A list of the top wide receivers to draft for the 2015 fantasy football season.
1. Dez Bryant (DAL)
|Receiving Stats||Rushing Stats|
|2015 Projections||View Dez Bryant's 2015 projected stats.|
The league's premier touchdown catcher — other than maybe a healthy Rob Gronkowski — Bryant led the NFL with 16 last season, running his three-year total to 41. Unlike Demaryius Thomas and Antonio Brown, who did their damage with north of 180 targets, Bryant checked in 12th overall (137), tied for 18th in the red-zone (15) and seventh inside the 10 (10). Bryant tied for second in goal-line targets with eight, however, a hallmark of Scott Linehan's play calling since his days with the Dolphins when even Chris Chambers got double-digit scores. At 6-2, 220, with 4.5 speed, Bryant has the specs you'd want from a No. 1 NFL receiver, and he plays even bigger and more physical than that. Bryant's 9.6 YPT placed seventh among the league's 41 100-target wideouts, and his 22 catches for 20-plus yards was fifth. Entering 2015, Bryant's role could potentially grow. While the Cowboys return an all-world offensive line and quarterback Tony Romo, they are thin at wide receiver with only the disappointing Terrance Williams and slot man Cole Beasley providing experienced depth. Moreover, Jason Witten turned 33 in May, and workhorse tailback DeMarco Murray is in Philadelphia. Given the strength of the line and the team's success a year ago, one would think Dallas will again feature a run-heavy scheme, but at press time, it's hard to envision the backfield options (individually or collectively) absorbing Murray's 392-carry load. That could portend more work for Bryant.
2. Odell Beckham (NYG)
|Receiving Stats||Rushing Stats|
|2015 Projections||View Odell Beckham's 2015 projected stats.|
Beckham's rookie season defied laws of physics and limits of credulity. After missing most of training camp and four games with a hamstring injury, and seeing only six targets in his first two games, Beckham went on a 10-game rampage peak-Jerry Rice would envy. From Weeks 8-17, he went 85-1,233-11, a pace that prorates to 136-1,973-18. That would give him the second-most single-season receptions of all time, the most yardage and the third-most TDs. Before we scream "regression to the mean," of which there will almost surely be some, it's worth noting Beckham was a rookie learning a new system without the benefit of training camp reps, working with a quarterback for the first time while claiming to battle a hamstring injury all year. At 5-11, 198, Beckham has only average size, but ran a blazing 4.31 unofficial time at the NFL Combine (his official one was a merely fast 4.43). He also plays big thanks to a 38.5-inch vertical leap, elite ball skills and large hands, allowing him to operate in the red zone — he tied for fifth in red-zone targets with 26 in only 12 games. Beckham remarkably dropped only two of the 130 passes thrown his way, several of which he snagged with one hand. He also averaged 10 yards per target (4th among the league's 41 100-target wideouts). Beckham had the benefit of being the only game in town for much of last season — at least until Rueben Randle came on during the final two games. With Victor Cruz presumably returning from a knee injury early in the year, that might not be the case in 2015. Still, even if Cruz were 100 percent healthy and Randle emerges as a consistent option — two possibilities that are far from assured — Beckham is the team's unquestioned No. 1 target and one of the rising superstars in the league.
3. Antonio Brown (PIT)
|Receiving Stats||Rushing Stats|
|2015 Projections||View Antonio Brown's 2015 projected stats.|
In 2013, Brown was the lone small receiver atop a leaderboard filled with athletic freaks and monsters. Last year, he was the monster. Brown had the second-most receptions in NFL history and led the league in receiving yards with the sixth most all time. He also tied for second in TD receptions, with only Dez Bryant's 16 preventing Brown from a receiving triple crown. Brown was also the league's most consistent fantasy player last year with at least 70 receiving yards in all 16 games. Put differently, he never once failed to eclipse 13 points in PPR formats. At 5-10, 186, Brown is not your typical red-zone target, but he saw 34 from that area (2nd), and his 18 targets from inside the 10 tied him with Demaryius Thomas for the league lead. Although Brown is fast — his 4.47 40 is above average — he excels with uncanny quickness, excellent hands and first-rate ball skills. And while he didn't make an inordinate amount of big plays (19 catches of 20-plus, four of 40 or more), Brown averaged a robust 9.4 yards per target (9th among the league's 41 100-target WR) on heavy volume thanks to his 71-percent catch rate (4th). It's hard to find much downside, but the volume could drop slightly with Martavis Bryant likely to have a bigger role and rookie Sammie Coates providing an upgrade over last year's fourth option. And whenever you're looking at a historic season, some regression is always a prudent bet. Even so, in PPR leagues, Brown is the clear No. 1 choice.
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2015 Positional Rankings
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Find out where A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham and other wide receivers are ranked going into your fantasy draft.
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