Quarterbacks receive most of the adulation for their superb statistics, almost as if they launch the ball into the air and then run under it in time to catch it. However, it takes two to tango, and these receivers are the best partners one could ask for.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown stands just 5-10, but whatever he lacks in height, he makes for with supreme route running, cat-like balance and juke moves straight out of Madden. Brown tied for first in the league for receptions of 40 yards or more last year with eight; a testament to his ability to take a seven-yard slant and turn it into a highlight worthy play. With Martavis Bryant out for the year, expect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to go with what has buttered his bread for the past few years. Brown racked up 1,834 yards last year, but with more targets this year, he has the potential to break 2,000. He checks off all the boxes you want in a fantasy player: Immense yardage, double-digit touchdowns and a haircut that would make Lady Gaga blush.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones should be sponsored by every restaurant that’s open 24/7 because so is he. Jones led the league in receiving yards last year with 1,871, despite a paltry supporting cast around him. He is a physical specimen almost unparalleled in the league. Jones is 6-4, runs a 4.4 forty and he leaps with gymnastic grace as he rips balls out of the air while simultaneously humbling the defensive back who thought they might have had a chance at it. Pound for pound, Jones is one of the best receivers in the league, and a lock for great fantasy production all season long.
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
Everyone remembers the feeling of astonishment they got when they saw Beckham’s famous catch, his right hand becoming a black hole and engulfing the pigskin, not for a second letting it slip. We were all blown away; having never seen anything like that. Odell’s teammates, however, were apathetic, like seeing the twist in a movie they’d watched 20 times. That tells you all you need to know about Beckham. He’s a human highlight reel capable of contorting his body to make a catch at any angle. He has blazing speed, impeccable timing and some of the best touchdown dances in the business. Beckham had 13 touchdowns last year, just one away from first place among receivers, as well as eight receptions of 40 yards or more. This is only his third year in the league, and with the rules bending towards receivers, he will continue to make his mark on the gridiron and on the fantasy leaderboards.
Deandre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Hopkins put up over 1,500 yards, 110 receptions and 11 touchdowns with schmuck’s like Brian Hoyer, T.J Yates, Ryan Mallet and Brandon Weeden tossing the ball to him. Imagine what he can do with a promising young quarterback like Brock Osweiler throwing to him. Even without much help, Hopkins had one of the more impressive three -game stretches last year, totaling 157, 169 and 148 yards in consecutive games. Drafting Hopkins is similar to buying stock in a company; he’s been very good so far, but with his newest asset acquisition in Osweiler, he should turn out even more phenomenal returns week in week out.
Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Robinson is the most underappreciated receiver relative to his production, but playing in Jacksonville will do that to a player. He flew under the radar much like he flew past secondary’s last year, leading the league in receptions of 20 yards or more with a whopping 31. He’s a homerun hitter, leading the league in yards per catch at 17.5, most comfortable in sixth gear streaking down the field for touchdowns. He has a great relationship with the end zone, getting there 14 times; another league-leading mark. Most owners are going to go for the big names, the ones that dominate the top five lists. You just sit back and laugh, knowing you’ll have a guy who on any given Sunday can put up huge fantasy numbers.