Minicamps are underway and training camp is still right around the corner. It feels like the upcoming football season is already close enough to cancel all of my Sunday plans. The taste of victory that comes with destroying your friends in any given fantasy football week can’t come back to me soon enough.
Itching to set a lineup once again, I continue our series of fantasy position previews, it’s really all I have right now to satisfy my hunger for fantasy football to begin.
If you feel like I do, you have already begun to prepare for your league’s draft, and hopefully my preview of the wide receiver position will help your fantasy football team reach the promised land in the upcoming months.
Without further adieu, here is the Guardian Express fantasy football wide receiver preview.
1) Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
2) AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
3) Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
4) Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
5) Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks
6) Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
7) Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
8) Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9) Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
10) Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
11) Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
12) Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
13) Victor Cruz, New York Giants
14) Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
15) James Jones, Green Bay Packers
16) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
17) Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
18) Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
19) Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
20) Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
21) Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
22) Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
23) Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
24) Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
25) Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
26) Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
27) Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers
28) DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
29) Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
30) Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings
31) Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills
32) Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers
These men are the best of the best at the deepest position in the National Football League. Although because of the depth at the position, I usually don’t recommend reaching for a receiver early on in your draft, these men are the exceptions. If you can snag one of these stars you won’t be disappointed. Other than Johnson, who very well could go in the first round of your draft, the other three on this list should be around in the second and third rounds of your draft, providing you with huge production this year.
Not far behind from the elite group is the next wave of players. These are men who should be in your lineup week in and week out, providing as close to consistent as you can hope for from a position that is so often dependent on touchdowns for production. The yardage totals will be there for all of these guys, a few could crack the elite ranks by the end of the year if they are able to find the end zone often enough this year.
My favorite player in this group is Percy Harvin, finally on a potent offense with Seattle, he will have the chance to operate without receiving all of a defenses attention. Having a quarterback not named Ponder will also help, as he probably will be able to run more than a bubble screen this season.
Match up Dependent
These guys are up and down, yet have the talent to produce if given the right situation. Steve Smith and Anquan Boldin are limited by their teams preference to run the ball. If they are in a situation where their team has to pass in order to compete, then they have a great chance to produce a starting caliber fantasy stat line. Keep them on your bench for bye week fill ins and you will benefit greatly if given the right match up.
Steve Johnson will shine in games his team will be playing catch up in, most likely quite a few given the Bills recent track record. Look for Maclin to shine if Michael Vick is removed from his starting position in favor of one of the other two passers in Chip Kelly’s arsenal.
These players look talented enough to win you fantasy games on paper, yet for one reason or another they probably shouldn’t be on your team.
Greg Jennings has the aforementioned Ponder throwing him the ball, and reports coming from Minnesota are anything but positive so far this off season. Jennings has shined at times in his career, but he has had nothing but legends throwing him the football (Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.) We will see how he performs with a less than stellar quarterback throwing him the ball this year.
Eric Decker is overshadowed in Denver with the addition of Wes Welker. Playing third fiddle in Peyton Manning’s offense isn’t the worst position to be in, but the production won’t be starter worthy on a week to week basis like we have come to expect from Decker.
DeSean Jackson is more interested in talking trash than becoming an elite receiver, and has been nowhere near consistent enough to be on your fantasy team. Jeremy Maclin is the receiver to own in Philly until proven otherwise.
Age is the enemy for Reggie Wayne, he is only on this list because eventually one would think age will limit his abilities. To this point he has dodged the plague of age, but he can only do that for so long. If he has another solid year in the tank, he can perform at an elite level and will not be on this list for much longer.
Josh Gordon had a fantastic rookie campaign and is reported to be developing into a well rounded receiver instead of the one dimensional deep threat he was as a rookie. He is the best thing the Cleveland passing game has seen in ages, and should be targeted early and often by second year Brandon Weeden this year.
Danny Amendola is filling the Wes Welker role in New England and should become Brady’s safety net this year. His underneath prowess is going to make him one of the fantasy draft’s biggest steals as long as he can avoid injury.
Danario Alexander hasn’t received much press, but had an elite finish to the season last year. He will now be the number one receiver in San Diego without worry, and should in turn see a huge amount of targets this year. Assuming Phillip Rivers can bounce back from an awful season last year, Alexander should be a major sleeper this year in fantasy football.
Mike Wallace is in a new home, and he is the go to guy instantly in Miami. Ryan Tannehill lacked a deep threat last season and will look to take advantage of his new found weapon from the outset of this season. Both should develop nicely together this year.
That concludes our fantasy football wide receiver preview, next up on the list is the tight end position. Check back with us again and learn all you need to know about fantasy football before your draft. Good luck this year!
Check out all of our other fantasy football positional previews here
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express