Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green proved in 2012 that he can be among the elite. Could he now compete with Calvin Johnson as the best wideout in the NFL?
For the past few days I have brought to you a list of who I thought would be the top ten fantasy running backs and the top ten fantasy quarterbacks going into this 2013 season.
In this 2-part series, I will now put together my top ten fantasy wide receivers.
You would think that with the NFL having an abundance in receiving targets, that this list would be the toughest one to rank. But I actually found it easier to numerically order the top fantasy wide receivers than the running backs or quarterbacks of each team.
So without further ado, here is my list of the 1-5 fantasy wide receivers of 2013, also compared to the ones from ESPN.com and NFL.com.
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions- ESPN.com (1) NFL.com (1)
The 2013 projections on NFL.com has Calvin “Megatron” Johnson receiving 1,594 yards and 8 receiving touchdowns.
After his performance in 2012, how can you not have Megatron being the number one receiver going off every fantasy draft board in 2013. Here are some records to back up that statement:
Most receiving yards in a single season: 1,964 yards, breaking the former record of 1,848 held by Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice
Most receptions in a single calendar month: 49 receptions (December 2012)
First NFL player in history to have consecutive seasons with at least 1,600 yards receiving (2011, 2012)
Most consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards (8)
Most 100 receiving yard games in a single season (11) – tied with Michael Irvin
He also finished 2012 with the most receptions (122) and was 36 yards away from being the first receiver ever to have 2,000 receiving yards. Oh and let’s not forget, his quarterback, Matthew Stafford, attempted the most passes in 2012 among all quarterbacks in the NFL. That all fares very well for 2013 Calvin Johnson fantasy owners.
2. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals- ESPN.com (2) NFL.com (3)
The 2013 projections on NFL.com has A.J. Green receiving 1,324 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The 2012 season was a breakout year for the third year man out of University of Georgia. Green finished the season with 97 receptions, 1,350 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. But most importantly, he helped his Bengals team clinch a playoff spot in the AFC in back to back seasons.
Green, and Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, have made a name for themselves in the Bengals uniform. Fans across the league call the quarterback/wide receiver duo in Cincinnati the new “connection” in the NFL, although Lions fans would disagree.
But with this new tandem forming in Cincinnati, I believe 2013 will be the year that the Bengals will get over the hump and be crowned with the AFC North division title.
3. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys- ESPN.com (3) Nfl.com (4)
The 2013 projections on NFL.com has Dez Bryant receiving 1,372 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Finally, the coming out party for the former Oklahoma State wideout happened for the Dallas Cowboys in 2012.
After a series of cases of Bryant running into the law (even with his own mother), Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had to place Dez on team probation. That couldn’t have worked out better for the team and for Bryant as an individual.
Even after a slow start, Bryant finished last season with 92 receptions for 1,382 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Bryant officially solidify himself not only as Tony Romo’s number one target, but a top tier wideout in the game today.
I think it’s safe to say that the former first round draft pick is ready t live up to his hype.
4. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears- ESPN.com (4) NFL.com (2)
The 2013 projections on NFL.com has Brandon Marshall receiving 1,471 yards and 9 touchdowns.
I think it’s safe to say that the “Marshall Plan” was happy to reunite with his buddy, and quarterback of the Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler.
The former Miami Dolphin wideout was traded to the Bears during the offseason, where he would again team up with Cutler for the second time in their career, the first time being with the Denver Broncos.
The two combined for a career year for Marshall, as the 8th year man out of Central Florida finished the year tied second in receptions with 118, third in receiving yards with 1,508 and tied fourth in touchdowns with 11.
You can expect the same kind of year from the “romantic” couple in 2013.
5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons- ESPN.com (5) NFL.com (5)
The 2013 projections on NFL.com has Julio Jones receiving 1,276 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Remember that trade in the 2011 draft where we thought the Atlanta Falcons organization were nuts giving away five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns just to move up and get this guy?
Well after a 2012 season ,where the 3rd year man out of the University of Alabama finished with 79 receptions for 1,198 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, do you still think the Atlanta Falcons organization was crazy for trading away all those picks? Uhh, No. Me either!
Julio Jones’s quick speed and ability to catch the ball over any defender has made himself an household name in Atlanta, and is easily becoming Matt Ryan’s favorite target. With guys like Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White already on the team, that says a lot about the potential and performance a guy like Julio Jones brings to the field.
Once the 2013 season is over, expect Jones to be a top five wide receiver in the NFL.
Make sure you tune in tomorrow to read who are my 6-10 top fantasy wide receivers of 2013.
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