2013 Fantasy Football: Evaluating the Elite Tier of Wide Receivers

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IAugust 12, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 02: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears runs after a catch in the final minute of regulation time against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on December 2, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Seahawks defeated the Bears 23-17 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Wide receiver is perhaps the most difficult position to value in fantasy football, and the deep crop of receiver talent in 2013 makes things even more interesting.

There are an elite group of wide receivers who are clearly a cut above the rest, but similar to the situation at quarterback, there are a plethora of above-average receivers which may scare people off from spending a top pick on a receiver.

There is something to be said for having a guy who can give you consistent results every week, however, you must be prepared should you end up having to decide between one of these spectacular wideouts.


Calvin Johnson

To start things off, technically Calvin Johnson is in a class of his own, but I will include him in this elite tier.

Megatron easily broke the NFL’s receiving record with 1,964 yards in 2012, to go along with 122 catches but just five touchdowns.

While I expect the yards to decrease somewhat, 120 receptions is realistic, and Johnson really should double his touchdown total to 10, as he was tackled inside the five-yard line more often than anyone last year.


Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall is out on his own in Chicago, with little receiver help and a putrid offensive line. But Jay Cutler loves throwing the ball his way, and Marshall is still an exceptional talent.

He was targeted 194 times last season, second most in the league behind Johnson, and ended up with 1,508 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.

New head coach Mark Trestman is considered a bright offensive mind, which can only help the passing game. Look for Marshall to repeat his 2012 totals.


A.J. Green

The youngest player on this list, A.J. Green may be the receiver to eventually supplant Johnson as the most dangerous receiver in the league.

Green is still extremely valuable heading into his third season, accumulating 162 receptions and 18 touchdowns in his first two seasons.

Andy Dalton is an underrated quarterback, and is heavily reliant on Green, who was fifth in the league in targets in 2012 with 164.

The additions of Tyler Eifert and Gio Bernard should help improve Cincinnati's offense as a whole and take some pressure off Green.

He may not get quite as many targets as he did in 2012, but I think he'll get better looks and improve his catch-to-target percentage. One hundred catches with 12 touchdowns will make him a top-five receiver once again.


Dez Bryant

Last, but certainly not least, Dez Bryant proved last season that he deserves to be right in this conversation. After a slow start to his career, Bryant finally put everything together last season.

He played through injuries and showed that he could consistently produce with the weight of being a No. 1 receiver on his shoulders.

Bryant finished the year with 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. He really exploded down the stretch, grabbing 10 of his 12 touchdowns in the second half of the season.

His athleticism is unquestioned, and he is virtually unstoppable at his best. The Cowboys throw the ball a ton, and Bryant has the capability to exceed last season's numbers. 

All of these receivers are worthy of going in the first 20 picks, and you might have to jump up inside the top 15 if you want to land one in your draft.

With the incredible depth at the position, you shouldn't jump too quickly and reach for one of these guys, but their talent and production are undeniable.