Fantasy Football 2012: Wide Receiver Rankings and Tiers

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIIAugust 9, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Wide receiver is perhaps the deepest position in fantasy football this year. There are so many candidates to record higher numbers of receptions, yards and touchdowns than we’re used to since the NFL as a whole has shifted to a more pass-oriented offensive philosophy.

But the volume of potentially high fantasy point totals makes it more important to figure out where you can find your advantage at the wide receiver position. Here’s what my draft board looks like.

Updated tiers and auction values can be found here.

Tier 1: The Madden Coverboy

Only one receiver belongs in this tier. The only player at the wide receiver position that I would want to take in the first round is known by a single name: Megatron.

1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

Tier 2: Studs

These are my clear No. 1 fantasy receivers in 2012, the guys I expect to deliver stud statistics on a weekly basis but were not as dynamic as Calvin Johnson throughout the 2011 campaign. I would take either of these guys in the second or third round.

2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

3. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

4. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

5. Victor Cruz, New York Giants

6. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears

Tier 3: High-Round Picks

I expect for the following wideouts to produce at a high level, and if you can get two of these players on your team, you will likely have a decided advantage in your top two receivers on a weekly basis. In order to get two of them, though, you would likely have to invest two top-four round draft picks (with the exception of Harvin).

7. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

8. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

9. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals

10. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings

11. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants

12. Wes Welker, New England Patriots

Tier 4: Medium Risk, High Reward

These receivers have top-10 upside, and I would be fine with having any of them as my No. 2 fantasy wide receiver. But I would be ecstatic to have any of them as my No. 3 WR or a flex starter. I’ll be looking for one of these receivers in Rounds 5 or 6.

13. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers

14. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

15. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

16. Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots

17. Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans

18. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers

19. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

Tier 5: Flex       

I prefer for the receivers listed in this group to be no more than flex starters for my team. If I can get one or two of them on my bench, I’m happy with that as well. In Rounds 6 through 8, these players are worth the gamble.

20. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

21. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys

23. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

24. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens

25. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles

26. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts

27. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos

Tier 6: Alternates

I would like for these receivers to start off the 2012 season on my bench, but I am currently comfortable with them being bye-week starters. Grabbing one or two players from this group in the mid-to-late rounds will help your fantasy team’s WR depth.

28. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers

29. Robert Meachem, San Diego Chargers

30. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles

31. Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills

32. Greg Little, Cleveland Browns

33. Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams

34. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

35. Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers

36. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

37. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans

38. Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders

39. Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints

Tier 7: Depth Options

I would prefer not to have to rely on these guys, but they can provide good depth at the WR position. I would choose one of these players in the late rounds.

40. Laurent Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

41. Leonard Hankerson, Washington Redskins

42. Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans

43. Chad Johnson, Miami Dolphins

44. Santonio Holmes, New York Jets

45. Titus Young, Detroit Lions

46. Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers

Tier 8: Low Risk, Medium Reward

These guys have a chance to do something this year, but if you’re counting on them from the outset, you’ll find yourself in deep trouble at the wide receiver position. A couple of these WRs should still be around right before you choose your D/ST unit(s) and kicker (just one kicker—one).  

7. Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars

48. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders

49. Rueben Randle, New York Giants

50. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

51. Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens

52. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

Tier 9: Lottery Tickets

Chances are, one of the following receivers will end the season being a fantasy starter (if not one of the aforementioned lottery tickets). Good luck figuring out who it’ll be! You might not even have to draft these players, but keep an eye on them throughout the preseason and the early weeks of the NFL year to see if they can benefit your squad.

53. Jonathan Baldwin, Kansas City Chiefs

54. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

55. Terrell Owens, Seattle Seahawks

56. Santana Moss, Washington Redskins

57. Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions

58. Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers

59. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns

60. Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams

61. Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons

62. Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Vikings

63. Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams

64. Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers

65. Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers


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