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Around Fantasyland: WR studs and starters

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Recent posts by William Del Pilar

Around Fantasyland: Tight ends

Posted June 02, 2012 @ 10 a.m.

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By William Del Pilar

Let’s start the first offseason look at wide receivers by giving kudos to Packers WR Donald Driver. There’s no doubt Driver is in the twilight of his career with the Packers but congratulations are in order for winning "Dancing With the Stars." Driver is an inspiring role model who carried himself with class and dignity throughout his career. Never given anything, he earned his way into becoming one of the team’s best wideouts by fighting through adversity to live the American dream.

Brandon Marshall, Bears
Soon after being traded from the Dolphins to the Bears, news emerged of a nightclub incident in New York that reportedly involved Marshall. However, the New York police will not bring any charges against him which means he should avoid any disciplinary action by the NFL. Marshall is a favorite to return to high-end No. 1 numbers now that he’s reunited with QB Jay Cutler.

Mike Wallace, Steelers
Whether it's greed, immaturity or ignorance, one report said that Wallace was looking for a long-term contract that would exceed the $120 million deal the Cardinals gave Larry Fitzgerald last year. Wallace has not signed his first-round tender and doesn’t plan to until he has to on June 15. At that point, the team can reduce the tender from $2.7 million to $577,500, though it has said it won't do that. Wallace is going to fall behind by not taking part in OTAs, as the team has a new offensive coordinator in Todd Haley and a new offense to learn. So, if Wallace does hold out he will lose fantasy value every week. 

Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Bowe has yet to sign his franchise tender worth $9.515 million in the hopes of landing a long-term deal. His demands are unknown but no holdout is expected at the moment and Chiefs GM Scott Pioli told WHB Radio in Kansas City they will not trade him. They shouldn't trade one of their best players, considering he's entering the prime of his career, can produce regardless of the quarterback and has elite potential.

Randy Moss, 49ers
Moss signed a one-year deal with the Niners worth $2.5 million with the potential to earn $1.5 million in incentives. He’s also attending OTAs, where he has earned rave reviews from teammates. That includes head coach Jim Harbaugh, who told to KNBR Radio that Moss is picking up the offense quickly. Obviously, some of this is coachspeak but Moss — based on his potential — has fantasy value as a late middle-round draft pick.  

Jabar Gaffney, Patriots
I’m only an analyst but I believe the Redskins should have kept Gaffney. Their loss is the Patriots’ gain. He’s familiar with the offense and despite a crowded group of receivers; he is coming off a career year. Based on his continually improving numbers he has a good chance to replace Deion Branch — considering he’s a better, younger version of Branch. Gaffney is a great late-round flier pick.

Santana Moss, Redskins
The Redskins signed Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan in free agency and have made second-year WR Leonard Hankerson into a starter. As a result, Moss might not make the final roster. Moss, whose roster spot will be tied to his training-camp performance, has lost 15 pounds and already looks better than he did entering 2011. His value has lessened but he still has value as the slot receiver in larger leagues. By not facing the opponent's top corner he should see a few mismatches he can exploit. He is worth a late-round flier at best right now.

Quick hits

  • Wes Welker, Patriots: Signed his franchise tender for $9.515 million but there are still issues with a long-term contrac, though no one expects a holdout. His fantasy status remains the same — quality No. 1 with elite status in PPR formats.
  • Dez Bryant, Cowboys: WRs coach Jimmy Robinson told the Dallas Morning News that Bryant is ready to make the leap to elite status. I fully agree and view Bryant, who's entering his third season, as someone who will surpass his draft value. 
  • Nate Burleson, Lions: Don’t assume that Titus Young will surpass Burleson to start this season. Burleson remains part of the team as a starter while Young continues his development and rookie Ryan Broyles (ACL) recovers from injury.
  • Michael Crabtree, 49ers: Per the team’s website, Crabtree is entering his first full healthy offseason. With quality wideouts around him and a great base offense there’s now no excuse for him. He should be a solid draft-value candidate in 2012.
  • Steve Smith, Rams: Despite the presence of rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens, Smith will have a role and is expected to make the team, if healthy. His fantasy value won’t be known until training camp begins but his fantasy value is minimal right now.

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