Wide receiver is the deepest group in fantasy football. While the top five in standard scoring last year (Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas) were a dominant group, there was less than 85 total point difference between the #6 scoring WR (Vincent Jackson) and the #40 scoring WR (Percy Harvin). Per game that is a decent sized gap, but there is value to be had at other positions earlier in the draft if you happen to miss out on any of mine (or your) top-10 overall guys. Now if you play in a PPR league, you obviously plan your draft differently; more value to receivers in general and some other names who catch a large quantity of short passes may go higher up your draft board. For my series of top 10s, I focus on standard scoring rankings for redraft purposes, as that is the most popular format. If you play in dynasty leagues, head over to www.dynastyleaguefootball.com for all your dynasty rankings. Enjoy my top 10 wide receivers and as always, leave us your input in the comments section!
1. Calvin Johnson: I have noticed in some rankings some people have moved one or two other receivers ahead of Megatron. Ha! That’s cute. Johnson is simply the most devastating, un-guardable wide receiver in the game today. Last year he broke Jerry Rice’s NFL record for most receiving yards in a season and there were actually some people who complained because his TDs went down. Well if the best RB on your team was Joique Bell (no offense) and the number two WR should be in the looney bin (looking at you Titus Young), I’m sure the opposing defense could concentrate a little more on shutting you down in the Redzone. I feel the emergence of Ryan Broyles and the signing of Reggie Bush will actually help Johnson into a better season than last year and 2,000 yards isn’t out of the question.
2. A.J. Green: I’m a big fan of Green. After a very respectable rookie season, A.J. came into his own in his second year with 97 catches for 1,350 yards and 11 TDs. I think he can be even better, and I believe we will see it this year. The Bengals went out and had a great draft, nabbing much needed skill position players in RB Giovanni Bernard and TE Tyler Eifert. They should help take some pressure off of Andy Dalton and free up Green for more one-on-one situations. I’m banking on him being much closer to Megatron’s stats than people think.
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3. Brandon Marshall: Marshall has actually been a pretty decent model of consistency at WR. Catching over 80 balls and going over 1,000 yards every year since 2007 is as much as you can ask for out of a #1 WR. Last year, his first in Chicago, he went crazy, catching 118 passes for over 1,500 yards and posting 11 TDs. Despite the fact he is now 29 years old, I feel he can sustain these stats for at least another year. The Bears will be transitioning to a more pass-happy attack under first year Head Coach Marc Trestman and I expect Jay Cutler to sling it. Should be a very exciting year in Chicago.
4. Dez Bryant: Bryant finally stepped to the forefront in his 3rd year in Dallas and was a beast statistically. Firmly grabbing that #1 WR role in Jason Garrett’s passing attack with Tony Romo slinging the ball, I don’t see Dez leaving the Top-5 WR rankings for quite some time, barring injury (and not beating his mom of course). For a more in-depth look at Dez Bryant, check out John Kerwin’s recent article.
5. Julio Jones: Julio is one of my two personal “man-crushes” at the WR position. Entering his third season and still only 24 years old, the Atlanta Falcons gave up a ransom to get him in the draft. A physical freak with a great work ethic, he is another, like Dez, who should be in these rankings for many years to come. There are plenty of weapons in the ATL, but I expect Jones to supplant Roddy White as the primary receiver this year and post solid Top-5 numbers.
6. Andre Johnson: Johnson has always left me wanting more for some reason. Another physical specimen, he plays the position the right way. And I do have a great amount of respect for him for putting a beating on Courtland Finnegan in that game against the Titans. He had another great statistical season last year with the exception of TDs. His four last year ended up being the 10th consecutive season that Andre failed to reach double digit scores. Help is on the way though. The Texans brought in talented rookie DeAndre Hopkins to take some pressure off of Johnson and be the #2 WR, just don’t rent the kid one of your hotel rooms.
7. Demaryius Thomas: I have to admit, Thomas was Top-5 until the Denver Broncos signed Wes Welker. Even for Peyton Manning, that’s a lot of targets to go around. I still love Thomas as a talent and firmly believe he will be the primary Redzone target. Maybe he stays in the Top-5 and makes up for the loss of targets with TDs this year, maybe he doesn’t. I still feel he is a Top-10 talent and would love to have him as my WR1.
8. Marques Colston: Marques Colston flies under the radar every year. He is consistently passed up in draft across the country for guys with more “potential” and better “measurables”. All he does is catch passes from the best statistical QB in the game today in Drew Brees and put up Top-10 numbers. If you need a WR1 in the 5th to 6th round when you are drafting I’m willing to bet Colston is still on the board. Go ahead and grab him, you won’t regret it.
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9. Larry Fitzgerald: On my list of greatest WRs ever, Fitz endured his worst statistical year since his rookie campaign. Fitz only caught 71 balls, and was outscored in standard fantasy scoring by his far more unheralded teammate, Andre Roberts. What a disappointment for owners who ponied up high draft picks for his services. Now the good news, his value is lower now than it has been in years. New Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians has said multiple times he plans to use Fitz much like Reggie Wayne was used in Indianapolis last year, multiple positions and multiple targets. And with Carson Palmer as the QB, with an almost 10% higher career completion percentage than the total of the ragtags that were throwing to Fitz last year, he is bound to put up another solid Top-10 season.
10. Stevie Johnson: Yes you are reading this right. This is not a misprint. This is my “man-crush” number 2. If you have been following FakePigskin.com since our inception you know I wrote about my love of the Buffalo Bills hiring of Doug Marrone. I also predicted a 90 catch, 1,300 yard, double digit TD season for Stevie Johnson. I am standing by that prediction and expect Stevie to finish the season as a Top-10 WR statistically.