Wide Receivers - 2007 Fantasy Final
WR Randy Moss (W.Townson/AP Photo)
WR Randy Moss (W.Townson/AP Photo)
Scout Fantasy Freak
Posted Jan 30, 2008


We're continuing the final analysis of fantasy players from the 2007 NFL season. Reviewing the wide receiving position, we've listed the best of '07 based upon performance.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

1..Randy Moss - After two tumultuous seasons with the Oakland Raiders, most FFLers had Randy Moss nowhere near the their list of top 10 WRs to begin the 2007 season (I had him 9th). Moss' indifference and nagging injuries in Oakland were believed to be the final chapter in the talented WR's career...and neither Tom Brady nor the New England Patriots could make much of a difference. Fast forward to the beginning of the '07 season and Randy Moss was looking like the best WR to ever play in the NFL. Through the first 4 games, he caught 31 balls for 505 yards and 7 TDs...and the season was just underway. There was no letting up as Randy Moss scored in all but three games for a whopping 23 TDs on the season...wow! New England head coach Bill Belichick stated that 30 year old Randy Moss was the most talented and most coachable wide receiver he's ever been around. And Randy Moss fantasy owners were claiming something similar...their best fantasy draft pick ever.

2. Terrell Owens - Terrell Owens continued his fine chemistry with Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo and had another great season in Dallas. Owens led all NFL WRs in 2006 with 13 TDs (in an offense that liked to run the ball) and was able to top that number in 2007 (finishing with 15 TDs in 2007). At times in '07, T.O. appeared unstoppable...while heading through one mid-season 7-game stretch where he scored in every game (including a 4-TD / 173 yd performance against the Redskins). Fantasy owners who drafted Owens early rode his numbers all season...or at least up until their fantasy playoffs. The Cowboys wrapped up their playoff spot early and seemed to quit pressing on offense...resulting in less of a passing attack (Owens scored only once with minimal catches in his final 3 games). And unfortunately for T.O. (& the Cowboys), he suffered an injury in week 16 that kept him sidelined until the playoffs. Dallas lost two of their final four games when Owens was barely involved. And frustrated Owens' fantasy owners weren't getting much from their stud WR...who almost single-handedly got them into their FFL playoffs.

3. Braylon Edwards - Braylon Edwards was selected early in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft. But when Edwards was able to produce just 9 TDs and 1396 yards over his first two seasons (26 starts), many weren't looking his direction as a prominent fantasy WR in 2007 (esp. in Cleveland...which wasn't thought to have much of a QB or have any type of reliable passing offense). Surprise, surprise, surprise! Braylon Edwards and the Cleveland Browns (thanks much to QB Derek Anderson) stepped up and looked like a passing powerhouse in '07. Top WR Edwards stayed healthy and caught 16 TDs (2nd best in NFL) spread evenly over the 16 game season. Braylon Edwards topped every expectation heading into the season and consistently produced throughout the year...which was a gift for all who grabbed him cheaply in fantasy auctions and drafted him in the later rounds of FFL drafts.

4. Reggie Wayne - Marvin Harrison finished 2006 as the top fantasy WR...but Harrison's injury in 2007 left the Colts with Reggie Wayne to carry the full load. Even in '06, Reggie Wayne was the more productive of the Colts' WRs throughout most of the season...but the loss of Harrison wasn't going to help his situation in '07. Although Wayne was double-teamed most of the year, he still managed 104 grabs (3rd in NFL) for 1510 yards (1st in NFL) and 10 TDs. Reggie spread his scoring across 9 games and had only one occasion where he had consecutive non-scoring weeks. Wayne's 10 TDs tied him at 8th in scoring among wide receivers, but his reception and yardage totals boosted him to 4th overall in final WR fantasy rankings.

5. Larry Fitzgerald - Larry Fitzgerald entered the season as one of the top rated wide receivers. Fitz did somehow finish in the top 5, but he didn't exactly start out that way. Through 9 weeks of the season, Larry Fitzgerald had just one TD as his fantasy owners looked to trade him for some glass beads and/or shiny foil. But Fitz turned it on in the 2nd half for all who either kept him or received him in a trade from a bailing owner. Even while missing week 13 against Cleveland with injury, Fitzgerald still managed 9 TDs over the 2nd half of the season and had just one contest where he didn't score (other than the game he missed). Bottom line: Larry Fitzgerald was huge in the 2nd half of 2007 (thanks largely to the passing and accuracy of QB Kurt Warner) and heavily rewarded his fantasy owners down the stretch.

6. Chad Johnson - The Bengals were again a letdown in 2007, but still managed to put up some nice numbers in their passing offense. Although most believe it was T.J. Houshmandzadeh whom played the much more prominent role over Chad Johnson in the Cincy offense (Housh had nearly 20 more receptions and 4 more TDs), it is Chad Johnson who gets the slight edge in fantasy circles...merely due to his 1440 yards (3rd most in the NFL and 300 more than Houshmandzadeh). Chad scored only 8 times and did it in just 4 games (definitely a feast or famine with CJ)...but he did manage a couple of 100+ yardage games when he didn't score. Just like last season, Johnson's 1440 yards were among the league leaders, but CJ was somehow kept out of the endzone as he caught only 8 of his 93 passes for TDs. Given the fact that fantasy owners were heavily rewarded by Chad Johnson in few huge games (he caught 32 balls for 538 yards and 8 TDs in the 4 games where he scored), owners were left ultimately and entirely disappointed most of the season with Johnson...who was thought to be one of the top 3 wide receivers heading into the year (again...almost a ditto from last season in expectations and performance).

7. T.J. Houshmandzadeh - So just why did everyone believe that T.J. Houshmandzadeh was so much better than Chad in 2007? A: Because Housh started off the season with at least one TD in every one of Cincy's first 8 games (10 TDs through the first half!). If scoring wasn't enough, T.J. had 62 receptions and 3-100+ yard games through the same period. But several things changed in the second half for the Bengals (maybe because they were only 2-6 through the first 8 games despite Houshmandzadeh's great showing). Housh didn't see the ball as much in games 9-16 and scored only twice (with zero 100 yard games). WR Chris Henry may have cut into Houshmandzadeh's totals somewhat in the 2nd half (returning from suspension in week 10). Or maybe the Bengals went with a better formula for success?...since throwing to Houshmandzadeh repeatedly wasn't winning many games. Cincy was 5-3 in the 2nd half of the season.

8. Marques Colston - Let's face it...after seeing what this 6-4 / 231# WR accomplished with QB Drew Brees in his rookie 2006 season, most thought that 2007 would prove as an exclamation point. But when New Orleans started off to an abysmal 0-4 record to start the season, Colston and Brees owners were considering jumping ship. Colston averaged just under 44 receiving yards with 2 total TDs through week 7 before deciding to turn it on (which he fortunately did). The Saints climbed back on track to even their record at 4-4, but slid in the final 8 games and missed a playoff berth. Colston, however, managed to catch 72 balls for the bulk of his season yardage (and 9 TDs) in New Orleans' final 9 weeks...a blessing for fantasy owners sticking with the young WR for the duration.

9. Brandon Marshall - Brandon Marshall started to surge at the end of his 2006 rookie season (primarily off of the bench), but few noticed. A nearly exact clone in size to Marques Colston, Marshall took advantage of his size/opportunities and eeked his way into the Denver starting lineup over an aging Rod Smith (37) to begin the 2007 season (Marshall still largely undrafted in FFLs after an insignificant preseason). With injury issues plaguing top WR Javon Walker, Brandon Marshall quickly became the man in the Bronco passing offense...and Marshall again capitalized upon his opportunities to start every game of 2007 and finish with 102 catches to finish the season (4th overall). Marshall stayed a producer all year. If he didn't score (he had 7 TDs), he still put up the catches and yardage. Even in his least productive game without a touchdown (@OAK 12/2), Marshall grabbed 6 balls for 67 yards...not bad for a guy that went largely undrafted in many FFLs. Don't expect Brandon Marshall to go unnoticed in 2008.

10. Plaxico Burress - Anyone who claimed that Plaxico Burress wasn't tough enough had reason to rethink their position after the 2007 season (a postseason which continues for Burress btw). A severely ailing ankle may not have allowed him to walk or practice through most weeks this past Fall, but Burress was on the field on Sundays (in fact, he started every game). But the ankle did affect his production eventually. Burress started off the season like gangbusters with 8 TDs in his first 6 games and was pretty much undefendable. As the season progressed, Burress was utilized less...but he still had reasonable success (although not to the extent in September/early October). Ultimately, Plaxico Burress was a producer with 12 TDs and decent reception/yardage numbers. If not for an ankle that should have probably bench him, Burress may have finished the season like he began it (although production enough to give the Giants a shot at the Superbowl is probably something he can live with).

11. Wes Welker- Okay...so with the addition of Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth (w/ Ben Watson at TE), was Wes Welker really supposed to be that much of a factor in the passing offense this season in New England? A: I sure never saw it coming. But Tom Brady and Wes Welker had something we didn't know about...they had a definite chemistry on the field. Don't believe it?...Welker caught 112 balls from Brady (14 more than Moss and nearly as many as Watson, Stallworth, and Jabar Gaffney added together). Wes Welker had 6 (SIX) games where he caught 9 or more balls (including week 12 where he caught 13 against Philly)...huge in FFLs which count points per reception (PPR). Welker finished with 8 TDs on the season...6 of them coming during weeks 6-9 where Welker also had 34 receptions for 389 yards.

12. Greg Jennings - Greg Jennings did not see action in weeks 1 & 2 (nor week 17), but Jennings jumped into week 3 and proceded to score TDs in all but 3 of the games he played (scored in 10 of 13 games for a total of 12 TDs). Thought to be a reserve at the start of the season, Jennings quickly became Favre's big play threat as the 2007 season progressed. With just 53 catches on the year, Jennings averaged a whopping 17+ yards per reception...and scored a TD on 23% of his receptions (both stats league leading for players with 50+ receptions). So why isn't Jennings top 5 in final fantasy WR rankings? A: Because his 920 total yards (and just 53 receptions) pales in comparison to many above him...and most FFLs heavily value yardage stats.

13. Torry Holt - Let's say what we say every year about Torry Holt: "He just keeps catching the ball...which often leads to great things". As predicted, Torry Holt caught close to 100 balls and was again a leading wide receiver in the NFL. Even with a struggling St. Louis Rams team in 2007 (which started the season at 0-8 and finished at 3-13), Holt still managed to do what he has done every year...catch the ball, put up yardage, and score touchdowns. If Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger (& the Ram O-line) would have been a bit healthier in '07, Holt's numbers (spec. TDs) may have boosted a bit higher...although Holt certainly did his part with what he had this past season.

14. Bobby Engram - Even the most hardcore of Seahawk fans didn't see this coming. Approaching 35 years old, Engram's days in the starting lineup were thought to be numbered with Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett on Seattle's roster. But as it turned out (largely because of injuries in the Seattle WR corps), Engram started 13 of 16 games and finished far and away as the top receiver in Seattle's pass friendly offense. Finishing with 94 receptions for 1147 yards and 6 TDs spread evenly across the season, Engram was a nice waiver pickup for those fortunate enough to grab him and have the faith to place him in their starting lineup.

Top Fantasy Wide Receivers 2007

WR

Rcptns

Rec Yards

TDs

Randy Moss
98
1493
23
Terrell Owens
81
1355
15
Braylon Edwards
80
1289
16
Reggie Wayne
104
1510
10
Larry Fitzgerald
100
1409
10
Chad Johnson
93
1440
8
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
112
1143
12
Marques Colston
98
1202
11
Brandon Marshall
102
1325
7
Plaxico Burress
70
1025
12
Wes Welker
112
1175
8
Greg Jennings
53
920
12
Torry Holt
93
1189
7
Bobby Engram
94
1147
6

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