As my friend Kevin elegantly stated, “F***, your blogs are long.”
I write these posts for you to compare your thought process with mine, or if you just need that extra push. You can skim through the ranks at your own leisure and selectively read what you wish.
I also write these posts for myself. At the end of the season, I want to review my rankings and thoughts to assess what I did correctly and incorrectly. So please, don’t feel obligated by our friendship to read every word. [End]
Now to the real reason you are here.
Wide Receivers can make or break a team.
The name of the game when selecting your receiver is Value. Some people are content with drafting Julio Jones in the second round, which is an example of terrible value. On the other hand, Patriots receiver Kenbrell Thompkins is sitting at an ADP of around 120, yet will most likely finish in the top-60. That is an example of great value.
And while it is almost impossible to gauge which receivers will break out, and which receivers will fall flat on their face, recognizing value is a great start to drafting the former.
I feel like that last line could have come straight out of a fantasy self-help book, so I’m going to try and avoid sounding like a pretentious jack-wagon. Here are a couple tips to help you recognize receiver value.
- Quality of the team- If team is Super Bowl caliber, chances are the receivers on the team will be pretty good. If they suck, like the Jets, probably not so much.
- Quality of the QB- You aren’t going to have 1,000-yard receivers on the team if your QB is throwing for less 250 yards a game. Likewise, don’t expect big TD numbers if your QB throws the ball to the other team more than once or twice a game.
- Quality of the receivers around your receiver- If you are drafting the third string receiver on a hypothetical team that has Jerry Rice and Randy Moss in their prime, your receiver probably won’t touch the ball a lot. Conversely, if you are in a Steve Smith type situation, where you feel you receiver is being so tightly covered, you thinks he at least deserves dinner first, he probably won’t put up elite numbers.
- Philosophy of the team- Playing on a pass-happy teams means yards and fun for receivers! Playing on a run-happy teams means receivers will be fighting for scraps amongst themselves.
- Quality of your receiver- If your receiver is number two on a good team, and could be the number one guy on a bad team, chances are, he’ll probably do alright. If your receiver is the number two receiver on a crappy team and would most likely be Kyle Boller’s throwing buddy on good team, he probably won’t bring you much success.
Yay! Don’t you feel like you learned something today?
I’m thrilled I’m almost done with these daily rankings. Anyway, not feeling one hundred percent after eating some old cheesecake last night, so away we go!
Wide Receiver Rankings:
1. Calvin Johnson- Curse him for breaking Jerry Rice’s record.
2. Brandon Marshall- What Jay Cutler says: “We have plenty of talented receivers to spread the ball around to.” What Jay Cutler thinks: “LOL. I’m still going to throw to triple-covered Brandon Marshall.
3. Dez Bryant- As long as he’s not too rowdy before bedtime, Dez Bryant should have another ludicrous season catching balls for the pride of EIU.
4. AJ Green- These first four receivers can all be placed into the same category: Open or not, here comes the ball. Green is also in his third year, which typically signifies a breakout year for receivers.
5. Demaryius Thomas- The addition of Wes Welker will hurt the production of Decker more than Thomas. When Peyton needs someone big in the Red Zone, he looks Thomas.
6. Larry Fitzgerald- To the average person, Carson Palmer seems like just another washed up QB trying to make a return to mediocrity. To Larry Fitzgerald, Carson is Santa Claus dropping off ten years’ worth of winning Powerball lottery tickets. Yeah, the O-Line is garbage, but Carson thrives under pressure, and he has better arm strength, accuracy and vision than last year’s QBs combined. Additionally, Housler and Floyd should take some coverage of Fitzgerald, leading to a big season.
7. Julio Jones- I might be the only person that seems to remember Julio is not a consistent fantasy stud. Last season, for a solid eight weeks, Julio and Roddy traded off big performances, while other sat around accumulating about as many points as there are Great Lakes. Obviously, Roddy is getting older and Julio is getting better, (third year) but don’t expect Julio to be a week in, week out beast like the six before him.
8. Randall Cobb- Last season, he was ranked around 75 for WRs, this year, most consider him a top-10 lock. Health is the biggest issue here, but expect coverage on him to tighten up as well. It won’t make a huge difference, because his QB is still Aaron Rodgers.
9. Vincent Jackson- The Bucs want to feed him the ball, and with Williams locked up and Martin carrying the team on the ground, this shouldn’t be an issue. Expect more than 8 TDs this year.
10. Andre Johnson- The two things that have changed since last year: DeAndre Hopkins replaced Kevin Walter (upgrade) and Andre is another year older. The Andre-DeAndre thing might get a little confusing in the huddle. He will still get the big yards, but the Texans are a run-first team. Whenever they get into the Red Zone, it’s Foster: Australian for touchdown.
11. Reggie Wayne- Tied for the second most targets with Brandon Marshall. The Colts are planning to balance out their offense, a plan that will go straight downhill once Bradshaw gets injured and they have to rely on Vick Ballard to move the ball. The addition of Heyward-Bey will help take coverage away from Wayne.
12. Roddy White- The other part of the Falcons’ star tandem. White is still Ryan’s favorite target, but the balance is starting to shift. Expect similar point inconsistency to last year, with an overall dip in his fantasy production.
13. Marquis Colston- Just think if Drew Brees didn’t believe in sharing. Colston, as long as he’s healthy, would be a perennial 2,000-yard receiver with 20 TDs. But, Brees spreads the ball around more than herpes at a kissing convention, so expect another 1,200+ yards and 8-10 TD season.
14. Danny Amendola- Wild Card! He could be a top-5 receiver this year, if he can stay on the field. Unfortunately, his body is like Jenga: each hit it takes, he’s one tiny block closer to falling on the IR. The upside is too much to ignore here, he’s definitely worth the risk.
15. Wes Welker- The definition of gym rat. Welker, while he was on the Dolphins, had an affinity for dismantling the Patriots. Expect that again this post-season. In terms of fantasy production, his value definitely comes in PPR formats, but I would still take him over Decker in non-PPR as well. On 45 completions last year, Manning made Stokley a 544-yard receiver. Stokley is a poor man’s Wes Welker. Expect the comparable completions to double, and the yards and TDs to skyrocket.
16. Victor Cruz- Bold prediction: Cruz won’t be the best dancer in the NFL this season. He’s been dealing with heel issues this offseason, but don’t expect that to hamper his production very long.
17. Dwayne Bowe- If your fantasy football team name is Double Dwayne Bowe or Somewhere over the Dwayne Bowe, please take a moment to slap yourself in the face, and then immediately change it. People are expecting a resurgence of Bowe this year, but I don’t really see it. Alex Smith is afraid to throw downfield, which will hamper Bowe’s big play ability, leaving him with tons of receptions for a decent amount of yards and a slight improvement in TDs from last year.
18. Desean Jackson- With Maclin out for the year, Desean is the focal point of the Philadelphia pass attack. It remains to be seen how Kelly’s offense will perform in the NFL, but it’s always a good thing when the guy vying for targets with you is a racist and your QB is black. Just saying… Expect a big year from D-Jax.
19. Eric Decker- Addition of Welker will hurt his targets and yards, but still a solid pick and great namesake in “Upper Decker”.
20. Pierre Garcon– The French wonder. Is he French? One would have to assume. RGIII’s passing numbers will increase this year, and if the “Flying Baguette” can keep healthy, he could turn in a top-ten season.
21. Cecil Shorts- Where the hell did this guy come from? The fact that anyone on the Jags approached the 1,000 receiving yards mark on the season is grounds for suspected witchcraft. Once Blackmon’s suspension is lifted and teams are forced to stop triple-covering Shorts, I expect him to cross the 1,000-yard mark for the first time since Jimmy Smith in 2005.
22. Antonio Brown- Well Mike Wallace is gone; guess that motorcycle-crashing rapist will have to throw to someone else now.
23. Mike Wallace- Drafted way to highly according to his ADP. In four seasons with Roethlisberger, he never managed to eclipse 72 receptions, and somehow people are expecting Tannehill to make this guy an elite receiver? I don’t think so. Definitely not over 1,000 yards and maybe 7 TDs. Maybe.
24. Jordy Nelson- See James Jones.
25. James Jones- See Jordy Nelson. They are pretty interchangeable as long as they both stay healthy.
26. Steve Smith- Will the Panthers ever bring anybody in to help Steve Smith. Is Muhsin Muhammad still available? Poor guy. He’s 5’9”, 34, and still manages 1,000-yard seasons. Did you know his real name is Stevonne? I didn’t. Anyway, expect another 1,000+ yard season with 4-7 TDs as long as he’s healthy.
27. TY Hilton- People inside the Colts organization think this guy can be an elite receiver, yet he’s sitting behind a receiver that wasn’t even good enough for the Raiders to re-sign. THE RAIDERS. That’s like using beef Taco Bell didn’t even find fit to serve their patrons. I have Hilton on my fantasy team, and I am a firm believer the Colts will get the horseshit out of their eyes eventually, and start the man who deserves to play.
28. Steve Johnson- How do you feel about the Triad of Jeff Tuel, Matt Leinart and Thad Lewis throwing to one of your top receivers? If Manuel can play anytime soon, Johnson has the ability to be a top-15 receiver. If he can’t, expect Johnson to lead the league in balls thrown helplessly out of reach or at his feet.
29. Torrey Smith- There isn’t a starting receiver I hate more than Torrey Smith. One week, he puts up 144 yards, and then barely eclipses that total over the next FIVE WEEKS COMBINED. Smith averages about 2-3 receptions a game. His production depends on how terrible the opposing defense is playing on any particular day. One week he ROASTED the defense for SIX receptions for 127 yards and 2 TDs, and you’re all like, “Yay, Torrey Smith, you’re the best.” Then in Week 11, he musters one reception for 7 yards, and you’re all like, “F***in S*** G** D*** it you ************@#$@%#@$#.” If you draft him, prepare for both extremes.
30. Golden Tate- Golden Grahams never sounded so good. Sidney Rice will start the season playing, but it won’t be long until Tate becomes the number one receiver. Tate is fast, and primed for a breakout year.
31. Anquan Boldin- He won’t be the best receiver on the 49ers this year. He will come up with some clutch plays, but the real receiver to own will be the guy starting opposite of him. My gut feeling is it will be Quinton Patton. Expect 800 yards and 5 TDs from this receiver in decline.
32. Greg Jennings- Put da team on his back, do. Eventually, Cordarrelle Patterson will become Christian Ponder’s favorite target, (other than Rudolph) but until then, enjoy a healthy performance by Jennings.
33. Kenbrell Thompkins- The man to own in New England. Amendola’s body is like a piñata at a little kid’s party, (as well as Jenga blocks) because when it breaks, candy in the form of yards, receptions and touchdowns will explode everywhere. Kenbrell is like the mean high school brother at this party. I think he will be a top-15 receiver by the end of the year.
34. Lance Moore- I doubt he puts together another 1,000-yard season, but he’s still quite a value at his current ADP.
35. Chris Givens- Bradford’s favorite WR.
36. Miles Austin- Dez is the clear numero uno now, so as long as Austin can consistently beat the number two CB on every team, he should have no problem repeating last season’s numbers.
37. Hakeem Nicks- A paltry 692 yards and 3 TDs last season amongst injuries, make me think the best is behind this Giant.
38. Mike Williams- Signed for a fat stack of cash to take pressure off Vincent Jackson. In the meantime, he will quietly rack up another thousand-yard season.
39. Michael Floyd- With Larry Fitz taking away coverage, expect Floyd to break out this year.
40. Emmanuel Sanders- Sanders is faster than Brown, and will undoubtedly be the big play guy. I really hope the Steelers don’t pull out their bumblebee uniforms again this season.
41. Vincent Brown- The Brown that delivers packages prides themselves on consistency and dependability. With Vincent Brown, you get neither of those things. Instead, you get a receiver with top-twenty potential or a pretty box with a card that reads, “Don’t open ‘til next season.”
42. Denarius Moore- I liked him more when Flynn was projected to be the starting QB, but the Pryor decision makes this a dicey pick. Either way, Denarius shouldn’t be more than a WR3/WR4.
43. Sidney Rice– He’s playing! He’s Playing! Let’s see, Rice has only had one 1,000 yard season, and that’s when dick-pic sending Brett Favre decided to un-retire again and throw for over 4,200 yards. Other than that, he’s been consistently mediocre and highly overrated.
44. Tavon Austin- He’s too small to be Bradford’s go-to in the End Zone. Plus, Bradford likes Cook and Givens much more. Expect around 45 receptions with a healthy dose of yards as a result of his explosiveness and big play ability.
45. Kenny Britt- Welcome to the Hurt Locker. Why do I feel like every one of the Titans’ receivers is about to explode on the field? And not in the good way, where they rack up 1,200 yards and 10 TDs.
46. DeAndre Hopkins– It’s Andre Johnson’s mini-me! Same situation with Michael Floyd under the shadow of the Larry Fitzgerald, except the Texans will throw it far less than the Cardinals. Still, Hopkins had the best camp out of every receiver there, and his appendages won’t fall off if he gets hit too hard!
47. Josh Gordon- Suspended for the first four games of the season, and did not look good in camp as he was battling patellar tendonitis. He still has the potential to turn some heads upon his return.
48. Ryan Broyles- I got burned on Broyles last year when I said he would step it up in Titus Young’s absence, and he landed me a solid .2 fantasy points. However, that was last year, and now, Titus is busy being arrested/sleeping in AT&T stores, so the opportunity to shine under Calvin is finally his.
49. Alshon Jeffrey- Has improved drastically from last season, let’s see how he fairs in Trestman’s offense.
50. Malcom Floyd- Starting opposite Vincent Brown and one of the only healthy Chargers receivers left.
51. Brian Hartline- A solid 1,000-yard season last year, but I’m pretty sure almost all of those yards came in that one game against the Cardinals. He only eclipsed triple digit yards two other games last season and hauled in a HUGE ONE touchdown. Expect the yards to decline, but the TDs to improve this season with the addition of Wallace and improvement of Tannehill.
52. Aaron Dobson- Aaron Dobson is the middle school sister at the Danny Amendola-piñata-smashing party I mentioned earlier. Not quite as enticing as Kenbrell.
53. Brandon LaFell- The non-Steve Smith Panthers’ receiver.
54. Kendall Wright- Still not Wrighting this guy completely off.
55. Justin Blackmon- After his suspension is over, he could have a solid year opposite of Cecil Shorts.
56. Rueben Randle- I think Randle will be the second best receiver on the Giants this year. But that could just be a result of my fantasy hatred of Hakeem Nicks. Still, Randle has intrigued me.
57. Cordarrelle Patterson- Sooner or later, he will take over as the Vikings true number one, once it is revealed that Jennings is only as good as the QB that throws to him.
58. Andre Roberts- Behind Floyd in the Fitzgerald leftovers line.
59. Julian Edelman- Always has decent potential, never seems to capitalize. Wait to pick up this guy until the Pats trade him or another team picks him up from free agency.
60. Jeremy Kerley- Said it was his goal to catch 60 balls this season. Way to reach for the stars, kiddo. There’s a reason the first Jets receiver clocks in at number 60. Don’t do it.
61. Davone Bess- Bess was Tannehill’s bail out in Miami last year, and as a result, he had a nice little season. Bess will have a strong couple weeks in Gordon’s absence, but upon Josh’s return, Bess will slide into the slot, which is way to far down the QB progression for Weeden to ever find.
62. Josh Morgan- I feel like this guy is 100, but apparently, that’s not the case. Listed as the starter opposite of Garcon, but don’t expect a big year as the most TDs he’s ever recorded in a season is 3.
63. Greg Little– Great production while Gordon is out, and will continue to be a big play threat once he returns.
64. Jacoby Jones- The bane of my existence. Damn you Jacoby Jones, damn you. You and your stupid kick return TD and your Joe Flacco bailing-out catch you made to sink my 49ers in the Super Bowl. You disgust me. Well, with Pitta out for the season, Boldin gone, and Torrey Smith getting like two receptions a game, Flacco needs someone to throw to. Why not Jones?
65. Percy Harvin– Out for at least the first six weeks, probably more. A dicey pick with not a fairly weak upside.
66. Nate Burleson- Behind Broyles and Calvin.
67. Quinton Patton- I like him. I like him a lot. Don’t be surprised if this guy becomes Kaepernick’s number one target and a top-twenty-five guy while Crabtree is out.
68. Mohamed Sanu- Number 2 to Green.
69. Darrius Hewward-Bey- He’s number 2, so I guess that’s okay. Hilton will take over his position sometime.
70. Rod Streater- He’s really fast, which is a great for Olympic time trials, not so much fantasy football.
71. Santana Moss- The same thought comes into your mind when you decide to draft Santana Moss and when your friends successfully convince you to take another shot at the bar, even though you know you shouldn’t: Ah, f*** it. Don’t drink and drive/draft Santana Moss.
72. Deonte Thompson- Could eventually overtake Jacoby Jones for the starting spot opposite to Torrey Smith.
73. Robert Woods- He’ll be good. Eventually. With a real starting QB.
74. Justin Hunter- The Titans were VERY MAD at Justin for not getting a first down. I think they have other issues to worry about.
75. Stephen Hill- If Geno Smith creates any semblance of offense, Stephen Hill could be alright.
Other Receivers to Keep an eye on:
Kenny Stills- Number three receiver which means he’ll be good for about 500 yards and a couple TDs. Those numbers will go up if Moore or Colston succumb to injury.
Nick Toon- What a rough childhood this kid must have had. 4th string receiver on the Saints.
Ace Sanders- Potential to upstage Blackmon? Possibly, but not likely. While Blackmon’s out, he could have a decent 4-week stint if you are desperate for receiving help.
Markus Wheaton- Steelers third string, and turning some heads in camp. If Brown or Sanders are injured, expect Markus to be lined up in the open spot.
Michael Crabtree- Don’t you… Forget about me. He’s out for quite awhile, and more than likely won’t see the star receiver until week 12 or so. But, hey. That’s when the season matters.
DeVier Posey- If DeAndre Hopkins ends up busting, good old OSU merch-selling Posey will be there to pick up some receptions.
Riley Cooper- Eagles number two receiver, number one racist. In a run-first offense, don’t expect big numbers, but he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Jason Avant- Not a racist.
Santonio Holmes- There’s always hope for Santonio Holmes, but this year might be his last real chance.
Keenan Allen- Young and inexperienced. He has big potential, but it could be awhile until he sees the field… or until the next injury to a Chargers’ receiver.
Ted Ginn Jr.- Apparently he needed a little scenery change. He’s still buried on the official Panthers’ depth chart, but he’s been lighting it up in the preseason and outperforming his non-starting counterpoints in camp. If his pass catching improves, he has the explosiveness to make some big plays.
Tomorrow: Tight Ends.