Fantasy NFL

Who's the best receiver from Tier 2?

By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - So you're looking to take a receiver in the second round and everyone in the top tier -- Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall and Julio Jones -- is gone. Who's the pick?

There are four receivers who make up Tier 2 -- Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers, Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Alshon Jeffery of the Chicago Bears -- and choosing one isn't easy.

This is what each player did in 2013:

Nelson - 85 catches on 126 targets, 1,314 receiving yards, eight touchdowns, 173 fantasy points in 16 games

Cobb - 31 catches on 47 targets, 433 receiving yards, 78 rushing yards, four touchdowns, 71 fantasy points in six games*

Brown - 110 catches on 165 targets, 1,499 receiving yards, eight touchdowns, 197 fantasy points in 16 games

Jeffery - 89 catches on 150 targets, 1,421 receiving yards, 105 rushing yards seven touchdowns, 186 fantasy points in 16 games

*Cobb fractured his fibula in Week 6 and didn't return until Week 17. His numbers extrapolate to 83 catches on 123 targets, 1,155 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns and 189 fantasy points over a full season.

The problem with the Packers is that they spread the ball around too much for any one receiver to put up massive yardage numbers.

From 2009-13, no receiver had more than the 126 targets Nelson saw last season.

James Jones and Jermichael Finley are gone, but Jarrett Boykin and Andrew Quarless are expected to fill their shoes.

With Eddie Lacy also around to touch the ball 330 times, neither Nelson nor Cobb is going to exceed 130 targets this season.

Marshall's presence in Chicago will prevent Jeffery from drawing more than the 150 targets he had last season, and while the 6-foot-3 receiver is an enticing red-zone weapon, Marshall is still the No. 1 target near paydirt as well.

Plus, when Cutler has his annual injury issue in 2014, there won't be a high- caliber backup like Josh McCown ready to take over. The Bears will be going into the season with either Jordan Palmer or (gulp) Jimmy Clausen as Cutler's backup and it will be difficult for two receivers to sustain elite fantasy value with one of those players under center.

That leaves Brown as the best pick.

The 25-year-old's 165 targets were the fourth most in football last season and he's in a good position to at least match that number in 2014.

Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery (188 targets and 16 TDs combined) departed and will be replaced by Lance Moore and Markus Wheaton. Neither player is a threat to challenge Brown for the top spot on Pittsburgh's depth chart.

If you miss out on the top-six receivers, Brown can do a lot for you as a WR1.

06/20 17:10:10 ET