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Fantasy Football Advice from Ryan Clark & Alterraun Verner
WR & TE Rankings, Projections and Analysis
Wide Receiver & Tight End Sleepers & Busts
Weekly Rankings, Start N' Sit & Sleepers Every Wednesday

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Packers WR Randall Cobb
This year there are about 8-10 "Can't Miss" WRs who barring injury have delivered consistent WR1 stats over the last few years. If you want one of these low-risk/high-reward wideouts, you'll probably have to grab them in one of the first two rounds. Since the NFL has gravitated toward a more pass-oriented league, many fantasy owners have been selecting receivers earlier than in years past.

Once this elite group is off the board you're faced with the choice of several talented young players without a reliable track record, aging veterans who may experience a decline in production, injury-plagued playmakers and players with unknown prospects due to joining new teams in free agency. We've based our rankings on standard scoring leagues where 10 receiving or rushing yards equals 1 point, TDs are worth 6 points and fumbles subtract 2 points.

Top 10 Slideshow
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The Best of the Rest
  1. Keenan Allen
  2. Vincent Jackson
  3. Pierre Garcon
  4. Victor Cruz
  5. Percy Harvin
  6. Michael Floyd
  7. Roddy White
  8. Cordarelle Patterson
  9. Andre Johnson
  10. Riley Cooper
Top 10 Slideshow
Begin Slideshow
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The Best of the Rest
  1. Kyle Rudolph
  2. Zach Ertz
  3. Dennis Pitta
  4. Jared Cook
  5. Ladarius Green
Eagles WR Riley Cooper
Every year there are at least one or two players who fail to deliver on their first-round draft status. Sometimes it's unavoidable, like the player gets injured and is lost for an extended period of time. So long as you made contingency plans and picked up a capable replacement, you should be free of guilt. But other times the signs were there all along and you simply failed to take notice. Successful fantasy players focus on minimizing their risk in the early rounds and gamble on upside as the draft progresses. We'll help you avoid possible early-round busts and identify some players with the potential to emerge as late-round or waiver wire sleepers:

Riley Cooper
Eagles WR Riley Cooper
Cooper ranked in the top 25 among fantasy WRs last year, despite being eased into the line-up due the controversy surrounding his racial slur. Due some basic math and if you assume Foles is good for over 4,000 yards playing a full season it stands to reason his top 2 WRs have a good chance at exceeding 1,000 yards each and delivering some TDs. We believe Cooper ends up the primary beneficiary due to his familiarity with the QB, who has yet to play a game with the fragile Maclin. Cooper is being dissed in fantasy drafts, barely landing in the top 50 among wideouts. He's a screaming buy where he's being selected around the 10th round in most fantasy drafts.

Jordy Nelson
Packers WR Jordy Nelson
Nelson's currently being selected based solely on his production from last year when he ranked 11th among fantasy WRs in standard scoring leagues despite playing with a back-up QB for half the season. This year he gets a healthy Rodgers throwing to him and we think if he stays healthy he should approach the 1,200 plus yards he put up two years ago along with 8-10 TDs. Randall Cobb, who missed 10 games last season, may eat into his production somewhat but this should be offset by the departure of James Jones. We believe he's a top 5 fantasy WR and a great value in the late 2nd or early 3rd round where he's currently being picked.

Vincent Jackson
Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson
V-Jax is being passed over in most fantasy drafts in favor of around 20 other wideouts, despite ranking in the top 10-15 at his position in fantasy points over the last 3 years. We think he's still got some gas left in the tank and should be helped by the presence of Josh McCown. Evans may be the heir apparent but we still see Jackson getting the majority of targets this year. He's a bargain where he's currently being selected in most drafts (around the end of the 4th round).

Greg Olsen
Panthers TE Greg Olsen
Olsen never seems to get much respect in fantasy drafts in spite of putting up 800-850 receiving yards in each of the past two years and placing within the top 6-8 fantasy TEs. He faces no competition for the starting spot and with the mass exodus of receivers in the off-season may end up being Cam Newton's favorite target when all is said and done. He's being treated like the wallflower at your high school prom, lasting until TE2 territory around the 8th or 9th round. We're bullish on his chances to increase his production even more from last year and think fantasy owners who scoop him up a round or two earlier won't regret it.

Martellus Bennett
Bears TE Martellus Bennett
We're not quite sure why fantasy owners are devaluing Bennett's production since becoming a starting TE in the league but he's not being selected until the latter rounds of most drafts. Last year, his first season starting for the Bears, he recorded the 10th highest points among fantasy TEs. This year with more familiarity with the offense and no competition for the starting role we see no reason why he can't improve on those stats. He's a screaming bargain where he's currently being selected and fantasy owners who miss out on one of the elite TEs would be smart to address other positions and grab him in the later rounds.

WR Busts
Sammy Watkins
Bills WR Sammy Watkins
We're not necessarily predicting that Watkins will be a bust - we just don't think he's worth being considered among the first 20 WRs off the board. The list of 1,000 yard rookie WRs is a short one and he won't be helped playing with a run-heavy offense with a mobile QB whose passing skills are still a work-in-progress. Add to that the track record for shorter WRs in the NFL (Watkins is only 6'1") and you have the recipe for a potential draft day disappointment. He's currently being selected by the 4th round in most drafts, which is at least 2 rounds early in our opinion.

Michael Crabtree
49ers WR Michael Crabtree
Crabtree is being selected among the top 20 WRs based on the breakout 2012 campaign he had prior to last year's injury-marred season. We're not down on him as a player but think fantasy owners should temper their expectations. The Niners are still a run-first team with a mobile QB. With the off-season acquisition of Stevie Johnson there are simply too many mouths to feed to think any 49er wideout can top 1,000 yards and a handful of TDs. He's currently being selected around the middle of the 4th round in most drafts so buyer beware.

TE Busts
Eric Ebron
Lions TE Eric Ebron
Ebron is currently one of the first 10 TEs off the board in most fantasy drafts but history suggests he'll disappoint fantasy owners. There's no denying he's one of the more talented TEs to come out in recent years and should represent a size/speed mismatch at the next level but if you look at the dominant TEs over the last decade (Graham, Gronkowski, Gates, Witten and Davis), the only one to make a fantasy impact his rookie year was Gronk, who was a top 5 producer thanks mostly to the 10 TDs he scored. On average this group produced just 381 yards their rookie year and as a group they averaged barely over 4 TDs. The Lions still have Pettigrew and Fauria so won't be in a hurry to rush Ebron into a starting role before he's ready. He's worth taking a flier on in the latter rounds of the draft but if you draft him earlier as a TE1 prepare to be disappointed.

Dennis Pitta
Ravens TE Dennis Pitta
Pitta's being drafted as a top 10 TE in most fantasy drafts in spite of the fact the Ravens, who run a balanced offense, added Owen Daniels in the off-season. He's also coming off a serious hip injury that limited him to just four games last year. We like the addition of new OC Kubiak, who uses TEs extensively in his scheme, but think this will be offset by the new receiving targets acquired in the off-season. Flacco has never broken the 4,000 yard threshold and with Torrey and Steve Smith, Jones, Brown, Pitta and Daniels to throw to there are only so many passes to go around. Draft Pitta as a TE2 with upside but if you grab him in the middle rounds as your starting TE you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Lions RB Reggie Bush
Photo of Reggie Bush © Xaf
Legal Disclaimer
There's no better source of advice on fantasy receivers than the players who have to face them week-in and week-out. We're very grateful to the following NFL players who were kind enough to answer our questions and provide our readers with advice:

Alterraun Verner
CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buccaneers CB Alterraun Verner
Photo of Alterraun Verner © Nathan Rupert
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Ryan Clark
FS Washington Redskins
Redskins DB Ryan Clark
Photo of Ryan Clark © Natalie Litz
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Buccaneers TE Timothy Wright Tweet