The fantasy football season is right around the corner, so this is the perfect time to start filling your head with countless statistics and crazy sleepers. Below is my full 2012 fantasy football report for wide receivers:
Top Ten Rankings:
1. Calvin Johnson, DET – Johnson exploded last season, as his 16 receiving touchdowns and 1,681 receiving yards both led the NFL. “Megatron” has transformed himself into the best receiver in the game and his numbers just seem untouchable by anyone else at the position. He is the ultimate fantasy receiver and he is only the wideout that can actually outscore a quarterback
2. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI – Fitzgerald has only hauled in 14 touchdowns over his last two seasons, which is a far cry from the 25 touchdowns he had in the two seasons previously. “Fitz” has been the main causality of the Cardinals’ ineffectiveness to move the chains on offense, but Fitzgerald still remains one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL. Unlike Andre Johnson, the guy third on this list, Fitzgerald has only missed 4 total games throughout his eight-year career and durability is very important in fantasy football. Fitzgerald is the best in the game at catching the ball at its highest point and the six-time Pro Bowler will immediately get more room to work in the red-zone with rookie receiver, Michael Floyd, opening up the field. Expect Fitzgerald to bounce back this year with another 1,100-yard, 10-plus touchdown season.
3. Andre Johnson, HOU – “Andre 3000” has always been one of the most electric receivers in the game, but he unfortunately has missed 12 games in the last two seasons alone. He has still averaged an amazing 93.3 yards per game in the last four seasons, but his starts have just been too erratic to warrant a higher spot in my rankings. Johnson has still never caught over 10 touchdowns in a single season, a stat that will likely continue with the emergence of workhorse running back, Arian Foster, in the Texans backfield. Johnson is still an elite receiver, but he comes with the same injury prone label he has owned since 2005. Draft him in the second round, but just make sure to grab a manageable backup incase his hamstring cannot hold up another full season.
4. Wes Welker, NE – Welker is as reliable as they come from the wide receiver position. Welker is the only legitimate receiver that Patriots’ quarterback, Tom Brady, has at his disposal and Welker’s numbers over the last several years have backed that up. New England may be famous for using their multiple tight end sets, but Welker has been their most valuable receiving option in recent years. He has averaged 110.8 receptions per year over the last five seasons and has truly earned his spot among the top receivers in fantasy football.
5. Greg Jennings, GB – Jennings’ numbers took a bit of a slide in 2011, as he went from 12 touchdowns in 2010 to only catching 9 touchdowns last year. However, Jennings missed the last three games due to a knee injury and if he had played in the remaining games, he would have enjoyed a campaign similar to his 2010 totals. Jennings is still the number one option for MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers to look for downfield, so that alone makes him a viable number one receiver. Jennings will easily haul in over 10 touchdowns in 2012.
6. Roddy White, ATL – White is one of the more unheralded players in the entire NFL. White has five consecutive seasons with over 1,100 receiving yards and the 30-year old has never missed a start in his seven-year NFL career. White is the true definition of a possession receiver and is perhaps the best PPR (Point Per Reception) player in the entire league. He is a great number one option, who can probably be drafted as a number two-fantasy receiver.
7. Hakeem Nicks, NYG – For several seasons now, Nicks has been the most imposing red-zone option on the New York Giants’ roster. He plays much bigger then his bio suggests (6’1” 208) and the receiver definitely knows how to use his body to gain position against opposing defenders. He has become quarterback Eli Manning’s favorite red-zone target, and as long as Manning keeps airing the ball out, then Nicks will always be a threat to catch 10 touchdowns.
8. A. J. Green, CIN – Green had an outstanding rookie season, as he eclipsed 1,000 (1,057) yards and hauled in 7 touchdowns. Green quickly made the transition to the pros, as he made big catch after big catch in his first year. He has the raw speed and the amazing game changing ability to become an elite fantasy wide receiver.
9. Mike Wallace, PIT – Wallace is the most dangerous downfield threat in the entire NFL. He has averaged a ridiculous 18.7 yards per reception over his NFL career and always helps Ben Roethlisberger extend the defense in Pittsburgh. Wallace consistently a threat to grab a 60-yard touchdown and will certainly benefit from the team’s sudden lack of a running game.
10. Dez Bryant, DAL – Bryant has shown amazing athleticism and strength in his first two seasons in a Cowboys’ uniform. Bryant caught 9 touchdowns in 15 games last season, which is even more impressive considering Dallas’ embarrassing 2011 campaign. Bryant already has the skills to be a number one fantasy receiver and will only get better as he matures as a player.
MVP: Calvin Johnson, DET