2012 fantasy football profiles and projections (WRs 29-42)

WR RANKINGS 43-56![](http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d8297b8c7)

Statistical projections are provided by EA Sports

  • Player
  • Analysis

A preseason breakout candidate on NFL.com last season, Britt was well on his way to fantasy stardom with 17 catches, 289 yards and three touchdowns in three games. Unfortunately, he tore up his knee in that third contest and was forced to miss the remainder of the season. Since then, Britt has had three knee surgeries and yet another negative off-the-field incident. Coming back from multiple operations and staring a potential suspension in the face, Britt has gone from a breakout fantasy player to a major risk. Depending on the length of what could be a major suspension, Britt won't be worth more than a middle- to late-round selection.

It's likely that we've seen the last of Reggie Wayne as a top 10 fantasy receiver. Sure, his down numbers had a lot to do with the menagerie of misfit quarterbacks posing as Peyton Manning's stand-in during the 2011 season. But in his 12th NFL season, Wayne is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. That's not to say he can't still be productive at times, especially as the top option in the Colts' pass attack for rookie Andrew Luck. But for all of his long-term potential, Luck is no Manning in the prime of his career. As a result, don't reach for Wayne until the middle to late rounds as a borderline No. 3 or 4 fantasy option.

For the Saints, having a series of interchangeable wide receivers made their offense difficult to game plan for in real football terms. For Robert Meachem, it made his fantasy value tough to determine. Now in San Diego, however, he's in a great position to produce in the stat sheets. While he did have an elite quarterback throwing him the football in New Orleans, Meachem was never the main go-to guy in the offense - that's something he'll have a chance to earn with Philip Rivers at the helm. If he meets expectations, Meachem could develop into quite a nice No. 2 fantasy wideout. Consider him somewhere in the middle rounds as a sleeper pick.

Garcon registered the best numbers of his career in 2011 and effectively took the top receiving spot away from former teammate Reggie Wayne. The problem is that more than 40 percent of his receiving yards and all six of his touchdowns came in three games. That's a long way of saying Garcon needs to develop some consistency. Now in Washington, he figures to be one of the top options in the pass attack for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. However, expecting Garcon to greatly surpass his 2011 totals this season might be a lot to ask. In fact, he shouldn't be seen as more of a No. 3 or 4 fantasy wideout in most standard, seasonal leagues.

Overall, it wasn't a bad rookie season for Moore. The speedster from Tennessee posted 618 receiving yards, averaged 18.7 yards per catch and scored six total touchdowns. When it was all said and done, he turned out to be one of Oakland's most consistent and explosive offensive weapons. Looking ahead to 2012, Moore seems poised to be the Raiders No. 2 wide receiver - but his immense upside makes him the first Oakland wideout to take in fantasy drafts. When healthy, he seemed to develop a tremendous rapport with Carson Palmer - it's that rapport and his playmaking skills that make him a nice fantasy sleeper. Consider him in the middle to late rounds as a No. 4 fantasy wideout with statistical potential.

The 2011 season might have been the start of Boldin's devolution as a highly regarded fantasy wide receiver. The veteran didn't show the same type of speed and strength that we've become accustomed, and his level of production left much to be desired. On top of that, Torrey Smith burst onto the scene last season and almost instantly established himself as Baltimore's big-play receiver moving forward. Make no mistake, the Ravens offense is built around Ray Rice, so Boldin may never come close to some of the numbers he posted with the Cardinals. In fact, there's a good chance he'll never reach such statistical success again. He's a No. 3 or 4 fantasy wideout in most formats.

Little entered his rookie season with deep sleeper potential - whether he filled that potential is debatable. But on a team that set NFL offense back at least a decade, Little's 61 catches and 709 yards weren't awful. Whether he takes that next step forward depends in large part on what kind of quarterback play the Browns get in 2012. He'll definitely benefit from his first year of NFL experience, and there's no real competition for the top spot on the team's depth chart heading into the season. As a result, Little should be seen as a fantasy reserve with some upside. He's well worth a look in the late rounds in most fantasy football drafts.

Heyward-Bey is fast (why else would he end up with the Raiders?), but there hasn't been much else to get excited about during his first three years in the NFL. He has yet to play in a full 16 games, and hasn't eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in a single season. He did set career-highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns in 2011, but none of those numbers impressed fantasy leaguers. With a stable of equally talented, if not game-breaking, receivers on the roster, it doesn't appear Heyward-Bey is ready to break out anytime soon. Consider him a low-end No. 4 receiver who could stick around in drafts until the later rounds.

If you've been waiting for Crabtree to blossom into a game-breaking, bona fide No. 1 receiver, the wait is over … it doesn't look like it's going to happen. He's been a model of inconsistency since entering the league in 2009, and the additions of Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins means a potential decrease in targets this season. And with a good, but not great, quarterback in Alex Smith throwing the ball, there's little reason to believe Crabtree is on the verge of some sort of breakout season. If you do decide to target Crabtree, don't do it with the intention of utilizing him in a prominent fantasy fashion.

Young walked into a good situation in Detroit and took full advantage in his rookie season. The former Boise State standout pulled in 607 receiving yards and found the end zone six times as the third option in the pass attack behind Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson. Since it doesn't look like the Lions high-flying passing offense will be slowed anytime soon, Young should be set up for some improvement as a slot receiver in 2012. That doesn't mean he'll become a true fantasy starter, but Young will have some deep sleeper appeal. Target him in the later rounds.

At times it was hard to tell one Saints receiver from another without a program, but Moore did his best to stand out by pulling in eight touchdowns. Like his pass-catching compatriots in New Orleans, fantasy owners never really knew when Moore's number would be called, making it difficult to use him as anything more than a No. 3 wideout or flex starter. It's arguable that the veteran from Toledo is a product of the system he plays in, but he could see more targets this season with the departure of veteran Robert Meachem. Overall, Moore is well worth a look in the late rounds as a No. 4 fantasy wideout.

It's not quite the Law of Diminishing Returns, but Holmes hasn't had the same production in New York that he did in Pittsburgh. While his eight touchdown catches in 2011 were a silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud, Holmes was dreadfully unreliable at times. Things don't look to get better this season, as the Jets will move to a ground and pound offense that will put less of an emphasis on the pass attack. And with Tim Tebow potentially seeing time on the field in Wildcat formations, Holmes' opportunities could also be more limited than ever before. He still has some name value, but don't draft Holmes as more than a No. 3 fantasy wideout.

The first wide receiver selected in April's rookie draft, Blackmon is a proven playmaker that will come right in and start for the wideout-starved Jaguars. The fact that he'll see plenty of targets in the pass attack as a rookie is a positive, but questions about the quarterback position do hurt Blackmon's immediate prospects a bit. If Blaine Gabbert doesn't improve on what was a poor rookie campaign, it could be tough for the Oklahoma State product to come in and make some noise in the stat sheets. Compared to Terrell Owens and Anquan Boldin by some scouts, Blackmon will be worth a middle- to late-round selection in all seasonal leagues. He also has first-round appeal in dynasty leagues.

Washington took over as Tennessee's No. 1 wide receiver after Kenny Britt was lost early in the 2011 season with a torn ACL. And while he did post the best numbers of his career, including 1,023 yards, Washington was inconsistent at times from a fantasy perspective. With Britt back in the mix, the veteran out of Tiffin University will move back to a secondary role in the pass attack in 2012. That doesn't mean he'll be a complete bust, but Washington won't be in a spot to finish in the top 20 in fantasy points at his position in back-to-back seasons. Take a flier on him in the late rounds as a No. 4 or 5 wideout.

WR RANKINGS 43-56![](http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d8297b8c7)

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