Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Who are the top 15 fantasy wide receivers?

There is a fairly long list of truly elite fantasy wide receivers for the 2014 season, and getting one or two of these players early in your draft should be a big priority (and starting a draft with two of the top receivers certainly is not a bad strategy either). The NFL will be more-strictly enforcing the illegal contact rule which could make for even bigger fantasy seasons this year from the game's elite. 

1. Demaryius Thomas, Denver - Off back-to-back 1400+ yard seasons with Peyton Manning as his quarterback, an anomaly 2,000-yard season for Demaryius Thomas this year is not out of the question. 

2. Calvin Johnson, Detroit - Look for the Lions' passing attack to be more effective this season; Calvin Johnson averages 101 receptions, 1,712 yards and 11 TDs over his last three seasons and those are good benchmarks for his 2014 prognosis. 

3. Dez Bryant, Dallas - While he's number three on my board, Dez Bryant has a puncher's chance to be the top wideout in 2014; Bryant collected a league-best 9 receiving touchdowns inside the 5-yard-line last year. 

4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati – It's likely the Bengals will run more in 2014 than last year, but A.J. Green nonetheless is the color of money for an early fantasy pick. You simply cannot miss with Green as he enters year four in the NFL (and off a career-best season: 98 receptions, 1,426 yards to go along with 11 TDs). 

5. Julio Jones, Atlanta – Injury concern is the only reason for pause (Julio Jones is returning from having a screw replaced in his foot); before being shut down last year, Jones was the #1 fantasy wide receiver through Week 5. Jones is well worth the gamble in the early 2nd round of drafts. 

6. Brandon Marshall, Chicago - Brandon Marshall has now had 1000+ yards for seven straight seasons and the good times will continue in 2014. Marshall has played with Jay Cutler in five of those seasons and in every one of them Marshall has hit or eclipsed the 100-catch mark: 102 (2007), 104 (2008), 101 (2009), 118 (2012) and 100 (2013).

7. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay – Fresh off a $39M, 4-year extension to remain a Packer, Jordy Nelson had a surprise career-season last year with 1,314 yards and he is a good candidate for even more in 2014 now that Aaron Rodgers back under center. 

8. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh - Antonio Brown may not be able to replicate last season’s 1,498 yards, but it was no fluke and Brown is a blue chip addition to your fantasy team. Brown was second in the NFL last year in both receiving yards and receptions (110). 

9. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago - Jay Cutler tends to look Brandon Marshall’s way disproportionately so, but that doesn't mean Alshon Jeffery won't also have another dominant fantasy season here in his third year in the league. Jeffery averaged 16.0 yards per catch (on 89 receptions last year), a full three yards more than Brandon Marshall averaged last year. 

10. Randall Cobb, Green Bay – As a rule of thumb, you can’t have too many of these high-end Green Bay Packers this year. Assuming Randall Cobb can stay healthy (Cobb suffered a broken leg last year), he is a fairly safe bet for 100 receptions and Cobb should be a candidate for double-digit TDs in this offense. 

11. Cordarrelle Patterson, MinnesotaCordarrelle Patterson is one of my key sleepers this year. I would be willing to take him in the 3rd round but it will be time for a mini celebration if you can land him in the 4th round. Patterson will also add to the cause with rushing yards and rushing touchdowns (Patterson scored three times on 12 rushing attempts last year). 

12. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco – Look for San Francisco to pass more in 2014 and Michael Crabtree will benefit the most from those additional opportunities. Crabtree and Colin Kaepernick have good chemistry together. In 2012, Crabtree averaged 88 yards per game and scored 7 TDs in ten games with Kaepernick. 

13. Keenan Allen, San Diego – You have to wonder how much upside there is with Keenan Allen, but he is a safe bet to meet or somewhat exceed his 2013 production. Allen has reportedly added 5-6 pounds of muscle this off-season and is said to be a little faster as well. 

14. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis – The Colts will be much more of a pass-first team in 2014 and that will mean good things for T.Y. Hilton who is Andrew Luck’s first read on most passing plays. Luck and Hilton entered the NFL together and they both will take a leap forward in their third season together. 

15. Michael Floyd, Arizona – Look for a "3rd year breakout" for Michael Floyd who will take the mantle from Larry Fitzgerald as Arizona's top wideout. Floyd will significantly build upon his 1,041-yard season from a year ago and brings attractive big-play ability (Floyd averaged 16 yards per catch last year). 

You can get full wide receiver rankings here at Fantasy Football Warehouse…