Mostly agree with your rankings; with the optimism bias from being a cardinals fan personally, I'd argue you could make a 1 star increase at each position, but their current rankings are also fair. I very much disagree with the 1 star ranking at special teams however, as we have a pro bowl gunner in Justin Bethel being joined by some high upside athletes in the kick coverage team and kick return game. Probably the best coverage unit in the game, which coupled with a punter who is below average (don't think he's as bad as stats show- his hangtime is rediculous, and it seems the staff went with him for this reason. I'd choose a distance leg with our coverage team, butI digress). In short, I'd say 3 stars is fair. A perfectly average special teams unit, whose only limitation really seems to be Drew Butler's distance and the uncertainty of a new long snapper (but both seem pretty reliable this far)
These 2011 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers Rankings will be updated often throughout the summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out my other 2011 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2011 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Andre Johnson, WR, Texans. Bye: 11.
Despite missing three games last year (including Week 16, to the chagrin of his fantasy owners - i.e. me) Andre Johnson hauled in 86 receptions for 1,216 yards and eight touchdowns. He's still the No. 1 fantasy receiver, and well worth a mid first-round pick in your draft this summer.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 103 catches. 1,540 yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 208.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 311.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions. Bye: 9. AUG. 14 UPDATE: Calvin Johnson caught two balls for 37 yards and an impressive 26-yard back-shoulder touchdown in the exhibition opener against the Bengals. Megatron is in the best shape of his life, and his quarterback is healthy. He'll be fantasy football's top receiver if Matthew Stafford can somehow stay in the lineup.
AUG. 11 UPDATE: A week ago, I gave Calvin Johnson a stock up because he put on 10 pounds of muscle this offseason. Well, Johnson has reportedly been enjoying the best training camp of his career. He's definitely a late-first-round fantasy pick; if Matthew Stafford can stay healthy, Megatron has some monster fantasy potential.
JULY 31 UPDATE: Calvin Johnson has reportedly put on five pounds of muscle to generate more power and explosion. It's great to see that Megatron has such a great work ethic. It's almost scary to think what he'll be able to produce if Matthew Stafford manages to stay in the lineup.
If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy for a change - I know, a huge if - the sky's the limit for Calvin Johnson. Megatron seldom had his starting quarterback under center last year, yet he still managed to generate 77 catches, 1,120 yards and a whopping 12 touchdowns working with Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 87 catches. 1,310 yards. 12 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 203.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 290.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals. Bye: 6. AUG. 28 UPDATE: It's no surprise that Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald already have a strong rapport, given that the two worked out together on multiple occasions this offseason. Fitzgerald turned his five targets into three catches for 105 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown against the Chargers.
JULY 29 UPDATE: Even if you don't like Kevin Kolb, you have to acknowledge that he's light years ahead of John Skelton, Max Hall and Derek Anderson. Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald have worked out numerous times this offseason, so Fitzgerald is bound to have a bounce-back season.
I hated Larry Fitzgerald last year. He was on my Avoid/Bust list because the drop from Kurt Warner to either Matt Leinart or Derek Anderson was too significant. Fitzgerald scored a career-low six touchdowns in 2010, marking his worst fantasy campaign since his rookie year.
Arizona is the favorite to trade for Kevin Kolb, so the team's quarterbacking situation will automatically be much better than it was last season.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 98 catches. 1,330 yards. 10 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 193.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 291.
Roddy White, WR, Falcons. Bye: 8. AUG. 29 UPDATE: Roddy White wasn't a big part of the offense in the first two weeks of the preseason, so it was somewhat of a relief to see him receive 11 targets against the Steelers. White caught eight of those 11 attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown. He remains a late first-round pick in PPR leagues.
Roddy White is a PPR monster. Paired with a veteran Matt Ryan for all 16 games for the first time in his career, White hauled in 115 receptions for 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns. I don't expect White's catches to drop at all, but he may have trouble getting double-digit touchdowns if Julio Jones emerges as Ryan's preferred No. 1 end-zone weapon.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 111 catches. 1,365 yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 190.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 301.
Greg Jennings, WR, Packers. Bye: 8. AUG. 21 UPDATE: Despite the return of Jermichael Finley to the lineup, Greg Jennings led the Packers with five targets in the preseason win against Arizona. Jennings caught two balls for 24 yards and an impressive 20-yard touchdown in which he beat Patrick Peterson. Don't expect Jennings' production to drop with Finley back; James Jones and Jordy Nelson will be the ones who suffer.
Coming off a career year, Greg Jennings is trying to take the next step. He's working out with Larry Fitzgerald this offseason, which paid dividends for Sidney Rice and Dwayne Bowe in the past. It shouldn't surprise anyone if Jennings exceeds his 2010 numbers.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 82 catches. 1,300 yards. 10 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 190.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 272.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants. Bye: 7. JULY 31 UPDATE: Hakeem Nicks almost exclusively lines up on the left side, so he'll be matched up against Nnamdi Asomugha twice in 2011 and beyond. These are essentially two lost games. Don't avoid Nicks because of this; just bump him down a couple of spots on your 2011 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet.
Hakeem Nicks missed some action with a toe injury last year, yet he was still able to register 79 receptions, 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns. With Steve Smith possibly out for an extended period of time, Eli Manning will continue to lean on Nicks, especially in the red zone. He's a must-have in touchdown-only leagues.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 84 catches. 1,200 yards. 11 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 186.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 270.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers. Bye: 8. AUG. 22 UPDATE: I said it last week, and I'll say it again: Vincent Jackson, who caught three balls for 49 yards in the preseason win in Dallas, will be a beast this year. This will be Jackson's first NFL season without LaDainian Tomlinson, so he should be able to post a career-high touchdown total. He's also in great shape, unlike last season. Rivers has targeted him seven times in four drives this preseason, so I love Jackson as a late second-, early third-round selection in fantasy drafts.
AUG. 12 UPDATE: Vincent Jackson had an awesome preseason debut against Seattle. It's worth noting that Antonio Gates didn't play, but Jackson had three of Philip Rivers' six targets on San Diego's one and only drive. Jackson caught two of those three passes for 54 yards, including a breathtaking 47-yard bomb. Now fully healthy and holdout-free, Jackson is poised for a monstrous 2011 campaign.
Vincent Jackson missed the first 10 games of the 2010 season because of a holdout, and then suffered a foot injury his first week back. When he finally returned to the lineup for good, he caught 14 balls for 248 yards and three scores in four contests. Jackson indicated that he won't hold out in the wake of another franchise tag, so draft him with confidence.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 72 catches. 1,225 yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 176.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 248.
Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers. Bye: 11. AUG. 29 UPDATE: Yeah, so, I don't think Mike Wallace is getting his 2,000 receiving yards this year. How about 1,000 receiving yards? Wallace caught no passes against Atlanta. He's been targeted just four times this preseason, which has to be a major concern if you plan on drafting him late in your second round.
Mike Wallace caught 60 passes for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010. What's really impressive is that most of Wallace's production came in 12 games; save for one matchup against Tampa Bay, Wallace didn't do anything during Ben Roethlisberger's four-game suspension. Assuming Big Ben can stay away from gold-digging skanks in Georgia bars, Wallace should improve upon his great numbers in 2011.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 64 catches. 1,275 yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 175.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 239.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys. Bye: 5. AUG. 30 UPDATE: One other stud I want to talk about is Dez Bryant. The second-year wideout saw a whopping nine targets come his way against the Vikings (one in the end zone), and he managed five receptions for 67 yards in one half of work. Miles Austin-Jones didn't play - he was out with a hamstring - but Tony Romo made an effort to feed the ball to Bryant, who really looks like he could break out this season. Try to get him on your team as well. With Austin-Jones dealing with the always-frustrating hamstring, Bryant could be Dallas' top producer at the position in 2011.
JULY 31 UPDATE: Give credit to forum mod Injured Reserve for pointing this out - Dez Bryant essentially has two lost games this year now that Nnamdi Asomugha is on the Eagles. Since Bryant primarily lines up on the left side, he's one of the victims of Philadelphia's blockbuster free-agency signing.
JULY 28 UPDATE: Anyone who owned Dez Bryant in a fantasy league last year knows how much of a headache Roy Williams was. Despite Williams' lethargy, the former Longhorn saw too many snaps in favor of Bryant. Well, Williams is gone, so Bryant is definitely Tony Romo's No. 2 receiver going forward.
Dez Bryant is a stud. People are going to be scared off by his off-the-field antics, but I'm expecting a big year out of the NFL's most renowned jewelry hoarder. Bryant didn't even know the playbook last year, yet was still able to produce.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 81 catches. 1,180 yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 172.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 253.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, Broncos. Bye: 6. AUG. 22 UPDATE: Brandon Lloyd paced the Broncos with five targets in the preseason victory over Buffalo, finishing with four receptions for 55 yards. His sole incompletion was a great diving attempt deep along the left sideline in the second quarter. With Kyle Orton playing well, there's a chance Lloyd could match his 2010 numbers.
AUG. 13 UPDATE: Brandon Lloyd didn't catch any passes, but saw three targets of Kyle Orton's six passes in the preseason opener at Dallas, including two in the end zone. Don't downgrade him because of his zero-reception performance; if anything, it was encouraging that Orton is still looking his way despite Josh McDaniels' absence.
AUG. 4 UPDATE: Kyle Orton will be Denver's starting quarterback this season. This is bad news for Broncos fans, but Brandon Lloyd figures to benefit fantasy-wise, as he and Orton had great rapport last year. Don't expect Lloyd to match last year's numbers though; Josh McDaniels' presence will be missed in that sense.
JULY 31 UPDATE: While Dez Bryant and Hakeem Nicks are hurt by Nnamdi Asomugha's arrival in Philadelphia, Brandon Lloyd benefits. Lloyd, who usually lines up on the left side, won't have to deal with Asomugha twice a season now. That should help offset the Josh McDaniels firing.
Brandon Lloyd was one of my late-round sleepers last year after I noticed that he was Kyle Orton's favorite receiver during the preseason. Lloyd even exceeded my expectations, catching 77 balls for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns. Lloyd won't match those numbers with Josh McDaniels gone, but he showed good chemistry with Tim Tebow in the final three games of 2010, hauling in 14 receptions for 263 yards and two scores.
Everyone is labeling Lloyd a bust because he won't have McDaniels and Kyle Orton anymore, so he may actually be undervalued because everyone is so down on him. I still expect Lloyd to produce.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 71 catches. 1,210 yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 169.
Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 240.