The list of wide receivers with significant 2012 production concerns due to age or injury from the prior season, is not as high-profile as the list of tailbacks.
However, the list is still considerable, and some of the names that I include may shock you.
Top Five “Wounded” Wide Receiver Prospects in 2012
5. Santana Moss, WAS. It pains me to have “the other Moss” on this list, as he plays for my beloved Washington Redskins. However, he deserves to be here at his age (33) and declining production (4 TDs last season). I’m hoping rookie quarterback RG3 transforms into this year’s Cam Newton and Moss turns back the clock and morphs into the number two guy on my list (see below). But who am I kidding, right?
4. Randy Moss, SF. Despite the affliction of having to receive passes from the “vertically passing-challenged quarterback” Alex Smith, “the Freak” will have other issues to contend with. He’s 35 and missed all of last season (although not due to injury). He’s still a fitness nut apparently, and that will serve him well. But I’m still no fan of the number 35, with all due respect to Hall of Famer Pete Pihos.
3. Miles Austin, DAL. It’s obvious that Austin is getting up there in years (28). I’m just kidding. But what’s no laughing matter is his barking hamstring, which limited him to 10 games during the 2011 campaign. To his defense, Mr. Austin has powered through most of his previous campaigns relatively unscathed. He should be fine this season, but keep an eye on that “hammy.”
2. Steve Smith, CAR. Is it possible for the venerable Smith to keep up fantasy stardom at the overly “ripe” age of 33? Will he continue to age like fine wine, aided by uber-quarterback Cam Newton? Or will his age finally catch up to him? Statistically, Smith had the third best receiving (yards) season of his All-Pro career. I have him #2 on my list, but I honestly wouldn’t bet against him.
1. Andre Johnson, HOU. He’s the Adrian Peterson of the 2012 wide receiver class in terms of question marks. How will he respond mentally and physically to the various leg injuries (hamstring, knee) that caused him to miss nine games last season? And how much juice does he have left in those same legs at the age of 31? I think he’s a question mark, but if I could put that punctuation (?) in lower case, I would.