After taking a look at one of the big running back decisions that fantasy owners will be tasked with making this summer, we turn our attention today to the NFC North and the wide receiver position. On one side you have Greg Jennings, the No. 1 receiver on one of the league’s most dangerous offenses. On the other side is the highly-targeted Brandon Marshall, who was reunited with quarterback Jay Cutler this offseason.
So which one do you choose?
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers
Years Pro: 6
Current ADP: 23.3
Best Season: 2010 (76 receptions, 1,265 yards, 12 touchdowns)
ICONJennings could have rolled up a big-time stat line in 2011 had he played a full 16-game season.
Pros: He’s finished in the top-four in fantasy scoring at the wide receiver position in two of the last four years and plays on the NFL’s most explosive offense. During a three-year stretch from 2008-2010, only three receivers (A. Johnson, R. White, R. Wayne) recorded more receiving yards than Jennings. The former Western Michigan standout saw his reception and yardage totals decrease last season due to his making only 13 starts, but Jennings still managed to find the end zone in nine of those appearances.
Cons: His biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. With so many weapons for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to choose from, Jennings isn’t the type of receiver who is going to see a lot of double coverage. However, the 28-year-old is also going to see fewer targets as a result. He’s never hauled in more than 80 receptions in a season and ranks just 13th in targets from 2008-2011 (483). The big plays and touchdowns will be there, but we can’t say the same thing about the receptions.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears
Years Pro: 6
Current ADP: 27.3
Best Season: 2007 (102 receptions, 1,325 yards, 7 touchdowns)
Don't be surprised if Marshall hauls in over 100 receptions in 2012.
Pros: He’s hit the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of the past five seasons and has eclipsed 1,200 yards in three of his last five campaigns. But the big reason why you should be paying serious attention to Marshall this offseason is the fact that he’s been reunited with quarterback Jay Cutler. In the two full seasons that these two had the opportunity to wreck havoc on NFL secondaries together (2007-2008), Marshall ranked first in the NFL in targets (351) and second in receptions (206). As the No. 1 wideout in Chicago, you can bet your bottom dollar that the 28-year-old pass-catcher is going to see an abundance of passes headed his way in 2012.
Cons: For all of the targets that Marshall sees during an NFL season, he sure as hell doesn’t find the end zone all that often. The former Central Florida standout has recorded more than seven touchdown receptions only one time in six professional seasons. And don’t forget about the vicious winds that tear through Soldier Field late in the season, which have been known to cause serious harm to the passing game.
The Pick: PPR owners are advised to side with Marshall, as he’ll no doubt see a significantly higher amount of targets than Jennings. But this is a much tighter race for those of you who play in standard scoring formats. I’m giving the edge to Marshall because he comes at a cheaper price and will play a bigger role in the Chicago offense than Jennings will in Green Bay, but I think the overall upside for a monstrous statistical season lies with the Packers’ No. 1 wideout. If Jennings can cut into Jordy Nelson’s touchdown totals from 2011, he could be in line for a very big campaign.
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