Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The 2010 NFL free agent marketing process consists of three different phases. As soon as the signing period opens, the "plum" choices are selected by teams at premium prices. We finished this first phase a few weeks ago. Signings tend to die down after a couple of weeks as teams prepare for Draft Day. And finally, teams re-enter the free agent market after the Draft when circumstances don't allow them to fill a need with college "graduates."
In the third of a four-part series, we will look at the free agent wide receivers position.
While four quality restricted free agents re-upped with their old ball clubs (Derrick Mason, Kevin Walter, Chris Chambers, Steve Breaston), only two "fantasy-worthy" receivers have moved to other teams as of this date.
Antonio Bryant, Cincinnati - Bryant jumped to a team with a good veteran quarterback in Carson Palmer and a very good No.1 receiver in Chad Ochocinco. Since Ochocinco will always draw the opposition's best defender, Bryant has a chance to put up solid numbers if he can just stay healthy and on the field. He played just 13 games last season, most of them at less than 100% due to knee problems. A 70-catch, 1000-yard season is still possible which would be great production for the ninth-round pick it will cost you to get him (ADP 103).
Nate Burleson, Detroit - Burleson has put together just two good fantasy seasons over the past seven years (2004 w/Minnesota, 2007 w/Seattle), but if things fall into place could add another one in Detroit this year. Calvin Johnson will obviously draw double coverage all day long leaving Burleson with just one man to beat to get open. Then it's up to the Lions offensive line to give Matthew Stafford enough time to find Burleson and he could have another of those nine touchdown, 900-yard type seasons. He'll definitely be worth the late-round selection it will take to get him (ADP 145).
Torry Holt, New England - Holt's chances of being "fantasy-worthy" depend on whether Wes Welker can return from his knee and shoulder injuries by the start of the season. If Welker's 100+ receptions are available, then both Holt and Julian Edelman will get plenty of opportunities to shine opposite Randy Moss. If Welker is ready, then Holt won't have much fantasy value. You'll definitely have to wait until late in summer camp to get your answer.
Joey Galloway, Washington - Galloway caught all of seven balls in New England last season. He might be able to make the Redskins roster given their receiving corps, but being fantasy worthy is likely out of the question for the soon-to- be 39-year-old.
Arnaz Battle, Pittsburgh - Battle had a couple of 50-catch seasons in San Francisco, but has little value in Pittsburgh as a fourth receiver and special teams player.
Antwan Randle El, Pittsburgh - On the other hand, Randle El should begin the season as the No.3 guy for the Steelers receiving corps. He'll see the field a decent amount of time. Unfortunately, it looks like the Pittsburgh offense will go back to emphasizing the run, particularly in the first six games while Ben Roethlisberger is sidelined. All told, he could end up with around 50 receptions for 600 yards, but that isn't enough to be "fantasy-worthy."
Terrell Owens - As expected, Owens had his worst season since his rookie year, catching just 55 balls for 829 yards and five scores for the Bills in 2009. He's still a talented receiver, but the baggage that comes with that talent appears to be enough to keep most teams from signing him. He'll sign somewhere before the season begins and if the team has a good quarterback (unlike Buffalo) he could still be production which explains his current ADP of 114 despite not having a team.
Muhsin Muhammad - In 2004, Muhammad caught 93 balls for 1,405 yards and 16 scores. Unfortunately, at 37-years-old, he's not that guy anymore. He's currently a possession receiver who doesn't have a team to play for and few prospects on the horizon.
Laveranues Coles - He's another older receiver who was jettisoned after a weak season (43-514-5). He'll find a job somewhere, it just won't be as a starter so his value, if any, will be as an insurance policy.
Kelley Washington - A few teams have shown some interest in Washington, but none will give him the opportunity to play much or have any fantasy value.
Javon Walker - Is he still playing football? Although only 31-years-old the lack of durability makes him too much of a gamble for any team. His last reception was in 2008 and his last year of fantasy relevance was 2006.