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WR Rankings: Davis the Greatest

Mario Puig

Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.


1. Corey Davis, Western Michigan, SR

Davis (6-3, 213) will go down as one of the best receivers in college football history, and 2016 should be his best work yet, even after logging consecutive seasons exceeding 1,400 yards and 10 TDs. Dominant in each of his three years at Western Michigan, Davis heads into his senior season with 234 catches for 3,778 yards and 33 TDs in 36 games. He has an accomplished senior QB (Zach Terrell) throwing him the ball, and he should get more targets now that former teammate Daniel Braverman is in the NFL after catching 108 passes for 1,367 yards and 13 TDs last year.

2. Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky, SR

Taylor (6-1, 195) has been the clear top WR on a Western Kentucky offense overstuffed with explosive receivers the last two years, and last year he broke out for 86 catches for 1,460 yards and 17 TDs. It's reasonable to fear regression now that star 50-TD QB Brandon Doughty is gone, but there's more so reason to believe in Taylor's talent and the Western Kentucky system. The truth is Doughty was an unsuccessful QB prior to coach Jeff Brohm's arrival, so expect the Hilltopper machine to keep humming regardless of who steps in, with Taylor as its top beneficiary.

3. Richie James, Middle Tennessee, SO

James (5-9, 170) enjoyed an historically successful redshirt freshman year in 2015, overtaking a handful of more accomplished veterans to emerge as one of the nation's elite WR in an up-and-coming MTSU offense. He finished with 107 catches for 1,334 yards and eight TDs, adding 158 rushing yards and a score, and 2016 might be even better. Fellow standout WR Ed'Marques Batties graduated, likely leaving James with a greater share of a passing game that should remain strong as emerging star sophomore QB Brent Stockstill heads into his second year as starter.

4. Gabe Marks, Washington State, SR

If you had to bet on one player to lead the nation in receptions, Marks (6-0, 188) might be the favorite. He has 178 catches for 1,999 yards and 22 touchdowns in his last 25 games one season as a true sophomore and the other as a redshirt junior and now he heads into his redshirt senior season for what should be a career year. Quarterback Luke Falk is back, and the graduation of wideout Dom Williams should allow Marks to increase his share of the Washington State passing game after catching 104 passes for 1,192 yards and 15 touchdowns last year.

5. Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State, SR

Sperbeck (6-0, 180) has been one of the nation's best WR the last two years, and with the ascent of QB Brett Rypien in the Boise State offense, Sperbeck's senior year should contain plenty of fireworks. In his last 24 games, Sperbeck has 139 receptions for 2,289 yards and 11 TDs, including 88 catches for 1,412 yards and eight TDs in 2015. The latter figures might appear maxed out, but probably aren't. Boise State lost its No. 2 WR in Shane Williams-Rhodes, meaning Sperbeck could earn an even greater share of the targets in Boise State's max-tempo, high-scoring offense.

6. Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech, JR

Ford's abilities haven't been on full display in Virginia Tech's plodding, mediocre offenses the last two years, but he's set to post big numbers. Ford (6-2, 190) is clearly an elite talent, already boasting 131 catches for 1,873 yards and 17 TDs at the conclusion of his true sophomore season. The arrival of coach Justin Fuente means the Hokies will go uptempo, and Virginia Tech's lack of WR depth means Ford should get numerous targets in 2016. He could finish as the nation's top fantasy WR, though he likely won't be drafted as high as the upper-tier of receivers.

7. James Washington, Oklahoma State, JR

Washington (6-0, 205) emerged as OSU's top WR and one of the nation's best deep threats in 2015, posting 53 catches, 1,087 yards and 10 TDs. There's room for considerable improvement. Washington's target count wasn't especially high, and with the graduations of David Glidden and Brandon Sheperd, Washington should breeze past triple-digit targets in 2016. The exit of running QB J.W. Walsh and expanded role for pocket-passer Mason Rudolph should also grant Washington more opportunity. Anything less than a 100-yard, one-TD per-game pace would disappoint.

8. Darren Carrington, Oregon, JR

Carrington (6-2, 195) missed the first six games of 2015 due to suspension, but returned to become the top WR in an Oregon offense that already had no lack of wideout talent. By the end of his seven games Carrington accumulated 32 catches for 609 yards and six touchdowns, and in 2016 his prominence in the offense should grow a great deal in light of fellow wideout Bralon Addison's departure to the NFL. Addison caught 63 passes for 804 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, but Carrington should do considerably more damage with the same target count.

9. Kavontae Turpin, TCU, SO

Turpin (5-9, 153) looks almost comically undersized, but the defenders who have to cover and chase him won't find anything amusing. Despite being a two-star recruit, Turpin regularly made fools of defenders as a true freshman in 2015, posting, 45 catches, 649 yards and eight TDs with 116 rush yards and showing lethal returner ability. Turpin is a special player who exceeds the sum of his parts. He could go off with star WR Josh Doctson in the NFL. The loss of QB Trevone Boykin is not a concern; presumed starter and Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill will likely do just fine.

10. Steve Ishmael, Syracuse, JR

Ishmael (6-2, 202) has 66 career catches, 985 yards and 10 TDs, yet he could top those numbers this year alone. Ishmael has quietly been quite good the last two years, producing well above the average for a player of his age in an offense as mediocre as Syracuse's. He should finally get to produce with volume instead of just efficiency. The arrival of coach Dino Babers from Bowling Green will assure max-tempo for Ishmael, who also has a promising QB in Eric Dungey. Don't expect Ishmael to be Roger Lewis from last year, but a breakout season is clearly ahead.

11. Ronnie Moore, Bowling Green, SR

Speaking of Roger Lewis, the star wideout is off to the NFL, meaning it's Moore's time to shine as Bowling Green's top WR. Bowling Green saw another star WR leave when Gehrig Dieter transferred to Alabama. The loss of coach Babers and star QB Matt Johnson hurts, but new coach Mike Jinks is a Texas Tech disciple, assuring Bowling Green will remain a max-tempo, high-volume attack, and likely starter James Knapke has a year of starting QB experience from 2014. Moore (5-9, 170) went 72-951-6 as the third WR last year and should easily exceed that in 2016.

12. Mike Williams, Clemson, JR

Williams (6-4, 220) missed nearly all last year after suffering a frightening neck injury in Week 1, but he likely has a superb season ahead. Williams is the biggest target and greatest TD threat among Clemson's receivers, and with the Deshaun Watson throwing to him, Williams should be among the nation's leading scorers. As a true sophomore in 2014, Williams caught 57 passes for 1,030 yards and six TDs, so he's already proven himself as one of the nation's best. It would be a mistake to consider Williams a risky pick he's medically cleared and a ready-made star.

13. Juju Smith-Schuster, USC, JR

Smith-Schuster's stock isn't quite as high as it was last year, when he had a lead role in a high-scoring offense led by a star QB, but he still should produce as one of the nation's best WR due to raw talent. The QB situation at USC is unclear as of press time, though, and the offense likely won't feature a great deal of tempo or explosiveness, so Smith-Schuster (6-2, 215) might be best viewed as a high-floor, modest-ceiling fantasy asset. He's the only WR ranked in the top 15 who doesn't play in a high-tempo offense, so his production is a testament to his skill.

14. Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois, SR

If you could guarantee the effectiveness of QB Drew Hare as he attempts to return from a torn Achilles' tendon, Golladay (6-4, 213) would be worth ranking higher. But even if Northern Illinois remains inefficient at QB for the second year in a row, Golladay still will have a big season. After all, he dealt with poor QB play in 2015, yet finished his first season with 73 receptions for 1,129 yards and 10 TDs in 14 games. Now in his second year on an offense that should make slight improvements, Golladay is a good bet to match those numbers in 12 regular season games.

15. Simmie Cobbs, Indiana, JR

Cobbs broke out as a true sophomore last year, catching 60 passes for 1,035 yards and four TDs in 13 games last year, and he'll likely take another step forward in 2016. A big wideout at 6-foot-4, 212, Cobbs' touchdown rate is all but guaranteed to increase multiply, even both due to a general progression to the mean and because the departure of star RB Jordan Howard leaves a 10-TD void from last year. The departure of QB Nate Sudfeld is a concern, but incoming JUCO quarterback Richard Lagow should give Indiana an immediate-impact replacement.

16. KD Cannon, Baylor, JR

Cannon (6-0, 180) was expected and still has a strong chance to enjoy a huge breakout season in 2016, as he'll likely step into the lead WR role with Corey Coleman in the NFL. The problem is that the shocking May firing of coach Art Briles threatens to destabilize an unstoppable offensive machine. Baylor replaced Briles with former Wake Forest coach (and stranger to high scoring) Jim Grobe and, while Grobe presumably will do his best to let the Baylor offense function as it did previously, losing Briles hurts. Still, Baylor remains loaded, headlined by Cannon.

17. Nicholas Norris, Western Kentucky, JR

While Taylor is the top WR for Western Kentucky, Norris (5-9, 175) could produce similarly well as he steps into an elevated role in 2016. Playing primarily in the slot, Norris averaged more than10 YPT last year, finishing with 63 catches, 971 yards and six TDs. With WR Jared Dangerfield and Antwane Grant graduated, Norris should see a significant increase in his target count, as he's the heavy favorite to emerge as the team's No. 2 WR behind Taylor. Just as with Taylor, the loss of QB Brandon Doughty isn't a major concern for Norris, as the WKU system can make most QBs look good.

18. Ian Sadler, Texas Tech, SR

Jakeem Grant is in NFL, but the Texas Tech passing game will remain high-flying in 2016, and Sadler (5-11, 197) is arguably the best candidate to emerge as the team's new leading receiver. He caught 42 passes for 596 yards and three TDs in 10 games as a true sophomore, leaving him as the third-leading receiver despite the two missed games. But it isn't just Grant who's gone second-leading WR Devin Lauderdale also left the program, leaving Sadler as the most accomplished returning WR. Cameron Batson and Dylan Cantrell are also candidates to step up.

19. Joshua Atkinson, Tulsa, SR

Keyarris Garrett led the nation in receiving yards as the lead wideout in Tulsa's new max-tempo offense, but Garrett is off to the NFL, leaving a void of 1,588 yards in the Golden Hurricane offense. Atkinson (6-2, 208) acquitted himself very well in the same offense last year, finishing his junior year with 76 passes for 1,071 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games, and now he's the favorite to take over as Tulsa's lead receiver. Quarterback Dane Evans returns, so the Golden Hurricane could hit an even better stride in the second year of coach Philip Montgomery's system.

20. Ishmael Zamora, Baylor, JR

A general unknown after just nine catches for 132 yards and two TDs in his redshirt freshman season in 2015, what's certain about Zamora is he's the most athletically gifted of the leading Baylor WR, and he'll step into a major promotion with Corey Coleman and Jay Lee gone. At 6-4, 220, Zamora has a 4.47 40, 39-inch vertical and a 132-inch broad jump, and that combination of size and athleticism in the Baylor offense will almost certainly result in big yards and TDs. As great as Baylor's WR have been, they've never had one with Zamora's combination of size and athleticism.

21. Cody Thompson, Toledo, JR

Thompson (6-1, 201) specialized as a deep threat for Toledo in 2015, generally utilized as the team's third wideout behind Corey Jones and Alonzo Russell. Thompson made clear that he was actually the best receiver on the roster, however, and in 2016 he should see his target count adjust accordingly. Russell is in the NFL, so Thompson was a lock to see a big target increase regardless of whether Toledo took notice of his skills. After catching 37 passes for 825 yards and five TDs in 12 games last year, a 1,000-yard, 10-TD season should safely be within Thompson's reach this year.

22. River Cracraft, Washington State, SR

Cracraft (6-0, 203) was a disappointing player in 2015, as drops and nagging injuries limited him to 53 catches for 615 yards and four TDs in 10 games. In nine games the year prior, Cracraft caught 66 passes for 771 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016, expect Cracraft to bounce back. The graduation of WR Dom Williams leaves a void of 75 catches for 1,040 yards and 11 touchdowns, and Cracraft is the clearly top candidate to step into that role. Cracraft will more than likely be WSU's second-leading wideout in 2016, and that distinction all but guarantees a 1,000-yard season.

23. Anthony Miller, Memphis, JR

Miller (5-11, 190) started 2015 buried in Memphis' deep group of receivers, but over the course of the season his talent proved too much to keep under cover. Even with Memphis rotating its receivers, Miller caught 47 passes for 694 yards and five TDs in 12 games, adding nine carries for 54 yards and two TDs. Leading 2015 receiver Mose Frazier graduated after catching 70 passes for 799 yards and four TDs, and Miller is the top candidate to seize that role. The loss of star QB Paxton Lynch and coach Justin Fuente is a concern, but the offense will remain uptempo.

24. Eldridge Massington, UCLA, JR

If you're looking for a wideout to really come out of nowhere this season, Massington is near the top of the short list. He only caught 11 passes for 120 yards last year in seven games, but Massington (6-3, 210) caught 25 passes for 367 yards and three TDs as a redshirt freshman the prior year. He's in any case the favorite to emerge as the new No. 1 receiver for star quarterback Josh Rosen, as the Bruins saw wideouts Jordan Payton Thomas Duarte and Devin Fuller graduate in the offseason. Those three combined for 155 catches for 2,236 yards and 18 touchdowns last year.

25. Jordan Villamin, Oregon State, JR

More than most, Villamin doubles not only as a likely standout fantasy factor, but also one of the top NFL draft prospects at his position. Villamin is 6-5, 231, yet looks downright fast for his size, and he's quietly produced at an impressive rate in a struggling passing offenses the last two years, catching 78 passes for 1,238 yards and 11 TDs. The installation of Utah State transfer quarterback Darell Garretson should allow the Oregon State passing game to improve in 2016, which should create the opportunity for Villamin to log his first 1,000-yard season.

26. Allen Lazard, Iowa State, JR
27. Justin Hobbs, Tulsa, SO
28. Zach Pascal, Old Dominion, SR
29. Devonte Boyd, UNLV, JR
30. Stacy Coley, Miami (FL), SR
31. Jerome Lane, Akron, SR
32. Calvin Ridley, Alabama, SO
33. Penny Hart, Georgia State, SO
34. Tre'quan Smith, UCF, SO
35. Courtland Sutton, SMU, SO
36. Tyrian Taylor, New Mexico State, JR
37. Rodney Adams, South Florida, SR
38. D.J. Thompson, Southern Mississippi, SR
39. Geno Lewis, Oklahoma, SR
40. Phil Mayhue, Memphis, SR
41. Torii Hunter Jr, Notre Dame, SR
42. Marcell Ateman, Oklahoma State, SR
43. Teo Redding, Bowling Green, JR
44. Isaiah Jones, East Carolina, SR
45. Damore'ea Stringfellow, Mississippi, JR
46. Quincy Adeboyejo, Mississippi, SR
47. Cameron Batson, Texas Tech, JR
48. Malachi Dupre, LSU, JR
49. Deante Gray, TCU, JR
50. Cameron Echols-Luper, Arkansas State, JR
51. Callen Hightower, Idaho, SR
52. Chris Godwin, Penn State, JR
53. Artavis Scott, Clemson, JR
54. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M, SO
55. Ryan Switzer, North Carolina, SR
56. Curtis Samuel, Ohio State, JR
57. Fred Ross, Mississippi State, SR
58. Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, SR
59. Marquis Ricard, Southern Mississippi, JR
60. Eddie Daugherty, Eastern Michigan, SO