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TGIF: Wide Receivers I Like That Are Not Named Fitzgerald, Johnson, or Moss

Dwayne Bowe

Last week, I didn’t necessarily explain my disgust for wide receivers, I just pointed out that you can afford to wait on them (in a two-QB league anyway).

So you may be wondering if I actually like the WR spot this season. Well yeah, of course I do. The common names like Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, and Calvin Johnson are no-brainers. However, since I am choosing to wait a little bit on selecting my receivers, I am looking to target some players a little further down the totem pole.

If you are planning on waiting on a receiver, then please gaze upon my list for the wide receivers I like for the 2009 season.

Receivers I Like That Are Not Named Fitzgerald, Johnson, or Moss

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

After two season of having to suffer through QB’s by the likes of Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, and Tyler Thigpen, Bowe finally gets an experienced and proven QB taking the snaps. While new QB Matt Cassel has just one full season under his belt, it was an 11-5 season that saw him throw for 3,693 yds and 21 TD.

Bowe has been a legit receiver since his rookie season in 2007 where he had 995 yds and 5 TD. He actually improved last season with 1,022 yds and 7 TD. Even with a crappy QB situation, he still put up good numbers.

Running back Larry Johnson is no longer a threat and losing tight end Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons just means that Bowe will be the focus of the passing game. Not to mention, new Head Coach Todd Haley, the man who designed Arizona’s passing attack, will give the offense a huge boost.

Wes Welker, New England Patriots

Where else can you get an almost sure thing? Welker has had two straight seasons of over 100 receptions (something Fitzgerald has never done) and he gets Tom Brady back.

Welker’s receiving yds will stay the same even with the addition of Joey Galloway. Welker’s job is to get open in the slot and there is no reason to think he can’t catch 100+ passes again in 2009. With Brady back, expect those three TD’s from last season to rise.

Eddie Royal, Denver Broncos

Just think of Royal as Denver’s own Wes Welker. New Head Coach Josh McDaniels brings the New England offense to the Broncos and we should expect to see a similar offensive output this season.

Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall is not having a good preseason. His off the field troubles coupled with nagging hip and leg injuries equal the definite possibility of missing games to injury or suspension (or both…probably both). So expect more looks for Royal who was targeted 129 times and caught 91 passes as a rookie.

New QB Kyle Orton is not a rocket-armed stud. He likes the short game. McDaniels also loves to spread defenses and use quick passes to move the ball downfield. All the elements point to an improved second season for Eddie Royal.

Anthony Gonzalez, Indianapolis Colts

No Marvin Harrison? No problem! The departure of one the most productive receivers in the NFL opens the door for the rest of the Colts’ receiving corps.

Gonzo’s receptions and targets go up every single season and now with Reggie Wayne being the #1 WR, Gonzalez will now take over Wayne’s role as #2.

During the 2007 season, Gonzalez  had two 100-yds games. What is important to note is that in those two games, Marvin Harrison was not playing. Coincidence? I think not.

Kevin Walter, Houston Texans

Relatively unknown, Walter is the #2 WR in Houston. Playing second fiddle to Andre Johnson is not a bad thing. Considering the firepower of that offense, a lot of Texans are worth a look.

Anyway, back to Kevin Walter. In each of the past two seasons, Walter has racked up 60+ receptions and 800+ receiving yds. His 899 yds last season could have been more, but Walter accumulated just 48 yds in the final three weeks. Don’t let it scare you though, Houston looks to wreak havoc with its offense this season and have only the 15th hardest schedule in 2009.

Walter had 105 targets in 2007 and 95 targets in 2008. He was also seventh in the NFL last season with 21 red zone targets. If Matt Schaub can find a way to stay healthy all season, Walter could be a great breakout candidate.

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