For today’s installment of my world famous and universally accepted fantasy football advice and position rankings (that I may or may not write only for my own enjoyment), we’re taking on my favorite position – wide receiver. This should always be the position that causes us to lose the least sleep in preparing for our fantasy drafts, unlike the tight end spot, which causes people to pretend there’s more than one sure-thing player available in their drafts. Basically, this little jam session of non-expertise and analysis is going to be like Lamaze class, as we learn to take some deep breaths followed by some short, quick bursts, all before we ultimately squeeze a bouncing baby boy of awesomeness out of our fantasy football wombs. Gross, right? Hooray!
The reason that wide receivers are my favorite is because there are always enough to go around, and if you plan your strategy just right, you can grab the two dependable guys that you need to get by each week, while also snagging the two backup guys every fantasy team needs to win, as everyone else in your league is stuck with the Lee Evanses of the world. Short backstory: Lee Evans was once a very-hyped “This is the year” guy for several years, except he never actually had the year. The No. 1 strategy that I employ in drafting wide receivers, then, is asking myself, “Hey bro, does this guy remind you of Lee Evans?” If the answer is “Yeah, dude” then I flick an imaginary booger at him and move on. If the answer is “Nah, bro” then I consider his value where I’m picking and make my selection accordingly.
Simple enough? Haha, no, not at all. This year, I’m actually concerned about WRs a little. I don’t know if it’s maybe because I’m getting more conservative in my fantasy football age, or if it’s because there actually aren’t as many quality WR1 and WR2 options as there have seemingly been in previous years. With that, I took it upon myself to investigate this concern by comparing this year’s best receiving options with the WWE’s best female personalities and Divas throughout the years (as you can tell by the title of this post and the poorly photoshopped banner image that is admittedly backwards in message). Unlike the last two position analyses, I’m not going to guess where these guys might be drafted, because predicting WRs is sometimes so bizarre and there’s always a Giants fan who takes Victor Cruz before someone like Brandon Marshall. Loyalty has no place in fantasy football, people.
You can, however, consider this list to be my personal ranking, in case you are wise and use my advice to find success, both in your fantasy league and life in general.
The Miss Elizabeths
The stuff of legends.
Still the one and only top choice for all owners in fantasy, save for those few liars who kid themselves by saying things like, “I don’t know, bro, this is the year he’s going to lose 80 targets to Golden Tate and that Ebron dude… I think Dez is the man now.” Calvin is still lodged in that LaDainian Tomlinson circa 2002-2007 period of being the most dominant guy in the game. With actual decent receivers on board now, he could find a happy medium between 2012’s 1,964 receiving yards and 2013’s 12 TDs. I suppose the best results, though, would be 2011’s 1,681 yards and 16 TDs. But at that point I’m just being picky.
How many situations can you remember when a team had not one, not two, not three, but four solid receiving options and one of those guys was still good enough to be an elite WR in fantasy? Gotta be the 1999-era Rams with Isaac Bruce, Tory Holt, Marshall Faulk and Ricky Proehl/Az Hakim, right? Did I just make those names up? My brain doesn’t even go back to last year, let alone the Stone Age. Anyway, some people think that Eric Decker leaving is going to help Thomas put up his best numbers yet, but I also think Emmanuel Sanders could be better than Decker, especially if he doesn’t trip over his own dick on YAC.
My favorite receiver for no reason other than he’s really good. Also, he’s going to need to have a spectacular season to make Andy Dalton look as good as I predicted that he’d be, so I’m going to go sacrifice a few goats and chickens to make sure this all happens…
Okay, that’s 2,000 yards and 20 TDs on the way for Green, if my Sunday School teacher taught me anything.
Because I rarely ever make sense, Dez ranks here as my fourth best WR, but I’d take him as the second receiver off the board if Calvin is gone. Basically, if I’ve got the 9-11 pick (in a 12-team league, because anything less or more is stupid) I’ll take Bryant’s all-around talent and potential to drop 100 yards and a TD each week over Thomas, because when in doubt, Romo will chuck every ball at Bryant. Look, I know it makes no sense, but this is my gut calling the shots and my gut loves Taco Bell.
I’ve had Brown for the last three seasons and I feel like we’ve grown together, him as one of the best receivers in the NFL and me as a guy with too much time on my hands. Now that I’ve also watched some preseason action, I have faith that Markus Wheaton and Dri Archer might help make it so that Brown isn’t the only guy out there, running around like a madman to get open. If I end up drafting Brown again, we should become best friends.
Alshon Jeffrey may have arrived as a legitimate fantasy badass last season after a slow start that probably dropped him to waivers, causing plenty of people to laugh hysterically at the guys who dropped him, but B-Marsh and J-Cutty are still BFF. They’ll probably still put up similar numbers, but Marshall is the favorite in PPR settings.
A guy in a mock draft laughed at me for taking AJ Green and Julio Jones with the No. 12/13 combo, to which I didn’t reply, because people who talk in mock drafts are f*cking dorks. But it poses the question of what are we supposed to do with Jones if we think he’s going to bounce back from injury this season and be the badass of all badasses like we expect him to be? Look, even I, one of the most conservative fantasy geniuses in the entire world, can let my hair down and make some ballsy choices now and then. If you have an early second rounder and you like Jones as much as I do, take him. Follow your damn heart.
The Torrie Wilsons
Not quite elite, but basically right on the verge of what should be the best year of their careers if they can stay healthy and don’t blow it all by dating Alex Rodriguez. To be honest, though, these two guys are just sort of in limbo for me, and I had to include Torrie. I like them both, but as WR1 options, they’re concerning but not as concerning as the guys behind them.
There’s no reason in the world to not pick Nelson, Randall Cobb or even Jarret Boykin later in your draft, because as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy, Packers WRs will reward you. It’s just hard to predict whether or not Nelson will still put up the No. 1 numbers with a healthy Cobb. Unlike Cobb, though, Nelson has done it before and he was just paid, so he should realistically be a monster this season.
I watch more 49ers football than anyone who isn’t a fan of the 49ers and I just keep falling into this trap that makes me think Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree are going to be a really strong connection this season. Crabby is really ranked low on the WR lists of the big experts, and I assume that’s because of his health issues. However, my caveat with Crabtree is that I’m worried that Richard Sherman may be eating his brain from within.
The Stacy Keiblers
I’ll never forget when Stacy Keibler came along and changed the way I thought about female wrestlers forever. Granted, with the exception of George Clooney, she had terrible taste in men, but I don’t think these game-changing up-and-comers have that problem. (And if they do, it’s none of my business.)
I’m pretty sure I wrote last year that I was furious when the Dolphins didn’t draft Jeffrey and I still am. That’s why I make up for it by drafting him myself, so I can pretend that he’s on a team I love. That’s why we do fantasy football, right? Haha, no, it’s because we’re addicted to gambling. Anyway, when it comes to drafting my team this season, if I can’t get one of the Miss Elizabeths, then the goal is to get two WRs from the Torries and Stacys, and Jeffrey is probably the top of this group.
My wonderful waiver wire hero from last season. I can’t sing this guy’s praises enough for saving my ass, and I see no reason why he won’t continue to get better as the No. 1 WR in San Diego. There’s always the potential for the sophomore slump, but Allen seems like the kind of guy who really wants to be a badass and I dig that. He’s also seemingly undervalued in some pre-draft rankings I’ve been reading, and he’s going after several No. 2 WRs. Curious.
Garcon quietly had a monster 2013 season with 113 receptions and 1,346 yards and I didn’t even remember that he was so good, because when you think about the 2013 Redskins, a bubble cloud with injured RG3 appears over your head, and then that image is shoved out of the way by Skip Bayless pandering for Kirk Cousins. Anyway, if Garcon stays healthy, he probably won’t have as good of a season because of DeSean Jackson’s addition to the roster, but he won’t be considerably worse.
Will Cobb stay healthy? I hate asking that question before I draft a guy. Cobb could end up being the most dynamic receiver in Green Bay history this season, but I don’t want to take that chance with him as my WR1, that’s for sure. Even as a WR2, he’s a risk, so you better have some undervalued guys circled for the next few rounds.
Everybody on this planet seems to love Patterson right now, and Greg Jennings even called him the best receiver he’s ever lined up with. Granted, Jennings seems to love taking any opportunity to crap all over his time in Green Bay, so it might be more of a backhand at his old teammates and less praise for his young counterpart. Regardless, Patteron was drafted to be a star and he showed glimpses last season, so my only real concern is who will be throwing the ball to him.
Everybody on this planet also seems to love Michael Floyd right now, and according to the legend of the third-year receiver, he should be poised for a huge year. Realistically, as he crossed the 1,000-yard mark last season, he could be on the verge of Reggie Wayne-ing Larry Fitzgerald, who has plenty of wear on his tires. That doesn’t mean it’ll happen – everything’s a question mark with Carson Palmer, no matter how serviceable of a bye week replacement fantasy QB he has been – but Floyd’s upside >>>>> Fitzy’s downside.
I love Hilton. I want him to be an NFL star more than anything in the world, ever since he torched my beloved UCF Knights for FIU a few years ago. So it’s pretty sad for me to see him being drafted as a WR3 in most situations. At the same time, if you get Hilton as your WR3 or flex option, that’s pretty solid because I expect him to put up his best numbers yet this season.