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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fantasy Football: Wide Receiver Rankings

By: Steve Zoladek
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1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Projection: 1st-2nd Round

What more is there to say about Megatron? He is absolutely the best wide receiver in the league, breaking Jerry Rice's single season record for receiving yards last season with 1,964 yards.  The Lions throw the ball a ton and Stafford looks for Johnson on every single play.  While he may have only had 5 TDs, he was tackled on the one yard line what seemed like once every game. Johnson used to be a liability for fantasy owners because he had a history of injuries, but this past season he played through both a concussion and nerve damage in his fingers.  Nothing could slow him down, and this year, he will league the lead in receiving yards for the third straight season

2. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Projection: 2nd Round

Brandon Marshall had his highest productivity in Denver with Jay Cutler as his quarterback.  After drowning in the wasteland that is Miami Dolphins football, Cutler finally reunited with Cutler in Chicago for his most productive season as a pro.  Marshall posted a stat-line of 118 receptions for 1,508 yards and 11 TDs, making him the second most productive receiver in the league past season.  Marshall is Cutler's safety valve, and will get at least ten targets every game.  Even when he's covered, Cutler has the ability to throw Marshall open, making him the second most valuable receiver to have this season.

3. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Projection: 1st-2nd Round

AJ Green built off his strong rookie campaign with another fantastic season.  He caught 97 passes for 1,374 yards and 11 TDs.  I had Green on my team last season and you would look at the screen one second and he'd have four points and two minutes later he would have 20.  He has the ability to beat anybody deep, as long as Dalton can get him the ball.  He's everything you want out of your number one receiver: catches, yards, TDs.  The only knock against him is that he's the only legitimate threat in their offense.  The Bengals have struggled to find somebody to play opposite of him and draw attention, and their backfield is average at best.

4. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Projection: 2nd Round

Dez Bryant finally lived up to the hype that most of the league had when he entered the league.  Michael Irvin obviously believed in him if he allowed him to wear his beloved #88 in Dallas.  After a mediocre start to the season, Bryant caught fire at the end of the year, finishing with 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 TDs. Bryant has finally become the focal point of the offense, replacing the now injury-riddled Miles Austin.  I drafted Bryant in the 6th round in my league last year, but unfortunately, traded him right before he started his hot streak.  This season, it'd be a steal if you can land him in round three.

5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Projection: 2nd-3rd Round

Julio Jones was able to put it all together this past season, when the Atlanta Falcons finally opened up their playbook and let the ball fly.  Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez are the most talented  receiving trio in the league, and each are ready when the ball comes their way.  However, with so much talent, the ball is spread around, diluting the numbers of extremely talented players.  Jones had 79 receptions for 1,198 yards and 10 TDs last season, but could have easily surpassed those marks if he was the focal point of every play.  As Jones enters the prime of his career and White enters the twilight of his, Jones will become more involved each year.  Jones will build on his tremendous sophomore season with an even better third year.

6. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Projection: 3rd Round

7. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projection: 3rd Round

8.  Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks
Projection: 3rd Round 
UPDATE: Harvin will be out for most of the 2013 due to injury.

8. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Projection: 3rd-4th Round

9. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Projection: 3rd-4th Round

10. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Projection: 4th Round

11. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Projection: 4th Round

12. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
Projection: 4th Round

13. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Projection: 4th-5th Round

14. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
Projection: 4th-5th Round

15. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Projection: 5th-6th Round


Yer said...

I like to see Dez Bryant a little higher for WR rankings. Bryant is a stud who has the talent to take over games. Be sure not to overlook his stats - Romo is still a Top 10 QB and he has the talent around him to free him up for a lot of red zone looks. Fantasy Football

Steve Zoladek said...

I agree that he hasn't the talent to be the second best receiver, but I just fear that with Miles Austin fully healthy and the Cowboys moving possible to a two TE set, the ball will be spread around more, hurting his value.