2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) prepares to catch a pass before the start of the game against the Oakland Raiders. Source: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
The fantasy football season is almost underway and wives across the country are already getting sick of constant fantasy football chatter. Some teams have drafted, while others still have yet to draft. To help you this fantasy football season, here are my complete wide receiver rankings for the upcoming season:
1. Calvin Johnson, DET – “Megatron” has completely transformed the wide receiver position in fantasy football. Johnson’s 15-touchdown performance was utterly dominating from the wide receiver position. Johnson has become the ultimate red-zone receiver, due to his combination of raw speed and size (6-5 236). The Lions are completely dedicated to throwing to Johnson 20 times a game, something that fantasy owners always like to see. Johnson may not repeat his 15 touchdowns and nearly 1,700-yard performance from 2011, but he will still be the top wideout in all of fantasy in 2012.
2. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI – Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the game at catching the ball at its highest point, as he seemingly snatches the ball out of the air. Fitzgerald is averaging a very impressive 9.13 touchdowns per season throughout his career, but was obviously at his best with future Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner throwing him the ball. He has very long arms and could be the perfect red-zone target, but only if the Cardinals can figure out who will be throwing him the ball. Fitzgerald is still an elite receiver and a bonafide number one fantasy option, but he could be so much better with a capable NFL quarterback. Expect around 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns from “Fitz” in 2011, but the potential is there for so much more.
3. Wes Welker, NE – Welker has become the poster child for 100-plus-reception seasons over the last couple years. Over his last five seasons, Welker has averaged 1,051 yards and a league-leading 110.8 receptions per season. He is the ultimate weapon out of the slot and quarterback Tom Brady has complete faith in Welker, even if Brady’s supermodel wife does not agree. Welker knows how to read a defense and is perfect at finding a spot to sit in the zone. Welker is an amazing number one wideout, because he continues to do it year after year.
4. Andre Johnson, HOU – Johnson is not the guaranteed top-tier fantasy receiver that he was a couple seasons ago. He has missed 12 games over the last two years and is still not 100% healthy following lingering hamstring injuries. However, when healthy, Johnson is hands down one of the best in the game. He can rack up yardage in bunches, evident by his 79.15 yards per game through his career. Johnson may not be the guaranteed number one wideout, but he is still an elite receiving option. He will likely fall into the second round this year, but if he remains healthy he could be the steal of the middle rounds.
5. Roddy White, ATL – White is the most underrated wide receiver every fantasy season, which is ironic because all he does is fill the stat sheet. White has hauled in 215 passes for an insane 2,685 passes over his last two seasons, including at least 83 receptions and 1,200 yards for the last five seasons. He is as consistent as it gets from the receiver position and has not missed a game in his entire seven-year career.
6. Greg Jennings, GB – With Jordy Nelson hauling in a ridiculous 15 touchdowns in 2011, Jennings is being somewhat disregarded in the first couple rounds this fantasy season. However, Jennings is the number one option for MVP quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, and with that title, comes more red-zone looks then a wide receiver can handle. Jennings’ 2011 season was cut short by a torn MCL, and he has had some concussion problems this off-season, but the fact remains that Jennings is one of the elite receivers in the entire game.
7. Julio Jones, ATL – Jones has more pre-season hype than any other player in the entire league, as he has completely skyrocketed up the draft board this off-season. Jones is a very physical wide out downfield, and combines it with the speed to outrun most corners in the game. However, the youngster is still the number two option on the team and is a little raw in his route running. With that being said, Jones is the next elite receiver, but fantasy fans have to realize that Jones still has a couple things to work on before he is in the same league as Calvin Johnson. He will be a great wideout in 2012 and will easily have a career season, but do not let his hype cause him to be drafted ahead of the aforementioned “Megatron” and Jennings.
8. Dez Bryant, DAL – Bryant may be a bit of a headache for fantasy owners just as much as owner Jerry Jones. However, the Cowboys’ receiver is a true star in the making. The 23-year old has improved in each season and his 9 touchdown receptions last season was tied for ninth best in the NFL. Bryant is back from his knee tendonitis issues and will be quarterback Tony Romo’s main red-zone target with tight end Jason Witten still recovering from a spleen issue.
9. A. J. Green, CIN – Green is one of the best up and coming wideouts in the game. He went over 1,000 yards in his freshman season and was able to haul in a very respectable 7 touchdowns. Green has built a strong rapport with quarterback Andy Dalton from day one and their chemistry together will only help Green post bigger fantasy numbers as they mature together. Green is easily a number one wideout, and fantasy owners should expect him to easily match his numbers from last season.
10. Brandon Marshall, CHI – Marshall is finally reunited with his favorite quarterback, Jay Cutler. The duo played together in Denver in 2007-08, and averaged an amazing 1,295 receiving yards per season. Expect Marshall to have another Pro Bowl season in 2012, as he already has a proven track record with his new quarterback.
Just Missed: Hakeem Nicks (NYG), Marques Colston (NO), and Mike Wallace (PIT)
MVP: Calvin Johnson, DET
Rookie of Year: Justin Blackmon, JAC
Bust: Steve Smith, CAR
Mega Bust: Brandon Lloyd, NE
Sleeper: DeMaryius Thomas, DEN
Super Sleeper: Darrius Heyward-Bey, OAK
Fantasy Over/ Under:
Calvin Johnson TD: 15 – Under
Wes Welker Rec.: 100 – Over
Kenny Britt Suspensions: 2 – Over
Andre Johnson Games Played: 12 – Over
Terrell Owens Personal Workouts: 1 – Over