Rookie Receivers Could Have Value

Randy Moss caught 69 passes for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns as a rookie.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While rookie quarterbacks rarely help a fantasy roster and this year's crop of running backs seems a bit weaker than 2008, the wide receiver class might be the best in years.

Although there may not be a "Randy Moss" (69 catches, 1,313 yards, 17 TD) among them, this year's top quality rookie receiving class should accumulate plenty of yards and touchdowns and so you certainly want to get your share of the action.

The class begins, however, not with the first wide receiver drafted (Darrius Heyward-Bey by Oakland), but in San Francisco where they have been known to have a good receiver or two. The team that gave you Jerry Rice, John Taylor and Terrell Owens, proudly announced their next star at wide out - Michael Crabtree.

Crabtree played at "pass-happy" Texas Tech, but even by their standards what he did in two years was phenomenal. As a freshman, Crabtree grabbed 134 balls for 1,962 yards and 22 touchdowns. This year with the entire defense watching him from Day 1, he still posted 97 catches for 1,165 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Crabtree will have to learn how to share the ball with the 49ers running game, but he should still be a solid fantasy No.2 receiver in Year 1 and even better after that for those in keeper leagues.

Jeremy Maclin, drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, is a playmaker going to a team which needs one. Brian Westbrook has carried the load the past few years, but with twin "smurf" receivers in second-year wideout DeSean Jackson and Maclin, the team now has three players who can go the distance from any point on the field.

The New York Giants will replace Plaxico Burress with North Carolina wideout Hakeem Nicks, who might have the best hands of any of the rookie receivers. Also selected in the first round were Florida's Percy Harvin, by Minnesota, who should immediately become the team's deep threat.

Another first-round receiver, Kenny Britt, went to Tennessee where he will be the most talented of their receiving corps, but probably won't have much fantasy value as they don't throw often - and who would when you can dominate on the ground with Chris Johnson and LenDale White.

Hayward-Bey is my least favorite first-round selection, not because he's a bad choice, but because of the offense he will be stuck in. Oakland still runs the same plays that Al Davis liked back when Daryle Lamonica and Fred Biletnikoff roamed the field.

There was still top quality receiving help available after Round 1 and a couple of players could surprise you next year.

Brian Robiskie was selected by Cleveland in the second round and should see plenty of passes come his way what with the questions about Braylon Edwards, Donte Stallworth's off-field problems and the team trading tight end Kellen Winslow to Tampa Bay.

The Giants selected another receiver, Ramses Barden, in the third round and the 6'6" Cal Poly receiver might end up being a factor by season's end. Deon Butler, from Penn State, goes to Seattle where most of their receivers are coming off an injury-plagued season.

Penn State also saw another of their receiving corps drafted by Detroit - Derrick Williams. He doesn't project to have much fantasy impact in Year 1, but he might be a sleeper pick down the road as teams double and triple cover Calvin Johnson.

A total of 34 receivers were selected in the seven-round, two-day affair and it's likely that there will be a couple of surprises in the group and it's always fun to mine that "diamond-in-the-rough" but stick to the first and second-round players and you will probably find some value.

Selected First Year Receiving Statistics

PlayerTeamYearRecYardsTD
Jerry RiceSF1985499273
Michael IrvinDAL1988326545
Marvin HarrisonIND1996648368
Randy MossMIN1998691,31317
Anquan BoldinAZ20031011,3778
Larry FitzgeraldAZ2004587808
Marques ColstonNO2006701,0388
Dwayne BoweKC2007709955
Eddie RoyalDEN2008919805
DeSean JacksonPHI2008629122


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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