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One of the most debated theories in Fantasy Football, “You can’t win your league in the first round, but you can lose it.” Much like The 40 Year Old Virgin’s infamous, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” question, this one is still hotly debated.  For those of you who agree with this theory, keep reading. For those of you who disagree, keep reading.

The wide receiver position has become more reliable in Fantasy over the years as they are slightly more predictable and seemingly less injury prone than that of the running back position. If you’re the risk averse type like myself, you may want to seriously consider taking a wide receiver with your first, and possibly second round pick.

Of the top 25 standard scoring RBs in 2014, only three of those players managed to crack the top 10 in 2015 (Lamar Miller, Chris Ivory and Matt Forte). We see better consistency from the WR group as six of 2014’s top 25 were able to crack 2015’s top 10 list (Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson).

Still not sold on the idea? Ask the people who drafted the following players how they felt about their first and or second round pick last season: Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, DeMarco Murray, C.J. Anderson, Jeremy Hill, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck.

On behalf of all us folks who drafted a WR early last year and selected one or even two of the following players, we thank the rest of you who chose to ignore facts and stats and Fantasy points: Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas.

2016 WR Changes Since 2015

Last year’s Top 22 standard scoring list consists of eight second year players: Allen Robinson, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Allen Hurns, Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry, Jordan Matthews and John Brown.

While we’re more likely to get an episode of Game of Thrones where questions actually get answered than a repeat of last year, it’s worth noting the second year WRs who have a chance to make a significant jump in 2016:

Amari Cooper, Tyler Lockett, Dorial Green-Beckham, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman, Devin Funchess, Nelson Agholor, Stefon Diggs, Phillip Dorsett, Jamison Crowder, Sammie Coates, DeAndre Smelter and Devin Smith.

Last year’s Top 25 scorers at the WR position included three players who joined new teams in the offseason: Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn Jr.

The biggest names who will be wearing a new uniform in 2016 are Marvin Jones, Travis Benjamin, Rueben Randle, Mike Wallace, Rishard Matthews, Chris Hogan, Brandon LaFell, Mohamed Sanu and most likely to sign elsewhere, Anquan Boldin.

Preseason Updates:

A.J. Green:

Newly acquired Brandon LaFell was supposed to help replace the production of Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu.  As of August 16th the news regarding LaFell is not promising.  A torn ligament in LaFell’s hand could possibly lead to season ending surgery.  At the very least it sounds as if LaFell will miss an extended amount of time.  Tyler Eifert still seems likely to miss the start of the season, leaving A.J. Green and rookie Tyler Boyd as targets for Andy Dalton.  This certainly has the look of a career high in targets for Green.

Brandon Marshall:

This update is simple.  Marshall now has Ryan Fitzpatrick back as his QB.  Fitzpatrick peppered Marshall with targets last season and there’s no reason to think this year will be any different.  Matt Forte may steal a few receptions along the way but considering we haven’t seen much, if any, of Forte on the practice field as of yet.

Sammy Watkins:

I may have to eat some crow on my Sammy Watkins bust prediction for 2016.  We’ve seen WRs with foot issues in the past have numerous setbacks but Watkins appears to be on track thus far in camp.  I’m not completely sold, as the opportunity for re-injury still exists but if we see Sammy play in the preseason, he’ll be moving up my ranks.

Golden Tate & Marvin Jones:

There has been speculation all offseason regarding who will take over as the number one WR for Detroit.  The industry seems split between Tate and Jones but recent reports have suggested it is a 1 and 1A situation, with Jones taking the lead role.  With catches like the one in the video below, it’s easy to see why there’s been so much buzz.

Josh Gordon & Corey Coleman:

Perhaps the biggest Fantasy Football news of the offseason revolves around Roger Goodell graciously allowing Josh Gordon to return to the NFL for 2016.  The Corey Coleman hype train was just picking up steam when the Gordon news broke.  Before you get too excited and spend an early pick on Gordon, remember he’s suspended for the first four games and then will miss a fifth because of Cleveland’s bye in Week 13.  The last time we saw Gordon he was more Clark Kent than Superman.

Sterling Shepard:

The local New York media is in love with Shepard.  There’s an article hyping the rookie up more and more virtually every other day.  Shepard appears to be making it easy to forget Victor Cruz.  Whatever you had Cruz penciled in for in Fantasy last season, give to Shepard.

Travis Benjamin:

Stevie Johnson will miss this season due to a torn ACL.  Even the Benjamin skeptics can’t argue that Benjamin hasn’t found himself in a Fantasy friendly situation.

Dorial Green-Beckham:

Beckham finds himself in Philadelphia with just several weeks to learn a new offense and playbook.  Given the question marks surrounding DGB’s work ethic and decision making, I’m not confident he’ll pick up and entirely new offensive scheme in a month.  Stock down.

Rishard Matthews:

The Dorial Green-Beckham jettison opens up a huge opportunity for someone in the Titans offense.  Matthews was on pace for nearly 1,000 receiving yards last season had he played all 16 games.  If you’re looking for a potential sleeper or breakout, Matthews fits the bill.

2016 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings

These Fantasy Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR and PPR Fantasy leagues.

 

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SCFE 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings

John LaPresto
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John LaPresto

Senior Fantasy Writer at SoCalledFantasyExperts.com
John has been playing Fantasy Sports for roughly twenty years. He works in the Customer Experience profession by day and is a fan of all things Dynasty, Daily and PPR by night. He currently resides in Boston, MA.
John LaPresto
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