2016 Fantasy Football WR Rankings

Washington Redskins v New York Giants

2016 Fantasy Football WR Rankings: Part 2 of a 4 part series

 

This is the second in a four part pre-season fantasy football rankings series. Obviously, things could change at any time with injuries, late free agent signings, and a slew of other factors. As of this moment in time however, I wouldn’t change a thing. The second group I’m covering is wide receivers. Having recently overtaken running backs as the top priority in fantasy football due to the pass-happy nature of the current NFL, hitting on quality receivers early is imperative. There are quite a few at the top of the list that can significantly help you on your way to a league championship. Expected season average is for PPR leagues. ( ) denotes expected season average

  1. Antonio Brown – Brown’s three-year stretch has been nothing short of amazing. He can beat defenses every way imaginable, and I don’t see him slowing down a notch. With Martavis Bryant out for the year, look for Brown to continue his recent tear as the most valuable player in all of fantasyland. (22.3 ppg)
  1. Odell Beckham Jr – No sophomore slump of Madden curse for Beckham, as he continued to abuse secondaries (aside from Josh Norman) all year long. Sterling Shepard lining up alongside him will not allow defenses to put as much added pressure on Beckham as they’d prefer, and he’s going to feast all year long. (21.2 ppg)
  1. Julio Jones – The formula in Atlanta is simple, give Julio the ball and let him create. Force-fed the rock every game, Jones was on pace for a record-breaking year until Matt Ryan suddenly forgot how to play winning football. Julio should have a huge year again, and I expect a few more touchdowns than in 2015. (20.8 ppg)
  1. DeAndre Hopkins – It didn’t matter who was slinging the ball to him last season, Hopkins was going to get his 100 yards, and he did so with four different quarterbacks. Houston will look to run the ball as long as Lamar Miller is gaining positive yards, but Hopkins will still get his, and the fact that he hasn’t even hit his prime will leave many fantasy owners clamoring for him come draft day. (20 ppg)
  1. Dez Bryant – Injuries to himself and Tony Romo made 2015 a season to forget for Bryant. With the addition of Ezekiel Elliott, we should see a return to 2014 form for Dez, where he finished up with 16 touchdowns. He’s a threat to score any time Dallas is in the red zone, and should see a serious helping of back shoulder fades for six. (18.2 ppg)
  1. Allen RobinsonBlake Bortles took massive strides in his second season, and one of the main reasons was his top target Robinson. Jacksonville is making all the right moves, and bringing in Chris Ivory to complement TJ Yeldon in the backfield will allow Robinson to see a lot of single coverage opportunities. (18.1 ppg)
  1. AJ Green – There is no way Green will see fewer than 10-15 targets per game this season with no legitimate second option remaining in Cinci. Andy Dalton had one of the best seasons of his career last year, but Green’s big games were few and far between. I’m expecting much more production now that he should be fully healthy. (17.6 ppg)
  1. Jordy Nelson – Nelson is back from a season ending knee injury suffered during the pre-season, and Aaron Rodgers will be thrilled to have his top target once again. The Packers offense just wasn’t the same without him, and I think he picks up right where he left off, as a top 10 receiver in the league. (17.3 ppg)
  1. Keenan Allen – A lacerated spleen ended a breakout 2015 for Allen, as he was on pace for an insane number of targets. He’ll never be the fastest receiver on the field, but his ball skills are excellent, and he fights for every yard. (17 ppg)
  1. Mike Evans – A full offseason of practice with Jameis Winston should help the chemistry between the two youngest stars on Tampa Bay’s offense. Drops plagued him in 2015, but that could be due to the early season injuries he was battling. Expect a bounce back from Evans, much closer mirroring his phenomenal rookie campaign in the touchdown category. (16.9 ppg)
  1. Alshon Jeffery – If he can stay off the injury list, Jeffery has top 5 potential as Jay Cutler’s favorite option. You’ll never see him complain about a lack of targets, and will receive every look in the passing game near the goal line. (16.6 ppg)
  1. Brandon Marshall – I always want to write off Brandon Marshall, and he just keeps on churning out great seasons. With QB up in the air for the Jets this year, I can’t place him an higher on this list, but he’ll be good for his usual production basically regardless f who gets the job. (16.5 ppg)
  1. Brandin Cooks – 2015 started off slow for him, and many thought he was going to end up a bust. He turned it on in the second half of the season though, and gave Drew Brees the consistent option he’d been looking for. The Saints won’t air it out as much as in Brees’ prime, but they’ll still rely heavily on Cooks when they do. (16.4 ppg)
  1. Amari Cooper – He hit the rookie wall in his first season, and was held to a few very pedestrian games late in the season, but he’ll bounce back and be a true stud in year two. He’s a player I’m heavily targeting in round 3 and beyond. (16.2 ppg)
  1. Julian Edelman – PPR machine will continue to thrive in New England. His increase in touchdowns last season was the deciding factor in me placing him this high. There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Patriot offense, especially after adding Martellus Bennett, but Edelman will continue to see the slants and short routes we’ve grown accustomed to. (16.1 ppg)
  1. Jeremy Maclin – Many people thought he was making a mistake leaving the up-tempo Philly offense for the slow and methodical style in Kansas City. Maclin quickly turned those doubters into believers though, and gave Alex Smith a reason to thrown touchdowns to receivers again. In his second season with the team, Maclin will again be a solid option as any team’s WR2. (16 ppg)
  1. Demaryius Thomas – It almost pains me to place Thomas this low. There’s just no way around it with Mark Sanchez the apparent starter in Denver. His talent alone will propel him to a few huge games, but the consistent weeks of a few seasons ago are behind him for now. (15.1 ppg)
  1. Jarvis Landry – Landry excelled with a below average season from Ryan Tannehill. If Tannehill’s work with Peyton Manning pays dividends, expect Landry to be the primary shareholder. (15 ppg)
  1. TY Hilton – I have to admit, I’m not a big Hilton fan. I recognize that he’s fast, but I don’t see anything else that sets him apart from other receivers. Regardless, he’s Andrew Luck’s favorite target, and will benefit from Luck’s return this season. (14.8 ppg)
  1. Kelvin Benjamin – Surely to be the red zone target of choice in Carolina, Benjamin will benefit from defenses scheming against some way to stop Cam Newton. He’ll have a bigger and better season than he did as a rookie, and could see double-digit touchdowns. (14.7 ppg)
  1. Sammy Watkins – Until the news of his broken foot, I had Watkins at number 10. Look no further than Dez Bryant last season to see what kind of lingering effects those injuries can cause. His talent and situation leaves him in the top 25. (14.4 ppg)
  1. Doug Baldwin – Number one option in Seattle, but I can’t shake the feeling that 2015 was a bit of fool’s gold. (14.2 ppg)
  1. Randall Cobb – Back to his role as the trusty number two option with Nelson’s return. (14.2 ppg)
  1. Eric Decker – Model of consistency last season, but QB murkiness holds his value back from where it could be. (13.9 ppg)
  1. Golden Tate – Someone has to take the targets left by Megatron’s absence, and Tate is the best option in town. (13.8 ppg)
  1. Emmanuel Sanders – Shaky QB play didn’t hurt his value too much last season, but an aging Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler were much better options than the Broncos’ current stable. (13.5 ppg)
  1. Michael Floyd – Can Floyd finally take over as the number one option Arizona wants him to be? My money says yes, though that comes with a capped ceiling as there are still two other quality receivers that need their targets. (13.3 ppg)
  1. Devante Parker – Year two should see a huge production increase for Parker, especially with Rishard Matthews out of town. (13 ppg)
  1. John Brown – The speedster has the ability to beat his man deep every play. (13 ppg)
  1. Larry Fitzgerald – Aging superstar that found the fountain of youth in 2015. Unfortunately, father time eventually catches up to everyone, and I’m afraid this is the season Fitz sees a pretty big drop in production. (12.7 ppg)
  1. Donte Moncrief – Andrew Luck’s return to full health will allow Moncrief to capitalize on his skill set. He’ll be the number one red zone option before the season is over. (12.3 ppg)
  1. Jordan Matthews – Top dog in Philly just doesn’t have the same appeal it used to. Sam Bradford is a middle of the road QB that will try to inflate Matthews’ stats, but will ultimately fail. (12.1 ppg)
  1. DeSean Jackson – Speed has always been Jackson’s best friend, and he’s still capable of breaking away for huge gains. Injuries are starting to catch up with him though, and he shouldn’t be counted on for every game production. (11.3 ppg)
  1. Allen Hurns – Scored at a great clip last season, and will continue to progress as a route runner as the number two in Jacksonville. AR15 lining up across from him ensures nothing but single coverage. (10.6 ppg)
  1. Michael Crabtree – Oakland re-stoked Crabtree’s football fire, and he actually ended the season on a higher note than super rookie Amari Cooper. He will continue to have steady production in 2016. (10 ppg)
  1. Tyler Lockett – Seattle’s deep threat and return specialist carved out a role for himself last season, and should build on it moving forward. (9.4 ppg)
  1. Marvin Jones – He’s got a shot at becoming the number one in Detroit if he can have a strong camp and consistently perform up to his potential. (9.2 ppg)
  1. Kevin White – Though his career was delayed by a year, White should have no problem acclimating to the speed of the pro game, and should serve as a great complement to Alshon Jeffery. (8.6 ppg)
  1. Sterling Shepard – Best route runner in the rookie class by a mile. The Giants are a pass-first team, and Shepard should play a big part in it. (8 ppg)
  1. Stefon Diggs – If the Vikings allow Teddy B to air it out a bit, Diggs will have a monster year. Judging on the past few seasons, they’ll run it until they’re forced to pass, which will put a lower cap on his potential. (8 ppg)
  1. Corey Coleman – Excellent career at Baylor, and a great opportunity to be the top option from day one. Still a rookie though.(8 ppg)
  1. Torrey Smith – I don’t like San Fran’s passing game options right now, with Blaine Gabbert supposedly looking the part of the starter, but Chip will love having the speedy Smith on his roster. Could end the season much higher on this list. (7.8 ppg)
  1. Dorial Green-Beckham – This physical specimen was held to a very limited route tree in his rookie season, but if they open things up for him more, the sky is the limit. (7.7 ppg)
  1. Laquon Treadwell – At one time considered the top receiver in the 2016 draft class, Treadwell ended up in a great location. He has a definite shot to overtake Diggs as the top option, and should be inside the 10 from day one. (7 ppg)
  1. Willie Snead – For a couple games in 2015, Snead looked like a fantasy steal. He’ll be a WR3/flex for me to start the season. (6.9 ppg)
  1. Vincent Jackson – VJAX isn’t the same player he once was, but he’s still got a handful of TD grabs left in his career. (6.5 ppg)
  1. Travis Benjamin – A new offense where he isn’t the top option will be a great move for Benjamin. San Diego was the best spot he could have landed. (6.3 ppg)
  1. Michael Thomas – If Snead doesn’t start off the season on a tear, Thomas will take his job from him, and won’t let go of it. (5.1 ppg)
  1. Tavon Austin – The diminutive receiver was used in a ton of gadget plays last season, and had a lot of success with them. Becoming a quality option at wideout is the next step in his progression. (6.3 ppg)
  1. Will Fuller – The Texans really beefed up their offense in the offseason, and Fuller steps into a situation where he will have every opportunity to earn a starting role. (5 ppg)

Up Next: Tight Ends

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