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Tiered Wide Receiver Rankings: Top 60 in Fantasy Football

Steve Johnson (American football)CC BY-SA 3.0 Jeffrey Beall - Own work

We have already looked at the top 20 wide receivers and the top 40 wide receivers for 2014 Fantasy Football and Tiers 1 through 5, kicking off our series of 2014 fantasy football rankings. Today we will look at the wide receivers ranked 41-60, Tiers 6 - 8, 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 6 Wide Receiver Rankings

41. Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6'5” 225 lbs (Drafted Via Texas A&M Aggies)
College: 69 Rec – 1,394 Yards – 12 TD
Coaching Change: HC – Lovie Smith, OC – Jeff Tedford

The first important note is Evans' size. There are very few receivers at 6'4” or taller on that list and all of those above Evans have been very successful. That said, Evans is very young and has a lot of developing to do. He will be a force in coming years. Right now its hard to know what to expect, but we saw how Josh McCown was able to put the ball up for Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Evans will have his share of opportunities as well.


Steve Johnson (American football)CC BY-SA 3.0 Jeffrey Beall - Own work42. Stevie Johnson – San Francisco 49ers

6'2” 207 lbs (Formerly Buffalo Bills)
52 Rec – 597 Yards – 3 TD
Coaching Change: None

Let me preface this by saying I love the situation that Stevie has landed himself in. On the surface it seems a bit crowded with Crabtree, Boldin and Vernon Davis all firmly entrenched as top targets. I happen to be very optimistic on Colin Kaepernick, believing that the reason he and the 49ers passing game struggled was a lack of a true #2 receiver while Crabtree was out. In the final three games of the regular season where Crabtree was back and looking fully healthy, Boldin was still receiving 7+ targets a game. Its clear there were plenty of passes to go around. Are there enough for three wide receivers? It remains to be seen, but Johnson had put up three straight 1,000 yard seasons prior to last year. He has the talent and is worth drafting in the middle rounds.

Tier 7 Wide Receiver Rankings

43. Brian Hartline – Miami Dolphins

6'2” 199 lbs
76 Rec – 1,016 Yards – 4 TD
Coaching Change: OC – Bill Lazor

Hartline has put up just about the quietest back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons as anyone could. 2012 was easy enough to write off – he had just one touchdown which came in a ridiculous 253 yard outlier of a game. Last year his touchdowns were still lower than ideal at just four, but he was extremely consistent. He had at least 50 yards in all but four games while going over 100 yards just twice. While that doesn't lead to a super attractive option on draft day, he did outscore many of the names above him on this list and makes for a great fill-in receiver with bye weeks or injuries. Plus, if Tannehill continues to develop, Hartline could improve as well.


44. Riley Cooper – Philadelphia Eagles

6'3” 222lbs
47 Rec – 835 Yards – 8 TD
Coaching Change: None

Riley Cooper started out the season looking like he would continue to be fantasy irrelevant, with less than 100 total yards through the first five games. With the arrival of Foles in the final eleven games of the season he would average 67 yards a game with seven of his eight touchdowns. A lot of that was piled into three games but he was still being targeted a lot by Nick Foles nonetheless. He did have a boom or bust tendency which keeps him from being higher but Cooper is a guy that can tear up weaker defenses.


45. Hakeem Nicks - Indianapolis Colts 

6'1" 208 lbs
Stats: 56 Rec - 896 Yards - 0 TD
Coaching change: None

Nicks frustrated tons of fantasy owners and coaches last year by not being able to get open for the big play, dropping close balls, and generally not putting up points. It's been reported that he was just trying to stay healthy for a nice pay day, and he's on a 1 year contract this year so his health and tentativeness is enough to give you a lo of pause before drafting him in 2014.  That said, he has an enormous amount of talent, and he is playing with a dynamic receiving corps and  quarterback in Andrew Luck who has significantly more talent than Eli Manning. Nicks could be a nice sleeper play but we wouldn't advise spending too much on him on draft day.


rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-marvin-jones46. Marvin Jones – Cincinnati Bengals

6'2” 195 lbs
51 Rec – 712 Yards – 10 TD
Coaching Change: Hue Jackson - OC

Jones burst onto the scene with a four touchdown performance in week 8 of last season which also capped off six touchdowns in a three game period. It wasn't hard to find an expert telling you regression was coming – and it did. But he also finished the season strong with three more touchdowns in his final four games. While it's possible he could repeat last season's performance, of the 21 wide receivers with seven or more touchdowns only a third of them had under 1,000 yards. It's something that is unlikely to happen twice. It is possible that his yardage can increase, but for that to happen you have to believe in Andy Dalton and I can't say that I do, especially with the loss of Jay Gruden, who has been replaced by Hue Jackson.


47. Kenny Stills – New Orleans Saints

6'0” 194 lbs
32 Rec – 641 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: None

The Saints love to have a deep option at receiver and rookie Kenny Stills was it last year. He is one of the fastest receivers in the league. Among players with 30+ receptions, Stills led the league with a 20.0 yards per reception. Just for reference, that is the highest average of anyone in the past three seasons (DeSean Jackson and Mike Wallace were both higher in 2010) so you can see why Stills is an intriguing option. On the other hand, that makes him a fairly frustrating option for fantasy owners. If Stills doesn't catch the deep ball, he has probably wasted a spot in your lineup. So with that I do urge some caution, but Stills is just 22 years old and still developing. In this offense there is a lot of upside.


48. Danny Amendola - New England Patriots

5'11" 195 lbs
Stats: 54 Rec - 633 Yards - 2 TD
Coaching change: None

The problem with an Amendola is a simple one - injuries. He has played 24 of a possible 48 games the past three seasons. Even more concerning than that is how often he plays with smaller injuries that clearly hurt his in-game performance. There were several instances last season where it was clear that Amendola was not at 100%. For comparison, Julian Edelman played in all sixteen games and ended up essentially taking over the role Amendola was intended for; he was on the field for over 50 snaps in 14 of 16 games. Amendola eclipsed this mark just 4 of 12 games. So while Amendola is another case of a guy with talent and upside far down on this list, he is more likely to be a headache inducer and someone I would pass altogether on draft day.


49. Greg Jennings – Minnesota Vikings

6'0” 195 lbs
68 Rec – 804 Yards – 4 TD
Coaching Change: HC – Mike Zimmer, OC – Norv Turner

Jennings is on the downside of his career with a less than ideal quarterback situation, but he still remains the top pure receiver option for the Vikings. Unfortunately there isn't much positive I can say here. Perhaps Norv Turner can squeeze the last drops of greatness out of him, or perhaps Teddy Bridgewater is immediately fantastic. Other than that, Jennings can be a good backup on your bench but you don't want to rely on him.


50. Denarius Moore – Oakland Raiders

6'0” 190 lbs
46 Rec – 695 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: None

The Raiders have a trio of young somewhat-talented receivers and new addition James Jones, so picking which one is going to be top dog isn't easy. Denarius Moore has the longest track record of some success with the Raiders. He faded later on in the season as Matt McGloin favored Andre Holmes and Rod Streater, but Moore was Terrelle Pryor's favorite and led the team in receiving under Carson Palmer as well. Who will Matt Schaub or Derek Carr favor? It's hard to say, but Moore is the youngest of the top options (most people don't realize that considering he has more experience than Streater or Holmes) and has the most experience working with different quarterbacks. He won't be a great option, but he might be able to provide more value than most think.


51. Brandon LaFell – New England Patriots

6'2” 210 lbs (Formerly Carolina Panthers)
49 Rec – 627 Yards – 5 TD
Coaching Change: None

On paper it's Gronk, Edelman and Amendola as the top receiving options. After that its fairly open with Aaron Dobson and Brandon LaFell vying for the third receiver job. Given the injury history of two of the top three guys, its not hard to see LaFell or Dobson (or both!) ending up in quite a prominent role. LaFell had moments last year where I saw a guy that could be an every-week starter. He recorded a season-high seven catches against the Patriots which clearly caught the eye of Bill Belichick. I also think it speaks volumes that they already had the previously mentioned receivers as well as Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce and still felt the need to grab LaFell. I love the situation and it may require a few things breaking right, but there is a good opportunity here.


rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-tavon-austin52. Tavon Austin - St. Louis Rams

5'8" 176 lbs
40 Rec - 418 Yards - 4 TD / 9 Rush attempts - 151 Yards - 1 TD
Coaching Change: None

Tavon Austin did have a few huge runs occasionally showcasing the talent and speed that made him a high draft pick, but far too often he was putting up duds to make him useful in fantasy. He had more games with 10 or fewer receiving yards (five) than games with 40+ yards (three). Of course 40 yards isn't even that great. The one great game he had as a receiver came on two catches averaging 69 yards. That sort of boom production cannot be sustained over the course of a season. Still, he had three of his four best games in the final four games of the season, in large part due to breakaway rushes of 65 and 56 yards. He will likely have a few huge games, but both he and the Rams offense as a whole are not likely to take a huge step forward this year.


53. Robert Woods - Buffalo Bills

6'0 190 lbs
40 Rec - 587 Yards - 3 TD
Coaching change: None

It wasn't a great season for Woods but the young rookie finished just ten yards behind Stevie Johnson despite fewer targets and catches. This ranking might seem like a stretch to some but if you believe in EJ Manuel as at least a middle tier option along with the continued development of Woods (just 22 this season) there is a lot to like as a backup receiver. Sammy Watkins should immediately be the #1 option, but that might actually free up Woods and allow him to excel.


54. Harry Douglas - Atlanta Falcons

6'0" 183 lbs
85 Rec - 1,067 Yards - 2 TD
Coaching Change: None

Historically the Falcons have primarily worked with two wide receivers and a tight end with the third receiver being largely ignored. Since Julio Jones was drafted in 2011 up until he went down in week five of the 2013 season, Douglas had just three games with 80+ yards, one of them being a game Jones missed. However the Falcons now have an interesting dilemma with Tony Gonzalez gone. Douglas is almost certainly their third best option in the passing game which means he should get plenty of looks unless tight end Levine Toilolo breaks out.


55. Kelvin Benjamin - Carolina Panthers

6'5" 235 lbs (Drafted via Florida State Seminoles)
College Stats: 54 Rec - 1011 Yards - 11 TD
Coaching change: None

Kelvin Benjamin is massive with a size comparable to Megatron and Vincent Jackson. Of course size isn't the only component, or 6'6" Ramses Barden would be a household name (who?). That said it's not often that receivers come around with this size and skills worthy of a first round pick. Cam Newton will love him and it is easy to imagine Benjamin ending up much higher on this list. The downside is that he has a lot to learn and will likely be very mistake prone early on. It doesn't help that besides Jerricho Cotchery (no superstar himself) the most recognizable receivers on this team are Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood who have had careers as mediocre backups. Even if Benjamin does do well he will likely see a lot of defensive attention limiting just how much pain he can inflict on opposing teams.


56. Brandin Cooks - New Orleans Saints

5'10" 186 lbs (Drafted via Oregon State Beavers)
College Stats: 128 Rec - 1730 Yards - 16 TD
Coaching Change:

Brandin Cooks was the first round receiver that landed in the best situation and he should be able to have an immediate impact as the replacement for Lance Moore. As you can see in his senior stats at Oregon State he is a possession receiver that should be extra valuable in PPR formats. With Drew Brees throwing to him its not hard to imagine Cooks ending up as the top scoring rookie receiver this season although touchdowns may be harder to come by with big guys like Graham and Colston to target. He is super speedy (fastest 40 time for a receiver) which should allow him to quickly get open for short passes from Brees. In most other situations he would be just another promising rookie. Instead he is a guy you should be considering late in the draft.


57. Steve Smith - Baltimore Ravens

5'9" 175 lbs (Formerly: Carolina Panthers)
64 Rec - 745 Yards - 4 TD
Coaching Change: OC - Gary Kubiak

A once-great receiver, Smith is now 35 and coming off his second-worst season. This time it wasn't due to Jimmy Clausen being the leading passer either. On the positive side he was far and away the top receiver for the Panthers, forcing a lot of double coverage that made it tough for him to get open. He will now be opposite Torrey Smith with a solid pass-catching running back and a pair of decent tight ends as well. That is reason enough to believe he can at least match last year's production. If there is one thing I've learned, it is to never count out Steve Smith.


Tier 8 Wide Receiver Rankings

58. Nate Washington - Tennessee Titans

6'1" 183 lbs
58 Rec - 919 Yards - 3 TD
Coaching Change: HC - Ken Whisenhunt, OC - Jason Michael

Washington is not the most exciting player and he will now be 31 so it is hard to fault anyone who passes on him late for a player with more potential. What he can do is provide reliability which is often undervalued. He had at least 50 yards in eight games, going over the 100 yard mark in three of them. Just for comparison, that is one more five point game than T.Y. Hilton and the same number as Victor Cruz. Of course those two have considerably more upside, but as a guy that you can plug and play when needed, Washington has decent value as the last receiver you own in most leagues.


59. Justin Hunter – Tennessee Titans

6'4” 203 lbs
18 Rec – 354 Yards – 4 TD
Coaching Change: HC - Ken Whisenhunt, OC- Jason Michael

Hunter's last five games of the season really sum up the talent and the frustrating inconsistencies of a player still learning and developing. First he surpassed 100 receiving yards for the first time in his career and added a touchdown as well with a career high six receptions. This was followed up by a one catch game for nine yards. Next it was another 100 yard performance and another touchdown followed by zero catches in the final two games. Each time you thought he was gaining a bigger role in the offense he made sure to make you think twice. He has great size and a blazing fast 40 time (4.36) and showed enough to make me think he will be very good opposite Kendall Wright soon. I am also pretty sure he has a bit more developing to do before he gets there. I do like Ken Whisenhunt coming over, he was a big part of Keenan Allen's success, but I wouldn't reach for him this year. If the QB situation improves in 2015 Hunter should be making big contributions.


60. Rod Streater – Oakland Raiders

6'3” 200 lbs
60 Rec – 888 Yards – 4 TD
Coaching Change:

I like Streater quite a bit, but admittedly it is hard to project big numbers at this point with the quarterback options and uncertainty of the pecking order amongst the receivers. He was doing okay when Terrelle Pryor was quarterback but really stepped it up with Matt McGloin at the helm and ended up leading the Raiders in targets, receptions and yards. It is unclear if he can remain a favorite under Schaub or Carr so that is something to keep an eye on. If he is one of the top guys he could put up surprisingly decent numbers.


Stay tuned for the last piece in our WR Rankings looking at #'s 61-80.


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.


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