In today’s NFL, wide receivers have been scoring early and often. Your league may come down to how you draft and evaluate the WR corps. I use a pretty standard scoring format when it comes to WRs: 1 point per 10 yards receiving (or rushing) and 6 points for all TDs. 2014 was an epic year for wide receivers. Many of them came of age from game one. Others, still have yet to take that step. Will they in 2015?
1. Antonio Brown, Steelers- Not sure there is much disputing this one. Brown has been there and Ben will keep him there–baring injury.
2. Dez Bryant, Cowboys- Dez just got paid, so we will see if that has any impact on his on-field success. He and Romo have a great chemistry. They might not be able to run it as much as they did in 2014, so there should be plenty of targets for Bryant.
3. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos- As long as Peyton is in Denver and Thomas is healthy, he will be among the top WRs. He’s got one less big man to take away his targets, so this could actually mean an increase in targets.
4. Calvin Johnson, Lions- Megatron has slipped just a little down the line as injuries and an inconsistent QB have hampered him. I think Calvin will have an upswing this year. Stafford should be more comfortable in year two and he has a proven #2 in Golden Tate.
5. Julio Jones, Falcons- Julio has been playing at a high level since his rookie year. The separation from #1 WR to #5 isn’t all that big. Look for Julio to have another huge year.
6. Odell Beckham Jr, Giants- Can he repeat the production he has as a rookie? If so, he could carry a team to the playoffs in fantasy and reality. One thing is for sure, this dude can catch.
7. Alshon Jeffery, Bears- Alshon has been thrust into the #1 role by default. Brandon Marshall has been shipped off to the Jets. The Bears drafted a young stud WR in Kevin White, but he is out with a stress fracture and will probably miss 2015.
8. Randall Cobb, Packers- The only thing that has me rank Cobb at this spot is his durability. He already sustained a sprain to his AC joint, it’s not as bad as a hamstring, but this injury will probably linger for a few weeks.
9. AJ Green, Bengals- I like AJ, but he’s just too inconsistent. Partly, do to his QB Andy Dalton.
10. DeSean Jackson, Redskins- Jackson has shown he can produce no matter who his QB is. Over the past few seasons he has had a lot. This year it will be Kirk Cousins, for better or for worse.
11. TY Hilton, Colts- TY is probably just coming into his own. He could very possibly be a top 3 WR in the league and in fantasy points. He’s got more speed than he knows what to do with and the best QB not named Aaron Rodgers.
12. Mike Evans, Buccaneers- Mike Evans had a great rookie year. Like Alshon, Dez, and Brandon Marshall, he is a big body and has a wide catch radius. Even with a rookie QB throwing him the ball, he should do pretty well in year 2.
13. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos- I would have ranked Sanders a little higher, but he has been battling a hamstring since training camp. The type of receiver he is entirely depends on his mobility. With him being the undisputed #2 target, he could surpass the production he had in 2014. He’s gotta be healthy to do that.
14. Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs- Maclin has taken a beating over the years, but he has retained his speed and keeps coming back. Now he heads to KC and will be reunited with his old ball coach Andy Reid. He has had a great preseason so far. If he stays upright through the season, he should have a huge year.
15. Keenan Allen, Chargers- Allen had a great rookie year, followed by a lesser season 2. The Chargers have upgraded their running game with Melvin Gordon, so they should be a little less predictable on offense.
16. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans- QB is the only thing slowing this young WR down. He showed flashes the last couple years. He might even make whoever it will be at quarterback a better player. With Arian Foster out with his groin being repaired, he will have to shoulder the load.
17. Brandin Cooks, Saints- I had high hopes for this guy last year. He showed flashes, but just didn’t have the consistency/chemistry with Brees. He then wound up the year on IR. With no Jimmy Graham, Cooks is probably first inline to take his place as #1 target for Brees. It remains to be seen if he can withstand the pounding and stay focused to have a breakout season.
18. Jordan Matthews, Eagles- Jordan had a nice rookie season and looks like he is doing well in preseason this year. With McCoy and Maclin gone, he should be the big play threat and be inline for many, many targets.
19. Julian Edelman Patriots- Outside of Gronk, Edelman was the most consistent receiver the last two years in New England.
20. Sammy Watkins, Bills- Sammy was one of the top rookies coming out of the draft in 2014. Injury and inconsistency at QB limited his production. Tyrod Taylor has been named the QB. Tyrod seems to be pretty dynamic. No clue how this will translate to production for the 2nd year WR Watkins.
21. Brandon Marshall, Jets- Brandon could be a steal or could be a bust. It all depends on his QB, which hasn’t been known for consistent quarterback play over the last few years. The one bright spot might be the defense that should give them the ball back often.
22. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins- Landry is yet another 2nd year receiver who had a nice rookie campaign. He and QB Ryan Tannehill should be poised to build on their 2014 success. 2nd year in the offense for Landry and the Dolphins line seems to be a bit better.
23. Golden Tate, Lions- Golden Tate came in and gave the Lions exactly what they needed, a reliable #2 target to take some pressure off Calvin Johnson. A new offensive system and injuries to Megatron seemed to limit Stafford, but Tate has a productive year. Look for Golden to be even more of a threat in 2015.
24. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers- V-Jax has been a solid WR since he came over from San Diego. He has been durable and dependable throughout coaching and QB changes. His production has slowed down a little, but more due to personnel than performance. It could be an up and down year with a rookie at QB.
25. Amari Cooper, Raiders- The Raiders went out and got arguably the best WR coming out of college to go along with their young QB. Cooper is fast, has length and a lot of athletic ability. He should make an immediate impact in the NFL.
26. Andre Johnson, Colts- I love the move the Colts made to go out and get Johnson. He will be a huge target for Luck and should do well in the Red Zone. Even though Andre has a lot of mileage on his wheels, it will be interesting to see what he can do with the best QB he has ever played with.
27. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals- It would have been nice to see what Fitz could have done had he had one of the top QBs for most of his career. He’s got Carson Palmer on yet another surgically repaired knee. If they can keep Palmer upright, Fitz could have a great year.
28. Terrance Williams, Cowboys- Robin to Dez Bryant’s Batman, Williams should have a solid season. I don’t think Dallas will be able to run the ball as much as they did in 2014, which could mean more targets for their speedy WRs.
29. Eric Decker, Jets- Same issue with Brandon Marshall: If they get good QB play they will do alright. If not, it’s a lot of money wasted.
30. Victor Cruz, Giants- Coming off a major injury might slow this guy down a little. He still should have enough to be a solid option for the Giants and your fantasy team. He should also benefit from teams trying to solve the ODB puzzle.