Power Ranking the Top Fantasy Football WRs for 2012
In today's pass-happy National Football League, with 5,000-yard passers multiplying like bunnies, wide receivers are making a bigger impact than ever, with a trio of wideouts topping the 1,500 receiving yards mark in 2011.
Those gaudy numbers are trickling down to fantasy football as well, with the wide receiver position growing in importance, especially as the number of leagues that start three wide receivers or award a point for receptions grows.
So, as the power of pass-catchers proliferates, here's an updated look at the top 25 wide receivers in PPR formats for the 2012 season.
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2. Wes Welker, New England Patriots: There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Patriots' passing game, but Welker has over 100 catches in four of the past five years and was targeted more than any wide receiver in the NFL last year.
3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: The Atlanta passing game has looked very explosive in the preseason, and the second-year pro appears set for a breakout sophomore campaign.
5. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans: The talent is certainly there, but after missing 12 games over the past two seasons so are the questions about Johnson's durability.
Solid Fantasy WR1s
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6. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears: Marshall is reunited with quarterback Jay Cutler in Chicago, and the 28-year-old caught over 100 passes in successive seasons when the two were teammates in Denver.
7. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals: The 24-year-old had a fantastic rookie season, but the Bengals' conservative offense caps his fantasy upside somewhat.
8. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones may have passed White in the pecking order in Atlanta, but the veteran has been as consistent as they come the past several seasons.
9. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers: Injuries held Jennings under 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2007 last year, but the Packers offense provides opportunities galore.
10. Victor Cruz, New York Giants: Last year's surprise stud topped 1,500 receiving yards and 80 catches with nine touchdowns while salsa-ing his way to a top-five fantasy finish.
The Top-End WR2s
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11. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints: The 29-year-old has over 1,000 receiving yards in five of six NFL seasons and could see an increase in targets with Robert Meachem out of town.
12. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants: Nicks set a career-high with 1,192 receiving yards in 2011, but an offseason foot injury knocks the 24-year-old down a peg or two.
13. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings: The fourth-year pro racked up over 1,300 total yards a season ago and gets a sizable boost in value in fantasy leagues that award points for return yardage.
14. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers: The 27-year-old was a top-five fantasy performer at his position in 2011, but 15 touchdown catches is going to be difficult to duplicate.
15. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers: The 12th-year veteran has been battling a foot infection in camp but is expected to be fine for Week 1 and remains quarterback Cam Newton's top weapon through the air.
The Borderline Starters
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16. Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills: The 26-year-old has topped 75 catches and 1,000 yards in successive seasons, but his nagging groin injury is some cause for concern.
17. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys: A million-dollar talent with a ten-cent head and a penchant for getting nicked up, Bryant's as likely to crack the top 10 as he is to be a colossal bust.
19. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs: A late arrival to training camp, Bowe may come out of the gate slowly, but the 27-year-old is going to see a ton of targets this season.
High-End Fantasy WR3s
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21. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The eighth-year veteran has topped 1,000 receiving yards in three of the past four years, but his fantasy upside is capped by the offensive uncertainty in Tampa Bay.
22. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles: Injuries spurred a letdown 2011 campaign for Maclin, but the fourth-year pro is a good bet for his first 1,000-yard season this year.
23. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos: The 24-year-old came on strong down the stretch last year and is a prime candidate for a third-year "breakout" with Peyton Manning under center in Denver.
24. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown exploded onto the fantasy scene in 2011 with over 1,100 receiving yards, and it's safe to assume he'll improve on last year's two touchdown catches.
25. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts: Even in last year's nightmare of a season, Wayne was a top 25 fantasy wideout, and the veteran is the only thing resembling a proven option in the Colts passing attack.