Every training camp has standouts and wash outs. Training camps this season are no different with a hundred reports going one way and a hundred more going the other on the same topic. One of those positions is wide receiver, players can rise and fall after just one practice. There are a number of factors that can contribute to the rise or demise of a receiver, injuries, a breakout camp standout, or just reporting out of shape can all lead to a falling stock. Even though we are still early in training camps there is no shortage of rising and falling stocks at the wide receiver position.
RISERS: Players who are starting to move up on our draft boards.
It seems fitting to start off with one of the more obvious options in Antonio Brown. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh's number one receiver, is currently in a holdout that doesn't seem to have a near finish line in sight. The Steelers believe in Brown and showed that already this offseason by extending him for five-years and $42.5 million. Brown had a breakout season last year averaging 16.1 yards per catch on his way to 1,108 yards. While Brown caught only two touchdowns last season that number is guaranteed to see a spike this year. Earlier this offseason Brown has been considered a "sleeper" and a sneaky value pick in the middle rounds, but with the highly publicized Wallace holdout Brown can't be considered a sleeper and should be drafted in the first six rounds if you are a believer.
There are plenty of reports
coming out of Broncos camp that Manning and Decker have already built up a connection that is unmatched in Denver. Decker suffered a strained groin on Wednesday and left practice early. He sat out team activities and 7-on-7 drills on Thursday but showed that the injury was not serious by participating in individual and positional drills. The perfect fit for the Broncos new playbook a.k.a. "the Manning effect," Decker is poised to have a great season. Following suit of "the Manning effect," Eric Decker seems to be more like the Reggie Wayne of the Bronco's offense with Demaryius Thomas filling the role of Pierre Garcon. Last season Decker hauled-in eight touchdown receptions with Tebow at the helm for most of the year. With Manning running the ship this time around it is not a long-shot for Decker to eclipse the double-digit mark in terms of touchdowns. I see 12-14 being a very reachable number.
From the most popular pick to one of the least popular Nate Washington has the opportunity to once again step up and become the Titans number one wide receiver. Washington proved he could be a number one wide receiver when Britt went down with a knee injury. Britt is currently on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and has a looming lengthy suspension from Roger Goodell and the NFL. Washington caught 74 passes for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns. An increase in those numbers is all but guaranteed, it should also be noted that even with the ever changing quarter back position in Tennessee, Washington showed chemistry with both Hasslebeck and Locker last season. Great pick in late rounds here and has great, GREAT sleeper value.
FALLERS: Players who are falling further down on our draft boards.
Much like the risers we will start off with the obvious faller here. Three knee surgeries, the PUP list, a few arrests and a looming suspension has Britt falling down fantasy boards faster then Facebook's stocks. Britt's suspension will be a lengthy one and if last season was any indication, the Titan's receiving core doesn't necessarily need him. If guys like Nate Washington, Damian Williams and Baylor rookie Kendall Wright step up in Britt's absence he could find it hard to find the field once he finally does come back, whenever that is.
Johnson once again hurt his groin and if last year is any indicator then this is someone that you can't trust him from week to week with a nagging injury like a groin. His average draft position is towards the end of second rounds. The injury situation is going to be one to monitor throughout camp and should be factored in while drafting. I wouldn't take Johnson before the fourth round and even then you should expect to get burnt by the injury bug a few weeks this season. Bottom line on Johnson is that he is on the wrong side of 30 and is already dealing with an injury that doesn't just go away at the age of 31.
Bowe has yet to report to the Kansas City Chiefs camp. The Chiefs can no longer extend Bowe after missing the deadline. It is somewhat puzzling as to why Bowe is not reporting, he no longer has leverage and is only hurting himself as he needs to have a big season in his contract year with Kansas City. With a new offensive coordinator and Matt Cassell back Bowe is missing some key time. The longer Bowe sits out the further he falls. His franchise tag currently sits at $9.5 million and he is expected to sign that before the season starts.
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