Training camp will be here before you know it. It’s a perfect time to revisit the 2013 fantasy football wide receiver landscape.
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Megatron shattered the NFL receiving record with 1,964 yards last year. The only knock is on his touchdown total (five). He had 16 and 12 touchdowns the previous two season respectively, so a return to double-digit scores in highly probable.
2. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Dez finished with 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, but averaged 109.8 yards per game with 10 touchdowns in the final eight games. He showed incredible toughness and dedication playing through his finger injury. He’s arrived.
3. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Marshall finished with 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 118 receptions were tied for second with Wes Welker and his 194 targets were tied for second with Reggie Wayne. Megatron led both categories. Marshall is a physical receiver with a quarterback (Jay Cutler) that loves to throw his way.
4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Green finished with 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. He only had one score in the last six weeks and only topped 60 yards in two of the last five weeks. Despite a “slow” finish, Green is a steady performer.
5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Julio finished with 1,198 and 10 touchdowns. He had five touchdowns in the final six games and a monster game (182 yards, two touchdowns) in the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
6. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Johnson stormed back with 1,598 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 147 yards over the last seven games. He’s still a slight injury risk, having missed 12 games in 2010 and 2011, but he’s still a force.
7. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Thomas finished with 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had six touchdowns in the final seven games. I would rank him higher if Wes Welker didn’t join Eric Decker in the Broncos’ WR corps.
8. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
V-Jax finished with 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns. He only had one touchdown in the final six games, but his size (6′ 5″, 230 lbs) gives him an advantage over the opposing secondary.
9. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Cruz returned to the Giants as expected. His 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns are slightly disappointing compared to 2011′s 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns, but he remains one of the game’s top threats.
10. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
White has averaged 1,295.5 yards and 8.2 touchdowns over the past six seasons. Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Steven Jackson will prevent opposing defenses from keying in on Roddy.
11. Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks
Harvin averaged 92.4 total yards with five total touchdowns in the first eight games last year. He gets an upgrade at quarterback from Christian Ponder to Russell Wilson. It’s likely that he gets more use in the red zone with Seattle.
12. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
Wayne finished with 1,355 and five touchdowns. He was one of the most heavily targeted receivers last year. Andrew Luck figures to be even better in 2013.
13. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Cobb finished with 1,086 total yards and nine touchdowns. Greg Jennings’ departure to the Minnesota Vikings opens things up for the Packers receivers.
14. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Nelson dealt with injuries for a lot of season. Even missing four games, he finished with 745 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s 22 touchdowns in the past 28 games.
15. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
OK, I’ll bite. With Carson Palmer on board, Fitz could return to form. He was limited to 798 yards and four touchdowns last year, but averaged 1,296 yards in the prior five seasons. My only concern is Palmer’s ability to remain upright behind their offensive line. They allowed at least 50 sacks in each of the past three years.
16. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
Colston finished with 1,154 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has had at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in six of his seven seasons.
17. Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
Wallace got paid. He had just 836 yards last year, but has scored 26 touchdowns over the past three seasons.
18. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco really got paid. Anquan Boldin is gone. The Ravens are making the transition to a more pass-happy team. Smith, who had 855 yards and eight touchdowns last year, is ready to take the next step in his third season.
19. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
Decker had 1,064 yard and 13 touchdowns. Welker will cannibalize some of that production, but there should still be plenty for Decker.
20. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
Bowe was limited to 13 games last year and finished with 801 yards and three touchdowns. They have lacked competence from the quarterback position in the past few years. The arrival of Alex Smith and Andy Reid should benefit Bowe.
21. James Jones, Green Bay Packers
Jones caught a ridiculous 14 touchdown passes last year. While Greg Jennings has left, Jordy Nelson will likely be a much bigger factor. There is plenty of room for all three (including Cobb) to be fantasy forces.
22. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
Nicks has a lengthy injury history, but he had been able to remain productive prior to last year. Nicks finished with 692 yards and three touchdowns, but 199 yards came in Week 2. He was a shell of himself the rest of the year. He has a ton of upside, but the injury risk will always be there.
23. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
It’s unusual to leave Tom Brady and not see a decline at quarterback, but that’s what happened when Welker joined forces with Peyton Manning. There are plenty of mouths to feed in Denver, but Welker is a precise route-runner. That trait will work well with Peyton. Welker averaged 112 catches per season with the New England Patriots.
24. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
Amendola is a bigger, faster version of Wes Welker, but he lacks Welker’s durability. If he can stay healthy, he could be in for quite a ride. The injury risk makes him a low-end WR2 with plenty of upside.
25. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
Garcon would be ranked higher if you didn’t have to worry about his troublesome foot and Robert Griffin III’s knee. One thing you don’t have to worry about is Garcon’s toughness. He played through pain to finish with 633 yards and four touchdowns despite missing six games.
26. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
Smith had 1,174 yards last year, but was held to just four touchdowns. He also turned 34 in March, which brings some concern. With his speed and strength, he still is a quality fantasy option.
27. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown missed three games last year and finished with 787 yards and five touchdowns. While his yardage dropped from 1,108, it was nice to see him score an additional three touchdowns last year. With Wallace taking his talents to South Beach, Brown will be the primary target.
28. Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings
Jennings has missed 11 games in the past two years, but the bigger risk comes in his transition from Aaron Rodgers to Christian Ponder. There are fewer capable mouths to feed, which offsets some of the QB disparity.
29. Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills
Johnson has averaged 1,043 yards the past three seasons but his touchdown total has decreased from ten to seven to six. Kevin Kolb or E.J. Manuel at quarterback aren't the most reliable of options for the 28-year-old wide out.
30. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
Maclin has averaged 893.3 yards and 7.3 touchdowns over the past three years. He always seems to be dealing with an ailment, but he’s generally able to play through them. He should put up big numbers in Chip Kelly’s offense.
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