Hilton had some trouble with drops during his rookie season, but he appears to be locked in as one of Andrew Luck’s top-two receiving targets for the long-term. With the Colts’ building their offense around the pass, Hilton should be in the WR3 mix for years to come…Moore didn’t progress into the franchise receiver many expected him to during his second season, but he still scored seven times in 15 games. His ceiling is limited until Oakland finds some consistency at quarterback, but Moore has a lot of years left as an impact wide receiver…Randle is the favorite for the Giants’ No. 3 job, but will have trouble finding consistent targets in the short-term behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
Allen, Alexander, and Brown provide the Chargers with a strong, young trio at the position. A rookie, Allen is a bit of an unknown, but he has the highest ceiling of the three wideouts. Alexander has a lengthy injury resume, but he’s only 24, and his talent level has never been in question. Brown showed big-time flashes during his rookie campaign back in 2011, but he’s coming off a lost season due to a broken ankle. Time will tell which of these wideouts will emerge, but each is worth stashing in dynasty formats. Alexander has the most short-term value, but Allen’s long-term ceiling his highest.
One of the top-three wide receivers in the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers’ offense, Jones will make for an attractive short-term fantasy option. He’s entering a contract year at age-29, however, and is a slam dunk to regress in the touchdown department after scoring 14 times on only 64 receptions this past year…Wheaton will be expected to immediately help in the Steelers’ effort to replace Mike Wallace. The speedster figures to start out as the No. 3 wideout, but it won’t be long before he’s a full-time starter for Pittsburgh…Smith remains Cam Newton’s featured target, which provides him with short-term value, but he just turned 34. You might be able to squeeze another year or two of WR3 production out of him, but the position is deep enough that you can sell him and not lose much.
Austin’s durability had been a serious concern over the last two offseasons, but he put a majority of that to bed by appearing in all 16 games this past season. Locked up for four more years as a heavily-used No. 2 wideout in a decent pass offense, Austin is a fine fourth wideout option…A second-round pick in April’s draft, Hunter is expected to eventually replace impending free agent Kenny Britt as a starter opposite Kendall Wright in Tennessee. Hunter will likely come off the bench as a rookie, and needs the team to upgrade at quarterback before he’ll provide much fantasy value…With the Rams’ offense finally showing signs of improvement with Sam Bradford under center, the speedy Givens will be a long-term fantasy asset if he can lock down a starting job. A strong rookie season provides reason for optimism.
For the most part, our seventh tier is loaded with young wideouts who will be competing for a significant role in the coming months.
Sophomores Jeffery, Broyles, Hill, Sanu, Jenkins, Streater, Jones, and Quick each will push for their respective team’s No. 2 job in 2013. Jeffery is the Bears’ big, downfield compliment to possession receiver Brandon Marshall…Broyles tore his ACL during the 2012 season, but has a future as the long-term compliment to Calvin Johnson…Still only 22, Hill remains a project and the Jets’ incompetent offense certainly didn’t help his rookie-season progression. The return of Santonio Holmes will take some pressure off in year-two…Sanu had been working as Cincinnati’s No. 2 wideout before a foot injury cut his rookie-season short. He’ll compete with Jones for the starting job opposite A.J. Green…Jenkins barely played as a rookie, but there’s still hope he can be the team’s long-term No. 2 or No. 3 wide receiver…Streater is in line to work as Oakland’s starter opposite Denarius Moore, but he’ll need Matt Flynn to pan out in order to find a hint of fantasy relevance over the next few years…Quick’s long-term value took a hit when the Rams’ selected both Tavon Austin and Bailey in April’s draft, but he showed flashes as a rookie, and is easily Sam Bradford’s biggest target at wideout.
Woods, Dobson, Patton, Bailey, Rogers, Boyce and Williams are the rookies that landed in our seventh tier. Woods and Rogers are competing with fellow-rookie Marquise Goodwin for a substantial workload in Buffalo. Woods was a second-round pick, while Rogers went undrafted due to off-the-field concerns…Similarly, Dobson and Boyce are competing for No. 2 and/or No. 3 wide receiver gigs in the AFC East. The duo is the foundation for the Patriots’ overhaul at the position…Patton is a bit raw, but he could be San Francisco’s No. 2 wideout opposite Michael Crabtree as early as 2014…Bailey is buried in St. Louis, but is talented enough to give Quick and potentially Chris Givens a run for their money in the near future…Williams is already the favorite for the No. 3 job in Dallas. Strong play could make Miles Austin expendable as soon as next offseason.
After missing most of 2012 due to injury, Holmes is closing in on 30 and the Jets are without a competent short-term quarterback. On the bright side, a ton of targets will be sent his way in 2013… Moore quietly eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark last season and will continue to work as Drew Brees’ third option in New Orleans…Sanders is the favorite to start in Pittsburgh this season, but he’s on a one-year deal and will quickly feel pressure for snaps from rookie Marcus Wheaton…The Seahawks’ offense is one of the league’s best, but Rice’s ceiling is limited by the acquisition of Percy Harvin and a run-first attack. He’s only 26, though…Hartline landed a long-term extension with the Dolphins, but we may have already seen the best season of his career. He’ll settle in as an expensive No. 2 wideout opposite Mike Wallace.
Hankerson was strong in a small sample of work this past season, but needs to beat out Santana Moss and Josh Morgan for a starting gig in Washington…Productive as Arizona’s No. 2 receiver in 2012, Roberts future value is hurt by the emergence of Michael Floyd, but helped by the team’s massive quarterback upgrade…The Browns are hoping Little will settle in as a strong compliment to Josh Gordon…LaFell has settled in as a competent No. 2 behind Steve Smith, but that appears to be his ceiling…Kerley appears to have a future as a productive slot man, but the Jets’ immediate quarterback situation remains shaky.
Criner is the favorite for No. 3 duties in Oakland…Brazill and Heyward-Bey will compete for, at least, the No. 3 gig in Indianapolis…Tate, Harper, and Baldwin are buried in run-first Seattle, but each has yet to reach age-25…Boldin will start in San Francisco this year, but he’ll turn 33 during the season…Baldwin is looking like a bust, but he can earn a starting job in Kansas City by beating out Donnie Avery…Morgan, Toon, and Stills will head into an offseason competition for the Saints’ coveted No. 3 wide receiver job…Swope is stuck behind a strong one-two-three punch in Arizona, but has long-term potential…It may not be long before Wilson is a threat to both Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery for reps in Chicago…Goodwin has a ton of young competition in Buffalo, but he’ll be in the mix for the No. 2 or No. 3 job over the next few years.
Fuller is a name to watch with the pass-heavy Lions badly in need of contributors at wideout…Benjamin is an immediate threat to Greg Little’s playing time in Cleveland…Wright is hoping to settle in as the Vikings’ slot man between Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson…Floyd figures to be the odd-man out in San Diego after their youth movement at the position…Manningham and Edelman are each dealing with injuries, which puts their chances of contributing in 2013 in jeopardy…The Steelers have a habit of drafting well at wide receiver, which makes Brown, a sixth-round pick in April, a name to watch…King is buried in Denver, but is the current favorite for the No. 4 job, and is a potential future replacement for soon-to-be free agent Eric Decker…Streeter provides the most upside among wide receivers competing for the No. 2 job opposite Torrey Smith in Baltimore.