Ranking fantasy wide receivers by tier
Next up in our look at 2015 fantasy football rankings is the wide receiver position.
Note that these rankings assume non-PPR scoring.
Capsules compiled by Jeff Ratcliffe and Mike Clay
1. Antonio Brown – PIT
2. Julio Jones – ATL
3. Demaryius Thomas – DEN
4. Dez Bryant – DAL
5. Calvin Johnson – DET
6. Odell Beckham Jr. – NYG
7. Jordy Nelson – GB
8. Randall Cobb – GB
9. A.J. Green – CIN
10. Alshon Jeffery – CHI
11. Mike Evans – TB
Similar to the running back position, our first tier is deep. Included are nine of the top-12 fantasy wide receivers of 2014, as well as Johnson (missed three games) and Green (missed four games). These, of course, are your absolute superstars at the position. Brown and Bryant will usually cost you a first-round pick and many, if not all, of these receivers will be off the board when Round 2 concludes.
After flashing superstar potential in his first four seasons, Brown emerged as an elite fantasy option in 2014, snagging 129 balls, which is the second-highest single-season total in NFL history. A model of consistency, Brown caught fewer than seven passes just twice last season and had at least 70 yards in all 16 games. Fantasy’s No. 1 receiver in both standard scoring and PPR formats also finished third in the league with 22 end zone targets. The apple of Ben Roethlisberger’s eye, Brown has seen at least six targets in each of his last 33 games, with 12 or more targets coming in 15 of those games. Brown’s ascendant skills and a high floor/high ceiling combination positions him as our top wide receiver.
In a disappointing season where the Falcons struggled with offensive consistency, Jones still managed to post a Top 10 fantasy season. He topped 100 yards seven times and displayed his massive ceiling in Week 11 when he went off for 259 yards and a score on 11 catches. Kyle Shanahan taking over as offensive coordinator in Atlanta bodes extremely well for Jones’ fantasy stock. As shown by Andre Johnson’s success under Shanahan in Houston and Pierre Garcon’s career year in 2013, Shanahan’s offense features the “X” receiver. One of the league’s premier players and still in his prime, Jones offers one of the highest fantasy ceilings among this year’s receiver crop.
After stumbling out of the gate to 13 catches for 141 yards and one score during the Broncos’ first three games, Thomas reeled off seven consecutive 100-plus yard performances. He topped the century mark in 10 of his final 13 games. Despite Peyton Manning’s noticeable decline, Thomas still posted career highs in catches (111) and yards (1,619) in addition to leading the league in end zone targets (23). While Manning is clearly on the downslope, there’s enough gas in the tank to sustain Thomas’ fantasy numbers for at least one more season. Thomas remains an elite fantasy wide receiver option.
Follow Mike Clay on Twitter: @MikeClayNFL