2014 Fantasy Football: Early Wide Receiver Rankings
Top 15 Fantasy Wideouts
The wide receiver position has become extremely deep in recent fantasy football seasons. All of a sudden there are over 10 quality options to count as number one fantasy receivers, as opposed to the handful just five years ago. The position has shockingly been even outscoring running backs.
There were several surprising performances from this past season. Wide receivers Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffrey, Keenan Allen, and Eric Decker were all ranked well outside of the top-30 wideouts this off-season, but they all ended up making an appearance in the top-20 fantasy wideouts when the 2013 season was over.
Other surprises among fantasy’s elite wideouts last season were DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Larry Fitzgerald. The trio was previously written off as being reliable starting options, but all three ended up becoming some of the best wideouts down the stretch. There were some of the best value picks at the position.
The football season is officially over, but us fantasy junkies are already thinking about next year. So before completely closing the book on football this year, here is an early look at my fantasy football wide receiver rankings for the 2014 season.
Honorable Mention: Keenan Allen, ( San Diego Chargers), Vincent Jackson ( Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers), Michael Crabtree ( San Francisco 49ers), Eric Decker (Free Agent), Roddy White (Atlanta Falcons)
15. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
Wes Welker, Denver Broncos – Welker instantly added to Denver’s passing game. The wideout caught nine touchdowns through the first eight games of the season and the slot receiver was shockingly the number one wideout in fantasy over that time. Unfortunately, the veteran wideout was slowed down over the final weeks of the season with concussion issues and ended up sitting out the final three games. Welker will get an entire off-season to rest, so fantasy fans can anticipate the receiver hauling in another 7-9 touchdowns next season.
14. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – Although most didn’t notice, Fitzgerald had a pretty decent season in 2013. The eight-time Pro Bowler finished with 954 receiving yards and Fitzgerald’s 10 touchdowns were his highest total since 2009.
QB Carson Palmer hasn’t exactly aided the passing game as expected, which has caused a dip in the Fitzgerald’s receiving yards, but Fitz is still one of the best in the business. He won’t crack the top-five fantasy wideouts without steady play at the quarterback position, but he still has the ability to be a great second fantasy receiver.
13. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles – Jackson was the 26th drafted wideout in fantasy drafts last season, but he proved to be a great value pick after finishing as the 10th ranked fantasy wideout in 2013. He surprised many with a career performance and the speedster reclaimed his spot as a top-tier fantasy receiver.
QB Nick Foles averaged 2.5 passing touchdowns in his 10 starts last season and Jackson will certainly benefit from having a pocket quarterback under center. Jackson won’t come nearly as cheap as he did last summer, but he should put up very similar numbers. View D-Jack has a low-end WR1, high end WR2 in 2014 drafts.
12. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins – Washington’s passing game was an absolute wreck last season. They finished 16th with a meager 234.4 yards per game and QB Robert Griffin III was forced to sit out the final three games due to another knee injury.
Despite the team’s offensive struggles, Garcon still finished first in the entire NFL with 113 receptions. He added 1,346 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions. Garcon’s minor touchdown total was somewhat disheartening considering his staggering yardage total, but the Waiter will be much more serviceable with a healthier RG3 under center in 2014.
11. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans – Once thought to be an injury concern, Johnson has played in 32 straight games. He has hauled in 221 balls over that time for an incredible 3,005 receiving yards. Johnson recorded six 100-yard contests last season alone; including one 229-yard outing that included three touchdown catches. Andre 3000 continues to be overlooked in off-season rankings, but all the veteran does is post 100-yard performances. Johnson obviously isn’t a huge touchdown threat, as he has grabbed just 11 touchdowns in his last 37 games, but his staggering yardage totals will constantly keep him ranked among the top-15 wideouts.
10. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears – Jeffery averaged a meager 34.7 receiving yards in the first three weeks of the season, but the six-foot-three wideout quickly made a big impact. AJ averaged an absurd 101.3 yards over the final 13 games of the season and shockingly finished sixth in the league with 1,421 receiving yards. He even added seven touchdowns and the former South Carolina standout became an instant compliment to number one wideout, Brandon Marshall. Jeffery may be the number two wideout on Chicago’s roster, but he has shown enough to be a reliable number one option in all fantasy formats.
9. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers - When QB Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone in Week 9, Nelson’s fantasy value took a huge hit. In the eight games without A-Rod, Nelson only caught one touchdown pass and averaged a meager 63 yards. Nelson averaged 101.3 yards in the eight games with A-Rod and caught seven touchdowns. He will become a top-10 wideout again next season with a healthy Rodgers under center, so fantasy fans can write in another 1,200 yards and 10-plus touchdowns next to Nelson's name.
8. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers – Brown proved that he could be a number one option in his first season as the number one wideout in the Steel City. He received an incredible 165 targets last season from QB Ben Roethlisberger and he impressively caught 110 of them. He also finished second in the league with 1,499 yards and eight touchdowns. He posted career numbers and has established himself as a legitimate WR1 in fantasy.
7. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – Jones suffered one of the most devastating injuries this past fantasy season. The wideout hauled in 580 yards and two touchdowns through five games and was having another superb fantasy season, but he was forced to shut it down for the year after breaking a bone in his foot.
Fortunately, Jones will be 100% healthy in 2014. Fantasy fans can expect him to once again finish among the top-10 fantasy wideouts with least 10 touchdowns.
6. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys – Bryant may throw the occasional temper tantrum on the sideline, but the wideout is a star. Bryant ended the 2013 by catching a touchdown in five straight games and he has now caught 25 touchdowns over his last 32 games. Bryant has emerged as a legitimate fantasy receiver and the 25-year-old will warrant a top-five pick again this summer.
5. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears – Marshall has never been a dangerous deep threat, as he has a career average of 12.7 yards per reception, but he is one of the best possession wideouts in football. He has posted seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and has developed into a beast since heading to Chi-town. He now has caught 23 touchdowns over the last two years with a staggering 2,803 yards. The emergence of WR Alshon Jeffrey on the other side of the field will give Marshall more room to work in 2014, even if it does occasionally take away from his yardage totals.
Marshall finished with a career-high 12 touchdowns and it is safe to say he will haul in another 10-plus touchdowns in 2014. Don’t be scared off by Jeffrey’s presence downfield, because Marshall is still a great second-tier wideout.
4. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos – Since QB Peyton Manning came to town two years ago, Thomas has been a red-zone machine. Thomas has caught 24 touchdowns in the last two seasons and has become one of the better deep-threat wideouts in fantasy. With Manning likely returning as his quarterback, DT will continue to be a 10-touchdwon threat in fantasy.
3. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals – Green posted career-highs in receptions (98), yards (1,426), and he tied his career-high of 11 touchdowns in 2013. He arguably has the best hands in the game and the superstar has made highlight reel catches game after game. Green will be good for another double-digit touchdown season in 2014 and will be one of the most popular wideouts to lock on to in the second round.
2. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns – Gordon was suspended for the first two games of the 2013 for violating the leagues Drug Policy, but boy did he make the final 14 games count. Gordon ended up leading the entire NFL with 1,646 receiving yards and averaged gaudy 117.6 yards per contest. It was a fantasy season for the history books and instantly vaulted the speedster into the conversation of the league’s best wideout. Gordon was drafted 42nd overall in 2013, but you can expect him to be the second wideout off the board this summer.
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions - Johnson severely broke his finger earlier in the year. He played most of the season with the injured appendage and it was horrifically facing perpendicular to his body most of the season. Johnson dealt with a nagging PCL injury for most of the season as well and the superstar has already had a minor scope on the knee to clean it out this off-season.
Amidst the laundry list of injuries, Johnson still massed 84 receptions for 1,292 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games. He was the third ranked wideout in fantasy and showed he could once again find the end-zone.
Johnson will next season healthy, and as a result, he will quickly reclaim his spot as the best wideout in football. He is still the only wideout worth considering in the first round in 2014 drafts, and Megatron is what they call automatic in the fantasy world.