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Top 48 Wide Receivers
1) Calvin Johnson (DET) – Do I need to explain why Johnson is number one…
2) A.J. Green (CIN) – Green took another step forward in his third season, albeit a small one with with an extra 75 yards. He again had 11 touchdowns and has no reason to slow down in 2014. Josh Gordon may be the hot name considering what he did in last season, but passing up on Green as the second best receiver in the league seems a little risky.
3) Julio Jones (ATL) – Jones was averaging targets in the double digits before suffering his season ending surgery and had three 100-yard games with two touchdowns in those five starts (He also had 99 yards in the game he suffered the injury). Jones may be slowed a little bit in recovering from the injury but he is still one of the best receivers in the game with a great quarterback throwing him the ball so I trust him for a minimum 1000 yards and possibly ten touchdowns.
4) Demaryius Thomas (DEN) – As long as Demaryius Thomas has Peyton throwing him the ball I think it is safe to say he will be a top-10 WR at worst and could end up as a top-3 guy possibly. The loss of Eric Decker could also be good for Thomas as he could be targeted for more touchdowns.
5) Josh Gordon (CLE) – It looks like there is a good chance Gordon is going to have to be taken off this list completely as he may be suspended for the entire 2014 season. Until it is made official though I will keep him here.
6) Dez Bryant (DAL) – One of the most physically gifted receivers in the game, Bryant has the potential to be a top-5 receiver and to me a lock for a top-10 finish provided he stays healthy. The guy has 2600 yards and 25 touchdowns in the past two seasons.
7) Brandon Marshall (CHI) – Marshall hasn’t gone below 1000 yards since his rookie campaign, has had over 1200 the last three seasons and has some of the best overall physical abilities and hands in the game. In his two seasons as a bear he has over 2700 yards with 23 touchdowns and does not look to be slowing down in a Bears offense that is the teams strong point for once.
8) Jordy Nelson (GB) – I like the chances of Nelson being a top-10 wide receiver this season considering that he still mustered over 1300 yards and eight touchdowns last year without Aaron Rodgers for half of the season. James Jones is also gone from the roster so Nelson could again go for double-digit touchdowns.
9) Alshon Jeffery (CHI) – Alshon broke out in his second season with 1400 yards and seven touchdowns. He and Brandon Marshall are looking like one of the best if not the best 1-2 punch in the league at the position. I still think Marshall is the safer pick but have no problem drafting Jeffery, he showed some amazing hands last year making tough catch after tough catch.
10) Randall Cobb (GB) – Cobb should be a stellar fantasy option this season as James Jones is no longer with the team and heading into his fourth season. Cobb had 433 yards and four touchdowns in just six games last season and is capable of having 1100+ yards minimum with potentially double-digit touchdowns in a full season.
11) Antonio Brown (PIT) – One yard shy of 1500 yards and eight touchdowns last season, it seems odd that I don’t have Brown ranked as a top-10 receiver since he was #6 at the position last year.
12) Michael Crabtree (SF) – Crabtree is extremely talented and provided that Colin Kaepernick takes a step forward in his passing game, should be able to contend for a spot as a top-10 receiver. Provided 2014 is a healthy season for both he and his quarterback, Crabtree is poised to have a career high in yards and potentially touchdowns.
13) Pierre Garcon (WAS) – Garcon was the most targeted receiver in football last season and went for more than 1300 yards, but was hampered by just five receiving touchdowns. Provided he can improve in the touchdown department, which I think he will considering the team’s new coach, the signing of DeSean Jackson to draw away safeties and the improved play of RGIII.
14) Keenan Allen (SD) – Allen was stellar as a rookie for the Chargers and should be just as good if not better this coming season. I expect Allen to see more targets (105 in 2013) this coming season but will also see more attention from defences. One stat I like about Allen was that six of his eight touchdowns last year came in the red zone. I project Allen will see a bump in yards while catching about eight touchdowns again this year.
15) Andre Johnson (HOU) – The good news is that Johnson is still one of the best pure talents at wide receiver and saw a career high in targets last season for 1407 yards, but the bad news is that he still has caught just 11 touchdowns in the past three seasons and could have a rookie throwing him the ball this year with Matt Schaub trade to Oakland. Johnson could potentially put up WR1 numbers in 2014, but I would much rather have him as a WR2 if possible.
16) Vincent Jackson (TB) – I don’t expect much of a change from Jackson this coming season. He has averaged about 1200 yards and eight touchdowns the past three seasons and is a solid WR2 option. The only major negative I can think of with Jackson is that he is prone to having boom or bust type production at times.
17) Percy Harvin (SEA) – There are few things in football I want more than to see Percy Harvin, one of my favourite players in the league to have a healthy and productive season. Should he be able to play 15 or 16 games this season, Harvin should be able to have his first 1000-yard season as a receiver while adding some extra points as a rusher the odd time (he rushed for 345 yards and two scores in 2011). He also has added value in leagues that score return yards, as he is one of the best in the league at returning kick offs.
18) Wes Welker (DEN) – With Decker heading out of Denver it should mean an increase in production for Welker in the coming season. Provided he sees a boost in yards from 2013 (778), he will be a great fantasy starter as he caught 10 touchdowns last year.
19) Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) – The addition of Carson Palmer was great for Fitzgerald, as he went from 798 yards and just four touchdowns in 2012 to 954 yards and ten touchdowns last year. Fitzgerald still has a lot of football left in him at the age of 30 and should be able to get back over the 1000-yard barrier in 2014 while catching around ten touchdowns again; a solid WR2 option.
20) Julian Edelman (NE) – Edelman is poised to be a stellar PPR option again this year with the Patriots is still a very safe option is standard leagues considering the number of targets he sees. Amendola is his main competition but does not have the chemistry with Brady that Edelman has and suffers and injury pretty much every season.
21) Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN) – Patterson could be one of the best sophomore wide receivers this season in Minnesota. The team has said that he is in for a much bigger role with the team in 2014 and can impact the game as receivers, runner and return man. Patterson is poised to be one of the most dynamic player makers in the league.
22) Roddy White (ATL) – Roddy should be much better than he was last season provided the ankle issues don’t affect him as much as they did and with Julio Jones back in the lineup. I can see Roddy coming at a discount in drafts where people have short memories and only remember his 2013 season. He was a lock for about 1200 yards and 8 or so touchdowns in the six seasons prior.
23) Victor Cruz (NYG) – Cruz has only gone down since his breakout rookie season, with less than 1000 yards and only four touchdowns last season. He was however hampered with knee issues and an offence that seemed incapable of playing to its true potential. With a new offensive coordinator and what should be an improved run game, I think Cruz sees a boost in production and is closer to a 1100 yards 7-9 touchdown player.
24) DeSean Jackson (WAS) – Jackson is now a Redskin and will join Pierre Garcon as a pretty dynamic one-two punch in the Redskins offence. It will be interesting to hear how the Redskins plan to use him and see how it all works out, but Jackson is easily one of the most intriguing wide receivers going into the season. He is however coming off his best season in the league and could contend for a top-24 fantasy receiver spot.
25) Reggie Wayne (IND) – Despite coming off a serious injury at what is somewhat of an older age for a wide receiver, I think Wayne can still be a very solid fantasy producer. Quarterback Andrew Luck is not only extremely talented but just as smart of a player and is going to trust Wayne as a go-to option when he needs to get rid of the ball or convert a key first down. As it stands I would draft Wayne as my first Colts receiver as hopefully a #3 fantasy WR option.
26) T..Y Hilton (IND) – As stellar as Hilton was at times last season, he was also just as disappointing at times. The most glaring stat to me is that Hilton caught 5 touchdowns on the season, but they came in just two games; three in one and two in another. While he did have five games of more than 100 yards, he had nine that were below 50. The good news for Hilton however is he and Luck’s combined improvement heading into their third seasons and the return of veteran receiver Reggie Wayne. The boom or bust potential has me leaning towards drafting Hilton as a WR3.
27) Jeremy Maclin (PHI) – With Jackson no longer with the Eagles, Maclin appears to be the de facto number one receiver for the Eagles going into the 2014 season. Riley Cooper was resigned by the Eagles with a pretty nice contract but is not as good of a route runner or overall talent that Maclin is when healthy. Injury is the main concern when it comes to drafting Maclin, but if he does play 14-16 games he could end up as a bargain.
28) Eric Decker (NYJ) – Decker got the payday he wanted, but is going to take a bi step back statistically this coming season as he goes from catching balls from Peyton Manning to catching passes from Geno Smith or Michael Vick. Decker has been great for fantasy owners over the past two seasons with double-digit touchdowns in both, but is not going be able to do so once again with the Jets. It also doesn’t help Decker that the Jets don’t have a real threat across from him to attract some attention. I see Decker struggling to have another 1,000 yard season and will likely catch closer to 6-8 touchdowns than 11-13.
29) Hakeem Nicks (IND) – I one year contract and a stellar young quarterback could mean a bounce back season for the extremely talented and still young himself Nicks. It is hard to predict at the moment who will see the bulk of the work between Nicks, Wayne and Hilton.
30) Golden Tate (DET) – Tate could see a big boost in production this coming season playing in the Detroit offence and across the field from Calvin Johnson. Johnson finally has a deep threat with great hands to help open up the field and Tate has an elite receiver to attract a safety when he goes over the top. I really like this signing for everyone involved.
31) Michael Floyd (ARI) –
32) Marques Colston (NO) – Colston is no longer the main target for Drew Brees so I would not trust him as a top-24 wide receiver again this season, but I do think he can return to his 1000 yards per season status while catching an extra touchdown or two compared to the five he had in 2013.
33) Mike Wallace (MIA) – Wallace saw a large boost in targets in his first season as a Dolphins, but was able to haul in about 50% of them, resulting in what was a pretty mellow season for the speedy receiver. I don’t trust Wallace as a weekly starter for a 2WR fantasy team, but if he and Tannehill can improve their connection on the deep ball, he could see a big boost in production.
34) Torrey Smith (BAL) – In his third season Smith saw a big jump in yards as he had his first season of over 1000 yards (1128), but he did have his career low in touchdowns with just four. Provided the Ravens can bounce back this season, in part from an improved run game, Smith should see more opportunities to score. It would also help if Flacco improved his 19TD to 22INT ratio from last season.
35) Terrence Williams (DAL) – Williams had a fairly solid season as a rookie with over 700 yards and 5 touchdowns for the Cowboys and should see a boost in those categories in 2014. He has big play potential and should rarely see double coverage with Dez Bryant playing on the same field as him. I like Williams as a WR3 this season with 1,000 yards and 7-9 touchdown potential.
36) Kendall Wright (TEN) – Wright has seen 244 targets in the first two seasons of his career (140 last year) and has over 1,700 receiving yards and six touchdowns over that time. If Wright can improve in his touchdown totals, he could be a very good fantasy performer in his third season.
37) R Brandin Cooks (NO) – The fourth wide receiver off the board in the 2014 draft, Cooks could be the best rookie fantasy wide receiver due to the situation he finds himself in. The Saints needed another receiver to help Drew Brees as Graham is still technically a tight end, Colston is not getting any younger and none of the other wide receivers on the roster guarantee much production. At just 5’10 and 190 pounds, it is being mentioned that Cooks could be used in role similar to that of Darren Sproles before he left the team. As a first round selection that the Saints traded up to acquire, they are certainly going to find ways to use him.
38) R Mike Evans (TB) – The second wide receiver picked in the 2014 draft, Evans is going to find himself in a pretty solid position to produce as a rookie playing across from Vincent Jackson, a player many analysts have compared him to. The quarterback play for the Buccs is a bit of a question, but McCown had a career year last season in Chicago when throwing to another pair of tall receivers in Marshall and Jeffery.
39) Riley Cooper (PHI) – Riley burst onto the fantasy scene last year with a big three-touchdown game, but finished the year with just 800 yards and eight touchdowns. He should see an increased role this season especially considering the absence of DeSean Jackson, but I don’t trust him as more than a #3 receiver.
40) R Sammy Watkins (BUF) – Watkins was the first wide receiver taken in the draft at the 4th overall selection, but has landed in one of the worst spots for first round receivers. The Bills have an O-line that leaves much to be desired and has a collection of questionable receivers surrounding Watkins (Mike Williams and second year receivers Marquise Goodwin headline the names). The Bills invested a lot in Watkins and he is going to get his touches, but I doubt he will be able to do much with them in his rookie season unless E.J. Manuel takes a significant step forward.
41) Dwayne Bowe (KC) – 1474 yards and eight touchdowns combined over the past two seasons leaves much to be desired for Bowe supporters and the way the Chiefs have built this team does not give much hope for improvement. Alex Smith plays a very conservative style at quarterback and Jamaal Charles is the first and second option for the overall offence. Bowe has seemingly fallen to the level of a WR4 that can fill in for bye weeks and injury.
42) Tavon Austin (STL) – Austin was a bit of a disappointment in his rookie season, but I have faith he will take a significant step forward as a sophomore. Austin can impact the game as a receiver, occasional rusher and as a return man, he just needs the opportunity to do so. I would not be surprised if Austin came close to doubling his production from last year from about 575 total yards and 5 touchdowns to around 900-1000 yards and 8 touchdowns. I currently view Austin as a WR4 with tremendous upside.
43) Anquan Boldin (SF) – Boldin is set to be a ‘49er for another two seasons, and while he is not the player he used to be is still a very consistent and impactful player, as was seen in 2013 with his 1179 yards and seven touchdowns. As long as he is the third receiver on the field along with Crabtree and Davis, he is bound to get open and be a solid 3rd option or fill in for almost any fantasy team.
44) Rueben Randle (NYG) – With Hakeem Nicks no longer on the roster, Randle is poised to take over a consistent playmaker for the Giants. The third year receiver is coming off a season where he caught 41 passes on 80 targets for 611 yards and six touchdowns. He will hopefully crack the 100-target mark in 2014 and vie for his first 1000-yard season.
45) Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) – Sanders is going to take a big leap in production this season now that he is playing inside the Denver offence. He is entering his 5th season, is quite versatile and should be a great #3 fantasy wide receiver with upside.
46) Cecil Shorts (JAC) – With the future of Justin Blackmon still up in the air, Shorts is poised to be the top target for the Jaguars once again in 2014. Shorts took a step back in his third year as defences game planned for him and were able to focus on him with Blackmon off the field, mustering just 777 yards and three touchdowns, but could see improvement this season. The Jaguars drafted Blake Bortles 3rd overall while adding two receivers and an OT in the second and third round of the draft, which should help Shorts get close to the 900 yards and seven touchdowns he had in 2012.
47) Jarrett Boykin (GB) – Boykin made a name for himself in 2013 with 681 yards and three touchdowns for the Packers as the team fought through injuries, namely to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. This season he is going to be playing behind Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson still, but could actually benefit as they see the majority of attention from defences, leaving Boykin in single coverage, something Rodgers will be tempted to throw at.
48) R Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG) – THe Giants have expressed that they are not quite sure that Rueben Randle is the answer they are looking for to help out Victor Cruz, and that was reinforced during the draft when the Giants selected Beckham Jr. in the first round. Despite Manning’s woes in 2013, I still trust the Giants to throw the ball a solid amount which could mean a good workload for Beckham in his rookie year. He could end up as the second best receiver on the roster in 2014.
———– The Cut Line ———–
49) Danny Amendola (NE) –
50) Brian Hartline (MIA) –
52) Marvin Jones (CIN) –
53) DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) –
54) R Kelvim Benjamin (CAR) –
55) Kenny Stills (NO) –
56) Steve Smith (CAR) –
57) Justin Blackmon (JAC) –
58) Rod Streater (OAK) –
59) James Jones (OAK) –