2014 Fantasy Football WR Rankings — Top 50

August 20 11:43am
Matt Musico

Having a strong group of wide receivers is key to a fantasy football championship run. Before you enter your league’s draft room to begin your journey toward bragging rights — and possibly some money — make sure you check out our fantasy football rankings for the top 50 fantasy WRs in 2014.

Don’t forget to take a look at our top 50 rankings for fantasy quarterbacks and running backs.

1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions

2013 statistics: 84 receptions, 1,492 yards, 12 TD

Clearly the most dominant receiver in the league, Megatron has pulled in 80-plus receptions for 1,400-plus yards three consecutive years. He even reached those levels while dealing with lingering knee and finger injuries all last year. As the top target in a pass-heavy offense during his prime, it will be more of the same in 2014.

2. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

2013 statistics: 92 receptions, 1,430 yards, 14 TD

Thomas has been a favorite target for Manning, leading him to 90-plus catches, 1,400-plus yards and 10-plus TDs two years in a row. He’s been one of the best at getting vertical, scoring 96 points off vertical throws in 2013. Manning isn’t going anywhere and the offense is still full of weapons, so Thomas should again be a top-five WR finisher.

3. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

2013 statistics: 93 receptions, 1,233 yards, 13 TD

Only 25, Bryant is entering his prime. He’ll be getting more involved in a pass-heavy offense, which means only good things for someone who has pulled in 90-plus balls each of the last two seasons. Questions are rising about his contract status, but that won’t hamper his on-field production. The arrival of new OC Scott Linehan could bring Dallas back to stretching the field more often.

4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

2013 statistics: 98 receptions, 1,426 yards, 11 TD

Green is Andy Dalton’s favorite receiver in Cincinnati, and he led the league in targets last season, with 178. The pass-friendly OC Jay Gruden has left for a head coaching gig in Washington, and the inconsistency of Andy Dalton could hamper Green’s overall production.

5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

2013 statistics: 41 receptions, 580 yards, 2 TD

Jones’ injury last season put Atlanta’s offense at a great disadvantage as they stumbled to a losing record. He was dominant in the five games he appeared in and is healthy heading into Week 1. He’ll be the most dependable and dominant target for Matt Ryan with Roddy White on the downturn of his career and Tony Gonzalez now retired.

6. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears

2013 statistics: 100 receptions, 1,295 yards, 12 TD

He’s been hooking up with Jay Cutler on the field for a while, and Marshall has seven-straight seasons of at least 80 receptions and 1,000 yards. Alshon Jeffery is emerging as a top receiver, which could take some targets away, but as long as the Marshall-Cutler combination is together, they will put up big numbers.

7. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

antonio-brown-steelers

2013 statistics: 110 receptions, 1,499 yards, 8 TD

His first season as Pittsburgh’s top WR went well, pulling in 110 receptions — second best in the league. He was leaned on heavily as the top target with Mike Wallace gone. Brown has taken over as a top-10 WR with 11 vertical receptions last season. Heading into this season, he remains the most lethal target. Although the Steelers want to transition to running the ball more, Brown will be Big Ben’s first choice through the air.

8. Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago Bears

2013 statistics: 89 receptions, 1,421 yards, 7 TD

A breakout season in ’13 gives the Bears two top-10 WRs this year. He has big-time playmaking ability and could get a lot of targets in the red zone. Jeffery’s only downfall is he’ll need to mesh with Cutler better, averaging just 10.1 fantasy points per game with him, compared to 15 per game with Josh McCown.

9. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

2013 statistics: 31 receptions, 433 yards, 4 TD

He appeared in just six games, but ranked eighth among WRs when he was active, finding the end zone four times. James Jones and Jermichael Finley leave at the perfect time for the 23-year-old, who will get a more expanded role in Green Bay’s offense. Expectations are high, with some in the organization thinking he’s capable of catching 100 passes in 2014.

10. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

2013 statistics: 85 receptions, 1,314 yards, 8 TD

Nelson was targeted a career-high 127 times, but could sacrifice some of those looks with the return of Cobb and the effort toward using Eddie Lacy’s legs more. He’s more lethal downfield, ranking fourth-best among WRs in fantasy points on vertical throws (118). As long as Rodgers stays healthy, he’ll continue being a big-play threat.

11. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

2013 statistics: 82 receptions, 954 yards, 10 TD

He’s not in his prime anymore, but he found the end zone the most since he led the league with 13 in ’09. He still has value, but it’s hard to believe he’ll continue catching TDs at the rate he’s been doing it. The emergence of Michael Floyd and his declining yardage numbers has dropped him out of the top-10.

12. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

2013 statistics: 113 receptions, 1,346 yards, 5 TD

Even with a struggling RGIII, Garcon had a career year, thanks to getting targeted 186 times. A new offensive scheme and the addition of DeSean Jackson should help Garcon find the end zone more often than in the past, making him an attractive fantasy commodity.

13. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers

2013 statistics: 71 receptions, 1,046 yards, 8 TD

Allen wasn’t expected to be a big part of San Diego’s offense, but injuries allowed him to show his value, eclipsing 1,000 yards with eight TDs. At just 22 years old and and an established QB like Philip Rivers throwing to him, he should be surpassing these numbers pretty easily.

14. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

andre-johnson-texans

2013 statistics: 109 receptions, 1,407 yards, 5 TD

Entering his age-33 season, Johnson has caught 100-plus balls in his last two seasons. The ability is still there, and his future in Houston looks secure after some offseason drama. Being paired with Arian Foster in the backfield and DeAndre Hopkins out wide will lead to him having another solid season.

15. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2013 statistics: 78 receptions, 1,224 yards, 7 TD

Jackson hasn’t missed a game in three seasons, catching at least 60 passes and scoring seven-plus times in each. He’s the top WR for Josh McCown, being paired with rookie Mike Evans on the other side. He’s battled fantasy inconsistency for a while, but hopefully the presence of McCown will change that, making him more reliable from week-to-week.

16. Victor Cruz, New York Giants

2013 statistics: 73 receptions, 998 yards, 4 TD

Hakeem Nicks’ departure makes Cruz the top target for the first time in his career. Had caught a career-low 73 balls and four touchdowns last year, not scoring after Week 4. He should get in the end zone more often now that he’s the first option with new OC Ben McAdoo’s West Coast offense being installed. The offense has struggled to find consistency in the preseason, but Cruz will be the center of attention.

17. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos

2013 statistics: 73 receptions, 778 yards, 10 TD

Welker didn’t catch 100 balls in his first year with Peyton Manning, but scored a career-high 10 times. He was a monster through the first half of the year, but scuffled toward the finish line, partly because of yet another concussion. Welker will start to show his age, but defy it a bit with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball.

18. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

2013 statistics: 63 receptions, 711 yards, 3 TD

Injuries to himself and Julio Jones led to a career-low year for White, snapping his six-year streak of at least 80 catches and 1,100 yards. After an awful 12-week stretch to start the season where he averaged under three fantasy points per game, he posted 61 points from Week 13 through 17. He’ll be 33, and still has some value even if he doesn’t get to his normal numbers, especially with Jones back in the mix.

19. DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins

2013 statistics: 82 receptions, 1,332 yards, 9 TD

Jackson benefited last year by being the big playmaker in a high-flying Philly offense. His production will now depend on how RGIII bounces back, but it’s hard not to get excited about the eight vertical touchdowns he scored and 905 vertical yards he posted last season. He’s a legitimate downfield threat Washington needed.

20. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

michael-crabtree-49ers

2013 statistics: 19 receptions, 284 yards, 1 TD

A torn achilles limited Crabtree to five games after being one of Kaepernick’s top targets in 2012. His production will be positively affected by their apparent willingness to throw the ball more, but will be negatively affected by the presence of Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis and newly acquired Stevie Johnson.

21. Kendall Wright, Tennesse Titans

2013 statistics: 94 receptions, 1,079 yards, 2 TD

Wright went under the radar with a breakout sophomore season, catching 94 balls for 1,079 yards. He was limited to being 31st in WR fantasy points because he only scored two TDs. That happened because he was targeted in the end zone just twice. That should increase this season if he can create more on-field chemistry with Jake Locker.

22. Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks

2013 statistics: 1 reception, 17 yards, 0 TD

Harvin is your typical high-risk, high-reward player. He’s missed 22 games over the past two seasons, playing just one game in his first year with the Seahawks in 2013 because of hip and concussion issues. To try and keep him healthy, Seattle will rest him at strategic times throughout training camp. So far, Harvin is reaching gears he didn’t even know he had. If he can stay on the field, he could have a huge season with Golden Tate no longer with the organization.

23. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

2013 statistics: 105 receptions, 1,056 yards, 6 TD

Edelman had a career year in 2013, becoming a favorite target of Tom Brady. It was the consequence of a banged up offense that was without Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski. He probably won’t get another 151 targets this year if everyone stays healthy, but is tasked with filling in for Wes Welker and his previous role in New England’s offense.

24. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens

2013 statistics: 65 receptions, 1,128 yards, 4 TD

Smith was the top target in Baltimore last year, but the team’s offensive struggles didn’t help him really burst out into the spotlight. Flacco only targeted him 130 times because he was constantly dealing with double coverage in an offense without many weapons. Gary Kubiak is now in charge of an offense that also includes Steve Smith, hopefully giving Torrey a positive jolt of targets and production.

25. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2013 statistics: N/A

Although he was just drafted, Evans will immediately step in to start across Vincent Jackson. Having Josh McCown at QB will give the receivers a decent passer getting the ball to them. The presence of Jackson will ensure Evans isn’t the primary concern for defenses, and his 6’5” frame will play well in red zone opportunities.

26. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts

reggie-wayne-colts

2013 statistics: 38 receptions, 503 yards, 2 TD

He’s been very productive and consistent throughout his career, but an ACL injury to Wayne could change the look of the Colts’ offense. He looks and reportedly feels great and as if nothing ever happened, but Indianapolis can’t expect him to catch another 100 balls coming off that surgery and entering his age-36 season. That’s why they’ve also brought in Hakeem Nicks to potentially pick up the slack.

27. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

2013 statistics: 64 receptions, 898 yards, 5 TD

Tate was a productive fantasy receiver over the past couple years, but his value was stunted in Seattle, who favored a run-heavy offensive strategy. Lined up opposite of Calvin Johnson in a pass-friendly offense, his value is bound to increase, as long as he gets the necessary amount of targets to be successful.

28. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

2013 statistics: 75 receptions, 943 yards, 5 TD

Colston didn’t reach 1,000 yards receiving in 2013 for the first time in five years, but still grabbed 75 passes. Increased roles for Kenny Stills and rookie Brandin Cooks could take away more looks from Colston, but his size (6’5”, 220 pounds) and on-field relationship with Drew Brees will keep the hope he can regain some red zone supremacy.

29. Cordarelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings

2013 statistics: 45 receptions, 469 yards, 4 TD

He wasn’t consistently lining up as a receiver in his rookie season, but Patterson was 38th in WR fantasy points. He scored seven times as a part-time receiver and special teams returner. The QB situation is technically still up in the air, but he’ll definitely get more targets. His obvious play-making ability make him a strong fit to blossom in a flex position.

30. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills

2013 statistics: N/A

Considered by most to be the top WR prospect in May’s draft, Watkins is already the top target through the air for Buffalo. With Stevie Johnson traded to San Francisco, he’ll be getting a lot of targets while showing off his size, speed and route-running skills. The plays he’s made during training camp and the preseason has everyone excited over his raw skills. The only unknown is how EJ Manuel will perform after a subpar 2013.

31. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles

jeremy-maclin-eagles

2013 statistics: DNP

Maclin didn’t suit up at all last season because of a torn ACL. He was a solid option from 2010-12, grabbing at least 63 passes and five touchdowns each year. He’s now the featured option — specifically when talking about downfield targets — with DeSean Jackson getting cut over the offseason.

32. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

2013 statistics: 65 receptions, 1,041 yards, 5 TD

Floyd showed tremendous value in his first season as a starter and lining up opposite of Larry Fitzgerald. Entering his age-25 season, he’s primed to start overtaking Fitzgerald as the top receiving target for Carson Palmer. His fellow receiver will get taken first in many drafts, but Floyd is quickly becoming the featured downfield threat for Arizona.

33. Dwyane Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

2013 statistics: 57 receptions, 673 yards, 5 TD

Fresh off a new long-term deal and the arrivals of Alex Smith and Andy Reid, Bowe was supposed to get himself back to relevant fantasy player, but not so much. He posted near career lows with regard to targets, receptions and yards. He remains the only legitimate downfield threat in KC, but there’s no guarantee Smith will start finding him for big gains in what is a mostly conservative offensive scheme. Adding insult to injury, he’ll miss Week 1 due to a suspension.

34. Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins

2013 statistics: 73 receptions, 930 yards, 5 TD

Wallace enters his second year with Miami as Ryan Tannehill’s top option, once again. They struggled to get on the same page at times last season, not connecting as often on vertical pass attempts as the organization anticipated. He has big-play ability, notching three seasons of eight-plus touchdowns in his five-year career, but must prove himself in his newer surroundings before his fantasy value increases.

35. Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys

2013 statistics: 44 receptions, 736 yards, 5 TD

With Miles Austin officially out of the picture, second-year wide-out Williams is looking for a breakout season playing opposite of Dez Bryant. He has a clear path to start with Dallas not selecting a WR until the fifth round in May’s draft. He’ll get plenty of targets from Romo in their pass-heavy offensive scheme.

36. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints

2013 statistics: N/A

The Saints already had a great offense before adding Cooks in the first round of this year’s draft. He may be small, but has a lot of speed and big-play potential. He’s impressed during the preseason and will see plenty of time on the field with head coach Sean Payton’s preference to rotate players in and out of the lineup.

37. Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars

cecil-shorts-jaguars

2013 statistics: 66 receptions, 777 yards, 3 TD

The Jaguars are very young at wide receiver, so Shorts will get targets as the lone veteran presence. He’s in his contract year, so there’s motivation to break out. Bringing in Toby Gerhart to solidify the run game will hopefully balance out the offense more for whomever is quarterback, whether it’s Chad Henne or rookie Blake Bortles.

38. Eric Decker, New York Jets

2013 statistics: 87 receptions, 1,288 yards, 11 TD

Decker came off a career year with the Broncos last season, but is in for a very different experience in 2014. Signing a free agent deal with the Jets has taken him away from Peyton Manning, and he now must deal with the combination of Geno Smith and Michael Vick. He’s on top of the depth chart and will get targeted a lot, but won’t come close to last year’s numbers.

39. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos

2013 statistics: 67 receptions, 740 yards, 6 TD

Sanders played in a complimentary role with the Steelers last season, but still found the end zone six times. He’s going to wide receiver heaven to play with Manning and the Broncos. Even if he’s a possession receiver, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to make plays and rack up fantasy points while Denver redistributes Decker’s targets to the rest of the offense.

40. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

2013 statistics: 52 receptions, 802 yards, 2 TD

Hopkins disappointed a bit as a rookie, but it was tough to have a great year on the Texans in 2013. Bill O’Brien arriving as head coach with a pass-first philosophy will help the receiver get more targets this season. His role gets limited to a degree with Andre Johnson sticking around in Houston, but he should use his presence to his advantage.

41. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers

2013 statistics: 85 receptions, 1,179 yards, 7 TD

Boldin had a huge 2013 season, getting targeted 130 times. The 49ers wanted to keep the veteran around, signing him to a two-year contract. His fantasy value will go down this season with a full year of Michael Crabtree, the addition of Stevie Johnson and the continued presence of Vernon Davis.

42. Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles

2013 statistics: 47 receptions, 835 yards, 8 TD

Cooper had a good time in the first year’s of Chip Kelly’s offense, averaging 17.8 yards per catch. Some turnover at the wide receiver position — most notably the absence of DeSean Jackson — leaves Cooper as the most experienced WR in this offense. The return of Jeremy Maclin could stunt his fantasy value, but he should still be a reasonably consistent target for Nick Foles.

43. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots

danny-amendola-patriots

2013 statistics: 54 receptions, 633 yards, 2 TD

Injuries sabotaged Amendola’s first season in New England. He only missed four games, but a lingering groin injury sapped his production. If he can stay healthy, he should have value to Tom Brady by being paired with Julian Edelman and Aaron Dobson.

44. Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings

2013 statistics: 68 receptions, 804 yards, 4 TD

Moving on from Green Bay didn’t help the former Packer very much. An uneven QB situation in 2013 led to a subpar season. Drafting Teddy Bridgewater will eventually help, but who the starting QB will be when Week 1 rolls around is yet to be determined. The continuing emergence of Cordarelle Patterson will eventually make Jennings the second, or possibly third option, in Minnesota.

45. Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans

2013 statistics: 18 receptions, 354 yards, 4 TD

Heading into his second season, Hunter is a deep sleeper, especially if Locker can stay on the field. He has big-play ability, which can be seen from his 19.7 yards per catch last season, despite just 18 receptions. People are starting to know his name during a big preseason and his stock has been on the rise.

46. Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens

2013 statistics: 64 receptions, 745 yards, 4 TD

Joe Flacco needs a lot of help on the offensive side of the ball, but hopefully Baltimore isn’t banking on Smith to turn back the hands of time. He didn’t rank in the top-30 of WRs last season with regard to vertical receiving yards, and he was the first option for Cam Newton in Carolina. He’s a decent receiver for the flex position, but that’s it at this point in his career.

47. James Jones, Oakland Raiders

2013 statistics: 59 receptions, 817 yards, 3 TD

Jones hasn’t posted a 1,000-yard receiving season yet in his career, but he heads to Oakland as the no. 1 receiver for Matt Schaub. He probably won’t ever reach the 14-TD plateau again like he did in 2012, but would also be an option for your flex position if the Raiders target him enough. He’s never been targeted 100-plus times in his career, but this situation gives him the perfect opportunity to make that happen.

48. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams

2013 statistics: 40 receptions, 418 yards, 4 TD

Austin’s ability to get yards after the catch and his incredible speed make him an attractive commodity in the later rounds. Until he proves himself more though, don’t count on him to be a main contributor in your lineup. He scored 62 fantasy points in three weeks, but posted just 19 over the rest of the season. Austin could’ve been a breakout candidate if Bradford stayed healthy, but now that leaves things up to chance.

49. Rueben Randle, New York Giants

2013 statistics: 41 receptions, 611 yards, 6 TD

Randle’s 2013 season was a peak at the type of fantasy player he can be — both the good and the bad. Over six games, he tallied 300 receiving yards and all six of his touchdowns. That was great for those who owned him during that time, but not so much for those who picked him up afterward. Nicks is no longer with the organization, which could open up more targets for him, but he’ll need to compete with Odell Beckham, Jr. to get the increased role he desires in the offense.

50. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns

josh-gordon-browns

2013 statistics: 87 receptions, 1,646 yards, 9 TD

His ability is undeniable — he was the top point-getting WR last season, even though he missed the first two weeks because of a suspension. However, he’s getting hit with another suspension this season, and was recently arrested in North Carolina for a DWI. We’ll soon find out if it remains a year-long suspension or gets shortened to eight games. Either way, don’t waste an early pick on him.

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