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2013 fantasy football profiles and projections: (WRs 1-16)

WR RANKINGS 17-32![](

Statistical projections are provided by EA Sports/

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Johnson had a slow start to last season and finished with just five touchdown catches -- of course, that was about all fantasy owners could complain about when it came to the superstar wideout. Not only did he post a career-best 122 receptions, but Megatron also broke the single-season NFL record for receiving yards with a ridiculous 1,964 yards. The top-scoring fantasy wide receiver for two straight seasons, he is an absolute freak of nature at 6-foot-5 and 236 pounds. Johnson's size makes him extremely difficult to cover, and his athleticism allows him to make catches that most mortal receivers could only dream of hauling in. Johnson will continue to see more than his share of opportunities to produce in a pass-laden offense led by Matthew Stafford, and he's the lone player at his position who warrants a first-round selection.

Bryant, a breakout candidate on last season, exceeded expectations with career bests in receptions, yards and touchdowns while also finishing third in fantasy points at his position. The Oklahoma State product found the end zone in seven straight weeks during a torrid stretch between November and December, while at the same time emerging into the top option in the pass attack for Tony Romo. The talented Bryant also appears to have put his off-field troubles behind him, which makes him less of a risk when it comes time to hold your draft. Another reason to like the fourth-year wideout is the schedule -- no wide receiver has a more favorable slate of games for the upcoming campaign. The explosive playmaker could go as soon as the second round in most drafts and will be off the board no later than the third round in 2013.

Reunited, and it feels so good -- for Jay Cutler, Marshall and fantasy football owners. In his first season back with Cutler, the Central Florida product posted career bests almost across the board while finishing second in fantasy points among receivers in both standard and PPR formats -- only Calvin Johnson was better. He also recorded over 1,000 yards for the sixth straight year. The athletic veteran is smack dab in the prime of his career, and there's no reason to think his statistical success won't continue under new coach Marc Trestman. Assuming he has no setbacks in his return from an arthroscopic hip procedure, Marshall will be one of the most coveted wideouts in all of fantasy football. Expect him to be a top-three wide receiver in all leagues and off the draft board before the start of Round 3 in most fantasy formats.

Green made a huge leap in the stat sheets last season, ranking in the top 10 in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches among wideouts. One of the league's most athletic and talented receivers, he has a bright future both on the field and from a fantasy football perspective. The top option in the Bengals offense for quarterback Andy Dalton, the Georgia product posted double-digit fantasy points 10 times and went over the 100-yard mark in five different games. At the age of 25 and still not even in the prime of his career, Green is a durable performer and one of the most reliable fantasy wideouts in the entire league. He won't be drafted ahead of Calvin Johnson in most 2013 leagues, but Green will be one of the first three players at his position to come off the board. Consider him a terrific option in Round 2.

One of the most explosive and talented wide receivers in the NFL, Jones recorded close to 1,200 yards and found the end zone 10 times in his second NFL season. Those numbers were good enough to rank him among the top 10 players at his position based on fantasy points, and at the age of 24 he still hasn't reached his statistical ceiling. While Jones does need to be more consistent -- he oddly posted much better numbers on the road than at home -- playing in a prolific offense with a solid quarterback like Matt Ryan under center does nothing but add to his appeal. The Alabama product also lines up opposite another fantasy star, Roddy White, which makes it tough for defenses to focus entirely on either receiver. Overall, Jones is going to be very tough to pass on if he's still on the board in the second or third round this season.

Thomas emerged into one of the better young wideouts in the league last season. With the help of future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, the Georgia Tech product posted career bests across the board and finished among the top five wide receivers based on fantasy points. The 25-year-old showed improved route-running skills, and his size and strength made him a tough cover for most defensive backs around the NFL. Couple that with his developing rapport with Manning, and it's easy to see why Thomas has so quickly emerged into such a prominent option in fantasy leagues. His stock shouldn't be affected by the addition of Wes Welker, as Thomas is more of a downfield playmaker in the pass attack. Don't be shocked if he's off the board before the start of the third round in all formats.

To say that Fitzgerald is coming off a forgettable season is one of the great understatements in fantasy football. He failed to record 800 yards for the first time since his rookie campaign, scored a career-low four touchdowns and ranked a disappointing 42nd in fantasy points among wide receivers. Considering Fitzgerald had an average draft position of Round 2, it's evident he was one of the biggest busts of 2012. Much of the blame has to be placed on dreadful quarterback play and a pass attack that was among the worst in the league. Luckily, the addition of new coach Bruce Arians and signal-caller Carson Palmer should be enough for Fitzgerald to have a big bounce-back season in the stat sheets. In fact, he's now once again worth as much as a second- or third- round pick as a No. 1 wideout in both standard and PPR leagues.

Cobb, who wasn't even drafted in most leagues last season, emerged into one of the best waiver-wire pickups of 2012. He finished with 80 catches, over 1,000 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns, which was good enough to rank 18th in fantasy points among wideouts. Now entering his third pro season and in line to see an even greater role in the pass attack, Cobb is one of the top breakout candidates at his position. With a superstar like Aaron Rodgers under center, Greg Jennings out of the mix and an offense that ranks among the league's most prolific, the Kentucky product is in a good position to make some noise in the stat sheets. Compared to Percy Harvin for his combined skills as a receiver and a runner, Cobb is a good bet to come off the board in the third or fourth round. Based on upside, he could be a true No. 1 receiver.

Johnson had quite the roller-coaster ride of a season in the stat sheets in 2012. After posting double-digit fantasy points in just two of his first seven games, the veteran out of Miami (FL) recorded five games with 100-plus yards and finished eighth in points among wideouts. That's quite an accomplishment when you consider that he found the end zone just four times all year -- the fewest number of scores of any wideout ranked among the top 15 based on points. While some would suggest he's getting a bit long in the tooth at the age of 32, it's tough to argue against Johnson still being a viable No. 1 fantasy option the season after he posted a career high in receiving yards. In standard leagues, he'll be off the board no later than the second or third round. Johnson will also have added value in PPR leagues.

A nine-year veteran out of Northern Colorado, Jackson proved he didn't need Philip Rivers to post good totals in the stat sheets. The veteran recorded career bests in receptions and yards and hauled in a solid eight touchdowns in his first season with the Buccaneers, as he clearly emerged as the top target in the pass attack for Josh Freeman. Jackson, who has recorded 1,000-plus yards and at least seven scores in each of his last four full seasons, is a tough cover for defensive backs at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, not to mention a big target for Freeman. While he will face a tough schedule based on fantasy points allowed to wideouts in 2012, it's difficult not to list Jackson among the top 12 wide receivers in fantasy football. He'll be off the board in the third or fourth round in most standard fantasy leagues this season.

White has long been one of the best wide receivers in fantasy football. In fact, he's ranked no worse than 10th in fantasy points at the position in each of the last five seasons. The veteran out of Alabama-Birmingham has also recorded 1,200-plus yards in each of his last six seasons and has scored a combined 49 total touchdowns in that time. While he has lost at least some of his luster with the emergence of Julio Jones, White remains one of the league's top wideouts in an offense that is considered an elite unit. White, who has also recorded at least 92 catches in each of the last three seasons -- including two with 100 or more -- will be worthy of fourth- or fifth-round consideration in all standard leagues. He'll hold a bit more value in PPR formats, but overall White is still a very viable No. 1 receiver in most fantasy formats.

Over the last two seasons, Cruz has gone from waiver-wire fodder to one of the better wide receivers in fantasy football. Despite the fact that his yardage and fantasy totals were down compared to his breakout season of 2011, Cruz still scored 10 touchdowns and ranked 13th in fantasy points at the position last season. His major problem was a lack of consistent production -- Cruz posted 10 or more fantasy points just three times in his last nine games. He also scored just three touchdowns during that time, which put a serious dent into his overall totals. Still, fantasy owners have to like the fact that Cruz has established himself as a prominent offensive force who will be plenty motivated to put up nice totals in the stat sheets. Cruz, a high-end No. 2 fantasy wideout in most leagues, will remain a popular option in the pass attack for Eli Mannning.

Colston is coming off one of his best statistical seasons at the pro level, posting 83 catches for 1,154 yards and 10 touchdowns -- the yardage and touchdown totals were the second-best he's had in a season. He also played in a full 16 games for the first time since 2009 and for only the third time in his career with the Saints. While he's clearly already hit his ceiling in the stat sheets, playing in an offense with future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees under center is going to keep Colston ranked as a legitimate starting option in fantasy leagues. The Hofstra product, who has recorded 1,000-plus yards in all but one of his seven NFL campaigns, should be considered an attractive No. 2 fantasy wide receiver in both standard and PPR formats. He'll be off the board no later than the fifth or sixth round in most 2013 leagues.

One season removed from posting some of the worst statistical totals of his entire career (without Peyton Manning), Wayne rebounded with 106 receptions and 1,355 yards in 2012 and became one of fantasy football's better draft bargains. The veteran's success was due in large part to the presence of Andrew Luck, who came in and produced solid numbers as a rookie. In fact, Wayne ranked 15th in fantasy points among wide receivers in standard leagues and was an even more impressive 10th in PPR formats. He was also second in the NFL behind fantasy superstar Calvin Johnson in targets (195) among wide receivers. Whether or not he can maintain that high level of production at the age of 34 remains to be seen, but Wayne is certainly still well worth a look in the middle rounds as a No. 2 fantasy wideout with added stock in all PPR leagues.

Brown is coming off a disappointing 2012 campaign, as he missed three games due to injuries and saw statistical decreases in receptions and yards compared to his 2011 totals. Still, things are looking up for the fourth-year receiver out of Central Michigan. With Mike Wallace no longer in the mix and Heath Miller coming back from a major knee reconstruction, Brown will enter the 2013 campaign as the top option in the passing game for Ben Roethlisberger. That means more opportunities to produce and a greater chance at having a bounce-back season in the stat sheets. In fact, Brown is a good bet to post career bests in both receptions and yardage if he can avoid the trainer's room. At the age of 25 and still yet to enter the prime of his career, Brown is well worth a middle-round selection as a No. 3 fantasy wideout with plenty of upside.

Nicks, drafted as a No. 1 fantasy wide receiver in most leagues, suffered through a forgettable 2012 campaign. While he played in 13 games, the veteran out of North Carolina suffered through nagging knee injuries throughout the year and finished with his worst statistical totals at the pro level. While he has the talent to be one of the league's more productive wideouts and is entering a contract year, which motivates a lot of athletes to put up big totals, Nicks' proneness to injuries will make him one of the bigger risk-reward players at his position in 2013 drafts. At 25 and still yet to enter the prime of his career, though, Nicks will be worth a roll of the dice somewhere in the middle rounds as a No. 2 fantasy wideout. If he falls in your draft and you land him as a third option, well, you could end up with quite a bargain.

WR RANKINGS 17-32![](

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