1. So much for Andre Johnson hitting the proverbial fantasy wall after turning 30. Last season, Johnson (112 catches, 162 targets, 1,598 yards, four TDs) notched six outings of 115 yards or more; and of his final 13 games (including two playoff tilts) … he racked up nine or more targets 11 times.
2. Brandon Marshall established career highs in catches (118), receiving yards (1,508), touchdowns (11) and targets (192) last year, marking his fourth 100-catch season. One more thing: Of the 16 games, Marshall crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 95 yards and/or one touchdown 13 times.
3. Last season, Demaryius Thomas (94 catches, 1,434 yards, 10 TDs) crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 95 yards and/or one touchdown 13 times. He and Marshall were the only wideouts to rack up 1,400 yards and double-digit TDs.
4. In standard-scoring leagues, A.J. Green (10 TDs from Weeks 2-11 last year) was one of only five NFL receivers to finish with 200-plus fantasy points. He also crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 95 yards and/or one touchdown 13 times.
16. Victor Cruz, Giants 17. Michael Crabtree, 49ers 18. Randall Cobb, Packers 19. Hakeem Nicks, Giants 20. Wes Welker, Broncos 21. Steve Smith, Panthers 22. Mike Wallace, Dolphins 23. Greg Jennings, Vikings 24. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs 25. James Jones, Packers 26. Antonio Brown, Steelers 27. Danny Amendola, Patriots 28. Torrey Smith, Ravens 29. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles 30. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars 30b. Malcom Floyd, Chargers
1. Is it a leap of faith to rank Crabtree at 17? With stellar averages of seven catches, 10.5 targets, 103 yards and .88 touchdowns in his final eight games last year (including the playoffs) … the evidence suggests not. For what it’s worth, Colin Kaepernick logged the QB start for all eight games.
2. Mike Wallace (26 TDs from 2010-12) should be a wonderful sell-high asset with the Dolphins — for those who choose that path. For 2010-12 with the Steelers, Wallace had at least four or more touchdowns from Weeks 1-7. And as a rookie, Miami QB Ryan Tannehill averaged 30.2 passes per game.
3. Green Bay’s James Jones (64 catches, 784 yards, 14 TDs) crossed the threshold of six catches, 75 yards and/or one touchdown 11 times last season. Of equal relevance, he posted eight outings of seven-plus targets.
4. Victor Cruz’s so-so ranking has little to do with his contract squabble with Giants management. It has everything to do with Hakeem Nicks’ re-emergence as a major fantasy asset.
During the 2011 regular season, Nicks attracted seven-plus targets in 12 games, including six straight from Weeks 11-16. He also crossed the magical threshold of six catches, 100 yards and/or one TD 11 times.
In four playoff games, Nicks also tallied 28 catches, 43 targets, 444 yards and four TDs — numbers befitting a fantasy anchor in standard leagues.
1. It’s a shame Justin Blackmon (64 catches, 865 yards, five TDs) will miss the Jags’ first four games to a drug/alcohol suspension. He tallied 48 targets in his final four outings last season.
2. For Points Per Reception leagues, the Dolphins’ Brian Hartline (74 catches, 1,083 yards) would warrant more recognition. But it’s hard to endorse a guy with only three 100-yard outings and one TD from last season — especially with Mike Wallace and tight end Dustin Keller migrating to Miami.
3. Buffalo’s Steve Johnson averaged 79 catches, 1,041 yards and 7.7 touchdowns with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback (2010-12). But I’m not expecting those numbers on at least two fronts, if rookie E.J. Manuel logs nine or more starts. Manuel has good down-the-road potential in fantasy circles … but Kevin Kolb is the better short-term play.
4. Denarius Moore is the quintessential wild card for springtime speculation. Yes, he only posted four games of 70-plus yards last season … but he also scored seven touchdowns and tallied eight outings of eight-plus targets.