WR Rankings

Source: USAToday.com

2012 Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings
(Last updated July 20)

Rankings are based on a 12-team league flex format with 1 point awarded per reception

1. Calvin Johnson, Lions
2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
3. Brandon Marshall, Bears
4. A.J. Green, Bengals
5. Wes Welker, Patriots
6. Andre Johnson, Texans
7. Roddy White, Falcons
8. Hakeem Nicks, Giants
9. Victor Cruz, Giants
10. Julio Jones, Falcons
11. Jordy Nelson, Packers
12. Eric Decker, Broncos
13. Greg Jennings, Packers
14. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
15. Steve Smith, Panthers
16. Antonio Brown, Steelers
17. Percy Harvin, Vikings
18. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
19. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots
20. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
21. Mike Wallace, Steelers
22. Miles Austin, Cowboys
23. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
24. Marques Colston, Saints
25. Steve Johnson, Bills
26. Vincent Jackson, Bucs
27. Kenny Britt, Titans (See Below)
28. Sidney Rice, Seahawks
29. Reggie Wayne, Colts
30. DeSean Jackson, Eagles
31. Torrey Smith, Ravens
32. Pierre Garcon, Redskins
33. Robert Meachem, Chargers
34. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
35. Michael Crabtree, 49ers
36. Greg Little, Browns
37. Randy Moss, 49ers
38. Denarius Moore, Raiders
39. Titus Young, Lions
40. Lance Moore, Saints
41. Santonio Holmes, Jets
42. Anquan Boldin, Ravens
43. Austin Collie, Colts ↑
44. Kendall Wright, Titans
45. Malcom Floyd, Chargers
46. Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
47. Nate Washington, Titans
48. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
49. Vincent Brown, Chargers
50. Randall Cobb, Packers
51. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
52. Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
53. Nate Burleson, Lions
54. Brandon LaFell, Panthers
55. Brian Hartline, Dolphins
56. Santana Moss, Redskins
57. Jerome Simpson, Vikings
58. Earl Bennett, Bears
59. Preston Parker, Bucs
60. Kevin Walter, Texans
61. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
62. Donald Jones, Bills
63. Mike Williams, Bucs
64. Golden Tate, Seahawks
65. David Nelson, Bills
66. Eddie Royal, Chargers
67. Ryan Broyles, Lions
68. Jacoby Ford, Raiders
69. Andre Roberts, Cardinals
70. Davone Bess, Dolphins
71. Brian Quick, Rams
72. Rueben Randle, Giants
73. Harry Douglas, Falcons
74. Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers
75. Danny Amendola, Rams
76. Jonathan Baldwin, Chiefs
77. Mario Manningham, 49ers
78. Damian Williams, Titans
79. Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
80. Armon Binns, Bengals
81. Stephen Hill, Jets
82. Jordan Shipley, Bengals
83. Josh Morgan, Redskins
84. Mohamed Sanu, Bengals
85. Steve Breaston, Chiefs
86. Jason Avant, Eagles
87. Early Doucet, Cardinals
88. Nick Toon, Saints
89. James Jones, Packers
90. Chris Givens, Rams
91. Carlton Mitchell, Browns
92. Devin Hester, Bears
93. A.J. Jenkins, 49ers
94. Greg Salas, Rams
95. Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns
96. Devery Henderson, WR Saints
97. Brandon Gibson, Rams
98. Andre Caldwell, Broncos
99. Josh Cooper, Browns
100. Donald Driver, Packers

In the Mix
Jerrel Jernigan, Giants
Greg Childs, Vikings
Andre Holmes, Cowboys
Marvin Jones, Bengals
DeVier Posey, Texans
Riley Cooper, Eagles
Damaris Johnson, Eagles
T.Y. Hilton, Colts
Adrian Arrington, Saints
Dezmon Briscoe, Bucs
Lee Evans, Jaguars

Going Up

Marshall - I’m not going to shy away from my original thinking on Marshall, so I’m keeping him at No. 3. He’s going to have a huge season with Jay Cutler throwing him the ball. It’s hard to trust Marshall over the long-term because of his off-the-field shenanigans but just for 2012 I believe he’ll be a monster. I don’t see my Top 3 receivers changing again. Megatron, Fitz and Marshall are the three top fantasy receivers for 2012 in my opinion.

Decker -  Decker has been one of my favorite players since I saw him at the University of Minnesota and I love him this year for fantasy owners. When this guy had an average pocket passer throwing to him last season he put up big fantasy numbers. Now he has Peyton Manning throwing to him and the future Hall of Famer has already been raving about his new target. I say Decker catches 80-90 balls this year if Manning stays healthy. Decker is currently being drafted on average in Round 7. I think that could go up to the end of Round 5 by the time August rolls around and all the training camp reports talk about the chemistry between him and Manning.

You know, I recently posted that I’m dealing with a health issue. Years ago I began looking at the bright side of situations. So when this latest obstacle came my way I thought of how I could spin it in my favor. Then it hit me. If all of my fantasy predictions suck, I can just blame it on my health. Even better, my two main predictions are Decker and Ronnie Hillman, right? Well, they play on the same team, so if they both bomb, I can always say, “I guess being sick really clouded my judgement of the situation in Denver.” If Decker catches 80 balls like I predicted I would like full credit for calling him three years ago after he was drafted. However, if he only catches 40 passes, just remember I’m not feeling well. Actually, if both Decker and Hillman bomb so many people will be looking for me I better hope my health gets to me first.

Vincent Brown, Chargers -I have Brown as my top sleeper for 2012. I went back and watched some San Diego State games from 2010 and I remembered why I was so high on Brown coming out of college. This kid is the real deal.

Physically, Brown has everything you look for in a No. 1 receiver. He’s quick, strong, fast and Brown does a good job going up and battling defenders for the ball, despite being just 5’11. One of the reasons I like Brown to be much more productive in his second season is because Norv Turner’s offense can be tough for rookies to pick up. Turner is a joke as a head coach but he knows offense. I know from listening to Troy Aikman and others talk in the past they all said Turner has so much going on in the passing game it can be difficult for rookies to grasp everything. Now throw in a lockout that got Brown off to a late start and I see him making a big jump in 2012.

When you look at the receivers in San Diego, there’s an opportunity for a talented young guy like Brown to step up and earn playing time. Malcom Floyd will play two or three games before pulling something. Robert Meachem has talent but it’s not like he set the world on fire in New Orleans. Eddie Royal will help as a slot receiver but he is what he is at this point in his career. In other words, the Chargers don’t have receivers that are firmly established as big-time producers. I always say when looking for a sleeper I like to combine talent with opportunity and that’s what I believe we have here with Brown in San Diego.

I predict Brown will be the Chargers No. 1 receiver some day. That day may not come until 2013 but even so I think he’ll produce enough this season to really help out fantasy owners.

Cobb -Another one of my top sleepers is Cobb. I know we’re not allowed to compare black slot receivers to Wes Welker. For some reason the media has a rule against that but I’m going to do it anyway. I believe Cobb will be the Packers version of Welker. With Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley drawing most of the attention from opposing defenses, I see Cobb being a much bigger factor this season.

I was surprised to see that some people downgraded Cobb once Donald Driver was re-signed. I’m not one of those people. Didn’t we all expect the Packers to re-sign Driver? I think Green Bay brought Driver back for veteran insurance and to help mentor the younger receivers. You’ll never hear anyone say a bad thing about Driver. He’s supposedly one of the nicest, hardest-working guys in the NFL and a player like that still has value later on in his career. However, when you look at what Cobb does well and what Driver can do at this point, they aren’t even in the same hemisphere.

Cobb is a lightning quick slot receiver, whereas Driver will be counted on more if the Packers suffer some injuries at receiver. Anyone who watched Driver play last year saw a receiver that struggles to get open at this stage in his career. I believe the Green Bay coaching staff has big plans for Cobb and he’s a perfect complement to Jennings and Nelson because of the things he can do as an inside receiver. Cobb caught 25 balls as a rookie. He’ll more than double that total in 2012.

Washington - A guy like Washington isn’t going to win you a fantasy title but he’s the kind of receiver I love to have on my bench because I feel comfortable starting him in a pinch. If I have an injury or a bye week I know I can throw Washington in my starting lineup and there’s a chance he scores me 10-15 points in a PPR league. The fact that Washington isn’t even getting drafted in some leagues also means he represents good value.

Apparently Kenny Britt’s knees are now being held together with Super Glue. Britt has the looks of a stud but we haven’t seen a lot from him yet and I have him going down in my rankings with the latest news on his knees not being encouraging. I love Kendall Wright and think he’ll make an immediate impact. I moved Wright up to 44 but he’s still a rookie receiver and more of a deep threat right now.

Washington caught 74 balls last year and regardless of Britt and Wright’s roles in the offense I think he’s entrenched as the Titans possession receiver. Remember, Britt and Wright are both big-play kind of receivers, whereas Washington will be doing more of his damage on underneath routes. In a PPR league guys like that have value.

Don’t worry about Washington disappearing with Britt back in the lineup either. In the three games Britt played last year Washington caught 21 balls and racked up 258 yards. Britt draws so much attention from defenses it actually opens things up for Washington. The presence of the speedy Wright will only help Washington further because once defenses see how fast that guy is in person he won’t see much single coverage. I think Washington is a nice undervalued veteran to take a shot on later in the draft.

Update: The morning after I posted these rankings Kenny Britt was arrested for DUI and faces a suspension by the NFL. So now we’re talking about a guy who has bad knees and will likely get suspended. It’s obviously time to move Britt way down your rankings and move both Nate Washington and Kendall Wright up. 

Binns - You know those guys you watch play in college and when they don’t get drafted you say to yourself, “Wow, he didn’t get drafted?” Binns was one of those guys for me. I feel like every time I watched a Cincinnati game Binns was making two or three big plays. The Bengals are looking for someone to step up and be their No. 2 receiver. Binns is clearly in the mix right now and whether he wins the job or not, he’s an intriguing player. I’ll tell you, not many receivers can go up and grab the ball away from defenders like Binns can. At the very least he should be a threat in the red zone. If I had to place money on who will come out of nowhere and be this year’s Victor Cruz/Laurent Robinson, I would say Binns. Then again, there’s a reason why I “retired” from gambling 10 years ago. Still, Binns is a player to keep an eye on during training camp and preseason.

Coming Down

Jennings - I have Jennings ranked below his teammate Jordy Nelson. I have to go with my gut on this one. I had Jennings last year and he’s a good fantasy receiver but I think we’re ranking him based on his name and what he did three years ago. It’s hard to drop a receiver that’s scored 21 times over the last two years and has Aaron Rodgers throwing to him but with the emergence of Nelson and Cobb, I no longer view Jennings as a Top 5 fantasy receiver like many others do.

Bryant - I only moved Bryant down a couple of spots until we see what comes of this mess. You know, I’m really sick and God damn tired of this team. If Jerry Jones isn’t making a stupid decision regarding personnel, the idiot coach he hired is making a stupid decision on gameday. If one receiver isn’t telling me he didn’t feel like playing football last year, another one is chasing his mother around the house with a hatchet. I’ve had it with the entire franchise. Give me DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Jay Ratliff and you can blow the rest of the Cowboys organization out your ass for all I care.

Blackmon - There’s a chance Blackmon will burst onto the scene and be the NFL Rookie of the Year but let’s be honest, he’s not off to a very good start. Soon after being drafted Blackmon learned his offense is in such shambles that Chad Henne could actually be the Jaguars starting quarterback this year. Then Blackmon gets arrested for a DUI and declares that he’s done drinking “for now.”

Boy, that makes me feel good. What the hell does that mean? I used to wake up on my kitchen floor after a night of snorting Jagermeister up my nose and say “I’m done drinking for now.” Then five hours later I was funneling Vodka. Sorry if Blackmon’s statement doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside or instill much confidence that he’s done drinking. Again, maybe he doesn’t touch another drop of alcohol and blows up as a rookie but the facts are the facts. And the fact is Blackmon’s NFL career has gotten off to a rocky start.

To once again quote the infamous Dean Wormer from Animal House, “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life son.” Sorry but I’ll pass on the Jags receiver in Round 7 who’s done drinking “for now.”

Mike Williams -I was concerned last year because Williams looked like a guy that had a lot of trouble getting open to me. Now reports are coming out of Tampa that Preston Parker could move past Williams on the depth chart. I take all reports in June with a grain salt but if true this one doesn’t really surprise me. I was impressed with Parker last season and I think he has a chance to be productive out of the slot for the Bucs. I see Tampa Bay running the ball and throwing a lot of short passes, setting up play action for Vincent Jackson down the field. I still expect Williams to start but I’m predicting Parker catches more passes this season. At worst, it should be pretty close and Parker isn’t even being drafted in most leagues, so he offers way more bang for the buck.

Manningham - It pains me every time I hear a fan or media member refer to that play in the Super Bowl as “The Catch.” The Catch? How about “The Throw?” Eli Manning looks at one side of the field, comes back across to the other side and then drops a perfect pass in between a safety and corner with perfect coverage. Oh, and he had a 300-pound defensive lineman bearing down on him as he released the ball. What did Manningham do? He caught a perfectly thrown football that 100 other receivers would have caught. Then again, I guess it’s a big deal that Manningham actually hung on. Seriously, how many quarterbacks on the planet can make that throw? Three? Four? How many receivers catch it? 90? 100? In my opinion it was the single greatest throw I’ve ever seen in a big game.

I’ve never been a Manningham fan. He runs awful routes and has suspect hands. Maybe it’s me but those aren’t great qualities for an NFL receiver. How many times a game did we see Eli yelling at Manningham for running the wrong route? Remember when all the fantasy geniuses were predicting a breakout year from Manningham last season? Well, hopefully you listened to me give all the reasons why that would never happen. You do realize this guy was going in Round 5 of some drafts last year, don’t you? That’s the kind of disaster the misguided hype machine from the bigger fantasy sites caused. Manningham will never be a great NFL or fantasy receiver. He simply doesn’t have the skills to be that good. I don’t think I’m saying anything that people who have seen the Giants play a lot don’t already know.

Manningham will make a big play here and there, especially if Randy Moss is playing well and he gets a lot of single coverage, but I’ve never thought of him as having much fantasy value and I don’t see that changing this year. Manningham is a very poor man’s DeSean Jackson and if you know what I think of Jackson, well, that says it all.

Follow me on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy

  1. JT Marlin says:

    Totally agree with you on Antonio over Wallace. He can run more routes and has the speed to make long plays as well. I don’t know the actual stats/#’s but believe that a high % of Brown’s catches went for 1st downs. Big Ben trusts this guy to make plays and he should emerge even more in his 3rd season with Ward gone and injury-prone Sanders relegated to the #3 WR role.

    Too high on Andre, the reasons for which are mentioned in my post for your fantasy 3 rd mock draft.

    I know you love AJ Green (and I like him too) but I would definitely go Julio Jones over Green for this season. Look at Jone’s game log over his last 4 regular season games - the upside and potential for this season is very high. Roddy and Gonzo command a lot of attention and will limit the amount of double teams that Julio will see. The OC replacement of Mularky with Jags OC Koetter is a very questionable move but I can’t see this team not transitioning to more of a pass oriented offense. ATL got blown out of the last 2 playoffs by the eventual pass happy SB champs. They know they have to build around Ryan and the receivers to have any shot of taking it to the next level. I expect Ryan’s yards per pass attempt to go up for sure and this only bodes well for Julio’s stats.

    I have no idea what to make of Dez Bryant. This guy will either blow up for 1,200+ yds and 12+ TD’s and be a top 5 WR or regress more. No games over 100 yds last season - crazy. Were you planning a separate post on Dez and why the team did not throw to him in the 2nd half of games?

    After all the hype Decker’s only at 25 - pussy!….seriously though, I agree that Decker has major break-out potential and he will most likely be a top 15 guy on my board.

    Really liking guys like Garcon, Den Moore, Nate Wash, and Golden Tate as back-up WR that have the potential to emerge as solid #2 guys during the year. If memory serves, Nate had some good chemistry with Locker last season.

    No Torrey Smith?? I know about 1/3 of his production came in one game but there’s upside there. Should be a top 50 guy at least.

    • thomascasale says:

      You make a lot of good points. Johnson will be a hotly debated player and he could move down for me as we get closer to the season. I actually forgot to rank Torrey Smith. I will fix that in the rankings. He just slipped my mind. I can’t argue liking Jones that much. I think he’s in line for a huge season too. I just think Green is a freak and I like the direction the Bengals offense is moving in. I’m a Cowboys fan and they refuse to throw Bryant the ball for some reason. That’s what bad coaching gets you. It’s an absolute joke. He’s the most talented player on that offense. Maybe in three years those idiot coaches will finally figure it out. I will have Decker moving up as well. These are my first set of rankings so they serve more as an outline. After the draft they will change a lot. In reality I just want to see Manning throw a little first. Thanks for the comments.

  2. JT Marlin says:

    Also, FYI - Nate Washington’s stats in Jake Locker’s 3 games with meaningful PT: 9-115-2, 6-130-1, 7-62-1. Hasselbeck saw time in all 3 games but all 4 of Nate Wash’s TD came from Locker. It’s an extremely small sample size but just something to keep in mind if Locker is named the starter and the WR in TEN stay the same for the rest of the offseason. Nate’s going to be an afterthought in most drafts and has a legit chance to be a top 15 WR. My #1 veteran WR sleeper at this point.

    • thomascasale says:

      That’s a good point. One of the best way to uncover a sleeper WR is if a new starting QB has chemistry with a certain guy. With Britt coming back, Washington will be even more passed over by fantasy owners. I love undervalued veteran receivers. I prefer them over overvalued rookies personally.

  3. Rob362 says:

    You’re way off on Wallace. Stat lines are one thing. Coverage is another. If, when rather, it starts to roll Brown’s way, Wallace will pick up and resume is tier 1 duties. He continues to improve. Mike Tomlin has said plenty on this topic.

    • Just my opinion. I may be wrong but I like Brown better and I think defenses will still try and take Wallace away. I appreciate you giving me your thoughts though. Nothing wrong with disagreements. That’s what makes sports fun.

  4. Kevin Walter says:

    Will Kevin Walter be getting any love when you update this? Seems like he’s the clear #2 now with JJ gone.

    • Yes he will. I’m doing tight ends and then receivers. I may go Top 100 with receivers, so it’s taking the longest to do. I was waiting to see what Houston did in the draft but like you said, Walter is the clear guy there now.

  5. stampats says:

    “I believe Cobb will be the Packers version of Welker. ”

    Just had 3 beers and I’m lmao

  6. Vincent Jackson at 27 is good value, and he cant move up too far up because of his #’s last season.

    • Yeah, I just can’t find many guys to move him past. That 15-30 range really comes down to personal preference. There are a lot of really good receivers in that range this year. It all depends on what your looking for in a receiver.

  7. #nerd says:

    I know when players are ranked close together it’s assumed things could brake either way, but no way i don’t take Lloyd, Wallace, and Austin before Maclin. Vicks best passing season ever was 2011. Ya that’s right, that crappy year he just had, was the best he’d ever done through the air. A whopping 3303 total passing yards. I know Maclin missed 3 games, and its hip to assume if he didn’t oh boy the value, but his production is bound to drop off weather its himself or Vick missing those 3 games. Only way i see him actually for once living up to the hype is if both stay upright for a whole season. I’d bet on Colston’s knees holding up another year before that happens.

    • That’s a solid take on Maclin. I had him two years ago and he was really good down the stretch in a PPR format. He really helped me get to my title game. However, you’re right, Vick isn’t going to put up Tom Brady-like passing numbers either.

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