2016 End of Season Rankings: Wide Receivers

There was a bit of a movement shifting back to running the ball. With rookies like Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard. As I say that though, teams that usually run the ball early and often, struggled to do so. Still, there are way more wide receivers as each team usually starts two. Let’s get to ranking!

1. Antonio Brown, Steelers. In my opinion, the only WR worthy of a first round pick (depending on league). Solid as they come.

2. Jordy Nelson, Packers- I did not see him coming back as fast and as productive as he did from tearing his ACL. I thought he would be decent. No way did I see him coming back to his 2014 form so soon. He did. He’s got the best QB throwing to him.

3. Mike Evans, Buccaneers- Kind of reminds me of Andre Johnson, with a slightly better QB throwing to him. If he stays in Tampa, for 10 years, he’s going to break all kinds of records. Scary part is, he is just getting started.

4. Julio Jones, Falcons- As good as a year Matt Ryan had, Julio battled injuries and only scored 6 TDs. He did have 1400 yards even missing some time. As usual, health is the only thing holding him back from being a total beast.

5. Dez Bryant, Cowboys- Dez didn’t have as good a season as I thought he would have, but he came back from a nasty leg injury and built rapport with rookie QB Dak Prescott. He and Dak will only get better with every game.

6. Odell Beckham Jr, Giants- ODB is a top 5 WR, but Norman exposed him a bit last year. You can mentally take him out of his game at times. He is very much capable of putting up 30 point games at any given time.

7. TY Hilton, Colts- TY is creeping up on top 5 status. His QB is back to throwing long touchdowns. Health is maybe the only thing slowing him down as he is a smaller WR.

8. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos- Demaryius took a hit in production mainly due to his QB sucking. Not sure what the Broncos plan to do in 2017, so for now his ranking can only be so high. This may even be a little lofty, I dunno.

9. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans- Same with this cat, however, Osweiler did get the ball to them in a huge playoff game on Saturday. If Osweiler continues to be consistent in pre-season, Hopkins may climb up the ladder a bit.

10. AJ Green, Bengals- No secret that I am not a huge AJ Green fan. The Bengals offense in general just seems to sputter out too much. In my opinion AJ Green is a top end WR2.

11. Amari Cooper, Raiders- Had another solid year. Only 5 TDS though. Fellow WR Michael Crabtree seemed to be a more consistent red zone target. Expect his QB Derek Carr to come back chomping at the bit as he recovers from a broken leg.

12. Davante Adams, Packers- Mr. Adams too that step that the Packers thought he would. Now let’s see if he can do it again. We have seen a few WRs have great seasons in Green Bay, only to disappear (Randall Cobb). If Davante can keep it up, he might be a steal in the 3rd or 4th round.

13. Brandin Cooks, Saints- Brandin continues to grow as a receiver and Drew Brees doesn’t look like he’s slowing down. He needs to be more consistent to get into the WR1 category.

14. Michael Thomas, Saints- While he has to compete with Cooks a little for targets, Michael Thomas seems ready to do just that. More consistent WR, but maybe not as explosive. Will be fun to see if he can do it year in and year out.

15. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks- For the second straight year this dude has had a nice back half of the season, and so far, playoffs. It seems like their receiving corps is evolving, and Baldwin should lead the pack.

16. Michael Crabtree, Raiders- Really like what Crabtree developed into after having some health issues early in his career. I am hoping Chicago Bears WR Kevin White can pull off the same feat. Crabtree is absolutely at the top of WR2s, and really close to breaking into WR1 territory.

17. Rishard Matthews, Titans- Really cautious with Matthews who came over from Miami. Seemed to be lights out at times, and lights off at times. Did have a better second half. Looks like a pretty solid WR2 who may have room to move up in his 2nd year with QB Marcus Mariota.

18. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins- He has the targets, receptions, and yards. Just needs the TDs, and he will be a WR1. Should improve in year 2 of Adam Gase’s offense.

19. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers- Year 2 coming back from ACL surgery is usually when players fully recover. Benjamin may get a little more explosive, and more time with Cam Newton won’t hurt. Depending on what happens in pre-season, Benjamin might sneak up a few spots.

20. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs- Tyreek is a different kind of cat. Kind of in the mold of a Julian Edleman, but with a whole lot more speed. This is a bit of a projection, because Andy Reid is not really known for developing WRs, and his QB is very conservative. The flipside is, Tyreek just needs the ball, he can do the rest on his own.

21. Golden Tate, Lions- Tate had an odd year. He saw some reduction in targets early on, but then ended up being pretty productive. He lost some red zone looks to Marvin Jones and Eric Ebron.

22. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos- I was a little surprised Sanders numbers declined. He is more a run after the catch guy, and is almost always open. Then again, the Broncos QB situation is a little “muddy”.

Julian Edleman, Patriots- Production slid a little in the TD area. He is still getting targeted like a WR1. He’s a solid WR2.

23. Taylor Gabriel, Falcons- Gabriel came on when Julio Jones was injured. This is a projection, a lot like with Tyreek Hill. With Matt Ryan taking his game to an elite level, Gabriel should benefit from another year with him.

24. Jamison Crowder, Redskins- This depends on QB Kirk Cousins staying in Washington. Crowder looked like a WR1 for part of the season, then looked like a WR zero at times. Especially down the stretch. He got me good. Could be a solid WR2 if he stays consistent.

25. Marvin Jones, Lions- Marvin started out like I thought he would with the Lions, then he went away for a while. He kind of came back later in the season. Not sure what was going on. Fighting off injury? No clue. Low end WR2 until he proves to be more consistent.

26. Sterling Shepard, Giants- Had a nice rookie season. Could be a real steal as a WR2 who has WR1 upside.

27. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals- A little down on Fitz, but it’s more due to his QB. I think Palmer is done. Not sure what is going to go on with them in the offseason. Fitz got WR1 targets, and was pretty productive. I’m a little skeptical going forward.

28. Tyrell Williams, Chargers- Tyrell came out of nowhere after Keenan Allen went down (again) and Travis Benjamin faded. The biggest thing with Chargers WRs is, can they stay healthy? Not sure what goes on down there but they have real issues keeping their receivers healthy.

29. Terrelle Pryor Sr., Free Agent- Where Tyrelle ends up could drastically change his position. At base level, he is a solid WR2. If he lands with an elite QB, he could end up as a low end WR1.

30. DeSean Jackson, Free Agent- DeSean is one of the most dynamic WRs in the league, as such he is a little boom or bust. If he stays in Washington, he’ll be a decent, if maybe lower end WR2. He could move up if he gets to work with a top end QB.

I left out a lot of WRs. Consistency and availability are two of my main traits for Fantasy players. Especially WR where there are a lot to choose from. I won’t draft a Jacksonville WR, just because that situation has devolved.

 

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