This article was written by Evan Levine
With the season weeks away your board is going in many different directions. What I have had always had trouble with, are my expectations with wide receivers on new teams. Last season T.J. Houshmanzadeh went to Seattle and fell off the face of the earth, so you never know how one will play with a new quarterback in a new system. Yes, we know Brandon Marshall is in Miami and he should remain a top 10 wide reciever option, but let's take a look at receivers who are not elite, who could be late round steals, or irrelevant for the upcoming season.
Anquan Boldin BAL - The past two seasons, the stories surrounding Boldin will be where will he end up and when will he get a new contract? Not only was Boldin dealt to Baltimore for a 3rd and 4th round pick, but he cashed in with a three year extension of 25 million dollars to his contract which already had four years remaining. Now for the first time in his career, Boldin will be the number one receiver, not living under the ‘'shadow'' of Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. Boldin who's been successful career no matter the quarterback, will work with Joe Flacco, who many believe is ready to breakout in 2010.
While everyone will criticize Boldin for not being able to stay healthy, he's played in 15 games last season and the season before that he played in 12 games; bringing in over, 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. For fantasy owners, the criticism of Boldin being hurt should be brought down a notch as he is consistently productive.
The Ravens for the first time in their existence will have two wide receivers that are legit down field threats when Boldin is teamed up with Derrick Mason. Yes, the Ravens will still be a run first team, but to think they won't air it out more is preposterous. The Ravens have a real shot of having two receivers go over 900 yards this season, making them a well balanced offense.
I believe Boldin will put up similar numbers to what he had produced in Arizona over the last couple of seasons, do don't look for him to disappear like Houshmanzadeh did. I am onboard with Boldin think he should be taken in the last third round and the early fourth. Boldin should be a monster in the red zone, so I would take him over DeSean Jackson, Steve Smith (NYG) as well as Chad Ochocinco.
Projections: 1,050 Yards 11 TDs
More after the jump:
Nate Burleson Det - When Burleson signed his 25 million dollar five year contract in the offseason with the Lions I was in shock. From watching Burleson over the years, I think the majority of fans are in agreement, that he's a number three wide reciever that is best suited returning kickoffs. Burleson has only had one season where had over 1,000 yards (2004 on a dynamic Vikings offense) and has only 27 touchdowns over his seven year career. The question remains why the Lions signed Burleson to that big contract and is there something the Lions front office knows that we do not
For those of you who believe in Matthew Stafford breaking out in 2010, you have to be high on Burleson having a career season. Stafford and Calvin Johnson will have the biggest impact on Burleson this season and that means both players have to remain healthy. Burleson should get tons of single coverage with Megatron being double teamed, so you would imagine he would take advantage of that?
Known for being a boom or bust type player, Burleson on any given day can go for 120 yards, but is more likely to finish the game with 40 receiving yards. Playing for the Lions, Burleson will be the number two target and should be capable of a solid season, but is it worth drafting Burleson that remains up in the air? Burleson compares to Eddie Royal, Arrelious Benn and Jacoby Jones when drafting your wide receivers. They will all go in the 40-50 range of wide receivers taken, and while Burleson is clearly older, he is in a situation that is clearly better. Burleson will probably the last wide reciever taken on your roster, or will remain undrafted, but he is someone to keep an eye on based on the possibilities of the Lions offense.
Projections: 780 Yards 5 TDs
Terrell Owens Cinci - While he might not be the most talented, it's clear that Owens was the biggest ‘'name'' to switch teams for the upcoming season. Owens now resides in Cincinnati and will play along Ochocino in what should be the most entertaining wide reciever duo in the league. Last season Owens got lost in Buffalo while having zero relevancy towards fantasy football in 2009. While and while the While much blame can be put on the Bills quarterback situation as well as the offensive line, there is no doubt in everyone's mind that Owens has lost a step. Owens no longer separates from the corner back like he did is his elite seasons, and when he's not part of the game plan, he disappears into oblivion.
While many believe Owens is now a sleeper playing for the Bengals, I think we watch another Hall of Famer regress at the end of their career. The Bengals were 27th in pass attempts last season, and I look for them to stay with the same game plan that was successful last season, but this time for Bernard Scott to tag along with Cedric Benson and give them a dynamic two headed monster. The only upside I see with Owens, will be his ability to score touchdowns in the red zone. The Bengals as an offense should be in the red zone way more the Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick were for the Bills last season. Either way, Owens won't be on any of my teams this season as I don't trust Carson Palmer and I don't believe Owens a year older is going to breakout to his Cowboys days.
Projections: 720 Yards 7 TDs