I currently have a poll about the WR2 in 2013 that can be found to the right of this post. Currently as this article is being written, A.J. Green is the leader with 45% of the votes, followed by Brandon Marshall (25%), Dez Bryant (15%), Julio Jones (7%), and then Demaryius Thomas (5%). I’m going to tell you why I think Dez Bryant should be your choice for WR2 in 2013.
Demaryius Thomas was one of two wide receivers in the top ten to average over ten yards per target (YPT) in 2012. The other receiver; Dez Bryant. While Tony Romo can’t get the job done in big games, he surely helps fantasy owners win year after year. He threw for nearly 5,000 yards last season, and that number should be right around where his 2013 total will be with a more mature Dez Bryant, a healthy DeMarco Murray, Miles Austin and Jason Witten. Let’s take a look at 2012’s top producing WR’s in order based on ESPN’s scoring system;
Top 10 Scoring Wide Receivers in 2012
As you can see from the chart above, Dez Bryant was third highest scoring wide receiver last season. I have Calvin Johnson as a tier 1 WR and Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant and A.J. Green as tier 2 WR’s for 2013. Out of the tier 2 WR’s, Bryant had 56 less targets than Marshall and 26 less targets than Green last season. Players like Reggie Wayne (194), Stevie Johnson (148), and Steve Smith (138) had the same or more targets than Bryant (138) in 2012. For the type of physical specimen Dez Bryant is, this seems like a skewed number. One reason being that Jason Witten saw a career high 150 targets last season, after averaging 120.8 targets his previous six seasons. I would expect his targets to drop back down to the 110-120 targets this season, leaving more for Bryant/Austin.
If we take the average number of targets for the top ten scoring wide receiver’s last season, that number comes to roughly 155 targets. That would have left Bryant with 100 receptions and 1,550 yards with an average YPT of 10.0. The number of touchdowns is debatable because of situational plays, but based on the numbers he would have also recorded one more touchdown making his total 13 rather than 12 based on touchdowns per target. The fact that Dez Bryant would have outscored Calvin Johnson last season if he would have received the 155 targets is mind-blowing considering Johnson broke the single-season receiving yards record last season. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be considered the WR2 this season in fantasy football drafts.
While Calvin Johnson had an amazing 2012, his touchdown totals were disappointing for fantasy owners as he only recorded five. He’s averaged 14 touchdowns in his previous two seasons, so he should easily get 10+ this season. I still think Calvin Johnson is the clear choice for WR1, but if Dez Bryant gets rolling and gets more targets (160+), he could give Calvin a serious run for his money.
Will you be drafting Dez Bryant in your fantasy football drafts in 2013 or will you go with someone like A.J. Green or Brandon Marshall?