NOTE: BASED ON UPCOMING 2007 SEASON.
1. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers: The ultimate offensive weapon has almost single-handedly carried the Panthers' offense the past two seasons. Smith's outstanding speed, quickness and leaping ability enable him to take over a game, which sets him apart from the rest of the receivers. With a league-best 13 100-yard performances in the past two seasons, Smith has proven to be a dominant force despite lacking a complementary playmaker on the offense. His dominance will continue as he and two-time Pro Bowl QB Jake Delhomme form the foundation of the Panthers' new offensive attack.
2. Chad Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals: The flamboyant playmaker has led the AFC in receiving yards for four consecutive seasons. As a polished receiver with excellent speed and hands, he has thrived as the favorite target of Carson Palmer in the Bengals wide open offense. Still showing a penchant for getting deep, Johnson led the league with eight receptions over 40 yards last season. With Palmer rounding back to Pro Bowl form, expect Johnson to continue to post big numbers.
3. Roy Williams, Detroit Lions: As the "go-to guy" in Mike Martz's high octane offense, Williams had a breakout season in 2006 with over 1,300 receiving yards and a league-leading 24 receptions over 20 yards. A big, physical receiver with outstanding athleticism and hands, he finally showed the dominant ability that everyone expected when he entered the league. Teaming with Mike Furrey and rookie Calvin Johnson, in the Lions' version of "The Greatest Show On Turf", Williams will see more single coverage this season, which spells big trouble for defenses.
4. Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis Colts: A polished route runner with excellent quickness and burst, he sets the standard for consistency at the position. As the lead receiver in one of the league's most dynamic offenses, he has posted eight consecutive seasons with over 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns. Even with the emergence of Reggie Wayne, there's no reason to think Harrison won't continue to be as effective in 2007.
5. Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys: The controversial superstar led the league in touchdown receptions in 2006, but suffered a down year by his standards. Though his season totals should have earned him Pro Bowl accolades, his high number of drops diverted attention away from his positive impact on the Dallas offense. Fully recovered from a wrist injury and playing in an offense that will accentuate his strengths, he will have a big season as Tony Romo's favorite target in 2007.
6. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans: The Texans' "one-man show" hauled in 103 receptions without a legitimate threat on the other side. With an outstanding combination of size, speed and strength, Johnson overpowers smaller defenders in one-on-one match-ups. Though he is sure to see a lot of double coverage, he should see his production rise with new quarterback Matt Schaub under center.
7. Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers: Brett Favre's No. 1 target is one of the most underrated receivers in the league. An outstanding playmaker, Driver has posted over 1,200 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons. After earning his first Pro Bowl nomination, he is finally beginning to get the recognition he deserves. With limited weapons in the backfield, Driver may shatter his career highs in receptions and yards in 2007.
8. Javon Walker, Denver Broncos: After posting a 1,000-yard season in his first season as a Bronco, Walker has established himself as Jay Cutler's favorite target. A vertical playmaker, he excels at double moves and deep routes off play action. With Travis Henry commanding attention in the backfield, Walker and Cutler should hook up for several big plays in 2007.
9. Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals: This two-time Pro Bowler has been a dominant force since stepping into the league. Boldin has two 100-catch seasons and three seasons with over 1,200 receiving yards in his four-year career, and few defenders have found a way to slow him down. Using his outstanding athleticism to make up for unpolished route running skills, he does most of his damage as a runner after the catch. With promising Matt Leinart directing a new wide open attack, Boldin will continue to be a force in 2007.
10. Randy Moss, New England Patriots: Once viewed as the best receiver in the league, Moss has fallen from his perch at the top. After displaying lackluster effort and sloppy route running last season, his reputation as one of the premier deep threats has been tarnished. But he is poised to bounce back with a strong season in 2007, when he'll team with Tom Brady to form a lethal big-play combination.
11. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts: The second member of the Colts' dynamic duo finally escaped Marvin Harrison's shadow with a big season in 2006. As one of the best route runners in the business, he quietly put up over 1,300 yards with nine touchdowns and earned his first Pro Bowl bid. He has earned Peyton Manning's trust and has closed the gap on Harrison as the Colts' feature guy.
12. Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams: As the fastest receiver to reach 10,000 receiving yards, Holt has been a model of consistency throughout his career. A precise route runner with a bag of tricks, he is one of the best at setting up defenders with a series of fakes. His quickness out of breaks makes him hard to guard and he continues to be a legitimate deep threat in the Rams' offense. Though he doesn't get as many chances to get down the field, Holt is still one of the best playmakers in the league
13. Lee Evans, Buffalo Bills: After being used primarily as a deep threat during his first two seasons, Evans showed he was capable of being a legitimate No. 1 receiver last season. Featured as the go-to guy in Steve Fairchild's high octane offense, he responded with 82 receptions for over 1,200 yards with eight scores. With six receptions over 40 yards, he and J.P. Losman have become one of the league's best big play combinations.
14. Plaxico Burress, NY Giants: The Giants' top receiving threat has become Eli Manning's security blanket. With 17 touchdowns and 11 receptions over 40 yards in his two seasons in New York, Burress has established himself as one of the league's best big-play threats. As the Giants look to replace the production of Tiki Barber, Burress is sure to see more balls thrown in his direction.
15. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals: After leading the league in receptions (103) in 2005, Fitzgerald saw his production suffer as the Cardinals broke in a rookie quarterback. But he is poised to bounce back in a major way in 2007. Blessed with outstanding size, he is one of the best at adjusting to bad balls. As a clutch receiver with a penchant for coming down with the tough grab, he has become Leinart's favorite red zone target. Though he has to share the ball with Boldin in the Cardinals' offense, Fitzgerald should still be very productive in 2007.
16. Santana Moss, Washington Redskins: After torching the league two seasons ago on his way to his first Pro Bowl bid, Moss saw his production fall off dramatically in 2006 as a new offensive scheme and inconsistency at the quarterback position limited his opportunities. But with Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts forming one of the top rushing attacks, Moss should see more single coverage on early downs. With his outstanding speed and quickness, he will dominate those match-ups on his way to a big season in 2007.
17. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati Bengals: Often overshadowed by his flamboyant counterpart, Houshmandzadeh does the dirty work for the Bengals. An excellent slot receiver with deceptive quickness, he terrorizes defenses over the middle of the field. Though he recorded his first 1,000-yard season last year, he has been the glue to their offense for the past few seasons.
18. Deion Branch, Seattle Seahawks: The former Super Bowl MVP has never posted a 1,000-yard season in his five-year career. But with the departures of Darrell Jackson and Jerramy Stevens leaving a huge void in the pass attack, Branch should top the 1,000-yard mark this year. As a precision route runner with the courage and quickness to work over the middle, he will get plenty of looks as Matt Hasselbeck's primary target.
19. Laveranues Coles, NY Jets: The feature receiver in the Jets offense has been steady and consistent as Chad Pennington's favorite target. Viewed as a speed receiver entering the league, he has developed into one of the league's best route runners. Providing the perfect complement to the Jets' improved rushing attack, Coles should post solid numbers this season.
20. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: The rookie playmaker from Georgia Tech is set to make the biggest impact of any rookie receiver since Moss in 1998. A phenomenal athlete, he will feast off the single coverage he faces opposite Williams. Playing in a high octane offense directed by Martz, Johnson will be an immediate impact player in Detroit.
21. Mark Clayton, Baltimore Ravens: The third-year receiver quietly took over as the Ravens' top wideout last season. A crafty route runner with sneaky speed and quickness, he makes his living working over the middle. But with five receptions over 40 yards, his ability to get deep should not be overlooked. With Derrick Mason, 33, losing a step and Todd Heap garnering most of the defense's attention, Steve McNair will make Clayton his No. 1 target.
22. Reggie Brown, Philadelphia Eagles: Lost in the hype of the Eagles' playoff run was the emergence of Brown. Playing as the lead receiver in a balanced offense, Brown responded by averaging over 17 yards per catch with eight touchdowns. He is an ideal receiver in a West Coast offense. With Donovan McNabb set to return, Brown should see his numbers jump dramatically as one of McNabb's favorite targets.
23. Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers: Rarely mentioned in the same breath as other top receivers, Ward epitomizes the Steelers' blue collar personality. Not necessarily fast or quick, he is a tough, crafty player who goes about his business with little fanfare. His production has fluctuated over the past five seasons, but look for him to catch a ton of balls this season as Ben Roethlisberger's favorite receiver.
24. Darrell Jackson, San Francisco 49ers: The newly acquired Jackson gives the 49ers a legitimate No. 1. Though he suffers from an occasional drop, Jackson is a smooth route runner who has a knack for getting open. Injuries have slowed him over the past two seasons, but he has enough left in the tank to thrive as Alex Smith's go-to guy.
25. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints: Coming off a surprising rookie season, Colston will have to shake the "one-year wonder" label. A raw route runner who relies on his size and athleticism to win one-on-one match-ups, he'll have it a little tougher during his second season. Now viewed as the lead receiver in the Saints' offense, Colston will face the opposition's top corner and coverage, all designed to take him out of the game. Though he will continue to be Drew Brees' favorite target, his production may not match his rookie season totals.
Pretty fair assessment. In my opinion, little to high for Walker and Colston + Ward should be higher. Having CJ at 20 makes no sense. Dude hasn't caught a ball in the NFL yet. The Lions won't have the 3rd and 20th best receiver with Kitna throwing the ball.