2012 Playoff NFL Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers (WR) Wild Card Rankings

Sean E. DouglasSenior Writer IIIJanuary 3, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions catches a fifty one yard touchdown pass over Tyvon Branch #33 of the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on December 18, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Calvin Johnson at Saints

Perhaps it’s best to pass on Calvin Johnson if you’re in a playoff fantasy contest that rewards bonus points in future rounds on winning teams, as it’s likely the Lions will lose, but that’s a hard thing to do. Johnson had a slow stretch when Matthew Stafford was struggling with a broken finger on his throwing hand, but in the past three weeks, Johnson has totaled 560 yards (two games over 200 yards in that time) and four touchdowns.

How the heck you pass on a guy who hot is beyond me, as he has a matchup against a Saints secondary that he should light up this time around. Stafford is playing at another level in terms of fantasy production of late, and his over 5,000 yards passing and 41 touchdowns this year, back that up.


Victor Cruz vs. Falcons

The second player on our wild card wide receiver rankings may be the reason you pass on Johnson if you feel confident on the Giants' odds to advance, as New York will be in an offensive shootout against the Falcons. Assuming the Saints beat the Lions, the Giants would head out to Green Bay to take on a defense that just gave up over 500 yards passing and five touchdowns to Matthew Stafford last week.

Cruz is the top receiver to own in fantasy leagues from New York, because Hakeem Nicks will usually draw top coverage from the opposing team's No.1 cornerback or receive double coverage with help from a safety. At times, the Cowboys tried to use double coverage on Cruz, but he beat it making terrific receptions in tight spaces.

Point is, Cruz is one of the hottest players going in the league, and his over 160 yards receiving in each of the past two weeks is proof of that.


Start Julio Jones over Roddy White at Giants

Giants top corner back Corey Webster has done a respectable job against opposing No.1 receivers this year, and while Roddy White will still get over eight targets this week, Julio Jones is out playing him as far as stats go in recent weeks. Jones is benefiting from single coverage against lessor defensive backs, and at this point, he is showing dominant play.

Heading into next year, it will be tempting to rank Jones ahead of White in standard leagues, but for now, consider Jones the better play, as he’s been the big-play threat in this offense.

1 Calvin Johnson at Saints
2 Victor Cruz Falcons
3 Hakeem Nicks Falcons
4 Julio Jones at Giants
5 Marques Colston Lions
6 Roddy White at Giants
7 Antonio Brown at Broncos
8 Mike Wallace at Broncos
9 A.J. Green (I) at Texans
10 Andre Johnson (I) Bengals
11 Robert Meachem Lions
12 Demaryius Thomas Steelers
13 Titus Young at Saints
14 Jerome Simpson at Texans
15 Mario Manningham Falcons
16 Nate Burleson at Saints
17 Hines Ward at Broncos
18 Devery Henderson Lions
19 Emmanuel Sanders at Broncos
20 Harry Douglas at Giants
21 Kevin Walter Bengals
22 Eric Decker Steelers

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