Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football – WR Rankings

1 – Calvin Johnson – Over the past three seasons, Johnson has gone for 1681, 1964 and 1492 receiving yards. With new OC Joe Lombardi aboard (Previously spending his last 7 seasons in New Orleans) look for him to bring an up-tempo look to the Detroit Offense in 2014. During Lombardi’s time in the NOLA, their offense ranked: 1st, 2nd, 6th, 1st, 1st & 4th in Total Offense. We’re excited about the entire Detroit Offense, but this team is driven by Megatron. Consider Johnson locked in for another spectacular season in 2014.

2 – Dez Bryant – Due to Dallas’ horrendous defense we’re expecting many shootouts for Tony Romo and the Cowboys in 2014. Along with this we love that Dallas added former Detroit Lions OC, Scott Linehan, to the mix. Scott Linehan coached Calvin Johnson in Detroit, Randy Moss in Minnesota and Torry Holt in St. Louis; it’s safe to say he knows how to get Top Talent the ball. Last season the Garrett/Callahan duo had trouble getting Dez the ball which resulted in some pretty questionable games. To top things off, Dez Bryant (at the age of 25) is in the final year of his rookie contract where he is set to make just $1.78 Million this season. The stars are aligning for Dez Bryant owners this year!

On another note, remember The Dez Bryant Rules?!? As laughable as they are/were, they must have done something right. Check em’ out: The Dez Bryant Rules.

3 – Demaryius Thomas – Led the NFL last season in YAC (Yards After Catch) with 704. Thomas poured in 14 TDs, 92 Receptions, 1,430 Receiving Yards and 143 Targets last season. Our rankings slot Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant above Thomas, but there is a very real shot at Thomas finishing Number One. Adding another year of chemistry with Peyton Manning to the table and you have yourself a can’t miss option. If you are able to grab Megatron, Bryant or Thomas – consider yourself locked in for major production all season.

4 – Julio Jones – Before his season-ending injury in 2013, Jones was off to an MVP type season by racking up 41 Receptions in 5 Games for 580 Receiving Yards and 2 TDs. It should be noted that over the past three years, Jones has had two foot surgeries involving a screw in his left fifth metatarsal bone. The Falcons have expressed that Jones is cutting and running with explosiveness and will be ready by Week 1. With the Tony Gonzalez Targets and Receptions out of the picture, Jones should have an even higher ceiling in 2014 … if healthy.

5 – Brandon Marshall – Doesn’t mean much in our world, but we think it’s a nice conversation piece … Madden 15 for PS4 and XBOX 1 have Brandon Marshall listed as the 2nd best WR in the game behind Calvin Johnson. Although this is a stretch, we still like the 30 year old WR in 2014. Let’s be honest, Cutler likes throwing to Marshall more than Alshon Jeffery. In the 10 games that Cutler played last season Brandon Marshall caught 10 TDs while averaging a little over 80 yards and 10 Targets per game. We love both Marshall and Jeffery this year, especially under Marc Trestman’s Heavy Passing Scheme – Fantasy owners should look forward to their juicy Fantasy Playoff matchups hosting: DAL on a Thursday night Game, New Orleans on a Monday Night Game and Detroit in the Fantasy Championship Week.

6 – A.J. Green – Green has been a model of consistency over the past 2 seasons, yielding 11 TDs in each season with 1350 Receiving Yards in 2012 and 1426 Receiving Yards in 2013. Over his three-year career, Green has never dipped below the 1,000 Yard Mark. Previous OC Jay Gruden allowed Andy Dalton to toss 586 passes last season (The Red Rifle averaged 543 Passing Attempts over the past 3 Seasons). New OC Hue Jackson is dedicated to the ground game and the philosophy will be adapted in 2014. Expect a minor regression from A.J. Green as the Cincinasty Bengals will look to jam Bernard and Jeremy Hill down teams throats come opening game. Don’t believe us … You can get a good look at a T-Bone if you stick your head up a Butcher. Wait! It has to be your Bull!

7 – Antonio Brown - Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger look to incorporate another year of the Hurry-Up-Offense in Pittsburgh. OC Haley says “This is the most excited I’ve ever been about any offense,” about the 2014 Steelers. The talent is there; we’re expecting heavy offensive stats from Pittsburgh in 2014. A year of experience under this Quick Passing Scheme will definitely help the 26 year old receiver to lead the league in receptions (finished 2nd in 2013.) Defenses will stay balanced this season with the emergence of a true RB, Le’Veon Bell – something Pittsburgh has recently lacked. Brown leads a completely new set of WR’s for the Pittsburgh Offense in WR2 Markus Wheaton and WR3 Lance Moore. Look for Big Ben to hit his favorite target very often in 2014.

8 – Alshon Jeffery – Read Brandon Marshall’s description above. To add to this, under Cutler (excluding Jeffery’s Week 5 218 yard performance) Jeffery only caught 3 TD’s while averaging 64.4 yards per game with Cutler as his QB. With another year under his belt in Marc Trestman’s Offense the talented Jeffery is in line for another 1000+ yards season while stealing the majority of TDs away from Brandon Marshall. Expect very similar numbers between the two teammates.

9 – Jordy Nelson – The Packers let Greg Jennings and James Jones go, but kept Nelson. Nelson deserves it, but it also shows how much they value the very talented Nelson in their receiving game. Nelson is a big reason why we have Rodgers ranked as the number 1 QB this season. GB’s schedule this year for Fantasy WR’s couldn’t get too much better – the Packers play 10 teams that ranked 18th or lower against Fantasy WR’s last season. This includes Detroit twice who ranked 30th in the NFL against WR’s giving up an average of 25.8 points per game and Minnesota twice who ranked 31st in the NFL against Fantasy WR’s giving up an average of 26.4 points per game to Fantasy WR’s. Along with this, the Packers still want a fast-paced high volume offense. The Nelson/Rodgers duo is still at the peak of its game – we value Nelson over Cobb in 2014.

10 – Randall Cobb - Many are expecting Cobb to compete for the top spot in receptions for 2014. At age 23, Cobb is a big name with not much on his resume other than the players and organization he is surrounded with. Cobb emerged in 2012 as Green Bay’s No. 3 Option at WR, yielding 955 Receiving Yards, 80 Receptions and 8 TDs. His season last year was cut short after 6 Games when suffering a broken leg. With the 2014 season rapidly approaching, Cobb enters a contract year which always sends fantasy owners buzzing. We expect Cobb to be a vital part of the Green Bay attack and see him hitting the triple-digit mark in Receptions. Look for +100 Receptions, 1150/1200 Receiving Yards and 7-8 TDs in 2014.

11 – Pierre Garcon – Led the NFL last season with 113 Receptions. Garcon also netted 1346 Receiving Yards and only 5 TDs. The acquisition of DeSean Jackson will mean less double coverage in 2014 for Garcon, but will also mean that there are more mouths to feed in DC. The Washington Post recently reported that Jackson will take over the “Z” which was the position of A.J. Green last season in Jay Gruden’s Cincinnati Offense with Garcon handling the “X” at WR. Ultimately, we feel that Garcon will see a bump in Yards Per Reception and an increase in TD totals with the presence of DeSean Jackson. However, we fully expect a regression in Receptions in 2014. The rejuvenated Washington Offense will make Pierre Garcon once again another solid fantasy option – Draft with confidence.

12 – Andre Johnson – Gary Kubiak is out, Bill O’Brien is in. Remember in Week 9 last season when Andre Johnson scored his first TD of the season? Remember Weeks 9 and 10 were the only 2 weeks Andre 3000 scored TD’s on the season? Instead of Kubiak’s heavy featured run scheme where he didn’t utilize Andre in the Red Zone, Bill O’Brien will. In the Red Zone Kubiak only featured TE’s and RB’s; this will be different with new coach Bill O’Brien. At Penn State, O’Brien ran a pro styled offense depending on the opponents strength. With Houston’s easy pass schedule this season, O’Brien will get his Playmaker the ball. With Ryan Fitzpatrick in at QB Andre Johnson will continue to see a ton of targets. His deep ball numbers may actually be down a little, but a 33 year old Andre Johnson will again put up WR2 Fantasy numbers, if healthy for an entire season.

12 – Keenan Allen - Full Analysis Here

13 – Vincent Jackson – Is Josh McCown really an upgrade over Glennon? Sure he prospered in Trestman’s pass happy offense on a team full of playmakers, but the Tampa Bay Offense is a different story. New Coach Lovie Smith is a run first coach with a brand new NFL Offensive Coordinator, Jeff Tedford; it’s unlikely he’ll give the entire reign to Tedford in his first NFL season. One thing to note: TB plays in the NFC South which is composed of a very good Carolina Run D, very questionable Atlanta Pass D and the New Orleans Saints. It’s safe to say they’ll be avoiding the “Heavy Run” offense in these games, which is a good thing for Jackson. Tampa Bay also added WR Mike Evans, TE Austin Serafian-Jenkins and now have Doug Martin fully healthy. The Bucs won’t be relying nearly as much on Jackson this year as they did in 2013.

14 – Victor Cruz – Victor Cruz is being moved all over the field this season and will remain the primary slot WR for the Giants. Ben McAdoo, Ex-Green Bay Packer, is installing a west coast pass happy scheme in New York which suits Cruz perfectly. ”It enhances my skills,” Cruz said about the new offense. Cruz will continue to see the majority of Targets in the New York Receiving Corps with an in-experienced group of Randle and Beckham. Eli Manning’s unproductive 2013 season killed Cruz’s numbers, but hitting Cruz on the short passes in McAdoo’s scheme will limit interceptions allowing Victor Cruz to produce numbers after the catch. Cruz has claimed his goal is to catch 100 balls this season.

15 – DeSean Jackson - Prior to Chip Kelly’s arrival in Philly, Jackson has never had a season where he eclipsed more than 63 Receptions. Jackson is coming off of a career year as he yielded 82 Receptions, 1332 Receiving Yards and 9 TDs. In DC, the acquisition of DeSean Jackson will mean less double coverage in 2014 for Garcon, but will also mean that there are more mouths to feed. The Washington Post recently reported that Jackson will take over the “Z” position which was the position of A.J. Green last season in Jay Gruden’s Cincinnati Offense with Garcon handling the “X” at WR. Along with Jackson, DC is rounded out with options such as: Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and Andre Roberts in the Receiving Game. We expect a dip in receptions, but Jackson possesses the home run ability to drive the TD and Yardage Numbers.

16 - Larry Fitzgerald – Like Reggie Wayne, Fitz was primarily an outside receiver. With age, Coach Bruce Arians moved the 33 year old Colts WR Reggie Wayne inside where he saw a rejuvenated 195 Targets while catching 106 balls for 1355 yards with the 2012 Colts. Bruce Arians wants to do the same with 30 year old Larry Fitzgerald in 2014. ”Guys lose a step at age 30,” say Arians. “They accept it, they want to become better players, they say help me become a better player than when I was 26. This is how you do it,” explains Arians for moving Fitz around to for better matchups. Larry Fitzgerald is a great bet to surpass his rough 954 yard 2013 performance and will remain a double digit TD scorer for the Cards.

17 – Michael Floyd - Sound the Fantasy Alarms on Michael Floyd! The Arizona Republic said the former Notre Dame WR “understood where he was supposed to be and when to be there,” and “is catching everything thrown his way.” The 3rd year WR is coming off a 1000+ yard season where he caught 66 balls. Expect Michael Floyd to have low end WR1/ high end WR2 type numbers this season. For years, fantasy owners have been drafting Larry Fitzgerald as the best option in Arizona. It’s time to take your eyes off the “old bull” and open them to the “young calf!”

18 – Roddy White - We’re giving the 2013 version of Roddy White a Mulligan. The second half of the season a healthy Roddy White finished off his last 5 games averaging 8.6 catches for 100.4 yards. Although there’s now a Three Wide Receiver Set and a healthy WR1 Julio Jones and WR3 Harry Douglas, we still believe Roddy White can put up true WR2 numbers in a team that will face many shootouts due to a poor 2014 Atlanta Defense.

19 – Cordarrelle Patterson - Since 2000, there have only been five 1,000 Yard Receivers in their Rookie Season. However, 27 Receivers have eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in their sophomore campaign since 2000. Cordarrelle Patterson has an explosive shot at a great 2014 season with an offense led by Norv Turner. We love Patterson this season and recommend that you get on the bandwagon as well!

20 – Percy Harvin - There are guys like Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders and Doug Baldwin that we think can be grabbed later and you can hit the “Like Button” on. However, we want to get this guy back on Fantasy Owners’ radar – Don’t sleep on Percy Harvin. In conversation after a recent OTA, Harvin (26 Years Old) expressed, “this is probably the best I’ve felt since before college.” This is an explosive and game-changing player who can light-up the stat card. We like him as a strong WR2 who can have electrifying games, putting up monstrous stats in the process. He’s an obvious High-Risk High-Reward Pick.

21 – Wes Welker – Last year Peyton Manning saw 160 Blitz’s and was only sacked twice. His average time to throw the ball in a Blitz was 2.13 seconds, according to PFF. A reason for Manning’s success against the Blitz last season was his “security blanket’s” in both Wes Welker and Knowshon Moreno. With Moreno gone, Montee Ball isn’t the receiver Moreno was (60 receptions appear out of reach.) You can expect Defenses to continue to put pressure on the 38 year old Peyton Manning and with this you can expect a lot quick passes to Welker again in 2014. However, the concerning part with Wes Welker is that he is just one bad concussion away from ending his career after receiving two in 2013. Consequently, Denver resulted in signing Emmanuel Sanders – who’s able to play a similar role. If he’s able to play a full 17 Game season, we love Welker … but we’re skeptical he’s able to do that in 2014.

22 – Torrey Smith - In each of his 3 NFL Seasons, Smith has played all 16 Games. New OC Gary Kubiak will look to use Smith as an Andre Johnson type in 2014, with Steve Smith taking on the Kevin Walter role. It has been talked about within the Ravens Organization that rather being simply a deep threat, Smith will be used in shorter routes and will no doubt see an increase in both Receptions (65 in 2013) and Receiving Yards (1128 in 2013). The Ravens Offense was anemic in 2013 and Torrey Smith’s 4 TDs and only two +100 Yard Games should speak volumes. Smith is also in a contract season which should also propel more success in 2014. Smith has a juicy matchup in Week 15 (Fantasy Playoff Game) at home against a bad JAX pass Defense. Bradley’s Jacksonville Seahawks don’t have Seattle touch just yet.

23 – Jeremy Maclin - Maclin is set to become the Eagles WR1 with the departure of DeSean Jackson. Maclin enters the final year of his contract with the Eagles as he returns from his ACL injury last season. Maclin’s best year came in 2010 where he caught 70 balls for 964 yards and 10 TDs. Here’s what Maclin had to say on his return to the Eagles offense: ”As far as numbers and everything, I’ve never really got into numbers. But if they plan on me being a big part of this offense like I think they are, I think the numbers will come. I’m not going to get wrapped up in all that. That’s how I’m going to approach the season.” We’re expecting a 1000+ yard season out of Maclin in 2014.

24 – Michael Crabtree - The motivational stars have aligned for Crabtree as he is fully-healed from an Achilles Injury, recently embarrassed by Richard Sherman and entering a contract year. The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that since 2011, the 49ers have not ranked any higher than 31st in the NFL in Passing Attempts. Additionally, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman expressed that they could stray away a bit from their ground-pounding roots. San Fran bolstered their WR corps by adding Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd to a group that already included Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. We wouldn’t expect a monster season out of Crabtree with the limitations and numerous options available in this run-heavy offense, however a 1,000 yard season isn’t out of the question by any means.

25 – Emmanuel Sanders - Focusing on the Fantasy Football perspective and dismissing what drama was surrounding Sanders in the off-season Chiefs fiasco or current negative comments made on Former-QB Ben Roethlisberger, the 27-year-old Sanders adds speed and athleticism to an already fast and athletic group of Broncos’ pass catchers. Emmanuel Sanders will take over where Eric Decker left off in 2013, as Decker rang up 1288 Receiving Yards, 87 Receptions and 11 TDs. Sanders should be considered an emerging star and his numbers will skyrocket from previous levels. John Elway recently said, “He can play anywhere – he can play inside, he can be outside. He’s explosive. Great separation skills. He can do it all.” Look for Sanders as a strong WR3 this season with the highest ceiling within this tier as he offers both talent and is part of an explosive offense on in 2014.

26 – Mike Wallace – Wallace surprisingly finished 27th among Fantasy WRs last season despite the disconnect with QB Ryan Tannehill. Enter new OC Bill Lazor. Lazor’s main goal is to get Wallace the ball, even if that means moving him everywhere around the field. Last season Dolphins OC Sherman kept Wallace strictly on the right side of the field where he ran mostly go-routes, which created room for other Dolphins receivers, singling Wallace out. “I think I’ll get to run everything,” includes Wallace. “I’ll be a more complete wide receiver rather than a one-dimensional guy.” The 6 foot 220 receiver has reportedly been “the last one off the field” and wants to succeed in the new Dolphins lineup. Lazor was with the Philadelphia Eagles Chip Kelly last season where we all saw a career out of WR DeSean Jackson. Mike Wallace is ideally a bigger version of DeSean Jackson’s 5’10, 175 pound frame. Jackson caught 82 balls for 1332 yards and 9 TD’s last season under Lazor’s offense.Wallace gets a bad Minnesota Pass Defense in the Fantasy Championship Week – we’re viewing Mike Wallace as a Comeback/Breakout Candidate in 2014.

27 – Golden Tate - 2013 was rock-solid for Tate, but we expect his success to exceed above and beyond that what he has produced to this point. Tate has never gone for 1,000 Receiving Yards in a season, but playing opposite of Calvin Johnson certainly has its benefits. Look for new OC Joe Lombardi to use Tate as New Orleans did Lance Moore, however the athleticism of Tate triumphs anything Moore brought to the table. Tate should see his overall numbers increase across the board along with Targets as his gun-slinging QB has no hesitance of letting it fly downfield early and often. Look for solid numbers all season from Golden Taint!

28 – Kendall Wright - Wright is part of a solid group of Third Year WR’s that look to take a big step forward in 2014. He finished last season with 94 Receptions, 1079 Receiving Yards and only 2 TDs. With Ken Whisenhunt now in Tennessee, look for the Titans to take the approach of a wide open attack with the emphasis being on a faster rhythm and timing offense allowing the QB to operate with quicker releases. Whisenhunt will surely help blossom Wright and we expect both Receiving Yards and TDs to increase in 2014.

29 – Terrance Williams – Consider Williams a breakout candidate in 2014 as he is locked in as the WR2 Option in Dallas. Williams will be the Number 3 Option this season behind Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in the pass-heavy offense led by New Offensive Coordinator – Scott Linehan. Williams should be viewed as a strong WR3 for Fantasy Owners and we fully expect him to exceed 1000 Receiving Yards this season in a Dallas Offense that will find themselves in many shootouts.

30 – Julian Edelman – A lot of Edelman’s success last year came from being the only legit option in New England. In 2013 TE Gronkowski missed 13 games, RB Vereen missed 8 games, WR Amendola missed 4 games, WR Dobson missed 4 games and WR Thompkins missed 4 games – that’s a lot of Targets gone for Tom Brady. Edelman was Tom Brady’s only consistent WR which resulted in his 1000+ yard season. With everyone back this year, Edelman will have a hard time receiving the 151 Targets he received in 2013. He’s still a High-End WR3 with WR2 upside in a New England Offense that has had their trouble with injured players.

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