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.
2014 Outlook: One positive takeaway from Cruz's disappointing 2013 campaign: His fantasy floor is actually quite high. A depleted Giants WR corps, a late-season injury and all those Eli Manning interceptions meant that Mr. Salsa didn't get to do a single TD dance after Week 4. Not surprisingly, he posted only one double-digit fantasy game over that same span. And yet Cruz ranked among the top 25 WRs in yards (998), targets (121) and receptions (73) -- and was only three points from breaking into the top 25 in fantasy points (115, 28th). The Giants' new West Coast scheme is a perfect fit for Cruz's skill set. He'll be dancing again in no time.
2014 Outlook: For years it seemed that White was an indestructible workhorse wideout, but that notion crashed to earth in Weeks 1-12 last year. White was on the field for eight of those contests and posted an abysmal 2.62 fantasy points per game (ranked 104th). Granted, he was battling injuries for most of that stretch, and once White healed up, he got back to his old form, racking up 61 points in Weeks 13-17. That was a top-10 total for that time frame, and it offers hope that he can return to that level. Still, don't count on White's being an iron man for a full season.
2014 Outlook: Through Week 8, Welker had the fourth-best fantasy total among WRs, scoring 103 points on 50 catches, 555 yards and 9 TDs. But he sputtered to the finish line, putting up only 27 points the rest of the season as he missed three games with yet another concussion. All in all, last season was only the second since 2006 that Welker failed to eclipse 100 catches and 1,000 yards. Even if his age is beginning to be a concern, it's hard to rank Welker any lower, especially with Peyton Manning throwing him the football.
2014 Outlook: One point. That was Harvin's fantasy output in his first year in Seattle. After being hampered by a hip injury for most of the regular season, Harvin showed off his versatility in the Super Bowl with a kickoff-return TD and a game-leading 45 rushing yards. It remains to be seen whether he can play with consistency -- or stay on the field -- for 16 games. He's never posted 1,000 yards receiving or played 600 offensive snaps in a season, but there's a reason we have him ranked in our top 20. Harvin can break the game open at any moment; over the past two years, his 8.4 yards after the catch is tops among WRs with 50-plus targets.
2014 Outlook: After missing the first 11 games of 2013 with an Achilles tear, Crabtree showed some rust in the final five games of the regular season, averaging just 6.4 fantasy points. But he put on a show in the playoffs. His 11 catches of 10 or more yards -- and four gains of 20 or more -- prorate to top-10-caliber totals over the course of a 16-game season. It was further proof that when Crabtree is healthy, he's the primary target of QB Colin Kaepernick.
2014 Outlook: Here's a fun fact: Hilton had only two games with more than 15 fantasy points last season. Two! Granted, he was absolutely breathtaking in those two games, shredding Seattle and Houston for 12 catches, 261 yards, 5 TDs and 56 fantasy points. The problem? He had only 76 points in the other 14 games combined. So which Hilton will show up this season? More than likely, he will probably be a mixed bag again. That's just the reality for a receiver who's so dependent on big plays to put up double-digit fantasy points.
2014 Outlook: Last season Smith averaged 17.4 yards per catch, behind only Josh Gordon (18.9) and Calvin Johnson (17.8) among players who caught 50-plus balls. Not bad company. The only thing that kept Smith from WR1 status? He faced so much double coverage that Joe Flacco targeted him only 130 times, tied for 20th. The addition of Steve Smith and the renewed health of Dennis Pitta should make the double-teams a little less frequent.
2014 Outlook: Edelman's first season as Wes Welker's body double had its moments -- both good and bad. As expected, he dominated on short passes, ranking third in fantasy points (95) and sixth in receiving yards (656). His biggest problem was consistency. After compiling 34 catches for 319 yards through Week 4, Edelman had only 18 catches for 181 yards over his next six games. But it's hard to quibble too much with a season that netted 105 catches and 1,056 yards. Edelman will be a strong contributor in standard leagues and a cornerstone player on your PPR roster.
2014 Outlook: After one season, Patterson's special-teams prowess is already legendary in NFL circles. He averaged more than 30 yards per kick return and took two the distance from 100-plus yards. But on offense, Patterson had only seven catches of at least 20 yards and averaged an underwhelming 10.4 yards per reception. The reason? His 1.53 vertical targets per game ranked 92nd in the NFL. That's an inexplicably low number for a guy with Patterson's speed. We're betting that changes in 2014 -- and when it does, watch out.
2014 Outlook: Floyd has flown mostly under the fantasy radar since being drafted 13th overall in 2012. But consider this: His 14.6 yards per catch the last two seasons is better than that of guys like A.J. Green, Dez Bryant and ' Larry Fitzgerald. In fact, it isn't a huge stretch to think this will be the season Floyd supplants Fitz as the Cards' No. 1 fantasy receiver. Floyd led Arizona in vertical targets (64) and vertical receiving yards (762), and his 34 vertical receptions was tied for eighth most among WRs. Fitzgerald will get drafted first, but Floyd has a very good chance of providing a better fantasy return on investment.
2014 Outlook: An ACL injury caused Maclin to miss the Chip Kelly Express last season. And for all the talk about Philly's prolific run game, the Eagles also showed a willingness to chuck the ball downfield. A lot. Their 70 stretch vertical attempts in 2013 tied for fifth most in the league. With DeSean Jackson now in Washington, many of those targets will go to Maclin, who's more than up to the task. In 2012, he tallied 22 vertical receptions for 540 yards and 5 TDs, which outpaced Jackson's totals (19 for 449 and 2 TDs). As long as his recovery goes as planned, Maclin isn't a bad mid-draft pickup.
2014 Outlook: Before last season, Wayne hadn't missed a game since his rookie year ' in 2001. That trend continued through Week 7, and he put up decent numbers -- 38 catches for 503 yards and 2 TDs. But a torn ACL cost Wayne the rest of his season and will likely rob him of some of his remaining explosiveness. That, combined with the continued development of T.Y. Hilton, could cap Wayne's fantasy value. But remember: since Andrew Luck arrived in Indy, Wayne has been targeted on 30.6 percent of his routes run, ninth highest in the league.
2014 Outlook: For Colston, 2011 seems like a long time ago. Back then, his younger legs could still burn secondaries with ease. Despite missing two games that year, he scored 4 TDs on throws of 20-plus yards, which was tied for fourth best in the league. In the two seasons since, he's had only one such score, reaffirming that Colston needs to up his red zone game (just 3 TDs inside the 20 last season) before he gets back into the WR2 conversation. With rookie first-rounder Brandin Cooks in town, Colston will face even more competition for targets in 2014.
2014 Outlook: The premium that Buffalo paid to acquire Watkins (a trade of 2014 first-round picks plus a first- and fourth-round selection in 2015) seems very high until you note his phenomenal metrics at Clemson last year. Watkins averaged 28.3 yards per vertical pass attempt against BCS-conference competition and racked up a ridiculous 25 ypa when facing a cornerback or safety in coverage. Teams at that level found it next to impossible to stop Watkins' incredible combination of size (6-1, 211 pounds), speed (4.43 40) and route-running ability. NFL clubs might very well have similar struggles.