith
18. Hakeem Nicks
19. Eric Decker
20. Dwayne Bowe
21. James Jones
22. Antonio Brown
23. Jordy Nelson
24. Pierre Garcon
25. Cecil Shorts
26. DeSean Jackson
27. Torrey Smith
28. Mike Wallace
29. Greg Jennings
30. Anquan Boldin