2013 Outlook: Last year, we badly underestimated what Wayne had left in the tank. He wound up third in the NFL in targets, fifth in catches and seventh in receiving yards as Andrew Luck proved ready to rock. But Wayne also fell off in December (in that month, he tied for 23rd in WR receptions) and ceded some production to deep threat T.Y. Hilton. And now Bruce Arians has left Indy, so play-calling duties will fall to West-Coast-offense devotee Pep Hamilton. We won't repeat our '12 mistake and proclaim Wayne cooked. But it's a mistake to call him bulletproof at age 34. Expect a lesser season in '13, but expect enough production to keep Wayne steadily in your lineup.
2013 Outlook: Nelson injured a hamstring in Week 7 last year and was never healthy thereafter: He battled knee, ankle and foot problems through the rest of the season. He missed four games, and when he played was a shell of his normally explosive self. With Greg Jennings gone, Aaron Rodgers' top three WRs will be Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones; certainly in '12, Nelson was the least-valuable fantasy commodity of that group. But we remember his 1,263-yard, 15-TD campaign from '11 when Nelson made 16 plays of 25-plus yards. He's officially the burner in this Green Bay offense now, and while he probably won't lead the Pack in targets, he very well could go back to leading them in TDs.
2013 Outlook: Wallace is one of the NFL's fastest players but he isn't only a burner: In '12, 64 of his 119 targets traveled 20 yards or fewer in the air. Now that he's signed with the Dolphins, his limitations involve questions about Ryan Tannehill, who had 12 TD passes and 13 INTs in his rookie campaign. The truth is, though, that Tannehill has a strong arm and Joe Philbin will take deep shots, meaning Wallace can win you a fantasy game in any given week. But he can also disappear, as is always the case on a team with a very young signal caller and questionable supplemental aerial weapons like Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson. Mr. Sixty Minutes will be feast-or-famine on South Beach.
2013 Outlook: Amendola has the opportunity of a lifetime, joining the Patriots and becoming Tom Brady's weapon of choice, replacing Wes Welker. Now, despite the fact that Amendola and Welker both went to Texas Tech and have had success playing out of the slot, they're not exactly the same guy. Amendola is a bit bigger and has better deep speed, which is good. But he's also injury prone, where Welker has been an ironman. Amendola played in 11 of a possible 32 games over the past two seasons with the Rams. The upside is huge, but we'll believe in a healthy Amendola when we see him.
2013 Outlook: A disastrous '12 campaign has left Nicks' fantasy reputation in tatters. He struggled through 13 games, but his left knee was never right after Week 2 and required a scope this winter. Nicks has also battled foot and hamstring injuries in his four-year NFL career, and while he figures to come into training camp healthy, he's a hard man to trust. We all know what his size and open-field toughness can translate to: Nicks caught 11 TDs in '10 and Eli Manning loves to go down the field. There's top-10 upside here. But will Nicks ever again play a full season at full strength?
2013 Outlook: Smith will be 34 this season, but he's still among the fastest and most furious WRs in the game. He's always been the exception to a rule about receiver size: Most 5-foot-9, 185-pound wideouts can't get off the line against NFL cornerbacks and need to play from the slot, but in '12 Smith ran just 50 of his 572 routes from inside. Alas, the Panthers haven't had a complementary wideout eclipse 677 yards receiving since '08, which is hard to believe given how much safety help Smith attracts. That can lead to month-long droughts for Smith, especially in a season like last year where TDs were few and far between. Another 1,000-yard campaign is likely. Elite-level production probably isn't.
2013 Outlook: Decker caught 13 TDs and notched his first 1,000-yard campaign in '12. He's big and fast, and while his hands can be shaky, he's got Peyton Manning throwing him the rock. In short: There was lots to love, right up until the point where the Broncos signed Wes Welker. Certainly, Denver goes three-wide a ton, so it's not like Welker will send Decker to the bench. But there are only so many targets to go around, and if Decker is a good outside WR specimen, Demaryius Thomas is a superlative one. Decker will have moments in '13, but his overall workload figures to diminish.
2013 Outlook: Bowe landed a huge deal to stay with the Chiefs; he's now the No. 4 highest-paid WR in the game, behind only Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Mike Wallace. The athletic talent has always been there for Bowe, but we'd like his fantasy prospects better had he landed with a stronger surrounding cast. Certainly new starting QB Alex Smith will look for him a lot. But even on better KC teams, Bowe never eclipsed 1,162 yards receiving, and only topped seven TDs once. Add in questions about post-payday motivation, and we see reason to be concerned Bowe's upside is capped.
2013 Outlook: Brown's body type doesn't fit a traditional "No. 1 WR" mold. He's 5-foot-10 and 186 pounds. But in Todd Haley's short-passing Steelers offense, Brown is a pretty strong fit. He's an accomplished route-runner, he's got good hands, and he's lightning-quick after the catch. Mike Wallace left for Miami, which means Brown is the most dangerous receiver at Ben Roethlisberger's disposal. His '12 campaign was disappointing, but remember that Brown was dealing with a high-ankle sprain for much of the year. We're at least optimistic he'll dramatically improve on last season's pedestrian numbers.
2013 Outlook: Garcon tore ligaments in his right foot in Week 1 last year and wound up missing six games and hobbling through several more, before finally getting healthy in December and making some sweet music with Robert Griffin III. Garcon didn't have surgery this winter, but has told reporters he's not sure he'll be 100 percent for Week 1. Still, even banged up, he's the deep threat in what occasionally looked like a super-elite Redskins offense, giving him the kind upside many WRs only dream about. In a best-case scenario, Griffin-to-Garcon would become one of the NFL's elite deep connections.
2013 Outlook: Everyone knows what's holding back the Jaguars offense. Until they get strong QB play, the franchise's offensive stars won't live up to their potential. That includes Shorts, who nevertheless nearly reached 1,000 yards receiving in '12 despite pedestrian play from Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. Shorts reminds us of Steve Smith: A smaller WR who can get off the line on the outside. Beware the concussion problems that plagued him late in '12, but realize that Shorts is such a strong open-field player that he could wind up a top-15 WR if Jacksonville fixes its mess under center.
2013 Outlook: Coming into '12 Jones had a well-earned reputation for terrible hands, but dropped only three passes on 64 grabs while catching an NFL-best 14 TDs. Part of that success can be explained by injuries: Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson missed significant time. But give Jones credit. He was a red-zone monster, with 19 targets and 11 of his TDs coming from inside an opponent's 20. We're skeptical the TD total will recur; after all, Nelson himself had 15 TDs in '11 and followed that up with "only" seven last year. But Jones is still an important target in Green Bay's scintillating offense.
2013 Outlook: With Anquan Boldin gone from Baltimore, Smith is in a good situation. What stops us from liking him more is the fact that he's been such an up-and-down WR. Last year, he scored five fantasy points or fewer in eight games, while hitting double digits six times. Maybe that roller coaster occurred because Smith mostly ran higher-risk routes, and maybe his production will normalize now that he's a clear No. 1. Or maybe Joe Flacco is simply the streakiest QB known to mankind, and by definition Smith will struggle to help his fantasy teams week in and week out.
2013 Outlook: Michael Jenkins was Minnesota's most successful outside receiver last year. He accumulated 449 yards. Into that chasm steps Jennings, who's obviously now the most proven WR the Vikings have, but who'll note a decline catching passes from Christian Ponder after working for five seasons with Aaron Rodgers. Ponder probably won't get it to Jennings deep very often, but at least he's accurate: He produced a 62.1 percent completion rate in '12 with a motley crew of receivers. Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson might get in the mix as a field-stretching threat, but as a polished route runner, Jennings is the clear No. 1 here.
2013 Outlook: At 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds featuring 4.34 speed and unbelievable quicks, Austin is a matchup nightmare. St. Louis traded up to get him eighth overall in April's draft and will immediately install him as a featured player in their offense. You probably won't see Austin lined up out wide very much in his rookie year, but he'll be everywhere else, much like Randall Cobb in Green Bay. The Rams still must prove they've fixed the offensive line problems that have plagued them throughout Sam Bradford's tenure, but Austin looks like a good bet for 50-plus touches and several long catch-and-run TDs.