Strategic Dynasty Wide Receiver Rankings

Ken KellyContributor IIIAugust 1, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 27:  Calvin Johnson #31 of the Detroit Lions runs after a catch against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on December 27, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Finding a ranking system that suits their franchise’s current position as either a contender or a builder is one of the challenges any owner in a dynasty league has.

Fantasy football players who excel in dynasty leagues have a commitment to building excellence.  That requires much more than a simple set of rankings in a “one size fits all” category.

With that in mind, here are our top 15 wide receivers presented in two distinctly different categories .

Competing Team = Use these if you have a team competing to win a title in the next 2-3 years.

Rebuilding Team = Use these if you have a team rebuilding and not in contention in the near future.



1. Andre Johnson, HOU

Stud. You really don’t have to go further when describing AJ. In his last two years combined, Johnson has 216 catches, 3,144 yards, and 17 touchdowns. Those numbers make him an elite receiver option in any league format.

From a dynasty league perspective, there are only two things to be concerned with at this point.

First, he just turned 29 years old. Second, he’s never had a season where he’s scored more than nine touchdowns. That’s really the definition of splitting hairs, though.

No matter how you slice it, Johnson is a dominant fantasy performer and should be a No. 1 wide receiver for the next five years at the very least.


2. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI

Any questions about Fitzgerald’s dynasty value begin and end with Matt Leinart. If the quarterbacking is solid, Fitzgerald is a top 10 dynasty commodity. If the quarterbacking is suspect, his numbers will suffer a little accordingly.

Don’t sell, though. He’s a dominant talent who would put up 1,000 yards and eight to ten touchdowns with just about anyone at the helm.

Dynasty owners will certainly take a repeat of his 1,092 yards, 92 catches, and 13 touchdowns each and every year.


3. Calvin Johnson, DET

Megatron may very well be the most physically gifted wide receiver in all of the NFL. With great size, speed, and route running ability, he’s no match for single coverage.

Unfortunately, that’s the problem for Calvin. He hasn’t seen single coverage since Y2K was on our minds.

The Lions have failed to find a second offensive weapon to take the heat off Johnson, so his numbers have suffered. His 2009 season yielded 984 yards and five touchdowns on just 67 receptions in 14 games.

Owners were certainly hoping for something closer to his 2008 season, when he posted 1,331 yards, and 12 touchdowns on 78 grabs.

Regardless, Johnson has an elite skill set and could very well establish himself as the premier receiver in all of fantasy in the near future. His owners just have to hope the numbers eventually match the talent.

With some added weapons in Detroit, this could finally be the year.


4 . Reggie Wayne, IND

It was just another boring season of 100 catches, 1,264 yards and 10 touchdowns for Wayne in 2009. He’s become solid as a rock in dynasty leagues. 

Wayne is squarely in his prime years, but the inevitable regression will come in the next few years.

Wayne is very similar in value to Manning. He’s extremely steady and consistent, but also beginning to get into his twilight years.

If I’m competing in the next few years, I hold on tightly to Wayne and enjoy the consistency he brings as a No. 1 receiver.

If I’m in a rebuilding mode, I’m starting to consider selling him while his value is extremely high.


5. Brandon Marshall, MIA

With Marshall, you take the good with the bad. On one hand, he’s had at least 100 catches in three consecutive seasons, featuring a record 21 in one game last season for the Broncos.

For the year, he finished with 101 catches, 1,120 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those numbers are more than worthy of a No. 1 wide receiver in fantasy or reality.

On the other hand, he’s constantly in the news for the wrong reasons. We’ve seen it all, including a freak accident involving a McDonald’s bag to the exaggeration of a hamstring injury. When he’s happy, he’s great. When he’s not, look out.

Combine his past with his ongoing hip issues, and he may just be the ultimate risk/reward player in dynasty leagues. He’s no doubt a top talent worthy of a second round pick in startups.


6. Vincent Jackson, SD

There’s simply no doubting his ability as a top-tier wideout. Last year, he led the Chargers with 1,167 yards and nine touchdowns. When you watch Jackson, you still feel like he’s just scratching the surface as well.

Unfortunately, his looming suspension, possible holdout to Week 10, and off-the-field behavior are major red flags.

While his value is certainly not tanking, it would be very difficult to feel comfortable with him as your long-term No. 1 wide receiver right about now.

Keep in mind the competing team rankings are created not just for 2010, but for the next 2-3 years as well. Otherwise, Jackson would be found much lower on this list.


7. DeSean Jackson, PHI

Most fantasy owners would have been pleased with a repeat of the 62 receptions, 912 yards, and 2 touchdowns Jackson provided in 2008.

Instead, Jackson exploded for 1,156 yards and nine receiving touchdowns in 2009. When you add another two touchdowns on the 441 return yards he provided, you have a No. 1 WR.

If you think the chemistry between Jackson and Kolb could be a problem, consider that Jackson had 250 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the two games Kolb started last season. There’s certainly no drop-off there. Jackson and his 16.7 yards per catch average look to be in the dynasty fold for the next decade.


8. Marques Colston, NO

Colston may be the biggest driving factor behind the sleeper-themed articles we see every year.

He’s certainly one of the greatest fantasy waiver wire pickups of all-time and we constantly talk about finding the next “Colston” as we attempt to uncover those sleepers.

As the premier WR in this explosive offense, he’s a good bet for 1,000 yards or more every season and should hover around 10 TDs every year for the foreseeable future.

There’s a lot to like in having him as your No. 1 WR, although I’d rather have him as an elite No. 2.


9. Miles Austin, DAL

I can’t recall a rocket-like rise like Austin’s since, well, Tony Romo's. A sleeper candidate in dynasty circles last year, Austin erupted for 81 catches, 1,320 yards, and a ridiculous 11 TDs.

When you combine his precise route running with his incredible run after the catch ability, you have a No. 1 WR in reality and fantasy.

Dez Bryant is in the fold, but Austin is still Tony Romo’s biggest weapon for the foreseeable future.

If you wonder about Austin’s staying power, consider he’s rumored to be dating a Kardashian. Those girls don’t pick just anyone!


10. Greg Jennings, GB

Most owners would be thrilled with 68 catches, 1,113 yards and four touchdowns from their No. 2 WR. Believe it or not, every one of those numbers from Jennings was down in comparison to 2008.

You can blame that on a variety of reasons, but he’s still the best option in an offense that attempted 541 passes last season.

As the No. 1 option on a pass-oriented team, it would be a surprise if he didn’t improve on all those numbers in 2010 and beyond. He could easily flourish into being a future top tier No. 1 WR in fantasy.


11. Roddy White, ATL

They say WRs really break out in the third year.  There may be no greater case study to prove that than Roddy White.

He had 59 receptions for 952 yards and 3 TDs in his first two years combined.  In season three, he enjoyed 83 catches, 1,202 yards and 6 TDs. Now that’s improvement!

He’s followed that up with two very solid seasons and there’s really nothing wrong with having him as a lower tier No. 1 WR or a very solid No. 2 WR for your fantasy squad.


12. Randy Moss, NE

There simply aren’t too many things scarier than Randy Moss in a contract year. While he’s getting a little long in the tooth at 33, he’s shown no signs of slowing down.

After scoring 47 touchdowns in his first three years in New England, the sky’s the limit for 2010.

Keep close tabs on his contract status, though. If you’re not a contending team this season, Moss may be the ultimate mid-season trade chip.

You may not find a better window of opportunity to get value for him in dynasty leagues.


13. Sidney Rice, MIN

Rice showed some glimpses of his superb talent when he was playing collegiately at South Carolina, but few thought he could blossom into the player he is today.

Rice’s breakout year of 1,312 yards, and eight touchdowns on 83 catches moved him just under the top tier of fantasy wide receivers.

His long-term value hinges on the Vikings developing or finding a new signal caller eventually, but he’s established himself as a dominant fantasy force.


14. Steve Smith, CAR

The broken arm is just the latest setback for the dynasty stock of the aging Smith. 

When you consider his recent comments about not wanting to be the No. 1 WR as well, you have fantasy owners wanting to sell instead of buy.

There’s no doubting his ability to put up big numbers, but I’d steer far away from him unless I was in the thick of it this season.


15. Michael Crabtree, SF

His holdout was frustrating for dynasty owners, but he rewarded their patience with 625 yards and two touchdowns in just 11 games.

While those totals may not be eye popping, consider he posted those as a rookie with no training camp experience.

Crabtree’s natural ability translated well to the professional level and owners should expect his first of many 1,000-yard seasons in 2010.



1. Andre Johnson, HOU
2. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
3. Calvin Johnson, DET
4. Brandon Marshall, MIA
5. Vincent Jackson, SD
6. DeSean Jackson, PHI
7. Marques Colston, NO
8. Miles Austin, DAL
9. Reggie Wayne, IND
10. Greg Jennings, GB
11. Roddy White, ATL
12. Sidney Rice, MIN
13. Michael Crabtree, SF

14. Dez Bryant, DAL

The hype machine was in full swing after some captivating Spring practices from the former Oklahoma State star. The injury he sustained this week does little for his value. Click here to learn more on that.

The history on Dez Bryant is well-documented, but he’s done nothing so far to make Dallas believe they didn’t get the steal of the NFL Draft this year.

He needs to get into football shape this summer and get his timing down with Tony Romo, but there’s no doubt Dallas wants to see him on the field sooner rather than later. Once he gets on it, I don’t think he’ll be off it for the next decade.


15. Hakeem Nicks, NYG

His rookie season was, well, entertaining.

It seemed that every time he took a step forward, he’d take a step back.

This was best illustrated in a Sunday night game against the Eagles where he dropped a sure touchdown pass, only to catch the next one for a 68-yard score. He ended the year with 47 catches for 790 yards and 6 touchdowns.

There’s really no doubting his ability. If he can shore up his route running and consistency, he can be a future No. 1 WR.


For further explanation on the difference between the two sets of rankings, click here .

Strategic Quarterback Rankings
Strategic Running Back Rankings
Strategic Wide Receiver Rankings
Strategic Tight End Rankings
Strategic IDP Rankings


Article written by Ken Kelly

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