2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 65 Wide Receivers
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Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice rewrote the record book for wide receivers. In fact, many of those records were thought to be unbreakable.
Meet Calvin Johnson.
In 2011, Megatron became only the second receiver in NFL history to finish with at least 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns in the same season. The first to do it was Randy Moss (2003).
For his encore performance, Johnson broke Rice's single-season receiving yards record in Week 16. He ended the season with a new-record 1,964 yards.
In his past 20 games counting last season's playoff loss, he has five 200-yard games. Stated differently, he has 200-plus yards in one-quarter of his past 20 games.
No receiver can take over a game like Megatron and if there's anyone that can break more of Rice's (or his own) receiving records in the future, it's Johnson.
Without question, Megatron enters 2013 as the top fantasy wide receiver.
Dez Bryant Breaks Out in a Big Way
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has all of the physical tools to tantalize fantasy owners.
Going into last season, however, both his on-field performance and off-the-field distractions had disappointed those same owners waiting for a breakout from the receiver.
Despite a slow start to the year, Bryant was the most dynamic wide receiver in the league not named Calvin for much of the season.
From Weeks 4 to 17, Bryant led the NFL in receiving touchdowns (12) and had 79 receptions for 1,218 yards. He scored a touchdown (or two) every week from Weeks 10 to 16 and delivered for fantasy owners in a big way in Week 16 with 224 yards and two scores.
Now that he's put it all together on the field, let's hope that he stays focused off the field during the next five months of the offseason.
Andre Johnson Has Career Year
After playing a combined 20 games in 2010 and 2011, Johnson was able to stay healthy for a full season again. In the past five seasons, Texans receiver Andre Johnson has played 16 games three times.
When healthy, he has shown us last year that he is still one of the league's elite receivers.
Although he scored only four touchdowns, Johnson finished the season with 112 receptions for a career-high and franchise-record 1,598 yards.
It was the third time that he finished with at least 100 receptions and 1,500 yards in the past five years. There are only two other players in NFL history to have multiple seasons with those numbers: Marvin Harrison (three) and Jerry Rice (two).
There are three main questions for Johnson heading into the 2013 season: (1) Will he be able to stay healthy for a full season again?; (2) Will another receiver step up (or be drafted) to take some defensive attention off him?; and (3) Will Matt Schaub, who struggled down the stretch, hold him back?
The Slot Machine Does It Again
With only three receptions (on five targets) for 14 yards in the season opener, there was plenty of concern by fantasy owners about Wes Welker, who found himself out of the starting lineup and off the field often in favor of Julian Edelman.
That said, Welker finished tied for second in the NFL with 118 receptions and had 1,354 receiving yards, the second-highest total of his career, when it was all said and done.
With the exception of the season following his ACL injury, Welker has 110-plus receptions in all five of his other seasons in New England. No other player in the history of the NFL has more than two 110-reception seasons in their career.
From a fantasy standpoint, however, his value seemed to be maximized within the Patriots offense, but he signed a two-year deal with the Broncos this offseason. If there's one place outside of New England where his fantasy value wouldn't take a huge hit, it's playing for Denver and with Peyton Manning.
Super Sophomores: Julio Jones and A.J. Green
Both had great seasons in 2012 with the potential to be even better in the future.
Green finished with 97 receptions for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. Only Marques Colston (168) has more receptions than Green (162) over the first two seasons of an NFL career. Green ranks sixth in receiving yards (2,407) over the first two seasons on an NFL career.
Jones, who finished ninth among receivers in fantasy points, had 79 receptions for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished with four more fantasy points than teammate Roddy White.
Both of these guys have enormous ceilings and should continue to get better as scary as that may seem for opposing secondaries.
Here are my early fantasy wide receiver rankings for 2013 (standard scoring):
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
2. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
3. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
4. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
6. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
7. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
8. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
9. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10. Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks
11. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
12. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
13. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
14. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
15. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
16. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
17. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
18. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
19. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
20. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
21. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
22. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
23. Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars
24. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
25. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
26. Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills
27. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
28. Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
29. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
30. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
31. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
32. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
33. James Jones, Green Bay Packers
34. Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
35. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
36. Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers
37. Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints
38. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
39. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
40. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
41. Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
42. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
43. Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders
44. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
45. Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers
46. Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks
47. Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans
48. Santonio Holmes, New York Jets
49. Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
50. Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers
51. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers
52. Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
53. Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams
54. Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers
55. Brandon Lloyd, Free agent
56. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Free agent
57. Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams
58. Rueben Randle, New York Giants
59. Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers
60. Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets
61. Greg Little, Cleveland Browns
62. Donnie Avery, Kansas City Chiefs
63. Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals
64. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
65. Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders