This is my projected list of the top 30 wide receivers in the league, based on last season’s statistics, schedule, team positions, and previous depth chart. This list is subject to change as a result of trades, depth chart changes, and injuries as I see fit. This is a discussion board from the mind of a fantasy football player. This is my take on the coming season to help you better your fantasy game. Let’s get started:
1. Andre Johnson: Johnson came onto the scene in 2003 and since then, his stats have done his talking. He is an incredible overall receiver with an uncanny ability to make plays for his offense. In the 13 games he played last year, Johnson averaged 93.5 yards per game with 8 touchdowns and 86 catches. He is a fantasy weapon that cannot be underestimated. My suggestion: If you draft Johnson, draft Matt Schaub.
2. Dwayne Bowe: After a disappointing season in 2009, Bowe came back with authority. The touchdown leader at 15, Bowe torched defenses with shear agility and speed. This guy always flies under the radar on the fantasy end, but just look at his stats since 2007 when he came in. He is unstoppable at times, with glimpses of Jerry Rice-like talent. In short, if he’s on the board and you want a dynamic receiver, here’s the choice you should take.
3. Roddy White: A great receiver before Matt Ryan’s appearance, he dominated defenses and broke double coverages like the defenders were little-leagers. With the rise of Ryan’s abilities, and the draft of Julio Jones, expect more 1-on-1 coverages on White, meaning he’s just going to get better. As your reception leader for last season at 115, expect the ball in his hands, so don’t be shocked if he has yet another 1000+ yard season. My perspective, he’s a fantasy player’s dream if he’s on your team, and a fantasy player’s nightmare if you’re playing against him.
4. Calvin Johnson: Each year that Megatron has started for the Detroit Lions, he has exceeded expectations. Last season, recording 1120 yards and 12 touchdowns on 77 receptions, he has been a very consistent scoring machine in fantasy football. Also note that in his 4 year career, he has only missed three games. A great starter who’s consistently healthy and is always putting up the numbers. He is without a doubt a real gem to the wide receiver position.
5. Greg Jennings: When he grew into his role in 2007, Jennings was a defenses worst nightmare. Now with Rodger’s hot streak, he’s a monster. With 12 touchdowns and 1265 yards on 76 receptions, his fantasy stock has been rising higher and higher every year. Expect one thing to be on his mind every play: touchdown. The intelligence he brings to the position with route running, cuts, and space making, expect Jennings to receive the ball on every throw his way. Honestly, this is a second rounder, but with QB and RB being so important in this game, it cant be helped.
6. Reggie Wayne: Peyton’s #1 man, he was a key role to the Colts’ season and playoff run. As he gets older, he just gets smarter and better. With small fluctuations in season stats over the last 6 years, he is seemingly consistent, having improved his stats each of the last 3 years. Having second most in the receptions column last season, expect Wayne to keep getting the ball, and keep being quintecential to the Colts’ play. In my opinion, after the first four leave the board, there is no other I could possibly argue over Wayne.
7. Mike Wallace: When Mike Wallace came to Pittsburg in 2009, I honestly didn’t expect a lot. I was wrong. This guy is an awe-inspiring physical specimen, with an ability like only few others ever had. Being young, he is still developing his game, and I don’t believe his prime has appeared yet. Having 1200+ yards and 10 touchdowns on only 60 catches, he lit up the scoreboard at the most key times for the Steelers. While he isn’t at the level of the top five yet, he will be soon enough.
8. Larry Fitsgerald: One of the most consistent receivers in the fantasy draft, Larry Fitsgerald always brings something special to the scoreboard for your fantasy team. Being an incredible, physical receiver, the Cardinals’ golden boy has always been the main threat at his positon. With yet another 1000+ yard season on 90 receptions, you can only trust that the ball will be in his hands. Every fantasy player in the world, at some point for their team, believes consistency is key, well you’re looking at the meaning of consistency right here.
9. DeSean Jackson: Since his appearance in 2008, Jackson has been one of my picks at this position. I love to talk about the importance of a dual-threat at a position, and his kick returning ability is uncanny for a wide receiver. Having another 1000+ yard season with ten recetion touchdown, and 250 yard punt returning, with a return touchdown, he is a threat anywhere he plays. With Vick throwing better than he ever has, expect more throws Jackson’s way and expect a rise in his stats.
10. Hakeem Nicks: The young Nicks has grown overnight into a fantasy superstar at the wide receiver position. With a great season last year, Nicks led the way for the Giants’ receiving squad, scoring 11 touchdowns and having over 1000 yards on 79 receptions. While he is improving rapidly, I don’t expect these numbers to rise, with Manning throwing to receiving tandem near equally. While Hakeem is an excellent receiver, so are Mario Manningham, and Steve Smith. In general, Nicks is a great pick up, but he may be hindered by the performances of these two other receivers.
11. Miles Austin: While he may not have been as impressive as the 2009 season, Austin still was able to show his fantasy worth. While losing 12 receptions from 2009 to 2010 seasons, he still averaged 1000+ yards and 7 touchdowns on 69 attempts. With Austin at the forefront of one of the scariest WR cores in the league, and a healthy Tony Romo throwing to him instead of Jon Kitna, expect his numbers to climb back to where they were in 2009.
12. Vincent Jackson: There are so many questions hanging over the heads of fantasy players on Vincent Jackson. I’ll tell you one thing not to question, his talent. He is a brilliant receiver, with an incredible pair of hands at the WR position. Last season, with only playing 5 games due to several conflicts, he managed 250 yard with 3 touchdowns on 13 catches. While that isn’t helpful to a fantasy team, look at history and you will see this was only a fluke year. He will bring it in 2011.
13. Marques Colston: Being the primary receiver on the Brees lead, high octane offense that is the New Orleans Saints, expect the same consistency that Colston brings to your fantasy team. Last season, Colston put up another 1000+ yard season with 7 touchdowns on 84 catches in only 15 games. With the Saints incredible pass accuracy and speed, you can count on Colston making an impact for your scoreboard.
14. Wes Welker: While only starting 11 games last season, Wes Welker was still an impact fantasy player. Earning 848 yards and 7 touchdowns on 86 receptions, Welker shown the world last year he still had it, even after an ACL tear that can cost players seasons and possibly careers. If you’re wondering why Welker’s so high up on my board, it’s simple. Look at who’s throwing to him. Their chemistry is incredible, seeing as that in his first 3 years as a Patriot, he had over 110 receptions a season. Expect a big rise in this receiver’s stats.
15. Dez Bryant: Even though he only started 2 games out of the 12 he played last season, Bryant was a force to be reckoned with. In those 12 games, he had 561 yards and 6 touchdowns on 45 receptions, and brought points to the fantasy scoreboard. This kid, having it not been for injuries, had the potential with Austin to be special. With most of the Cowboys having injury issues last season, expect Bryant to come out swinging, and don’t be surprised to see him in the 1000 yard club in 2011.
16. Chad Ochocinco: Although he is the fourth most hated athelete in the world today, you can’t help but admire his talent. While his stats were sub par compared to the Chad we knew in years past, he is still in great shape, and still has incredible hands for a receiver. Having 831 yards with only 4 touchdowns on 67 attempts, it really did show that Carson Palmer was finding other players than Ochocinco with his drop in receptions. Either way, with a probable new QB, and the uncertainty of the return of TO, look for Ochocinco to be depended on more in the pass game.
17. Mike Williams: Wiliams’ rookie season was incredible to say the least. Making 964 yards and 11 touchdowns on 65 catches says a ton on this kid’s potential. With the young core that is Tampa Bay, and with Josh Freeman under center, I can really feel the connection that Williams has with his team. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Williams, heading into his sophmore season, was able to drop these numbers again, if not more. Word to the wise, Williams is one receiver to watch.
18. Jeremy Maclin: Maclin had a great season this year, and seemed to connect with QB Michael Vick very well. In 16 games, Maclin recorded 964 yards and 10 touchdowns on 70 attempts in the WR #2 slot. The sophmore receiver increased his stats quite well, and had shown great inprovement on his route running and catching abilities. With DeSean Jackson grabbing double coverages left and right, expect Maclin to be open for numerous more opportunities in 2011.
19. Brandon Lloyd: This may seem a huge drop to some that the yardage leader of last season is in this spot, but I have very good reasons for this. With last season’s breakout year, he torched fantasy players with 1400+ yards, 11 touchdowns. While very impressive, given his history, I don’t trust him. In 8 season in the NFL, the only other time he got close to 1400 yards was in 2005 with 733. The closest he ever got to 11 touchdowns was in 2004 with 6. Due to numerous injuries, he has only had 3 16 game seasons out of 8. His inconsistency worries me, and should worry you. Just some thoughts. However, if he plays at that level again, he’s a great pick up.
20. Anquan Boldin: While his stats did decrease from last year, Boldin still had a good first year with the Baltimore Ravens. Recording 837 yards and 7 touchdowns on 64 carries, Boldin proved to be worth his pay, helping the Ravens to another playoff appearance. My only concern for Boldin is that the Ravens are a heavy rush team, and that he doesn’t get the receptions count that he deserves. Despite this, Boldin is still a serious receiver in fantasy talks, and can take your team to the next level.
21. Brandon Marshall: After moving to the Dolphins, Marshall had a huge dropoff in reception touchdowns, which hurt fantasy teams across the league; I would know. Going from 10 in 2009 to 3 in 2010(the lowest amount since 2006), Marshall cost many fantasy players championships. However, before we discredit him, know that he once again got in the 1000+ yard club with 86 catches in only 14 games. This coming year, expect Miami to utilize their star receiver more and watch him flourish back into the wide receiver spotlight.
22. Santonio Holmes: Last season, Holmes only played 12 games. Out of those 12, he only started 10. What he did with that time, though, was impressive. He accumulated 746 yards and 6 touchdowns on 52 carries. While this was a huge dropoff for the former Steeler in all stats, the former Super Bowl MVP shown what he was made of in the postseason, and normally, that momentum carries on into the next season. At this spot, I would recommend Holmes every time.
23. Steve Johnson: Forget about the few embarrasing drops for a minute and let’s think fantasy importance. He had a brilliant season last year, racking up 1073 yards and 10 touchdowns, with 82 receptions. The difference between making and missing those drops now are whether he would be #19 or #22 on my board. Let go of the worries and trust this guy. He’s proven his worth as a fantasy receiver, and trust this young player’s game to increase and the mistakes to decrease.
24. Mario Manningham: This fourth year receiver has had his shared of ups and downs. Currently, he is on the rise. With the veteran Super Bowl QB Eli Manning throwing to Manningham, his talent has grown into a very strong, hard working WR. Last year, with 944 yards and 9 touchdowns on 60 catches, it’s safe to assume with his strong chemistry with Manning, that he will be seeing the ball more often.
25. Austin Collie: In the 9 games that Collie played in last season, he put up some incredible stats. Recording 649 yards and 8 touchdowns in 58 catches, Collie came out and made every play possible. His ability to turn simple quick routes and hooks into 20+ yard gains made him a vital asset to the pass game until his terrible injury knocked him out for the duration of the season. Look for Collie to come back and be impressive as ever.
26. Kenny Britt: In his second year with the Titans, Britt proved he could play the #1 WR spot quickly and efficiently. Racking up 775 yards and 9 touchdowns on 42 catches, Britt stretched defenses and made them pay 6. My only concern for Britt is that with a young QB coming in, Randy Moss on the squad, and the run CJ first mentality of the Titans, Britt’s reception numbers might not increase, and he could be kept at only 40 catches a season.
27. Sidney Rice: With Rice being injured for the majority of the season, he was only able to play 6 regular season games. In those 6 games, Rice accumulated 280 yards with 2 touchdowns on 17 attempts. As a starter Rice has been dominant and while I have little to go on for stats, I know the talent that this player brings to the field. Expect him to break the big one for six anytime the ball is passed in his direction.
28. Percy Harvin: With numerous injuries to the Vikings’ key players like Brett Favre and Sidney Rice, expect Harvin to come back recharged and determined to get his team back into the playoff picture. Last season, Harvin recorded 868 yards and 5 touchdowns on 71 receptions, however, with Rice returning to take double coverages, expect Harvin to get open for big gains and a possible increase in his touchdown stat.
29. Steve Smith (Carolina): Coming off a terrible season for the former Pro Bowler, look for the star receiver to come out of the gate and make things happen for his team. With only 554 yards and 2 touchdowns on 46 catches, I believe this will inspire the receiver to go out and give career making-season stats. I know the determination that this player has for his game, so if you’re looking for a breakout player, he just might be your guy.
30. Jordy Nelson: Last season, with the aging of Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson was able to see more playing time. With it, he recorded 582 yards and 2 touchdowns on 45 catches. What pushes him up on my board is the fact that Driver is seeing his great career coming to an end and that Nelson will have a lot more playing time. Look for Jordy Nelson to be a difference making player to your fantasy team.
As always here’s my list of top sleepers that you can pick up as subs that can push your team to the next level.
1. Steve Smith (New York Giants)
2. Pierre Garcon
3. Randy Moss
4. Santana Moss
5. Johnny Knox
6. A.J. Green
7. Braylon Edwards
8. Julio Jones
9. Malcolm Floyd
10. Deion Branch
11. Terrell Owens
12. Robert Meachem
The next list I will be posting is the Top 20 Tight Ends for the 2011 fantasy season.
Tags: fantasy football, NFL, projected rankings