The Big 12 Conference has produced some prolific receivers over the past two
decades and you don't have to look far to find them. Last season alone, the Big
12 produced two of the three Biletnikoff Award finalists -- Stedman Bailey and
Terrance Williams -- and could have easily had a third in Tavon Austin. From
2007-11, the Big 12 had four of the five Biletnikoff winners thanks to two-time
winners Michael Crabtree and Justin Blackmon. This past April in the days that
led up to the NFL draft, NFL.com listed its top 20 NFL receiving prospects and
nearly half were from the Big 12. It's been quite a run for the league and while
it doesn't necessarily have to stop in 2013, I'm not expecting numbers like we
saw from that trio a year ago.
In recent years, drafting a stud Big 12 quarterback and receiver was more
important than owning blue-chip running back. When guys are grabbing 25
touchdowns in single season like Bailey or over 1,800 receiving yards like
Williams, why wouldn't you grab one at the top of the draft? In 2013 though,
while big numbers are still likely from several elite Big 12 receivers, the
conference's turnover at quarterback coupled with some very impressive running
back talent makes me a bit cautious in expecting monster numbers at receiver
like we just saw last season. With that in mind, here's this year's rankings at
The scoring format I'm using is NOT a PPR (points per reception) format. Just a
standard scoring model:
1 point for every 10 receiving / rushing yards
6 points per touchdown scored
Big 12 Fantasy Football Power Rankings - WIDE RECEIVERS - TIER 1
Eric Ward edges Oklahoma State's Josh Stewart because of the
return of Tracy Moore and other factors mentioned below. Plus, Ward had
five more touchdowns last season than Stewart did and I expect quarterback
Michael Brewer to lean on Ward a lot in the season ahead. He isn't a
decisive No. 1 overall receiver like Lache Seastrunk is at running
back, but I feel good about a veteran like Ward headlining the first tier of Big
Experts take: "As a college player, Ward has essentially
perfected his craft. No, he isn't the biggest or fastest, but Ward does what
every coach loves -- makes the easy routine plays along with the difficult ones.
He's consistent, especially around the endzone. As long as he stays healthy
he'll have a monster senior campaign."
- Chris Level, publisher of RedRaiderSports.com
Josh Stewart broke out in a major way last
season when Tracy Moore went down with a season-ending ankle injury. His
101 catches for 1,210 yards are tops amongst Big 12 returners. He should
be huge again in 2013, having gained the confidence of Clint Chelf
and J.W. Walsh. How much will Moore's return eat into his
overall numbers though, remains to be seen.
Expert's take: "Josh Stewart is the best returning
receiver in the Big 12 as far as numbers go. He can be used in a variety
of ways and can make huge plays after the catch. They may use him a
little less since he's going to be a punt returner. He can still have a
thousand yards, but I would see his numbers dip a little bit -- mostly
because of the return of Tracy Moore." - Gina Mizell, Oklahoma State beat writer for The Oklahoman
Even with Terrance Williams' monster season last year,
Tevin Reese still almost posted 1,000 yards and nine
touchdowns. Now he steps into the lead role and could have a first-team
All-Big 12 caliber year. Then again, he could be a second tier receiver
if his teammates steal the show. Junior Antwan Goodley,
sophomore Jay Lee and incoming star freshman
Robbie Rhodes could cut into his No. 1 receiver production, so draft
cautiously. Bottom line, while Reese isn't likely to top his 18 yards
per catch as season ago, he should still have a big year in an offense
that will score a ton of points.
Expert's take: "Last season, Terrance Williams stepped
up as the go-to receiver when Kendall Wright left. The cupboard is far
from bare, but I'm not sure if one guy gets the bulk of the work. Tevin
Reese seems like the best bet after getting nearly 1,000 yards each of
the last two years. Levi Norwood, Antwan Goodley, Jay Lee and Clay
Fuller will all play significant roles. But if freshman Robbie Rhodes is
as good as advertised, he might be as close as the Bears get to a real
- Jerry Hill, editor of Baylor Bears Insider
Mike Davis was a terrific homerun threat last
year averaging 16.5 yards per catch, hauling in seven touchdowns
(including a 61 and 75 yarder) and posting just under 1,000 yards. With
Marquise Goodwin (Buffalo Bills) gone and David Ash improved,
Davis could have a huge senior campaign. His experience with Ash is the
reason why he narrowly edges out Jalen Saunders for this spot.
I consider the two nearly interchangeable though.
Expert's take: "Losing Goodwin is tough, it takes away
some of that flat burner speed. Mike needs to be the leader and the best
receiver out there. His relationship with Ash is critical. Davis has
worked on the little things this past offseason. I think he'll be a
better route runner this year."
- Chad Hastings, radio host on ESPN Austin ?
Jalen Saunders posted nice numbers in the nine
games he played once eligible, following a transfer from Fresno State.
He averaged almost seven receptions again and with Kenny Stills and
Justin Brown now gone, his redzone looks should shoot up as well.
Oklahoma coaches initially recruited Blake Bell as a passer,
not a bulldozing rushing quarterback and as he starts to re-establish
that identity, the senior receiver could be his top asset. Saunders
checks in and the back end of tier one, but could vault into the top
three by seasons end.
Expert's take: "Jalen Saunders was their best receiver
at the end of last year. He's elevated his game in the spring and
summer. He'll play more on the outside, because they want to move
Sterling Shepard into the slot role. Shepard will be the No. 2 target."
- Jake Trotter, ESPN.com
Don't let the 2012 numbers fool you,
was having a great start to the year before missing the remainder of the
regular season due to a spleen injury. Amaro told me in April that he
plans to catch 100 balls and will attempt to "break every tight end
record ever made". I believe him (at least about the 100 receptions) and
it's not just because he was peering down on me from his 6-foot-5 257
pound perch. If he stays healthy he'll be a focal point on a
Kliff Kingsbury passing attack in Lubbock that should have plenty of
balls to go around for Ward and Amaro both. I think with first-year
Michael Brewer locking in on his biggest target and
safety net, a year double digit touchdowns and close to 1,000 yards is
in store for Amaro.
Expert's take: "Could he end up with over one hundred
receptions at season's end? He sure thinks so. Amaro will be a key cog
in what Texas Tech does on offense and will be targeted often. There
will be some focus on the run game this season and that only helps Amaro
because linebackers will be forced to pick their poison, stay in the box
and worry about
Kenny Williams and
or cover Amaro over the middle. Just like Ward, if he stays healthy
expect many more games like he had versus West Virginia last year."
- Chris Level, publisher of RedRaiderSports.com
Last season was supposed to be the year that Tracy Moore slid into the
Justin Blackmon role. Blackmon was a first round pick of the Jaguars following
back-to-back Biletnikoff awards and while no one was penciling Moore onto that
podium, huge numbers were expected. Moore did, indeed, post big numbers early
(including a four touchdown game vs. Arizona) before an ankle injury prematurely
ended his season in October. His departure paved the way for
Josh Stewart's breakout and the rest is history. Moore's career at OSU isn't
though. He was granted a medical hardship and is back for another senior
campaign and has his sights set on some lofty goals in the high-octane OSU
offense this season. The 6-foot-2, 215 receiver will be a nice redzone target
and could easily shoot-up this list if he and Chelf get it rolling early.
Expert's take: "Tracy Moore has NFL aspirations and I
expect him to be a big target and a go-to guy for Chelf in the season ahead."
Gina Mizell, Oklahoma State beat writer for The Oklahoman
Big 12 Fantasy Football Power Rankings - WIDE RECEIVERS - TIER 2
With Josh Boyce (New England Patriots) off to the NFL, Brandon Carter
is TCU's leading returning receiver. Casey Pachall is back under center
and should look to Carter early and often as he comes off a six touchdown and
590 yard season from a year ago.
LaDarius Brown and
Ja'Juan Story will also command plenty of looks, but Carter is the big-play threat
with the biggest upside and the TCU receiver to own in fantasy.
Expert's take: "There's a ton of receivers at Pachall's
disposal but Brandon Carter is the most dangerous and he's only a junior. I look
for him to see a steady increase across the board on his 2012 numbers."
- John Denton, color analyst for TCU's radio broadcasts
I really wanted to put one of the West Virginia receivers in this spot before
going with a second Longhorn, but with not much separation at quarterback or
wide receiver right now in Morgantown, let's go with a safer choice at No. 9.
Jaxon Shipley led Texas in receptions (59) a year ago and found the
endzone six times. He's won the trust of David Ash and looks to post
steady fantasy results week in and week out even if Mike Davis has more
highlight reel plays.
Expert's take: "Jaxon should be the go-to guy that
Jordan Shipley was for Colt McCoy. If this season goes the way UT fans want,
Jaxon gets at least 80 catches, 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns. He should wreck
shop in the Big 12."
- Chad Hastings, radio host on ESPN Austin
Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey caught 228 passes last
year, racking up nearly 3,000 yards and 37 touchdowns. Both are off to
the NFL with the St. Louis Rams and the Mountaineers actually lost six
of their top ten receivers from a year ago. While the three-way
quarterback battle continues, its clear that whoever wins the job will
certainly lean on
Kevin White a great deal in 2013. White had a
terrific spring and at 6-foot-3, 211 pounds with terrific athleticism,
he may prove to be the best thing out of Scranton since Dunder Mifflin's
Jordan Thompson could be every bit as
productive, but let's give a narrow preseason edge to the junior college
transfer who turned plenty of heads this past spring in Morgantown.
Expert's take: "White almost looks like a smaller Bruce
Irvin. He's got big play capability and had the most impressive play in
the spring game. I rank him tops on the list of West Virginia receivers
entering Fall camp but it's as wide open at that spot as it's been in
- Drew Rubenstein, West Virginia beat writer for the Dominion Post
Nick Harwell is the true wild card on this entire receiver list. The
Miami (Ohio) transfer has lawyered up as he tries to get eligible for the
upcoming season. He was suspended from Miami this spring and has been unable to
enroll in summer school classes to finish up his degree this summer and thus,
transfer and play immediately. In 2011 though, he was the nation's second
leading receiver with 97 catches for 1425 yards. He would zoom to the top of the
Kansas depth chart and into the top 10 of these rankings if he's cleared. He'll
drop all the way off the list if he isn't.
Expert's take: "If Nick Harwell winds up being eligible he
could be the top guy at KU. He can catch balls deep, go over the middle, has
great experience and will be a huge shot in the arm for this offense if he's
- Matt Tait, Kansas beat writer for the Lawrence Journal-World
Writing about Kevin Lockett's kid really makes me feel
old and I'm only 33. Tyler Lockett will draw plenty of ink from
writers young and old in 2013 though. Coming off 687 yards and four
touchdowns in his sophomore campaign, Lockett's role will expand in 2013
with Chris Harper (Seattle Seahawks) off to the NFL. While most KSU
touchdowns will still come on the ground, that could change a bit if
Jake Waters wins the quarterback job. Regardless, Lockett's
looks will go up this season, plus you get occasional rushing stats out
of him and if your league gives points for return yardage, Lockett gets
an uptick there as well.
Expert's take: "In Tyler Lockett and
Tramaine Thompson, you've got two guys who can get behind defensive backs
and you now have a quarterback that can get the ball out there for them
-- regardless of who wins the job."
- Tim Fitzgerald, publisher of GoPowercat.com
Big 12 Fantasy Football Power Rankings - WIDE RECEIVERs - TIER 3
If Jordan Thompson emerges as the most targeted WVU receiver, he'll
quickly climb into the second tier. He's built in a similar mold to Tavon
Austin, without the same world-class explosiveness. WVU will run more in 2013
and figures to throw to Charles Sims out of the backfield a lot.
Kevin White may have the edge as their No. 1 WR option coming out of the spring,
but Thompson will still play an integral role.
Expert's take: "Jordan Thompson brings a lot to the
table. When he came in as a true freshman - not that they thought he'd be the
next Tavon Austin - but because he plays the same position and there's some
similarities, there was a lot of talk linking those two together. He's certainly
going to be a guy that fits into that mold. I put him right behind Kevin White
coming out of spring ball."
- Drew Rubenstein, West Virginia beat writer for the Dominion Post
More than 150 receptions are gone from a year ago with the departures of Kenny
Stills and Justin Brown and while the first chunk of those should go to
Jalen Saunders, there's a sizeable piece of Sterling Shepard's pie
headed Sterling's way. Shepard caught 45 balls as a freshman and as
Blake Bell's No. 2 option this year, I'd expect a steady climb in all categories.
Almost 900 yards and six touchdowns seems like a reasonable jump in year two.
Expert's take: "I expect plenty of opportunities for
Shepard in the slot role this season. He's the No. 2 receiving option ahead of
- Jake Trotter, ESPN.com
Jay Lee was ranked as the No. 34 receiver prospect coming out of high
school and with Williams and Lanear Sampson now gone, we'll finally start to see
some of that promise. He showed some nice flashes in the spring game including a
55-yard touchdown, and if his already strong rapport with Petty continues to
build he could be a terrific third tier sleeper.
Expert's take: "It's very early and there's not much
separation after Reese, but I actually like Lee a little more as the #2 receiver
over Goodley - but they are very close."
- John Werner, Baylor beat writer for the Waco Tribune-Herald ?
Even though Jace Amaro will garner many of the redzone looks that went
Darrin Moore's way in 2012 (13 touchdowns), Marquez should emerge as a breakout
star with more considerably more looks than last year and with any luck, a full
slate of games. A knee injury ended Marquez's 2012 season in mid-October but the
two sport star (who spends his summers moonlighting in the Mets organization) is
ready to be Tech's No. 3 option this year and with an offense like Kingsbury is
installing, that's a homerun of an opportunity.
Expert's take: "Speed is Marquez's game. I don't know
what the ceiling is for him this season but he'll be someone that will be
targeted quite a bit with so much inexperience behind him."
- Chris Level, publisher of RedRaiderSports.com ?
A former three-sport star at Midland High, Antwan Goodley is poised for
a breakout campaign after showing some nice flashes down the stretch a year ago
including a touchdown in the bowl game. Again, with a couple of key departures,
there's a lot of catches, yards and redzone targets to spread around and after
Tevin Reese gets his looks, it's either Lee or Goodley that's next in
line. Whoever catches Bryce Petty's eye (and trust) first could be a
real steal with big upside.
Expert's take: "He's strong, he's fast and really made
some progress late in the year last season. They used him on some running plays
and you could tell he's got playmaker potential. He could be in for a big year
although it's a bit too early to tell how the Baylor receiving corps will take
- John Werner, Baylor beat writer for the Waco Tribune-Herald ?
A former four-star Oklahoma signee, Justin McCay spent last season
developing a strong chemistry with new quarterback Jake Heaps on the
Kansas scout team. Big things are expected regardless of Harwell's status, and
he could climb up this list by several spots if Harwell isn't cleared.
Expert's take: "He's definitely more comfortable both
on the team, in the offense and personally. He's certainly the kind of guy that
has a chance to make a huge impact.
"He's a big, physical guy who is good at using his body and physical size to get
separation and does a good job of adjusting his body when the ball is the air.
He has long arms, good body control and a great rapport with Heaps."
- Matt Tait, Kansas beat writer for the Lawrence Journal-World ?
After a terrific spring of 2012,
Trey Metoyer had more hype in the
Sooner state than Kevin Durant's upcoming restaurant on the Bricktown Canal in
OKC. Unfortunately, his numbers in the fall didn't match up to his buzz in the
spring (only 148 yards and one touchdown all season), but Metoyer is back and
looks to be a nice No. 3 option and big play threat for Bell and the Sooners.
Expert's take: "Metoyer is vying for the #3 spot and
had another great spring game. I don't know that Landry Jones ever truly trusted
him. We'll see if Blake Bell does."
- Jake Trotter, ESPN.com ?
Sam Richardson needs a go-to target with the top three Iowa State
receivers from last season no longer in the fold. Who better than his old scout
team buddy, Quenton Bundrage? Huge numbers aren't expected but he could
climb higher than this ranking if he emerges as a true No. 1.
Expert's take: "Sophomore Quenton Bundrage will
probably end up being the top threat in the passing game. They've come right out
and said, 'This is the guy that has the most big play capability for us.'"
- Paul Clark, publisher of CycloneReport.com ?
Big 12 Fantasy Football Power Rankings - WIDE RECEIVERS - TIER 4
While Charlie Moore is no Tracy, this Moore is still worth some late
round consideration. He caught six touchdowns a year ago, including two of more
than 70 yards. He's a big play threat that will prove to be a nice fantasy
weapon on some weeks, and a frustrating one on others when the big numbers are
going to other OSU targets.
Like Brandon Carter,
LaDarius Brown expects a healthy rise in
looks and production with Josh Boyce off to the NFL. Five of his 27 catches as a
rookie went for touchdowns - second nationally in touchdowns per reception by a
The pint-sized senior has nice speed and found the endzone four times last year
while posting more than 500 yards. Those numbers should only go up with Chris
Harper gone and a greater commitment to the passing game.
Look out gamers, there's a "Need for Speed" in Austin with Goodwin's departure
to the NFL and Daje Johnson could help nicely in that role. He had
solid numbers as a freshman who was used in a variety of ways and could be a
solid sleeper in 2013. Like
Charlie Moore though, it might be feast or
famine from week to week.
Robbie Rhodes got plenty of talented, more experienced guys ahead of
him on the depth chart, but the Under Armour All-American has big upside (Rivals
ranked him as the No. 8 wide receiver in his class) and demands draft day
ADDITIONAL RECEIVERS TO WATCH:
(In no specific order.)
K.J. Myers, WR, West Virginia: Myers should be third in the receiver
pecking order this year after just 2 receptions a year ago. Ja'Juan Story, WR, TCU: TCU's Color Analyst, John Denton, said this of
the Florida transfer: "Nobody's seen him, but in the spring he was pretty much
unstoppable." Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech: Tech fans won't like the Aggie
comparison, but he's got Dante Hall-like burst. Kansas City Chiefs Voice, Mitch
Holthus once called Hall "The Human Joy-Stick". Can Grant be that at Tech? Clay Fuller, WR, Baylor: There are plenty of mouths to feed for Bryce
Petty and Baylor, but Fuller showed some really nice flashes in the spring game. Blake Jackson, WR, OSU: The former JC TE has reportedly improved his
hands considerably from last season. Levi Norwood, WR, Baylor: Caught 40 balls a year ago, but trying to
keep the young pups at bay in Waco. Ivan McCartney, WR, WVU: Beat writer, Drew Rubenstein calls McCartney
the highest risk/reward pick it the WVU WR crew. Sounds like a nice late round
flier to me. Ernst Brun, TE Iowa State: Brun had six touchdowns a year ago and
Richardson should look his way plenty again in 2013. Jarvis West, WR, Iowa State: A veteran presence who was ISU's
fourth-leading receiver a year ago. The top three are now gone. Jimmay Mundine, TE, Kansas: His blocking has improved so he'll be on
the field more and a big target for Heaps to find in the redzone.
Brian Hanni is the play-by-play voice of Texas Tech Men's Basketball and
Baseball and co-hosts a mid-day show on Double T 104.3 in Lubbock. Reach him on