Trucking right on through the fantasy football 2006 previews, already we're half way done. So far, Pride of Detroit has helped out by looking at the basics, quarterbacks, and running backs. Today, the preview will be of the players that help out the QBs the most: wide receivers.
Wide receivers are explosive players that can take a short pass and turn it into a foot race down the field for a touchdown. In most fantasy leagues the position that has the most separate starting spots is WR. There is usually three different pass-catchers that can be worked into the starting lineup. That means that you have to go about getting a few that can rotate through the starting lineup each week.
It shouldn't be too hard to get the top two on your depth chart as the talent pool is once again very large. The third starter could be a little harder as you have to scope out some of the lesser-known players, but if you draft correctly you could end up with a star player in each spot.
BEST OF THE REST - Wide receivers that are a big catch.
**Steve Smith (Panthers) After a 2005 season like no other, Steve Smith will look to improve on those stats in 2006. Smith caught 12 touchdowns and 1,563 yards in '05. Those are MVP-caliber numbers. Having a veteran quarterback like Jake Delhomme doesn't hurt either. Another big part in new-found success in 2006 could be the signing of free agent Keyshawn Johnson. With Keyshawn lining up with Smith, defenders won't be able to just focus on one guy, opening even bigger gaps for the Pro Bowler.
**Chad Johnson (Bengals) The much-animated Chad Johnson may have a harder time celebrating in 2006, but that won't be the case for his receiving game. Carson Palmer had a breakout year in 2005, and a lot of that can be attributed to Chad Johnson. Johnson had some of the best numbers in the league, and will look to make them the best in '06.
**Marvin Harrison (Colts) The standout in one of the best receiving corps in the NFL is Marvin Harrison. Harrison has the benefit of all-pro quarterback Peyton Manning throwing to him, and also a few other guys that take some of the attention off of him. Harrison is a great player year in and year out, and will continue that again in 2006.
**Cardinals WRs A duo like no other can be found out in Arizona. The Cardinals have a gem in the pair of wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. The two had to go through a season of many different QBs in 2005 and still managed to put up astounding numbers. Together, the two WRs combined for 200+ catches, a near 3,000 yards, and a total of 17 touchdowns. Those numbers are better than an entire team of wide receivers for a lot of teams. I'm sure it would be pretty tough to get both in your league's draft, but it's definitely worth a try.
**Terrell Owens (Cowboys) If the player on the field could keep his persona off it in control, then you're looking at one of the best players in the entire league. T.O. was one of the biggest stories last year from the start of training camp to his suspension in November. The much-publicized contract dispute and feud with quarterback Donovan McNabb awoke many critics. Most would agree that he is a stud when it comes to catching balls, but his play doesn't overshadow the way he acts the rest of the time. If T.O. can stay out of trouble with QB Drew Bledsoe then he can put up some great numbers. If you do end up drafting him, then hope that Bill Parcells will keep him in-line.
SLEEPERS - These WRs are steals if you can get them on your team.
**Chris Chambers (Dolphins) Some may say that Chris Chambers shouldn't be considered as a sleeper because he had such a great season in 2005. But, he isn't being put in the same categories as T.O., Chad Johnson, or Steve Smith. Chambers can bring in more yards and touchdowns this year with new quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Chambers has never had the luxury of having a great player to throw to him, and with Culpepper coming in that changes. Playing great down the stretch is what contributed to a great finish by the Dolphins, and he will look to continue that into 2006.
**Derrick Mason (Ravens) The biggest reason for success in '06 will be from now reunited quarterback Steve McNair. Mason and McNair were a great connection in Tennessee, and now they can start that again in Baltimore. Mason had a lot of receiving yards last season, but not many touchdowns partly because of a somewhat inexperienced QB. With McNair controlling things, Mason will be the go to guy when it comes to scoring touchdowns.
**T.J. Houshmandzedeh (Bengals) Playing in a huge shadow cast from teammate Chad Johnson leaves T.J. Houshmandzedeh going unnoticed. Houshmandzedeh had a great season in 2005. He brought in 7 touchdowns and almost 1,000 yards. Once again, defenses will tailor to cover C.J., leaving T.J. with less coverage to deal with.
With the wide receivers preview being completed, it leaves us with just three positions left that you have on a normal fantasy football team. I'm, of course, talking about tight end, kicker, and defense/special teams. Expect all three of those positions to be previewed within the next couple of days as my first draft is coming up already on Monday. Don't forget to look back at the completed previews and make sure to sign-up somewhere soon as the leagues will be filling up fast.