College Fantasy Football: Way-Too-Early 2011 Wide Receiver Rankings

Todd at CollegeFootballGeek.comCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2011

Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles
Oklahoma's Ryan BroylesRonald Martinez/Getty Images

For the third installment of our "Way Too Early" 2011 college fantasy football player rankings, we turn our attention to the wide receiver position. 

Remember, we're calling them "Way Too Early" rankings for a reason.  It's just a first glance at the 2011 prospects.  A gut feel.  We haven't fully analyzed returning o-lineman for each school.  We haven't yet plugged in the incoming stud recruits (signing day is February 2nd). We didn't account for all of the new coaching changes.  And we haven't taken a peek at the upcoming fall schedules.  All of that will come with due time. 

Here's the schedule of rankings by position:

Friday, January 21 - Quarterbacks
Monday, January 24 - Running Backs
Tuesday, January 27 - Wide Receivers
Wednesday, January 27 - Tight Ends & Kickers

We're going to pass on defensive rankings until later this spring. So, without further adieu, let's dive into the wide receivers!


"Way Too Early" 2011 Wide Receiver Rankings

Wide receivers are typically the most difficult position to analyze at this early stage of the game. Lots of moving parts. We're fortunate that the 2011 fantasy wideout class actually has some pretty big names (surprisingly) returning to campus in Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and Notre Dame's Michael Floyd.  Most considered that trio to be pro-bound.

Proven fantasy studs Alshon Jeffrey (South Carolina) and Juron Criner (Arizona) are also back in the fold.  And most importantly, their quarterbacks also return.

A new name to add to the Top 5 mix is East Carolina's Lance Lewis.  With teammate Dwayne Harris departing, Lewis could improve upon last fall's outstanding 89-1,116-14 stat line as he becomes the go-to guy for QB Dominique Davis.

Like your wideouts to take handoffs and return kicks?  Then Tulsa's Damaris Johnson is right up your alley.  This multi-faceted playmaker accounted for 112 touches, 1,432 yards from scrimmage, and 13 total touchdowns last fall.


Some WR questions to chew on:

Will Western Michigan's Jordan White get a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA?  If so, he's a sure-fire Top 10 fantasy prospect.

After a dynamite start to the year (11 TDs in his first eight games), Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller fell off the face of the earth (1 TD in his final five outings).  Fuller was banged up in early November, and most think this was the reason for his late season swoon.

What is the ceiling for West Virginia's Tavon Austin?  New offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen arrived on campus this winter, and he brings his high-flying passing schemes along with him.  If Holgorsen decides to feature Austin in the passing game (he could also opt to play him at RB), look for a huge increase in his already-impressive numbers (900 total yards, 9 TDs in 2010).

Over at SMU, how does Aldrick Robinson's departure factor into Cole Beasley and Darius Johnson's on-the-field production?  The two combined for 165 catches, 1,900+ receiving yards and 12 scores with Aldrick in the lineup.

Who's left on the island?  Hawaii's Royce Pollard is the leading returning receiver for the Rainbow Warriors (64-901-7). Who else will step up to fill the void left by the departure of Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares? Redshirt Darius Bright and Billy Ray Stutzmann seem to be in line for possible starting gigs as well.

Will Oregon State's James Rodgers return to pre-injury form in 2011?  He injured his left knee early in the 2010 season and was granted a medical hardship by the NCAA.

Can Brady Hoke turn Ray Roundtree into the next Vincent Brown?  Roundtree put up nice stats last fall (92-935-7).  Hoke had a pair of great wideouts at San Diego State in Vincent Brown and Demarco Sampson.  The duo combined for 2,572 receiving yards and 18 TDs last fall.

What the heck are we to make of the Rutgers receiving corps?  It's one of the more puzzling situations to monitor this spring.  Mohamed Sanu was solid at times last fall, but did not live to the preseason hype.  One of the reasons for Sanu's downfall was the emergence of Jeremy Deering (who took over the Wildcat package midway through the year) and Mark Harrison.  All three Scarlet Knights return and it's anyone's guess at this point as to how they will be utilized.

Don't sleep on Stanford's Chris Owusu.  He slogged through an injury-plagued 2010 campaign that left a bad taste in many-a-fantasy-owner's mouth.  But with Andrew Luck back and WRs Ryan Whalen and Doug Baldwin departing, the door is opened for Owusu to have a productive season—if he can stay healthy, of course.

How will Missouri's T.J. Moe and Washington's Jermaine Kearse produce with rookie quarterbacks at the helm?

It's a question we seem to be asking every year at this time: who will emerge as the go-to receivers for Texas Tech? Alexander Torres would seem to be the best bet at this point.  Keep a close eye on spring ball to see if anyone else can make a splash.

James Cleveland and Kierre Johnson are gone down in Houston, leaving Patrick Edwards and Tyron Carrier to shoulder the load. Speaking of Carrier, what the devil happened to him in 2010?  His statline went from 80-1026-9 in 2008, to 91-1029-7 in 2009, to a measley 53-480-1 last fall. 

BYU freshman Cody Hoffman became a bigger factor in the offense once the calendar turned over to November, capping things off with a monster bowl game performance (8-137-1).  A sign of things to come?  It should be fun watching him grow along with fellow sophomore-to-be QB Jake Heaps.

Mississippi State's Chad Bumphis beat up the lightweights on the 2010 schedule, but completely vanished during SEC play.  Can he put together a complete season this fall?

Who will ultimately serve as WR2 in Cincinnati (to D.J. Woods)? Armon Binns and Marcus Barnett are gone.

East Carolina threw the ball 609 times last fall.  Who from the receiving corps is going to join Lance Lewis in hauling in all of those passes?

Will the La Tech passing game get its act together?  If so, there should be plenty of opportunities to a receiver or two to step into the fantasy limelight.

Who will be on the receiving end of Dana Holgorsen's aerial attack in Morgantown (other than Tavon Austin)?  Stedman Bailey and Brad Starks are possibilities.


Spring ball will shed more light on the wide receiver situations around the country. Until then, here's how we rank 'em....


CollegeFootballGeek.com's "Way Too Early" 2011 Wide Receivers Rankings

1Ryan BroylesOklahoma131-1622-14 in 2010, QB Landry Jones returns
2Justin BlackmonOklahoma State111-1782-20 in 2010, OC gone, QB Weeden is back
3Lance LewisEast Carolina89-1116-14, Dom Davis returns, D.Harris is gone
4Alshon JeffreySouth Carolina88-1517-9 in 2010
5Juron CrinerArizona82-1233-11 in 2010, QB Nick Foles returns
6Michael FloydNotre Dame79-1025-12 in 2010
7Damaris JohnsonTulsa112 touches, 1432 yds from scrimm, 13 total TDs
8Jordan WhiteWestern Michigan94-1378-10, we're assuming NCAA gives him 6th yr
9Patrick EdwardsHouston71-1100-13 led team in all categories
10Jeff FullerTexas A&M72-1066-12 but struggled in last 4 reg. season gms
11Tavon AustinWest Virginiaover 900 total yds, 9 TDs, but will he be RB or WR?
12Eric PageToledo99-1105-8 in 2010
13Cody WilsonCentral Michigan101 touches for 1200+ yds and 6 TDs in 2010
14Cole BeasleySMU87-1060-6 in 2010, WR Aldrick Robinson is gone
15Royce PollardHawaii64-901-7 in 2010, Bradley, Salas & Pilares all depart
16DJ WoodsCincinnati985 total yards, 10 TDs, QB returns, Binns is gone
17Kamar JordenBowling Green96-1109-4 in 2010, needs to get in endzone more
18James RodgersOregon Stategranted 6th year after missing most of 2010 injured
19TY HiltonFlorida Int'l1130 yds from scrimmage, 11 total TDs in 2010
20Roy RoundtreeMichigan92-935-7 in 2010 as soph, new coaching staff
21Nick HarwellMiami, OH64-871-6 in 2010 as frosh, had a big 2nd half to yr
22Jeremy EbertNorthwestern62-953-8 in 2010, tailed off when Persa got hurt
23Darius JohnsonSMU78-845-6 in 2010, WR Aldrick Robinson departs
24Marquess WilsonWashington State55-1006-6 in '10 as a frosh, ran out of gas at end
25Greg ChildsArkansas46-659-6 in '10 - missed 5 gms, QB Mallett is gone
26Mohamed SanuRutgersaccounted for 900 yards and 9 TDs, still a '10 bust
27Robert WoodsUSC65-792-6 in 2010 as frosh, scored last TD on 10/16
28Kendall WrightBaylor78-952-7 in 2010, QB Griffin returns
29TJ MoeMissouri104 touches, 1126 total yds, 7 TDs, new QB
30Jermaine KearseWashington63-1005-12 in 2010, QB Jake Locker is gone
31Kenny StillsOklahoma61-786-5 in 2010 as a FR, busted for DUI in Jan.
32Demarlo BelcherIndiana78-832-4 in 2010, QB Chappell & WR Doss depart
33Mark HarrisonRutgers44-829-9 in '10, skewed by 1 huge game 10-240-4
34Chris OwusuStanfordinjury-plagued in '10, WRs Baldwin & Whalen gone
35Dwight JonesNorth Carolina62-946-4 in 2010, capable of huge games, new QB
36Derek MoyePenn State53-885-8 in 2010, all QBs return
37Josh GordonBaylor42-714-7 in 2010, QB Griffin returns
38Conner VernonDuke73-973-4 in 2010, big games vs. lesser opponents
39Ryan SwopeTexas A&M72-825-4 in 2010 as sophomore
40Dwayne FramptonArkansas State69-738-6 in 2010, QB Aplin returns
41Alexander TorresTexas Techmissed several games in 2010 due to injury
42Keith SmithPurdueassuming he gets a 6th year from NCAA
43Tyron CarrierHoustonhuge bust in '10, WRs Cleveland & K.Johnson depart
44Cody HoffmanBYUfreshman had a monster bowl game (8-137-1)
45Kelvin BoldenSouthern Miss46-722-6 in 2010, WR DeAndre Brown departs
46Da'Jon McKnightMinnesota48-750-10 in 2010, new coach and QB
47Marcus SalesSyracusefinished year strong, huge bowl game 5-172-3
48Joe AdamsArkansas50-813-6 in 2010, QB Mallett is gone
49Josh CooperOklahoma State68-736-5 in 2010, OC gone, QB Weeden returns
50Markus WheatonOregon Stateaccounted for 875 total yards and 6 TDs as soph
51Rishard MatthewsNevada56-879-5 in 2010, playmaker, new QB, 8 total TDs
52Marvin McNuttIowa53-861-8 in 2010, QB Stanzi & WR DJK depart
53Darius BrightHawaiiredshirted in 2010, expected to start at left wideout
54AJ JenkinsIllinois56-746-7 in 2010, QB Scheelhaase returns
55La'Rod KingKentucky33-478-5 in '10, top 2 WRs leave (Cobb & Mathews)
56Ansel PonderWestern MichiganWR Jordan White and Juan Nunez depart
57DeVonte ChristopherUtah39-660-6 in 2010, wildly inconsistent soph season
58Tyler ShoemakerBoise Statewill have to step up in absence of Young & Pettis
59Justin HunterTennessee16-415-7 as a freshman
60Noel GrigsbySan Jose State56-822-4 in 2010 as a freshman
61Jack TomlinsonBall Statefrosh broken out with 23-410-6 in final 5 games
62Marvin JonesCal50-765-4 in 2010, QB Brock Mansion returns
63Chad BumphisMississippi State44-634-4 plus 131 rushing, vanished 2nd half of yr
64BJ CunninghamMichigan State50-611-9 in 2010, leading WR Dell is gone
65Mike ShanahanPittsburgh43-589-1, WR Baldin gone, new pass-happy HC
66Jarrett BoykinVirginia Tech53-847-6 in 2010, new QB at helm
67Josh BoyceTCU34-646-6 in 2010 as a freshman
68DeVier PoseyOhio Statefacing 5 game suspension
69Jarius WrightArkansas42-788-5 in 2010, QB Mallett is gone
70Marcus RuckerMemphis41-704-8 in 2010 as sophomore
71Junior HemingwayMichigan32-593-4 in 2010, big play specialist
72Cobi HamiltonArkansas32-630-6 in 2010, QB Mallett is gone
73Travis BenjaminMiami, FL43-743-3 in 2010, new coaching staff in place
74Luthur AmbroseLa-Monroe65-752-6 in 2010, rush att. decreased from 35 to 10
75Kris BurdVirginia58-799-5 in 2010
76Paul RichardsonColorado34-514-6 as a freshman, WR McKnight is gone
77Tavarres KingGeorgiawill try to help fill AJ Green's shoes
78Marquis MazeAlabamaJulio Jones is gone, Maze should be WR1
79Keenan AllenCal46-490-5 in 2010 as a freshman
80Theo RiddickNotre Damestrung together 4 nice games before injury
81Robert ArnheimWestern MichiganWR Jordan White and Juan Nunez depart
82Stedman BaileyWest Virginianew offense to learn, 24-317-4 in 2010
83Mike DavisTexas47-478-2 in 2010 as true freshman
84Chris HarperKansas Stateonly 25-330-4 in 2010 but WR1 Quarles departs
85Austin ZouzalikTexas Tech31-432-2 in 2010, can he lock down a starting job?
86Brad StarksWest Virginianew offense to learn, 19-317-4 in 2010
87Corey Brown
Ohio StatePosey suspended
88Jalen SaundersFresno State30-462-3, plus 166 rush yds, as a freshman
89Devin StreetPittsburghcould get boost from new coaching - love to pass
90Jerrel JacksonMissouri50-656-3 in 2010, dealt with injury, new QB
91Taulib IkharoLa Tech50-530-3, can La Tech get their pass game on track?
92Jeremy DeeringRutgerstook over Wildcat package from Sanu during year
93Billy Ray StutzmannHawaiicould start at slotback
94Rueben RandleLSU33-544-3 in 2010, will he finally live up to the hype?
95Tramain SwindallTexas Techtook a step back in 2010 with only 33-271-1
96Quintin McCreeMarylanddeep threat, will try to fill hole left by Torrey Smith
97Duwyce WilsonIndianawill try to fill the void left by Tandon Doss
98Aaron DobsonMarshall44-689-5 in 2010, will have new QB in 2011
99DeAndre HopkinsClemson51-626-4 as a freshman, new QB at helm
100Rod StreaterTemple30-481-4 in 2010, plus 83 rushing & 1 rush TD
101Marcus RiversBuffaloafter hot start, he tailed off big time down stretch
102Donovan VarnerDukebig decrease in production 2010 vs. '09 (8 TD to 1)
103Ace SandersSouth Carolinawill try to become No. 2 to Alshon Jeffrey
104Tyler StradfordNorth Texas24-268-2 in 2010, new coach in place
105Willie ClarkNorthern Illinois42-602-7 in 2010, new coach, QB Harnish returns
106Russell ShepardLSU65 touches for 500 yards and 3 TDs in 2010
107Nick ToonWisconsinmissed half of 2010 season with injury
108Phillip PayneUNLV40-689-5 in 2010 despite suspended for 2 games
109Tyshon GoodeKent Statenearly identical stats last 2 yrs, 59-743-5 in '10
110Deonte ThompsonFlorida38-570-1, new offensive coaches
111Darius CareyNorth Texas38-524-5 in 2010, led team as sophomore
112Bobby SwigertBoston Collegeled team with 39-504-4 as a freshman
113Justin VeltungIdaho25-495-8, QB Enderle is gone
114McKay JacobsonBYUoverrated in past years, perhaps Heaps helps
115TJ JonesNotre Damehad relatively productive freshman campaign
116Bert ReedFlorida State58-614-2 in 2010, only 5 recv. TDs over last 3 yrs
117Casey RobottomTulane56-663-4 in 2010, QB Griffin returns
118Brandon KinnieNebraska44-494-5 in 2010

Todd DeVries is the founder of CollegeFootballGeek.com, your premier destination for all things college fantasy football.