If you haven’t already checked it out, my dynasty debate on the Top 5 running backs for next season has been a huge hit. Drawing some very indepth debate from a variety of sources.
I have a feeling my Top 5 wide receivers will have a similar response. There are some unorthodox picks here. Only the strong of heart should read any further …
1. Roddy White, ATL. A spot that has been dominated by Andre Johnson and Randy Moss in recent memory, there is little to think that Roddy White, who had a career year in 2010, won’t do it again in 2011 and beyond. Matt Ryan is maturing into a solid young QB, and White is his primary weapon of choice. The other receivers on the Falcons roster are good enough to keep defenses somewhat honest, but not good enough to steal away too many of Matty Ice’s looks. Roddy has yet to turn 30 years old, and should have at least another 5 elite years in his system … likely more.
2. Calvin Johnson, DET. Has anyone done as much with so little? The past two years, people drooled over how well Calvin could do if Matthew Stafford was healthy. Instead, Stafford goes down and Calvin barely misses a beat with Pop Warner-esque signal callers flipping him the football. Johnson is a lot younger than people realize (25) and finds a way to produce regardless of who is playing QB. You can’t ignore his staying power in spite of the circumstances.
3. Hakeem Nicks, NYG. Nicks had 79 catches for 1,052 yerds and 11 TDs … and he missed action during the season due to injury. The Giants are a run-first team, but they need to keep the passing game relevant to maintain offensive balance, and Eli Manning seems to have a love affair with Nicks. The kicker, for me, is that Nicks is only 23. He’s got tons of long-term potential.
4. Andre Johnson, HOU. Some will argue he deserves to be at the top of this list based on previous years production. I like him here. His 2010 saw drops in each of the major statistical categories. Injuries played a part in that, but then again, so did the emergence of Arian Foster. Over time, Foster’s presence will only make things easier for Andre in terms of coverage, and I like him to repeat as a top 5 WR for years to come (he’s 29, so there’s plenty of tread on the tires).
5. Mike Wallace, PIT. Go ahead. Call me crazy. You’ve obviously not seen Wallace play, or his solid stats in 2010 (60 catches, 1,257 yards and 10 TDs). Remember, too, that he produced those numbers with Big Ben out of action the first quarter of the season due to off-field issues. And that long-time great Hines Ward will continue to fade into oblivion moving forward. Wallace is in a great situation where he should see consistent numbers moving forward.
And here’s where the debate can get a little crazy. There are tons of able receivers one could argue deserves to be on this list.
Mike Williams, of Tampa Bay, had one of the best rookie receiving years in recent memory. He’d be my No. 6 guy on this list, with the potential to leapfrog Wallace if Freeman can show consistent maturity.
Greg Jennings has re-emerged as an elite receiver, and a year or so from now, I expect him to be closer to the Top 5. Just not ready to push him there just yet with some of his inconsistencies.
Dwayne Bowe had a banner year. Just not ready to trust Matt Cassel, and really not thrilled with how majorly streaky Bowe was. Some record-breaking games followed by total disappearing acts.
Vincent Jackson should be considered a contender … if I knew for sure he’d be back with the Chargers and the under-rated Philip Rivers.
Larry Fitzgerald has no receiver, and unlike Calvin Johnson, he wasn’t able to piece together an elite fantasy season without a more consistent signal caller.
DeSean Jackson is a home run threat every time on the field. I just worry his size and playing style will lead to more IR time than I’d like from a Top 5 fantasy receiver.
Who are in your Top 5 for 2011 and beyond? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.