Wide receivers do more than just catch the ball. They help out the quarterback by offering a target, they block when they’re required to do so, and they make it hard for the defense to stay on their game by running their assigned routes in order to keep their focus on them and not one where the ball is going. Some are exceptionally skilled at reading the defense and managing to slip behind the defenders, while others are just more adept at running as fast and as far as they can to give their quarterback a more enticing target. The one thing that every receiver’s got to be able to do though is catch. Without that there’s really no point in having them out there.
Speed and skill are great and are part of the overall package that’s needed. But if a receiver has iron-pan hands then there’s no need to even put them on the field. With that in mind here are some of the top fantasy picks you might want to think about for your league now that the regular season is getting so close.
5. A.J. Green-Cincinnati Bengals
He hasn’t been the most solid pick in the last few years but he’s definitely been a cut above the rest when it comes to putting up numbers and gaining positive passing yards. As one of Andy Dalton’s only real potential targets downfield he’s not the best pick when it comes to putting up a mass number of points, but he’s solid enough to not ignore.
4. Mike Evans-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The arrival of two new offensive weapons to Tampa Bay in the form of Desean Jackson and O.J. Howard shouldn’t hurt his chances of having another 1,000-yard season this year, especially since more skilled receivers means that Evans will likely not have to deal with the double-team that much longer. Look for him to be a solid pick.
3. Odell Beckham Jr.-New York Giants
Despite the addition of Brandon Marshall you should still expect Beckham to remain the favored target of Manning. There’s no reason to think he won’t be getting just as many balls thrown to him this year as he’s had in the past. Expect Beckham to be just as solid as he was in 2016.
2. Julio Jones-Atlanta Falcons
Just like the rest of his team he was an absolute buzz saw going through defenses last season and there’s not a lot of reason why he shouldn’t be able to do it again. He was as dominant as they come against most opponents in the 2016 season and should remain a top contender for the number 1 or 2 pick.
1. Antonio Brown-Pittsburgh Steelers
For four season now Brown has been delivering 10+ points per season in roughly 70 percent of his games and he shows no sign of letting up. His average of 11 targets per game shouldn’t be affected at all this season as the addition of more offensive players should also be a boon that will keep him from being double-teamed so often.
Keep in mind these are predictions. They’re solid predictions, but follow your gut when you feel the need.