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The primary form of attack in today’s NFL is passing. Even teams that excel at the run game often have passing yards total that nearly double their rushing yards. So it’s clear that the wide receivers are a prime position to target. Make sure to examine how your league hands out points based on catches, yards, touchdowns and other bonus categories before making your picks.
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
The only knock here is can he stay healthy. At his small size, a solid hit from a linebacker or many of the top safeties could sideline him for weeks or months. Of course those players have to catch this guy. 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns seems about right for this kid. Assuming there is no sophomore slump in his future.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have shown they mean business when it comes to offense, and Brown is a big part of that. Having Le’Veon Bell in the mix helps out too, and forces the opposing defenses to play more guys in the box, meaning big plays are going to be abundant for Brown. He might be light on catches, only because his plays are going to be so huge. 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns would be my best guess from Brown in 2015.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
He topped out the league in touchdowns last year. Dez can put up yards and touchdowns, but the lean here is points. The loss of DeMarco Murray will hurt the team, but it may mean more opportunities for Dez. 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns should be right about where he finishes the year.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Cobb put up stellar numbers when you consider how often Aaron Rogers favors Jordy Nelson. I’m thinking Cobb is going to put up over 1,000 yards and 10+ touchdowns this year. What makes Cobb interesting is that he sometimes gets the ball as a rusher on reverse plays. Keep that in mind.
Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
It’s not because he’s the first wide receiver taken in the past draft. This has everything to do with the fact that he has a solid quarterback to deliver him the ball, and there are limited options outside of him on the field. The team will try to run but the Raiders will look for Cooper when they have to pass. 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns seems about right for a guy that is sure to be a key red zone target.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Don’t let the sudden appearance of Andre Johnson be a deterrent; Hilton is the main man for Andrew Luck in Indy. Luck excels at throwing the deep ball, and that is where Hilton makes his money. He might end up with less targets than Johnson, but he will likely have more yards. Touchdowns might be an even split. I am thinking 1,300 yards and about 9 touchdowns. If your league is super weighted for touchdowns, Johnson might be the better pick of the two as he’s a better red zone target. But don’t forget, the team also acquired Frank Gore.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
Brandon Marshall is gone from Chicago, which leaves Jeffery as the lone wide receiver with which Jay Cutler has a solid relationship. Cutler is a creature of habit so I’d be thinking that it will be Jeffery who sees the bulk of the catches, especially after the loss of rookie Kevin White for the season. 1,200 yards and 10+ touchdowns seems like it will be the standard for a team that is going to be playing from behind a lot.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones is going to put up amazing numbers thanks to Matt Ryan and a wonderful domed home field. Jones doesn’t have the same nose for the end zone that some of the other guys do. He makes up for it in yards though. 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns is what I am thinking for the year. If your league is yard heavy, Jones might be the best receiver out there.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Despite being a little older and injured for a good chunk of last season, don’t sleep on this guy. The vaunted numbers that Golden Tate had were a result of teams triple teaming Megatron (though Tate isn’t a bad receiver option). Johnson is a touchdown machine when healthy. 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns looks like what we should expect this season from a healthy Megatron.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Still playing with Aaron Rogers, still his go to guy. I don’t know how you can pick against Nelson on any given week. 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns seems like the norm for Jordy. The reason he is higher than Odell is because he doesn’t have the injury concerns.