I posted this article on Rotworld's Pancake Blocks blog on Monday afternoon. It's a list of five WRs rising and five WRs falling in value since the beginning of offseason practices in May.
Since the unveiling of our first offseason Dynasty rankings back in May, spring practices have seen several players gaining momentum while others are losing steam. Here’s a brief look at the wide receiver movement:
1. Chad Ochocinco – Ocho may have murdered your 2008 fantasy season with a lethal combination of a bad attitude, zero commitment, and Ryan Fitzpatrick's noodle arm, but there's reason to believe that his actions are speaking louder than his words this year. He at least appears to be legitimately primed for a turnaround.
2. Brandon Marshall – As Rosey pointed out earlier, Marshall has thus far avoided an NFL suspension for the 2009 season. He still holds major knucklehead potential, but it now looks like a fully healthy Marshall will be suiting up for the Broncos in Week 1 despite his drama-filled offseason.
3. Josh Morgan – A series of injuries held Morgan back as a rookie, but he's a leading breakout candidate after stealing the show in OTAs. Versed in both the "X" and the "Z" spots, Morgan will start alongside Michael Crabtree now and into the future. Beat writer Matt Maiocco, one of the best in the biz, predicts Morgan will top Niners receivers in production this year.
4. Ted Ginn – Three months ago I argued that Ginn was entering a make-or-break season; his offseason progress bodes well for the "make" side. He was dominant at times in OTAs, and Football Outsiders as well as the local beats believe he's ready to take the next step.
5. Chris Henry – I've been calling Henry a poor man's Randy Moss since he came into the league, and Carson Palmer has seen that potential this offseason. Henry's fantasy ceiling has always made him a worthwhile roster stash, and he could finally make good on the potential now that he's working to turn his troubled personal life around.
Honorable Mention: Vincent Jackson, Santonio Holmes, Donnie Avery, Mike Walker, Chaz Schilens, Pierre Garcon, Steve Johnson, Jarett Dillard/Mike Thomas
1. Derrick Mason – The future is now for 35-year-old receivers. The only problem is that Mason's future may not involve professional football. Nobody seems to believe Mason will hang up the spikes this summer, but the fact remains that he's an aging receiver coming off a severe shoulder surgery showing little desire to suit up for the Ravens in 2009.
2. Antonio Bryant – The Bucs are moving to a run-oriented offense, and Bryant admits his numbers may drop as the new coaching staff plans to spread the ball around. Worse, last year's fantasy playoff MVP may have "not ready for prime time" rookie Josh Freeman throwing him the ball by this year's fantasy playoffs. Bryant's value has never been stable, so his owners need that present production to offset future uncertainty.
3. Deion Branch – Branch admits his knee will never be the same after undergoing a rather nebulous second surgery this offseason. With T.J. Houshmandzadeh as the go-to guy, Nate Burleson as the deep threat and rookie Deon Butler in the slot, where does that leave Branch in Greg Knapp's offense?
4. James Hardy – The first receiver off the board in many rookie drafts last summer, Hardy was already falling behind seventh-rounder Steve Johnson by November. Shortly thereafter he tore his ACL which kept him out of OTAs and will likely result in a lost season. No longer a big part of the Bills plans, Hardy may bounce around before gaining another shot at a starting role.5. Darrius Heyward-Bey / Kenny Britt – Both first-round rookies are behind the eight ball going into training camp after suffering hamstring injuries during spring practices. DHB was being counted on as a starter opposite Chaz Schilens while Britt was expected to push veterans Nate Washington and Justin Gage for playing time. While their long-term futures remain bright, fantasy owners may miss out on a valuable opportunity to gauge their NFL potential early in the season.