Fantasy Football 2012: Top 60 Wide Receivers in Points Per Reception Leagues

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Fantasy Football 2012: Top 60 Wide Receivers in Points Per Reception Leagues
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Giants receiver Victor Cruz (82 catches, 1,536 yards, 9 TD) had five touchdowns of 68 yards or more last season—the most of any NFL wideout.

Here's my current listing of the top 60 wide receivers in Points Per Reception leagues.

This countdown will likely undergo a few changes before September, but right now, it's a reasonably accurate profile of my preseason rationale.

For an in-depth look at my top-40 wide receivers (standard-scoring rules), click here.

1. Calvin Johnson, Lions
2. Wes Welker, Patriots
3. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
4. Roddy White, Falcons
5. Andre Johnson, Texans
6. Victor Cruz, Giants
7. Mike Wallace, Steelers
8. Percy Harvin, Vikings
9. Brandon Marshall, Bears
10. Greg Jennings, Packers
11. Jordy Nelson, Packers
12. Steve Smith, Panthers
13. Julio Jones, Falcons
14. A.J. Green, Bengals
15. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
16. Marques Colston, Saints
17. Miles Austin, Cowboys
18. Hakeem Nicks, Giants
19. Steve Johnson, Bills
20. Reggie Wayne, Colts
21. Antonio Brown, Steelers
22. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
23. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
24. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
25. Pierre Garcon, Redskins
26. Nate Washington, Titans
27. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
28. DeSean Jackson, Eagles
29. Eric Decker, Broncos
30. Kenny Britt, Titans

 

Breakdown of Nos. 1-30

Calvin Johnson passed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 90 yards and/or one touchdown 14 times last season—tops among all receivers. More impressively, Johnson led the NFL with eight games of 100-plus receiving yards—notching 200-plus yards in three of the Lions' final outings (including the playoff loss to the Saints).

I'm on record for saying Wes Welker won't replicate last year's output in receptions (122) and receiving yards (1,573), but that isn't a slight toward the Patriots star in any way. Do you know what it takes to average 122 catches/1,573 yards? That's 7.6 catches and 98.3 yards per game—regardless of weather conditions, game flow or defensive matchups.

Roddy White's per-season averages from 2010-11 are the stuff of PPR legend—108 catches, 1,343 yards, nine touchdowns and an absurdly high but remarkably consistent 179 targets. Including the Falcons' playoff loss to the Giants, White also collected nine or more targets 14 times last season—and double-digit targets for six straight games (Weeks 11-16).

The receiving numbers don't tell the whole story for Percy Harvin, who also rushed the ball 52 times for 345 yards and two touchdowns last season. All told, Percy accounted for 1,312 total yards and eight TDs. Harvin has enjoyed significant bumps in targets, catches and receiving yards the last two years—and yet, he still has much room for growth, from a PPR perspective.

In 2011, Vincent Jackson (with San Diego) had one of the worst catch-per-target ratios of any elite receiver, while also collecting just four or less targets in three games. As a result, he crossed the elite-PPR threshold of six catches, 100 yards and/or one TD only six times.

That aside, V-Jax is still a good bet for 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns in any healthy season. He also has the capacity to carry fantasy teams to victory at least five times a year.

Nate Washington (74 catches, 1,023 yards, 7 TDs) earned a lofty spot here, thanks to nine games of eight or more targets last year—and bold finishing kick in the final seven games (35 catches, 522 yards, six TDs).

And with Kenny Britt back in the fold (torn ACL last September) and rookie Kendall Wright stretching the field on every passing down, Washington likely won't attract one double-team all season.

At the time of this writing, Britt is en route to New York City for a meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, presumably to discuss his latest transgression with the law (a DUI arrest in Kentucky last month). If Britt gets suspended for two, three or four games, his place on this board will most certainly plunge into the 40s. But for the time being...he's tenuously listed at No. 30.

Darrius Heyward-Bey racked up seven or more targets in 10 of his 14 games last year, including 17 in the finale against the Chargers. (DHB had nine catches for 130 yards and one TD on that day.)

He crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 100 yards and/or one TD six times, or roughly 43 percent of his games. He proffered separate four-game streaks of at least 70 yards (Weeks 4-7/Weeks 13-16). And in his six final games, with Carson Palmer as Oakland's quarterback, Heyward-Bey collected 60 targets and three touchdowns.



31. Sidney Rice, Seahawks
32. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
33. Santonio Holmes, Jets
34. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots
35. Malcom Floyd, Chargers
36. Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
37. Torrey Smith, Ravens
38. Michael Crabtree, 49ers
39. Greg Little, Browns
40. Titus Young, Lions
41. Mike Williams, Buccaneers
42. Anquan Boldin, Ravens
43. Denarius Moore, Raiders
44. Davone Bess, Dolphins
45. Robert Meachem, Chargers
46. Mario Manningham, 49ers
47. Lance Moore, Saints
48. Nate Burleson, Lions
49. Jerome Simpson, Vikings
50. Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
51. Jon Baldwin, Chiefs
52. Donald Jones, Bills
53. Vincent Brown, Chargers
54. Austin Collie, Colts
55. Santana Moss, Redskins
56. Randy Moss, 49ers
57. Kendall Wright, Titans
58. Devin Aromashodu, Vikings
59. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
60. Donnie Avery, Colts

 

Breakdown of Nos. 31-60

It's easy to look past Greg Little's rookie contribution last season, cobbling together just one 100-yard game and only two touchdowns. But I'm very optimistic about his development with the Browns, a club that boasts three significant additions at quarterback (Brandon Weeden), running back (Trent Richardson) and receiver (supplemental pick Josh Gordon).

From Weeks 4-16 last year (spanning 12 games), Little was a perfect 12-for-12 in collecting six or more targets; and for Week 15, the Browns wideout crushed the Cardinals for five receptions, 131 yards and one touchdown.

I have come to appreciate Donald Jones' burgeoning relationship with Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (7.1 targets in his last eight healthy games) and the way Jones complements No. 1 receiver Steve Johnson.

But let's be clear here: Heading into Year 3, Jones won't be a reliable source of fantasy goodness until he can consistently stay on the field. It's part of the job that comes with being a No. 2 asset.

Come August, Jones will likely be a last-round pick in 12-team leagues, a below-average value for the No. 2 receiver on a club that threw 569 times last season and only rushed Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller 277 times.

With Cincinnati last year, Jerome Simpson drew seven or more targets seven times but only once after Week 11. In his first 10 games, Simpson collected 70 targets, 30 catches, 562 yards and two touchdowns. Assuming he can get the receptions-to-targets ratio above 50 percent and avoid clunkers of zero, six or 14 yards (five times last year), Simpson has room for sizable growth with his new club.

Verdict: Even with his three-game suspension, Simpson has a good shot at 49 catches, 738 yards and five touchdowns for 13 games.

In his final five games last year, Devin Aromashodu racked up 45 targets (nine per game), including three double-digit efforts in that span. And for Week 13 against Denver, Aromashodu tallied six catches, 90 yards and 15 targets.

As recent as July 31, Donnie Avery wasn't on my PPR radar; but then I heard Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' glowing assessment of the speedy receiver on SiriusXM NFL radio, comparing Avery to Steelers wideout Mike Wallace.

After hearing Arians gush over Andrew Luck and friends, while dropping hints of Indy using five-receiver sets in typical down-and-distance situations, I realized that a No. 60 ranking might look prescient by Week 6.

But then again, we're talking about a guy with per-game averages of 33.5 receiving yards and 0.23 touchdowns in three NFL seasons. The pedestrian numbers are obviously a concern.

 

Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.

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