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2014 Fantasy Football Rankings – Wide Receivers

A list of the top wide receivers to draft for the 2014 fantasy football season.

By Position:

OVERALL

QB

RB

WR

TE

K

1. Calvin Johnson (DET)

  Receiving Stats Rushing Stats
Year Rec Yds TD Avg Att Yds TD Avg
2014 Projections View Calvin Johnson's 2014 projected stats.

The LeBron James of NFL wideouts, Johnson wasn’t the top receiver in the league last year – that title would belong to Josh Gordon, who like Johnson played only 14 games. And Johnson didn’t lead the league in receiving touchdowns – that distinction went to Demaryius Thomas whose quarterback made the NFL record book his autobiography. Instead, Johnson was the league’s No. 3 fantasy wideout in standard leagues and fell all the way to No. 5 in PPR. Moreover, Johnson, who will be 29 in September, underwent a knee scope in January along with an operation on his finger. That’s the bad news. The good? Johnson’s four-year averages are 95 catches for 1564 yards and 11 touchdowns, a career season for just about any other receiver in the league. Even Gordon scored only nine times last year, and no one besides Gordon broke 1.500 yards. At 6-5, 236 and with elite deep speed, Johnson is the most physically gifted receiver in the history of the league. While he lacks an elite quarterback to get him the ball, he has the next best thing – a big-armed, mistake-prone gunslinger in Matt Stafford who will put the team in must-throw situations and keep firing. Moreover, Johnson’s indoor home venue assures good passing conditions in most of his games. The offseason addition of Golden Tate isn’t likely to cut into Johnson’s voluminous opportunities – Stafford finished first, fifth and 17th all-time in single-season passing attempts the last three years. Of some concern are the additions of new head coach Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi who replace Jim Schwartz and Scott Linehan, the duo that permitted Stafford to attempt so many passes the last three years. But Lombardi was Drew Brees’ quarterback coach, and Caldwell was Peyton Manning’s head coach, so unless the Lions defense were to take a quantum leap, we should expect Stafford to be among the league leaders in attempts – and Johnson in targets – no matter who else is on the field.

2. Demaryius Thomas (DEN)

  Receiving Stats Rushing Stats
Year Rec Yds TD Avg Att Yds TD Avg
2014 Projections View Demaryius Thomas's 2014 projected stats.

There were a lot of mouths to feed in the Denver passing game last year, but nearly every one the table left fat and happy, none more so than Thomas, who led the team with 142 targets (12th) and led all NFL wideouts with 14 touchdowns. At 6-3, 229 and with a 4.38 40, Thomas is one of the league’s size/speed freaks in the Julio Jones/Calvin Johnson mold, who are dangerous anywhere on the field. While Thomas had only four catches of 40-plus (T-17th), he averaged 10.1 YPT (4th among the league’s 37 100-target WR). And while Thomas was only third on his own team in red-zone targets with 19, he converted seven of those for scores. With Eric Decker (136 targets, 23 red-zone, 14 inside-the-10) now in New York and Wes Welker now 33 years old, Thomas should see an even bigger role, both down the field and in the red zone. Should Thomas maintain his current efficiency – and with Peyton Manning under center, he’s not likely to fall off much – we could be looking at a receiving season for the ages. Of course, there will almost certainly be regression in the Denver passing game as a whole – all-time records are not easily repeated – but Thomas’ 2013 line was almost exactly in line with his 2012 one, and now Decker’s out of the picture.

3. Dez Bryant (DAL)

  Receiving Stats Rushing Stats
Year Rec Yds TD Avg Att Yds TD Avg
2014 Projections View Dez Bryant's 2014 projected stats.

By some metrics Bryant’s 2013 season was a disappointment. Despite being sixth in targets (160), Bryant was only 13th in yards, thanks to a pedestrian 7.7 YPT (23rd among the league’s 37 100-target WR) and 13.3 YPC (20th). And this was on a Cowboys team that finished 13th in YPA (7.2). Moreover, Bryant had only four catches of 40 or more yards (tied for 17th) and 13 of 20 or more (tied for 23rd). In short, Bryant simply wasn’t the dominant game-breaking receiver that took the league by storm in the second half of 2012. At 25, it’s unlikely Bryant has lost a step, however, and at 6-2, 222 with 4.5-speed, he has the physical tools to make plays down the field. And Bryant’s size and red-zone usage ensure him a high floor for touchdowns – he led the league with 16 targets inside the 10 last year, catching seven for scores. The arrival of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, whose track record of targeting No. 1 receivers heavily in the end zone spans more than a decade, will only help. Perhaps most importantly, Bryant was injury free and played 16 games for the second year in a row. And there were neither off-field indiscretions nor problems in the locker room, unless you count a media misinterpretation of Bryant trying to rally his teammates on the sidelines.

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2014 Positional Rankings

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Running Back Rankings

Find out where Arian Foster, Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller, Darren McFadden and other running backs are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Wide Receiver Rankings

Find out where A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Michael Crabtree and other wide receivers are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Tight End Rankings

Find out where Kyle Rudolph, Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates and other tight ends are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Kicker Rankings

Find out where Shaun Suisham, Adam Vinatieri, Blair Walsh, Mason Crosby and other kickers are ranked going into your fantasy draft.