While generally known for consistency, wide receivers produced a mix bag of results for Fantasy Football players in 2014. Our 2015 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers rankings will try to account for that.
Unfortunately, for many Fantasy Football players who spent an early-round pick on a receiver, this was the year we found out that Calvin Johnson (14th-highest scoring receiver) and A.J. Green (21st) are indeed, human beings. After Johnson missed four games and Green missed five, neither of these staples of Fantasy Football success finished as a top-10 wide receiver.
The familiar names of Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, Dez Bryant and Julio Jones still lit up the scoreboard, and they will remain hot commodities in 2015. Emmanuel Sanders took full advantage of starting for the Denver Broncos, and proved to be an absolute steal as the 23rd receiver off the board in most in leagues. Randall Cobb, Jeremy Maclin and T.Y. Hilton also provided strong production, finishing the 2014 Fantasy Football season as top-10 receivers.
Reacting to the Amazing 2014 Rookie WR Class
Everyone heard the hype, but the Fantasy Football community discovered just how good the 2014 rookie wide receiver class really was. As a rule of thumb, I normally avoid rookie wide receivers. It takes them time to learn the playbook, to get in sync with the offense, time to build a rapport with their new quarterback and just like any new job, there is always a learning curve. Odell Beckham Jr.(sixth-highest scoring wide receiver), Mike Evans(11th) and Kelvin Benjamin(16th) immediately became focal points of their offenses, forcing us all to review our preconceived notions about drafting rookie-pass catchers.
Kelvin Benjamin’s 145 targets were most among this year’s rookie WRs. 2. Odell Beckham – 130 3. Sammy Watkins – 128 4. Mike Evans – 123
— DraftSharks (@DraftSharks) January 21, 2015
In 2014, 3 rookie WRs finished 16th or better in fantasy points at the position. From 2000-09, 4 rookie WRs finished in the the top 20.
— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) January 20, 2015
Other Wide Receivers That Landed in the Top 20
Even though he had another season of inconsistent quarterback play, DeAndre Hopkins built upon his rookie season with the 12th-most receiving yards among his fellow receivers, and finished as the 15th-highest scoring receiver. Alshon Jeffery and Golden Tate saw an increased role due to injuries, which helped them each to finish within the top-15 highest scoring receivers.
With the help of a few huge games, DeSean Jackson, Mike Wallace, Torrey Smith and Steve Smith Sr. made their way into the top 20.
Wide Receiver Busts We Wanted More From
It was also a season of disappointment, as Sammy Watkins, Michael Floyd, Keenan Allen and Michael Crabtree did not live up to expectations. Veterans Brandon Marshall and Andre Johnson had off-seasons as well, and emerging talents such as Martavis Bryant, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills could kick veterans to the curb in 2015.
In my way too early 2015 Fantasy Football wide receivers rankings, I had a difficult task in predicting the next set of superstars. I am very conservative on my rankings for the Denver Broncos’ receivers (can Demaryius Thomas really be the highest-scoring wide receiver if Brock Osweiler is running the show?), and some of my selections are based on possible retirements and free agency.
— Denver Post Broncos (@PostBroncos) January 31, 2015
2015 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers Rankings
I’ll provide explanations behind a few of my choices, but again, this is a very early look at WR rankings for the 2015 Fantasy Football season. Free agency, the 2015 NFL Draft, coaching changes and the addition or removal of players from teams,will provide better predictions on the success or failures for receivers next season.
- Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
- Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
- Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis: Brown set the bar so high in 2014, he will have a hard time matching his Fantasy owners’ expectations in 2015.
- T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
- Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
- Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
- Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
- A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
- Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
- Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
- Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis: Maclin’s ranking heavily depends on who his starting quarterback is. If Chip Kelly gets a quarterback he hand picks, I think he could finish as a top-five receiver.
- Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Analysis: Depends on who is throwing the ball. Even if Peyton Manning returns, how good can a 39-year old quarterback really be?
- Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
- Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
- Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants
- DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins
- Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
- Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
- Randall Cobb, Packers (?)
- Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
- Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
- Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
- Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
- Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
Analysis: If Blackmon does come back, he could finish even better than this. He should be a huge value in your 2015 Fantasy Football draft.
- Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
- Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints
- Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
Analysis: Love Watkins, but I don’t think E.J. Manuel will make him a Fantasy star.
- Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
- Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
- Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
- Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
- Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys
Analysis: Beasley saw a nice increase in usage towards the end of the season, and with Jason Witten’s receiving yards decreasing in the past two seasons, I think the 25-year old receiver has Fantasy relevance.
- Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
- Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
- Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
- Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens
- Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers
- Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we roll out all of our early rankings. No doubt, these 2015 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers Rankings will change a lot as we get closer to draft season.
Antonio Brown Photo Credit: Brook-Ward.com
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