2016 Fantasy Football rankings: Wide Receivers

The modern NFL is a passing league, which means, there are more viable wide receivers than ever for fantasy football. That being said, there are a handful who are elite, then there are about 15-20 worthy of mention.

1. Antonio Brown- Not much else to say about this dude. Practically uncoverable. Get him the ball, he will make a play. He and Adrian Peterson are the safest picks in the draft.

2. Julio Jones- Some would argue that he is the best WR in the league. It’s spiltting hairs. What I can tell you is that Big Ben is the better passer, and if that’s what it takes to break the tie–consider it broken.

3. Odell Beckham Jr.- ODB is filthy when it comes to catching a football. F-I-L-T-H-Y? Because he’s gotta be. He’s also got some speed after the catch. The Giants offensive line is sketchy, which makes Eli Manning sketchy. Still gotta rank ODB up at the top.

4. Dez Bryant- If this was based on pure talent, Dez might be #1 for me. His Kryptonite is his QB Tony Romo, who happens to be injured. However, Dallas drafted a rookie QB who already has connected with Dez for a score, and that means something. Hell, it means everything. He hooks up with him 10-12 times and that could help you get into the playoffs.

5. DeAndre Hopkins- Hopkins has taken his game to an elite level without the benefit of an elite QB. What he’s done in his few years in the league is eye opening. He might have a solid QB in Brock Osweiler, and that could produce some really nice results. DeAndre has a solid chance to dethrone Antonio as the reigning receiving leader.

6. Josh Gordon- Josh has had an unstable relationship with the NFL to say the least. I’m pulling as much for the man as I am the player, to stay on track. Gordon is every bit as good as Dez Bryant and Antonio Brown–maybe even better. He’s got a QB who is also trying to rehab his NFL career. Here’s hoping they both make some sweet, sweet music together.

7. AJ Green- I have never been much of an AJ Green fan, not because of anything the receiver does. It’s more the hype everyone throws on him. He will earn it this year if he continues to produce, as his #2, and #3 WRs have left via free agency. AJ will no doubt face double and triple coverage until the Bengals come up with reliable options to take the pressure off him.

8. Allen Robinson- Robinson has made a name for himself in the league, and looks to take his game to another level. QB Blake Bortles is also poised to raise his game as well.

9. Brandon Marshall- Another 100 catch, 1500 yard, season for B-Marsh. Did I mention a career high 14 TDs? Year two with Fitzpatrick should yield decent results. The Jets added former Bear and teammate Matt Forte to the mix at running back. Might cut in to a few of Marshall’s targets, but should also take some pressure off.

10. Mike Evans- Mike Evans should see some returns in year two of his relationship with QB Jameis Winston. Evans’ TD production dropped last season, but his targets and yardage went up. Look for those TDs to return to the double digit region as he grows with his 2nd year teammate.

11. Alshon Jeffery- Injuries are the only thing holding Alshon back. When he is healthy, there isn’t many tougher receivers to cover–mainly do to his catch radius. Alshon has long arms and strong hands, which allows him to go up over shorter DBs and make plays. Hopefully the offensive line can give his QB the time to complete some throws.

12. Keenan Allen- Keenan Allen was on pace for a 1400 yard, 8+ TD season before injury forced him to end campaign early. The addition of fellow WR Travis Benjamin, and an improved offensive line should help Keenan bounce back.

13. Jordy Nelson- We learned just how reliant on Jordy Nelson Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have become. It will probably take Jordy a little bit longer to fully get into form, but his game wasn’t based on pure speed. As long as he can cut, he should be able to get open. He’s still one of the premiere targets in the league, as long as Rodgers is throwing to him.

14. Kelvin Benjamin- This is still primarily going on his size and potential. Cam Newton had his best NFL season without the big receiver. The hope is, the two will re-establish the connection they had before the injury.

15. Marvin Jones- Marvin was the #2 option with Cincinnati, opposite AJ Green. He will now compete for targets with steady receiver Golden Tate. Jones has already looked good in limited action and seems to have good chemistry with Matthew Stafford.

16. Doug Baldwin- Was 2015 a dream for Baldwin, or the start of something real with QB Russell Wilson? Remains to be seen. I think it will be the latter, and I am banking on that with this ranking. Doug caught 11 of his 14 TDs in weeks 11-15.

17. Demaryius Thomas- I might have him ranked a little low, and this is no knock on the talented wide-out. It’s more reflective on the lack of experience of his rookie QB. Thomas showed he still is a force with a one-handed catch vs the LA Rams.

18. Travis Benjamin- Travis put up decent numbers without the benefit of a talented QB throwing him the ball. With Philip Rivers tossing, and Keenan Allen taking most of the attention, Benjamin is in a very nice spot. Look for him to put up WR1 numbers as a WR2.

19. Brandin Cooks- Brandin hasn’t quite lived up to the hype that was praised on him in training camp 2014, but in 2015 he made major strides. 1100+ yards and 9 TDs is a solid rebound from a tough rookie year. Drew Brees is fighting time, and the Saints offensive line is a work in progress.

20. TY Hilton- TY has stacked three 1000 yard seasons on top of each other, but has yet to crack double digits in TDs. Andrew Luck’s injury shortened season didn’t help much last year. Unfortunately, the Colts line is starting where it left off in 2015, which could be really bad for them, TY, and Luck. Be cautious.

21. Sammy Watkins- Sammy has had 2 decent seasons, but still hasn’t lived up to that mega-star billing that was placed on him when the Bills traded up to get him. Tyrod Taylor should be more comfortable in year two of the offense.

22. Amari Cooper- Cooper looks to build on his rookie year in which he put up 1000 yards and 6 TDs. Being with Carr for a 2nd season should further his development.

23. Jeremy Maclin- I had probably higher hopes than many for Maclin when he joined the Chiefs. After an up and down start, Jeremy closed out the season with 6 TDs in the last 6 games. I think there is room for improvement, but nothing too crazy. Maclin is a solid WR2.

24. DeSean Jackson- D-Jax is one of those guys who is a threat to take any pass for a TD. Problem lately has been his health. They solved the QB issue in Washington, so as long as DeSean can be on the field, there is the possibility for a show. WR2, who will be a WR1 at times, depending on the matchup.

25. Emmanuel Sanders- Sanders battle some injuries in 2015, both to him and his Hall of Fame QB. Peyton retired, and the new kid in town is pretty green. Still, Emmanuel is the type of receiver who is always open and piles up the yards easily. A WR2 who can easily put up WR1 any given Sunday.

26. Golden Tate-Golden Tate is the perfect player for a WR2. 2 90 catch seasons means he is getting the targets you would like him to get. With Marvin Jones on the other side, Tate might lose a few targets, but his TD production has a chance to rise.

27. Randall Cobb- 2015 was somewhat of a mystery for Cobb. I thought his production would have a lot higher when Nelson went down. Unfortunately it didn’t. With Nelson back, perhaps it can come back closer to what it was in 2014.

28. Julian Edelman- Edelman has become one of Brady’s top targets, and gets open as the #1 requirement. His health has kept him on the sidelines more in 2015, so that is something to be aware of.

29. Kevin White- White missed all of 2015 with a stress fracture in his lower leg. He has the size, speed, and long arms that many of the top WRs possess. He is still raw as a route runner, but with Alshon taking on double teams, should find himself 1 on 1 often. The sky is the limit for him. WR3 with the possibility to move up.

30. Eric Decker- Eric Decker is definitely Robin to Brandon Marshall’s Batman. That being said, 1000 yards and 12 TDs is a very solid place to be. Year two with Ryan Fitzpatrick should be interesting.

Tight End Rankings next up!

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