2014 Outlook: Think about this: Since 2011, Megatron has over 1,000 receiving yards more than the next-best wideout. So don't read too much into his No. 3 ranking in WR fantasy production last year; it was actually remarkable he finished that high. Hampered by knee and finger injuries (both of which required offseason surgery), Johnson still totaled 12 TDs and nearly 1,500 yards. Finally back to 100 percent, Johnson will again be the undeniable focal point of the Lions' offense; he's the only player to garner 150-plus targets in each of the past three seasons. Don't get cute: Megatron is your No. 1 WR.
2014 Outlook: His vertical game gets a lot of pub -- and for good reason. Thomas netted 96 fantasy points off vertical throws in 2013, 10th most among WRs. But he isn't a one-trick Bronco: His strongest suit is actually turning short passes into long gains. In his two seasons playing with Peyton Manning, he's compiled 1,225 yards after the catch, tops in the league. And last season he racked up an NFL-best 115 fantasy points -- and scored 9 of his 14 TDs -- on dink-and-dunk throws. Expect more of the same in Manning's quick-hitting offense.
2014 Outlook: Green is the reigning WR target champion (178) and might be the most dangerous deep threat in the league. His 8 TDs on vertical throws was tied for tops among wide receivers, and no one had more fantasy points per game on stretch vertical passes (5.9). The reason we don't rank him in the top two? The up-and-down Andy Dalton is still under center, and pass-friendly offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is now the head man in Washington. But Green, who has missed only one game in his three NFL seasons, is still one of the safest WR1 picks.
2014 Outlook: Last season the Cowboys scaled back their vertical throws by 14 percent, from 194 to 167. So it makes sense that Bryant finished with only 74 fantasy points on such passes (tied for 19th) and saw his yards per catch decrease by more than 11 percent. The saving grace for Bryant's fantasy owners was his 111 fantasy points on short throws; he was one of only two WRs to break triple digits in that category. With former Lions OC Scott Linehan now serving as the Cowboys' passing-game coordinator, don't be shocked to see Dallas stretch the field more this year with Bryant. He has the skill set to get separation deep and rack up yards on underneath throws.
2014 Outlook: Since Marshall's arrival in Chicago two seasons ago, his fantasy value has exploded. Marshall is first in targets over that stretch (355), second in vertical targets (173), third in standard league scoring (408) and second in PPR scoring (626). And don't worry that third-year wideout Alshon Jeffery will siphon opportunities. They both got 140-plus targets last season. If Jay Cutler is smart, which he is, he'll continue to spread the wealth.
2014 Outlook: It's easy to forget, but before missing the final 11 games last season with a broken foot, Jones was on pace for 1,856 yards and 6 TDs. That would've tied him with Josh Gordon for the best fantasy year among pass catchers. With Roddy White's best years behind him and Tony Gonzalez retired, Jones is clearly Matt Ryan's most reliable target. Durability is the only concern: He has missed nearly 30 percent of his career games, and it remains to be seen whether his foot issues will sap any of his explosiveness.
2014 Outlook: To understand why Nelson is such a boom/bust wideout, consider the discrepancy between his short and vertical fantasy productivity. Nelson ranked fourth among WRs in fantasy points on vertical throws (118) and tied for 31st on short ones (47). That's why he saw his production fall off a cliff when Aaron Rodgers went down with a collarbone injury. Nelson scored 14.1 fantasy points per game with Rodgers as a starter and only 6.6 per game the other weeks. As long as Rodgers is healthy and throwing bombs with his usual precision, Nelson has a shot at being a top-five WR.
2014 Outlook: Marc Trestman's offense was a revelation for Jeffery. After a disappointing rookie campaign (24 receptions for 367 yards), the South Carolina product found his downfield groove, ranking second in vertical receiving yards (933) and first in stretch vertical receiving yards (590). His 3 TDs of at least 45 yards was tied for fifth most in the league. Jeffery's bandwagon is filling up, but we'd be remiss if we didn't bring up a few sore spots. First, his 7.6 percent vertical pass drop rate ranked last among wideouts with at least 50 such targets. Second, he never really got in a fantasy groove with Jay Cutler at QB, scoring only 10.1 points per game with Cutler under center versus 15 in backup Josh McCown's five starts.
2014 Outlook: So much for missing Mike Wallace. Brown responded to the departure of Pittsburgh's deep threat by ranking fourth in vertical receptions (37) and tied for ninth in stretch vertical receptions (11) in 2013. This did nothing to hurt his productivity on passes of 10 yards or fewer; Brown actually increased his short-pass fantasy points per game by nearly 20 percent. His 110 receptions proved his mastery of the route tree -- and his value in PPR leagues. With Emmanuel Sanders now in Denver, expect Big Ben to look Brown's way early and often.
2014 Outlook: Last season was supposed to be Cobb's coming-out party -- and it was for a few weeks. Cobb was solidifying his role as Aaron Rodgers' go-to slot guy and put up three double-digit fantasy outputs in his first four games. But then he broke his leg in Week 6 and disappeared to IR until Week 17. So now we're left to guess how to properly rate Cobb going into his fourth NFL season. On one hand, his 11.8 points per start ranked ninth among receivers last season. On the other hand, he's played only 38 percent of the Packers' offensive snaps since coming into the league. You have to figure that'll increase ' if he can stay on the field.
2014 Outlook: The Texans had more than their share of QB woes last year, but it would be difficult to spot them when reviewing Johnson's numbers. Johnson posted stellar totals in targets (175, ranked third), vertical targets (76, fourth), catches (109, third) and yards (1,407, seventh). In fact, if you eliminate his injury-riddled 2011 season, Johnson has had at least 80 catches and 1,200 yards every season since 2008. Sure, his age is becoming a concern, but he still has enough of a burst to be a borderline WR1/WR2.
2014 Outlook: Weeks 6-11 last season tell you everything you need to know about Jackson. During that stretch, he scored 20 or more points in three games, compiling a ridiculous stat line: 29 total catches, 139 yards per game and 5 TDs. The other three games? He had 10 fantasy points combined, including a two-catch, 11-yard performance against Seattle. All told, Jackson had only four games with 100-plus receiving yards, reaffirming that he has WR1 talent and WR2 reliability.
2014 Outlook: It's hard to believe, but Fitz hasn't eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in either of the past two seasons. In fact, he's posted two of the four worst yardage figures among WRs with 130-plus targets over that span. To be sure, the five quarterbacks who've played for Arizona since 2012 certainly share in the blame. With Carson Palmer under center last season, Fitzgerald finished with 146 fantasy points, 16th among WRs -- and even that was propped up by 10 trips to the end zone, his highest mark since 2009. It's hard to count on Fitzgerald to keep his TDs in the double digits, especially as he enters his age-31 season.
2014 Outlook: Garcon was targeted 176 times in 2013, second most in the NFL, and responded by shattering career bests in catches (113) and yards (1,346). He'll continue to make his money off underneath throws; he led all WRs in short-pass receiving yards (795) and scored the most PPR fantasy points off dink-and-dunks (182). Don't expect the addition of DeSean Jackson to completely cannibalize Garcon's production. His skill set dovetails perfectly with Jackson's downfield talents, and first-year coach Jay Gruden shouldn't have any problem finding ample work for both of them.
2014 Outlook: Allen compiled just three catches in the Chargers' first three games, and his rookie season looked like it would be a complete waste. But then the fireworks began. He shot up to borderline WR1 status after notching 138 points the remainder of the season, which ranked 10th among wide receivers over that span. Allen doesn't do much on stretch vertical passes (only 65 yards at that depth), but he makes up for it on passes that travel less than 20 yards (981 yards, tied for eighth among WRs), which happens to be where QB Philip Rivers thrives.