“Cut to the Chase” 2014 Wide Receiver Rankings (25-1) (Part 4 of 4) 2014
Our list of top receivers draws to a close with the only news being Aaron Dobson (#50 2014 MLFS WR) starting the season on the Physically unable to perform (PUP) List. His presence and routes will be missed at the start of camp, but he can be activated at any point. This should light the way for Josh Boyce and rookie Jeremy Gallon to easily make the roster.
This list takes into account the Performance Scoring strength of schedule (PS SOS), Pass defense strength of schedule (PD SOS) and numerous attributes these players will face on a week-to-week basis such as their probable matchup and linebacker coverage for percentage of short routes based on their recent career. As for the predictions posted, they are defined by a statistical median of best and worst case scenarios for each player. My rankings are not based on my flawed stat projections, but whom I would prefer to draft, based on talent and situation.
Thank you for your interest in our work at Major League Fantasy Sports, but I encourage you to do your own statistical research and understand that your gut will ultimately influence you regardless of what you read here or see on the vast wasteland of fantasy rankings on the internet. Game on.
25. Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings *KR*
Patterson will be a major player in leagues that count kick return points. Patterson is sublimely talented, his potential to be a superstar will depend on Norv Turner’s ability to produce an offense that lives up to his name and fully utilize Patterson’s strengths. There is no reason why Cordarrelle can’t finish the season as the Vikings’ top receiver.
2014 Prediction: 78 Rec. 924 Rec. Yds. 7 TDs
24. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots *PR*
Even after his massively improved output last year in the passing game, Edelman will continue to see most of the punt return duties. The former college quarterback has a newly minted four-year-deal and will be a big part of the Pats’ three WR sets in 2014. No reason to expect anything over 100 receptions like last year, but will produce well amongst more experienced wideouts and shouldn’t be below a WR3.
2014: 84 Rec. 934 Yds. 7 TDs
23. Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
Incredibly inconsistent and seeming lazy at times. While work ethic may never improve, Tannehill taking steps forward as a quarterback will vastly improve Wallace’s route consistency and output. Watch for new offensive boss Bill Lazor to add cluster sets and look to find a way to mismatch Wallace with corresponding defensive backs. Mike will find a way to improve on ‘13 and is no less than a high-end WR3.
2014: 76 Rec. 1088 Yds. 7 TDs.
22. DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins
Chip Kelly’s ‘Football Decision’ meant cutting the most talented football player outside of LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia. Jackson has shown that he is one of the most explosive players in the league and will find ways to make game-breaking plays despite his 5’9, 170 lb. frame. His three-year, $24 million dollar deal in Washington will roster him along with Robert Griffin III and another one of the most talented receivers in the game in Pierre Garcon. Look for DeSean to encompass everything you look for in a WR2.
2014: 72 Rec. 1105 Yds. 8 TDs
21. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
White will be one of the best number two wideouts in the game, despite being at the ripe old age of 32. He’ll look to distance himself from his injury hampered 2013, where he battled an ankle sprain and hamstring for the better part of his thirteen games. With Julio Jones back at full force, the Falcons should be able to let White get back to his earlier career production despite TE Tony Gonzalez’ departure. He will once again garner 110+ targets and find WR2 production.
2014: 83 Rec. 1010 Yds. 8 TDs
20. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
Look for Wright to find the endzone in bunches to make up for last years’ 1000+ Receiving yards season that only garnered two touchdowns. Ken Whisenhunt has noted that in no way, shape or form will the Titans leave their best wideout out of the redzone as they did in 2013. Wright’s affinity to produce from the ‘x’, ‘z’ or slot will be put to the test as Whisenhunt’s tendency will feature the slot heavily as well as distinctive curl and cut routes from all angles.
2014: 85 Rec. 1172 Yds. 7 Tds.
19. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
Pierre Garcon has turned into one of the grittiest, most fun to watch wideouts in the game. Overcoming foot injuries en route to an NFL leading 113 reception 2013, Garcon was by far the most positive part of an inconsistent and at times, lame duck offensive attack. While DeSean Jackson’s addition will drop Garcon’s reception rate, it will deflect attention and improve Pierre’s possibilities to score.
2014: 89 Rec. 1156 Yds. 8 TDs
18. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
Last year’s torn Achilles was a massive disappointment for Crabtree’s owners and respective team. The tenth pick in 2009 had steadily improved and looked primed for a big year in San Francisco. Instead, the former Red Raider gritted his way back onto the roster after eleven games. The addition of Stevie Johnson and surprising emergence of Anquan Boldin will limit Crabtree’s targets, but should show a surge on redzone production and big plays for each receiver.
2014: 75 Rec. 1143 Yds. 8 TDs.
17. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A supreme downfield threat, Jackson found a way to produce in a lackluster offense with a rookie quarterback in Mike Glennon. Enter Josh McCown who ignited the Bears’ 4400 yard 2013 passing attack with similar large targets in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Rookies Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Mike Evans should deflect just enough attention for VJ to produce again at a high level.
2014: 82 Rec. 1244 Yds. 8 TDs.
16. Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks
As of right now, there is finally a healthy Percy Harvin in Seattle. This is a scary thought for the NFC West, considering the handful of defensive backs that can hang with the open field quickness Harvin is capable of. After suffering through a rough hip injury and a concussion, the Seahawks will try to make the most of Harvin in multiple sets to recoup some of the time lost last year. Probably the largest risk-reward wideout in the league this year.
2014: 74 Rec. 1103 Yds. 8 TDs
15. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
After a breakout season in 2013, the Cardinals’ big play receiver has established himself as a big target with arguably better physical assets than the elder statesman Larry Fitzgerald. Floyd will have a better understanding of the offense and another year of route work under his belt. Expect a solid WR2 year out of the third-year Notre Dame alum.
2014: 74 Rec. 1167 Yds. 8 TDs.
14. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos *PR*
With Decker gone to New York, there are extra punt return yards to be had for Welker and specific fantasy owners in Mile High. The major concern would be Welker’s concussion history hindering his special teams appearances. After missing three games to head injury, Welker still wound up as a top 20 Wideout. At 33, Welker is still one of the best route runners in the league and will easily out produce last year’s 778 yards and nail double-digit touchdowns if he can stay healthy for sixteen games. A valuable WR2, there is no reason to expect a decline anytime soon (outside of another head injury).
2014: 80 Rec. 955 Yds. 10 TDs
13. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Arguably the hardest worker in the NFL, the former sixth round pick has developed into Todd Haley’s prototypical do-everything receiver. Last year’s 166 target, 110 reception and 1499 yard season was truly remarkable and is not out of the question this year. Brown has developed into a YAC (Receiving Yards after the catch) specialist, finishing with 485 YAC in ‘13. Big Ben’s ‘Swiss Army knife’ wideout can do it all in the route department as well as take it to the house at seemingly any moment. Brown should be hovering around a back-end WR1 this season.
2014: 92 Rec. 1283 Yds. 8 TDs
12. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Michael Floyd’s development has paid dividends for Larry Fitzgerald’s career. After a sputtering 2012, Fitz was able to amp back up to 954 yards and eight touchdowns in ‘14. Another offseason under head coach Bruce Arians and the Cardinals have kept the majority of their personnel. Look for a tighter, faster offense with the propensity to gamble. Fitzgerald will once again be given the green light to show what he is capable of with Floyd keeping defensive backs honest on the other side of the field. Fitzgerald may lack jets, but his catch radius and impeccable routes should lead to nothing less than a high-end WR2.
2014: 88 Rec. 1102 Yds. 9 TDs.
11. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
After failing to produce a 1000-yard season in a sputtering Giants’ offense last year, Cruz will now be the most valuable receiver in a uber-aggressive, up-tempo, West coast Ben McAdoo offense. Cruz is one of the most dangerous inside-outside wideouts in the game and will benefit from an excellent WR schedule and a determined Eli Manning. 2013 will seem like a bad dream by mid-season.
2014: 87 Rec. 1244 Yds. 9 TDs
10. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
It’s clear that the Falcons offense hinges on Julio Jones. Without Jones (Fractured Foot), the team failed to make the playoffs and looked collegiate at best. If Julio can stay healthy and shows he can be the same player he was in 2012 despite his twice-broken foot and no Tony Gonzalez to draw attention inside, look for a spectacular season and career bests. Jones is an enormous gamble, despite prognosticators confidence. The Falcons will have to allow for time to adjust to life without an ace tight end and questionable play calling from inexperienced offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. That said, Jones is a tremendous talent and will find plenty of targets from proven QB starter Matt Ryan.
2014: 83 Rec. 1277 Yds. 9 TDs.
9. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Season after season, expectations are hurled upon the extremely talented Houston Texans. Andre Johnson has done his part, finding Hall of Fame numbers, regardless of the Quarterback. Enter a new regime under Bill O’Brien and journeyman Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and Johnson has had enough. Even with his contract jumping up to over $15 Million in 2014, Johnson’s recent discord with ownership and voiced trade demands show that he is out for one thing: A ring. Regardless of where Johnson plays and his age (33), he is sublimely talented, a relentless gym rat and a consistent performer. At the back-end of his career, Andre is still nothing less than a back-end WR1.
2014: 96 Rec. 1292 Yds. 10 TDs.
8. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
A disappointing injury and the reemergence of a top-tier quarterback in Aaron Rodgers should have Cobb and company running at full octane. He won’t surprise anyone, regardless of a rough 2012. Cobb will find plenty of targets and should share the focal point with Jordy Nelson on Rodgers’ drive for another ring.
2014: 88 Rec. 1247 Yds. 10 TDs.
7. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Randall Cobb may get a lot of press, but make no mistake; Jordy Nelson is the Green Bay Packers’ best wideout. Nelson’s workman-like approach to routes has evolved him into a complete player, but he thrives on big plays where he can shake defenders and/or find open field with world-class speed. Nelson is now the elder statesman in the Packers’ WR corps, thus making him the first checkdown for Rodgers, especially in the clutch. Signed a four year deal worth $39 million. The Packers want Nelson to know he is their main man.
2014: 85 Rec. 1344 Yds. 11 TDs.
6. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Undeniably elite, Green will have to adapt to a Hue Jackson playbook that is committed to the run and fully utilizes it’s ace receiver as a workhorse. Look for Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu to soak up just enough coverage for Green to stay fresh and deliver from an arsenal of routes. Unlike prior years, AJG will be taking the main stage in the redzone on a regular basis.
2014: 99 Rec. 1362 Yds. 10 TDs.
5. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
The heralded “Third Season” has arrived for Alshon Jeffery and the table is set for another incredible year for the former South Carolina Gamecock. Brandon Marshall is locked in as his equal on the other side of the field while Jay Cutler is healthy and adapting to Marc Trestman’s throw-happy offense. Jeffery will get every opportunity to duplicate 2013’s gawdy numbers.
2014: 86 Rec. 1340 Yds. 11 TDs.
4. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Always a gifted athlete, Dez Bryant has finally ceased to be an off-the-field shame for America’s team. One of the league’s most dominant receivers has made a visible commitment to leading by example and continues to blow past defensive backs en route to being a relentless scoring threat. The emergence of Terrence Williams and recovery of Tony Romo’s back surgery will only make Bryant an even more reliable fantasy commodity.
2014: 94 Rec. 1375 Yds. 11 TDs
3. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
If anyone is the alpha in Chicago’s receiving corps, Marshall is just that. Jay Cutler’s documented favorite target, armed with a monstrous catch radius, Brandon Marshall will find leather, early and often. He will never see the 192 targets from 2011, but Alshon Jeffery’s rising star will give defensive backs no option to cheat on either side of the field. Look for Marshall to be relied on heavier than usual in the redzone and put up career high numbers in touchdowns as OC Marc Trestman’s offense peaks along with Matt Forte and Marshall’s careers.
2014: 103 Rec. 1396 Yds. 12 TDs.
2. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Outside of Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas is your best bet to produce Megatron-like numbers. The hardest worker among the freak-like receivers (6-3+ 220 lbs.+) that have littered the NFL since the late 1990’s, Thomas utilizes risk-reward cut and juke moves as well as the ability to find precise timing routes in Adam Gase’s offense. Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning, but having Thomas’ incredibly consistent hands and skill set makes his check downs that much easier. Outside the talent factor in Thomas and the Denver Broncos’ aerial offense, Manning’s most talented receiver enters a contract year in 2014. He will undoubtedly be trying to add one last chapter to his portfolio to become the highest paid wideout in the league in 2015.
2014: 94 Rec. 1465 Yds. 12 TDs.
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Megatron will have the best receiver he’s ever had across the field in Golden Tate for 2014. Tate will keep defenses relatively more honest, but Johnson will still get double teamed on the regular. Calvin Johnson has proven himself to the absolute best receiver in football the last couple years and shouldn’t have any questions this year with a light schedule and plenty of Matthew Stafford targets finding his world-class speed and catch radius. Incoming rookie Tight End Eric Ebron should soak of inside coverage allowing Jim Caldwell and OC Joe Lombardi to experiment with more wheel and short routes for Calvin.
2014: 96 Rec. 1577 Yds. 13 TDs.
*KR/PR* yardage is not reflected on these rankings, but you’ll findMajorLeagueFantasySports.com and many leagues out there make most of this stat in their leagues. We will be providing rankings on the top 20 Kick Returners, and top 20 Punt Returners in the coming weeks.
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