Antonio Brown

 

 

 

 

Hope you have been enjoying this series, predicting who will be starting at each position in 2013.  Of course there will be many changes based on the results of the draft in April, as well as other happenings during the off season, so I’ll re-visit each column later in the summer.  But for those of us in dynasty and keeper leagues, some shrewd moves early in the off season based on forward thinking can really pay off.  I’ll provide a list of the 2012 Receivers and the percentage of the total receptions they had in 2012, and then list who I think the top five receivers on each team will be and the percentage of catches I think each will get in 2013.  Keep in mind even if it’s not indicated in my team summaries, any team can take a wide receiver somewhere in the draft so especially the #3 to #5 wideouts could be replaced through the draft.  I’ve shown the backs and tight ends for reference as either can eat into a receiver’s production.

 

 

 

 

Baltimore Ravens

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Anquan Boldin: 21%

Torrey Smith: 16%

Jacoby Jones: 10%

Tandon Doss: 2%

David Reed: 2%

Deonte Thompson: 2%

 

Dennis Pitta(TE): 20%

RB Ray Rice(RB): 20%

 

Boldin is signed through 2014 and represents a significant cap hit, but it sounds like both sides want to re-negotiate a more cap friendly deal so he should be back.  Smith continues to improve and I expect him to become a bit more of a possession receiver in 2013.  Jones is looking for an extension and I think he gets it provided the deal can be cap friendly.  With his Super Bowl performance that may be difficult but I think they find a way to get a deal done.  Doss looks to be a big part of the future WR corps and should see a fair increase in receptions.  Reed looks to be no more than a special teams guy, he’s an RFA and I’m not sure he’ll be back unless Jones doesn’t stay.  The jury is still out on Thompson.  I imagine he’ll stick around.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Torrey Smith: 19%

Anquan Boldin: 18%

Jacoby Jones: 8%

Tandon Doss: 6%

Deonte Thompson: 2%

 

 

Buffalo Bills

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Steve Johnson: 27%

Donald Jones: 14%

T.J. Graham: 11%

Brad Smith: 5%

David Nelson: 1%

Ruvell Martin: 1%

 

C.J. Spiller(RB): 15%

Scott Chandler(TE): 15%

Fred Jackson(RB): 12%

 

Johnson was the most frequent target for Ryan Fitzpatrick, and with word the team wants to line him up in the slot more in 2013 his numbers should go even higher.  The Bills declined to tender Jones so as of now he’s a UFA and not coming back.  Rookie Graham was so-so but I expect him to get some of the receptions that went Jones’ way.  Smith should be back in the same role.  Nelson was injured most of the season, the Bills tendered him an offer so he should be back, but won’t be exclusively a slot receiver anymore.  Martin is pretty much just a special teamer, he’s a UFA and it’s 50/50 whether he’s back.  Kevin Elliott, Marcus Easley, and Chris Hogan are all youngsters on the roster but none have significant upside.  Buffalo may look to add some talent at the position during the off season but I think they’ll basically stick with what they have.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Steve Johnson: 30%

David Nelson: 13%

T.J. Graham: 10%

Elliott, Easley, Hogan: 5%

Brad Smith: 2%

 

 

Cincinnati Bengals

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

A.J. Green: 31%

Andrew Hawkins: 16%

Marvin Jones: 6%

Armon Binns: 6%

Mohamed Sanu: 5%

Brandon Tate: 4%

Ryan Whalen: 2%

 

Jermaine Gresham(TE): 20%

BenJarvus Green-Ellis(RB): 7%

 

Green is the star wideout and obviously will continue to get the majority of the targets and receptions.  Hawkins was a solid receiver but it appears the organization doesn’t want to have to rely on him as the #2 man.  Sanu was drafted in 2012 and showed well as a rookie in only a half-season.  Assuming he’s back to full health he’ll be given every chance to win the #2 job.  Cinci was clearly unhappy with Binns who went from starter to being waived and claimed by Miami.  Jones is another 2012 draft pick who looked good in limited action.  Tate is a UFA and I can’t see the Bengals bringing him back.  Whalen is a young prospect but likely won’t be anything more than depth for now.  Cinci claimed Dane Sanzenbacher late on the year, he may get the opportunity for some work in the slot in 2013.  Lavasier Tuinei is an intriguing prospect the Bengals signed early in the New Year.  It’s a bit of a long shot but I can see him earning a role as a bit of a hybrid WR/TE.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

A.J. Green: 33%

Andrew Hawkins: 9%

Mohamed Sanu: 7%

Marvin Jones: 6%

Dane Sanzenbacher: 2%

 

 

Cleveland Browns

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Greg Little: 16%

Josh Gordon: 15%

Travis Benjamin: 6%

Mohamed Massaquoi: 5%

Jordan Norwood: 4%

Josh Cribbs: 2%

Josh Cooper: 2%

 

Trent Richardson(RB): 16%

Ben Watson(TE): 15%

 

When looking at these numbers it’s easy to see that one of Cleveland’s biggest problems last season was the lack of a go-to receiver.  And maybe one too many Joshes but that could be irrelevant.  Little is supposed to be that guy but so far hasn’t been close, although he did look good late in the year.  Gordon seemed to have good chemistry with Weeden and may be a legitimate deep threat as early as 2013.  Benjamin is a 4th rounder from 2012 that showed limited improvement as the season progressed.  Massaquoi is a UFA and surely won’t be back.  Norwood looks to be a viable slot receiver although he will share that duty with Little.  Cribbs is another UFA who is probably gone.  If he is brought back he’ll see mostly special teams.  Cooper is mostly a depth guy but could surprise in camp and earn himself some more playing time.  The Browns will probably add another wideout, and depending whether or not they add some high priced talent elsewhere they may try and get a legitimate #1 or #2 guy in which case these projections will have to be adjusted.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Greg Little: 18%

Josh Gordon: 14%

Travis Benjamin: 8%

Jordan Norwood: 9%

Josh Cooper: 2%

 

 

Denver Broncos

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Demaryius Thomas: 24%

Eric Decker: 22%

Brandon Stokley: 12%

Matt Willis: 3%

Trindon Holliday: 1%

 

Willis McGahee(RB): 7%

Jacob Tamme(TE): 13%

 

The Broncos have a great 1-2 punch with Thomas and Decker, expect both to continue where they left off last year virtually splitting the receiving load.  Stokley is 36 years old and a free agent but may sign a deal for one more year.  Recent rumors have Austin Collie taking his spot with the Broncos, but I’d put my money on Stokley between the two.  Willis is a UFA and I don’t expect him to be back.  Holliday is a great return man but probably doesn’t have much of a future as a receiver.  Andre Caldwell was scratched week one and wasn’t heard from since.  He’s due less than a million so he’ll probably be back for depth.  Likely anyone Denver adds over the off season will be for more depth.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Demaryius Thomas: 24%

Eric Decker: 22%

Stokley: 10%

Trindon Holliday: 3%

Andre Caldwell: 2%

 

 

Houston Texans

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Andre Johnson: 32%

Kevin Walter: 12%

Keshawn Martin: 3%

DeVier Posey: 2%

Lestar Jean: 2%

 

Owen Daniels(TE) : 18%

Arian Foster(TE) : 11%

James Casey(FB) : 10%

 

The Texans were mostly a one man show at the wide receiver position.  Johnson started slow but really came on late to show he’s got enough left in the tank for at least one more year as the stud wideout.  Walter has never shown enough skill to be a legitimate #2 receiver.  The only reason his percentage is as high as it is was because Houston had no other options.  Looks for a decrease in Walter’s numbers as the younger receivers get more experience.  Martin to me is the most valuable of the three, but Posey probably has the most upside.  His ruptured Achilles surgery throws plenty of doubt whether he realizes his full potential.  Jean has a problem catching the ball which is a pretty big issue for a receiver obviously.  Jeff Maehl is an undrafted player who was recently signed as a depth move, I don’t think he’ll ever amount to much more.  The Texans’ owner is on record as saying they’ll draft a receiver if a good one is available at their spot in the draft.  I suspect there will be as the draft looks receiver heavy at the lower end of the first round.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Johnson: 29%

Walter: 8%

Martin: 7%

Posey: 5%

New Guy: 3%

 

 

Indianapolis Colts

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Reggie Wayne: 33%

Donnie Avery: 19%

TY Hilton: 16%

LaVon Brazil: 3%

Kris Adams: 1%

Austin Collie: 0%

 

Dwayne Allen(TE): 14%

Coby Fleener(TE): 8%

Vick Ballard(RB): 5%

 

Wayne surprised us all with his fantastic production in 2012, look for him to have continued success in 2013 but his receptions will go down some.  Avery is a UFA and had a poor season, but the thinking is he’ll be back.  I’ll go against the grain and say he’s not coming back.  The Colts have Hilton and Brazil who are both more than capable of filling Avery’s shoes.  At the start of the season Brazil looked to be the better of the two but Hilton overtook him by about the midway point and is now the clear #2 wideout.  Adams was recently signed by the Giants and won’t be missed.  Collie is a UFA and the Colts have indicated they won’t sign him.  Keep your eye on Nathan Palmer in training camp, he’s an early sleeper as a productive deep threat.  Griff Whalen and Jabin Sambrano round out the roster, both are purely depth at this stage.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Wayne: 28%

Hilton: 21%

Brazil: 15%

Palmer: 6%

Whalen/Sambrano: 2%

 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Justin Blackmon: 21%

Cecil Shorts: 18%

Laurent Robinson: 8%

Jordan Shipley: 8%

Michael Spurlock: 5%

Kevin Elliott: 3%

Toney Clemons: 1%

 

Marcedes Lewis(TE): 17%

Rashad Jennings(RB): 6%

Maurice Jones-Drew(RB): 5%

 

Most of the Jaguar’s receivers struggled mostly due to poor QB play, but improved later in the year.  Blackmon started showing signs he was worth the high draft pick spent on him.  Look for him to start establishing himself as the #1 guy.  Shorts is that guy at the moment and will get his targets no matter what Blackmon does.  Things aren’t looking good for Robinson and his concussion issue, right now we need to assume he won’t play at all in 2013.  Shipley was a great mid-season signing and should have a spot in the lineup.  Spurlock and Elliott were waived and both were claimed.  Clemons did next to nothing when Shorts was injured and is purely depth right now.  Jerrell Jackson is a bit of a wildcard, if the Jags are serious about giving Blaine Gabbert another chance then Jackson could become relevant.  He was Gabbert’s top receiver in college.  Taylor Price and Mike Brown are on the roster for depth.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Justin Blackmon: 24%

Cecil Shorts: 23%

Jordan Shipley: 12%

Jerrell Jackson: 3%

Toney Clemons: 2%

 

 

Kansas City Chiefs

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Dwayne Bowe: 23%

Dexter McCluster: 20%

Jonathan Baldwin: 8%

Steve Breaston: 3%

Terrance Copper: 3%

Devon Wylie: 2%

Jamar Newsome: 2%

 

The Chiefs are another team that struggled mightily at the QB position, affecting all the WR production.  Bowe is a UFA and was expected to leave, but now that Andy Reid is there the word is he will get Bowe under contract.  Expect about the same from McCluster in 2013.  Baldwin has mostly disappointed in his career so far, the 2011 pick needs to show something this season.  The Chiefs just released Breaston so he won’t be back.  Copper is mostly a special teams player.  Wylie’s rookie season was pretty uneventful but he’s got good upside and should see more action in 2013.  Newsome is depth only, as are Josh Bellamy and Junior Hemingway at this point.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Dwayne Bowe: 26%

Dexter McCluster: 18%

Jonathan Baldwin: 10%

Devon Wylie: 6%

Terrance Copper: 1%

 

 

Miami Dolphins

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Brian Hartline: 26%

Davone Bess: 21%

Rishard Matthews: 4%

Marlon Moore: 2%

Armon Binns: 2%

Jabar Gaffney: 1%

Anthony Armstrong: 1%

 

Anthony Fasano(TE): 14%

Reggie Bush(RB): 12%

 

For all the abuse Hartline and Bess took from the media you’d think they were both abject failures.  The truth is Hartline had a 1,000 yard season and Bess would have been very close if he played all 16 games.  It seems the big issue is that both only scored a single TD each.  Hartline is a free agent and although the two sides are talking, rumors persist the Fins may let him walk and instead go after one of the premiere free agent receivers like Greg Jennings.  Bess will be back, most likely lining up in the slot again unless that is the preferred position of a new receiver they bring in.  Matthews is a fairly raw prospect who showed enough last season that he should get a larger role in 2013.  Moore was rarely used last season and is purely a depth option.  As an RFA he may be allowed to walk.  Binns was claimed off waivers in early December, and I think he has enough upside to find a role with Miami.  Gaffney was released in November, and Armstrong is in Dallas now.  With the lack of depth at receiver I am not ruling out the possibility of the Dolphins signing a top free agent and bringing Hartline back.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Hartline: 17%

Bess: 12%

New Guy: 21%

Binns: 5%

Matthews: 5%

 

 

New England Patriots

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Wes Welker: 31%

Brandon Lloyd: 20%

Julian Edelman: 6%

Deion Branch: 4%

 

Rob Gronkowski(TE): 15%

Aaron Hernandez(TE): 14%

Danny Woodhead(RB): 11%

 

It’s hard to believe the Pats may let Welker walk as a free agent given the lack of receiving depth on the team and Welker’s production over the past seasons, but that’s the latest.  We all know The Evil Genius that is Bill Belichik feels he can find whatever pieces are necessary and simply plug them in and be successful.  Lloyd is also probably gone but there’s no way the Pats leave themselves with essentially zero experienced receivers under contract (is there???).  This brings us to Julian Edelman who is a free agent.  Word is he wants to come back to New England, but if he watches Welker and Lloyd leave, will he price himself out of the Patriots’ budget thinking they have little choice but to bring him back?  Their other free agent Deion Branch may come back but he’s not a reliable option at all, he would be purely depth.  Matthew Slater barely even got on the field as a kick returner let alone a receiver.  Kamar Aiken and Andre Holmes aren’t players I think have much future as NFL’ers.  2012 seventh rounder Jeremy Ebert may see the light of day, especially if Welker and Lloyd are gone.  He may be a nice sleeper pick to keep an eye on.  My take is that the Patriots will draft a wideout with an early pick and sign a mid-tier free agent.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Wes Welker/New Guy(Free Agent): 30%

Julian Edelman: 14%

New Guy(Draft Pick): 10%

Jeremy Ebert: 10%

Deion Branch: 2%

 

 

New York Jets

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Jeremy Kerley: 22%

Chaz Schilens: 11%

Stephen Hill: 8%

Santonio Holmes: 8%

Clyde Gates: 6%

Braylon Edwards: 4%

Mardy Gilyard: 1%

Jason Hill: 1%

 

Dustin Keller(TE): 11%

Jeff Cumberland(TE): 11%

Shonn Greene(RB): 7%

Bilal Powell(RB): 7%

 

Besides the well publicized QB shortcomings in New York, injuries played a big part in the Jets’ woeful receiving performance.  Kerley was the only wideout to play in all 16 games.  He performed well and will be back as a starter in 2013.  Schilens is a UFA and probably gone.  Rookie Stephen Hill is recovering from a sprained LCL and should be ready to go for offseason activities.  He’s still pretty raw but look for continued growth this season.  Holmes needed another operation on his injured foot, at this point it isn’t clear if he’ll be ready for off season workouts but he will be back.  Gates will also be back, assuming he recovers from his concussion issues.  Edwards is a free agent who would be useful as depth but he thinks he can still start so I think he’ll go looking for a team more desperate at WR.  Gilyard and Jason Hill were dropped late last year.  Jordan White and Royce Pollard are prospects to keep an eye on, Emmanuel Arceneaux, Titus Ryan and Joe Collins are no more than depth.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Santonio Holmes: 25%

Jeremy Kerley: 19%

Stephen Hill: 10%

Clyde Gates: 4%

White/Pollard: 3%

 

 

Oakland Raiders

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Denarius Moore: 14%

Darius Heyward-Bey: 12%

Rod Streater: 11%

Derek Hagan: 6%

Juron Criner: 4%

Jacoby Ford: 0%

 

Brandon Myers(TE): 22%

Marcel Reece(FB): 15%

Darren McFadden(RB) : 12%

 

Moore continued his development though it was slower than many predicted.  He’ll be back in the same role.  Heyward-Bey looks to be a casualty of the cap-strapped Raiders, his paycheck is too high for what he brings to the table.  Streater was a hot fantasy commodity coming out of camp last year but was mostly lukewarm during the season.  He’ll return and look to win the slot receiver job.  Hagan is a UFA who was picked up off waivers from the Bills mid season.  Depending on his salary demands he could be brought back.  Criner’s rookie season could have gone better but he has nice upside and should get a shot at the #3 receiver job.  Ford should be fully recovered from his foot injury in time for training camp.  He’s developing into a nice deep threat.  Duke Calhoun, Tray Session and Isaiah Williams are purely depth.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Denarius Moore: 19%

Rod Streater: 13%

Jacoby Ford: 9%

Juron Criner: 7%

Derek Hagan: 4%

 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Mike Wallace: 19%

Antonio Brown: 19%

Emmanuel Sanders: 13%

Jerricho Cotchery: 5%

Plaxico Burress: 1%

 

Heath Miller(TE): 21%

Isaac Redman(RB): 6%

Jonathan Dwyer(RB): 5%

 

Wallace is a free agent and there’s not much doubt he won’t be back with the Steelers.  Brown takes over the #1 role and should see his catches go up a fair bit.  Sanders is an RFA and I fully expect Pittsburgh to get him signed.  Cotchery will likely stick around mostly in a depth role.  Burress was only signed late in the year when the team got desperate.  He’s a free agent and won’t be back.  David Gilreath, Bert Reed and Derek Moye are all young players with limited upside.  Look for Gilreath to win a depth spot in camp, and the team to acquire a mid level free agent or take a receiver with a mid to late draft pick.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Antonio Brown: 23%

Emmanuel Sanders: 15%

New Guy: 10%

Jerricho Cotchery: 7%

David Gilreath: 2%

 

 

San Diego Chargers

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Malcom Floyd: 18%

Danario Alexander: 12%

Eddie Royal: 7%

Robert Meachem: 4%

Michael Spurlock: 3%

Seyi Ajirotutu: 1%

 

Antonio Gates(TE): 16%

Ronnie Brown(RB): 16%

Ryan Mathews(RB): 12%

 

Meachem was signed to big money to replace Vincent Jackson and proceeded to flop big time.  Floyd took over the #1 role early in the season only to have Alexander at least become his equal by the end.  Look for Floyd and Alexander to be the starters in 2013 with Meachem the other outside man only because they can’t afford to cut him loose.  Royal did OK when called upon so he should be back as well, but don’t expect him in much more than a depth role.  Spurlock was claimed in late November and played okay in limited action but I don’t see him being back. Ajirotutu and Richard Goodman are both RFA’s, the Chargers will bring one of them back for depth.  My money is on Ajirotutu.  Mike Willie is a youngster with a bit of upside who looked real good in the 2012 pre season.  He may win himself a bit more field time in 2013.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Malcom Floyd: 16%

Danario Alexander: 15%

Robert Meachem: 8%

Eddie Royal: 7%

Seyi Ajirotutu: 4%

 

 

Tennessee Titans

 

2012 Receivers with percentage of team receptions

Kendall Wright: 21%

Kenny Britt: 15%

Nate Washington: 15%

Damian Williams: 10%

Lavelle Hawkins: 2%

Michael Preston: 2%

 

Wright looked very good in 2012, especially given the QB play he had to work with.  Britt will likely still be the #1 guy because he’s supposed to be, but Wright may have worked his way into a more even split of receptions going forward.  Washington also did well and should be back as the #3 receiver.  Williams did OK in somewhat limited action and still has a bit of potential to improve.  Hawkins is just a depth option at this stage of his career.  Preston is purely depth.  Diondre Borel is an interesting name, he may surprise in camp.  Marc Mariani is still recovering from a nasty broken leg and may not be ready for training camp. Roberto Wallace will probably be released.  Michael Calvin is a young prospect but isn’t ready for much more than depth duty yet.

 

2013 Wide Receiver forecast:

Britt: 20%

Wright: 18%

Washington: 12%

Williams: 11%

Diondre Borel: 4%

 


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