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Tiered Wide Receiver Rankings: Top 40 in Fantasy Football

Last week we looked at the top 20 wide receivers rankings and Tiers 1 through 3, kicking off our series of 2014 fantasy football rankings. Today we will look at the wide receivers ranked 21-40, Tiers 4 and 5, to help with your 2014 fantasy football draft prep.

These rankings are tiered, meaning that players within the same tier can often be interchanged as far as their ranking, i.e. the tier is more indicative of how you should value that player than the specific rank.


Tier 4 Wide Receiver Rankings

21. Michael Floyd – Arizona Cardinals

6'2”, 220 lbs
2013 Stats: 65 Rec – 1,041 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: None

Broderick Delaney - serves as a great reminder that many rookie receivers tend to struggle in year one even if they are talented. With a big upgrade at QB and some experience we got a flash of what could be a great player for many years to come.

As I mentioned with Fitzgerald, a much improved offensive line should help the whole offense. If he continues to improve there is a lot of upside here.


22. Julian Edelman – New England Patriots

5'10”, 198 lbs
2013 Stats: 105 Rec – 1,056 Yards – 6 TD
Coaching Change: None

When Edelman had his first big game, a 13 catch 78 yard performance, many chose to write him off as a mere replacement for Amendola. For awhile this appeared to be the case as Amendola came back and outscored Edelman. Starting in week 12 that all changed. From that game against the Broncos onward, Edelman outscored Amendola in every single game including the two playoff games. Better yet for Edelman, the Patriots waited until the 7th round to draft a receiver. Edelman should be Brady's most trusted receiver this year. He also makes for a great PPR option. In the final eight games (including playoffs) he caught at least six balls in every single game.


23. Marques Colston – New Orleans Saints

6'4”, 225 lbs
2013 Stats: 75 Rec – 943 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: None

Colston had one four game stretch in the middle of the season where never totaled more than 18 yards, culminating in him sitting out vs the Jets in week nine. Taking out those four games he averaged 75 yards a game which would put him right at what you would expect in any other year for Colston. The Saints did of course add Brandin Cooks in the first round, but the small speedy receiver will act more as a complement in the slot and could even be a benefit to Colston.


24. Percy Harvin – Seattle Seahawks

5'11”, 184 lbs
2013 Stats: 1 Rec – 17 Yards – 0 TD
Coaching Change: None

I'll admit that Harvin is one of the guys I am most conflicted about. He is very injury prone, playing a full season just once and he has played in just 10 regular season games the past two years combined. But if you planned on writing him off he reminded us just why he is highly thought of in the first place with a 30 yard rush and an 87 yard kickoff return TD in the Super Bowl. Percy Harvin is a special talent and offers tremendous potential in this Russell Wilson led offense. There is a lot of risk here health-wise coupled with the fact that we haven't seen a ton of Harvin in this system, but he could easily end up being one of the biggest steals of the draft.


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 25. Cordarrelle Patterson – Minnesota Vikings

6'2”, 220 lbs
2013 Stats: 45 Rec – 469 Yards – 4 TD / 12 Rush Att – 158 Yards – 3 TD
Coaching Change: HC – Mike Zimmer, OC – Mike Zimmer

rotoballer-fantasy-football-cordarrelle-pattersonOn the surface, Patterson's receiving numbers don't look too special. Then you notice I included rushing numbers here as well. Patterson is going to be the best multi-purpose receiver in the NFL and that is including the higher ranked Harvin who has been injury prone, I expect him to stick more to receiving this year.

It was just twelve rush attempts, but he averaged 13.2 YPC, a number that far exceeds Harvin's greatest totals. With new Head Coach Mike Zimmer focusing on the defense, Patterson will be Norv Turner's toy to play with. Norv turned the Browns into the heaviest passing team last season and helped turn Josh Gordon into one of the best in the game. There is a lot to get excited about here. Just remember: this is all what could happen and not what has happened so don't overpay on draft day for Patterson.


26. Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons

6'0”, 211 lbs
2013 Stats: 63 Rec – 711 Yards – 3 TD
Coaching Change: None

Looking at the consensus rankings, I seem to be essentially opposite on Colston/White from most people and I am not sure why. Which of the two is bigger, younger, had more TD, had more receptions per game, more yards per catch, and is in the far better passing offense? The answer to all of those is Colston. So why do most people like Roddy (at least early in the year for now)? Well he put up some huge numbers late in the year against the Bills, 49ers and Panthers. Two of those of course were pretty solid defenses. We also have to remember that Julio is the main guy here now. While that should help Roddy be more consistent, it will keep him from having huge games. Don't get me wrong, I think he'll be solid but I think it will be a middle ground between 2013 and 2012.


27. Wes Welker – Denver Broncos

5'9”, 185 lbs
2013 Stats: 73 Rec – 778 Yards – 10 TD
Coaching Change: None

Welker got off to an amazing start with eight touchdowns in his first six games with Peyton Manning and the Broncos. He cooled down after that and missed some time but was still useful, especially in PPR leagues. He is now 33 years old and coming off concussion problems but he has the best quarterback throwing to him and he doesn't require a lot of the skills that go away with age such as top speed. He can still be counted on and will continue to be extra valuable in PPR leagues.


28. Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles

6'0”, 198 lbs
2013 Stats: Did Not Play – Injured
Coaching Change: None (First year healthy under Chip Kelly)

Maclin has become a bit of a forgotten part of the Eagles offense after tearing his ACL and missing all of 2013. How quickly we forget that heading into 2013 Maclin was 25 coming off three seasons where he averaged 7 TD and 900 yards. We saw what Chip Kelly's offense did for DeSean Jackson, it can push Maclin to the next level as well. This is another case where it would be unwise to actually pay for that price on draft day because of his injury, but the upside as the Eagles top receiver is too much to pass up at this point.


29. Terrance Williams – Dallas Cowboys

6'2”, 200 lbs
2013 Stats: 44 Rec – 736 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: Passing Game Coordinator – Scott Linehan

User:Kelton36 - Own workTerrance Williams is the one second year receiver I don't think gets enough attention. He has good size and speed and had decent numbers in his rookie season. With Miles Austin gone he is the undisputed number two in Dallas.

As mentioned with Dez in the 1-20 rankings, the addition of Linehan means lots of passing and good things for the receivers. I see Terrance Williams with breakout written all over him.


30. Mike Wallace – Miami Dolphins

6'0”, 195 lbs
2013 Stats: 73 Rec – 930 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: OC – Bill Lazor

It was a year of ups and downs for Mike Wallace in his first year as a Miami Dolphin. In week two he had a great game with nine catches for 115 yards and a TD. Despite the early promise, he then went through an eight game stretch with no touchdowns and just one game over one hundred yards. One reason to be optimistic? Wallace had four touchdowns in his final six games, hopefully a sign of better things to come. Bill Lazor is a first time offensive coordinator at the pro level, but he received rave reviews for his work with Nick Foles and is supposedly bringing some of that up-tempo offense to Miami. It did wonders for DeSean Jackson so there is certainly a lot of upside with Wallace.


31. Golden Tate – Detroit Lions

5'10”, 202 lbs
2013 Stats: 64 Rec – 898 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: HC – Jim Caldwell, OC – Joe Lombardi

Golden Tate is the player who most benefited from a change of teams this offseason. He goes from the team that ranked 31st in passing attempts to the team that was 5th. While it's true that Scott Linehan is no longer the offensive coordinator in Detroit, this team is built to throw. Tate led the Seahawks in targets but still ranked 40th in the league. That will certainly rise now. One very promising stat on Golden Tate: he ranked first in missed tackles and yards after catch per reception. Give this guy 15-20 more receptions and the yards will easily pile on.


32. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis Colts

6'0”, 200 lbs
2013 Stats: 38 Rec – 508 Yards – 2 TD
Coaching change: None

First thing to note – Reggie Wayne will be the oldest receiver in the first five tiers and it is not particularly close. He will be turning 36 during the season and is coming off a torn ACL. There is a lot to dislike here. So what are the positives? He was on his way to another 1000 yard season with plenty of catches, and Andrew Luck has used him as a security blanket opposite the inconsistent T.Y. Hilton. A lot of people tend to stay away from older guys, but if you believe Wayne can come back healthy and productive, you will have a steal on draft day. He gets a nice boost in PPR leagues as well.


33. T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts

5'9”, 178 lbs
2013 Stats: 82 Rec – 1,083 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: None

In year two Hilton made a lot of progress but ask most owners and they will tell you it was a frustrating year. Following the injury to Reggie Wayne, Hilton became a hot commodity. After putting up huge numbers in the next two games he was on track to end the season as a top receiver. The rest of the season was a major letdown as he would not score another touchdown in the final seven games, nor would he surpass 100 yards until week 17. When you include the postseason he averaged 160 yards in his final three games leaving us all wondering, exactly how good is T.Y. Hilton? With the return of Wayne and the addition of Hakeem Nicks he is probably capable of some long catches but I can't see him consistently getting ten or more targets a game. With his speed he remains a solid player to own.


Tier 5 Wide Receiver Rankings

 34. Sammy Watkins – Buffalo Bills

6'1”, 205 lbs (Rookie via Clemson Tigers)
2013 Stats: College: 101 Rec – 1464 Yards – 12 TD
Coaching Change: None

We arrive at the first rookie in the rankings and he is a special one. There are many reasons to be wary of rookie receivers, as Tavon Austin reminded us last year. Sammy Watkins is on another level though. He has received hype and reputation that very few receivers have in the past few years. In fact, dating back to Calvin Johnson being taken 2nd Overall in 2007, these are the WRs that have been as highly thought of: AJ Green, Julio Jones, Justin Blackmon. Including Calvin, the first three are much bigger, but all undoubtedly very successful. Blackmon is the most comparable in size and speed. Blackmon is immensely talented with a number of character issues. Watkins could be more talented without the off-field problems to give you an idea. His QB isn't the best, but we've seen other young receivers get by with below average quarterbacks (Johnson, Green and Blackmon for starters). He put up huge numbers in college. There are some risks but even in his rookie year there is a lot of upside here.


35. Cecil Shorts – Jacksonville Jaguars

6'0”, 202 lbs
2013 Stats: 66 Rec – 777 Yards – 3 TD
Coaching Change: None

I was skeptical of Shorts following his breakout 2012 season in which he ranked second among all receivers in yards per reception. He was solid in 2013 but also a totally different player. He went from averaging fewer than four receptions a game to 5.5 per game. On the other hand, his yards per catch fell more than five yards and he had fewer touchdowns. This different Cecil Shorts was reliable and consistent, good for at least 60 yards almost every week. While that's not exciting, over a full season he should total 1,000 yards. There are new receivers in town, but as long as Chad Henne remains the projected starter Shorts remains a fantasy asset, having received double digit targets in nine games last year.


36. Emmanuel Sanders – Denver Broncos

5'11”, 180 lbs
2013 Stats: 67 Rec – 740 Yards – 6 TD
Coaching Change: None

Now with the Denver Broncos, Sanders will be expected at least in part to fill the hole Eric Decker left behind. He didn't put up huge numbers last year, but it was solid and it's not hard to imagine the jump from the Steelers offense into the Broncos passing game will boost him up a few tiers. Don't expect Sanders to replicate Decker's numbers – that would be a best case scenario – but even three quarters of Decker's production would be pretty solid.


37. Eric Decker – New York Jets

6'3”, 214 lbs
2013 Stats: 87 Rec – 1,288 Yards – 11 TD
Coaching Change: None

Rotoballer-Fantasy-Football-Advice-Analysis-Eric-DeckerOn one hand Eric Decker is finally the no-doubt top receiver on a team. The downside is that it is the New York Jets, where the leading receiver's yardage total for the past two years combined (Jeremy Kerley) hardly exceeded Decker's 2013 total (1,350 to 1,288 yards).

Decker is a good deal better than Kerley, but with Geno Smith likely throwing to him it's hard to project another big year. He should have a good year but there are too many question marks to feel confident in that.


38. Anquan Boldin – San Francisco 49ers

6'1”, 220 lbs
2013 Stats: 85 Rec – 1,179 Yards – 7 TD
Coaching Change: None

I had a feeling that Boldin would struggle with basically no one else to cover at wide receiver. After the monster first game (208 yards, 1 TD) he did have some struggles. He then finished strong down the stretch and the return of Crabtree played a big part. With another receiver for the defense to worry about, Boldin had nine or more fantasy points in four of the final five games and two of three postseason games as well. He is getting on in years, but he should be able to contribute again this year. I think the addition of Stevie Johnson could actually help him.


39. DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans

6'1”, 218 lbs
2013 Stats: 52 Rec – 802 Yards – 2 TD
Coaching Change: HC/OC: Bill O'Brien

All things considered, Hopkins did really well despite the disaster of a season for the Texans. In his second year with O'Brien as the new coach I am pretty intrigued. While Gronk was O'Brien's greatest success in New England, he got a few amazing years out of Wes Welker as well. O'Brien should be very good for Houston and get the most out of this offense despite lacking a good quarterback. That said, I can't get too excited for Hopkins while Fitzpatrick and Keenum are the top guys to throw to him. He is likely at least a year away from possibly being very good, but he can still take a step forward this year.


40. Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs

6'2”, 221 lbs
2013 Stats: 57 Rec – 673 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: None

It was arguably Bowe's worst season in his seven year career. He had fewer yards and touchdowns in 2009 but also played in four fewer games. For whatever reason, he and Alex Smith never appeared to quite get it together. They did have one great game but it was in the playoffs – not much help to his fantasy owners. This ranking is a reflection of my belief that things have to get better. There isn't much room for it to be worse than last year. Unless you think one of the other receivers on the Chiefs can take over as #1 (Donnie Avery? AJ Jenkins? I don't think so) there is a lot of room for improvement between Alex Smith and Dwayne Bowe.


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.