Fantasy Football Week 1 Rankings: Wide Receivers

Kevin Hanson@EDSFootballAnalyst IIISeptember 7, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19:  Lance Moore #16 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates a 4th quarter touchdown during the game against the Baltimore Ravens  at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

The NFL season opens up in roughly 24 hours from now when the Green Bay Packers host the New Orleans Saints, the two most recent Super Bowl champions.

Both teams are loaded at wide receiver, though the Saints will be without their second-best fantasy option Thursday night. Lance Moore, who's dealing with a groin injury, has been ruled out.

If you own another Saints receiver—such as Marques Colston, Robert Meachem or Devery Henderson—it should mean more targets for them.

Here are our initial fantasy wide receivers for Week 1 (opponents in parentheses):


1. Andre Johnson, Texans (vs. IND): In NFL history, three players have had multiple seasons of 100-plus receptions and 1,500-plus receiving yards: Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison and Johnson.

2. Calvin Johnson, Lions (at TB): MegaTron is the most physically gifted receiver in the league. In addition, Matthew Stafford is (still) healthy.

3. Roddy White, Falcons (at CHI): By drafting Julio Jones, White will get fewer targets but also slightly less attention from opposing defenses.  There's no need to get cute here: White is one of the league's top three or four receivers.

4. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (vs. CAR): Considering the quarterback mess in Arizona last year, Fitzgerald still had a solid season. In other words, he's a must-start every week regardless of matchup. Speaking of which, the Panthers allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in 2010.

5. Vincent Jackson, Chargers (vs. MIN): What's not to like about Jackson? He's got size, speed and one of the league's best quarterbacks getting him the ball. Like many others, I expect a huge season from Jackson.

6. Hakeem Nicks, Giants (at WAS): Nicks missed three games last season. Coincidentally, two of the three were against the Redskins.

7. Greg Jennings, Packers (vs. NO): For the first time in his career, Jennings finished with 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in the same season. He had previously done both in separate seasons.

8. Mike Wallace, Steelers (at BAL): Six of one, a half-dozen of the other? In his final nine games of the season, Wallace finished with six 100-yard games and six touchdowns.

9. Mike Williams, Buccaneers (vs. DET): Williams scored a total of 11 touchdowns in 10 different games over his rookie season including against the Lions in Week 15. In that game, Williams finished with six receptions, 96 yards and a score.

10. DeSean Jackson, Eagles (at STL): Despite his size, Jackson is one of the league's premier big-play receivers. Only three teams allowed fewer 40-yard pass plays than the Rams last year.

11. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins (vs. NE): I expect Marshall to have a bounce-back season after setting four-year lows in receptions (86), yards (1,014) and touchdowns (three).

12. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (vs BUF): What Dwayne Bowe will we get in Week 1? Last year, he was unstoppable for a seven-game stretch and barely mediocre in the other nine games.

13. Reggie Wayne, Colts (at HOU): Wayne's ranking has a lot to do with the guy getting him the ball, but if it makes you feel any better, Kerry Collins threw for 300 yards in his last game.

14. Wes Welker, Patriots (at MIA): Welker is in store for a huge season if you believe my "bold prediction" for him. It starts Week 1 when he faces his former team.

15. Santonio Holmes, Jets (vs. DAL): Terence Newman has been ruled out for Week 1, which bodes well for Holmes, Mark Sanchez and the Jets passing attack.

16. Dez Bryant, Cowboys (at NYJ): Teammate Miles Austin has returned to practice, but I wouldn't be surprised if shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis matches up with Bryant, who is a more physical receiver.

17. Mario Manningham, Giants (at WAS): Manningham brings a three-game streak of 100-yard games with a score into 2011. In his last game, which was against the Redskins, Manningham finished with four receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown.

18. Kenny Britt, Titans (at JAX): Coming off a hamstring injury, Britt opens up against one of the league's worst secondaries. Only the Texans allowed more pass plays of 40-plus yards than the Jaguars in 2010.

19. Brandon Lloyd, Broncos (vs. OAK): Without Nnamdi Asomugha to go against him, Lloyd could be poised for a big week. I'm skeptical of guys that break out in year eight, however, so I worry Lloyd takes a big step back in 2011.

20. Miles Austin, Cowboys (at NYJ): Returning to practice after a pulled hamstring, Austin may not be at 100 percent by Sunday night. Just as bad, he may be stuck on Revis Island.


The rest of our top 50 receivers for Week 1:

21. Steve Johnson, Bills (at KC)
22. Santana Moss, Redskins (vs. NYG)
23. Anquan Boldin, Ravens (vs. PIT)
24. Marques Colston, Saints (at GB)
25. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles (at STL)
26. Percy Harvin, Vikings (at SD)
27. Chad Ochocinco, Patriots (at MIA)
28. Plaxico Burress, Jets (vs. DAL)
29. Julio Jones, Falcons (at CHI)
30. Malcom Floyd, Chargers (vs. MIN)
31. Danny Amendola, Rams (vs. PHI)
32. Steve Smith, Panthers (at ARI)
33. Mike Thomas, Jaguars (vs. TEN)
34. A.J. Green, Bengals (at CLE)
35. Pierre Garcon, Colts (at HOU)
36. Jordy Nelson, Packers (vs. NO)
37. Sidney Rice, Seahawks (at SF)
38. Nate Burleson, Lions (at TB)
39. Davone Bess, Dolphins (vs. NE)
40. Austin Collie, Colts (at HOU)
41. Hines Ward, Steelers (at BAL)
42. Jacoby Ford, Raiders (at DEN)
43. Braylon Edwards, 49ers (vs. SEA)
44. Johnny Knox, Bears (vs. ATL)
45. Mike Sims-Walker, Rams (vs. PHI)
46. Earl Bennett, Bears (vs. ATL)
47. James Jones, Packers (vs. NO)
48. Robert Meachem, Saints (at GB)
49. Andre Roberts, Cardinals (vs. CAR)
50. Antonio Brown, Steelers (at BAL)



If you have a question (trade proposal, lineup decision, etc.), feel free to post it in our free fantasy football forum. Also, you'll find our free fantasy football contest for Week 1 in our forums.

In addition, you can keep track of our content updates by: (1) following us on Twitter @EDSFootball and/or (2) "liking" us on Facebook.

If you're looking for some last-minute fantasy advice, tune in to our Week 1 fantasy football podcast on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. EDT on Blog Talk Radio.

Good luck in your Week 1 matchup(s)!


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