Wide receiver has always been the deepest position in fantasy football, but in recent years the position has become increasingly valuable with the league becoming so pass friendly. One benefit of having depth at WR means you may find a quality option to be your number 1 in rounds 3-4 much easier than finding a quality RB in the same rounds. That being said I have compiled my tier 2 rankings of wide-outs who are all capable of leading your fantasy squad and who will be available between the 2nd and 4th round (based on 10 team league.) Here are my thoughts…(all points based on ESPN standard scoring)
5. Andre Johnson: Johnson is arguably top 3 in pure talent at wide receiver with Megatron and Fitzgerald, and would be ranked higher if it were not for injuries as he has missed multiple games in 4 of the last 7 seasons. But the fact remains that Johnson is still Elite when he is healthy and warrants a 5th place ranking. Johnson racked up 42 fantasy points in the first 3 games last season as he had 316 yards and 2 touchdowns. After going down in week 4 with a torn hamstring Johnson only played in 3 more contests one of which was a 97 yard performance in week 13. Johnson hopefully can bounce back and stay healthy rewarding those who take him with a 2nd round selection.
6. Roddy White: White has been extremely consistent the past 5 years as he has averaged 1,284 yards and 8.4 touchdowns per year. He has added value in PPR leagues as he caught 100 passes in 2011 and 115 in 2010. The addition of Julio Jones did little to affect White’s performance last season and that should be the case again. In fact I think having Jones is good for White because defenses will want to keep the explosive sophomore contained leaving White with single coverage oppurtunities. Add the fact that he has not missed a game in 3 years and you get a great receiver who is well worth a pick in the 2nd round.
7. Brandon Marshall: Marshall has averaged 1,187 yards and over 6 touchdowns a season the past 5 years and that trend should move up. With sub-par QB play last season he still managed over 1,200 yards and when playing with Cutler he has averaged 1,237 yards and nearly 8 touchdowns per season as a starter (each with over 100 catches.) Back in orange and blue with the cannon armed Vanderbilt product I see top 10 WR written all over Marshall.
8. A.J. Green: What Green did last year with Andy Dalton was truly impressive considering they were both rookies and both had limited preparation as the NFL lockout was in effect. Despite the challenges he still had 65 receptions, 1,057 yards and 7 scores in 15 games. Last season he had an average of 9.6 fantasy points per game played, and posted double digit points in 9 games. He has great speed and his 6’4 frame and leaping ability make him a very dangerous threat in the redzone. He should easily eclipse all of his 2011 totals.
9. Julio Jones: Despite playing in only 13 games last season Jones still managed to rack up 959 yards and 8 touchdowns. If you were to prorate these numbers he would have finished with 1,180 yards and possibly and extra touchdown or two. Jones was hampered with hamstring injury last season but when healthy truly impressed with 5 games with over 100 yards. What Jones did in the final 4 games last season is what makes me put him in the top 10 as he went off for 393 yards and 6 touchdowns good for 71 fantasy points. If healthy he is amazing and is in for a huge sophomore season.
10. Mike Wallace: Wallace’s elite speed allowed hm to fly past defenders last season racking up nearly 1,200 yards and 8 touchdowns. Last season he tied for a 9th place finish in fantasy points among WR’s with Vincent Jackson and I see similar production this year. Half of the games he played he posted double digit points and though his points declined down the stretch that is due in large part to a ailing Big Ben. With the offensive line being upgraded via the draft I expect Ben will stay healthier and thus helping Wallace flourish. He is unhappy about not getting a new contract this season but should be available to play. If he misses training camp he might go down my ranks a bit.
So there you have it fantasy fans my tier two rankings. All of the players listed are players well worth a selection as your WR1 have great chances to finish in the top 10. WR is very hard to predict because of its depth and as Michael Fabiano has stated “since 2007 no more than 4 wide recievers to finish in the top 10 in fantasy points have repeated the next season. That being said I have done my best. As always comments are encouraged.