It’s an old-school Northeast city type of poll today with stops in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. At fantasyfootballcalculator.com DeSean Jackson easily has the highest ADP (at MFL.COM, Antonio Brown actually edges Jackson out by one spot, Brown as the 25th selected WR on average and Jackson at 26). However, in magazines, Jackson tends to win this one every time, although with these three WRs tend to end up being quite close in rankings. It’s likely when you are drafting one of these receivers you are getting them in the 22-26 type range among WRs and landing what could be a true difference maker as your #3 WR.
Along with Victor Cruz, Antonio Brown was the main breakout WR star of 2011. After a very quiet 16-167-0 TD rookie-season, Brown erupted for 1,108 yards last year (13th best in the NFL) and finished with a 16.1 yards per catch average. Coming into the season it would have been hard to imagine, but Brown would go on to win the Steelers' team MVP award. Although teammate Mike Wallace easily outpaced Brown in fantasy points (244 to 195), Brown actually became the Steelers #1 target last year finishing with 10 more looks than Wallace had, and despite only starting three games on the season with Hines Ward still on the roster. Over the final ten weeks Brown averaged a stellar 84.6 yards per game. Brown is entering his third year in the NFL which will be a contract season for him (he is set to be a restricted free agent after 2012). Brown was the highest scoring fantasy receiver in this poll last year.
DeSean Jackson’s 2011 season was somewhat marred by frictions over not having a long-term deal and acting out (including intentionally displaying weak on-the-field effort at times, and receiving a one-game suspension for sleeping through a team meeting). Jackson still had a solid season (finishing as the 29th best fantasy WR) although he failed to hit the 1,000 receiving mark (after back-to-back 1K seasons in 2009 and 2010) and had nine drops (despite only 104 targets). After some initial rumors that Jackson might actually be traded, Philadelphia initially assigned him the franchise tag and then ponied-up mega-coin with a new contract: 5-year, $48.5M. Given that he already has four years of NFL experience under his belt, it's hard to believe but Jackson is still only 25 years old. He's one of the game's best big-play threats - while Jackson's big-play TDs were down last year, he had 12 TDs the prior two seasons of over 50 yards and Jackson averages an insane 17.8 yards per catch over his 4-year career.
Torrey Smith weighed in at the 2011 NFL Combine at 6-1, 204 lbs and had an absolutely exceptional performance (with a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash; a 41-inch vertical leap - 2nd best among WRs; a 10-6 broad jump; and he bench-pressed 225 pounds 19 times). Coming into the NFL after his junior season, Smith had no problem showing he belongs on Sundays finishing his rookie season with a very solid 50-841-7 TD stat-line and a 16.8 YPC average. Smith is the clear-cut underdog in this poll in ADP and magazine rankings (although he's close to Brown and Jackson in both). Smith easily scored the most TDs last year out of the three WRs slotted in this poll.
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