A few weeks ago we lined up featured experts to tackle 5 key running back questions heading into the preseason. This week, we’re back at it with a new group of experts and a different position as our focus: Wide Receivers.
Before we get to the questions at hand, below is a rundown of the experts who will contribute their opinions. The pundits will give us their take on WR breakthrough candidates, players set to disappoint this season and more.
Q1: Who is your top WR breakthrough candidate for 2013 and how soon (round) should he be targeted in a 12 team, standard draft?
“Shorts, the Jaguars’ leading wideout in yards, and YPC in 2012 will be entering his third season, which has often been a great year statistically for the position. He’s been going in the 7th round in mock drafts, which is a steal.” – Justin Sablich (The NY Times)
Pierre Garcon (WAS)
When I think breakthrough, I’m thinking a middle-round pick that will end up as an early round pick next season. For that, let’s go with Pierre Garcon. He’s already a high middle-round pick, but we haven’t seen him healthy with Robert Griffin III in a full season.” – David Gonos (DavidGonos.com)
“My top breakout candidate at WR this year is Michael Floyd. His first round pedigree will be on display with Bruce Arians calling the shots and Carson Palmer delivering the football. I could see myself taking him as high as the 7th, though he’s generally there in the 9th or later.” – Eric Yeomans (Pro Football Focus)
“If you’re looking deeper, I like Michael Floyd having a respectable season as Larry Fitzgerald’s counterpart, now that he has a good quarterback and a year under his belt.” – David Gonos (DavidGonos.com)
“Our top breakthrough candidate for 2013 is T.Y. Hilton. Although he caught just 50 balls in 2012, Hilton showed explosiveness going for 861 yards and 7 TD’s. Reggie Wayne is another year older, and DHB has failed to impress. We recommend a pick on Hilton in the late 5th/early 6th round on draft day (current ADP 7.05).” – KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)
Q2: Give us a wideout that will disappoint fantasy owners and tell us why you feel that way.
“Johnson has been a top-8 standard league talent in two of the last three seasons, but health and TD production are always concerns. There is definitely bust potential here.” Justin Sablich (The NY Times)
“I have Jordy Nelson ranked a little lower than everyone else, and my reasoning is that I do think the Packers are going to go back to more of a running game, with two good rookie RBs. I also think when they pass, Randall Cobb is going to become the featured wide receiver, rather than just another part of the system. We’ll also see if his injuries last year were a trend or random.” – David Gonos (DavidGonos.com)
“I think Percy Harvin will disappoint many fantasy owners who are expecting him to get the same number of targets he was receiving in Minnesota. He should be a very solid WR2, but I don’t think he will end up as a top-ten fantasy receiver like many are expecting.” – Eric Yeomans (Pro Football Focus)
Pierre Garcon (WAS)
“Garcon has opted to play through injury this season for the Redskins by using special shoes to assist with the torn ligament in his foot. His current ADP puts him in front of Eric Decker, Antonio Brown and James Jones, but he is very unlikely to complete a full season, & thus we are recommending our readers steer clear in 2013.” – KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)
Q3: Percy Harvin & Randall Cobb are going off Standard & PPR draft boards at right around the same spot. Who would you rather have on your team and why?
“Harvin. Barely. If Percy was on a team that threw the ball more this would be a slam dunk. We still have Cobb in our top 15, but a healthy Jordy Nelson will take away looks, while James Jones will still get his shots in the red zone. It remains to be seen how the Seahawks utilize Percy’s speed/elusiveness (out of the backfield?), but he is the clear WR1 on the Seahawks in 2013.” – KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)
“I have Harvin ranked higher (WR #11), but I won’t be drafting him that high. Weird? Wide receivers going from one team to another need some time to get acclimated, usually, Vincent Jackson notwithstanding. Let’s remember that Russell Wilson is still just a second-year pro, and they’ll need a lot of work together to hit the ground running. Cobb, meanwhile, is primed to become Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target.” – David Gonos (DavidGonos.com)
“A slight edge to Cobb, who could top his career-high of 80 receptions in 2012 with Greg Jennings and Donald Driver out of the way. Harvin is super talented, but owners have to worry about health and Seattle runs a ton.” – Justin Sablich (The NY Times)
“Well I sort of answered this in the last question, but I’ll be going with Randall Cobb. Despite the many options in Green Bay, I feel that the additional opportunities (Green Bay threw the ball 153 more times last season) will lead to that one or two extra passes a week being thrown to Cobb, which will make all the difference.” – Eric Yeomans (Pro Football Focus)
Q4: Who will have the better fantasy season (Standard/PPR) and why: Wes Welker or Danny Amendola?
“This one is super close, but I have to give the edge to Welker. Amendola has played only 12 games over the past two seasons, and as the only viable Brady target besides Rob Gronkowski, he should be receiving extra attention from secondary’s.” Justin Sablich (The NY Times)
“Injuries can’t be overlooked, and considering Amendola doesn’t have much drawing away defenders’ attention, he could get hit early and often. Welker, meanwhile, will have too much to compete with, but I expect Peyton Manning to feed this waterbug 8-10 targets a game.” – David Gonos (DavidGonos.com)
“I’m going to have to go with Danny Amendola over Wes Welker in both Standard and PPR this season. With only Rob Gronkowski as a viable receiving option on that New England squad, Amendola should be heavily targeted by Tom Brady week-in-week-out.” – Eric Yeomans (Pro Football Focus)
Q5: James Jones caught 14 TD passes last season. Our consensus projections have him hauling in 8.6 TDs in 2013. Do you like the Over or Under on that amount?
“We project Jones at 9 receiving TD’s this season. This is a guy who caught 7 TDs in 2011 on just 38 receptions, and 14 TDs on 64 receptions last year. The Packers are thin on the outside, and the Packers should continue to go to Jones in the red zone.” – KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)
“Touchdowns, like wins in baseball, are pretty tough to predict. You have to take in his ability, his QB’s ability, his offense’s ability to move the ball into scoring position and his chances of getting his number called in the paint. Jones had a weird year last season, doubling his career high in TD catches, but he had his fewest yards per catch, and he didn’t really have that many more catches or yards than ever before. I say he’s under 8.6 touchdowns this season.” – David Gonos (DavidGonos.com)
“I’ll take the under, but just barely with 8. Jones has always had phenomenal skill, and was the original heir to the Green Bay WR2 throne that Donald Driver occupied before Jordy Nelson passed him. So while last season’s touchdown total was high, it wasn’t necessarily a fluke.” – Eric Yeomans (Pro Football Focus)
Thanks to the Featured Pros for stopping by to share their wide receiver advice. If you’d like to get more insight from the experts, be sure to visit their sites and follow them on Twitter.
We’ll follow up with key questions at the other positions over the coming weeks. Until then, best of luck with your draft prep!