It's never too early to begin preparing for the upcoming fantasy football season -- even if it's nearly five months away.
Earlier this month, we released the early edition of our 2010 Fantasy Football rankings for quarterbacks and the early edition of our 2010 Fantasy Football rankings for running backs. Now we have ranked the receivers based on standard scoring and no point(s) per reception.
Here is our 2010 Fantasy Football wide receiver rankings (excluding rookies):
1. Andre Johnson, Texans: For me, this is a no-brainer. Johnson, who was the third overall pick in 2003, has posted back-to-back 100-reception, 1,500-yard seasons.
2.Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: Over the past three seasons, Fitzgerald has caught a combined 293 passes for 3,932 yards and 35 touchdowns. But it's an understatement to say Matt Leinart (or Derek Anderson) is a downgrade from Kurt Warner, who retired this off-season.
3. Randy Moss, Patriots: All five of his 100-yard games came in the first nine weeks and his attitude and motivation were questioned by some down the stretch. But he has scored 47 touchdowns over the past three seasons. It's hard to question that production.
4. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins: Marshall, who is now the highest-paid receiver in league history, has had 100+ receptions and 1,100+ yards for three consecutive seasons.
5. Calvin Johnson, Lions: After a stellar sophomore campaign (78-1331-12), MegaTron battled nagging injuries in 2009 and even missed two games. Provided he stays healthy, the sky is the limit for this athletic freak so I rank much higher than most will.
6. Reggie Wayne, Colts: Only three players (two receivers) finished the season with at least 100 receptions, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. If you own Wayne, hope for a few Colts' early-season losses so Wayne plays more than a half in your fantasy championship game.
7. Roddy White, Falcons: Only Andre Johnson (171) had more targets than did White (165) in 2009. In the past three seasons, White has been consistent: 83, 88 and 85 receptions as well as 1,202, 1,382 and 1,153 yards, respectively. Even better, he set a career-high in TDs (11) in 2009.
8. Miles Austin, Cowboys: The list? Andre Johnson and Wes Welker. The topic? Receivers who had more yards than Austin in 2009.
9. DeSean Jackson, Eagles: Despite his size, Jackson is one of most explosive big-play receivers in the league. He ranked second in yards (18.5) per reception and first in the league in receptions of 40 yards or more (10).
10. Sidney Rice, Vikings: A waiver-wire pick-up, Rice had more receiving yards than all but three receivers in 2009. Assuming a Favre return, Rice should have another monster season in 2010.
11. Marques Colston, Saints: Colston is the best receiver in the league's most explosive offense (31.9 points and 403.8 yards per game). Quarterback Drew Brees spreads the ball around, however, as Colston had less than five receptions in half of his games.
12. Greg Jennings, Packers: From weeks 4-14, Jennings had only one 100-yard game. In his final four games (counting playoffs), Jennings had three 100-yard games.
13. Vincent Jackson, Chargers: Jackson spent four days in jail this off-season after a second DUI arrest is likely facing a suspension by the league. That said, Jackson had his best season (68-1167-9) in 2009.
14. Anquan Boldin, Ravens: The physical receiver should be a perfect fit into his new offense as he settles in as the Ravens' No. 1 receiver.
15. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals: Ochocinco bounced back in 2009 with 72 receptions for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns. However, quarterback Carson Palmer threw for only 1,262 yards, seven TDs and six interceptions in the final eight games of 2010. Ochocinco's splits: 1st half (44-639-5) vs 2nd half (28-408-4). Coincidence?
16. Steve Smith, Panthers: With the exception of 2004 (played only one game), 2009 was the first season where Smith fell short of 1,000 yards since 2002. That said, he did play better with Matt Moore (not Jake Delhomme) under center.
17. Hines Ward, Steelers: Ward, who said he will retire if he wins a third Super Bowl this year, had 95 receptions (tied for second-most in his career) and 1,167 (second-most) last season.
18. Steve Smith, Giants: Smith finished fourth in the NFL in targets (157) in 2009 and set career highs in receptions (107), yards (1,220) and TDs (seven). Smith had four (or more) receptions 15 times and at least 40 yards receiving every week.
19. Santonio Holmes, Jets: After a breakout campaign (79-1248-5) in 2009, Holmes will serve a four-game suspension in 2010 and moves to a run-first offense with a second-year (but developing) quarterback.
20. Derrick Mason, Ravens: With Boldin in the mix, it's hard to envision Mason finishing 13th in the league in targets (like he did in 2009).
21. Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars: MSW's strong start (minus a missed game due to a missed curfew for a bootie call) was followed up with an equally weak ending to his second season. In his final six games, Sims-Walker had only 16 receptions for 175 yards and one touchdown (or 3.8 fantasy points per game during that stretch).
22. Steve Breaston, Cardinals: One of the main reasons the Cards were willing to trade Boldin to Baltimore, Breaston has performed well as part of the high-flying Cardinals offense. That said, how high will it fly with Leinart at the helm.
23. Michael Crabtree, 49ers: Despite being the second receiver drafted, Crabtree led all rookies in receiving yards (56.8) per game. Plus, he had four (or more) receptions in nine of his 11 games played. Imagine if he had attended training camp and learned the whole offense.
24. Wes Welker, Patriots: Despite missing two games, Welker led the NFL in receptions (123) and finished second in receiving yards (1,348). Welker's 2010 fantasy value (and future position on this list) will largely be determined by how quickly and fully he returns from off-season ACL surgery.
25. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs: The Chiefs' passing attack should improve with the addition of Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator. Despite a down (suspension-shortened) season, Bowe had 995 and 1,022 in his previous (first) two NFL seasons.
26. Hakeem Nicks, Giants: Of rookies, only Michael Crabtree (56.8 yards per game) averaged more receiving yards per game than Nicks (56.4 ypg). Only Austin Collie caught more TDs (seven). And only Mike Wallace had more 40-yard catches (six) than Nicks.
27. Donald Driver, Packers: Although he just turned 35 in February, Driver had his sixth consecutive season with at least 70 receptions and 1,000 yards in 2009.
28. Pierre Garcon, Colts: Garcon led NFL receivers with 21 post-season receptions for 251 yards and two touchdowns. Granted only the Colts, Jets and Saints played three playoff games, Garcon is poised for a strong 2010.
29. Mike Wallace, Steelers: Wallace, a big-play receiver who led the NFL in yards (19.4) per reception, will see an expanded role within the offense now that Santonio Holmes is now playing football in Jersey.
30. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles: After a solid rookie campaign (55-762-4), Maclin should continue to develop in 2010.
31. Percy Harvin, Vikings: Assuming a return by Brett Favre, my only concern about Harvin is the migraine issues he has. Although he's a tough player, he was often a game-time decision. He led rookie receivers in receiving yards (790) and was tied for second in touchdowns (six).
32. Kenny Britt, Titans: Britt is a big (6-foot-3, 218 pounds), athletic receiver and should continue to improve in his second season.
33. Devin Aromashodu, Bears: In the final five games of the season, Aromashodu ranked 15th in the NFL in targets (41). And he caught 22 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns in the final four games of the season. With Mike Martz calling the plays, I expect big things from Aromashodu in 2010.
34. Nate Burleson, Lions: As the Lions' No. 2 receiver across from MegaTron, Burleson will only see single coverage. In 13 games last year, he finished with 812 yards and 62.5 yards per game average would have projected to 1,000 yards flat over a 16-game season.
35. Santana Moss, Redskins: Although Jason Campbell played reasonably well last year, Moss should benefit from the upgrade at QB with Donovan McNabb under center. Even so, Moss finished with 70 receptions for 902 yards in 2009.
36. Robert Meachem, Saints: Meachem needs to be more consistent, but the former first-round pick had a second-half split of 32-426-6. That said, he disappeared in the post-season (4-25-0).
37. Chris Chambers, Chiefs: In the final eight games of the season, Chambers finished with 33 receptions for 538 yards and two touchdowns.
38. Davone Bess, Dolphins: As the anti-Lee Evans, Bess caught three (or more) passes in every game. Although he only scored two touchdowns, Bess finished with 76 receptions and 758 yards in his second season. The addition of Brandon Marshall should aid the development of Bess, who will get less attention from defenses.
39. Mario Manningham, Giants: In two seasons, he's only played 21 total games. But Manningham had a nice second season (57-822-5).
40. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks: Although he finished with 79 receptions (tied for 13th in the NFL), Houshmandzadeh is a possession receiver that doesn't have much upside above his 2009 numbers (911 yards, three touchdowns).
41. Braylon Edwards, Jets: With Santonio Holmes in New Jersey (for up to 12 games), the 2007 version (80-1289-16) of Edwards seems as likely as the 2007 version of Derek Anderson (3,787 yards and 29 TDs).
42. Austin Collie, Colts: Collie tied Minnesota rookie Percy Harvin for the lead among rookies in receptions (60) and no rookie receiver had more touchdowns (seven) than Collie.
43. Early Doucet, Cardinals: His two-game post-season (14-145-2) was close to his nine-game regular-season numbers (17-214-1). As the team's No. 3 WR in 2010, he should continue to build upon his post-season success.
44. Lee Evans, Bills: In half of his games, Evans had two or less receptions. In half of his games, Evans had 35 yards or less. No thanks.
45. Antonio Bryant, Bengals: Injuries set back Bryant in 2009 (39-600-4 in 13 games) after a career-year (83-1,248-7) in 2008.
46. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets: Cotchery was the favorite target of Mark Sanchez in 2009. That's likely to change when Santonio Holmes comes off suspension. In either case, Cotchery posted four-year lows in receptions (57) and yards (821) in 2009.
47. Roy Williams, Cowboys: Despite his seven touchdowns, 68 receivers had more receptions and 55 receivers had more yards than Williams. Then again, he's shown us a 1,310-yard season (2006), too.
48. Donnie Avery, Rams: Being the No. 1 receiver on the Rams' depth chart is similar to being the top-of-the-line model in a Yugo showroom. Put another way, Andre Johnson would have a down year in 2010 if he put up Donnie Avery career numbers (100-1,263-8 in 31 games).
49. Earl Bennett, Bears: Jay Cutler's former college teammate at Vanderbilt had a solid sophomore campaign (54-717-2). It seems very reasonable to expect an improvement to 65-70 receptions, 800-900 yards and 3-4 touchdowns.
50. Malcom Floyd, Chargers: Floyd had his best game of the season in his last one (nine catches for 140 yards). His second half (32 catches for 496 yards) was considerably better than his first half (13 catches for 280 yards).
Tomorrow, we will release our Top 20 Tight Ends. After the NFL Draft, we will update our receiver rankings to include rookies and throughout the pre-season, we will adjust the rankings based on off-season developments, injuries, news, etc.