Familiar Faces in New Places: Wide Receivers
After the offseason shuffle, several top receivers will open the 2010 season with new teams. For some this may mean mean increased opportunities and the potential for increased fantasy production. However, this is often not the case. Look no further than last season when Terrell Owens went from Dallas to Buffalo and T.J. Houshmandzadeh went from Cincinnati to Seattle. Both players produced mediocre numbers in their new offensive systems and each had his fair share of challenges. Which wide receivers will make a significant jump in fantasy stats in 2010? Here’s a look at a handful of the top receivers in new places and the fantasy impact they could have this fall.
Brandon Marshall, Miami
4for4 Wide Receiver Rank: 13
2009 Stats: 101 receptions, 1,120 yards, 10 TDs
Brandon Marshall quieted many of his critics during last season with stellar play, including setting the NFL record for receptions in a single game, when he caught 21 against Indianapolis. But, Marshall’s attitude off the field and with his teammates and coaches continued to limit his potential. He was benched in Denver’s final game of the season. Considering the play-calling creativity in Miami, where they have lacked a number one wideout in recent years, Marshall will have more opportunities to make plays than he was given with the Broncos’ ground-heavy attack. This fresh start could mean even bigger fantasy numbers in 2010, granted that Marshall avoids the off the field troubles that have plagued him in the past.
Anquan Boldin, Baltimore
4for4 Wide Receiver Rank: 19
2009 Stats: 84 receptions, 1,024 yards, 4 TDs
After leaving Arizona, where he played the last seven seasons, Anquan Boldin will have to adjust to the more balanced attacked of the Ravens, who rely a great deal on their power rushing game. But, John Harbaugh loves the big play and loves throwing deep after consistently pounding the ball on the ground. Boldin is a playmaker and should have plenty of chances on deep balls throughout the season, which could translate into increased touchdown numbers. His targets might be down slightly, but what he can do with those opportunities could make him an underrated fantasy receiver heading into 2010.
Antonio Bryant, Cincinnati
4for4 Wide Receiver Rank: 31
2009 Stats: 39 receptions, 600 yards, 4 TDs
After an injury-plagued 2009 campaign with Tampa Bay, Antonio Bryant is looking to bounce back from disappointing many fantasy owners who thought he had top ten potential last year. In Cincinnati, Bryant will gain a veteran QB in Carson Palmer and has the chance to stand out in a group of talented receivers who will each get their share of targets. If Bryant can avoid the injury bug and get off to a good start, he has great upside for the rest of the season.
Nate Burleson, Detroit
4for4 Wide Receiver Rank: 43
2009 Stats: 63 receptions, 823 yards, 3 TDs
Nate Burleson returned from a ligament injury last year and put up mediocre numbers with Seattle. Now with a fresh start in the Motor City, Burleson will be the second option for Matthew Stafford and should see a decent number of targets since many defenses will focus on Calvin Johnson. As with all Detroit players, Burleson’s fantasy numbers will coincide with the Lions’ offensive production, which has proven to be either feast or famine from game-to-game in recent years. He might be under the radar on draft day and a good player to stash on your bench.
One of the biggest question marks at the wide receiver position this season will be Santonio Holmes, who was traded by Pittsburgh after multiple run-ins with the law over the past few seasons. Holmes is suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season. Fantasy owners have to question whether or not he is worth picking up considering he won’t play until Week 5, and even when he does return will be competing for targets with Braylon Edwards and Jericho Cotchery. Also, with the Jets’ solid rushing attack, Holmes’ chances should be even more limited. Though Holmes has proven to be a clutch receiver throughout his career, he likely isn’t worth the baggage this season.
Torry Holt, New England
4for4 Wide Receiver Rank: 61
2009 Stats: 51 receptions, 722 yards, 0 TDs
Last year with Jacksonville, Torry Holt went the entire season without a touchdown for the first time in his career. Though the veteran Holt proved that he still has some gas in the tank by racking up yards, he lacks the breakaway speed he utilized earlier in his career. With the Patriots, Holt could see a decent number of targets considering how Tom Brady spreads the ball around and the question marks around the status of Wes Welker. Assuming Holt makes the roster, he could be worth having as a matchup-receiver, as the Pats have been known to put up huge fantasy numbers against weaker opponents.
Ted Ginn Jr., San Francisco
4for4 Wide Receiver Rank: 82
2009 Stats: 38 receptions, 454 yards, 1 TD
Ted Ginn Jr. was traded from Miami, who had to make room for Brandon Marshall, to the 49ers, who now have a bevy of talented young wide receivers. Though he has struggled with dropped passes in past years, Ginn is worth a roster spot in leagues that count special teams yards for offensive players. His speed guarantees he’ll have a few big plays each season, but the only thing consistent about Ginn’s play thus far has been his special teams production.