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Position Rankings: 2014 Wide Receivers

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 Arvydas Sabonis.

1. Tyler Lockett, SR., Kansas State

Tyler is the third Lockett in the Lockett-Kansas State dynasty, and he's likely better than the Lockett greats (Kevin and Aaron) that came before him. One of the nation's most dangerous open-field threats (four TD, 33.8 yards per KOR in 2011-12), Lockett ascended beyond his "return specialist" tag last season, becoming one of the nation's top wideouts with 81 receptions for 1,262 yards (15.6 YPC) and 11 touchdowns. He should be even busier as a receiver this year, as running QB Daniel Sams transferred, leaving passing QB Jake Waters with the full-time job.

2. Deontay Greenberry, JR., Houston

Greenberry was considered a huge catch for Houston in 2012, and he proved last year the hype was justified. Although he missed most of two games with a concussion and a leg injury, he still finished with 82 catches for 1,202 yards (14.7 YPC) and 11 touchdowns. Greenberry might be the nation's most complete WR he's a red-zone threat at 6-3, 198, and has speed as a deep threat. As the top target in Houston's pass-heavy offense against an AAC schedule, he could average more than 100 yards and a touchdown per game for the second straight season.

3. Antwan Goodley, SR., Baylor

Although Tevin Reese was the favorite to serve as Baylor's top WR in 2013, Goodley earned that distinction with a breakout season, totaling 71 receptions, 1,339 yards (18.9 YPC) and 13 touchdowns. Goodley is relatively short at 5-10, but he's well built at 225 pounds, which allows him to bully defensive backs in traffic. With QB Bryce Petty returning after a 4,200-yard, 32-touchdown season, Goodley should remain close to unstoppable in the Big 12.

4. Rashad Greene, SR., Florida State

At 6-0, 180, Greene is a precise route runner, able to mislead defenders and use his standout stop/start and change-of-direction skills to consistently create separation. He also possesses excellent vision, making him dangerous after the catch. He caught 76 passes last year 22 more than his next closest teammate totaling 1,128 yards (14.8 YPC) and nine touchdowns. With Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw who combined for 108 receptions, 1,944 yards and 21 touchdowns last year off to the NFL, Greene should see his workload increase significantly this season.

5. Jaelen Strong, SR., Arizona State

Strong arrived from the junior college ranks and immediately became the Sun Devils' No. 1 wideout. At 6-4, 205, he has the size to gain extra yards after the catch, and he has the catch radius to pose a threat in the red zone. Despite playing through an ankle injury in October, Strong finished with 75 catches for 1,122 yards (15.0 YPC) and seven touchdowns. With quarterback Taylor Kelly returning for his senior season and no obvious threats for targets, Strong should post better numbers this year. The only concern is a foot injury that cost him time this spring, though it's not expected to be an issue beyond summer.

6. Nelson Agholor, JR., USC

Marqise Lee was supposed to dominate the USC passing game last season, but Agholor led the team in receiving yards (918) and receiving touchdowns (six). Agholor was one of the nation's elite big-play threats, averaging 16.4 yards per catch and returning two punts for touchdowns (19.1 yards per return). His production should increase this year, as Lee is off to the NFL, and QB Cody Kessler finished strong after a rough start last season, which bodes well for Agholor's stability.

7. Devante Davis, SR., UNLV

The 6-3, 210-pound Davis followed his 854-yard, four-TD sophomore campaign with 87 receptions, 1,290 yards (14.8 YPC) and 14 touchdowns last season. An elite receiver, Davis might be a top-3 WR had he not lost QB Caleb Herring (24 TD, five INT in 2013) to graduation. Still, Davis is talented enough to dominate even with below-average quarterback play, especially against a Mountain West schedule.

8. Tyler Boyd, SO., Pittsburgh

As a true freshman last year, Boyd outproduced formidable senior wideout Devin Street, becoming one of the nation's most dangerous receivers. At 6-2, 185, Boyd displayed excellent all-around skills, showing both possession-receiver reliability (85 catches) and major big-play ability. In addition to his 1,174 receiving yards (13.8 YPC) and seven touchdowns, Boyd added 108 yards (9.8 YPC) and a touchdown rushing and returned a punt for a touchdown. QB Tom Savage's departure might be a concern, but it's not likely to slow Boyd. Any drop-off from Savage to likely new starter Chad Voytik should be offset by increased targets.

9. Matt Miller, SR., Boise State

Miller might be the nation's most accomplished receiver, boasting 216 career receptions for 2,588 yards and 26 touchdowns in 39 games. He's coming off a 1,140-yard, 12-touchdown season in which he totaled 41 receptions, 636 yards and 10 scores in the final five games. He should be even more productive this season and, at 6-3, 220, is one of the nation's top red-zone threats.

10. Jamison Crowder, SR., Duke

Only 5-9, 175, Crowder's excellent elusiveness makes him dangerous both as a route runner and after the catch. Not only did he post 108 receptions for 1,360 yards (12.6 YPC) and eight touchdowns last season, Crowder was one of the nation's top punt returners, averaging 16 yards per return and scoring twice. He has little competition for targets and starting QB Anthony Boone is back, making Crowder one of the best bets for triple-digit receptions and increased PPR value.

11. Tommy Shuler, SR., Marshall

Although just 5-7, Shuler looks like a Darren Sproles clone at a stocky 190, and defensive backs just can't seem to keep track of him. He's not a big-play threat with no more than 11.0 yards per catch the last two seasons, but he is valuable in PPR leagues, posting 110 receptions in 2012 and 106 last year. Quarterback Rakeem Cato is back for his fourth season as starter, and with the team's lack of experienced receivers, Shuler again should be heavily targeted.

12. Austin Hill, SR., Arizona

If not for a 2013 ACL tear and an uncertain quarterback situation, Hill would be a serious contender for the top fantasy receiver this season. At 6-3, 210, Hill can both stretch the field and reel in red-zone targets. He was one of the nation's elite in 2012, totaling 81 receptions, 1,364 yards (16.8 YPC) and 11 touchdowns, and he'll have a chance to regain that form this year on a team short on proven receivers. He is expected to be healthy for training camp, as his knee injury occurred last spring, giving him more than a year to recover.

13. Titus Davis, SR., Central Michigan

Few receivers have matched Davis' numbers the last three years. He scored eight touchdowns in each season, totaling 2,720 receiving yards. He posted 1,109 yards in 11 games last year despite playing with first-year QB Cooper Rush, who should improve as he heads into his second year. Davis' floor about 1,100 yards and eight scores is higher than most receivers, and he offers plenty of upside. At 6-2, 190, Davis brings the size and speed of a true No. 1 WR.

14. DeVante Parker, SR., Louisville

The loss of star QB Teddy Bridgewater to the NFL is definitely concern, but Parker (6-3, 209) still holds plenty of fantasy value. Bridgewater's likely replacement, sophomore Will Gardner, performed well in a limited showing last year. But even if Gardner struggles a bit, it should be offset by a likely increase in targets for Parker now that Damian Copeland (58 receptions in 2013) is gone. Considering he has 28 career touchdowns on just 113 catches, Parker only needs about 40 catches to provide double-digit touchdowns.

15. Jakeem Grant, JR., Texas Tech

Grant is extremely small at 5-6, 160, but he's one of the nation's most elusive runners. He caught 65 passes for 796 yards (12.3 YPC) and seven scores last year, and his targets should go through the roof this season as Texas Tech replaces last year's leading receivers Jace Amaro and Eric Ward, who combined for 189 catches. Grant is the favorite to emerge as the top receiver in an offense that throws more than 50 times per game, making triple-digit receptions likely in a Tavon Austin-like role.

16. Josh Harper, SR., Fresno State

If Derek Carr hadn't gone to the NFL, Harper (6-1, 184) would be a top-3 WR. Fresno State attempted more than 50 passes per game last year, and with Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse off to the NFL (231 catches, 30 TD combined), Harper is a near lock to provide double-digit touchdowns this season after catching 79 passes for 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013. But Carr's potential replacements (Brandon Connette and Brian Burrell) could lead Fresno State to run more this season, which could cap Harper's targets. Durability is also an issue as he missed 10 games the last three years.

17. Justin Hardy, SR., East Carolina

Hardy has one of the highest floors among wide receivers, boasting 266 career receptions, including 114 last year. He is consistent week to week, scoring or posting 100 yards in 10 games last year, finishing with 1,284 yards (11.3 YPC) and eight touchdowns. Hardy (6-0, 186) also has star QB Shane Carden back this season, but East Carolina spreads the ball around, and Hardy's ceiling is limited by Isaiah Jones, Bryce Williams and Davon Grayson.

18. Tyler Winston, SO., San Jose State

Winston impressed as a freshman last season. He entered the year as a safety, but a season-ending injury to Noel Grigsby left the Spartans thin at wideout, and Winston answered the call in a big way. One of the most productive receivers in the second half of the season, Winston posted 833 yards and five touchdowns in the final eight games. At 6-2, 185, Winston has the frame to develop into a workhorse wideout and the opportunity with Grigsby and Chandler Jones in the NFL. Unfortunately, he also loses elite QB David Fales, but Winston should remain productive.

19. Ezell Ruffin, SR., San Diego State

Ruffin is coming off a fine 2013 season in which he totaled 68 receptions, 1,136 yards and three touchdowns. Ruffin should see more targets in 2014 as San Diego State lost to graduation a trio of receivers that totaled 90 receptions, making 80 catches likely for the senior. And at 6-1, 210, Ruffin likely will improve last year's improbably low touchdown total. The return of QB Quinn Kaehler, who was a substantial improvement over incumbent Adam Dingwell last season, also helps.

20. Alonzo Russell, JR., Toledo

Russell disappointed as a sophomore last year, following his 953-yard, five-touchdown freshman season with just 59 catches for 728 yards and six scores. He could break out this year, though, as the 6-4, 190-pound wideout is the No. 1 receiver now that Bernard Reedy (62 catches, 840 yards, eight TD) graduated. The hope is for improved QB play with the arrival of Alabama transfer Phillip Ely, but even if Ely is mediocre, Russell should remain productive because Toledo lacks receiving threats.

21. Jamarcus Nelson, SR., UAB

Although he's a lightweight at 5-11, 160, Nelson might be the nation's best deep threat, taking his 81 career receptions for 1,618 yards (20.0 YPC) and 16 touchdowns. In his first year as a starter, he enjoyed a breakout season with 42 receptions, 846 yards (20.1 YPC) and eight touchdowns in just 10 games, missing two games with an ankle sprain. He added a kick return for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown, as well. The offense should improve under new coach Bill Clark (previously of Jacksonville State), though new QB Cody Clements could need breaking in.

22. Sterling Shepard, JR., Oklahoma

Shepard is set to take over as the next big-name Oklahoma WR, as the Sooners lost three of their top four receivers. Shepard caught 51 passes for 603 yards and seven touchdowns last year despite the now-graduated trio of Jalen Saunders, Lacoltan Bester and Jaz Reynolds combining for 102 catches. Shepard (5-10, 194) showed a promising touchdown percentage last year by scoring once every 7.3 catches, and with Trevor Knight at QB, Oklahoma could have its best passing game in years.

23. Geno Lewis, SO., Penn State

Star WR Allen Robinson (97 catches, 1,432 yards, six TD) held Lewis' numbers in check last season, and Lewis finished his redshirt freshman year with a modest 18 catches for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Robinson is in the NFL now, though, so it's Lewis' turn to be the go-to receiver for QB Christian Hackenberg, who is perhaps one of the five best quarterbacks in the country. The next most-prolific returning WR is Richy Anderson, who caught just 13 passes for 111 yards last year.

24. Devin Funchess, JR,. Michigan

At 6-5, 230, Funchess is easily the top fantasy TE if he's eligible, but at press time it is unclear which position he will play in 2014. While he would have more fantasy value at TE, he'll be valuable asset at WR, too, as he likely will lead Michigan in receiving this season. QB Devin Gardner is back but wideout Jeremy Gallon is not, leaving the Wolverines to replace 89 catches, 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns from last year's offense. Funchess is the obvious candidate to pick up the slack after 49 receptions, 748 yards and six touchdowns in 2013.

25. Shane Wynn, SR., Indiana

Even though he's a mere 5-7, 170, Wynn was both a big-play and a red-zone threat for the Hoosiers last year, posting 633 yards and scoring 11 times on just 46 receptions. He added a touchdown each as a runner and a punt returner. His role could greatly increase in 2014, as the Hoosiers lost Cody Latimer, Kofi Hughes and Ted Bolser, who combined for 154 receptions, to the pro ranks. Indiana returns its entire offensive line, so QB Nate Sudfeld should remain on target.

26. Ty Montgomery, SR., Stanford

Although he doesn't get a lot of targets in Stanford's run-heavy offense, Montgomery is a major fantasy factor due to his rare big-play ability. At 6-2, 215, he is one of the nation's best open-field runners. He supplemented his 958 yards (15.7 YPC) and 10 touchdowns as a receiver with 159 yards (12.2 YPC) and two touchdowns rushing last season, as well as two kickoff returns for touchdowns. With Stanford relatively thin at RB this year, third-year starting QB Kevin Hogan might see increased pass attempts, which would be good news for Montgomery's value.

27. Jordan Williams, JR., Ball State

At 6-2, 216, Williams proved both a big-play and a red-zone threat last year, catching 72 passes for 1,050 yards (14.6 YPC) and 10 touchdowns, even though the now-departed Willie Snead and Jamill Smith combined for 173 catches, 2,427 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Cardinals, though, have uncertainty at QB this season after losing Keith Wenning to the NFL. Williams will have to hope that the drop-off in QB play will be offset by an increase in targets.

28. Quinshad Davis, JR., North Carolina

The North Carolina offense was unstable last season, delaying Davis' expected breakout, but he still posted a respectable 48 receptions for 730 yards (15.2 YPC) and 10 touchdowns, adding two touchdown passes on trick plays. The breakout could happen this season, though. With tight end Eric Ebron (62 catches, 973 yards, three TD) in the NFL, Davis enters as the top receiver for North Carolina. Davis is one of the nation's best red-zone threats at 6-4, 205, and he has a promising QB in Marquise Williams.

29. Richard Mullaney, SR., Oregon State

Considering Brandin Cooks hogged 128 catches for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns last year, Mullaney's 52 receptions, 788 yards (15.2 YPC) and three touchdowns are fairly impressive. Mullaney might not be half the receiver that Cooks was for Oregon State, but he's still the favorite to be the team's top target this year, making a breakout season likely. With Cooks gone, Mullaney (6-3, 194) is sure to see more targets in an offense that threw 48.1 passes per game last season. Senior QB Sean Mannion is back for his fourth year as starter, ensuring stability, as well.

30. Stefon Diggs, JR., Maryland

Diggs caught 34 passes for 587 yards (17.3 YPC) and three touchdowns in seven games last year before a broken leg ended his season. He's healthy now and ready to produce like he did as a freshman in 2012 when he totaled nine touchdowns in 11 games. Diggs (6-0, 195) is a dangerous open-field runner, but he might have to fight for targets this season in a deep receiver corps. Still, senior QB C.J. Brown is smart enough to make Diggs his go-to receiver, and Diggs should find his way to the end zone regularly, even if he has to do it as a runner or returner.

31. Jamal Robinson, SR., Louisiana-Lafayette

Although the Louisiana-Lafayette offense hasn't made it easy for wideouts in recent years, Robinson appears poised to break that trend. He has an experienced, quality QB in senior Terrance Broadway, and he proved an excellent big-play threat the last two years, taking his 80 catches for 1,492 yards (18.7 YPC) and 11 touchdowns. He has the build to be a reliable red-zone target at 6-4, 205, and doesn't appear to have much competition for targets. Coming off an 862-yard, eight-touchdown season, Robinson should threaten 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns this year.

32. Ricky Seals-Jones, SO., Texas A&M

The consensus top WR recruit in 2013, Seals-Jones was off to a fast start last year before a knee injury ended his season. At 6-5, 225, Seals-Jones has the size to bully cornerbacks in the red zone and has the speed to pull away from defenders after the catch. With Mike Evans, Derel Walker and Travis Labhart gone, the Aggies have to replace 171 catches. Seals-Jones should earn a large share of that workload and likely will be Texas A&M's leading receiver this year.

33. Corey Davis, SO., Western Michigan

Last season could not have been much more miserable for Western Michigan, but Davis was one bright spot in the 1-11 campaign. The Broncos were perilously thin at receiver after losing Jaime Wilson and Justin Collins to injury, but Davis stepped up by catching 67 passes for 941 yards (14.0 YPC) and six touchdowns in just 11 games. At 6-2, 205, Davis should remain the No. 1 WR. He might not see quite as many targets, however, as Western Michigan added a pair of strong wideout recruits in Lonnie Johnson and Javonte Seabury.

34. Chris Harper, JR., California

It wasn't all smooth sailing in coach Sonny Dykes' first year as head coach, but there were signs of promise in Dykes' uptempo, spread offense. Harper was perhaps the most encouraging bright spot, catching 69 passes for 840 yards (12.2 YPC) and five touchdowns in 11 games. Between his own improvement and especially that of second-year QB Jared Goff, Harper should build on last year's numbers this season. Louisiana Tech made big strides in Dykes' scheme from 2010 to 2012, and if the same holds true for Cal, Harper should see significantly more touchdown opportunities this year.

35. J.D. McKissic, JR., Arkansas State

McKissic is much more valuable in PPR leagues, as few players can match his pace for receptions. McKissic (5-11, 193) is not a downfield threat, but he's a nuisance for defenses on underneath routes, gaining yards after the catch. He has 184 receptions the last two years, though for just 1,672 yards (9.1 YPC) and nine touchdowns. New coach Blake Anderson intends to make heavy use of McKissic after coordinating promising offenses at Southern Mississippi (2010-2011) and North Carolina (2012-2013).

36. Robert Davis, SO., Georgia State
37. Larry Pinkard, SR., Old Dominion
38. Ronnie Moore, SO., Bowling Green
39. Geremy Davis, SR., Connecticut
40. Chris Moore, JR., Cincinnati

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