Wide receiver is perhaps the deepest position in fantasy football this year. There are so many candidates to record higher numbers of receptions, yards and touchdowns than we’re used to since the NFL as a whole has shifted to a more pass-oriented offensive philosophy.
But the volume of potentially high fantasy point totals makes it more important to figure out where you can find your advantage at the wide receiver position. Here’s what my draft board looks like.
Updated tiers and auction values can be found here.
Tier 1: The Madden Coverboy
Only one receiver belongs in this tier. The only player at the wide receiver position that I would want to take in the first round is known by a single name: Megatron.
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Tier 2: Studs
These are my clear No. 1 fantasy receivers in 2012, the guys I expect to deliver stud statistics on a weekly basis but were not as dynamic as Calvin Johnson throughout the 2011 campaign. I would take either of these guys in the second or third round.
4. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
5. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Tier 3: High-Round Picks
I expect for the following wideouts to produce at a high level, and if you can get two of these players on your team, you will likely have a decided advantage in your top two receivers on a weekly basis. In order to get two of them, though, you would likely have to invest two top-four round draft picks (with the exception of Harvin).
7. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
8. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
9. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
11. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
Tier 4: Medium Risk, High Reward
These receivers have top-10 upside, and I would be fine with having any of them as my No. 2 fantasy wide receiver. But I would be ecstatic to have any of them as my No. 3 WR or a flex starter. I’ll be looking for one of these receivers in Rounds 5 or 6.
13. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
14. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
15. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
16. Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots
17. Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
18. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
19. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
Tier 5: Flex
I prefer for the receivers listed in this group to be no more than flex starters for my team. If I can get one or two of them on my bench, I’m happy with that as well. In Rounds 6 through 8, these players are worth the gamble.
20. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
21. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
22. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
23. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
24. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
25. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
26. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
27. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
Tier 6: Alternates
I would like for these receivers to start off the 2012 season on my bench, but I am currently comfortable with them being bye-week starters. Grabbing one or two players from this group in the mid-to-late rounds will help your fantasy team’s WR depth.
28. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
29. Robert Meachem, San Diego Chargers
30. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
31. Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills
32. Greg Little, Cleveland Browns
33. Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams
35. Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers
36. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
37. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
Which veteran WR would you prefer on your fantasy team?
38. Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders
39. Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints
Tier 7: Depth Options
I would prefer not to have to rely on these guys, but they can provide good depth at the WR position. I would choose one of these players in the late rounds.
40. Laurent Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
41. Leonard Hankerson, Washington Redskins
42. Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans
43. Chad Johnson, Miami Dolphins
44. Santonio Holmes, New York Jets
45. Titus Young, Detroit Lions
46. Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers
Tier 8: Low Risk, Medium Reward
These guys have a chance to do something this year, but if you’re counting on them from the outset, you’ll find yourself in deep trouble at the wide receiver position. A couple of these WRs should still be around right before you choose your D/ST unit(s) and kicker (just one kicker—one).
7. Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
48. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders
49. Rueben Randle, New York Giants
50. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
51. Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens
52. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
Tier 9: Lottery Tickets
Chances are, one of the following receivers will end the season being a fantasy starter (if not one of the aforementioned lottery tickets). Good luck figuring out who it’ll be! You might not even have to draft these players, but keep an eye on them throughout the preseason and the early weeks of the NFL year to see if they can benefit your squad.
53. Jonathan Baldwin, Kansas City Chiefs
54. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
56. Santana Moss, Washington Redskins
57. Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions
58. Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers
59. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
60. Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams
61. Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons
62. Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Vikings
63. Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams
64. Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers
65. Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers