Jay Clemons
Friday August 20th, 2010

For those who don't have time to consume every word of the expansive Fantasy Football Preview, we'd like to present the SI.com 5-Minute Guide to Fantasy Football, in five parts. Think of it as a Reader's Digest approach to fantasy domination. And should you have any questions or comments, be sure to follow me on Twitter. Herewith, a quick glance at wide receivers.

Michael Crabtree, 49ers

This time last year, Crabtree was needlessly (i.e: hopelessly) holding out for more cash, drawing the ire of the Niners faithful; and now, he's a top-15 receiver with a top-five upside at the tender age of 23. Obviously, Crabtree isn't a supreme lock for 85 catches and/or 1,000 yards receiving in Year 2, but the above projections seem quite doable, eh?

DeSean Jackson, Eagles

If D-Jax should finish with 62-63 catches for a third straight season in 2010 -- barring injury, of course -- then we'll have to eliminate all future discussions of top-10 rankings and double-digit touchdowns. That gives us a 12-month window to sing Jackson's praises as the perfect WR2 in standard or PPR leagues and an absolute draft gem in Round 4.

Steve Smith, Giants

Here's a foolproof, four-step plan for dominating 10-team PPR leagues with the No. 6 draft slot: Grab Andre Johnson in Round 1, RB Jamaal Charles in Round 2, Peyton Manning in Round 3 and the Giants' Smith in Round 4. With only 35 players off the board, you'll already have an all-world quarterback, a potential Chris Johnson at running back and two receivers with 100-catch expectations. Yes, Smith runs with a pretty fast crowd these days.

Kenny Britt, Titans

Britt took some heat in the spring for not being in tip-top shape for the Titans' first mini-camp. But that comes with the territory in real world and fantasy circles, now that Britt has established himself as a reliable threat for 85 receiving yards a game in Vince Young's intermediate passing offense. If he should last until Round 9 in standard-scoring leagues, scoop him up!

Early Doucet, Cardinals

It's quite possible that Doucet could last an entire standard-scoring draft without being taken, but that doesn't excuse you from making that mistake with 16-round drafts. Even with Matt Leinart helming the offense, the Cardinals are still going to throw the ball in the comfy confines of University of Phoenix Stadium. And someone -- specifically Doucet or Steve Breaston -- has to fill the vacuum effect of Anquan Boldin taking his temperamental act to Baltimore.

Reggie Wayne, Colts

Check out any preseason fantasy magazine on the bookshelves, and you'll find a high-end WR ranking for Wayne but a caveat statement as to why he may fail -- noting Wayne's age (32 in November), his declining production at the tail end of last year, his contract issues with Colts execs or how Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and, yes, Anthony Gonzalez are primed to (nicely) knock Wayne from the ranks of the fantasy elite. Not exactly a show of respect for a 100-catch receiver.

Marques Colston, Saints

The pessimist would say that Colston is no longer a top-10 receiver because the Saints offense has too many mouths to feed. The numbers-based optimist, however, would surmise that Colston runs on a three-year statistical loop -- 70 catches/8-9 TDs for 2006 and 2009, 47 catches/6 TDs for 2008 and 2011 ... and 98 catches/1,200 yards/11 TDs for 2007 and 2010. How's that for looking on the sunny side of life?

Chad Ochocinco, Bengals

Ochocinco may still be the big fish in the Bengals' passing game, but there is only so much juice for the receiving corps of Ocho, Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley, Matt Jones, Jerome Simpson, Jermaine Gresham, et al -- without cutting into RB Cedric Benson's typical workload. The good news: fantasy owners shouldn't feel the need to grab Ocho until Round 7.

Hines Ward, Steelers

This dubious distinction has everything to do with Ben Roethlisberger's suspension until Week 7 and Byron Leftwich's untenable status as the September/October starter. But here's the upside: Say Big Ben returns in Week 5? That gives Ward at least 12 games of six catches (72 total). Add that to the 14 receptions he'll likely pull down from Weeks 1-4, and we're still talking about 84 catches, 1,000-plus yards and 6-7 TDs. Not bad for a Round 7 draft choice.

Vincent Jackson, Chargers

He seems to be a lock for a four-game suspension and synchronized 10-game holdout, which should relegate him to Bryant Johnson or Torry Holt-esque predraft status. The lesson here: Don't be that guy who wastes a Round 6 pick on the West Coast version of Bryant Johnson or Torry Holt.

Devin Thomas, Redskins

Thomas will be this year's Sidney Rice -- coming out of nowhere to post scintillating numbers. His athleticism is off the charts, and he'll likely hold the key to Donovan McNabb's heart in D.C. Thomas' youth and relative inexperience is the only drawback. Say hello to getting Round 2 production at a Round 8/9 price.

Mike Wallace, Steelers

With Santonio Holmes out of the picture, Wallace is next in line to become the Steelers' primary deep option in Bruce Arians' go-for-broke offense. But Wallace may have to dream a little smaller in the first six weeks of the season. Even if Byron Leftwich has the arm to throw accurate deep balls, his painfully slow release should make for a lot of pass rush-aided incompletions.

Steve Breaston, Cardinals

Breaston can make that leap from complementary receiver to game-changing wideout for one simple reason: He already has that scout-team rapport with Leinart -- just like Philly's Kevin Kolb and Brent Celek.

Legedu Naanee, Chargers Laurent Robinson, Rams Mike Williams, Bucs Josh Morgan, 49ers Brandon Tate, Patriots Arrelious Benn, Bucs Golden Tate, Seahawks

• The first receiver to tally three TDs in one game will be ... Larry Fitzgerald vs. New Orleans (Week 5).

• Philly's DeSean Jackson will be the first wideout to register 10 catches and two touchdowns in separate games.

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