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College Football Draft Kit: 2012 WR Rankings

Mario Puig

Mario Puig

Mario sets the direction of RotoWire's college football and NFL draft content, with his other responsibilities primarily resting in those same subjects. He's a fan of Chip Kelly, James Harrison and David Bowie.

1. Marquess Wilson, Jr., Washington State

Wilson has been an absolute monster since arriving at Washington State, routinely torching teams deep on the way to totaling 2,394 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first 24 games, including 1,388 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. Add the Mike Leach Air Raid offense to the equation, and Wilson should have even more opportunities in 2012. There could be Justin Blackmon/Michael Crabtree upside here.

2. Marqise Lee, So., USC

Robert Woods might be a bigger name, but Lee could be the top USC receiver in 2012. He was exceptional as a true freshman last year, finishing with 73 catches for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns, including 40 catches for 609 yards and six touchdowns in the final four weeks of the year. With so much attention on Woods, Lee will almost certainly carry his momentum into 2012 and get off to a fast start.

3. Nick Harwell, Jr., Miami (OH)

Harwell might have some attitude/disciplinary issues (he was suspended for the first game of 2011), but Harwell just canít be stopped when heís on the field. He caught 97 passes for 1,425 yards and nine touchdowns in just 11 games last year, including a comical 47 receptions for 647 yards and seven touchdowns in the final four weeks of the year. Those numbers doubtlessly won league championships for many of Harwell's 2011 owners.

4. Robert Woods, Jr., USC

Woods was USC's workhorse in 2011, totaling 118 touches from scrimmage in addition to 30 special teams touches. Woods' most notable number was his 111 catches, the result of which was 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns. Woods might not be a great big-play threat, but his huge workload makes him a near certainty for fantasy stardom.

5. Justin Hunter, Jr, Tennessee

Hunterís 2011 season ended Sept. 17 due to a torn ACL, but he conclusively showed prior to the injury that greatness awaits him. Hunter caught 16 passes for 302 yards and two scores in the first two games of the year, and he has a good quarterback (Tyler Bray) throwing him the ball. Hunter is just too big (6-4) and too fast Ė he might be the best receiver in the country.

6. Kenny Stills, Jr., Oklahoma

Stills is the next great Oklahoma wideout, and he would be ranked higher if his quarterback (Landry Jones) hadnít struggled so much toward the end of last season. With Ryan Broyles gone, though, Stills should be very productive even if Jones is an occasional liability. Stills had 849 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games last year, and he's a very good bet to breeze past 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior this year.

7. Cobi Hamilton, Sr., Arkansas

With Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Greg Childs gone, a huge opportunity awaits Hamilton in 2012. The exit of the previously mentioned trio leaves a void of 141 receptions in the Arkansas offense, and Hamilton finished last season with 542 yards and four touchdowns even as he battled those three for targets. Quarterback Tyler Wilson is back, so Hamiltonís numbers could really go off.

8. Quinton Patton, Sr., Louisiana Tech

Patton is a junior college transfer who was a big hit for Louisiana Tech in 2011, catching 78 passes for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was productive for both of Techís quarterbacks (Colby Cameron and Nick Isham), so it seems like Patton will remain productive even if he deals with an unsettled quarterback situation (which wonít necessarily happen Ė Cameron was very productive to close out the year).

9. Terrance Williams, Sr., Baylor

While Kendall Wright was the workhorse of the Baylor wideout group, Williams was its chief big-play threat, catching 59 passes for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns. Wright is gone, though, so Williams may need to take up the workhorse role in 2012. The loss of quarterback Robert Griffin largely negates Williams' increase in prominence, but he still has tremendous upside with a high floor.

10. Sammy Watkins, So., Clemson

Watkins was spectacular as a true freshman in 2011 and was actually the top fantasy receiver for much of the year, finishing with 83 catches for 1,225 yards and 12 scores while adding a kick return touchdown and 231 rushing yards.. He was overused a bit, though, and his workload of roughly 11.5 touches per game resulted in a shoulder injury. Watkins should remain an extremely consistent producer in 2012, as his starting quarterback, Tajh Boyd, is back.

11. Keenan Allen, So., California

Allen doesnít have the strongest offense around him, particularly at the quarterback position (Zach Maynard threw for just 17 touchdowns in 2011), but he is one of the nation's best talents at receiver and should emerge as at least a good WR2 in most formats. In PPR formats, however, he'll probably approach WR1 territory. As a sophomore last year Allen caught 98 passes for 1343 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games, and he could see even more targets with Marvin Jones, Michael Calvin and Anthony Miller gone from last year's offense after combining for 106 catches.

12. Tavon Austin, Sr., West Virginia

Austin was a better real-life player for West Virginia than a fantasy one last season, but he was still a big hit, as expected. Austin is a talented and versatile player whoís very dangerous with the ball. He was a fantasy disappointment for most of last season due to a touchdown shortage, but Austin is due for a career year in 2012 thanks to his heavy workload Ė he led West Virginia with 101 receptions while carrying16 times. He's also likely to score a return touchdown or three.

13. Ryan Swope, Sr., Texas A&M

If Swope didnít lose quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the NFL, he might be ranked No. 1 this season. Not only did he have a superb 2011 (1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns), but his new head coach is Kevin Sumlin, formerly coach of high-flying Houston. Even if Swope has to deal with an incompetent quarterback, the increase in pass attempts for A&M should allow him to match last yearís numbers.

14. Javone Lawson, Sr., Louisiana-Lafayette

The Lafayette offense came to life in 2011 with the emergence of star quarterback Blaine Gautier, and Lawson was Gautierís primary partner in crime. Lawson caught 63 passes for 1,092 yards and eight scores last year, but he was particularly strong in the second half (48 catches for 811 yards and six scores in the final eight weeks), giving reason to believe he'll finish with even better numbers this season.

15. Stedman Bailey, Jr., West Virginia

Bailey was a better fantasy receiver than teammate Tavon Austin last year as he totaled 1,279 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air. Don't be surprised if he takes a bit of a backseat to Austin this season, though. As the more established receiver entering 2011, Austin drew heavier coverage than Bailey. The pendulum could swing the other way this season after Bailey proved just how dangerous he is, prompting defenses to skew coverage his way, instead of Austin's.

16. Da'Rick Rogers, Jr., Tennessee

Rogers isnít as talented as teammate Justin Hunter, but heís a playmaker in his own right. Rogers caught 67 passes for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns as a true sophomore last year, the latter two figures being triple that of the next-closest Tennessee receiver. Considering he posted those numbers without his top quarterback for five games, Rogers should be even better this season.

17. Darius Johnson, Sr., SMU

Johnson caught 79 passes for 1,118 yards and eight touchdowns last year despite seeing teammates Cole Beasley (86) and Terrance Wilkerson (44) haul in big reception totals, too. The latter pair were graduated, though, leaving Johnson with an even bigger opportunity this season. Questions at quarterback are the only reason he's not ranked higher.

18. Titus Davis, So., Central Michigan

If rankings were based solely on upside, Davis would be ranked higher. He was monstrous toward the end of his true freshman season, totaling 34 catches for 533 yards and seven touchdowns in the final six weeks last year, including 10 receptions for 192 yards and two scores against Kent State, the MAC's toughest pass defense. Since Davis was a bit of a late bloomer last season, though, heís riskier than others in this range.

19. Rashad Greene, So., Florida State

If Greene hadnít suffered a concussion in the middle of his true freshman season last year, he might be enjoying as much hype as the top-ranked receivers. Greene was immensely productive last year, totaling 26 receptions for 457 yards and six touchdowns in five games before the injury struck. He wasnít the same after the injury, but his strong finish (five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown) in Florida Stateís narrow bowl game victory was proof that heíll be back in 2012.

20. Cody Hoffman, Jr., BYU

With 16 touchdowns in his last 18 games, Hoffman is quietly primed to become one of the nationís most productive receivers. The yardage totals havenít been there consistently yet, but quarterback Riley Nelson looks capable of helping Hoffman produce a balanced box score this season. Hoffman finished last year by surpassing 110 yards in four of his last seven games, totaling nine touchdowns over that span.

21. Bernard Reedy, Jr., Toledo

Reedy returns to Toledo this season ready to take over the No. 1-receiver role from the departed Eric Page. Reedy added 40 receptions, 762 yards and nine touchdowns in a complementary role last season to Page, who totaled 125 catches for 1,182 yards and 10 touchdowns. With Page out of the way, Reedy should be in line for a bump to his already solid numbers.

22. Jamal Miles, Sr., Arizona State

Miles was quietly one of the nation's most dangerous and versatile big-play threats last year, and with Arizona State losing wideouts Gerell Robinson, Aaron Pflugrad and Mike Willie, Miles could be in for a major breakout performance this year. He caught 60 passes for 361 yards and six scores, ran for 237 yards, threw a touchdown pass and added three return touchdowns last year.

23. Taylor Stockemer, Sr., Arkansas State

Stockemer was primarily Arkansas State's big-play specialist the last three years, but with Dwayne Frampton (94 catches in 2011) gone, Stockemer is in for a promotion this season. He'll remain a dangerous deep threat, but he should also see a bunch more targets. Stockemer has 12 touchdowns on his last 82 catches over the last two season Ė he might reach that level this season alone.

24. Darryl Surgent, Jr., Louisiana-Lafayette

Surgent caught just 28 passes last year, but this big-play threat is an obvious playmaker who Lafayette will try to get the ball more often. Surgent totaled six touchdowns on those 28 catches, going for 518 yards (18.5 YPC) while adding a touchdown as a runner and punt returner. His per-play efficiency from last year gives reason to expect a breakout 2012 season.

25. Conner Vernon, Sr., Duke

Rank Vernon higher in PPR leagues, as he should be among the nationís leaders in receptions this season. His fantasy upside is a bit limited, though, because of a generally weak offense with shaky quarterback play. Still, Vernon hauled in 70 passes last year, and the exit of senior receivers Donovan Varner and Cooper Helfet leaves a void of 104 receptions in the Duke offense. A 90-catch season could be on the horizon for Vernon.

26. Tevin Reese, Jr., Baylor

Reese was Baylor's best deep threat last year, taking his 51 catches for 877 yards (17.2 YPC) and seven scores. He'll have some competition for targets this season in Lanear Sampson, but Reese is generally a solid bet to total at least 1,000 yards and/or 10 touchdowns.

27. Eric Ward, Jr., Texas Tech

Give Ward a big boost in PPR leagues, as he easily led Texas Tech with 84 catches last year. The 11 touchdowns were nice, too. Ward is limited by his lack of big-play ability, as he averaged just 9.5 yards per catch on 800 yards receiving. More action down field would boost his prospects.

28. Uzoma Nwachukwu, Sr., Texas A&M

Nwachukwu is one of the nationís best athletes at receiver and an intriguing boom-or-bust option as coach Kevin Sumlin takes over Texas A&M. Although Ryan Tannehill is gone, the possible increase in pass attempts for A&M could turn Nwachukwu into a fantasy hit anyway. Wide receiver Jeff Fuller and running back Cyrus Gray both were graduated from A&M, too, and that pair totaled 101 receptions last year.

29. Keenan Davis, Sr., Iowa

Davis finally broke out a bit as a junior last year, catching 50 passes for 713 yards and four scores. Heís fully expected to take the next step in 2012, because star wideout Marvin McNutt is gone, ,leaving a 1,315-yard, 12-touchdown void in the Iowa offense. Not only that, but quarterback James Vandenberg is back after a thoroughly impressive first year as a starter.

30. Alec Lemon, Sr., Syracuse

Lemon only totaled 834 yards and six scores last year, but he's in an offense that saw seven senior pass-catchers leave, taking 139 receptions with them. Lemon had 68 catches on his own last year, so a push for 90 receptions in 2012 would not surprise, particularly with senior quarterback Ryan Nassib returning.

31. Josh Boyce, Jr., TCU

Boyce appears to be a high-floor, low-ceiling option in TCUís offense Ė heís a good player with a good quarterback, but the Horned Frogs donít throw the ball much and there are a few other talented receivers Boyce will compete with for targets. Still, Boyce reaches the end zone with impressive frequency, as he has 15 touchdowns to show for his 95 career receptions. If he can haul in 65 catches this year, it would project to 10 or 11 touchdowns.

32. Michael Campanaro, Jr., Wake Forest

Campanaro isnít the deep threat that Chris Givens was for Wake Forest, but he is a reliable and versatile possession receiver who should be in for a big workload now that Givens is in the NFL. He had a fine 2011 season even with Givens hogging the ball, though, totaling 73 receptions for 833 yards and two touchdowns while adding another touchdown on a punt return and throwing two touchdown passes. Campanaro could push for the century mark in the reception column, so give him a boost in PPR leagues.

33. Courtney Williams, So., Central Michigan

Titus Davis may have been the star true freshman for Central Michigan last year, but Williams would have been the co-headliner if he hadnít dealt with injury troubles. Although he was only played six games, Williams caught 21 passes for 385 yards and five touchdowns. That includes 15 catches for 243 yards and three scores against the tough pass defenses of North Carolina State, Kent State and Ohio. Williams is best drafted as a late-round dart, but he has upside.

34. Markus Wheaton, Sr., Oregon State

Wheaton had just one touchdown last season, but he also had 73 receptions. The conclusion to be reached is that heís an effective receiver, but his upside was limited by a bad offense. Everything went wrong for Oregon State last year, so Wheaton should have nowhere to go but up in 2012, particularly with quarterback Sean Mannion entering his true sophomore season with 11 starts logged.

35. Tobais Palmer, Sr., North Carolina State

Palmer is still a bit unproven as a second-year junior college transfer, but he has an opportunity to be very productive this season. The North Carolina State offense returns senior starting quarterback Mike Glennon, and the departures of senior targets T.J. Graham, Jay Smith and George Bryan leave a void of 119 receptions in the Wolfpack offense. The small but shifty Palmer should be targeted frequently.

36. Kasen Williams, So., Washington

Generally considered the top receiver recruit from last year, Williams unsurprisingly showed a lot of potential, particularly toward the end of last season. He caught 22 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns in the final five weeks of the year, and heís in for a much bigger workload this year now that Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar are out of the picture. Williams' quarterback situation is also looking great -- Keith Price is back after throwing 33 touchdowns in his first year as starter.

37. DeAndre Hopkins, Jr., Clemson

If Hopkins didnít play on the same offense as a superstar talent like Sammy Watkins, he would be nationally known as one of the nationís best receivers. Instead, heís a bit under the radar due to Watkinsí vast shadow. He caught 71 passes for 961 yards and five scores as a sophomore last year, and he should be good for improved numbers in 2012 now that star tight end Dwayne Allen (49 catches for 592 yards and eight scores) is headed to the NFL.

38. Ross Apo, So., BYU

Apo was very encouraging as a redshirt freshman last year, immediately emerging as one of the nationís most dangerous red-zone threats. Although he only caught 34 passes for 453 yards, Apo made nine of those catches in the end zone. With quarterback Riley Nelson back and Cody Hoffman drawing most of the coverage on the other side, Apo is in a very favorable situation.

39. Tracy Moore, Sr., Oklahoma State

Moore is a big and athletic receiver, and he certainly has upside with Justin Blackmon, Josh Cooper, Hubert Anyiam and Michael Harrison out of the Oklahoma State offense this year. Even with those players around, Moore still caught 45 passes for 672 yards (14.9 YPC) and four touchdowns. With quarterback Brandon Weeden gone, though, Moore is a bit of a risk.

40. Aaron Dobson, Sr., Marshall

Dobson is likely Marshallís top fantasy wideout this year and a player who is relevant in most or all formats. He caught 49 passes for 668 yards and 12 touchdowns last year and, while that touchdown total will be difficult to match, Dobson should improve on his reception and yardage numbers as quarterback Rakeem Cato progresses. Dobson should be owned if youíre not in a shallow league.

41. Emory Blake, Sr., Auburn

Injuries and instability at quarterback hurt Blake's production last year, but he's due for a big finish as a senior this season. He has 13 touchdowns on his last 68 receptions, and he scored in the first four games of 2011 despite Barrett Trotter starting at quarterback. Trotter was benched in October, and both Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier should be upgrades for Blake in 2012.

42. Marcus Davis, Sr., Virginia Tech

He has been a late bloomer for Virginia Tech, but Davis is one of the nationís most physically intimidating receivers, and an interesting sleeper option for fantasy owners. Although he had only 30 catches last year, Davis showed a lot of big-play ability as he burned teams for 510 yards (17 YPC) and five touchdowns. He's likely to get many more targets in 2012 with Danny Coal (60 catches) and Jarrett Boykin (61) headed to the NFL.

43. Tavarres King, Sr., Georgia

Consistency has been an issue for the speedy King, but he has enough of a grip on the top wideout spot in Georgia that he should put together a career year as a senior in 2012. He only caught 46 passes for 677 yards last year, but he scored eight touchdowns on that limited catch total, and his main competition for targets in 2011 -- Malcolm Mitchell (moved to cornerback) and Orson Charles (NFL) -- are no longer threats. Aaron Murray is an elite quarterback, too, so Kingís situation couldnít be much more favorable.

44. Ty Montgomery, So., Stanford

Montgomery was one of the top wideout recruits from 2011, and he didnít disappoint as a true freshman for Stanford. Even in a deep group of pass-catchers including Coby Fleener, Griff Whalen, Chris Owusu, Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz, Montgomery made his mark with 13 receptions for 197 yards and two scores in the last two games of the year, adding a 34-yard touchdown run and a kickoff return touchdown earlier in the season, too. Fleener, Whalen and Owusu are gone this year, leaving room for Montgomery to take a bigger workload.

45. Matt Miller, So., Boise State

If Kellen Moore hadnít graduated, Miller would be ranked much higher after catching 62 passes and scoring nine touchdowns as a redshirt freshman last year. Miller was the team's best possession target right away, as those 62 receptions tied with Tyler Shoemaker for the team lead. Shoemaker was graduated, however, so Miller should exceed last year's numbers regardless of the quarterback.

46. Isaiah Anderson, Sr., Oklahoma State

Anderson isnít particularly accomplished, but heís Oklahoma Stateís second-most experienced receiver after Tracy Moore, which makes him a fantasy consideration by default in the pass-happy and annually well-orchestrated Cowboys offense. He caught 28 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns last year, and could serve as Oklahoma State's primary chain-mover while Moore breaks the big plays.

47. Daniel Spencer, So., Houston

Patrick Edwards, Justin Johnson, Tyron Carrier, Michael Hayes and E.J. Smith are out of the picture, leaving the Houston offense with a jaw-dropping shortage of 345 receptions. Spencer is probably the most accomplished returning receiver for Houston, making him a candidate to emerge as a major fantasy factor. Thereís certainly some risk, though, because Houstonís wideout rotation is completely up in the air entering the season. Still, you might as well gamble on one of the candidates, because you might land the next Justin Blackmon with a little luck.

48. Justin Hardy, So., East Carolina

Give Hardy a boost in your PPR rankings, as he caught 64 passes last year, but his upside is a bit limited (10.3 YPC), and his starting quarterback from last year is gone. Hardy didnít hit 100 yards a single time last year, so he looks like a moderate-floor, low-ceiling option.

49. Trey Metoyer, Fr., Oklahoma

If you're looking for 2012's version of what Sammy Watkins was to Clemson in 2011, Metoyer might be the best candidate. He has consistently received high grades for his offseason performances, and he's one of the elite receiver recruits of the past couple years. With Ryan Broyles and James Hanna headed to the NFL and Jaz Reynolds suspended, Metoyer should start and make an immediate impact with the Sooners.

50. Erik Highsmith, Sr., North Carolina

Highsmith is expected to serve as North Carolina's No. 1 receiver this year, making him a valuable ACC-only league pick that could pay off in most other formats, too. A lot of catches will be up for grabs with Dwight Jones gone, and Highsmith was decent enough with Jones around in 2011, finishing with 51 catches for 726 yards and five touchdowns. Bryn Renner looks like a pretty good quarterback, so Highsmith should improve his numbers in 2012.

51. Tracey Lampley, Sr., Southern Mississippi

Lampley was quietly one of the nation's best versatile big-play threats last year, running for 463 yards and three touchdowns (5.1 YPC), catching 47 passes for 574 yards and four touchdowns, and adding an eighth score on a punt return. He would be ranked higher if it werenít for the fact that he lost his starting quarterback, Austin Davis, to graduation.

52. Bryan Burnham, Sr., Tulsa

Consistency was an issue for Burnham last year, but heíll be an excellent fantasy option this season if his numbers fluctuate a bit less. He had five touchdowns in the first three weeks of 2011 (oddly enough, the most difficult stretch in his schedule) and three in the final four weeks, but had just one touchdown in the six games in between. Still, he finished with 850 yards and nine scores -- solid numbers considering it was his first year as a starter.

53. Josh Schaffer, Jr., Western Michigan

Quarterback Alex Carder is back to start a third year in a row, but Jordan White, Chleb Ravenell and Robert Arnheim are gone, and that trio totaled 269 receptions and 30 touchdowns last year. That means big numbers should be available for Schaffer and Eric Monette, the only two notable receivers to return to the Western Michigan roster. Schaffer showed a bit more upside than Monette, so he gets the nod as the top-ranked member of the duo.

54. Eric Monette, Sr., Western Michigan

Although Josh Schaffer displayed more big-play ability than Monette in their brief showings last year, Monette may be the more reliable chain-mover of the two, as he finished with 29 catches while Schaffer had 19. Given that, it would make sense to rank Monette a bit higher in PPR leagues.

55. Reese Wiggins, Jr., East Carolina

Justin Hardy is the most established East Carolina wideout heading into 2012, but Wiggins is a sleeper to overtake him as the teamís No. 1 receiver at some point this year. He showed good explosiveness (14.9 YPC) despite playing in a dink-and-dunk offense, and he came on strong at the end of 2011, catching 20 passes in the final five weeks. Heís a must-draft in Conference-USA-only leagues and a justifiable late pick in other formats, too.

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