Fantasy Take: Justin Blackmon and the Receivers of the First Round

It will not be easy for Justin Blackmon in Jacksonville. Fantasy owners beware.

Justin Blackmon may end up being a star in the National Football League. But I’d lay odds that someone overpays for him in your free fantasy football league. Blackmon has talent, but consider this: Calvin Johnson put up 756 yards in his rookie campaign. Andre Johnson caught just four touchdowns in his first season. We have seen freshman wideouts put up good numbers recently, but Julio Jones and his ilk began careers on offenses that were already capable of moving the ball. The transition to the pros is tough for even the best receivers.

I’ve seen Blackmon play and I agree with the common assessment of his talent. I fully expect a great career and would not be surprised if he is a steal in free fantasy football as a sophomore in 2013, but for 2012, I am not interested. In the 2012 fantasy football rankings, I’d be loath to rank Blackmon higher than 30th. With Blaine Gabbart throwing him the ball, and no other receivers to distract the defense’s attention, Blackmon will struggle to produce the numbers that fantasy owners would like this season.

A lot of noise will be made in August about Blackmon’s fellow first-rounder, Michael Floyd. The Former Notre Dame wideout was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals, and his ability to succeed immediately has been doubted. I think about it this way: is Floyd better than Early Doucet? Right now? He might be, but I don’t see how fantasy owners can be sure that Floyd will not only take Doucet’s role as the second receiver but improve on the numbers that Doucet put up last year.  It’s not as if Floyd will be receiving the ball from stellar hands either. Whether John Skelton or Kevin Kolb is under center in Arizona, weekly fantasy football owners should be wary of the risks that accompany Michael Floyd.

The most intriguing of the first round receivers is probably the one that was chosen third. Kendall Wright of Baylor might provide value if he slips to later in the draft for your weekly fantasy football league.  He certainly fits the high risk/high reward mold. After all, we do not know if most of his contributions in college were due to the extraordinary abilities of Robert Griffin III. However, Wright finds himself on a team with ability on all of the offensive units. Kenny Britt will constantly draw the defense to the opposite side of the field. The downside, Hasselebeck, a quarterback long schooled in the west coast offense, may not be an easy adjustment for Wright.

As for AJ Jenkins and the wideouts of the later rounds, no one of them seem like anything more than third receivers for their respective teams.


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