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The Top 20 Wide Receiver Rankings For The 2012 Fantasy Football Season

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Yesterday we covered the Top 20 Running Backs and today we will run down the Top 20 Wide Receivers of the 2012 Fantasy season. Wide Receiver became a position that has gained much depth over the years.

Without a doubt, the reason receiver seems so deep this year is because the NFL has become a passing league. With PPR leagues overwhelmingly the majority of fantasy leagues, it is easy to see why receivers go quick.

#1 Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (Age 27)
Johnson is a man amongst boys on the football field. He posted elite numbers last year with 96 catches for 1,681 yards and 16 scores. His only downside is that he is on the Madden cover and that carries the curse with it. If Johnson is not your #1 rated wide out, you need to fix that. He is a STUD!

#2 Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (Age 29)
Fitzgerald has major issues at quarterback, but he still manages to become a play maker when he puts on the helmet. He caught 80 passes for 1,411 yards and 8 TDs touchdowns. They drafted Michael Floyd to help take some of the coverage off Fitz and to play the role of Boldin from years past. Fitz will always produce barring injury, so draft him where you can get him, he is just a freak.

#3 Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (Age 31)
Johnson has a horrible track record for injuries lately; in fact he was hurt one week after coming back from an injury that put him down for 6 games last year. Johnson is still one of the most gifted receivers in the game and is a focal point of the passing game. With Arian Foster being healthy and AJ pulling his groin, this has risk attached, but if he plays 16 games… look out. He can cause fantasy damage to your opponent.

#4 AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals (Age 24)
I do not think this is too high for a wide out coming into his second year. He has shown he can go up and get the ball and make plays. In only 14 games last year he caught 63 passes for slightly over 1,000 yards and managed 7 scores. The Bengals really have no other weapons but Green, so expect him to be the focal point of this offense and catch upwards of 80 catches this year. Green’s QB is Dalton, which is not that bad, he could have Sanchez or something. Green will find the end zone often, if he doesn’t, no one will on this team will.

#5 Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (Age 29)
He is getting older and people are mentioning the fact that he may be losing a step. I hope those people shut up, because this guy is still the #1 receiving option on a team with arguably the best QB in the NFL. He didn’t reach the basic milestone of 1,000 yards last year but he did get 67 catches and 9 scores, so still not that bad at all. Jennings missed the last few games with an injury so those numbers could have been better, but we can’t live with “what if’s.” They have other weapons on the team in Nelson and Finley, but Jennings will always get his.

#6 Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (Age 24)
Nicks is one hell of an athlete… that is made out of toilet paper. He broke his foot in mini-camp and that set him back a few months, but he should be back by the start of the regular season. He makes plays happen as he has posted 75+ catches and over 1,100 yards each year he has been in the league. Victor Cruz is someone who will take some looks away from Nicks, but not enough to still not call Nicks “the man” on the team. Nicks can go up and catch the difficult passes that Eli throws everywhere, so he should not slide much further than this in any draft.

#7 Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (Age 31)
Only two people caught over 100 passes last year, and White was one of them. He even raked in 115 catches the year before. Those types of players do not just fall of the map no matter how many other weapons they have. He has been the favorite target for Ryan with over 175 targets each of the last two years. Even though he is old as dirt, as some would say, he will still produce at a high level. Julio will take some targets away, but you have to figure 85 catches and 1,200 yards is still very possible. If that’s the case, he is a top 10 WR for sure.

#8 Wes Welker, New England Patriots (Age 31)
Welker is PPR elite in every way, shape, and form. The only year that he has been with the Patriots, and did not catch 100+ balls, was two years ago when he was hurt and still caught 86 passes. Even though Brady has some new pass catchers in Gronkowski and Hernandez, Welker is still his favorite. This is a pass first; second and third type of team, receiving options on this team should be picked up as soon as possible. They just always seem to perform, unless you happen to be Ocho-Stinko, and make no attempt to succeed.

#9 Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers (Age 33)
Smith sure racked up the yards early and often last year. He had over 150 yards in three of his first four games and did not cool down at all. He hauled in 70 catches and over 1300 yards to finish the year. Cam is only getting better, and Smith is the only receiving option on the team. Smith may be losing a step, but with Cam making plays and Smith looking good in camp, it makes me think he can have another solid year.

#10 Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (Age 23)
This guy is a future top 5 pick for sure, but not this year, he is only a Top 10. In his rookie year he managed to rack up 54 receptions with 959 yards and 8 scores, not bad for a guy playing alongside Roddy White. He missed three games because of a pulled hammy, but didn’t miss a beat when he came back. Jones may not get a lot of receptions this year, but he is a big play guy. So expect a good amount of yardage and a more than a few TDs.

#11 Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears (Age 28)
This guy is a stud of a player regardless of his issues. He was one of the only bright spots on a bad team last year with 82 receptions, 1,277 yards, and 6 touchdowns. That was with some bad quarterbacks, and now he is back with Jay Cutler, and we already know he can catch 100 passes from him easily. In the three years Marshall played with Cutler, he averaged over 100 receptions anyways. The schedule is pretty easy for them, passing wise, so he should produce at a high level this year. You want him on your team this year.

#12 Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (Age 24)
Bryant is still waiting for his first 1,000 yard season, and with as much potential that everyone thinks he has, he should have one already. This guy could be a stud if he had his head on straight. Bryant has everything you need to be an elite receiver. He just does not have the mental capacity, based off his reputation and recent arrest. He can put up studly numbers if he puts his mind to it, after all he has a pretty good quarterback and weapons around him.

#13 Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers (Age 26)
One word… HOLDOUT! This already has become messy and it may not get any better any time soon. He didn’t really finish last year off with a bang, but still caught 72 passes, nearly 1,200 yards, and 8 scores. Brown was just signed to a nice deal, so he is in camp, and if Wallace is not signed by the time your draft comes… replace him here with Antonio Brown. Haley is the OC now, so they should run more, but with Mendenhall out it will not work out well. The Steelers have Redman and no one after him, so they should still pass a lot. So, if Wallace signs, snag him here if not sooner.

#14 Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (Age 25)
Thomas is a freak of a man and even receives the praise of Peyton, saying “He (Thomas) does things others just can’t do.” He is a big receiver that is fast and can outrun many corners as he showed us in the playoffs, thanks Tebow. (The Only Tebow reference you will see from me.) He does get banged up, but has a Hall of Fame quarterback throwing to him. A top 15 receiver for sure and should get you 1,100 yards and 9 TDs… at least.

#15 Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (Age 29)
Every year people count this guy out, but just ask the guys in my big fantasy league the mistake of doing that. Hey, you have to fantasy smack talk when you can, lol. He is as consistent as any receiver and catches grief because he has a checkered injury past. He doesn’t happen to be Brees’ favorite target anymore, but in this offense, he can still catch 80 passes when Graham catches 99. I am a big fan of Colston, take him as your #2 if you can, he just always seems to perform when you need him most. The Playoffs!

#16 Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (Age 24)
Regardless of what DeSean Jackson says, Maclin is the #1 receiver in Philly. Maclin managed only 63 catches, 859 yards, and 5 touchdowns last year and only played in 13 games. He had the kissing disease and just didn’t seem like he was “ON” last year. He could be a major value play this year and is pretty low in the rankings so should outplay his ADP. Maclin will be a high end #2 or low end #1 wide receiver in 2012. Vick is a play maker and likes to find Maclin a lot in the red zone. This is a no brainer pick you need a number two wide receiver. He can get you 80 catches over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns if he plays the entire year.

#17 Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills (Age 26)
Johnson has become a very good and consistent receiver over the past couple years. He has been a starter for only two years and had over 75 catches and 1,000 yards both times. Head Coach Chan Gailey is a big fan of this kid, and so is the quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick. That should tell you something right there, doesn’t it? If he had more touchdowns to his name, his ranking would be higher. Stevie Johnson has the potential for a breakout season anytime, and if all works out, that time can be this year.

#18 Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (Age 27)
In his fourth year, he was really finally given a chance to show what he is capable of. He posted 68 receptions, 1,263 yards, and an insane 15 TDs. He may never duplicate that again, but we definitely know he can find the end zone. With Randall Cobb probably getting more playing time, and Finley playing as a wide out more often, he may regress. I expect him to be around the 10 touchdown range with ARod as his QB, but his yards and receptions will drop off.

#19 Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings (Age 24)
Once Adrian Peterson went down with is knee injury, Harvin really stepped in and started to do it all. He racked up over 1,300 total yards and 8 scores as he took carries out of the back field on top of playing receiver. He suffers from migraines and is unhappy about his contract, and even though he reported to camp, he still has many risks. He could be a migraine for you this year, or he could perform again, but I lean towards perform. Harvin is the only offensive threat the Vikings have with ADP hurt, so expect him to get many touches.

#20 Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Age 29)
Well this is what happens when you create a fuss about getting paid, you get your money, but you get it from a worse team. Jackson is jumping ship from a pretty darn good quarterback in Philip Rivers to Josh Freeman. Freeman proved to not be as accurate as we thought, but lucky for him, Jackson can make some pretty insane catches. Jackson is a big play guy who can lose his mojo quick, so he needs to be involved often. That’s why the Buccaneers paid him and that’s what will happen. He has never put up elite numbers, but if Freeman can shape up, Jackson could finally do it.

Here are the lists from earlier in the week:
Quarterbacks
Running Backs

Join me Monday, as I will go over the Top 20 Tight Ends of the 2012 season. See you then when we wrap up the fantasy preseason review of the Top 20 at each position.

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