It’s been an eventful week for fantasy wide receiver news, at least as eventful as you’re going to see in the middle of February.
The big news is that the Colts are going to release WR Marvin Harrison after he refused to take a pay cut as Harrison would’ve counted for more than $13M against the salary cap this year. There are any number of teams that could use Harrison and where he would be a valid fantasy option. Maybe the best option is his hometown of Philadelphia, except that he’s still tied up in an incident from last April where he might have shot somebody. Or his gun shot somebody. Something like that, even the District Attorney can’t seem to figure it out.
The Colts need to replace Harrison’s 665 yard/5TD production and on the surface this move to would seem to be great news for WR Anthony Gonzalez. I’m not buying it. Harrison was essentially the Colts fourth WR, behind Reggie Wayne (1145 yds), Dallas Clark (848 yds) and Gonzalez (664 yds). Gonzalez should see a small uptick in production, but Indy will likely spend a 3rd or 4th round pick on a WR and start developing him so he’s ready for Wayne’s departure in the future.
Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree – saddled with the tag of “Best WR in the Draft” – has a stress fracture in his foot that will keep him out of action for up to 10 weeks. But, knowing how NFL scouts obsess over things like 40 yard dash times, he’s decided he’s going to run an official 40 yard dash and THEN have surgery. I suppose the plan is that if he runs a great time with a bad foot, teams will drool over his potential speed with a good foot. OK, if you say so. Personally, I’m still not sure how much of his “greatness” is a product of the system he played in at Texas Tech. Combine that with the odds that he'll be drafted by a team that really stinks (Seattle? Oakland?) and his fantasy production this year should be underwhelming. Don't believe the hype just yet.
Speaking of obsessing over 40 times, Maryland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey ran the fastest time of anybody at the NFL Combine, a scorching 4.3 seconds according to NFL.com. If Crabtree’s foot problems become an issue, Heyward-Bey could find himself moving up the draft board fairly quickly. If not, he becomes a great late-first round pick for some team.
Other big name (or medium name) wide receivers that are expected to find new homes this summer include TJ Houshmandzadeh, Anquan Boldin, Marty Booker, Bobby Engram, Devery Henderson and Amani Toomer. No news on these guys yet, but things will heat up as we get closer to the NFL Draft.