RankingsJune 23, 2010

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Early Bird 2010 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers - 4 comments

By R.J. White

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 13:  Wide receiver Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans scores on a 17 yard pass reception against the Seattle Seahawks at Reliant Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Much like the previously covered running back position, wide receivers deserve owners’ attention throughout the entire draft. Grabbing at least one stud WR has always been a recommended strategy, but with the volatility among elite WRs being lower than that of their RB counterparts in recent years, fantasy owners have become more taken with drafting two receivers in the first three rounds. If you can find the right third-round WR to draft, a safe commodity that’s sure to rack up points most weeks and post a high total by the end of the season, then going RB-WR-WR or WR-RB-WR feels like the best move to make. Whatever your strategy, take a look at the Cafe’s Early Bird WR Rankings for 2010.

Thanks again to bungle613, joejlitz, Dan Lambskin, dream_017, flux, and bazzy_51 for submitting the rankings that were averaged with my own to give you these rankings.

June Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Andre Johnson
2. Calvin Johnson
3. Larry Fitzgerald
4. Reggie Wayne
5. Randy Moss

Andre Johnson pulled a Chris Johnson and took all the first place votes of our rankers but after that, the waters get murky. Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald actually tied for second, with each getting second, third, and fifth place votes. I held the tiebreaker and placed Johnson second in my own rankings — he feels like a much safer pick than Fitzgerald with Warner retired.

6. DeSean Jackson
7. Miles Austin
8. Roddy White
9. Brandon Marshall
10. Sidney Rice

Austin’s breakthrough season only puts him seventh in the rankings (not that being the seventh best wide receiver in the world is anything to shake a stick at). He picked up votes ranging from fourth to 13th, so public opinion of the breakout talent is still pretty wide. After two years of playing with Matt Ryan, Roddy White is a very safe No. 1 for fantasy teams, and he makes a great target in the third round.

11. Greg Jennings
12. Marques Colston
13. Vincent Jackson
14. Anquan Boldin
15. Steve Smith (CAR)
16. Steve Smith (NYG)

These rankings were submitted before Steve Smith (CAR) broke an arm, but with a timetable of recovery that doesn’t stretch to the regular season, not much adjusting needs to be done with him. Jennings is primed for a bounce-back season in Green Bay after disappointing owners this year, while Jackson could disappoint many this year by sitting out with contract woes into the season. Don’t bank on that happening though.

17. Chad Ochocinco
18. Hines Ward
19. Michael Crabtree
20. Dwayne Bowe
21. Percy Harvin
22. Mike Sims-Walker
23. Hakeem Nicks
24. Pierre Garcon
25. Donald Driver

Meet the bulk of your No. 2 WRs in leagues of 12 teams or greater. If you like fantasy reliability, grab Ochocinco, Ward, or Bowe, but if you’re jonesing for upside, pick up Crabtree, who will get the benefit of an off-season of preparation and a full season’s of stats, health willing. Also keep a close eye on Nicks, a player that’s impressing coaches and teammates and seems primed to leapfrog Steve Smith (NYG) and become a top ten WR.

26. Derrick Mason
27. Jeremy Maclin
28. Santana Moss
29. Steve Breaston
30. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
31. Robert Meachem
32. Wes Welker
33. Mike Wallace

Wes Welker’s injury isn’t scaring us too much … we’re still content drafting him as a No. 3 WR and waiting however long it takes to get him back. If you grab Welker third, you’ll want to draft a quality No. 3 WR to fill his shoes for the early part of the season. The next guy on our list is just fine — Wallace should see a leap in fantasy value with Santonio Holmes out of town.

34. Dez Bryant
35. Santonio Holmes
36. Kenny Britt
37. Antonio Bryant
38. Braylon Edwards
39. Nate Burleson
40. Devin Aromashodu
41. Lee Evans

All aboard the Dez Bryant hype train! Seriously, the rookie is landing in an explosive offense with plenty of weapons, but all that means is that he should see single coverages more often than not. He’s talented enough to win those matchups most of the time, and he makes for a great fantasy sleeper in Year 1. Aromashodu is the first of several Bears receivers destined to cause buzz with Mike Martz in town.

42. Eddie Royal
43. Jerricho Cotchery
44. Austin Collie
45. Mario Manningham
46. Demaryius Thomas
47. Golden Tate
48. Chris Chambers
49. Johnny Knox
50. Arrelious Benn

Royal now has to play the role of cagey veteran, with two rookie receivers expected to pick up significant playing time in their first year, including Demaryius Thomas. Despite the two Broncos receivers appearing here, I think I’m more partial to Jabar Gaffney (No. 63) in Josh McDaniels’ system. Golden Tate and Arrelious Benn are two other rookies that should get plenty of playing time early.

51. Malcom Floyd
52. Julian Edelman
53. Donnie Avery
54. Devin Hester
55. Devery Henderson
56. Kevin Walter
57. Terrell Ownes
58. Nate Washington
59. Josh Morgan

Edelman is going to have plenty of value at the beginning of the season, and if this is the price you have to pay to get him, Welker looks like a steal outside of the top 30. Pair these two receivers up and you should have a cheap, effective fantasy receiver all year. Terrell Owens doesn’t have a home, and where he lands could have a significant effect on his ranking. Anything has to be better than Buffalo was last year.

60. Bernard Berrian
61. Devin Thomas
62. Davone Bess
63. Jabar Gaffney
64. Laurent Robinson
65. Mohamed Massaquoi
66. Jacoby Jones
67. Anthony Gonzalez
68. Chaz Schilens

Here’s where the aforementioned Gaffney rests, amongst other fringe starters and talented No. 3 WRs. Jacoby Jones seems to be generating a fair amount of sleeper buzz, though I’m not sure whether it’s warranted. Feel free to convince me in the comments. Schilens is sure to pique interest with a real quarterback now behind center.

69. Roy Williams
70. Lance Moore
71. Michael Jenkins
72. Early Doucet
73. Darrius Heyward-Bey
74. James Jones
75. Jason Avant
76. Mike Williams
77. Donte Stallworth
78. Patrick Crayton
79. Malcolm Kelly
80. Josh Cribbs

Here’s your last gap for fantasy talent. Moore had fantasy success as recent as 2008, so if he can put the injury woes of 2009 behind him he could have a big year. James Jones is a great speculative pick at the end of the draft, as Donald Driver can’t play at a high level forever. Of the rookie receivers, I really like Mike Williams’ chance to shine in his first season. He’s just about guaranteed to be the best receiver named Mike Williams drafted in the last ten years.

The Strategist

As we said in the opening, grabbing two elite receivers early could be the best strategy of all, and that’s what I’ll look to do in my drafts, aiming to get one top-five and one more top-16 option. From there, I’m pretty high on Nicks and may try to grab him if the value presents itself, but if it doesn’t, I like pairing Welker and Edelman together to be an effective No. 3 WR. In between, grab your favorite mid-to-late round sleeper, and sit back and watch the points roll in. What’s your fantasy? Tell us in the comment section.

R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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4 Responses to “Early Bird 2010 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers”

  1. User avatar joejlitz says:

    I had Megatron last year and he definitely disappointed, which is shocking that he pulls off a consensus #2. Lots of faith that he bounces back.

    Personally, I think I’ll look to go RB/RB (depending on draft position) and target Roddy White who has been more consistant over the last 3 years than Calvin Johnson and Randy Moss.

  2. User avatar joejlitz says:

    Oh – and Jennings will only bounce back if GB fixes its O-Line. He needs more protection to get the ball downfield. Anyone know if they have fixed the O-Line and how?

  3. Shocked to see Chambers that low. The guy put up more FF points in 9 games than Bowe put up in 11. I don’t think that makes him the best WR on the team but I feel comfortable grabbing him 10-12 spots higher that currently ranked.

  4. User avatar Stelly says:

    I’d love to see some of the rankers check out the “L Fitz” thread in Football Talk. Some discussion around where Fitz will end up this year, and it doesn’t seem to jive with the #3 ranking he received here.


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