Wednesday, August 26, 2015


With both Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin already lost for the season, the upper portion of the 2015 fantasy football wide receiver rankings has changed quite a bit.  Let's take a gander.

1.  Antonio Brown:  Sorry but this is no contest in my book.  Brown was the epitome of consistency in 2014, catching at least five balls in every game for a grand total of 129 for over 1,600 yards.  Could be in play as the number 1 pick in PPR formats.
2.  Demaryuis Thomas:  Flip a coin between Thomas and Dez Bryant.  Seriously.  Only concern with Thomas is another late Peyton Manning fade but otherwise the numbers will be off the charts with the Julius Thomas receptions/TD's up for grabs.
3.  Dez Bryant:  Has a good chance at first 100-catch season since the Cowboys will have to throw a lot more with DeMarco Murray out of town. 
4.  Calvin Johnson:  Tough call here as Johnson is becoming very injury prone since turning 30 and his QB in Matthew Stafford is more skittish than ever.  So far though Johnson looks like his old Megatron self which means fantasy football bonanza numbers.  On talent alone, could still be top dog. 
5.  Odell Beckham Jr.:  Listen I was as amazed as anyone by what Beckham Jr. did a year ago in a truly spectacular rookie season but a few things you need to worry about.  One is that Beckham missed four games with a hamstring and going back to college has dealt with numerous injuries.  He already has sat out almost all offseason workouts as well with another hamstring problem.  Also opposing NFL defensive coordinators have had a full offseason to scout and game plan for Beckham.  Finally Victor Cruz will be back and taking his fair share of balls.
6.  Julio Jones:  There was never any doubt about how great a player Jones is but only whether he could stay on the field.  He did so in 2015 and the results were dominant to the tune of 104 catches for 1,593 yards.  The 6 touchdowns will go up this season as well since Roddy White is another year older.  The injury risk remains very high though so don't overpay.
7.  Randall Cobb:  Cobb moves up a few notches after Jordy Nelson was lost for the season with his torn ACL.  Has a tremendous opportunity to catch 100 or more balls as a result of Nelson's absence if he can avoid the injuru bug himself. 
8.  Alshon Jeffery:  With Brandon Marshall now with the New York Mets, Alshon Jeffery has the number 1 receiver mantle all to his own.  He will be more than up to the task as Jeffery was already a low end WR 1 in fantasy football and 90 receptions for around 10-plus scores is likely. 
9.  Emmanuel Sanders:  Was a pure PPR gem in moving to the Peyton Manning Denver passing attack last season as Sanders caught a monstrous 101 passes.  While Demaryuis Thomas is the clear top TD producer for the Broncos, Sanders could very well lead the team in receptions once again.
10. A.J. Green:  Injuries took A.J. Green out of three games and one he was a decoy in a year ago as his streak of 95-plus catches for over 1,300 yards was snapped.  The Bengals movement to a run-dominant offense is a bit worrisome but Green looks like a fantastic bargain who could be had in Round 3.  Major bounce back appeal. 
11. Jordan Matthews:  Absolutely lighting it up in training camp and preseason games.  I predicted stardom and would not be shocked if we are looking at a monster season on tap.   
12. Brandin Cooks:  With Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills now out of town in New Orleans, second-year man Brandin Cooks will be the new number 1 guy in the always potent Sean Payton passing attack.  Cooks was on pace for a terrific rookie season before he went on IR with a thumb injury in 2014 but 90 catches for 7-10 touchdowns is very possible.  Best part is that he will come slightly cheaper than Matthews. 
13. T.Y. Hilton:  Hilton is a bit too all-or-nothing for my taste and his value drops in PPR formats as there are a ton of fish to feed in the Indy passing attack.  No one makes bigger plays there though which means Hilton is a big name in standard formats. 
14. Mike Evans:  Evans has a nose for the end zone as that was his calling card as a rookie for Tampa Bay.  Basically Evans is a younger version of teammate Vincent Jackson in that he is not going to be a big receptions guy but will catch a bunch of touchdowns.  Will be rookie growing pains for Jameis Winston though so be careful of what you are willing to pay,
15. Andre Johnson:  Yes my old friend.  I know you don't want to hear me drool over Johnson yet again but hear me out.  Despite being 34, Johnson finally gets to play with a big-time quarterback in Andrew Luck and it would not shock me in the least if he has a Reggie Wayne 2013 campaign in catching over 100 passes.  The value here could be extreme for one of the greatest PPR receivers in the history of our fake game. 
16. DeAndre Hopkins:  If Hopkins had any semblance of a QB throwing to him, we would push him up even higher.  The athleticism is off the charts and Hopkins is set for a significant season even with Brian Hoyer as his QB.  Bump up in standard leagues. 
17. Keenan Allen:  Very disappointing encore performance for Keenan Allen in 2014 but Philip Rivers will be throwing his away a lot, especially early on with Antonio Gates suspended.  Allen's rookie season will likely be his best career campaign but he can be a very good WR 2 for you. 
18. Brandon Marshall:  Geno Smith's broken jaw slightly hurts Marshall in that he can get the ball to his number 1 wideout deep which is soemthing Ryan Fitzpatrick can't do.  Still Marshall has been a beast in practice and preseason games so he will still get his.  Just forget the old days of 100-plus catches. 
19. Davante Adams:  The biggest winner if you will in the Nelson injury is second-year man Adams who moves into the driver's seat as the new deep threat in the explosive Green Bay passing attack.  Adams could be sitting on a big season now that he will have Aaron Rodgers throwing to him more than anyone outside of Randall Cobb.  80-plus catches and 10-plus scores likely.  Ranking him here could even be too low. 
20. Julian Edelman:  Yes Tom Brady is slated to miss 4 games to begin the year but Julian Edelman will be a PPR dominator no matter who is under center.  The yardage and TD's are never impressive due to the short routes Edelman runs but those in PPR can grade him as high as a top WR 2. 
21. Vincent Jackson:  Mike Evans is now the clear top dog in Tampa Bay's passing attack which puts former standard league WR 1 Vincent Jackson to as low as WR 3 territory.  Historically Jackson has been a big TD producer in his career, so the two he grabbed in 2014 look like an outlier.  With a rookie QB though and a more talented counterpart, Jackson is looking on the downside.
22. Golden Tate:  When Calvin Johnson began missing games last season with injury, Golden Tate overnight became a PPR monster.  A fully healthy Johnson could push Tate back down to his usual WR 3 value but the upside is significant as Megatron is getting more brittle by the season,. 
23. Sammy Watkins:  Watkins is in the same boat as DeAndre Hopkins as he has a world of talent but a horrendous QB under center.  The upside is immense but the run-heavy Buffalo offense and remaining QB problems make Watkins dicey. 
24. Desean Jackson:  Never a fan of Jackson's as he his way too all-or-nothing for me.  Feel free to draft him more aggressively in standard formats but Jackson has been a PPR liability for years. 
25. Jeremy Maclin:  Maclin timed his career season well on the eve of free agency and he got his money from the Kansas City Chiefs.  Unfortunately it is a major downgrade in offensive potency as the Chiefs never throw deep and went all of last season without a TD pass to a wideout.  While Maclin will change the latter, the 2014 numbers won't be approached.
26. Markus Wheaton:  All summer it has been Wheaton and not Martavis Bryant who has started opposite Antonio Brown.  Under that scenario, Wheaton could be primed for a breakout season of his own, while Bryant drops.  
27. Roddy White:  White's body is completely betraying him now as he moves down the rankings.  We learned he gets his knee drained perioodically and just recently underwent elbow surgery.  Not good.  Leonard Hankerson looking more enticing. 
28. Jarvis Landry:  Jarvis Landry is a poor man's Julian Edelman as he catches a bunch of short passes but won't do much in the yardage department.  In other words, draft him in PPR and use as a bench guy in standard. 
29. Anquan Boldin:  Ageless veteran Anquan Boldin continues to produce despite being in some run-heavy offenses the last few seasons.  His all-out play will likely catch up with him soon but Boldin still makes the grade as a solid WR 3. 
30. Eric Decker:  We all knew Decker was not going near his Denver Broncos numbers in 2014 during his initial foray with the New York Jets due to the awful ability of Geno Smith.  However he put up decent WR 3 numbers and the arrival of Brandon Marshall should open up some more space down the field.  Remains a firm WR 3. 
31. Michael Floyd:  The big-play ability of Michael Floyd was neutered as soon as Carson Palmer was lost for the season with a torn ACL.  The return of Palmer makes Floyd very interesting again though as he is in play to be the number 1 wideout in the Arizona passing attack. 
32. Victor Cruz:  The gruesome knee injury suffered by Victor Cruz last season opened the door to Odell Beckham Jr. becoming the overnight sensation he was.  While Cruz looks like he will be ready to return for Week 1, he will take a clear backseat to Beckham.  Still Cruz is a terrific slot guy who will have more room to operate with Beckham drawing attention.
33. Allen Robinson:  Tough to remember but Robinson was having a tremendous rookie season a year ago before he went on IR.  The kid has absolutely dominated in two preseason games and is clearly alreayd the number one target for improving QB Blake Bortles.  Very high on this one. 
34. Amari Cooper:  Derek Carr is a better QB than many think and Cooper should get all the catches he can handle.  All rookies should be graded as a WR 3 but Cooper would shock no one if he was just the latest overnight star.
35. Eddie Royal:  Shin surgery for rookie Kevin White makes Royal a very interesting PPR starter opposing Alshon Jeffery.  Sneaky value here. 
36. Steve Smith:  Steve Smith is still going strong with the Baltimore Ravens after leaving the Carolina Panthers organization.  Like with Anquan Boldin, the wheels will come off very soon so only draft as a low-end WR 3. 
37. Marques Colston:  With Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills sent out of town, there is a lot of football up for grabs which will boost the previously ugly outlook for aging Marques Colston.  Injuries and age are big concerns but Colston could possibly squeeze out one more decent season.
38. Larry Fitzgerald:  At this stage Larry Fitzgerald has slid from being one of the top wide receivers in all of fantasy football to nothing more than a WR 3 who is not even the top guy on his own team. 
39. Nelson Agholor:  The USC rookie has a great opportunity as a starting receiver on the explosive Philadelphia Eagles passing offense.  Could very well lead all rookie receivers in receptions. 
40. Brandon LaFell:  Once Tom Brady gets back, Brandon LaFell will be back to being a major TD producer for the New England Patriots. 
41. Charles Johnson:  The Minnesota Vikings have something interesting here with Charles Johnson who gets down the field in a hurry and has a good set of hands.  Decent upside target during the middle rounds of your draft.
42. Martavis Bryant:  Big dropper here as Bryant's eye-opening rookie season in terms of scoring touchdowns is being muted with the realization Markus Wheaton will start to begin the season with Antonio Brow.  Disappointing. 
43. Mike Wallace:  Wallace is overrated every season and now moves on to Minnesota as his third NFL stop in four seasons.  A terrific deep ball guy, Wallace is best left for standard formats.
44. Torrey Smith:  Smith has made a career out of being a standard league guy who can catch a decent amount of touchdowns while coming up very short in overall receptions.  That won't change with the run-heavy San Francisco 49ers. 
45. Pierre Garcon:  A healthy Robert Griffin III means Garcon could yield some decent PPR action but the 113 catches from 2013 are looking like a major outlier. 
46. Devin Funchess:  Funchess is now the man in the Carolina receiving corps with Kelvin Benjamin on IR.  The big rookie could emnulate his counterpart's impressive 2014 debut.  Rising. 
47. Kenny Stills:  The deep threat moves from New Orleans to Miami where he will get to know QB Ryan Tannehill deep.  Another standard league guy all the way.
48. Brandon Coleman:  Hearing nothing but rave reviews about Coleman in New Orleans camp which always gets our attention considering their need for receiver help.  Could be a crazy value if this pans out.  
49. Doug Baldwin:  The arrival of Jimmy Graham caps what was looking like a decent outlook for Doug Baldwin in 2015.  Keep him only as a standard league WR 3.
50. Percy Harvin:  More name brand than anything he has done on the field, Harvin will play clear third wheel behind LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins in the run-heavy Buffalo Bills offense. 
51. Brian Quick:  Did some nice things in catching 25 passes in 7 games for the St. Louis Rams before going on IR.  Gets a fresh start with new QB Nick Foles and has the best chance to lead the team in catches and receiving scores. 
52. Kendall Wright:  Wright has had some nice PPR moments in his still young career and rookie QB Marcus Mariota will look his way often in the short range. 
53. Malcolm Floyd:  Floyd is a big play waiting to happen but he can't stay on the field enough to make it happen consistently. 
54. Deavante Parker:  There are a lot of mouths to feed all of a sudden in Miami but rookie DeVante Parker should be able to make hay as a decent enough WR 3. 
55. Reuben Randle:  When Victor Cruz went on IR last season, Randle stepped up his game and caught a total of 71 passes and 3 scores.  No guarantee Cruz will ever be back to his old self and Randle had nice chemistry with Eli Manning last season. 
56. Cody Latimer:  The rookie was lost a year ago in catching all of two passes for the Denver Broncos but there is a golden opportunity at hand with Julius Thomas leaving a bunch of passes up for grabs. 
57. Dwayne Bowe:  Fading but still solid enough to possible squeak out one more WR 3 campaign for the Cleveland Browns. 
58. Terrance Williams:  With Dez Bryant threatening to hold out, Williams could gain some immense value early on. 
59. Marvin Jones:  A.J. Green will be the guy in the Cincy passing attack and the run-heavy emphasis lately makes Jones an iffy proposition. 
60. Michael Crabtree:  The speed has never come back after Crabtree tore his ACL and now he goes to the Oakland Raiders where Amari Cooper will likely lead the team in receptions this season. 

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