1. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI | Age: 25.0 | Value Score: 99
Young, ultra-talented, reliably consistent, and a target monster as well as red zone stud; ideal nucleus player.
2. Andre Johnson, HOU | Age: 27.2 | Value Score: 98
The elite talent was always there, and now he has a QB who can get him the ball; only minor negative is history of unreliability at times.
3. Calvin Johnson, DET | Age: 23.0 | Value Score: 98
I'm always willing to stick my neck out for dominant talent, and Calvin Johnson remains the most dominant WR talent to enter the league since Randy Moss; buy low if possible.
4. Reggie Wayne, IND | Age: 29.8 | Value Score: 97
Being Peyton Manning's #1 target is the perfect recipe for long-term value; high marks for consistency going forward.
5. Randy Moss, NE | Age: 31.6 | Value Score: 96
Dominant enough to stay productive with Cassel, but his consistency is in serious doubt.
6. *Steve Smith, CAR | Age: 29.3 | Value Score: 96
Personally, I'd take Smith ahead of Wayne and Johnson, but I'm a gambler. Smith would be fighting for the top spot on this list if not for short- & long-term QB issues.
7. Brandon Marshall, DEN | Age: 24.5 | Value Score: 95
There's more than a hint of high knucklehead potential here . . . and it now looks like some sort of (lengthy?) suspension is looming during the '08 season. See this post for deeper value discussion.
8. Braylon Edwards, CLE | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 93
I'm expecting consistent TD numbers, but the targets and yardage may be slightly less than the guys ahead of him.
9. #Marques Colston, NO | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 89
When can we start asking if Colston is injury-prone? He certainly doesn't leave me with a warm and safe feeling .
10. Terrell Owens, DAL | Age: 34.8 | Value Score: 88
Worth more to an annual contender than he is to a rebuilder; a true difference maker at a position where there aren't many, T.O. still gives you a weekly advantage over most of the owners in your league.
11. Anquan Boldin, ARI | Age: 27.9 | Value Score: 88
The difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 is weekly reliability, and Boldin hasn't been reliable for a couple of seasons now. The talent is top-notch, but the assurance is waning.
12. Greg Jennings, GB | Age: 25.0 | Value Score: 87
Was the '07 TD total an aberration, or can we expect Jennings to overcome his low target numbers to produce like a star even with Rodgers taking over for Favre?
13. Santonio Holmes, PIT | Age: 24.5 | Value Score: 86
Outstanding playmaker who excels at taking a short-to-middle pass to the house; not yet the go-to WR in his own offense, and I'm slightly concerned that he's not physical enough to be a high reception WR.
14. Plaxico Burress, NYG | Age: 31.1 | Value Score: 85
Years ago, Plax inspired me to create the phrase "high knucklehead factor" for a player who is under-motivated, prone to mental vacations and off the field imbroglios, and always a risk for a sudden reduction in value. If he produced like Randy Moss, I could easily see past it.
15. Torry Holt, STL | Age: 32.3 | Value Score: 85
After an impressive display with a bum knee in a sunk offense in '07, expect Holt to bounce back with another Tier 1 performance in '08. Age & gimpy knee keeping his value down just a tad.
16. Chad Ocho Cinco, CIN | Age: 30.6 | Value Score: 84
Highly consistent seasonal numbers but schizophrenic game-to-game numbers. Would be higher if not for his more severe than usual shenanigans this off-season; becoming very high risk as it gets more and more obvious that he's now a crazy person.
17. Roy Williams, DET | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 84
Another ultra-talented WR who has shown flashes but hasn't been able to consistently produce like the elites; free agent after '08 season likely to be tagged by the Lions . . . unfortunately.
18. Dwayne Bowe, KC | Age: 24.0 | Value Score: 83
Value is highly dependent on the Croyle situation this season; another elite physical talent at WR who should produce as both a playmaker and a possession WR.
19. Lee Evans, BUF | Age: 27.5 | Value Score: 76
Has Tier 1 talent but the Bills offense, especially the QB play, has held him back. Evans can be both a possession WR and a huge big play threat down the field. He has the whole package if his QB can get him the ball.
20. Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ | Age: 26.3 | Value Score: 75
The Jets passing game just got a whole lot more reliable and explosive. Cotchery's value gets a nice spike, but it remains to be seen who Favre's favorite will be.
21. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN | Age: 30.9 | Value Score: 75
Clearly the #2 WR in the Bengals offense, Housh has produced like a stud for two years, but he's an ideal sell high this off-season due to his lack of staying power.
22. Santana Moss, WAS | Age: 29.3 | Value Score: 73
Went from over-rated to under-rated in one season. His inconsistency from game-to-game and year-to-year will always keep him out of the top tier, but he's too talented to be passed up by flavors of the day.
23. Roddy White, ATL | Age: 26.8 | Value Score: 73
Prime sell-high. White did produce under all 3 woeful QBs in '07, but the Falcons had to pass a ton because their running game was so dreadful. With Mularkey's power running game and Michael Turner in town, plus further poor quarterbacking, the passing numbers will suffer in '08.
24. Marvin Harrison, IND | Age: 36.0 | Value Score: 72
"Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun, but Mama, that's where the fun is." High risk, high reward. How lucky do you feel? I think Marvin has another difference-making season left in him, but I'm not willing to invest heavily to find out at age 36. Update: Harrison practicing and running freely; coach Dungy not worried about Philadelphia shooting.
25. Hines Ward, PIT | Age: 32.5 | Value Score: 70
Off-season surgery should help him regain a step or two after playing through tears of his MCL, PCL, and right meniscus last season; as exhibited in the playoff game against JAX, he's still Big Ben's most reliable WR as well as a prime red zone weapon.
26. Wes Welker, NE | Age: 27.3 | Value Score: 70
I think Welker's '08 value takes a significant blow with Brady's injury. Can Cassel get the ball to Welker often enough to make him valuable? Will those short pass plays become runs instead?
27. DeSean Jackson, PHI | Age: 21.8 | Value Score: 68
28. Anthony Gonzalez, IND | Age: 24.0 | Value Score: 60
It's so tough to rank Colts offensive players on talent because the Peyton Manning factor skews the results. There's no reason Gonzalez can't produce like a starter as long as he plays like a starter---no sure thing with Marvin possibly bouncing back this season.
29. Chris Chambers, SD | Age: 30.1 | Value Score: 59
I've yet to see a convincing argument for Catch % as a tell-all metric, but that didn't stop the stats guys from hammering Chambers for years. He's still a very good talent, one of the better red zone receivers, and his current QB is a considerably better passer than any QB he ever had in Miami.
30. Vincent Jackson, SD | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 58
Did Vincent Jackson make the leap in the playoffs, or was it simply the result of increased opportunity with Gates so gimpy? He can be a red zone weapon, but there are only so many balls to go around in San Diego.
31. #Sidney Rice, MIN | Age: 22.0 | Value Score: 55
The talent is obvious. Rice should be a playmaker and a TD scorer in a normal offense, but the Vikes are far from a normal offense; pray for a QB trade.
32. Eddie Royal, DEN | Age: 22.3 | Value Score: 54
An awful lot of buzz coming out of Broncos camp from his head coach, teammates, and beat writers.
33. Laveranues Coles, NYJ | Age: 30.7 | Value Score: 54
If Coles can fill the Donald Driver go-to role for Favre, he could stand to gain as much as anybody from the Favre trade. Still a lack of upside, but intriguing as a high catch/low TD WR3.
34. Donald Driver, GB | Age: 33.6 | Value Score: 53
It doesn't pay to be Favre's go-to guy when Favre is no longer around; heading into his mid-thirties, Driver may be entering his last startable season.
35. Mark Clayton, BAL | Age: 26.2 | Value Score: 38
Talk about a let-down season. As disappointing as Clayton's production was in '07, it's tough to muster up the faith again in '08. Seriously, zero TDs?! You better hope the string of foot, calf, and back injuries were much worse then he let on.
36. #Kevin Curtis, PHI | Age: 30.2 | Value Score: 38
Explosive in doses but not reliable enough to be a weekly fantasy starter. Still, 1100 yards and 6 TDs isn't bad production for a WR3.
37. Devin Thomas, WAS | Age: 21.8 | Value Score: 37
38. James Hardy, BUF | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 36
39. Bernard Berrian, MIN | Age: 27.7 | Value Score: 36
Grossman was a horrible QB, but at least he had eyes for Berrian. Changing teams is rarely friendly to non-elite WRs, and Berrian is headed to one quarterbacked by Tarvaris Jackson.
40. #James Jones, GB | Age: 24.5 | Value Score: 35
Favre's exit may lead the Pack to a gradual shift away from Driver and towards the younger receivers. Jones had a terrific rookie season as a 3rd WR in the Packers offense.
41. Ted Ginn Jr., MIA | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 34
No matter how fast you are, it's going to be tough for an unpolished WR to produce in that offense. All upside, no production at this point.
42. Patrick Crayton, DAL | Age: 29.4 | Value Score: 32
43. #Reggie Brown, PHI | Age: 27.7 | Value Score: 22
He just couldn't get the separation needed to become a reliable target for McNabb; may bounce back somewhat, but the lack of speed looks troublesome.
44. Antonio Bryant, TB | Age: 27.5 | Value Score: 22
45. #Deion Branch, SEA | Age: 29.2 | Value Score: 21
46. Robert Meachem, NO | Age: 24.0 | Value Score: 21
Great buy-low as a '07 1st rounder who redshirted last season with a bothersome knee. A good deal more talented than the WRs ahead of him on the Saints depth chart, so don't rule a fast move now that he's healthy and working with David Patten to improve.
47. Laurent Robinson, ATL | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 21
Needs to bulk up while he's stashed on your bench; it won't take much to bypass Michael Jenkins and Joe Horn, and he could end eventually end up with a Darrell Jackson type of career in right offense.
48. Jordy Nelson, GB | Age: 23.3 | Value Score: 21
49. Matt Jones, JAX | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 20
50. #Donnie Avery, STL | Age: 22.6 | Value Score: 20
51. #Bobby Engram, SEA | Age: 35.7 | Value Score: 20
52. Bryant Johnson, SF | Age: 27.5 | Value Score: 19
53. [#]Nate Burleson, SEA | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 19
Plenty of opportunity in '08 with Branch injured and Hackett gone. If that translates into a marked increase in targets to go with his impressive '07 red zone production, Burleson could be a major sleeper.
54. *Chris Henry, CIN | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 19
54. Ronald Curry, OAK | Age: 29.4 | Value Score: 18
I want to rank him higher, but I see tough days ahead in '08 with Russell learning on the job.
55. Derrick Mason, BAL | Age: 34.6 | Value Score: 18
56. Limas Sweed, PIT | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 17
57. #Jerry Porter, JAX | Age: 30.2 | Value Score: 17
Extremely high knuckle-head factor, always an over-rated talent, and the Jags just don't pass enough. Still, it beats the Raiders offense.
58. #Javon Walker, OAK | Age: 29.9 | Value Score: 16
Swampland in Florida, oceanfront property in Arizona---you name it, Walker is it. When your coach is openly pining for you to undergo microfracture surgery, then you might have a problematic future.
59. Steve Smith, NYG | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 16
60. #Donte' Stallworth, CLE | Age: 27.8 | Value Score: 16
61. Justin Gage, TEN | Age: 27.6 | Value Score: 15
62. #Malcolm Kelly, WAS | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 15
63. #Joey Galloway, TB | Age: 36.8 | Value Score: 15
64. Josh Morgan, SF | Age: 23.2 | Value Score: 14
The star of Niners camp, Morgan was mentioned as a possible starter by Coach Nolan.
65. Jerome Simpson, CIN | Age: 22.6 | Value Score: 14
66. Kevin Walter, HOU | Age: 27.1 | Value Score: 14
67. Mike Walker, JAX | Age: 23.8 | Value Score: 13
68. D.J. Hackett, CAR | Age: 27.1 | Value Score: 12
69. Reggie Williams, JAX | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 12
70. Jacoby Jones, HOU | Age: 24.2 | Value Score: 11
How tough can it be to beat out Kevin Walter? The recent DWI didn't help matters.
71. Isaac Bruce, SF | Age: 35.8 | Value Score: 10
72. Demetrius Williams, BAL | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 10
73. Early Doucet, ARI | Age: 22.8 | Value Score: 8
74. #Andre Caldwell, CIN | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 8
75. Courtney Taylor, SEA | Age: 24.4 | Value Score: 8
76. Devin Hester, CHI | Age: 25.8 | Value Score: 8
77. #Will Franklin, KC | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 7
78. Darrell Jackson, DEN | Age: 29.7 | Value Score: 7
79. Arnaz Battle, SF | Age: 28.6 | Value Score: 6
80. Jason Hill, SF | Age: 23.6 | Value Score: 6
81. Mario Manningham, NYG | Age: 22.3 | Value Score: 5
82. Legedu Naanee, SD | Age: 24.9 | Value Score: 5
83. Craig Davis, SD | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 5
84. Steve Breaston, ARI | Age: 25.0 | Value Score: 5
85. #Lavelle Hawkins, TEN | Age: 22.2 | Value Score: 5
86. Devery Henderson, NO | Age: 26.5 | Value Score: 5
87. Earl Bennett, CHI | Age: 21.5 | Value Score: 5
88. David Patten, NO | Age: 34.1 | Value Score: 5
89. Amani Toomer, NYG | Age: 34.0 | Value Score: 5
90. Antwaan Randle El, WAS | Age: 29.1 | Value Score: 4
91. #Drew Bennett, STL | Age: 30.0 | Value Score: 5
92. [#]Ben Obomanu, SEA | Age: 24.8 | Value Score: 5
93. Dwayne Jarrett, CAR | Age: 22.0 | Value Score: 5
94. Isaiah Stanback, DAL | Age: 24.1 | Value Score: 3
95. Harry Douglas, ATL | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 3
96. Derek Hagan, MIA | Age: 24.0 | Value Score: 3
97. Brandon Jones, TEN | Age: 29.4 | Value Score: 2
98. Mark Bradley, CHI | Age: 26.6 | Value Score: 2
99. #Keenan Burton, STL | Age: 23.9 | Value Score: 2
100. Jabar Gaffney, NE | Age: 27.8 | Value Score: 2
101. Miles Austin, DAL | Age: 24.2 | Value Score: 2
102. #Sam Hurd, DAL | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 2
103. Brandon Stokley, DEN | Age: 32.2 | Value Score: 2
104. Hank Baskett, PHI | Age: 26.0 | Value Score: 2
105. Muhsin Muhammad, CAR | Age: 35.4 | Value Score: 2
106. Domenik Hixon, NYG | Age: 23.9 | Value Score: 2
Wednesday, September 17, 2008