Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers: This guy is not even the first option on his team, but still beats out other No. 1 guys like Mike Evans and T.Y. Hilton, but how? Well, he’s in the greatest offense in the NFL. The fact of the matter is, the second guy in an Aaron Rodgers offense gets more quality looks than most other No.1 guys. The key word here is quality. He had 126 targets last year, that’s less than DeAndre Hopkins, Kelvin Benjamin, and Steve Smith Sr. He outscored all of those guys. This goes to show that Aaron Rodgers can boost receivers, and he certainly has great playmaking ability. Still not the number one guy, but there are worse options at WR1.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears: With Brandon Marshall out, Jeffery will be Cutler’s first look this year. He finished 12th among wide receivers, despite bouncing between No.1 and 2 in the offense. His targets and receptions will in increase, but not drastic enough to write home about. The Bears did hire some help by picking up Eddie Royal, and drafting Kevin White. The Bears will be in some close games, forcing them to go to the air. Jeffery will improve, but will have a few off games because we know that Cutler can tend to get careless with the football.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals: He missed a few games last year, five to be exact. He’s one of those guys that can be good, but struggles from time to time. When healthy, he scored a touchdown in six games last year. He still racks up a bunch of yards, despite missing some time last year, he was able to gain over 1,000 yards last year. He’s playing out the final year of his contract this year, and I think he’ll make the most of it. He’s still a slight injury risk, which drops him to No. 8 on my list.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: If I’m going to draft a guy in the top five, he has to play well in most games the year prior, and missing more three games should bring red flags to your attention. There’s no shortage of talent with Megatron, but we have to wonder if his age is catching up with him. He hasn’t played a full season since 2012. He was still able to reach 1,077 yards. The Lions still throw the ball plenty and when Johnson is in the lineup he’ll do exceptionally well. I’ll take Calvin, 7th among receivers, but that may force me to take Golden Tate as a handcuff.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers: Nelson is the main man in Lambeau country, but not my number one option at wide out. He’s the first option for arguably the best active quarterback in the NFL. That happens to be one of many options. We noted Randall Cobb, but there is also Devante Adams, Richard Rodgers, Andrew Quarless, and even Eddie Lacy out of the backfield. The Packers are going to be great this year. With so many options there will be a few games when he gets locked down. For the most part, I’ll still be stoked to have him as my WR1.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones has yet to crack the top five in ESPN standard scoring. This is the year he breaks that trend and here’s why: Besides Jones himself, the Atlanta receiving core is getting old and fragile. With Harry Douglas now in Tennessee, the Falcons aren’t as deep at the receiving position. Even with Roddy White in, Jones is signal caller Matt Ryan’s first look. Jones is reliable, even in games where he didn’t score a touchdown last year, he at least got 58 yards or better. Jones is going to be a top five receiver next year and the poor rushing game will help his cause.
4.Odell Beckham Jr, New York Giants: I’m going against the Madden curse for this years cover guy. Had a small hang up starting out last year, but he’s coming off an amazing four game stretch from last year, where he scored at least one touchdown and over 100 yards in each of those games. From how we’ve seen this guy perform, I’m okay if he sits a couple games (I’d rather he didn’t). Beckham had a great a rookie campaign, and can make tough catches. He finished fifth best at his position despite missing four games. I bet he plays 14 games this year, and he’s my deep sleeper for No. 1 at the wide receiver position. If he falls late in the first round, I’ll take him.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos: This is where the rankings get tough. I could certainly make the case to put him higher, but I think there’s a more compelling case that I ranked him right. He’s going to be in a great offense, there’s no doubt he’ll get a fair share of looks, but so will Emmanuel Sanders. Peyton Manning also likes his tight ends, and C.J. Anderson will nab some receptions too. Manning’s durability comes into question too, when Manning isn’t 100% the pass attempts go down. With Thomas as your WR1, you will still be quite set.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys: Personally, I dislike the guy. If you can’t put those feelings aside in fantasy football it’ll hurt you, so in all fairness I have him ranked at No. 2. He’s not just by far the best player on his team, but he’s an outstanding play-maker. There’s a lot of things going for Dez. DeMarco Murray is gone, and his replacement has yet to be determined, although Joseph Randle is the favorite to start, meaning he’ll play a bigger role in Big D. The Cowboys still have a great offensive line that’ll buy him some time to get open downfield. The talent is there, the opportunity is there, I’m taking him at around No. 9 overall if he’s around and watching the points roll in.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: This guy was a beast last year. I know, because I had him on my team. He had eight games in which he had more than 100 yards, his lowest amount in a game last year, 72. He led the NFL in receiving yards and tied for second in touchdowns. While Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton improved towards the tail end of last year, this guy is still amazing. Brown doesn’t really have any disappointing games either. He’s my number one guy at wideout. If my top five ranked running backs are gone and he’s available, it’s a no brainer, I’m drafting this standout receiver.