Saturday, March 30, 2013

Early 2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receiver


1. Calvin Johnson
2. A.J. Green
3. Dez Bryant
4. Demaryius Thomas
5. Julio Jones

I feel like this tier is Calvin Johnson as the clear-cut top receiver followed by an interchangeable 2-5 ranking. I would be happy to select any of the above as my #1 WR. Outside of Calvin Johnson, I'm highest on A.J. Green. Green simply doesn't have the competition the other receivers from this tier have (see Miles Austin, Eric Decker/Wes Welker & Roddy White).  Add in the fact that Green is in his third season with an improving Andy Dalton and I expect big things (100 receptions, 1500 yards and 12 TD).

6. Victor Cruz
7. Brandon Marshall
8. Percy Harvin
9. Roddy White
10. Vincent Jackson
11. Andre Johnson

I may be a little low on Marshall here, but there are a couple things that concern me about him going into the 2013 season. Marshall had his third hip surgery this off-season, he faces added competition for looks with the addition of Martellus Bennett (formerly of the NY Giants), and he will see added defensive pressure. 
Percy Harvin being traded to Seattle was the best thing that could have happened to him. Harvin will now have Russell Wilson throwing to him, instead of the mess of a QB known as Christian Ponder. Don't forget that Harvin is extra valuable in leagues that awards points for return yards & TD's.

12. Hakeem Nicks
13. Mike Wallace
14. Wes Welker
15. Randall Cobb
16. Jordy Nelson
17. Larry Fitzgerald

Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are hard to rank for me. Randall Cobb took over during the season because of a Greg Jennings injury, so it will be fun to see what a full off-season getting starters reps will due to his production. Jordy Nelson has the past production (2011 season stats: 95 receptions, 1263 yards and 15 TD's). For me though Randall Cobb has the higher ceiling because of his versatility as a runner and return man. 
As for Fitzgerald, it's crazy how far he has fallen in drafts over the span of a year. I do see a rebound from him thanks to Bruce Arians arrival, which features TONS of down field passing. The only thing holding back higher expectations is that the offense will rely on a QB that is able to make the down-field throws, and the Cardinals quite simply don't have that QB on the roster. Although I think Drew Stanton will be serviceable for Fitzgerald while the Cardinals groom a rookie QB.

18. Michael Crabtree
19. Danny Amendola
20. Eric Decker
21. Reggie Wayne
22. Pierre Garcon
23. Antonio Brown
24. Dwayne Bowe
25. Greg Jennings

Michael Crabtree evolved into a different, game-changing receiver with Colin Kaepernick at QB. Kaepernick was simply able to make throws that Alex Smith couldn't even dream of making. Crabtree's stats with Kaepernick (including playoffs) if prorated over a full season would be 97 receptions, 1408 yards and 13 TD's. I want to see him do it for a full season before I can feel comfortable having him higher on the list.
Pierre Garcon could be the bargain of all WR's depending on his health and the health of his QB RGIII. In games that Garcon was healthy, he looked absolutely dominate. But those games were few and far between last season. He is someone who could rise considerably from now until the start of the season.

26. Torrey Smith
27. Miles Austin
28. DeSean Jackson
29. Jeremy Maclin
30. Marques Colston

The departure of Anquan Boldin has left the door wide open for Torrey Smith to take the leap necessary into borderline WR #1 status. We've seen the big games from him in the past, however his issue has always been consistency. I believe in what will be his third season, he will take that leap with a solid season.
DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are in a situation similar to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, only with a wild card at QB in the form of Michael Vick and a new head coach (Chip Kelly). In the past, they have both shown the ability to put up big stats. Add in the Chip Kelly Oregon offense, and you have the possibility for both WR's too succeed.

31. TY Hilton
32. Denario Alexander
33. Stevie Johnson
34. Steve Smith
35. Cecil Shorts
36. Josh Gordon

TY Hilton and Josh Gordon are late round picks that have the chance to out perform their respective draft spot. As rookies, both players flashed the ability to make big plays and score TD's. These characteristics are very valuable in the fantasy game. TY Hilton has five 100+ yard games and six games with at least 1 TD in his rookie season. Josh Gordon didn't have the same quite the same impact but his potential was on full display weeks 5-7, when he racked up 240 yards and 4 TD's. I think drafting either receiver as a WR #3 will be a smart move as they will both finish in the WR #2 range by seasons end.

37. Kenny Britt
38. James Jones
39. Kendall Wright
40. Anquan Boldin
41. Justin Blackmon
42. Santonio Holmes
43. Vincent Brown
44. Darrius Heyward-Bey*
45. Sidney Rice
46. Alshon Jeffrey
47. Mike Williams
48. Chris Givens
49. Brandon Lloyd
50. Lance Moore

In my eyes, 37-50 in my WR rankings is pretty interchangeable as I don't see any surefire starter in 3-WR leagues out of the bunch. Each of the receivers above has flashed potential at some point but has question marks. Their low rankings can mainly be blamed on several factors; whether that is their current health, the QB situation, or competition for targets. If I was forced to name two WR's from the list I could see myself starting, they would be Kenny Britt and Brandon Lloyd (depending on where Lloyd ends up). Anyone remember Britt performance against Philly in week 7 of 2010 (225 yards and 3 TD's)... can that guy please stand up?
*Darrius Heyward-Bey was signed by the Colts (4/1). With Luck throwing to him he has risen up from #50 to #44.


  1. Great rankings, great rationale. I love the tier splits and the conservative places of TY and Crabtree, and the explanation that they've both got huge upside but are ranked lower than where they'll probably end up. Well played sir.

  2. Thanks for the comments. I was trying to be conservative yet be optimistic at the same time. I am high on both Crabtree and Hilton but I don't want o rank them to high right out of the gate. Check back every few weeks for updated ranks.