Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 60 Wide Receivers for 2012

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Wide receivers get a lot of help in the NFL these days. The new rules have allowed for a ton of open space, speeding up the game and making receivers some of the most dangerous players on the field.

With passing numbers on the rise, receivers' numbers have spiked. As a result, wide receiver may be the deepest position in fantasy football this season, with a number of players possessing the ability to crack the top ten.

Grabbing an elite wide receiver in the second or third round is still a wise move, but those rounds will be LOADED with great options this season. And as a result, a handful of value options will be available come the fifth and sixth round.

Let's take a look at some overvalued and undervalued players and rank the top 60 receivers in this year's crop. Let's make it happen.


Victor Cruz, New York Giants, ADP: 34

The New York Giants enjoyed another incredible Super Bowl run, and Victor Cruz was a huge part of that. His breakout season was a huge boost to fantasy owners that were quick enough to grab him on the waiver wire early in the season. In 2012, though, Cruz's average draft position is firmly in the third round of standard leagues. Something tells me a regression can be expected from him this year, and he doesn't present a ton of value at that ADP.

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers, ADP: 38

Jordy Nelson had a huge spike in end zone visits in 2011, making him a fourth round fantasy pick in 2012 drafts. Year to year touchdowns numbers are hard to replicate, especially the way Nelson was scoring (from distance). I don't think he'll produce nearly as many fantasy points this season with Greg Jennings healthy.


Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles, ADP: 51

The Philadelphia Eagle passing offense is being seriously undervalued right now, and Jeremy Maclin's ADP may provide the best value of the bunch. People forget just how good Maclin was in 2010. He was just outside the top ten wide receivers, and an injury riddled 2011 season has people forgetting his worth. A healthy quarterback throwing him the ball and a step forward from the passing offense as a whole will benefit Maclin.

Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills, ADP: 60

The Buffalo Bills passing offense was a fantasy gold mine for a good portion of 2011. Injuries eventually derailed their success, but there's reason to believe the group can return to form with most pieces back at full strength. Stevie Johnson could be drafted as a wide receiver

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1. Calvin Johnson | Detroit Lions | Bye: 5

Calvin Johnson may be the only true difference maker at the wide receiver position this season. He is a touchdown machine with a skill set few wide receivers in the history of the league have ever had. The Lions operate one of the most high octane offenses in the league, and CJ is the center of attention.

2. Larry Fitzgerald | Arizona Cardinals | Bye: 10

Larry Fitzgerald is just so consistent. Regardless of who is throwing him the football, Fitz always seems to rack up yardage and post decent touchdown numbers.

3. Andre Johnson | Houston Texans | Bye: 8

Injuries derailed the 2011 season for Andre Johnson, and the Houston Texans certainly don't sling the ball around the field like they used to, but Johnson still has the upside to top this list. He needs to stay on the field, but if he does, few receivers have his talent.

4. Julio Jones | Atlanta Falcons | Bye: 7

Am I crazy for having this much faith in Julio Jones? Maybe. But with a new offensive coordinator in town focusing on opening up the offense and making Jones a focal point, how can you not be excited about the prospects for his sophomore season?

5. Hakeem Nicks | New York Giants | Bye: 11

Hakeem Nicks really came on for the Giants in the postseason. His foot injury will be one to monitor throughout the preseason, but he's the No. 1 target in an improved passing attack.

6. Dez Bryant | Dallas Cowboys | Bye: 5

Provided he avoids suspension, Dez Bryant is primed for a breakout campaign. He is a beast, but struggled to reach his potential because of what was rumored to be poor conditioning. This offseason is the first full one of Bryant's career, so I'm expecting a monster season.

7. A.J. Green | Cincinnati Bengals | Bye: 8

Despite the fact that I don't have much faith in Andy Dalton, A.J. Green remains firmly in the top ten fantasy wide receivers. He's as talented as nearly every player on this list, and it's only a matter of time before he reaches elite status among NFL wideouts.

8. Percy Harvin | Minnesota Vikings | Bye: 11

Adrian Peterson isn't going to be healthy enough to be the featured player in Minnesota's offense this season. That title will belong to Percy Harvin, who is talented enough to hurt opposing defenses in a number of different ways.

9. Brandon Marshall | Chicago Bears | Bye: 6

Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler are back together again, so it's conceivable that Marshall could return to top ten fantasy status. The upside is certainly there.

10. Greg Jennings | Green Bay Packers | Bye: 10

Greg Jennings was overtaken in Green Bay by Jordy Nelson last season. But Jennings is still clearly the go-to-guy in that offense. The Packers spread the ball a ton, though, so I'm not giddy about taking Jennings in the second round like everyone else seems to be.

11. Roddy White | Atlanta Falcons | Bye: 7

Roddy White had a down year in 2011, but the passing game will be featured more under new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. White should rebound in 2012.

12. Mike Wallace | Pittsburgh Steelers | Bye: 4

Remember when Todd Haley took over Arizona's offense in 2008? Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner were fantasy machines. Haley is now the offensive coordinator for the Steelers, and Mike Wallace will play the same role in the offense that Fitzgerald did then. Jackpot. I would have Wallace in the top 7 of these rankings if he wasn't holding out.

13. Jeremy Maclin | Philadelphia Eagles | Bye: 7

Philly's passing offense should take a step forward this year. Jeremy Maclin will be a big beneficiary.

14. Steve Smith | Carolina Panthers | Bye: 6

Cam Newton helped Steve Smith return to fantasy relevance in 2011, and unless there's a major decline in Smith's ability, the two should be able to establish an even stronger connection in year two.

15. Brandon Lloyd | New England Patriots | Bye: 9

Brandon Lloyd thrives in Josh McDaniels' offense, and now he has Tom Brady as his quarterback. He could easily be a top ten receiver by season's end.

16. Stevie Johnson | Buffalo Bills | Bye: 8

As discussed above, Stevie Johnson present WR1 upside with the price tag of a WR2 or 3.

17. Miles Austin-Jones | Dallas Cowboys | Bye: 7

An injury-plagued 2011 season has Miles-Austin Jones a forgotten man in fantasy football circles. But he should still command a high volume of targets in one of the most dangerous passing offenses in the NFL.

18. Dwayne Bowe | Kansas City Chiefs | Bye: 7

Dwayne Bowe consistently finishes among the top 20 fantasy wide receivers, despite underwhelming quarterback play. He's a safe bet to do so again.

19. Antonio Brown | Pittsburgh Steelers | Bye: 4

Antonio Brown has the potential to emerge as the No. 1 wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season. He came on strong towards the end of the 2011 season and has a well rounded game. It will be interesting to see how Todd Haley utilizes his skill set.

20. Victor Cruz | New York Giants | Bye: 11

Victor Cruz is being drafted based on what he did in 2011, not what he could do in 2012. He doesn't present a ton of value in the first three rounds.

21. Desean Jackson | Philadelphia Eagles | Bye: 7

Desean Jackson is finally at ease with his contract, Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin are healthy again and the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles passing offense figures to be much more potent than the 2011 version.

22. Jordy Nelson | Green Bay Packers | Bye: 10

As mentioned above, owners who draft Jordy Nelson will be victimized by his inevitable regression to the norm.

23. Marques Colston | New Orleans Saints | Bye: 6

Marques Colston appears to be breaking down, but he still gets targets from Drew Brees. At worst, Colston is one of the best WR3 options in fantasy football.

24. Demaryius Thomas | Denver Broncos | Bye: 7

Demaryius Thomas was an elite fantasy producer down the stretch in 2011. He will get a major upgrade at quarterback, but is still somewhat raw at this point in his career. I would rank him higher if not for lingering concerns about Peyton Manning's neck.

25. Wes Welker | New England Patriots | Bye: 9

The Patriots clearly don't value Wes Welker too much, considering they haven't signed him to a long term deal. He's still a decent fantasy option, but with so many weapons in New England's arsenal, he really doesn't have the upside he once did.

26. Eric Decker | Denver Broncos | Bye: 7

Eric Decker is the most polished route runner on Denver's roster, which will quickly make him on of Peyton Manning's favorite targets.

27. Kenny Britt | Tennessee Titans | Bye: 11

Kenny Britt has been nothing but trouble since the Titans drafted him. But he has tons of potential. If he avoids suspension and returns to form from knee injury (two HUGE ifs) than he could be a No. 2 wide receiver.

28. Pierre Garcon | Washington Redskins | Bye: 10

Pierre Garcon is going to get a lot of targets in an offense that will likely favor the pass. Garcon is a vertical threat, and Robert Griffin III can toss the deep ball. It will be interesting to see what those two can do with one another.

29. Denarius Moore | Oakland Raiders | Bye: 5

Denarius Moore and the rest of Oakland's passing offense will get an offseason to gel with one another. Moore came on strong towards the end of last season, so he could have a productive sophomore campaign.

30. Torrey Smith | Baltimore Ravens | Bye: 8

All things considered, Torrey Smith should be Joe Flacco's No. 1 option in the passing game this season.

31. Malcolm Floyd | San Diego Chargers | Bye: 7

Malcolm Floyd will get a chance to take over as the No. 1 receiver in San Diego. He has had chances before and not done a whole lot with them, so temper your expectations a bit.

32. Vincent Jackson | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Bye: 5

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't have nearly the passing attack that the San Diego Chargers had when Vincent Jackson was at his best, but he should still produce as a WR3 this year.

33. Robert Meachem | San Diego Chargers | Bye: 7

I've been waiting for Robert Meachem to get a chance to shine since he entered the league. With his move from a crowded New Orleans offense to San Diego, Meachem might get that chance. He has the talent to take advantage of any targets he gets.

34. Santonio Holmes | New York Jets | Bye: 9

The New York Jets' passing offense is one to avoid this season, regardless of how talented Santonio Holmes may be.

35. Greg Little | Cleveland Browns | Bye: 10

Brandon Weeden has to throw the ball to somebody, right?

36. Darrius Heyward-Bey | Oakland Raiders | Bye: 5

Darrius Heyward-Bey closed out 2011 on a an absolute tear. But can he take the next step and put together a full season in 2012?

37. Titus Young | Detroit Lions | Bye: 5

The Detroit Lions will have plenty of passing attempts to go around, and Titus Young is the team's most talented receiver after Calvin Johnson.

38. Reggie Wayne | Indianapolis Colts | Bye: 4

Reggie Wayne is definitely slowing down, but Andrew Luck will likely use him as a security blanket all year long. He'll be a decent third wide receiver.

39. Santana Moss | Washington Redskins | Bye: 10

If Santana Moss manages to crack the Redskins' starting lineup, he'll be a decent flex option. As previously mentioned, Griffin can throw the deep ball.

40. Michael Crabtree | San Francisco 49ers | Bye: 9

Michael Crabtree has never lived up to the hype, and the 49ers aren't going to throw the ball all around the field. Add to that the fact that San Fran added wide receivers to the fold this offseason, and Crabtree's upside appears limited.

41.Jonathan Baldwin | Kansas City Chiefs | Bye: 7

Dwayne Bowe could holdout during training camp, which would open the door for Jonathan Baldwin to work his way into a bigger role in the Chiefs' passing game. He has the talent to have a breakout season in 2012.

42.Sidney Rice | Seattle Seahawks | Bye: 11

Sidney Rice's injuries will scare off a lot of owners, but he's a big time talent. The Seahawks passing game has nowhere to go but up this season.

43. Kendall Wright | Tennesee Titans | Bye: 11

Kenny Britt's legal and injury issues could force Kendall Wright into a big role during his rookie season. If Jake Locker is under center, I love Wright's chances of being a WR3 week in and week out in 2012.

44. Brandon Lafell | Carolina Panthers | Bye: 6

The emerging Panthers' passing offense is bound to produce a second quality receiver after Steve Smith. As of now, Brandon Lafell is in line to get some targets.

45. Mike Williams | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Bye: 5

Mike Williams has been a dud since his big rookie season. Maybe the addition of Vincent Jackson will help take some of the heat off Williams and boost his numbers.

46. Lestar Jean | Houston Texans | Bye: 8

Lestar Jean was the star of Texans minicamp. We'll see how he does with pads on, though. Keep an eye on him during the preseason.

47. Alshon Jeffery | Chicago Bears | Bye: 6

One of the most underrated receivers in the 2012 NFL Draft, Alshon Jeffery may get a chance to start opposite Brandon Marshall. Keep an eye on Jeffery in camp, because this kid has talent.

48.Justin Blackmon | Jacksonville Jaguars | Bye: 6

Justin Blackmon was a machine with the ball in his hands during college. That will come in handy in one of the league's worst passing offenses. He's going to need to make plays on his own sometimes, but I like Blackmon's chances of scoring enough touchdowns to be relevant in fantasy.

49. Lance Moore | New Orleans Saints | Bye: 6

Lance Moore isn't spectacular, but he's a reliable presence in an offense that will have some changes this year.

50. Randy Moss | San Francisco 49ers | Bye: 9

It's tough to tell if Randy Moss has anything left in the tank, because it's tough to tell if he's putting in any effort half the time. But there is an upside to Moss that not many players offer.

51.Leonard Hankerson | Washington Redskins | Bye: 10

Leonard Hankerson is probably still a year away from playing a big role in Washington's offense, but who knows, maybe he'll surprise me.

52. Emmanuel Sanders | Pittsburgh Steelers | Bye: 4

Mike Wallace will most likely agree to a contract resolution at some point before the season. If the Steelers fail to lock him up, though, or he or Antonio Brown go down with injury, Emmanuel Sanders will slide into the lineup nicely.

53. Randall Cobb | Green Bay Packers | Bye: 10

The Green bay Packers are too deep on offense for Randall Cobb to become a reliable fantasy starter. He needs to work his way up the depth chart first.

54.Brian Quick | St. Louis Rams | Bye: 9

Sam Bradford finally has some new weapons to work with. Brian Quick may be raw, but he'll be forced to learn on the fly. He's worth a late-round flier in deep leagues.

55. Brian Hartline | Miami Dolphins | Bye: 7

As pedestrian as the Dolphins' passing game will be in 2012, Brian Hartline will be the No. 1 wide receiver in Miami. That's worth something, isn't it?

56. Anquan Boldin | Baltimore Ravens | Bye: 8

Anquan Boldin is pretty much done at this point. Don't draft him based on his name.

57. Austin Collie | Indianapolis Colts | Bye: 4

Austin Collie was only valuable in fantasy because he had Peyton Manning's trust. Manning's gone, and so to is most of Collie's fantasy value.

58. Doug Baldwin | Seattle Seahawks | Bye: 11

Doug Baldwin is a potential breakout player this season. The Seahawks made a significant improvement under center, and Sidney Rice is always a risk to get injured. Plus, Baldwin is pretty talented.

59. Mario Manningham | San Francisco 49ers | Bye: 9

The 49ers aren't going to air out the ball, and when they do, Alex Smith will likely spread it out. Manningham won't have a huge role in the offense.

60. James Jones | Green Bay Packers | Bye: 10

James Jones is feast or famine, but with Donald Driver's decline, he has enough upside to round out the list.

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