The Fantasy Football Season is here and it is time to start predicting how players will perform. Receivers are tough to judge because of their skill sets and ever-changing environment involving new receivers, tight-ends, and quarterbacks. Here are the top 10 fantasy football receivers for the 2012 season.
1. Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions): Calvin Johnson is big, strong, fast, and can jump. He had a monstrous season last year with 96 catches for over 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns. Calvin Johnson is going to be trouble for any defense he plays this year. If Matthew Stafford can remain healthy, Calvin Johnson could hit the 100 receptions mark, which would be very beneficial for Points Per Receptions leagues (PPR). I’m expecting Megatron to reach at least 110 receptions with 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns. Calvin Johnson is the top receiver in the league and would be a great pick-up for a middle to late 1st round pick.
2. Wes Welker (New England Patriots): Welker was Tom Brady’s top target last season. Wes Welker had his best season with 122 receptions (1 less than his career best) for 1,500 yards and 9 touchdowns. This year, he most likely will have a few less receptions and about 1,400 yards with about 12 touchdowns. He has some of the best hands in the league and will be very beneficial for PPR leagues. He will be a good early 2nd round pick.
3. Andre Johnson (Houston Texans): Andre Johnson had a short season last year after hurting his hamstring. After returning from his injury for his playoff games, he was extremely explosive. He had 13 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals and Ravens (who had one of the best defenses in the league last year). If he can remain healthy this year, along with Matt Schaub, the combo should put up huge numbers as they did two seasons ago. I would expect Johnson to put up 1,300-1,500 yards with 10 touchdowns. He is a solid 2nd round pick.
4. Roddy White (Atlanta Falcons): Roddy White reached the 100 reception mark last season and put up over 1,500 yards. It seems like the addition of Julio Jones last year opened White up to be a higher target than in previous years. Roddy White has the speed down the sideline and the hands to go with it. He will be a very valuable player in PPR leagues and should put up huge numbers as a receiver. He should be another solid 2nd round pick.
5. Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals): Not having a quarterback that could throw a ball didn’t seem to harm him too much last year. This year shouldn’t be too much different. Larry Fitzgerald caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards and 8 touchdowns last season. This year, he should be around 1,300 yards and 9 or 10 touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald would be a good pick-up in the middle-late 2nd round in 12-team leagues or a 3rd round pick in most 10-team leagues.
6. Greg Jennings (Green Bay Packers): Greg Jennings only had 950 yards last season, but he had 9 touchdowns. He also sat out the last 3 games of the season, which would have put him over the 1,000 yard mark and most likely would have added 2 touchdowns to that total. He is catching balls from the best receiver in the league and belongs to the most elite corps of receivers. Greg Jennings should catch 80-90 balls from Aaron Rodgers and put up 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns this year. With so many targets on the Packers, it hurts his value in PPR leagues, but he should be a late 2nd round-early 3rd round pick.
7. Brandon Marshall (Chicago Bears): The last time Brandon Marshall was a receiver from Jay Cutler, they were one of the elite combos in the league. With a greatly improved receiving corps, the Jay Cutler will have plenty of opportunities to throw the ball to Marshall as long as the offensive line holds. I would expect Brandon Marshall to put up 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He is also a good pick-up in the 2nd round-3rd round.
8. Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers): Last year, the Panthers’ offense received a boost from Cam Newton. I think this year he will be more comfortable throwing the ball. Who will his main target be? Steve Smith. I am expecting Cam Newton to hook up with Smith for 80 receptions and 1,200 yards. He is a good pick-up for the early 3rd round.
9. Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys): Dez Bryant showed what he can do last year. He had 63 receptions for 900 yards and 9 touchdowns. Since we know what he can do, I would expect him to have a 1,100 yards with 10 or 11 touchdowns from Tony Romo. He is a good 3rd round pick.
10. A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals): A.J. Green was the main target for Andy Dalton last season. After their playoff appearance last year, this team has a renewed confidence and I believe that these two 2nd year players will make a great combo. I would expect green to have 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns. He is another 3rd round pick.
Click here to find out more about the top fantasy football quarterbacks of the 2012 season.