Because of the evolution of the passing game, WR has become the deepest position in fantasy football. There are superstars who will cost you a pick in the first 2 or 3 rounds, but there is also plenty of value found in the middle and late rounds who can produce solid numbers as well. And if you can find a gem like A.J. Green was last year, you could well be on your way to your leagues playoffs. Following are my current rankings heading into the season. Hopefully this reaches you in time for your labor day weekend drafts. (ADP is according to ESPN)
1. Calvin Johnson (ADP 7.4) 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns may be hard to repeat, but he will still be a monster.
2. Julio Jones (ADP 30.9) If he recieves more targets he can easily push Megatron for the top scoring WR. He is a freak!
3. Greg Jennings (ADP 20.6) He is playing for a contract and will re-assert himself as the top dog in Green Bay.
4. Larry Fitzgerald (ADP 14.1) He had the same QB’s throwing to him last year and all he did was post 1,411 yards and 8 touchdowns.
5. Andre Johnson (ADP 15.4) Can he stay healthy this season? If he can he is among fantasy’s elite WR’s.
6. Roddy White (ADP 19.7) He will see less targets this year, but Matty Ice will sling the rock enough to make both him and Julio WR1’s.
7. Wes Welker (ADP 23.2) Its unlikely he posts numbers like last season, but he is definitely capable of 1,200 plus and 5 plus touchdowns. He would be ranked higher in PPR obviously as he is almost guaranteed for 100 plus catches.
8. A.J. Green (ADP 30.1) Over 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns in a rookie season is impressive, and even more so considering he had a fellow rookie throwing him the ball as well as limited time to prepare with a lockout. He should easily push 1,200 yards and 8 or more touchdowns.
9. Brandon Marshall (ADP 35.1) If Marshall could put up 1,214 yards and 6 touchdowns with the likes of Matt Moore, imagine what he can do reunited with Jay Cutler.
10. Hakeem Nicks (ADP 31.5) Nicks’ problem has always been staying healthy…if his foot does not limit him this season he has the skills to put up top 10 numbers.
11. Demaryius Thomas (ADP 66.4) Peyton Manning’s top WR over the past 10 years have averaged 99 receptions, 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns…enough said. He is a steal in round 7 where his ADP is, but i would pull the trigger as soon as the 4th or 5th round, depending on how the draft goes.
12. Jordy Nelson (ADP 38.4) He likely will not post 15 touchdowns again, but he has the speed and body to get a lot of points in yards and scores.
13. Victor Cruz (ADP 32.2) He has the big play ability that can get you a lot of points as he can take it to the house whenever he has the ball in space. Was he a one year wonder? I doubt it, but I also doubt he can return top 4 numbers as he did last season.
14. Steve Smith (ADP 44.4) Smith is an elite WR in the NFL and he has great value in the 5th round. I consider him a low end WR1 or high end WR2.
15. Percy Harvin (ADP 55.9) Harvin was fantasy’s 8th highest scoring WR last year playing in only 58% of the teams offensive plays. He should see more time this season and if he can build on what he did down the stretch last year (108 points in final 8 games), I would not be surprised at all to see him post top 10 numbers yet again.
16. Mike Wallace (ADP 27.6) Wallace struggled down the stretch last year and it may take him a bit to get up to speed in this new offense. He has the ability, but there is too much risk for me to draft him in the 3rd.
17. Marques Colston (ADP 47.2) Colston is an afterthought this season with the emergence of Jimmy Graham, but he is still capable of posting great numbers as he has posted 1,000 plus yards and at least 7 touchdowns in 5 of the past 6 years.
18. Brandon Lloyd (ADP 51.9) He is the deep threat the Patriots have been missing since the departure of Randy Moss, and I believe he is in line for a great season. Brady has a lot of other weapons but Lloyd will have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of.
19. Dez Bryant (ADP 45.0) If Bryant can keep his head on straight he has true elite skills and can be in line for the fabled 3rd year breakout this season.
20. Eric Decker (ADP 63.6) Another candidate for a 3rd year breakout campaign, Decker has built a solid rapport with Manning and though I have him ranked at 20, I would not be surprised at all to see him post top 15 numbers.
21. Dwayne Bowe (ADP 58.6) He has had 3 1,000 plus yard seasons and has averaged 9 touchdowns in those seasons. He had a down year but is playing for a contract and that is always a bonus in fantasy.
22. Miles Austin (ADP 57.1) Austin can be an elite fantasy WR if it weren’t for lagging injuries like the dual hamstrings he dealt with last season. If he can put them behind him he should do fine this season as a WR2.
23. Antonio Brown (ADP 64.9) Brown can easily outplay this ADP as people tend to look at his fantasy production and not pay attention to his real numbers. He had 1,108 yards on 123 targets, but only found the endzone twice. He has been tearing it up this preseason and has a great chance to be the teams top fantasy option this year at all positions. I have Wallace higher but Brown can easily outplay him.
24. Vincent Jackson (ADP 57.4) He as had a downgrade in QB this season and the team will likely run the ball a lot this season, but Jackson has big play ability and should put up over 1,000 yards and 7 plus touchdowns.
25. Steve Johnson (ADP 68.1) Johnson has now had over 1,000 yards in back to back season and he is now clear of a groin injury he dealt with last season. He should improve those numbers this season.
26. Jeremy Maclin (ADP 66.5) Maclin has a better overall game than DeSean Jackson, but I don’t think Vick is anything more than just a mediocre passer. I would not want Maclin on my roster as anything more than a WR3 or flex play.
27. DeSean Jackson (ADP 63.9) Like I just said I don’t like Vick as a passer, and you have to think Philly WR’s will have rookie Nick Foles throwing the ball at leas a couple games this season if and when Vick gets hurt.
28. Pierre Garcon (ADP 83.8) Garcon posted 947 yards and 6 touchdowns with Curtis Painter last season…RGIII is a serious upgrade at QB and he will be his primary target.
29. Torrey Smith (ADP 82.7) He is the WR to own in Baltimore and though he likely won’t be consistent, he is capable of putting up 20 plus points any given Sunday which is the kind of upside you would covet in a flex play.
30. Justin Blackmon (ADP 110.3) Maybe its bias because of the success Green and Jones had last season as rookies but I expect a good year for Blackmon. He has great ball skills and can make people miss, and considering Gabbert will throw a ton this season he scan greatly outplay his round 12 ADP. Because of his upside I would not mind reaching for him in round 8.
31. Reggie Wayne (ADP 99.5) He still has some gas left in the tank and has a much better passer this season in rookie Andrew Luck. Luck will also throw a lot so Wayne can very realistically post 1,000 yards and 5 or better touchdowns which would make his ADP look like a joke.
32. Malcom Floyd (ADP 99.6) Someone has to step up for the Chargers this season, and as Floyd has the most experience in the system I give him the edge.
33. Robert Meachem (ADP 84.3) Obviously the edge I give Floyd is not that big as I have Meachem here. I just don’t know if he has what it takes to be a teams leading receiver.
34. Lance Moore (ADP 104.9) He has a QB who has posted 5,ooo yards twice…with Meachem gone Moore will see plenty of opportunity to step up this season.
35. Kenny Britt (ADP 106.6) Britt has the skills to be a top 10 WR ,but the fact that he is coming off of injury and has a possible suspension looming limit his value. But if the suspension is short he can be a gem at this ADP.
36. Nate Washington (ADP 115.0) He posted up over 1,000 yards last season and 8 touchdowns, so we know he can flourish if Britt is unable to go.
37. Darrius Heyward-Bey (ADP 123.9) I think he becomes Palmers top target this season and if he can build on his campaign last season could be a good bye week filler or low end flex play.
38. Anquan Bodin (ADP 98.8) He has failed to post 900 yards in concecutive seasons, I see just a mediocre season yet again.
39. Titus Young (ADP 117.1) Young has a great chance to step up this season and can be a great sleeper as Megatron will demand double coverages, opening things up for Young to take advantage of.
40. Denarius Moore (ADP 100.2) He could also post good numbers if he gets healthy.
41. Micheal Crabtree (ADP 107.3) I don’t see Moss or Manningham taking over as the teams leading WR…but considering he has Alex Smith throwing the ball in a run first offense his potential is limited.
42. Mike Williams (ADP 140.5) I expect a bounce back campaign with Jackson drawing the coverage. 800 yards 4 or more touchdowns.
43. Brandon LaFell (ADP 145.5) If he can step up this season for Carolina he can be a great late round flier.
44. Sidney Rice (ADP 122.8) If he can stay healthy he can be a great WR…especially with limited competition.
45. Kendall Wright (ADP 139.2) He has looked impressive and would not shock me if he steps up in a big way for the Titans.
46. Leonard Hankerson (ADP 150.4) He has shown flashes, and could easily emerge as Washington’s second best WR.
47. Ruben Randell (ADP 140.2) Has drawn comparisons to teammate Hakeem Nicks and the Giants run enough 3 receiver sets to make him fantasy relevant.
48. Santonio Holmes (ADP 102.3) I am avoiding all Jets this draft (maybe not Green if he falls) and given his ADP he wont be on my rosters this season.
49. Greg Little (ADP 143.4) Someone has to step up for the Browns and Little is the likeliest to do so.
50. Brian Quick (ADP 170.0) Same for the Rams, someone needs to step up…maybe he can be relevant this season.