July 18, 2008

With the popularity of point-per-reception leagues taking hold in fantasy football, wide receivers are receiving -- sorry the pun -- more love these days on draft day. Because of PPR, wideouts like Randy Moss are not only going in the first round, they're going in the top seven of most drafts. And it's not uncommon to see two or three wideouts go in the first round and more than half of the picks in the second round go towards WRs.

Why? Because at one point-per-reception, a 100-reception wideout is equal to a back who scores 15 or more TDs. The points can add up in a hurryn and the top wideouts even find a way to separate themselves from the pack of second tier WRs. Last year, 17 different wideouts had 80 or more receptions, but only five of those had 100-plus receptions. Also, a total of 10 wideouts had 10 or more TD receptions last year, up from five in 2006, as the passing game is becoming more and more a part of the NFL game plan for top teams.

Here now are the top 75 wideouts to grab on draft day, in order of preference:

Moss had a season for the ages as he set an NFL record with 23 TD receptions and finished with 98 receptions and 1,493 yards. He had nine 100-yard receiving games and he caught at least five passes in a game 12 times. He was a major question mark heading into last season, but he's now the top wideout in fantasy football and someone who will go seventh or eighth in most drafts as he's projected to top 1,300 yards again with 16 TDs.

Like Moss, Owens had no problems last year in Dallas and he came through with one of his best seasons ever. He missed just one game to injury and finished with 15 TDs, while catching 81 passes for 1,355 yards. He had six 100-yard receiving games and caught at least five passes in a game 10 times. As long as he's happy, he will be productive, so expect another season of 1,200-plus yards, 80-plus receptions and 15 TDs.

Wayne escaped Marvin Harrison's shadow last year and became an elite wideout, catching a career-best 104 passes for 1,510 yards and 10 TDs. He finished fourth in WR scoring and had at least five receptions in a game 12 times. He also caught at least one TD pass in nine games and had six 100-yard receiving games. Even if Harrison returns healthy, Wayne is the man in Indy and he will produce another 90-plus reception, 1,400-plus yard, 11 TD season in '08.

After a tumultuous '06 season, Edwards grew up and became an elite fantasy wideout, catching 80 passes for 1,289 yards and 16 TDs. He finished third in WR scoring as he had at least one TD reception in 11 games and caught at least five passes in eight games. He also had four 100-yard receiving games, and at the age of 25, the sky is the limit for this young star. Grab him in the second round this year and expect a season of 80-plus catches, 1,200-plus yards and 14 TDs.

Johnson missed nearly half the season with a knee injury, but when he was healthy he was a star. In just nine games, he finished with 60 receptions for 851 yards and eight TDs. He scored a touchdown in every game but two, had four 100-yard receiving games and had at least five catches in every game but one. He is an injury risk, but the upside is just too great to ignore as he could post 100-plus catches, 1,200-plus yards and 12 TDs if he stays healthy for 16 games.

With the threat of a holdout now gone, CJ is back in the top 10 for wideouts, although his fuse could light at any time. He is unquestionably one of the top WRs in fantasy football as last year he finished with 93 catches for 1,440 yards and 8 TDs. He had four 100-yard receiving games, but he also was held without a TD in 12 games. More consistency is needed by Ocho Cinco, but by season's end he will still finish with 90-plus receptions, 1,200-plus yards and nine TDs.

Fitzgerald reached the 100-catch plateau for the second time in the last three years as he also duplicated his career highs with 1,409 yards and 10 TDs. He missed one game to injury, but he was dominant in the second half as he scored nine TDs in his last eight games and had at least five receptions in 12 games. He also finished with four 100-yard receiving games and will bounce back again this year with a season of 90-plus catches, 1,300-plus yards and 10 TDs.

Smith was a victim of Jake Delhomme's injury last year and his value plummeted as a result. He got off to an incredible start when Delhomme was healthy, catching 15 passes for 271 yards and four TDs during the first two games, but then the bottom fell out when David Carr had to replace Delhomme. He went on a seven-game scoring drought and finished with 87 catches for 1,002 yards and 7 TDs. But with Delhomme back, Smith should be back in the 85-90 reception range and finish with 1,200-plus yards and nine TDs.

While Chad Johnson whined a lot last year, Housh just went about his business and became one of the top wideouts in the NFL. He set career highs in receptions 9112), receiving yards (1,143) and TDs (12) for the second straight season to finish seventh among all WRs in scoring. He caught at least five passes in a game 13 times and had at least one TD catch in 10 games. He will be the main target again this year and even with CJ back, Housh will finish with 100-plus catches, 1,100-plus yards and 11 TDs.

With the Saints struggling early last year, Colston was a fantasy dud as he had just two TD catches in his first seven games. But he caught fire after that and had nine TD catches in his last 10 games, adding four 100-yard games. He also had at least seven catches in eight of those last 10 games as he finished the season with 98 catches for 1,202 yards and 11 TDs. In this potent offense, Colston is a lock for another 90-reception, 1,200-yard, 10-TD season.

Despite suffering an ankle injury early in the year that lingered all season long, Burress played all 16 games and was a monster in the playoffs as the Giants surprised everyone to win the Super Bowl. He finished with only 70 catches during the regular season, but still came through with 1,025 yards and 12 TDs. He caught TD passes in just three of his final 10 games, but he's expected to be fully recovered from the ankle injury to start this year and should rebound with a season of 75-plus catches, 1,100-plus yards and 10 TDs.

Even though the Rams were a mess last year, Holt still came through to match his '06 reception total (93) and almost match his receiving yards (1,189). But his TD total dropped from 10 to 7 and he's falling into the middle-to-late third round in offseason drafts now because of his inconsistency last year. Still, if the Rams stay healthy Holt could be a solid bargain in '08 as he should catch at least 90 passes for 1,100-plus yards and 8 TDs.

Marshall went from the No. 2 WR in Denver last year to the unquestioned go-to guy as Javon Walker fell to injury. Now with Walker in Oakland, Marshall is the No. 1 option, if he can stay on the field. Off-the-field problems are more a concern with Marshall than his talent. Last year, he finished with 102 catches for 1,325 yards and seven TDs as he had 12 games with at least five catches and three 100-yard performances. He's a solid pickup who will top 90 catches, 1,200 yards and 8 TDs in '08.

Boldin missed four games last season with hip and toe injuries, but he still scored a career-best nine TDs, while catching 71 passes for 853 yards. He finished strong, catching 17 passes for 218 yards and three TDs in his last two games. He should be healthy this year and should bounce back with 85-plus catches, 1,100-plus yards and 10 TDs if he can play all 16 games.

One of the best jewels on draft day was Welker, who came out of nowhere to be a star in the Patriots' system. He obliterated his previous career highs with 112 receptions, 1,175 yards and 8 TDs, while catching at least five passes in 12 games. He may look like just a good possession receiver, but as long as Randy Moss clears out defenses deep, Welker will get his share of solid numbers. Expect another solid season of 90-plus receptions, 1,100-plus yards and eight TDs in '08.

After playing in all 16 games in '06, Williams battled injuries most of last season and appeared in just 12 games. He's now been unable to play a full season three of the last four years, but when he's on the field he's extremely productive. He finished last year with 63 catches for 836 yards and five TDs despite playing with a bum knee. He needs to stay healthy and be more consistent to reach levels of 80 catches, 1,200 yards and eight TDs.

Holmes missed three games with an ankle injury last year, but was on the verge of a breakout season as he scored eight TDs and finished with 52 catches for 942 yards. He had at least one TD catch in six games and finished with three 100-yard games. All he needs now is an injury-free season and he could bust out to the tune of 70-plus catches, 1,000-plus yards and nine TDs.

Bowe had a solid rookie season for the Chiefs even though the QB situation was mighty shaky. He finished 24th among all wideouts last year in scoring as he had 70 receptions for 995 yards and five TDs. He had TD catches in three of his first five games, but then had just two more TDs the rest of the way. The QB situation is in bad shape this year in K.C., but Bowe will still respond with a season of 80 catches, 1,100 yards and eight TDs.

Jennings missed the first two games last season with a hamstring injury, but he was one of the most productive wideouts over the last 14 weeks of the season. He finished with 12 TDs, despite having only 53 catches for 920 yards. He had TD grabs in 10 of his 13 games (he missed Week 17) and finished 12th among all wideouts in scoring per game. His value drops a bit without Brett Favre at QB, but Jennings will still come through with 60-plus receptions, 900-plus yards and nine TDs.

After catching only 30 passes in '06, White became one of the best late round bargains last year as he caught 83 passes for 1,202 yards and six TDs. He finished 14th among all WRs in scoring and finished strong with four TD catches in his last six games, while adding three 100-yard games. He did all of this without a steady QB, and even if rookie Matt Ryan takes over at QB, White will bounce back with a season of 80-plus receptions, 1,100-plus yards and six TDs.

After catching only 30 passes in '06, White became one of the best late round bargains last year as he caught 83 passes for 1,202 yards and six TDs. He finished 14th among all WRs in scoring and finished strong with four TD catches in his last six games, while adding three 100-yard games. He did all of this without a steady QB, and even if rookie Matt Ryan takes over at QB, White will bounce back with a season of 80-plus receptions, 1,100-plus yards and six TDs.Ward is still a solid WR, but injuries are starting to take a toll on this gritty veteran. He missed three games last year with a knee injury and had surgery in January. Still, he finished with 71 catches for 732 yards and seven TDs as he remains the No. 1 option in this offense. If he can stay healthy this year, he will finish with 75-plus catches, 900-plus yards and eight TDs.

The second overall pick of '07 fell short of expectations last year as finished with only 48 catches for 756 yards and four TDs. He had TD catches in each of his first two games, but then had only two the rest of the way as he was plagued by dropped passes and poor route running. Still, he has great talent and physical skills and he should rebound this year with a season of 60-plus catches, 1,000-plus yards and seven TDs.

Despite the Jets' problems at QB last year, Cotchery was his old reliable self, finishing with 82 catches for the second straight year while adding a career-best 1,130 yards. However, his TD total dropped from six in '06 to just two last year, but he finished strong, catching 28 passes for 400 yards and a TD in his last four games. Expect more of the same this year as he finishes with 80-plus catches, 1,000-plus yards and five TDs.

Curtis' first season with the Eagles was a success as he set career highs for receptions 977) and receiving yards (1,110), while finishing 17th in WR scoring. He exploded for 11 catches, 221 yards and three TDs in Week 3 and had three 100-yard games and six TDs on the season. He's a solid WR3 this year who will reach 70 receptions, 1,000 yards and six TDs.

After finishing seventh in WR scoring in '06, Evans was a bust last year as he finished 32nd among WRs. The Bills' sorry QB play hurt him badly as he finished with only 55 receptions for 849 yards and five TDs. He failed to score during his first six games and he eventually had shoulder surgery this off-season. He still has big-time talent and with improved QB play could finish with 65-plus catches, 1,000 yards and six TDs.

With Deion Branch sidelined with a knee injury last season, Engram took over as the No. 1 wideout and was an incredible waiver wire fine in fantasy leagues. He finished with a career-best 94 catches for 1,147 yards and six TDs, finishing 15th among all wideouts. He caught at least five passes in 10 games and had two 100-yard performances. With Branch out again, Engram returns as the No. 1 wideout who will reach 80 catches, 1,000 yards and six TDs.

Despite being stuck in a poor Bears' offense, Berrian still emerged with solid numbers of 71 catches, 951 yards and five TDs. But he took the first flight out of Chicago this off-season and landed in Minnesota with a six-year, $43.4 million contract. Unfortunately, this QB situation is even worse than the one in Chicago, but he will still come through with another season of 70-plus catches, 950-plus yards and six TDs.

After suffering with the dismal Dolphins, Chambers was traded to San Diego in the middle of last season and added a spark to that offense. In 10 games with San Diego, he finished with 35 catches for 555 yards and four TDs. He finished strong, catching 15 passes for 279 yards and two TDs in his last four games. Look for that trend to continue as he will finish '08 with 60 catches for 950-plus yards and six TDs.

Driver remained the No. 1 option in the Packers' passing attack last year, but he struggled to find the end zone. He finished with 82 catches for 1,048 yards, but after catching two TD passes in the first three games, he didn't catch another one until the NFC Championship Game. Still, he had 10 games with at least five receptions and two 100-yard performances, and will bounce back with a season of 80-plus catches, 1,000-plus yards and six TDs.

Harrison missed 11 games with a knee injury last year and was a fantasy bust for the first time in his career. His knee continues to be a problem, which makes his status heading into '08 very questionable. He finished with only 20 catches last year for 247 yards and one TD and predicting his '08 stats is foolish before seeing how he runs in training camp. Keep an eye on him because he could be a top-10 talent or a bust even at No. 30.

After back-to-back top 15 scoring seasons, Galloway dropped to 21st last season as his receptions (57), receiving yards (1,104) and TDs (6) declined for the second straight season. At 36, he's on the downside of his career, but he's still good enough to get deep and have a few big games. Just remember the age factor on draft day and expect a season of just 55 catches, 900 yards and six TDs.

A high ankle sprain limited Coles to just 12 games last year and he finished with only 55 catches for 646 yards and six TDs. He was solid early, but the ankle injury got the best of him during the second half and now at age 30 he's become the No. 2 option in New York. He's still solid when healthy, though, so hope for a full season of good health and the end result could be 70 catches for 850-plus yards and six TDs.

Moss battled leg injuries for the second straight season and was a major disappointment, finishing with only 61 catches for 808 yards and three TDs. He had only six games of five or more receptions, but he did finish strong with 15 catches for 261 yards and two TDs in his final three games. He will be pushed hard by the rookies this camp and could struggle to top 65 catches, 875 yards and five TDs in '08.

After a dismal '06 campaign, Mason bounced back with a career year, catching 103 passes for 1,087 yards and five TDs. He caught at least five passes in 13 games and topped 1,000 yards for the sixth time in the last seven years. Don't project another 100-plus reception season, but even with the QB problems in Baltimore Mason should top 85 catches for 900 yards and five TDs.

Burleson took advantage of injuries to Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett last year to emerge as the No. 2 wideout in Seattle and finished 27th in WR scoring. He finished with a career-best 9 TD receptions and had at least one TD catch in eight games. He also finished with 50 catches for 694 yards and will be the No. 2 wideout to start the '08 season. That should lead to another solid season of 55 catches, 750 yards and six TDs.

Gonzalez is a hot offseason pick as he could earn the Colts' No. 2 wideout job if Marvin Harrison doesn't bounce back from his knee injury. Gonzalez had a rough rookie season as he finished with 37 catches for 576 yards and three TDs, but he finished strong as he caught 20 passes for 347 yards and three TDs during Weeks 12-15. He has good upside and will be a solid WR3 if he wins the No. 2 job in Indy.

Stallworth didn't make a big impact in New England last year, but after signing a seven-year, $53 million deal in Cleveland he is set for a breakout season. He played all 16 games last year with the Patriots, but had a modest season of 46 catches for 697 yards and three TDs. Now as the No. 2 target opposite Braylon Edwards, Stallworth should break out with at least 55 catches, 800-plus yards and five TDs.

Crayton replaced Terry Glenn as the No. 2 WR in Dallas last year and there's a good chance he will retain that job in 2008. If he does, he could improve on last year's numbers of 50 catches for 697 yards and seven TDs. He's a big play performer who is just in his fifth season and has solid upside. Grab him and project a season of 55 catches, 750 yards and six TDs.

Brown finished with OK numbers last year (61 catches for 780 yards and four TDs), but he was frustratingly inconsistent. He failed to catch a TD pass during his first eight games and had three or fewer catches in six games during that stretch. He finished strong in the second half, but you wonder if this guy will ever put it all together. Probably not, so project conservatively for '08 once again.

After catching only 55 passes for 733 yards and four TDs last year in St. Louis, Bruce reunited with offensive coordinator Mike Martz in San Francisco with a two-year deal worth $6 million. The reunion should help his career, but at 35 Bruce is on the downside of a solid career. He can still deliver some good games, but with Alex Smith at QB the numbers will likely finish in the range of 60 catches for 750 yards and four TDs.

Porter's up-and-down career with Oakland finally landed this off-season after he signed a six year, $30 million contract with Jacksonville. That's a lot to pay for an underachiever who caught only 44 passes last year for 705 yards and six TDs. He won't put up big numbers in Jacksonville's conservative offense, so expect numbers similar to last year.

Gage emerged as the Titans' No. 1 wideout last year and his reward was a four-year, $14 million contract extension. He led the team in receiving yardage last year (750), while adding 55 catches and two TDs. With Vince Young struggling, it's tough for any wideout to put up good fantasy numbers in this offense. As a result, keep Gage as a WR4 and project a season of 60 catches for 800 yards and four TDs.

With Andre Johnson's knee injury, Walter emerged as a solid waiver-wire pickup last year and finished with solid numbers. He led the team in receptions with 65 -- yeah, more than AJ had -- and had a career-best 800 yards with four TDs. He caught at least four passes in eight games and should be a solid third option in this offense this year. With AJ healthy, Walter's numbers will suffer, but a repeat of last year isn't out of the question.

Rice showed flashes of promise during his rookie season, but in the end his numbers were still disappointing (31 catches for 396 yards and four TDs). He had two solid games against Green Bay and Detroit, but an ankle injury limited him to just 13 games. Still, the upside is there and in time this guy is going to be a player in this league. For now, project a sophomore season of 45 catches, 600 yards and six TDs.

With Isaac Bruce now gone, Bennett will become the No. 2 WR in this offense, which bodes well for this upcoming season. He was a dud last year in the No. 3 role, catching just 33 passes for 375 yards and three TDs. He had three or more receptions in a game only four times, but with a healthy Marc Bulger he should finish with 50-plus receptions, 600 yards and five TDs.

Hackett was a top sleeper pick last season, but ankle injuries limited him to just six games and a ticket out of the Great Northwest. He landed in Carolina with a two-year, $3.5 million contract and will now be the No. 2 option opposite Steve Smith. That's a pretty good gig that will net him 50 catches, 650 yards and five TDs.

Walker was one of the biggest busts last season and his bizarre off-season makes him a candidate to repeat on this list for '08. His recurring knee injury cost him 8 games with Denver last year and when he returned late in the year after surgery he was just a decoy. He's now in Oakland after earning a six-year, $55 million deal but it could end up being one of the worst signings in Oakland history. With all his knee troubles and personal troubles, he's risky even as a WR4.

Jackson was shoved aside after the Chargers acquired Chris Chambers and he's now an afterthought in fantasy drafts. He finished with just 41 catches for 623 yards and three TDs last year and may be hard-pressed to even reach those numbers this year. There are too many other options in this offense, so project conservatively for Jackson.

The Bears are doing everything they can to make Hester their No. 2 wideout this year and get him the ball in the open field. It's not a bad idea since he returned six kickoffs for TDs last year. But as a wideout, he's definitely a work in progress and NFL defenses tend to figure out speedy wideouts who haven't played the position much. He's a gamble, but as a WR5 you could do a lot worse.

Ginn's rookie season didn't amount to much, but he did show flashes of brilliance at times, which may explain why the Dolphins made him a top-10 pick in '07. Of his 34 receptions, 18 went for first downs and he had one punt return for a TD to go along with his two TD receptions. He's still a work in progress, but a good WR5 candidate who could emerge with 45 catches for 600 yards and four TDs this year.

Smith spent most of his rookie season injured and finished with only eight catches in five games for 63 yards. But he made some big catches in the playoffs, especially on that last drive in the Super Bowl, and could emerge as Amani Toomer's replacement soon enough. As the No. 3 wideout, he could produce 50 catches for 550 yards and four TDs.

Williams caught only 38 passes last year, but they produced 629 yards and 10 TDs. He's a hit-or-miss candidate, and now with Jerry Porter on board as the No. 1 option, he could be more miss than hit. But you have to like the big frame and the big play ability, so draft accordingly and hope for a few more receptions and expect a few less TDs.

Randle El had his best season as a pro as he finished with 51 catches for 728 yards and one TD, despite dealing with a hamstring injury. He's still not worth the big contract that Daniel Snyder threw at him three years ago and now he has two rookie wideouts who will challenge him for playing time. If he duplicates last year's numbers, it will be a pleasant surprise, so draft accordingly.

Toomer quietly had a productive season for the Giants in '07, playing all 16 games following his '06 knee surgery and finishing with 59 catches for 760 yards and three TDs. He had four or more catches in nine games, but will be pressed by Steve Smith this year for playing time. Hope for more of the same from last year and don't be surprised if the numbers go down.

Patten was surprisingly efficient for the Saints last year as he emerged as the No. 2 option in this offense. He finished with 54 catches for 792 yards and three TDs and received a two-year deal from New Orleans in March. But look for Robert Meacham to steal some of his playing time from him this year, which means lower numbers in '08.

Booker returned to Chicago in March with a two-year contract and is the No. 1 wideout heading into '08. That's scary. In Miami last year, he finished with 50 catches for 556 yards and one TD, topping 60 yards receiving in a game only twice. It won't get any better in Chicago with Rex Grossman at QB, so plan accordingly.

Curry led the Raiders in receptions last year with 55, but still was a disappointment with only 717 yards and four TDs. He had four or more receptions in a game only three times and was held under 50 yards receiving in 12 games. With rookie QB JaMarcus Russell expected to struggle this year, Curry's numbers could even go down this year.

Bryant is getting some love in offseason drafts as he could emerge as a sleeper pick in San Francisco. He's the No. 2 option in a Mike Martz offense that is sure to throw a lot this year. Forget about his time in Arizona and hope this former No. 1 pick turns things around.

Robinson had a solid rookie season as the former Illinois State standout caught 37 passes for 437 yards and one TD. He opened off-season workouts as the No. 2 wideout opposite Roddy White, which would be a good role indeed. He's a solid WR5 who could put up solid numbers in '08.

Jackson bombed badly during his one season in San Francisco, catching only 46 passes for 497 yards and three TDs. He signed a one-year deal in April with Denver and now is the No. 2 WR for the Broncos. However, his upside is limited and it's unlikely he will come close to the numbers he used to put up in Seattle. Expect more of '07 in '08.

61. Mark Clayton, Baltimore62. Jabar Gaffney, New England63. James Hardy, Buffalo64. Justin McCareins, Tennessee65. Devin Thomas, Washington66. James Jones, Green Bay67. Ernest Wilford, Miami68. Robert Meacham, New Orleans69. Antonio Bryant, Tampa Bay70. Limas Sweed, Pittsburgh71. Shaun McDonald, Detroit}72. Ben Obamanu, Seattle73. Terry Glenn, Dallas74. Malcolm Kelly, Washington75. Roscoe Parrish, Buffalo

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