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

31 Comments
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Rags
Rags
10 years ago

I’ve done keepers in fantasy baseball for a while now, but this is my second year in a fantasy football keeper league (first year we’re actually keeping people). In baseball, it’s an auction format and it’s easy to calculate inflation. Is there a method to calculating keeper inflation when you’re in a snake draft?

Rags
Rags
10 years ago
Reply to  Sky

@Sky, Oh yeah, it’s two rounds for each keeper. I meant, is there a way to calculate the increased value of players who *aren’t* kept based on the locked-up value of the keepers. For example, Cam Newton is being kept as a tenth rounder this year (taken in the 12th last year). How much more valuable does that make other QBs, because there are fewer top options and Cam’s owner can use that high pick to get someone else?

In an auction draft, I could look at the total budget of each team, and compare the total budget left to the total value left and expect that to be the inflation on all remaining players more or less. But with a snake draft, prices aren’t so fine-grained as to make it that easy. I was wondering if there was a technique people had for snake drafts already, instead of me trying to reinvent the wheel.

Zachary Neugut
Zachary Neugut
10 years ago
Reply to  Sky

@Sky, for auctions, its quite easy to calculate inflation. However, no clue how to do it for a snake.

CK
CK
10 years ago

Your rankings contradict your predictions. Take a look at D Jackson’s predicted numbers compared to the people ranked higher than him. Brandon Marshall vs welker as well. I am not even for sure if this was intended to be based upon ppr or non ppr, but there are contradictions for either way.

David_KOA
David_KOA
10 years ago

@Sky,
Some surprises especially at the top of the WR rankings for 2012.

I know Greg Jennings missed the final three games of last year. Yet, when we look at weeks 9-14 and compare it to his counter part Jordy Nelson
Greg Jennings: 4.1 catches, 45.3 yards & .67 TD’s on 7.1 targets
Jordy Nelson: 4.5 catches, 82 yards & 1 TD on on 5.8 targets

Looking at these numbers it is interesting to me that you would have Jennings as a top three WR. The double digit touchdowns I do not doubt it is the 1200 yards that seem not very realistic.

This leads me to my next question HOW THE HECK IS JORDY NELSON NOT IN YOUR TOP 20? Even if you do not expect the 15 TDs to repeat. The numbers from 2011 indicate a stat line of At least 1100+ yards and 10 TD’s is good expections.

I would feel more comfortable with Jordy Nelson as my WR1 then I would Greg Jennings in 2012.

David_KOA
David_KOA
10 years ago
Reply to  Sky

@Sky,
As fantasy owners we have to be on the look out for trends especially ones that developed in the 2nd half. Being that those could be a sign of what we can expect for the following year.

Looking at the target breakdown from week 1-9(8 games)
Greg Jennings: 66 targets(8.2) for 90.3 yards
Jordy Nelson: 41 targets(5.1) for 570 yards(71.2)

Then we saw a new trend come about from weeks 10-14
Greg Jennings: 35 targets(7) for 226 yards(45.2)
Jordy Nelson: 29(5.8) for 387 yards(77.4)

We see the Jennings almost drops a full target per game and his yards drop by half. While Nelson saw a increase in both areas of his statistics. Again I think both should hit double digit TDs in 2012. I just think we have to realize that Nelson is a better bet to reach 1200 yards then Jennings. I think good expections for Greg Jennings is in ball park of 1,000+ yards for the new year.

David_KOA
David_KOA
10 years ago
Reply to  Sky

@Sky,
Hey, happy 4th right back at ya! It is sunny(about 90) but the only problem(big) is that I’m stuck inside at work:( lol who would have guessed people like to buy furniture on the red, white & blue day. About 6 hours left till burgers and a cold one for me.

I see that we are both set in our views at the moment and will have to file this under wait till the end of the year.

Currently we have three
Shonn Greene
BJGE vs Benard Scott
Greg Jennings vs Jordy Nelson

David_KOA
David_KOA
10 years ago
Reply to  Sky

@Sky,
If you are in the market for an ottoman you are out of luck. That being said we do have a brand new sofa for $198! Lol

I do remember a couple of weeks ago, you saying that you were coming around on Mr. Greene. I just did not know if it was to the extreme I had put out there. With/if the extra carries do come a low-end RB1 could be giving in return to fantasy owners.

To finish up on this whole Jordy vs Greg debate. As of now I would consider both to be WR1(fantasy) options. I just feel a changing of the top dog(fantasy) was already coming about in the 2nd half of last year. I think it will continue over into 2012 season.

trevor
trevor
10 years ago

Andre Johnson at 8? I mean I’ve got him behind all the major running backs, but 8? No fucking way. Andre Johnson is going to have his career best year

iMP
iMP
10 years ago

Does Nicks’ absence reflect a temporary lack of confidence due to his latest injury or a long term lack of confidence due to his oft-injured status?

In the absence of Nicks disappearing, you could make a case the Cruz, like Nelson, earned a lot of value from a few big TDs (though his overall usage and targest are much more confidence inspiring…especially if he gets to stay in the slot). His chances for regression are a concern vs. most of the rest of the top 12.

Reggie
Reggie
10 years ago

You should be checked into an insane asylum for having AJ Green ranked 9th.

Are you serious?

How do you look at yourself in the mirror every morning and not burst out laughing?

Unbelievable. Wow.

Fantasy Dictator
Fantasy Dictator
10 years ago

This list is parroted, badly argued, and badly edited nonsense.

Where is Jordy Nelson? What the H-E-hockey sticks is DeSean Jackson doing on this list?

Why aren’t guys like you playing in my leagues?

Amy Richardson
10 years ago

I have Larry Fitzgerald and Victor Cruz on my team. They’re contribute a lot on my fantasy football team. Thanks for this top 20 wide receivers list.

K9
K9
10 years ago

I’m in a fantasy league with an evil commissioner who thinks its hilarious to do a spur of the moment draft….before preseason even starts.

Anyway, the dust has finally settled and I’m looking at a WR core of Megatron, Harvin, Maclin, Antonio Brown, and Titus Young/Reuben Randle on my bench.

I also have the artist formerly known as Ochocinco. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen right?

Anyway, I’m certainly feeling better about myself following your write up lol. Thanks for making me feel less than crazy for drafting some of these guys

LT
LT
10 years ago

Jennings at 3? not sure. they really spread it around there. Where is D. Thomas or Decker? are they in top 30? where do i draft them?

JonBruin
10 years ago

Nice post, especially your take on Green and Jones. I do a fantasy football podcast that took a little different approach to WR today. We did top #2 (on depth chart) WR from a fantasy perspective. It would be awesome if you gave a listen and let me know what you think. http://bit.ly/FBRpodcast