2014 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings from Kevin Hanson
Updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Scoring: These rankings are based on standard-scoring formats (one point per 10 rushing yards, six points per rushing touchdown plus one point per 10 receiving yards and six points per receiving touchdown) and are for 2014 only.
Exceeding even the expectations from his strongest advocates (including me), Browns receiver Josh Gordon broke out in a huge way in 2013.
Despite a two-game suspension to begin the season, the second-year receiver set a franchise-record with a league-leading 1,646 yards, which more than doubled his rookie season total of 805 yards.
With a 87/1,646/9 line, Gordon led all wide receivers in fantasy points despite a less-than-ideal situation at quarterback and missing two games.
Not only did Gordon have 100-plus yards in exactly half of his 14 games last season, he had at least 67 yards in all but two games in 2013. In addition, he became the first player in NFL history to have back-to-back 200-yard receiving games as he broke the team's single-game receiving record (twice).
In addition to the new coaching staff in place in Cleveland, Gordon is also likely to have a new quarterback. With new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan feeding the ball last year to Pierre Garcon, who led the league in receptions (113), I'm comfortable Gordon will be targeted heavily enough to flourish again. Plus, it would be hard for the team's quarterback situation to get much worse than their three-headed monster last year.
While those changes don't worry me, owners that draft Gordon will hold their collective breath that he keeps his nose clean this year as his next violation of the league's substance-abuse policy would lead to a full-season suspension.
Breakout season for Alshon
Like Gordon, Chicago's Alshon Jeffery was a second-year receiver that broke out in a big way in 2013.
Along with Gordon, Jeffery was one of only two players to record multiple 200-yard receiving games last year and he also set the franchise's single-game record for most receiving yards.
With career highs across the board, Jeffery finished with 89 receptions for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns and added 105 rushing yards. The only receiver with more yards from scrimmage than Jeffery (1,526) was Gordon (1,734).
Unlike Gordon, Jeffery currently has better pieces around him as the Bears know who will be their everyday starter at quarterback and opposing defenses will focus on slowing down the receiver opposite him, Brandon Marshall, as much as they will focus on Jeffery himself.
Going into the 2014 season, I have Marshall ranked just ahead of Jeffery, but both receivers are stud WR1's in terms of fantasy outlook.
With 60 Minutes signing a free-agent deal with the Dolphins, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown had a breakout season as the team's No. 1 receiver even though he had a 1,100-yard season a few years ago.
Brown became the second receiver in franchise history to finish with triple-digit receptions (110) and was only two shy of the club record (112). Only Gordon had more receiving yards than Brown (1,499), who also scored a career-high eight touchdowns.
Along with Gordon and Jeffery, Brown was one of three receivers to finish with 1,500-plus yards from scrimmage in 2013.
Perhaps the most amazing part of Brown's huge success in 2013 was his consistency. Brown had a minimum of five receptions and 50 yards in all 16 games last season.
Going back to 2000, no other player has done that in all 16 games of a season. From 2000-2013, only one player had 15 such games and that happened in 2001. Garcon had the second-most games (13) with a minimum line of 5/50 last season.
Allen: Only third 1,000-yard rookie in past nine years
In the previous eight years before the 2013 season, only two other players had done what San Diego's Keenan Allen did in 2013.
In his first four seasons in the NFL, Patriots receiver Julian Edelman had a total of 69 catches for 714 yards and four touchdowns.
Not only did he exceed those numbers in 2013, but he was especially good down the stretch as Tom Brady's most trusted target.
Finishing 10th in the league in targets (151), Edelman's full-year numbers were 105 receptions, which was fourth-most in the NFL, for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.
Among the top 25 leaders in receptions, the only player with a lower yards-per-reception average than Edelman (10.1) was Saints running back Pierre Thomas (6.7). With his modest YPR and low number of touchdowns, Edelman is more productive in point-per-reception (PPR) formats than standard-scoring leagues.
In Edelman's final eight games counting both playoff games, he had a minimum of six receptions and 64 yards in every game. During that span, he racked up a stat line of 69/729/5. Purely to illustrate how productive he's been over the past half-season, maintaining that pace for a full 16-game season would equate to a stat line of 138/1,458/10!
Going into the offseason, Edelman is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, but I would expect the Patriots to make Edelman one of their priorities to re-sign after his breakout season.
Here are my initial fantasy football wide receiver rankings for 2014:
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
2. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
3. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
4. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
5. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
6. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
7. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
8. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
9. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
10. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
11. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
12. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
13. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
14. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
15. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
16. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
17. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
18. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
19. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
20. Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks
21. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
22. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
23. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
24. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
25. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
26. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
27. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
28. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
29. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
30. Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars
31. Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
32. Rueben Randle, New York Giants
33. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
34. Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
35. Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
36. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
37. Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys
38. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
39. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
40. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
41. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
42. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
43. Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings
44. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams
45. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals
46. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers
47. Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles
48. Aaron Dobson, New England Patriots
49. Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills
50. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
51. Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
52. Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans
53. Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills
54. Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
55. Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers
56. Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders
57. James Jones, Green Bay Packers
58. Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers
59. Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders
60. Da'Rick Rogers, Indianapolis Colts
61. Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints