As we gear up for the 2017 NFL season, it’s time again to start the age-old tradition of judging teams in every possible way before they even hit the field. Today we’re counting down the Top 5 NFL Receiving Corps entering 2017.
The dynamic of the League has shifted heavily to favor the pass in recent years – which has in turn led to the rise of dynamic wideouts and heavy volume quarterbacks. An elite passing game is crucial to a team’s ability to win games and succeed in the post season. Let’s take a look at the best hands teams the NFL has to offer this year – fantasy owners, get your pens ready:
5. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Notable Receivers: Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Martellus Bennett, Geronimo Allison
Obviously, any squad with Aaron Rodgers at the helm has at least a slim chance to make the Top 5 Receiving Corps list, but the Packers current rotation is almost guaranteed a spot. 2016 Comeback Player of the Year Jordy Nelson is as masterful as ever, coming hot off a 1,250 yard, 14 TD season, and WR2 Davante Adams is seemingly proving his potential after nearly eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark. The Pack also added former Patriots TE Martellus Bennett, a seasoned pass-catcher and blocker for Rodgers – who will likely be an MVP candidate next season. This offense will be surgical in 2017.
4. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Notable Receivers: Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, Josh Huff, Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard
The Buccaneers have been quietly developing into one of the stingiest middle-of-the-pack teams in the NFL (9-7 last year), and it seems they are slowly beginning to find their identity through former first overall draft pick, QB Jameis Winston. The Bucs decided to play to this strength in the offseason, signing former Redskins WR DeSean Jackson – a known speedster and reliable deep threat option – who tallied the second most (16) receptions of 20 yards or more last year. This will undoubtedly make life easier for 3rd year standout Mike Evans, a 6’5 jump ball receiver who has scored 12 TDs the last two seasons, earning him comparisons to the likes of Calvin Johnson. And let’s not forget TE Cameron Brate (who scored 8 times last season, fantasy sleeper!!) and O.J. Howard who will both be looking to make an impact in the red zone. These Bucs receivers may not be the prettiest looking options on the draft board, but they will score. A lot. And really that’s all that matter isn’t it?
3. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Notable Receivers: Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell
Coming in at number 3 in the countdown are the defending champs, and everybody’s favorite to repeat as Super Bowl winners, the New England Brady’s…er… Patriots. Losing last year’s rushing TD leader in LeGarrette Blount (18 scores) to the Eagles is going to put pressure on the Pats to move the ball with the pass. Luckily for New England, new signee Brandin Cooks just posted two 1,000+ yard season for the Saints. Combine that with a gritty Julian Edelman and healthy Rob Gronkowski and you have the perfect storm of possession and scoring weapons to complement the age-defying superhuman that is Tom Brady. Expect another championship-worthy performance from this group in the coming months.
2. OAKLAND RAIDERS
Notable Receivers: Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Cordarrelle Patterson, Seth Roberts, Jared Cook
Second in the countdown is my personal prediction for the #1 rated Offense in 2017, the Oakland Raiders. Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper both racked up over 1,000 yards last season. The twin threat of “Coop and Crab” is an absolute matchup nightmare for teams with secondary issues. Both are multi-faceted wideouts with the ability to break off defenders on quick routes or get over the top for the deep ball. Here’s proof. The addition of a true TE1 in Jared Cook and former Minnesota burner Cordarrelle Patterson provides extra options for Derek Carr – who has proven himself able to perform at the highest level and elevate the play of his teammates. Plus, WR3 Seth Roberts is a sly possession receiver that can find the endzone (5 scores last year). Oakland’s high-octane offense will be steamrolling into 2017 with something to prove, and I didn’t even mention Beast Mode yet.
1. NEW YORK GIANTS
Notable Receivers: Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Travis Rudolph
The Number 1 Receiving Corps in 2017 will be… The New York Football Giants. The captain of this ship is undoubtedly NFL pretty boy Odell Beckham Jr, who once again dazzled us with a 10 TD, 1,350+ yard season. However things will have a different feel in 2017, with veteran Brandon Marshall lining up on the other side of Eli Manning. Marshall may be aging, but 8 1,000 yard season in 12 years in the league (and the NFL record for most receptions in a game) speaks for itself. Sterling Shepard is developing into a capable WR3, and rookie TE Evan Engram, the freshest set of legs to join the squad, is expected to be yet another pass catching threat for NY . Oh, and by the way, the Giants can’t the run the ball a lick. This team will be passing the ball early and often, and high volume = more receptions. I’m sensing many touchdowns in the Giants’ future. You heard it here first.
— C Sev