One of the high points of my fantasy football keeper league team, my wide receivers and tight ends:
ANQUAN BOLDIN: One of the best things that happened to me in my draft last year was Boldin's injury. Because of his preseason injury, he dropped in the draft in spite of the fact he'd had a phenomenal year the previous season.
While he does tend to get injured a lot, when he plays, he is golden. If you count Terrell Owens, then Boldin ranked 4th in average points per week (excluding weeks he didn't play). In overall points, he was 6th.
It also seems that whoever is playing QB for the Cardinals doesn't seem to matter to Boldin. He's put up good numbers with a lot of bad QB's and a few decent ones.
Needless to say, he will be with me for years to come.
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH: That may be the longest word I know how to spell, but he's worth it.
Housh is a solid number 2 wideout. He won't blow your doors off most weeks, but the nice thing about him is he doesn't give you too many bad weeks either (he had two weeks with under 50 receiving yards this year).
He's a keeper.
CHRIS CHAMBERS: Chambers reminds me of Isaac Bruce a few years ago. He is VERY feast or famine. When he's hot, he's as good as any in the game (week 13 against the Bills: 15 catches, 238 yards, 1 td). When he's cold, welllll you get the idea (week 11 against the Browns: 3 catches, 12 yards, 0 td's).
If Chambers could get consistent, he could easily be a top 5 WR. I suspect a lot of that has to do with the QB problems the Dolphins have had the last couple of years (I think the last decent QB they had was some guy named Marino).
Even with bad QB's, Chambers is a keeper, but you have to expect some inconsistency until the Dolphins reel in a good QB.
DEION BRANCH: Branch has a plus and a minus, and they are both Tom Brady. Branch is clearly Brady's favorite receiver (contrary to the commercial). However, Brady spreads the ball around so much that Branch never puts up great numbers.
Add in the fact that Branch seems a little injury prone (although he has been healthy all this year), and Branch seems expendable. That would be the wrong analysis.
Branch is fairly consistent. He only had 4 games this year with under 5 catches, and in one of those he had 92 yards and a td.
Branch is a spot starter who can contribute from the bench as needed, just don't stake your season to him. I'll keep him as long as he can put up ok numbers.
ROY WILLIAMS: Williams is an enigma. I have seen him play games where he looked as good as any WR in football. I have also seen games where he seems to disappear from the gameplan (is Roy even playing today?).
The Lions have some HUGE problems that need to be fixed. Contrary to what a lot of people think, I don't see Matt Millen as the problem. I see Millen as a symptom of the problem, which is William Clay Ford, the owner. If there's a bad decision to be made, Ford will make it. But since you can't fire the owner, then Millen must go.
Until (or is that if?) the Lions can get their front office straightened out, Williams will probably continue to produce subpar numbers, with an occasional great game.
If I see a great WR in the draft, I might try and trade Williams to get him. Otherwise, he'll just sit on my bench until I see some consistency.
DERRICK MASON: When I drafted Mason last year, he was great, consistently putting up good numbers with occasionally outstanding numbers. But that was with the Titans.
With the Ravens, he has been consistently mediocre. Ten times this year, Mason did not break 70 yards receiving. Plus he has 3 td's on the season.
Mason is getting too old to be riding the bench. If I pick up a decent WR in the draft, Mason will be the first guy I think about dropping.
ANTONIO GATES: Three years ago, I was watching a Chargers game at the end of the season. The commentators were yapping about how psyched Marty Schottenheimer was about this young TE. Watching the game, I agreed. Gates looked like he could be another Tony Gonzalez.
Last year, I drafted Gates. He would be a decent starter at WR. At TE, he is solid gold.
One of my opponents tried to trade me for Gates earlier this year. He offered me Randy McMichael and his first three draft picks next year. I countered with Eli Manning, Chad Johnson, and Randy McMichael. He turned me down, but THAT is how much Gates is worth.
Gates is a start-and-forget player. Since tight ends don't normally put up great numbers, even his occasional bad game is no biggie.
Gates stays until further notice, which could be many years from now.
MARCUS POLLARD: Pollard is at the end of his career. But I only need a second TE for when Gates is on a bye week, or gets hurt (which so far has been never), or gets suspended (once).
I probably won't look for a TE in the draft, since you can never tell how they'll do until they start playing. More likely, I'll replace Pollard with a free agent TE sometime next year.
ERIC JOHNSON: Johnson spent most of this year on the IR. Last year, he was a solid number 2 TE. With his injury history, I don't expect him to repeat last year's performance.
I will probably cut him after this year. Period.
SUMMARY: I have great depth at WR. While I do have to play "Which WR will produce the most this week?" sometimes, it is worth it.
At TE, I have practically no depth, but I don't need it with Gates. Gates is NOT replaceable.