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Fantasy Football: Top 20 WRs After Preseason Week 3

Top 20 WRs After Preseason Week 3

Randy Moss
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With Week 3 of the 2014 NFL preseason in the books, we've seen the last of most of the projected starters until the regular season. With that, these are the top 20 wide receivers to keep an eye on heading into the fantasy football season. These rankings don't reflect the players' talent, but their fantasy value.

20. Michael Floyd

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
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20. Michael Floyd

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Floyd has had textbook wide receiver progression through his first two seasons. Last year, Floyd finished as the 21st most productive fantasy receiver. With another year of learning from Larry Fitzgerald under his belt and a stronger rapport building with Carson Palmer, expect the young receiver to continue growing.

19. Emmanuel Sanders

Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
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19. Emmanuel Sanders

Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s called the Peyton Manning effect. Eric Decker finished 8th among fantasy receivers last year, but he is certainly not the 8th best receiver in the league. Now with Decker gone and Wes Welker dealing with yet another concussion, the Denver Broncos will need someone to step up. Emmanuel Sanders is certainly good enough for Manning to make him a top-15 receiver. But let’s just be cautious.

18. Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
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18. Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Cordarrelle Patterson might be the most explosive player to enter the NFL in a long time. As a rookie, he only had 45 receptions for four touchdowns, but combining his running and returning skills, Patterson totaled nine touchdowns, second among rookie skill players. He’ll look to pair his established receiving skills with his 13.2 yards per carry and his league-leading 32.4 yards per kick return to make himself a dangerous weapon in 2014.

17. Randall Cobb

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
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17. Randall Cobb

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Being blatantly honest, Randall “Corn on the” Cobb is overrated. It’s difficult to see how the fourth year receiver, who only once has brought in more than 433 yards, could be used as a flex option, let alone a top-10 receiver. If it weren’t for Aaron Rodgers, Cobb wouldn’t have made this list at all. He has one more year to make an impact before he becomes fantasy irrelevant.

16. DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

16. DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

2013 was just what the doctor ordered for Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson. After failing to eclipse 1,000 yards for two consecutive years, the burner had his best season with career highs in receptions and yards, while tying his career-best nine touchdowns. Jackson falls to 17 because Pierre Garcon led the league in targets last year, which is certain to hurt the new guy’s production.

15. Roddy White

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
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15. Roddy White

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Roddy White receives more unwarranted criticism than any other player. Coming into 2013, White had never missed a game in his eight years in the NFL. For six consecutive seasons, he was a perennial top-5 receiver averaging 94/1, 295/8. While injuries were the only thing holding him back in 2013, a healthy White looks to return to dominance. This time around, fellow Falcons receiver Julio Jones will be the only thing cutting into his production.

14. Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

14. Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Who says rookie receivers can’t make an immediate impact? In Week 4, Keenan Allen emerged as Philip Rivers’ favorite target and went on to lead all rookies in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. After picking up the NFL game so quickly, the former Cal Bear is a favorite to really emerge as a star in 2014.

13. Victor Cruz

Victor Cruz, New York Giants
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13. Victor Cruz

Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Victor Cruz had one of the best rookie seasons ever for a wide receiver bringing in more than 1,500 yards. But since then, the fourth year receiver’s production has declined each season. Since Cruz was injured last year, he’ll get the benefit of the doubt. If Cruz’s trend continues, he’ll find himself out of a No. 1 receiver job. In this sink or swim year, I’ll bet he swims.

12. Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

12. Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In 10 seasons, Larry Fitzgerald has been a consummate pro. He’s averaged more than 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns over his career, only missed four games and has never complained all while playing for less than superior quarterbacks for the majority of his career. While his yardage has dipped over the last two years, Fitz still managed to catch 10 touchdowns last year. The 30-year-old receiver has at least one more year of dominance.

11. Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
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11. Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Johnson is washed up, they say. The Indianapolis Colts aren’t buying it for a second as Andre the Giant torched their secondary for 229 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. The problem is that entering his 12th season, Johnson doesn’t find the end zone like he used to. With that said, he’s still accumulated more than 3,000 yards over the last two seasons. Rest assured, another huge season is ahead.

10. Alshon Jeffery

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
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10. Alshon Jeffery

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference one year makes. Alshon Jeffery went from irrelevant to “Hello Mr. Marshall, I want your starting job,” over the course of one season. Sure, teams will no longer be surprised by the former Clemson Tiger, but at the end of the day, what can they do to slow him down? With Brandon Marshall on the other side, and Matt Forte in the backfield, Jeffery will find himself a top-10 receiver.

9. Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

9. Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Jackson may just be the most underrated player in the NFL. In both of his seasons in Tampa Bay, V-Jax has received top-10 targets. Unfortunately, his quarterbacks were awful, as demonstrated in his inconsistent production. With Josh McCown in town, and considering what he did for the Bears last season, expect Jackson to have a career year.

8. Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

8. Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Jordy Nelson has had two great seasons to go along with four not-so-great seasons. When he and Aaron Rodgers are on and healthy, it’s near-impossible to defend. With a healthy Rodgers back in uniform, expect huge production from Nelson.

7. Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

7. Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

With Mike Wallace out of the picture in Pittsburgh, at the time, fourth-year receiver Antonio Brown stepped in as the go-to guy and did not disappoint. In fact, he finished as the 6th best fantasy receiver. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has no one else to throw to, so expect more of the same in 2014.

6. Julio Jones

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
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6. Julio Jones

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to forget how good Falcons receiver Julio Jones was about to be before injuring his hamstring. As a rookie, he almost topped 1,000 yards while only playing 13 games. As an NFL sophomore, Jones had 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last season, the former Two-A-Days star was on pace for 131 receptions and 1,856 yards through five games. Surely, he would have slowed down, right? What if he wasn’t going to?

5. Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
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5. Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Marshall has had a near-perfect NFL career. In his eight years, he’s only missed five games and has caught triple-digit passes in five seasons. Three of which ended with double-digit touchdowns, including his two most recent years, meaning he’s not slowing down. His chemistry with Jay Cutler is incredible, so look for the two to hook up plenty of times in 2014.

4. Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
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4. Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Between the sidelines, fifth-year receiver Dez Bryant is one of the best. Luckily for fantasy purposes, that’s all that matters. Sure, he may yell Tony Romo’s ear off for only throwing him the ball eight times in a game, but all that means is he’ll get 15 looks the next week. His talent is undeniable, as is his production. Bryant is about as safe of a No. 1 fantasy receiver as you can find.

3. A.J. Green

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

3. A.J. Green

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

For once, something went right for the Cincinnati Bengals, as they found gold in A.J. Green. He’s gotten better in each of his three seasons in the NFL, and that should only continue as Andy Dalton gets better. The Red Rocket has been money this preseason completing 70 percent of his passes for 372 yards and a touchdown. If this continues, Green could see his best year yet, by a lot.

2. Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

2. Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last two seasons, Demaryius Thomas all but fully secured his place among the best of the best in the NFL. In two seasons with Peyton Manning, Thomas has brought in 2,834 yards and 24 touchdowns. Eric Decker is out of Denver and Wes Welker is yet again concussed. Don’t be surprised to see Manning rely on Thomas more this year, causing him to catch around 17 touchdowns in a Randy Moss-esque manner.

1. Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson, Detriot Lions
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1. Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson, Detriot Lions
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, Calvin Johnson struggled as he couldn’t match his 2012 career high of 1,964 yards. In fact, he missed it by a lot only managing to scrap for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games. The eighth-year receiver’s best years may be behind him. Now that he’s healthy and there’s another receiver in Detroit to take pressure off him, he’ll probably only bring in 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns. Is that really worth unrealistic trade offers?

Chris Lehman is a New Orleans Saints Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBreezy91, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google