I started off the year by stating I’m not too worried about wide receiver this year.  There was plenty of depth and so I didn’t think I’d find myself buying into one of the top guys as my WR1 because I felt I could find a WR1 later.  This is me paraphrasing me from my top 20 wide receivers for 2012 fantasy football post way back in July.  In many ways, I’m very glad I listened to myself seeing as about 50% of the guys I thought would be top 20 were either hurt or had terrible QB play and left me feeling sillier than that night on shrooms when I was crawling around like I was in the trenches of WWI while police cars were flashing their spot lights through to see if there were any vagrants in the cemetery.  Fun times and before you ask, yes, that’s a true story.  But enough about me, let’s get to what we came for.  We’re going to use yahoo’s rankings for PPR leagues as we don’t yet have a player rater of our own for review purposes in conjunction with looking at my projections from the link above.  So with that, we’re off to see who the top 20 wide receivers were for the 2012 fantasy football season…

Stats based on receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns

1. Calvin Johnson – This one was easy to nail, of course.  Of course, it didn’t start out that way.  Thankfully you listened to me when I said to buy him during his slow stretch.  Who would’ve thought with the way his season started he’d break any records, let alone Jerry Rice’s?  Football is crazy like that, both in real and fantasy terms.  In the end, you still got what you paid for at the draft table.  Preseason Rank #1, 2012 Projections: 90/1550/14/20/0, Final Numbers: 122/1964/5/0/0

2. Brandon MarshallWhen in doubt, throw it to Marshall.  Pretty sure that was the game plan of every Bears game this year.  Fun with stats: there were only 4 games that Marshall did not lead the Bears in receiving and of those 4 games, only one time did the leading receiver have more than 100 yards for the game.  Record during those said games: 1-3 with the lone win coming with Earl Bennett’s week 17 109 yard output.  Basically put up these numbers with an o-line that couldn’t protect Cutler long enough for him to blink, let alone throw it so it’s quite amazing to see Brandon this high.  Preseason Rank #12, 2012 Projections: 85/1020/9/10/0, Final Numbers: 118/1508/11/-2/0

3. Dez BryantBryant had superstar written all over him the moment he came into the league.  He also had ‘handle with care’ and ‘fragile’ written all over him because he came with a lot of baggage.  Not sure if the mommy issues are fixed but his attitude seemed to about midway through the season.  Dez-tiny’s Child finally grew up and became a man…wait, did I just call Beyonce et al trannies?  Preseason Rank #18, 2012 Projections: 65/1050/7/0/0, Final Numbers: 92/1382/12/-5/0

4. A.J. GreenMy favorite comment out of all the hate I got for the wide receiver rankings was this.  Of course, if he meant I should’ve ranked him higher then maybe his statement makes sense now.  Something tells me he didn’t.  Oh and A.J. had a stretch of 9 straight games with at least 1 touchdown this season which had him anchored in as the top wide out for most of the year.  It was really more the top three exploding to end the year that knocked him out than it was Green’s performance.  Preseason Rank #9, 2012 Projections: 70/1120/8/40/0, Final Numbers: 97/1350/11/38/0

5. Demaryius ThomasDefinitely missed the boat on D.T. but my reasoning had more to do with Peyton than it had to do with talent; D.T. was raw, Manning refined and possibly broken.  Even with Tebow at the helm last year, Thomas proved useful.  I just didn’t think he’d be WR1 useful this year.  I’ll take my lashings and move on from it.  Preseason Rank #38, 2012 Projections: 55/880/5/0/0, Final Numbers: 94/1434/10/0/0

6. Vincent JacksonThe only thing that I ever disliked about V-Jax was his lack of consistency.  He’d go from WR1 superstar one week to putting up donuts the next week.  Too unpredictable and not worth the heartache given he was moving to a new offense with what was deemed an ‘inferior’ QB to Rivers.  Yeah, basically everything I just said turned out the exact opposite…as we all should’ve predicted.  Preseason Rank #22, 2012 Projections: 60/990/6/50/1, Final Numbers: 72/1384/8/0/0

7. Eric DeckerHere’s the wide receiver I was more into if I was drafting a Peyton WR.  I still had him much lower than where he ended up but I did say to target him as a cheap WR2 option.  This is me trying to find any way to not be entirely wrong about Peyton Manning.  You can also find this type of effort as an example in the dictionary under ‘fail’.  Preseason Rank #27, 2012 Projections: 70/980/7/0/0, Final Numbers: 85/1064/13/0/0

8. Andre JohnsonOk, here’s my second favorite quote from the wide receiver rankings.  Seriously, I must’ve posted this on a day where a bunch of people stopped smoking.  Lotta player hating going on.  The scary thing is, if Houston’s defense doesn’t implode midway through the year, I don’t think AJ finishes in the top 12.  Once the Texans were forced to throw to keep up, AJ stepped up and delivered but as any Andre owner can attest to, it was pretty quiet on the wide receiver front to start the year with this guy.  Preseason Rank #8, 2012 Projections: 95/1300/8/10/0, Final Numbers: 112/1598/4/0/0

9. Julio JonesTruthfully, the next two guys on this list finish 6 and 7, respectively, if Atlanta is playing hard during week 17 games.  I know this because I looked at the rankings after week 16 ended just to make sure.  In the end, it was a successful season and eerily close to my projections for Julio.  Preseason rank #6, 2012 Projections: 70/1100/10/50/0, Final Numbers: 79/1198/10/30/0

10. Roddy White – Another solid Roddy year under the belt with surely a few more to come.  His end of season rank behind guys such as V-Jax, D.T. and Decker also prove just how deep WR was this year and that overpaying for it – sorry, I still say you did – wasn’t needed.  Preseason Rank #7, 2012 Projections: 85/1175/8/0/0, Final Numbers: 92/1351/7/0/0

11. Marques Colston – Criminally underrated year in and year out.  According to MDC he went 20 spots after Roddy on average.  He also started the year with foot issues or else the end line might’ve been even better.  Here’s your low end WR1 that everyone forgot about on draft day.  Here’s to hoping he gets neglected again next year so we can pick him up again, eh?  Preseason Rank #10, 2012 Projections: 80/1120/8/0/0, Final Numbers: 83/1154/10/0/0

12. Wes Welker – Remember when everyone thought he was getting worked out of the offense?  Remember all the crazy panic and the ‘should I trade Welker for a used bandage and some hemorrhoid cream’?  I do, it was fun.  I told you to buy him in all that mess.  You’re welk-ome.  Preseason Rank #11, 2012 Projections: 110/1100/6/30/0, Final Numbers: 118/1354/6/20/0

13. Victor CruzIt started out so well…Cruz got Manning’ed this year.  For Decker and D.T., that was a good thing but for Cruz not so much.  The mathematical equation to describe what happened is ‘Cruz’s Consistency/Eli’s Inconsistency = Less Salsa’.  Preseason Rank #5, 2012 Projections: 90/1260/8/0/0, Final Numbers: 86/1092/10/0/0

14. Michael CrabtreeMichael owners can thank Jim Harbaugh for moving Alex Smith to the pine and Cap’n Kaepernick into the starting lineup.  Just for fun, let’s play the ‘what if’ game and say Kaep started all 16 games and played at this level.  Crabtree finishes with 11 touchdowns, 93 catches and 1360 yards and closer to a top 5 WR than merely a top 15.  Oh you’re excited for 2013 fantasy football already, I can tell.  Preseason Rank #32, 2012 Projections: 75/900/5/0/0, Final Numbers: 85/1109/9/0/0

15. Reggie Wayne – It was a fun start to the year, but we all knew it wouldn’t last.  That said, he performed above and beyond what you bought him for and well above what I projected him to do so you can both pat yourself on the back and laugh at me while you do.  Preseason Rank #43, 2012 Projections: 65/715/5/0/0, Final Numbers: 106/1355/5/-5/0

16. James Jones – Ugh…seriously, just ugh.  When did you start him?  Other than weeks 4 thru 6, there was rarely a time you could set it and forget it with JJ and for a guy that led all wide receivers in touchdowns that’s pretty nuts.  Key injuries to Packer players – most notably Nelson and Jennings – really put Jones in this position but I ask you again: when did you start him?  All year you say?  What do you play in, TD-Only leagues?  Preseason Unranked, 2012 Projections: 45/675/5/0/0, Final Numbers: 64/784/14/0/0

17. Randall CobbNow I get why this Packer is up here and he’ll be higher next year with Jennings most likely on his way out.  That said, Cobb’s numbers were also a reflection of how many injuries Green Bay sustained to start the year.  If Nelson and Jennings stay healthy, Cobb’s returning kick-offs and battling James Jones for the WR3 spot.  Fantasy Football at it’s wackiest.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 80/954/8/132/0

18. Mike WilliamsYet another pleasant late draft pick surprise, Williams really enjoyed playing second fiddle to V-Jax and it showed.  I thought he was a value on draft day but I’d be a liar if I said I thought it would be this much of a value.  Preseason Rank #34, 2012 Projections: 65/910/4/0/0, Final Numbers: 63/996/9/0/0

19. Steve SmithDisappointing season for sure, but when you consider he caught all 4 of his touchdown passes week 9 on, you can at least say he was playoff relevant for you.  Given the age and the play style, I don’t know if Smith keeps his WR2 status next year.  Just don’t let him know I said that.  Dude kinda scares me.  Preseason Rank #14, 2012 Projections: 75/1100/6/50/0, Final Numbers: 73/1174/4/27/0

20. Lance Moore – He probably bored more than a few of his owners over the year and played more like a WR3 than a WR2 but here he is to remind you why you picked him up and dropped him 5 times in 2012.  Preseason Rank #35, 2012 Projections: 60/660/8/0/0, Final Numbers: 65/1041/6/0/0