Welcome to the top 20 that just keeps on giving. Seriously, folks, we have an embarrassment of riches here so if you don’t get a wide receiver in the first two rounds of your draft, don’t worry. Even if the passing game comes back to Earth a bit, the WRs you’ll have at your disposal this year won’t leave you feeling empty like you do after eating a fancy dinner where you can’t pronounce what’s on the menu. Excuse me Monsieur, I thought I ordered a full serving of Pate Chinois? Why can I still see 95% of my plate? That’s you at a French restaurant, frustrated and still hungry with a drive thru burger in your future. PS, they still expect 20% gratuity for that forkful of $30. Merci! But back to the subject, you should have an easy time putting together a solid WR corps without trying too hard with plenty of talent going out side the first two rounds. Now that we’ve covered over 150 words of filler, lets move on in our 2012 fantasy football rankings to the top 20 wide receivers for 2012 fantasy football.
Projections based on receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns
1. Calvin Johnson – See top 10 for 2012 fantasy football for Calvin Johnson projections.
2. Larry Fitzgerald – See top 20 for 2012 fantasy football for Larry Fitzgerald projections.
3. Greg Jennings - This is the start of a new tier and goes from Jennings to Cruz. I call this tier the ‘#1 with a bullet’ tier as these guys are their team’s number one target and should have numbers that represent it by the end of the season. Jennings final 2011 line does not give the true story to what was a strong season. He basically missed the last 4 games of 2011 but was on pace for an 87 rec/1239 yd/12 TD year. No matter how you look at it, that’s a useful season and a top end one at that. He stays healthy, you stay happy. 2012 Projections: 75/1200/11/0/0
4. Mike Wallace - A healthy Big Ben and a more pass heavy offense should lead to big things for Mike in 2012. If you don’t believe me, look where I ranked him! 2012 Projections: 70/1275/9/50/0
5. Victor Cruz - Now realize I didn’t want to rank him this high but then Hakeem Nicks went down with a case of the owies in OTAs and all of the sudden Victor salsa danced his way into my top 5. Call him addition by a fracture. 2012 Projections: 90/1260/8/0/0
6. Julio Jones – This is the start of a new tier and goes to Roddy. I call this the ‘Falcons are a passing team this year’ tier and I ranked their wide receivers accordingly. I mentioned my love of the Falcons passing game this year in a Matt Ryan article. Would be silly to think I wouldn’t like his targets, no? Rhetorical question, no answer needed. 2012 Projections: 70/1100/10/50/0
7. Roddy White - Roddy said he expects a reduced role for the 2012 season. If by reduced he meant ‘less than 100 receptions but still pretty damn involved overall’ then I strongly agree. 2012 Projections: 85/1175/8/0/0
8. Andre Johnson - This is the start of the next tier and it stretches down to Colston. I call this tier the ‘I round out your top ten’ tier because they have and they do. I already went over my Andre projections in the top 20 for 2012 fantasy football. I went over it like a fine-toothed comb in search of lice.
9. A.J. Green - Ranking him this high, I guess I’m assuming a lot of growth out of Green for 2012. Well, that and I don’t expect four guys from the top 10 last year to finish ahead of him. That helps. 2012 Projections: 70/1120/8/40/0
10. Marques Colston - He finished as the 11th best receiver in ESPN’s player rater so I’m not making any major news ranking him 10th. Though he might think it’s news. Look, mom, I made the Razzball top 10! That’s Marques showing his mom the Razzball site over tea and crumpets. 2012 Projections: 80/1120/8/0/0
11. Wes Welker - This is the start of another tier and it goes to Smith. This tier is called the ‘we deliver’ tier because they can deliver you a WR1 line without having to pay the price for it. Wes had quite the year last year but I’m putting him eight spots below where he finished on ESPN’s player rater for 2011 because – repeat after me – he won’t repeat it. His ranking is an amalgamation of PPR vs Non-PPR leagues. That last sentence was brought to you by me wanting to use the word ‘amalgamation’ in a sentence. 2012 Projections: 110/1100/6/30/0
12. Brandon Marshall - He’s now back with Cutler with whom he flourished in Denver. However, the Broncos had what people call ‘an offensive line’ to protect Jay when he threw it to Marshall. This ‘O-Line’ thingie hasn’t been seen in Chicago in years. Whatevs, Marshall should get his fair share. 2012 Projections: 85/1020/9/10/0
13. Percy Harvin - Make no bones about it, I like Percy for this year as I expect growth from Christian Ponder and the Vikings passing game as a whole. It feels silly ranking him 13th after what he did last year but he really did a lot of damage on the ground – career high 345 rushing yards on 52 carries – and I don’t know if he does that again this year. Eh, minor quibbles, the guy will produce. 2012 Projections: 85/1020/5/190/1
14. Steve Smith - Seriously, my numbers from about Julio down to Antonio are separated by a touchdown or two. Give one more to Smith and one less to the guys above him and he’s right back in there. Wide Receiver makes me feel like I get to choose between 500 ice cream flavors, all of which I like. What a delicious predicament to be faced with. That said,2012 Projections: 75/1100/6/50/0
15. Miles Austin - This is the start of the next tier and it goes to Brown. I call this tier ‘This one might be a bit of a stretch’ tier because it relies on some projections others aren’t willing to project. That’s alright, I’ll own that. These are my big hunches for 2012 so feel free to say ‘Sky, you so crazy’ and move on. I wouldn’t blame you since wide receiver is deep this year and taking gambles probably isn’t worth it. Austin’s 2009 season may go down as his best season for his career but it doesn’t mean he’s chopped liver. Unless you like chopped liver then you can call him that if you want to but I’m here to tell you, I think that’s gross. 2012 Projections: 75/1125/7/0/0
16. DeSean Jackson - Man, I must be working on my Yoga around here. Like Austin, I’m making another stretch. I know this won’t be a popular pick but my spreadsheet says it’s reasonable based on the stats so I’m doing it anyway. Last year was a down year in Eagles country for pretty much everyone not named LeSean McCoy. I think 2012 will be different. I also think I look good in a thong. My wife doesn’t let me out in public much. 2012 Projections: 65/1135/8/70/1 (and one return touchdown, FWIW)
17. Antonio Brown - Just call me Dhalsim because at this point I feel extremely limber. If I believe in Wallace getting ranked as high as he did, I can’t see how Brown can’t do it for you too. I think I just made a UPS joke that I didn’t want to. Let’s just ignore that for now, shall we? 2012 Projections: 75/1200/6/0/0
18. Dez Bryant - Bryant is the start of his own tier and it’s called the ‘when I grow up’ tier because when he does, he’s got the potential to be a WR1. If you can’t tell, I’m not a huge fan of Bryant due to his childish ways. Part of the problem with being puerile (thanks thesaurus.com!) is you’re going to lack consistency. He’s also got a spotty health record to date, which might come from lack of conditioning, which in turn might stem from being puerile. All this to say, he’s got the potential to be more than he is but also the potential to break your mom’s antique vase and blame you for it. No Mass Effect 3 for you this week, young (wo?)man! 2012 Projections: 65/1050/7/0/0
19. Dwayne Bowe - This is the final tier of the top 20 and stretches into the next tier. This tier is called the ‘I’m my team’s #1 reciever until proven otherwise’ tier because it’s really what these guys hang their hat on to get ranked where they do. Maybe someday Dwayne will get paired with a quality QB and put up some gaudy numbers. He had a great 15 touchdown season in 2010 only to follow it up with a 5 TD clunker in the year of the 4000 yard passing quarterback. Perhaps he was just ahead of the curve and his 2011 season portends great quarterback doom in 2012? Nah, he just didn’t catch many touchdowns. What do you expect, he plays for the Chiefs. 2012 Projections: 75/1050/7/0/0
20. Steve Johnson - He’s been extremely solid over the last two seasons and you can’t really expect much more from a guy who has Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to him. He’s about as good as a WR2 comes and there’s no crime in that. Or at least if there is, he hasn’t been ticketed for it. 2012 Projections: 80/1040/7/0/0