Earlier in the week we discussed Andre Johnson and where he fits into the first round of fantasy drafts (click here to view). He’s the clear-cut number one receiver, but who should be number two on draft boards? There are a few players to chose from, so let’s take a look:
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals
He has consistently shown just how talented he is. He’s had 96 or more catches in four of the past five seasons (the only time he fell short was in 2006, when he played 13 games). He’s a virtual lock to eclipse 1,000 yards, though he did take a significant step back last season (1,431 yards in ’08 vs. 1,092 in ’09).
The reduction in yards was easily offset by the TDs. He set a career high with 13 and has at least 10 in each of the past three seasons and four of the last five.
However, there are some huge red flags. Matt Leinart will be taking over the QB job from Kurt Warner. Exactly what we get from him is really anyone’s guess. He started one game in 2009 (Week 12) and Fitzgerald had just four catches for 34 yards and 0 TD. Obviously, the two will have more time to gel, working together in the preseason, but it is worth noting.
Also, Fitzgerald’s running buddy, Anquan Boldin, is now in Baltimore. That will allow defenses to focus a little more on Fitzgerald.
Is he still one of the elite receivers? Absolutely, but he certainly has a ton of questions surrounding him.
Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis Colts
He may be getting up there in age, he turns 32-years old in November, but he has proven to be extremely consistent. He hasn’t missed a game in the regular season since 2001 and has started every game since 2003.
He has at least 80 catches in each of the past five seasons. He has at least 1,000 yards in each of the past six. He’s scored 9 TDs or more four times in his career. He also has Peyton Manning, one of the elite QBs in the game, throwing him the football.
However, he plays in an offense where they like to spread the ball around. Dallas Clark has become an integral part of the offense and Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie continue to develop. If Anthony Gonzalez is able to return, that’s just another weapon to work in. Not to mention Joseph Addai and Donald Brown will get their share of carries,
It’s easy to imagine the Colts resting him a little more, trying to keep him fresh for the playoffs, and using the younger players a little bit more.
Randy Moss – New England Patriots
Is he going to replicate his amazing 2007 campaign, where he caught 23 TD passes? Unlikely, but he has scored at least 11 TD in the two subsequent seasons and the combination of Moss/Brady has developed into one of the elite in the game.
Still, he hasn’t surpassed 100 catches since 2003, so in PPR leagues he’s easily passed over. In non-PPR leagues, it’s a little more questionable.
Outside of 2007, the numbers haven’t matched up with the other options since 2003. Yes, the TDs are nice and having Tom Brady at QB helps, but I just don’t see him as a viable option for the #2 WR.
Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions
He may not have one of the elite QB at his disposal (click here fore my recent write-up on Matthew Stafford), but he has shown signs of developing into one of the best receivers in the game. Could he reach that level in 2010? Possibly, but he had just 67 receptions and 5 TD in ’09.
Yes, you can point to the 1,331 yards and 12 TD in ’08, but you are expecting a big step forward from Stafford if you think he can certainly eclipse the value of Wayne and Fitzgerald. Considering we are likely talking about a first round draft pick, that’s an awful big gamble to take.
In the second round, sure, I’d roll the dice, but he is not a certain contributor, making it impossible for me to take him as the second receiver off the board.
We are left with Fitzgerald and Wayne to chose from. Both have huge risks, but both should produce more then enough to justify the pick, they just always have.
As for which I’d take, I think I’d have to go Fitzgerald. He has just been consistently better and, with his size and athletic ability, allows Leinart to simply throw the ball up and he’ll make a play. With a full training camp to work together, I wouldn’t worry about the change at QB.
Of course, you also couldn’t go wrong with Wayne, who safely remains at #3 for me.
What about you? Who is your #2 WR? Why?
Make sure to check out our 2010 rankings:
Also, make sure to check out our recent rookie rankings: