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Fantasy Flex Rankings – Wide Receiver

Take a moment and just rank your own top 10 wide receivers.  Now, quickly ask one of your buddies to do the same thing.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Calvin Johnson being Calvin Johnson. The best wide receiver in the NFL.

Now that you have both of those rankings, compare the two.  I’m willing to bet that you have at least 3 different names on your list that your buddy doesn’t.  Plus, I’m betting only one or two of the positions are the same (one of them is likely Calvin Johnson at #1).  The reason for these discrepancies is quite simple; wide receivers are deep and unpredictable this season.  Alas, it’s time for the last of the position rankings.

Disclaimer:  Below are my rankings for the Top  50 wide receivers for whom I would prefer with no respect to average draft positions from current mock drafts.   The rankings apply to re-draft leagues and do not take into consideration keeper league rules.  These rankings were done with my gut and the most up to date information as of the time of this writing.

  1. Calvin Johnson
  2. Larry Fitzgerald
  3. Vincent Jackson
  4. Wes Welker
  5. Andre Johnson
  6. Brandon Marshall
  7. Greg Jennings
  8. Mike Wallace
  9. Percy Harvin
  10. Victor Cruz

So many players have top 10 potential with a very distinct few having a nearly “guaranteed” position. That’s why for most of the Top 10, players tend to be the most consistent or have the least risk.  Your questions are likely to be on three players in this group, Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshall, and Victor Cruz.  First, Vincent Jackson has been a stud wide receiver even when he missed half of a season due to suspension.  Yes, he has switched teams, but V-Jax upside on a team where there wasn’t a previous standout wide receiver and a deep passing Josh Freeman is too strong to pass up.  Although I rank him third, I would have no problem with anybody dropping Jackson below Brandon Marshall at 6.

Victor Cruz is not a fluke, at least, in terms of his abilities while Eli Manning is throwing to him.  If you were to put him on a different team, similar to Mario Manningham, I wouldn’t have anywhere near as much confidence in Victor to maintain last year’s production.  Meanwhile, I feel the perfect storm is brewing in Chicago.  Jay Cutler is now a matured quarterback, Brandon Marshall is now a matured and still talented wide receiver, and Mike Tice is once again coaching the two.  Does this sound familiar?  It should.  Just a few years back they were all on a little playoff team known as the Denver Broncos and had a strong fantasy season together.  We also know that Matt Forte won’t hold out any longer than he has to because he puts the team before himself (he was the workhorse back while only getting paid $555,000 in 2011).  I would expect some particularly large numbers from the Bears’ key players this season.

Dwayne Bowe
Julio Jones
Steve Smith
Kenny Britt
DeSean Jackson
Dez Bryant
Demaryius Thomas
Roddy White
A.J. Green
Hakeem Nicks

While 1-10 were mostly consistent guys, 11-20 is full of upside.  Many of these guys are either unproven, had a bad year last year, or can’t keep up their numbers on a consistent basis but have incredible ability.  The personal man crush in this group is Kenny Britt. The man has been on fire when he plays full games, averaging nearly 15 points per game over his last two seasons.  To give you a comparison, Jordy Nelson who was #2 among receivers last year averaged only 13.1 points per game.  Britt’s one big mark is that he is injury prone and missed much of the last two seasons.  If he can stay healthy for at least 12 games, Kenny Britt can be a Top 7 wide receiver this season.

Can Julio Jones take over as the top wideout in Atlanta?

Why do I have Roddy White over Julio Jones?  Buzz around Atlanta says that Julio has looked impressive during OTA’s and mini-camp.  Meanwhile, Roddy White has said he would be willing to be the #2 receiver in Atlanta after giving Jones some high praise.  Could Roddy White still be a better fantasy wideout this season?  Yes.  Who would I bet on in Vegas as having the better season?   Julio Jones.

Demaryius Thomas during OTA’s and mini-camp was only overthrown once by Peyton Manning which is damn good because he is a speedster.  He’s also had very few drops or incomplete passes.  Other reports from beat writers are saying that Thomas is in sync with Manning.  Now, just to give you a quick summation, Manning has never had a receiver with the same tremendous physical skills in size, strength, speed, and vertical that Demaryius Thomas possesses.  Did you see what Manning did with lesser physical assets in Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Marvin Harrison?  Just wait until the season starts.

Miles Austin
Stevie Johnson
Brandon Lloyd
Torrey Smith
Marques Colston
Robert Meachem
Jeremy Maclin
Jordy Nelson
Reggie Wayne
Danny Amendola

In the Miles Austin vs. Dez Bryant debate, I’ll take the size and ability over the experience now that we are into this position battle by two years.  Last season, Dez Bryant outscored Miles Austin in total points, but was slightly less fantasy proficient, scoring 0.5 points less per game than Miles Austin (Austin did not play in 6 games while Bryant missed 1).  Now that Dez has had another season to mature and Laurent Robinson, Dallas’ leading fantasy wide receiver last year, left during free agency, I would expect Romo to look his way more often.

Baltimore had a love/hate relationship with Torrey Smith last season.  Smith had a breakout season and was able to produce quickly in the Ravens offense, but struggled with drops nearly every week.  Luckily for fantasy owners, he still produced with over 800 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Expect a similar year for Torrey Smith with the possibility of breaking into the Top 15 or Top 12 in receivers by season’s end if he can stop dropping the ball.

Darrius Heyward-Bey
Eric Decker
Santonio Holmes
Anquan Boldin
Lance Moore
Malcom Floyd
James Jones
Laurent Robinson
Jerome Simpson
Justin Blackmon

Malcom Floyd has been around Philip Rivers since the start of Rivers’ career.  In fact, Rivers threw his first touchdown pass in the NFL to Malcom Floyd, so why wouldn’t it be Floyd who takes charge of the #1 receiver stats in San Diego?  Sure, Robert Meachem was signed during free agency, but he may not have the timing down with Rivers by the beginning of the season. Plus, we’ve already seen that Floyd can step up in the absence of Vincent Jackson (physically or mentally).

Green Bay has so many wide receivers, you’ll never know who will be the best any given week. It’s a testament to how great their offense truly is.

Green Bay wide receivers are arguably as hard to rank as the entire NFL as a whole.  Aaron Rodgers and company love to spread the ball around making it a crapshoot every week for who will be the best fantasy option.  At #37 among wide receivers, any Green Bay wideout can be drafted.  Each one will produce at some point during the season, you just don’t who or when, which is what can kill a fantasy team.   Hopefully, by this point in the draft, though, you won’t be starting a Green Bay wide receiver on a regular basis, instead using them as a bye week fill-in.

Leonard Hankerson
Michael Crabtree
Kendall Wright
Antonio Brown
Titus Young
Davone Bess
Doug Baldwin
Sidney Rice
Arrelious Benn
Mario Manningham

Here are some quick hits of people to look out for in the 41-50 group:  Kendall Wright could be a huge asset if/when Kenny Britt goes down to injury.  In the wake of a Madden curse, Titus Young could step in and be a solid #2 fantasy wide receiver.  Meanwhile, Davone Bess is all Miami has at receiver.  In Tampa, Arrelious Benn has a chance to prove his flashes of brilliance are real and not just a figment of our imagination.

What would you change?  Leave your answer in the comment section below and don’t forget to check out my previous rankings.  Keep in mind, as the season draws closer there, we will be releasing a top 200 list.  Dont’ forget to follow me on Twitter where I whisper sweet nothings to myself and the internet.  @twoxtreme

As a quick side note, if you have not noticed here on The Farm Club, we offer you the chance to write your own articles covering any range of sports topics.  If you are interested in getting your post on our page and possibly becoming a regular contributing author, check out our Contact/Submit page for more information.

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About nichbeesley

Nicholas Beesley is a Michigan State University student majoring in television and film, a producer for MSU&U, and a lifelong wrestling fan. Also, he will gladly argue over facts, but will spend hours trying to form a simple opinion on any topic that’s not wrestling or fantasy football related.

View all posts by nichbeesley

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