2012 Wide Receiver Rankings
The WMFL team brings you their wide receiver rankings and also discusses the discrepancy in some of their rankings.
Players of contention:
Rizzla (24): I am a Nelson fan and have him ranked as a WR2. He greatly benefits from playing in single coverage across from Greg Jennings and will continue to do so. However this year Nelson will undoubtedly lose targets to Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley and the running back corps. Though I do see the potential for Nelson to rack up more receptions this season than the 68 he accrued last season, the 15 TD’s and 18.6 yards per reception seem destined to decline. I have Nelson projected at 75 receptions, 1,100 yards and 8 TD’s.
Zach (12): Greg Jennings has been the go-to receiver for Aaron Rodgers since Rodgers came into the league. That, however, may not be the case anymore. Jordy Nelson bested Jennings in every statistical category last season, totaling 68 catches for 1,263 yards and 15 TDs. His TD total was six more than Jennings (9). Nelson, at 6’3’’, 215 LB, has a distinct advantage against defenders, specifically in the red-zone. I’m not saying Nelson will do better than Jennings again this season, but I expect Rodgers to continue frequently looking Nelson’s way in 2012.
Rizzla (Roddy at 14, Jones at 6): I do have Roddy White ranked 6th overall for PPR formats but it has become readily apparent that the Falcons are ready to turn the offense over to the more talented Jones sooner than anyone expected. I must also admit that I had Julio at 13 as well prior to OTA’s as I was loathed to move Julio ahead of Roddy due to fear of embarrassment. One month full of glowing reports and I am not sure there will be many receivers in all of football who score more fantasy points than Julio Jones will in standard formats. As far as projections I have White at 90+ receptions, 1,200 yards and 7 TD’s while I have Jones at 75+ receptions, 1,200 yards and 10+ TD’s.
Zach (Roddy at 5, Jones at 13): Sure, Julio Jones had a pretty good season for a rookie in 2011 with 959 yards and 8 TD. That just means that defenses will be more focused on him in 2012. Plus, Roddy White still had just under 1,300 yards last season to Jones’ 959 yards. Yes, Jones is one of the best deep threats in the game, but White is arguably the most consistent fantasy wide receiver out there.
Rizzla (7): Steve Smith put up a monster top-7 fantasy season last year with Cam Newton as a rookie and there is no reason to think he will not be able to repeat that performance. Newton is willing to throw to Smith despite double coverage and Smith has shown the ability to beat double teams time and time again. This is a special duo and this season will serve to reinforce this pairings position among the league’s elite.
Zach (14): Let’s be honest. Smith is the only legitimate receiving threat the Panthers have. That is an advantage for him but it also means defenses are focusing on him. He built a nice rapport with Cam Newton last year en route to a very productive fantasy season. Carolina’s formidable rushing attack will open up the passing game for the Panthers, but it will be hard for Newton and Smith to duplicate the numbers they did in 2011.
Rizzla (10): Percy Harvin finally emerged as a WR1 last season and he is likely here to stay. He had a monster 87 reception, 967 yard season last year and that was with the Vikings maddingly holding Harvin out of goal-line packages. Harvin is a WR1 with a WR2 floor but should be a solid WR1 with Simpson, Childs and Wright in town to take some of the defensive attention off of him.
Zach (17): The main reason I have Harvin this low is because of Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder; I just don’t trust the guy. After taking over as starter last season Ponder was less than impressive for the Vikings. I can’t be confident drafting Harvin with Ponder throwing to him. For leagues that count return yards he is a little more valuable and would be a top 15 receiver in my book.
Rizzla (17): I like Victor Cruz as a WR2 with WR1 upside. Hakeem Nicks remains the team’s number one receiver and the addition Randle and the emergence of Jernigan will likely result in less targets for Cruz this campaign. If Nicks goes down like last year than Cruz becomes an immediate WR1. I liken the Nicks, Cruz pairing to a 1a and 1b similar to Chad Johnson and T.J Houshmanzadeh in their Bengals days with 1a Nicks a solid WR1 and Cruz the 1b WR2 with WR1 upside.
Zach (10): Cruz was the breakout star in fantasy football in 2011. I don’t see any reason for him not to be able to be just as productive this season, especially with fellow fantasy stud receiver Hakeem Nicks being somewhat prone to injury. The Giants have the tools in place for Cruz to have another top 10 receiving fantasy season.
Rizzla (Llyod at 12, Welker at 15): I’ll start off by admitting that I similarly had Llyod ranked as a WR3 outside my top-25 but as the off-season has rolled along and the Pats have refused to give Welker a new contract all the while acquiring Llyod and paying Gronkowski I began to understand that changes were afoot in Patriot Land. Gronkowski is the new number one receiver and Llyod will likely play number two, with Welker while still amassing a hefty amount of targets will not be able to produce on a level commensurate with his output in previous seasons. Welker will likely produce at a level more in line with his second half of the season than his monster first half and a big reason for that will be that Llyod will be featured outside the numbers. Boasting a WR1 and a WR2 in addition to two top-5 tight ends is no small task and I feel that lame duck Welker is the player whose production will suffer as Llyod steals 80+ targets. As far as projections go I have Llyod at 80+ receptions, 1,100 yards and 8 TD’s and Welker with 85+ receptions, 1,000 yards and 6 TD’s.
Zach (Llyod at 26, Welker at 8): New England has a ton of options in the passing game, but they did last season too. Welker still led the NFL with 122 catches for a career high 1,569 yards and nine TDs. Lloyd coming to town will take away a few numbers from Welker, but not as many as people think. Welker will still be targeted the most on the team.
I see Lloyd having a good season as well. How can you not when the defense is focused on Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, and Aaron Hernandez? I see the Patriots being more pass heavy than normal in 2012 because of the youth at running back and the plethora of good receiving options. I would be happy drafting Welker early on and Lloyd in the middle rounds.
Rizzla (33): Randy Moss is a special talent; this is something we all know but he has come to 49ers camp dedicated and with a chip on his shoulder. I would have him ranked as a low-end WR2 to but Alex Smith is his quarterback. Moss has the ability to be a strong WR2 this season despite his QB and if he makes it through the season healthy he has a flex floor. Currently being drafted as a flex as the 38th receiver off the board there is a chance Moss becomes that player that every championship team happens to have on their roster.
Zach (50): When I think of Randy Moss the term “washed-up” comes to mind. The glory days are long gone for Moss and now he has Alex Smith passing to him. He hasn’t played in the NFL since 2010 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Moss’s age hurt his production this season. I would only take Moss as a WR3 and in the late rounds.
Rizzla (11): I love me some Dez Bryant. Bryant has assumed the number one role this off-season and is an incredible red-zone weapon as well as a monster in yards after the catch. He has sure-fire WR1 upside and I would not draft any of the names I ranked below him before him. I project Bryant to finish the season with 75+ receptions, 1,000+ yards and 10+ TD’s, numbers that would make him a lock for a WR1.
Zach (19): Bryant has all the talent in the world, but I just don’t trust him enough to rank him any higher. He lacks the character and commitment to be a star in the NFL. He’s had more than his fair share of issues this offseason and I just don’t see the fantasy production others are expecting from Bryant, especially with a healthy Miles Austin opposite him. I don’t expect more than 1,000 yards and nine TDs in 2012.
Written by Win My Fantasy League Senior Sports Writer/Fantasy Sports Analyst Raju Byfield (Rizzla).