I previously looked at the top 15 quarterback rankings, top 30 running back rankings, top 10 tight end rankings, and part 1 of the top 35 wide receiver rankings for dynasty and keeper leagues. Today I’ll take a closer look at wide receiver rankings for 2014 fantasy football dynasty leagues, assuming both PPR and non-PPR formats. If you have a fresh dynasty league draft, these rankings are a good guideline for you to follow in valuing the players at the position. If you’re already in a dynasty league, you can refer to this ranking as a more general preseason valuation. We’re checking out #’s 35-16 today, and will look at the top 15 later in the week.
Bargaining Chips (continued)
15. DeSean Jackson – D-Jax has been up and down over the last several years. Just when you thought he had found a role in Chip Kelly’s offense, Philadelphia cut him and let him walk to a division rival. Washington might be the perfect fit for him, though, given RGIII’s prowess for accuracy in launching the ball downfield.
14. Michael Floyd – If you believe in the 3rd-year WR breakout season, then Floyd is the player to target. He finished as a WR3 last year, but he outgained his teammate Larry Fitzgerald by nearly 5 yards per catch. It wouldn’t take more than a 20% scoring increase, or something like 4 additional touchdowns, to move him into high-end WR2 status.
13. Pierre Garcon – He led all WRs in targets last year, and finished in the top 15 at the position. That was with a hobbled RGIII and a dysfunctional Washington team. This writer’s enthusiasm is mitigated by the addition of DeSean Jackson, as it isn’t too hard to picture a scenario where D-Jax becomes the more valuable fantasy commodity.
12. Randall Cobb – In what was supposed to be his breakout season, Cobb suffered a broken leg in the first two months and never could get back on the field for any meaningful fantasy contribution. His small stature would lead some to believe a 100-catch season is out of the question. Still, he is a young talent on a premium passing offense. There is a lot of upside here.
11. Keenan Allen - The best WR in last year’s draft class fell all the way to the 76th pick after 7 peers were taken ahead of him. He may not have had the combine numbers of those drafted beforehand, but his sharp route running and awareness made him a top 20 WR as a rookie. Philip Rivers’ resurgence last year owes a lot to Allen’s presence.
10. Vincent Jackson – V-Jax is at the lower end of the WR1s. Coming off of a career year in 2012, he was still productive with the QB carousel in Tampa last year. He will be playing with a more stable QB this year, but don’t forget that he is at the tail end of his prime.
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Only for the Right Price
9. Antonio Brown – Taking over the number 1 WR roles in Pittsburgh after the departure of Mike Wallace, Brown responded in a major way. He set career highs across the board, and set himself up for another season of being Ben Roethlisberger’s most trusted target.
8. Brandon Marshall – Now that he has been reunited with Jay Cutler for the last two seasons, Marshall has re-established himself as a bona fide WR1 option. Where he slips a little in terms of long-term value is his age compared with his up-and-coming teammate listed below.
7. Jordy Nelson – Health has cost Jordy the runaway momentum he carried with him at the end of 2011, when he nearly led the league led in receiving touchdowns. In 2012, Jordy missed 4 games with a hamstring injury. In 2013, his season was submarined by Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone. Look for Rodgers to bounce back in a bigtime way this year, and for his rising tide to life all Green Bay boats.
6. Alshon Jeffery – Jeffery and Marshall form the highest-rated pair of teammates on this list. They are nearly identically listed at 6’4” and about 230 lbs. They were within 1 fantasy point per game of each other last year. Marshall has the longer track record, but Jeffery is 6 years younger, and poised to take the torch from Marshall soon.
5. Julio Jones - Once neck and neck with the young guns ahead of him on this list, Julio’s foot injury knocked him out of 2013 and knocked him down a peg entering this year. The fact of the matter is we’re still waiting for him to have a top 5 season at the position. We all know he is as physically gifted as anyone in the league. Will this be the year that potential becomes reality?
You’ll Need to Blow us Away
4. Dez Bryant – Coming off of an extraordinary 2012, Dez actually disappointed this writer, who pegged him as the absolute hands-down number 2 overall WR for 2013. He finished about a fantasy point worse per game, but he was still every bit the feared weapon he was at the close of 2012. Dallas’ poor defense may portend a lot of shootouts.
3. Demaryius Thomas – For a triple-option, ground-based offense, Georgia Tech sure produces excellent wide receiver talent. “Bay Bay” was very raw coming out of college, and his NFL career could have derailed after tearing his achilles in 2011. Instead, after two seasons in Camp Manning, D.T. has regained the pre-injury explosiveness and become a nightmare matchup for opposing corners.
2. A.J. Green - Green gives up 15-20 pounds to the three guys who preceded him on this list, but he outshines them with superior route-running ability, better hands, and a deep gear that the other 3 don’t possess. He is also the only one of the three to have entered the league with a rookie quarterback. Maybe the other three benefit from those passing them the ball. It seems like Green turns that statement on its head.
1. Calvin Johnson – A.J. Green may technically be in Calvin Johnson’s tier, but they are not really in the same galaxy. We don’t compare Megatron to his contemporaries. We compare him to Randy Moss, Jerry Rice and the phenoms of NFL past. Only injury can realistically drop Johnson from this spot next year.