FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT KIT

2012 Player Rankings: Wide Receivers
Updated: September 2, 2012
Top 10's:        
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Tier 1
Calvin Johnson - DET YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 1
Keeper: 1
Auction 10: 25%
Auction 12: 25%
2009 DET 14 67 984 14.7 5 7 73  
2010 DET 15 77 1120 14.5 12 4 32  
2011 DET 16 96 1681 17.5 16 1 11  
Avg   15 80 1262 15.6 11 4 39 0
Proj DET   95 1470   14      

About the only thing to not like about Megatron is that he will appear on the cover of Madden '13. With a full year of Matt Stafford at QB, Johnson was simply a beast. He ended with 96 catches for 1681 yards and 16 touchdowns. He had multiple touchdowns in six different games and topped 100 yards in eight games including exceeding 200 yards in three of his final four games. Johnson did get paid in March when he signed a $132 million, seven-year contract but he's never suggested he is the type to scale back his efforts. Johnson is great starting wideout regardless of his quarterback. Give him Stafford all year and he becomes head of the class and an elite player regardless of position.

Julio Jones - ATL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 2
Keeper: 3
Auction 10: 22%
Auction 12: 22%
2009                  
2010                  
2011 ATL 13 54 959 17.8 8 6 56  
Avg   13 54 959 17.8 8 6 56 0
Proj ATL   80 1360   9      

(+Upside) Jones comes off a mostly successful rookie season that saw him turn in 959 yards on 54 catches with eight touchdowns. Jones ended with five different games of over 100 yards gained and finished the year on a hot note with six touchdowns over the final four weeks of the regular season. The oddity with Jones is that he usually showed up in road games where all five of his big yardage efforts happened. Entering his second season, Jones should help the Falcons become one of the new elite passing teams. He has nice upside and the Falcons have an easier schedule. If he can replicate the success of last December, he'll be a huge fantasy benefit.

08-02-12 Update: Jones has been burning it up in camp. He looks poised to take the next step.

A.J. Green - CIN YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 3
Keeper: 4
Auction 10: 22%
Auction 12: 22%
2009                  
2010                  
2011 CIN 15 65 1057 16.3 7 5 53  
Avg   15 65 1057 16.3 7 5 53 0
Proj CIN   85 1250   10      

Ocho who? Green’s one-catch NFL debut left an impression, a 41-yard TD that set the table for a 65-1,057-7 season that pushed him into immediate consideration as a fantasy WR1. The Bengals will need to find someone to take some of the pressure (and double-teams) off of Green, but between rookies Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones and the return of Jordan Shipley from a knee injury there are plenty of wingman candidates. Green is still the alpha dog and with the departure of Cedric Benson this is clearly his and Andy Dalton’s offense. Feel free to sabotage his draft-day value by pointing out that Green brings a five-game scoreless streak into the 2012 season—then swoop in and select him yourself.

Larry Fitzgerald - ARI YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 4
Keeper: 2
Auction 10: 22%
Auction 12: 22%
2009 ARI 16 97 1092 11.3 13      
2010 ARI 16 90 1137 12.6 6      
2011 ARI 16 80 1411 17.6 8      
Avg   16 89 1213 13.8 9 0 0 0
Proj ARI   90 1300   9      

Fitzgerald is arguably the best wideout in the NFL at this point in his career. His 1411 yards ranked fourth best in the NFL last year and that was without any elite quarterback throwing to him. It was his fourth season over the 1400 yard mark and at the least will have a more experience situation this year with either Kevin Kolb or John Skelton more experienced. Fitzgerald fell to only 80 catches last year but had a career best 17.6 YPC. In a position rife with inconsistency, Fitzgerald is always an elite receiver that has never failed to deliver. The addition of Michael Floyd stands to help Fitzgerald more than hurt him by replacing the big hole left behind by the departure of Anquan Boldin.

Victor Cruz - NYG YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 5
Keeper: 5
Auction 10: 16%
Auction 12: 20%
2009                  
2010 NYG 3              
2011 NYG 16 82 1536 18.7 9 1 3  
Avg   10 41 768 9.4 5 1 2 0
Proj NYG   80 1270   9      

Prior to 2011 Cruz’s claim to fame was a three-TD preseason game; who would have guessed that was more harbinger than fluke? Cruz tore up the league in his sophomore season with eight touchdowns of 24 yards of more and five of 68 or more—not to mention some salsa dancing that would put Donald Driver to shame. The departure of Mario Manningham was offset by the drafting of Rueben Randle, but the former didn’t keep Cruz from blowing up so the latter should have little effect on his numbers as well. And if Hakeem Nicks’ foot injury puts more of the offensive onus on Cruz… salsa dancing for everyone!

Greg Jennings - MIN YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 6
Keeper: 8
Auction 10: 16%
Auction 12: 20%
2009 GBP 16 68 1113 16.4 4      
2010 GBP 16 76 1265 16.6 12 1 -1  
2011 GBP 13 67 949 14.2 9      
Avg   15 70 1109 15.7 8 0 0 0
Proj MIN   70 1140   11      

Jenning’s 2011 fantasy season ended prematurely due to a knee injury in Week 14; to that point he’d scored in nine of 12 games and been a steady fantasy contributor thanks to Aaron Rodgers’ largesse. The emergence of Jordy Nelson both helps Jennings by taking away some of the coverage and hurts him by distracting Rodgers’ attention from his WR1. Still, there’s nothing in the Packers’ 2012 game plan to suggest Jennings won’t make it four straight 1,000-yard seasons—and if Nelson takes some of the fantasy hype as well, the top wideout on the league’s most explosive offense might actually be a fantasy bargain.

Jordy Nelson - GBP YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 7
Keeper: 9
Auction 10: 16%
Auction 12: 18%
2009 GBP 13 22 320 14.5 2      
2010 GBP 16 45 582 12.9 2      
2011 GBP 16 68 1263 18.6 15      
Avg   15 45 722 15.3 6 0 0 0
Proj GBP   65 1080   12      

Talk about a breakout campaign: Nelson very nearly matched the yardage from his first three seasons combined and more than doubled his career-to-date touchdown total as he blew up in 2011. Nelson was absolute money at Lambeau, scoring at least once in every regular-season home game; in fact, he scored more TDs at home than any receiver not named Calvin Johnson scored period. The Packers are already talking about moving Nelson around and featuring him more—maybe even in road games so he can even out his splits. Even if Nelson remains primarily a homeboy, he’s an elite fantasy wideout half the time and a prime target with tremendous upside the other eight games.

Tier 2
Wes Welker - DEN YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 8
Keeper: 6
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 14%
2009 NEP 14 123 1348 11.0 4 5 36  
2010 NEP 15 86 848 9.9 7      
2011 NEP 16 122 1569 12.9 9 4 30  
Avg   15 110 1255 11.3 7 3 22 0
Proj DEN   100 1250   7      

Welker did himself a favor by using the final year of his contract to set career marks in yards (1573) and touchdowns (9) while catching a mere 122 passes. Welker has turned in at least 110 catches in four of his five seasons in New England and remains the preferred target for Tom Brady. At 31 years old, he still has several more seasons of high level production and while the Pats have not emptied the bank for him so far, he did sign his franchise tender and will play this year regardless. Welker has always been a great fantasy pick for leagues with reception points but suffers a but otherwise since Brady has turned to tight ends for most of the touchdown scoring. Welker offers rare consistency with receptions are rewarded.

Andre Johnson - HOU YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 9
Keeper: 10
Auction 10: 12%
Auction 12: 14%
2009 HOU 16 101 1569 15.5 9 2 10  
2010 HOU 13 86 1216 14.1 8 2 10  
2011 HOU 7 33 492 14.9 2 1 8  
Avg   12 73 1092 14.8 6 2 9 0
Proj HOU   80 1190   8      

(-Risk) After missing all of nine games last year Johnson has now missed a dozen tilts the past two seasons. Why go back to the well? In three healthy games prior to his first injury AJ averaged 11 targets, seven catches, and 105 yards while scoring twice; in two playoff games at the end of the season he totaled 24 targets, 13 grabs, 201 yards, and another score. The Texans drafted DeVier Posey to replace Jacoby Jones but there’s no question who the alpha receiver is. Only injury has stopped him, and that risk is the only reason you wouldn’t consider him alongside Megatron as one of the first WRs off the board.

08-02-12 Update: Johnson already had a groin injury in camp and that just indicates the risk he carries from injury.

Roddy White - ATL YEAR TM GMS CAT CYD YPC CTD CAR RYD RTD
Huddle Rank: 10
Keeper: 7
Auction 10: 10%
Auction 12: 10%
2009 ATL 16 85 1153 13.6 11 1 2  
2010 ATL 16 115 1389 12.1 10 1 3  
2011 ATL 16 100 1296 13.0 8      
Avg   16 100 1279 12.9 10 1 2 0
Proj ATL   88 1170   8      

White started slowly in 2011 with just three scores and one effort over 100 yards in the first nine games. But he turned it on the rest of the way and ended 6th overall in yardage and scored eight touchdowns. White has gained over 1150 yards in each of the last five years and comes off his second 100 catch season in a row. The addition of Julio Jones has not dented White's workload and the Falcons overall are passing more. With an aging Turner and diminutive Jacquizz Rodgers for a rushing attack, the Falcons will once again look to the air for most of their production. White is a safe, consistent wideout who has rewarded owners for five seasons. No reason to expect anything less for 2012.

   
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