VIEWS: 75 PAGES: 7 POSTED ON: 8/30/2012
The Fantasy Fool's Top 60 Wide Receivers Rankings are based on each player's projected position by the end of the 2012 season. This is a value ranking, NOT a recommended draft order. Players may be drafted significantly higher or lower based upon their perceived value to other owners. Stats listed are from 2011. Visit the Fantasy Fools blog at http://fantasy-fools.blogspot.com/ for daily fantasy advice. Levels Elite Near Elite Solid Marginal Depth Updated: 8/28/12 FINAL REC RANK PLAYER TEAM '11 REC REC YDS Comment TDS RANK The only WR worth a first-round pick this season, the biggest worry is 1 Calvin Johnson DET 1 96 1,681 16 having his picture on the cover of Madden '13. He's not happy about his contract, but that won't keep him from 2 Wes Welker NE 3 122 1,569 9 remaining Brady's go-to target. He suffered a concusion in a team scrimmage, so he won't see much preseason action. He remains Rodgers' favorite weapon, though 3 Greg Jennings GB 18 67 949 9 Jordy detracts from his value. Nelson is a better value one or two rounds later. Last year's rookie sensation has a year under his belt with fellow 4 A.J. Green CIN 14 65 1,057 7 sophomore Andy Dalton. They should build on their success this season. He's only suited up for 20 games over the last two seasons, so 5 Andre Johnson HOU 71 33 492 2 injuries are a real bugaboo. When healthy, there's no one better. Tell me Kurt Warner is returning and Fitz shoots to No. 2 on this list. 6 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 5 80 1,411 8 Since you can't tell me that, I won't be spending a first-round pick on him this year. Cruz and Nicks are arguably the second most potent WR tandem in 7 Victor Cruz NYG 4 82 1,536 9 the league. I love Cruz's game-changing potential, and his salsa moves. As much as I love Jennings, I'm targeting Jordy in every draft this year. For starters, it's always nice to own a big piece of the Packers 8 Jordy Nelson GB 2 68 1,263 15 offense. In addition, his big-play potential makes him a threat to be among the Top 5 WRs again this season. That's right, you heard it here first: Jones will surpass Roddy in the 9 Julio Jones ATL 17 54 959 8 Falcons pecking order this season. Maybe not in his reception count, but in yards and TDs. Bank on it. With Robert Meachem gone, Colston will have to share a little less of 10 Marques Colston NO 11 80 1,143 8 Drew Brees' attention this year. Barring injury, he should easily return to the Top 10 ranks. Even in their heyday in Denver, Marshall never ranked higher than 11 Brandon Marshall CHI 13 82 1,227 6 9th in the fantasy WR pecking order, so curb your enthusiasm for a Top 5 finish. The maturation of Julio Jones makes me wary of Roddy this year, especially given his dropsies last season. I'd rather grab Jones a 12 Roddy White ATL 8 100 1,296 8 round or two later and let someone else pay dearly for White's comparable value. An offseason foot fracture put his availability for Week 1 in peril, but 13 Hakeem Nicks NYG 12 75 1,169 7 he's been activated off the PUP list now and is back on pace to play in the opener. He needs to end his holdout soon because he's losing valuable reps 14 Mike Wallace PIT 9 72 1,193 8 with Big Ben. That could lead to even more attention going Antonio Brown's way when the season begins. No longer playing second fiddle to Boldin, the big-play WR is poised for a monster season. I could see him penetrating the Top 10 ranks 15 Torrey Smith BAL 23 50 841 7 as long as his preseason ankle injury doesn't keep him from starting the season strong. There's no discounting the bonehead factor when dealing with Dez. He also has trouble staying intact, as witnessed by his most recent 16 Dez Bryant DAL 19 63 928 9 injury in practice. He also tends to disappear from the offense on occasion. But man, the guy has off-the-charts talent. Now 33, Smith found his fountain of youth last season thanks to Cam Newton. He should continue to prosper with his young QB, but 17 Steve Smith CAR 6 79 1,394 7 Father Time spares no one. A preseason foot infection has him on crutches little more than a week before Week 1. Signed to a monster contract by the Bucs this offseason, V-Jax will be as big as Josh Freeman can make him. It may take some time 18 Vincent Jackson TB 10 60 1,106 9 for them to develop rapport, but the game-breaking WR will have his moments, to be sure. Brown could vie for the lead role in this WR corps. He emerged as a favorite target of Big Ben midseason last year and looked like he was 19 Antonio Brown PIT 24 69 1,108 2 headed to fantasy glory. He petered out a bit toward season's end, but big things are expected this year, especially in the TD category. If you believe Peyton is back, then you have to believe at least 1 Bronco WR is going to be a fantasy stud. My bet is on Thomas, a 20 Demaryius Thomas DEN 56 32 551 4 former first-round pick who emerged late in 2011 with Tebow at the controls. Decker will get his targets too, but I prefer Thomas' big play potential. In 2010, he apparently sold his soul to shoot to the top of the fantasy WR standings, with Kyle Orton as his QB no less. Now catching 21 Brandon Lloyd NE 25 70 966 5 passes from Brady, Lloyd is poised to return to fantasy stardom. He'll take a back seat to Welker and perhaps the TEs, but that still leaves plenty of balls for him. With any Luck, the 32-year-old wideout will re-emerge as a fantasy 22 Reggie Wayne IND 29 75 960 4 force. But he has surely lost a step, and his rookie QB may not have a whole lot of pocket time to wait for him to break free. The talented receiver/returner has unbelievable upside, but attitude issues have kept him from reaching his potential recently. This could 23 DeSean Jackson PHI 27 58 961 4 be a nice bounce-back season for Jackson, though, as the Eagles appear poised for a big year, after finishing strong in '11. If RG3 is as good as advertised (and this Baylor boy says he is), then 24 Pierre Garcon WAS 22 70 947 6 he's going to make Garcon a star. The former Colt offers nice sleeper potential as the No. 1 option in the Redskins' rising offense. I still have a hard time figuring out how he broke into the Top 10 ranks last season. The subject of offseason trade speculation, 25 Percy Harvin MIN 7 87 967 6 Harvin's success rests in large part on the development of Christian Ponder. I'm not optimistic. Some people expect big things from Buffalo this season, but I don't share their optimism. Nevertheless, Johnson is a proven commodity 26 Stevie Johnson BUF 21 76 1,004 7 with excellent chemistry with his QB and a nose for the end zone. He's a great WR2 with borderline WR1 potential. He finally signed his tender, but now he must learn a new offense in 27 Dwayne Bowe KC 20 81 1,159 5 a hurry. That will likely hurt his timing with Cassel early in the season. Injuries to Tony Romo and his own hamstrings kept Austin from producing well in 2011. And those hammies are betraying him again 28 Miles Austin DAL 42 43 579 7 this preseason. If he doesn't get on the field soon, this could be another lost season for Smilin' Miles. Option 1b in the Eagles' potent air attack, Maclin tends to be a boom 29 Jeremy Maclin PHI 31 63 859 5 or bust fantasy contributor. Lots of upside, but he makes me nervous. Stafford has to pass to somebody other than Megatron some time, so if Young can get his head out of his a__, the second-year WR has 30 Titus Young DET 46 48 607 6 a chance to be special. He is clearly more talented than Nate Burleson, so he makes a great sleeper candidate. A nice sleeper candidate if he can just stay on the field, look for 31 Denarius Moore OAK 39 33 618 5 Moore and Carson Palmer to form a quietly effective tandem this year. In PPR leagues, Decker will have plenty of value as Peyton's most 32 Eric Decker DEN 35 44 612 8 frequent target. He's not a game-breaker, but he does have a nose for the end zone. Another head case WR, Holmes is clearly the most talented receiver 33 Santonio Holmes NYJ 30 51 654 8 the Jets have. But can he and his QB(s) get along? Facing his zillionth DUI charge, a lengthy suspension seemed guaranteed for Britt to begin the season. Now, rumors are that it 34 Kenny Britt TEN 88 17 289 3 won't be quite so severe, so he's moved up a bit in these rankings. Meanwhile, he's also dealing with a knee injury and remains on my DND (Do Not Draft) list. He was expected to take a back seat to Meachem, but the free agent 35 Malcom Floyd SD 32 43 856 5 has gotten off to a slow start with his new club. That makes Floyd the favorite, for the moment, to be Rivers' top WR target. Expected to be the clear WR2 in the Saints offense, Moore is another guy who can soar one week and disappear the next. Draft 36 Lance Moore NO 34 52 627 8 him as your WR4 or 5 and use him sparingly unless/until Brees decides to make him a regular in his rotation. He was lost for the season in Week 1 last year, but he's had an excellent training camp and appears to once again be Sam 37 Danny Amendola STL 156 5 45 0 Bradford's favorite target. In PPR leagues, Amendola should be on every player's radar. He has been slow to develop chemistry with Rivers, and he re-injured the same knee that was operated on during the offseason. So far, 38 Robert Meachem SD 44 40 620 6 the former Saint is not off to the greatest start in San Diego. The injury to Vincent Brown, however, raises the stakes for Meachem more than ever. He has great potential, but he'll be breaking in another rookie QB. If 39 Greg Little CLE 53 61 709 2 Weeden develops quickly, Little could emerge as a solid WR3. He's been turning heads all offseason for all the right reasons. Who 40 Randy Moss SF -- -- -- -- knows? He just might have another good year in him. He won't come anywhere near his 11 TD campaign in 2011 with 41 Laurent Robinson JAX 15 54 858 11 Blaine Gabbert throwing him the ball. But he'll remain a viable red zone threat who can be a decent bye-week sub at worst. Should finish his career as a dependable possession WR, giving way 42 Anquan Boldin BAL 37 57 887 3 to Torrey Smith as the go-to, big-play guy. He continues to underachieve, and I don't think you can blame his 43 Michael Crabtree SF 33 73 880 4 QB any more. I have little confidence in his ability to be anything more than "a guy" in Fantasyland. He's having a great offseason and has a clear path to the WR3 role 44 Randall Cobb GB 93 25 375 1 in Green Bay. Add in his return abilities, and the guy is one injury away (to Jennings or Nelson) from fantasy stardom. Washington quietly cracked the Top 20 ranks last season, thanks to the dearth of talent around him. His value depends on the 45 Nate Washington TEN 16 74 1,023 7 development of Jake Locker (who should take over for Hasselbeck sooner than later) and Kendall Wright, and the availability of Britt. If only Al Davis' hadn't drafted him so early, DHB wouldn't seem like 46 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK 28 64 975 4 such a colossal failure. That said, I still prefer my WRs not have butter fingers. 47 Davone Bess MIA 64 51 537 3 Somebody has to catch passes in Miami, right? He'll take a backseat to Garcon, but Moss will get his fair share of 48 Santana Moss WAS 54 46 584 4 targets from RG3. Just not enough to make him an every-week fantasy starter. If he can only find his rookie year mojo… Maybe V-Jax's presence 49 Mike Williams TB 49 65 771 3 will give him the spark he needs. The most talented WR in the 2012 Draft is stuck with lousy 50 Justin Blackmon JAX * * * * quarterbacking and a run-first offense. He also has self-inflicted wounds caused by his off-field transgressions. Maybe next year. Assuming Steve Smith will slowly regress, LaFell is in the best 51 Brandon LaFell CAR 57 36 613 3 position to pick up the slack. As long as Newton remains the real deal, his #2 WR has value. Only once has Rice ranked higher than the Top 60s among WRs, and that was in 2009 with Favre as his QB (Rice finished the year as 52 Sidney Rice SEA 68 32 484 2 the 8th best WR). Heading into 2012 with concussion and shoulder problems, and another new QB, I'm not banking on his second stellar season. Hard to get enthusiastic about a guy that hasn't yet secured the No. 2 53 Doug Baldwin SEA 40 51 788 4 WR role in Seattle. 54 Michael Floyd AZ * * * * Talented rookie must contend with lousy QB play. A rookie with speed to burn, he could emerge later in the year if Britt 55 Kendall Wright TEN * * * * flames out or Washington under-performs. He'll start opposite Percy and hopefully help Ponder improve as the 56 Jerome Simpson MIN 47 50 725 4 season progresses. Don't expect miracles. He didn't show much in his rookie season, but the 2011 first-round 57 Jonathan Baldwin KC 109 21 254 1 pick should progress in '12. The rookie should line up opposite Brandon Marshall at some point, if 58 Alshon Jeffery CHI * * * * not at the beginning of the season. Should win the #2 job in Buffalo. Probably won't be enough to make 59 David Nelson BUF 48 61 658 5 him fantasy relevant. Has a chance if he can avoid hits to the head and Andrew Luck is all 60 Austin Collie IND 75 54 514 1 that. But another concussion suffered in Week 2 of the preseason has his stock diving already.
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