Friday, July 1, 2016


The first grouping of the 2016 fantasy football wide receiver rankings are set and here is how the first 20 look:

1.  Antonio Brown:  My pick as the number 1 player in all of fantasy football and by the looks of covers from other publications, I am not along with that thought.  The fact Brown reached the 130-catch mark in 2015 while Big Ben missed games with injury was truly remarkable. 
2.  Odell Beckham Jr.:  Dominant on the same level of Brown but could see a slight reduction in catches with Victor Cruz returning and rookie sensation Sterling Shepard as prime weapons in the offnse.
3.  Julio Jones:  Matched Brown's 136 catches and is the second-best PPR wideout in the game.  Jones has a checkered injury history but he has remained durable the last two years which mutes that talk some.  Not the TD producer all those catches would seem to indicate however.
4.  DeAndre Hopkins:  The fact Hopkins caught 111 balls with Brian Hoyer as his QB last season shows you what kind of a star the guy is.  With strong-armed Brock Osweiler now aboard, Hopkins could even better those numbers.
5.  Dez Bryant:  Bryant's broken foot and broken collarbone to Tony Romo completely ruined his 2015.  He is now healthy but the Cowboys will run it a ton with Ezekiel Elliott and Bryant once again relies on the dicey health of Romo.  Avoid.
6.  Allen Robinson:  What a quiet WR 1 star this kid is.  Robinson is the number 1 target in a suddenly explosive Jacksonville offense behind improving QB Blake Bortles.
7.  A.J. Green:  Numbers rebounded in 2015 after a rough 2014 but the Bengals remain a heavy run-team.  Not the sure thing he was in 2013 and 2014. 
8.  Demaryuis Thomas:  While he caught a ton of passes as usual, Thomas was a disappointment in 2015 with his low TD rate and inconsistent game-to-game production.  Now with the Broncos going with either the awful Mark Sanchez or rookie Paxton Lynch, more trouble lies ahead.  Another guy to avoid like with Bryant unless you get him as a WR 2.
9.  Jordy Nelson:  Back from missing 2015 with a torn ACL, Nelson is set to be the big TD-monster he always has been with Aaron Rodgers. 
10. Brandon Marshall:  Set all sorts of records last season in his first go-round with the New York Jets which was totally unexpected.  QB uncertainty here as Ryan Fitzpatrick still has not signed but Marshall still produces as a WR 1 with anyone under center. 
11. Amari Cooper:  Derek Carr's seemingly unwillingness to throw it down the field has hurt the yardage for Cooper but everything else falling in line for him to be a WR 1 in 2016. 
12. Alshon Jeffery:  Had very high personal expectations for Jeffery in 2015 as the clear top dog with Marshall out of town in Chicago but his body didn't cooperate.  Give him another chance and take advantage of the depressed draft price. 
13. Keenan Allen:  Allen was on an insane reception pace before a lacerated kidney finished his season.  A major PPR WR 1 but only a 2 in standard as Allen lacks in scores and yardage.
14. Brandin Cooks:  Didn't explide the way I anticipated a year ago but Cooks was still very productive in a WR 2 sense.  Remains top target in Drew Brees-led Saints offense.
15. Mike Evans:  Not a fan as Evans can be up-and-down with his weekly numbers but in standard formats he has more value due to propensity to catch TD's.
16. Randall Cobb:  Shockingly looked lost without Nelson for large stretches of 2015 but with his teammate back, Cobb should be a very dependable WR 2.
17. Kelvin Benjamin:  Like with Nelson, back after missing all of 2015 with a torn ACL.  Carolina doesn't throw it as much as other teams but Benjamin looked like a future star as a rookie and should be back on that trajectory this season.
18. Sammy Watkins:  Put Watkins on a team with an even competent QB and he would be DeAndre Hopkins.  Alas the Buffalo Bills run it way too much and continue to struggle to find adequate passers to help Watkins be more than a WR 2 in standard formats.
19. Doug Baldwin:  Really took off the second half of last season as the Seattle Seahawks were forced to throw with Marshawn Lynch injured.  Questions about whether Baldwin could replicate such a season which means draft him as a WR 2.
20. Jeremy Maclin:  Was pretty solid his first go-round with the Kansas City Chiefs but the team continues to run it a ton. 

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