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2012 Wide Receiver Rankings
1UP Fantasy Player Rankings: WR
Calvin Johnson (Det) - The only owners shying away from this guy are the superstitious breed who put stock in the infamous “Madden Curse”. Superstition might not be a bad thing, though, as the curse has managed to claim all players appearing on the cover of the popular NFL video game since 1999, with the only exceptions being Drew Brees (2011) and Larry Fitzgerald (2010).
Larry Fitzgerald (Ari) - Grabbed over 1000 yards each of his last 5 seasons, so not much risk here despite the QB circus in Arizona.
Andre Johnson (Hou) - Has always been a producer when he can stay healthy, but that is still the prime concern. His injury riddled career topped off with a recent knee surgery make drafting him in the second round,which is where he will almost undoubtedly go, very risky.
Mike Wallace (Pit) – Expect Pittsburgh to rely heavily on the pass with Mendenhall out, but another hold-out where you’ll have to monitor his contract situation.
Roddy White (Atl) – While Julio Jones may cut into his production, Roddy white still saw the most targets of any WR in the league last year, and should post “elite” caliber stats in 2012.
Greg Jennings (GB) – Still rewarded owners with 980 yards and 9 TD’s despite playing in 13 games. The problem is Green Bay’s depth at WR, TE (Nelson, Jones, Driver?, Finley, etc). Jennings only managed to break the 100 yard mark three times last season, and didn’t have any multi-TD outings. Shouuld improve, atleast slightly, from last years numbers, and while those periodic monster weeks are still possible, don’t expect them like you would with some of the other guys.
Wes Welker (NE) – If you play PPR, Welker will go toe-to-toe with any WR in the league. In standard formats, the new talent in the NE receiving corps shouldn’t cause Welker’s production to drop very much. Don’t be surprised to see him steal a TD or two off of Gronk too.
AJ Green (Cin) – Now that former rookie connection Dalton & Green have a full offseason to work together Green could post substantially higher numbers than we saw in his already great 2011 season.
Hakeem Nicks (NYG) – Promised to be back by week 1, should continue to produce elite numbers. Keep an eye on his injury, however.
Jordy Nelson (GB) – According to Mike McCarthy, Nelson is in line to get even more looks in 2012 after impressing tremendously last season with 1263 yards and 15 TDs. A repeat in the TD department seems far fetched but there should be plenty of balls to go around up there in Greenbay to still consider Nelson a low #1/incredibly solid #2 fantasy WR.
Julio Jones (Atl) – Another second year player who should improve in 2012 now that he has a full camp under his belt. Has gamebreaker potential, as we saw him post a few monster games where he had 2TD’s and around 100 yards.
Victor Cruz (NYG) – I don’t think that Victor Cruz will have the same type of season as he did last year. We saw a number of incredible (and partially lucky) catches from him last year, that will be tough to repeat. Especially now that he will be drawing better cornerbacks, and more attention from defenses in general. For what it’s worth, Cruz’s 5 biggest plays last year accounted for 1/4 of his total production.
Brandon Marshall (Chi) – Chicago still has bad offensive line problems, but Marshall seemed to improve last year and apparently loves playing with Jay Cutler. Lots of upside here, but if the O-line shakiness leads to another Cutler injury, its not unreasonable to imagine him being a flop. Then again, if things click, a 1300+ yard, 10+TD season is not out of reach by any means either.
Marques Colston (NO) – The problem with Colston has always been the inconsistency due to the herds of receiving talent the Saints always seem to have available. The loss of Sean Payton may actually help Colston get more looks due to a shake up in playcalling, and Robert Meachem moving on definitely should.
Percy Harvin (Min) – The nagging migraines are always an issue, but the Vikings should pass quite a bit more this season now that Christian Ponder has some experience. Minnesota has added a couple weapons to take pressure off of Harvin as well, so he can be considered a high end #2 WR.
Steve Smith (Car) – Hard to argue this guy was the best WR for value in 2011 considering where he was drafted in most leagues. Regardless of what happens in Carolina, it’s pretty safe to say he will produce as long as Cam Newton is playing, and if the Panthers continue to air it out while they’re chasing games. One stat worth noting: Smith caught only one TD in the second half of games in 2011. You have to expect this number to increase, especially since most are predicting the Panthers will be chasing their fair share of games and looking to air it out.
Demaryius Thomas (Den) – Managed to grab 745 yards and 4 TD’s in his final 7 games last season catching Tebow-thrown balls. If Peyton is performing like the player of old, all signs point to this numbar skyrocketing. This guy has an incredible ceiling, and owners should expect him to start popping up on draft boards as early as round 4.
Vincent Jackson (TB) – Tampa presents him with a nice new contract, but a significant dip in supporting cast & QB. This is a very tough one to judge, as the Bucs will go to the run first. However, if Josh Freeman rebounds like some are predicting, VJax could be in for a very nice campaign. Owners should feel comfortable drafting him as a solid #2 WR, especially with his big upside.
Jeremy Maclin (Phi) – Didn’t produce in 2011 like most had expected, but could be in for a nice rebound year. With Vick’s injury worries, the Eagles will most likely try to take a more cautious approach in effort to increase his GP, and this should only help Maclin.
Brandon Lloyd (NE) – LLoyd is reuinted with Josh McDaniels again, so there is little worry that he will have a hard time learning the Pats offensive like some notable players have struggled to do in the past seasons. Similarly, the offensive coordinater in NE when Brady had his monster 50 TD campaign was… you guessed it. Josh McDaniels. Something here is bound to click, and it could mean serious trouble for your opponents if you own Brandon Lloyd.
Dwayne Bowe (KC) – The Chiefs have added some weapons in the offseason, so Bowe could be poised for another quality season. At this point, he remains a solid #2 receiver who should be good for 1000 yards, yet the TD potential remains a question mark.Miles Austin (Dal) – Was hampered by a nagging hamstring in 2011, but his upside is too great to ignore much past this area of the draft. Still managed to post 7 TD’s, but the biggest threat to his red-zone looks, Laurent Robinson, is now in Jacksonville. Austin could be in line for a nice, rebound season, however if he is on your draft day radar you should heavily monitor his injury. It is set to sideline him for the duration of preseason, and potentially longer.
Steve Johnson (Buf) – Plenty of upside, as the only receiver to post consecutive 1000 yard seasons in a Bills jersey. Still young, though with the big money defensive additions that Buffalo has made in the offeason, don’t expect them to be slinging the ball to keep themselves in games quite so much.
Torrey Smith (Bal) – Rookie season: 50 catches, 841 yards, 7 TD’s all while playing on an injury. Considering he is a downfield burner, that last fact is not something to overlook. Could be in line for a breakout season, as he has looked extremely sharp all throughout camp and preseason, and now appears to be a much better route-runner, which should allow him to get open more effectively, and you aren’t risking much here.
DeSean Jackson (Phi) – It seems as if DeSean Jackson has gotten his head back on straight now that he has a nice contract. If Vick can stay healthy he could be a bargain pick, as he seems to be going in the 5th-6th round in most mock drafts at this point. Make no mistake though, he has proven to be an all-or-nothing pick, so be prepared for some skimpy weeks along the road to those periodic monster performances he has made his name around.
Reggie Wayne (Ind) – Some one has to catch the balls in Indianapolis. It would seem that Wayne is eager to prove that he can succeed without Peyton Manning, but at this point, Wayne has to be considered a low-end #2/#3 WR. He may very well have a rebound season, but make sure you have a solid alternative.
Kenny Britt (Ten) – Was up there with the top WR’s in the league before suffering a bad ACL injury early on. Another one where you’ll have to monitor his injury before drafting, but the upside is obvious.
Dez Bryant (Dal) – Has all the potential for a breakout season (… yet again.) Miraculously, all signs pointed to “his season” being last year with Miles Austin sidelined for 6 games, yet somehow Dez couldn’t manage to break the 1000 yard mark. Romo seems to have trouble trusting him later in games also, as he was able to post 558 yards/7 TD’s in the first half of games yet only 344 yards/2 TD’s in the second half. Remain cautious putting too much faith here, especially with his recent injury, which you’ll need to monitor.
Antonio Brown (Pit) – Young talent with some speed and a high upside. Pittsburgh will continue to focus on the pass with Mendenhall figured to miss atleast 6 games, so Brown will get extra looks.
Eric Decker (Den) – After dazzling early on, largely fell off in terms of production in the final half of the season. Strangely, that was right about the time that Tim Tebow took over.
Robert Meachem (SD) – Was always a bit part player in the New Orleans offense, but looks poised to greatly increase his numbers in a much less crowded San Diego receiving corps.
Sidney Rice (Sea) – Hasn’t done much to deserve this ranking, but at 6’4″, 215lb, the guy is a physical beast. In a new-look Seattle offense, Rice should be in line for some very nice production if he can stay healthy. The downside is, a labia injury is tough to rebound from, and he tore both of his.
Justin Blackmon (Jax) – Has all the tools to succeed, but needs to find a way to make things click with Blaine Gabbert, and also needs to stop taking driving lessons from Lindsay Lohan.
Anquan Boldin (Bal) – A mediocre 889 yards, 3 TD’s in 14 games has caused his value to drop significantly. The Ravens will most likely use speedsters Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith on the outside, with Boldin plying his trade in the slot. I wouldn’t have any problem drafting Boldin as a #3 WR in the middle rounds, especially with a probable increase in the TD department.
Santonio Holmes (NYJ) – Apparently the rift with Sanchez has been settled, but really who knows what will happen with him in the Jets new system. Could put up terrible numbers and start feuding with Sanchez again, however definitely has the ability to be a quality pick-for-value at this spot in drafts.
Denarius Moore (Oak)
Titus Young (Det) – Calvin Johnson can’t catch everything. All signs point to him surpassing Nate Burleson for the Lions #2 spot, and has the tools to build on a respectable 607 yard/6 TD season.
Nate Washington (Ten) – Stepped up and had himself quite a nice season in Britt’s absence. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him build on this, especially since Britt is still returning from blowing out both knees.
Pierre Garcon (Was) – Has looked to have very solid chemistry with RG3.
Lance Moore (NO) – Departure of Robert Meachem helps.
Malcom Floyd (SD) – The departure of Vincent Jackson should help, as Rivers clearly trusts him. Antonio Gates can’t catch all the TD’s, and don’t be surprised to see the Chargers to look to the air around the goal line so Ryan Matthews stays fresh.
Darius Heyward-Bey (Oak)
Mike Williams (TB) – Struggled to fit into the #1 receiver role in 2011, look for him to rebound nicely with Josh Freeman expected to shake the rust, and VJax there to take off pressure.
Michael Crabtree (SF)
Santana Moss (Was)
Randy Moss (SF) – Alex Smith is no Tom Brady. And Randy Moss is 35. Don’t expect another Patriots-like resurgence from him.
Laurent Robinson (Jax)
Greg Little (Cle)
Brandon LaFell (Car)
Jon Baldwin (KC)
Jacoby Ford (Oak)
Michael Floyd (Ari)
Mario Manningham (SF)
Danny Amendola (StL)
Nate Burleson (Det)
Emmanuel Sanders (Pit)
David Nelson (Buf)
Davone Bess (Mia)
Vincent Brown (SD) – Impressed when VJax was out in 2011, and some good early showings will almost certainly get him more looks down the road this season at the expense of Meachem and Floyd.
Rueben Randle (NYG) – Has serious potential to put out a nice stat line from the #3 WR slot in NY.
Austin Collie (Ind) – Claims he is ready, but 3 concussions in 2 years? Don’t be surprised to see Lavon Brazill getting a good amount of reps.
Randall Cobb (GB) – This guy is fast as hell, and has Aaron Rodgers throwing it to him. That formula generally works out favorably.
Kendall Wright (Ten)
Alshon Jeffrey (Chi) – Is a monster physically, and could put up nice numbers behind Marshall.