I’ll continue the release of my fantasy football positional rankings with the wide receivers. I’ve already ranked quarterbacks and running backs. As a reminder, these rankings are for standard, non-PPR scoring.
The Top 50:
Julio Jones (ATL). New Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan coached Andre Johnson to a #1 and a #2 finish in fantasy points among WR in two years as the Houston OC, and somehow got a top 13 finish out of Pierre Garcon two years ago. Jones has a near limitless fantasy ceiling, but is risky due to his injury history. Assuming an extension isn’t worked out this preseason, this is a contract year and I love that motivation in my fantasy players.
Antonio Brown (PIT). Since 2002 only Calvin Johnson has put together two consecutive seasons as the #1 fantasy wide receiver so you know it’s not easy. Last season Brown scored 5 more receiving TD’s than his previous career high and a slight regression this year drops him to my number 2 wideout.
Dez Bryant (DAL).
At least 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of the last 3 seasons. I think the running game declines a little from last year and Dez picks up the slack.
Jordy Nelson (GB). Over 1,500 yards and 13 TD’s on 151 targets. There are a lot of mouths to feed on this offense, but Nelson seems to be Rodgers favorite.
Odell Beckham Jr (NYG). If you only listen to the hype you’re probably expecting him to break 2,000 yards receiving and score 20 touchdowns. I’m expecting more like 1,300 – 1,500 yards with 8-12 TD’s. That would put him right back in the top 3-5 again this year.
Demaryius Thomas (DEN). Manning may be on the decline, but Thomas still saw a ton of targets last year and I expect that to continue. An emphasis on the run game this season may depress his value some, but counter that with a likely increase in end zone targets after the departure of Julius Thomas.
A.J. Green (CIN). Banged up a little last year, but also could be in a contract year pending a preseason extension. Green is far and away Andy Dalton’s favorite target and should see over 150 targets this season.
Calvin Johnson (DET). His run as the NFL’s premier wide receiver appears to be over due to his inability to stay healthy the past few years. If he can stay healthy for 16 games he’s a virtual lock to finish in the top 3, but I don’t think he can.
Alshon Jeffery (CHI). Broke out last year with 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns and now he gets the coaches (Fox & Gase) that brought Demaryius Thomas to stardom.
Dec 14, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) catches a touchdown as Carolina Panthers free safety Tre Boston (33) and cornerback Josh Norman (24) defend in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Evans (TB). Finished 11th in scoring among WR last season and his QB situation has improved. I’m curious if he’ll develop the same red zone rapport with Winston that he had with Tampa’s QBs last year.
Randall Cobb (GB). If Davante Adams flashes this year it could affect Cobb’s targets and he’s already the #2 receiver on his team.
Emmanual Sanders (DEN). The second wide receiver in a Gary Kubiak offense doesn’t usually do well for fantasy purposes, so I dropped Sanders a few spots (he finished #7 last year).
T.Y. Hilton (IND). He’s a stud, but is very reliant on the deep ball for his touchdowns. I think he’ll have another great season, but will likely score a few less TD’s this year.
Kelvin Benjamin (CAR). He was pretty raw last year but put up good stats on a ton of targets. He figures to improve this year and will still likely accumulate a ton of targets given the talent level of the other receivers on the Panthers.
Brandin Cooks (NO). I thought he’d have a much better year last year, but he couldn’t quite put it all together before going to IR with a hand injury. After the receiver exodus in New Orleans this offseason, this year is Brandin’s break out year.
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU). He has the talent to put up WR1 numbers, but I don’t like his QB situation.
Jordan Matthews (PHI). Entering his sophomore season after playing well the second half of last season. He’ll benefit from the loss of Maclin.
Julian Edelman (NE). He’s a better option in PPR but still a serviceable WR2 in non-PPR. If Gronk is out at all his value increases significantly.
Keenan Allen (SD). I expect him to bounce back from a down sophomore season last year. The addition of Stevie Johnson is zero threat to him.
Andre Johnson (IND). Luck is easily the best QB Andre Johnson has ever had and I could be way low on this prediction, but I’m concerned about him getting banged up.
May 8, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper (89) catches a pass at rookie minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Amari Cooper (OAK). They say he’s the most polished of the rookie WRs, and he’ll definitely get opportunities with his team likely trailing in most games.
DeSean Jackson (WAS). Always the threat to score, his value is tied to what semblance of RG III ends up throwing to him. I also think they’ll try to run more this year.
Vincent Jackson (TB). Did not have a good year last season and ended up second fiddle to Mike Evans. An improvement in his quarterback situation should equal a bounce back season.
Jeremy Maclin (KC). Will Alex Smith throw a TD pass to a WR already?
Golden Tate (DET). WR1 production without Calvin Johnson, WR3 with him on the field.
Brandon Marshall (NYJ). Can Geno Smith play quarterback? I don’t know, but Marshall should get enough targets to generate borderline WR2 numbers.
Mike Wallace (MIN). I’m actually relatively high on Wallace. I think his skills will translate well to Minnesota’s offense and Teddy Bridgewater is ascending.
Sammy Watkins (BUF). He battled through injuries last year, has a questionable QB, and plays WR in a Rex Ryan run, run, and run some more offense. No thanks.
Jarvis Landry (MIA). Led the Dolphins in receptions last season.
Nelson Agholor (PHI). Figures to start on the outside in Chip Kelly’s “high octane offense”, or whatever they call it.
Martavis Bryant (PIT). A ridiculous 31% of his catches were for touchdowns last season. I imagine that number will drop.
Allen Robinson (JAC). I really like this guy as a receiver, but question whether his QB can get him the ball.
Kevin White (CHI). Takes over for Brandon Marshall and has high upside with Alshon garnering attention on the other side.
Steve Smith Sr (BAL). The old angry wideout keeps producing. He ended up with over 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns again last season.
Victor Cruz (NYG). How healthy will he be? OBJ will garner most of the defense’s attention which will help Cruz.
Nov 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) catches a 48 yard touchdown during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
John Brown (ARI). He was developing a very nice rapport with Carson Palmer before Palmer went on IR. There is a decent chance he becomes Arizona’s #1 WR this season.
Kenny Stills (MIA). This would change if DeVante Parker comes off the PUP list. Stills is a legitimate deep threat that will replace Mike Wallace.
Michael Floyd (ARI). He was a solid WR3 last year so I’m probably too low on him, but he always seems to be more hype than production so I dropped him.
Brandon LaFell (NE). Hit or miss as to whether he’ll produce. I’ll stay away as I value consistent production or upside. He has neither.
Eric Decker (NYJ). Moving back to the #2 WR role will probably help him as he couldn’t quite manage well against teams top CBs.
Torrey Smith (SF). He’s nothing more than a deep threat on a run focused offense. He will be completely TD dependent.
Roddy White (ATL). If he can stay healthy for the entire season he’s a WR2.
Marques Colston (NO). He’ll probably be Drew Brees’s security blanket with Jimmy Graham gone.
Brian Quick (STL). I can’t wait to see what Foles and the Rams offense looks like this preseason. Until then, I have no desire for any Rams wide receivers.
Percy Harvin (BUF). Supposedly he’s asked Rex to let him play some cornerback…what, does he want more opportunities to get hurt?
Davante Adams (GB). He’s talented, but it’s tough to get enough touches to move up this list when Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are on your team.
Breshad Perriman (BAL). He’ll instantly fill the Torrey Smith role in this offense…so, 800 yards and 6-9 touchdowns.
Charles Johnson (MIN). I’m not sure what the hype is about. Mike Wallace should be the #1 WR on this team and it wouldn’t surprise me if Patterson has a bounce back season too.
Marvin Jones (CIN). He should start across from A.J. Green now that he’s back from a foot/ankle injury and that in and of itself can get him to WR3 upside.
Kendall Wright (TEN). I’m interested to see who Mariota develops a rapport with this preseason. I’m guessing it’s Wright and Delanie Walker, but not sure yet.