Fantasy Football 2016: Highlighting Top Team Names and WR Rankings

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2016

Arranging fantasy wideout rankings is one of the trickiest feats in fantasy football today.
Arranging fantasy wideout rankings is one of the trickiest feats in fantasy football today.Gus Ruelas/Associated Press

Wide receiver might stand as the most difficult position to draft in fantasy football these days.

Quarterbacks aren't hard to project so long as owners take them in later rounds. A platoon of signal-callers gives owners plenty of options. It's the same for running backs, minus the late-drafting part, as the old adage about opportunities equaling production continues to stand.

Wideouts? It's trickier because one has to take into account an incredible number of factors ranging from scheme, quarterback, running game, health, schedule and so on.

Below, let's take a look at receiver rankings for standard leagues based on history and projections.

     

WR Rankings

RankName
1Antonio Brown
2Odell Beckham Jr.
3DeAndre Hopkins
4Julio Jones
5Dez Bryant
6A.J. Green
7Alshon Jeffery
8Jordy Nelson
9Mike Evans
10Allen Robinson
11Brandon Marshall
12Keenan Allen
13Brandin Cooks
14Amari Cooper
15Kelvin Benjamin
16T.Y. Hilton
17Sammy Watkins
18Randall Cobb
19Jeremy Maclin
20Demaryius Thomas
Author's projections

Antonio Brown is where the money is at wideout this year.

It's not exactly a surprise, but there's a need to stress that owners shouldn't get cute in the first round. The Pittsburgh Steelers fed Brown a ridiculous 195 targets last year. He caught 136 and went for 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In fantasy terms, that made him the top-scoring wideout at 243 points. Brown gets a lot of the high-percentage throws behind the line of scrimmage and does the work himself, which makes him a gold mine. Pittsburgh hasn't gone out of its way to find Brown notable competition, and rightfully so.

Gus Ruelas/Associated Press

The riskiest player in the top 20? Dez Bryant. The Dallas Cowboys star appeared in only nine games last year, going for 401 yards and three touchdowns in the process.

Bryant isn't the biggest injury risk, having completed three 16-game seasons in a row before last year. The problem is quarterback Tony Romo, who played in all of four games last year and hasn't played a full 16 games since 2012.

Bryant is a high-risk pick who's absolutely worth the investment, but he's not for the faint of heart.

Kelvin Benjamin of the Carolina Panthers is the wideout with the potential to climb the most, giving owners the best value in the second round of drafts.

Benjamin missed the entirety of last season, so the fact that he went for 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie isn't in the forefront of every owner's mind.

That's good for those who are value hunting. Benjamin doesn't have competition for his No. 1 slot, and Cam Newton's pass attempts ballooned from 448 to 495 last year. Carolina's going to pass more and more, especially with an elite threat like Benjamin back on the field.

      

Top Team Names to Consider

The Forsett Awakens

Will it for Justin Forsett? 

There's nothing like a good Star Wars reference, just like there's nothing like a versatile running back to act as a fantasy team's lead man.

Forsett had an epic 2014 breakout campaign with the Baltimore Ravens, running for 1,266 yards and eight scores while catching 44 passes for 263 yards. It built a lot of hype for his 2015 campaign, which crashed and burned because he suited up for only 10 games on the most injury-riddled roster in the league.

For those with an eye on value, Forsett is downright incredible. Provided he can stay healthy, his getting back to 2014-type production wouldn't be a shock.

      

Flowers for Agholor

Somebody send flowers to Philadelphia Eagles wideout Nelson Agholor.

The No. 20 pick in 2015 didn't see the field much as a rookie, appearing in 13 games and catching all of 23 passes with one score. This year figured to look betterthat is, until the team went out and traded with the Tennessee Titans for Dorial Green-Beckham.

DGB's arrival doesn't necessarily tank Agholor, but it doesn't figure to help much, either.

For those with a literature-minded slant, this is a solid name with plenty of NFL relevance.

     

Kevin White Walkers

Few things beat a Game of Thrones reference right now.

This one is especially interesting because while nobody would suggest Chicago Bears wideout Kevin White needs to reanimate and terrorize folks, owners surely hope he does come back from the land of fantasy purgatory.

White didn't appear in any games last year because of injury. It was a major disappointment, as he resides on an offense across from Alshon Jeffery and has Jay Cutler under center.

Considering those facts and White's 1,447 yards and 10 scores during his last collegiate season, he's as hyped as a new season of Game of Thrones and a good value for owners hoping to get a steal in the middle rounds.

      

All scoring info courtesy of ESPN standard leagues, as is points-against info and ownership stats. Statistics courtesy of ESPN.com. Average draft position (ADP) courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.

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