Week 1 Rankings: Top 40 Wide Receivers

Week 1 is just days away now, with lots of news coming in to help affect these rankings.  How does Peyton Manning’s injury hurt Reggie Wayne and company?  How do the Cowboys’ receivers stack up taking on the Jets?  Where could the surprise performances come from?  Let’s answer those questions and more:

  1. Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons – at Chicago
  2. Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions – at Tampa Bay
  3. Vincent Jackson – San Diego Chargers – vs. Minnesota
  4. Andre Johnson – Houston Texans – vs. Indianapolis
  5. Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants – at Washington
  6. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Carolina
  7. Brandon Marshall – Miami Dolphins – vs. New England
  8. DeSean Jackson – Philadelphia Eagles – at St. Louis
  9. Mike Wallace – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Baltimore
  10. Greg Jennings – Green Bay Packers – vs. New Orleans
  11. Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Buffalo
  12. Mike Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Detroit
  13. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  14. Brandon Lloyd – Denver Broncos – vs. Oakland
  15. Santonio Holmes – New York Jets – vs. Dallas
  16. Kenny Britt – Tennessee Titans – at Jacksonville
  17. Wes Welker – New England Patriots – at Miami
  18. Anquan Boldin – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Pittsburgh
  19. Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys – at New York Jets
  20. Santana Moss – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
  21. Mario Manningham – New York Giants – at Washington
  22. Stevie Johnson – Buffalo Bills – at Kansas City
  23. Mike Thomas – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Tennessee
  24. Miles Austin – Dallas Cowboys – at New York Jets
  25. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons – at Chicago
  26. Marques Colston – New Orleans Saints – at Green Bay
  27. Malcolm Floyd – San Diego Chargers – vs. Minnesota
  28. Chad Ochocinco – New England Patriots – at Miami
  29. Percy Harvin – Minnesota Vikings – at San Diego
  30. Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles – at St. Louis
  31. Braylon Edwards – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Seattle
  32. Pierre Garcon – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  33. Austin Collie – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  34. Steve Smith – Carolina Panthers – at Arizona
  35. Davone Bess – Miami Dolphins – vs. New England
  36. Sidney Rice – Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
  37. Jacoby Ford – Oakland Raiders – at Denver
  38. Mike Sims-Walker – St. Louis Rams – vs. Philadelphia
  39. Danny Amendola – St. Louis Rams – vs. Philadelphia
  40. Lance Moore – New Orleans Saints – at Green Bay


  • The questions with Hakeem Nicks are if Eli Manning can finally find his form (because he didn’t in the preseason) and if the Giants will change to more of a run first approach.  Will Nicks continue to get his catches?  Absolutely.  Will he be one of the top receivers in the league?  You’d think so.  However, if those questions weren’t hanging over him he would’ve had the potential to be the top option this week against the Redskins.
  • Will Peyton Manning play or won’t he (though things are significantly starting to look like he will be on the sidelines)?  If he even does suit up, will he be 100%?  These questions help to suppress the value of all of the Colts’ wide receivers in Week 1.  Don’t expect it to last very long, however.
  • Two-time Pro Bowl free safety Brandon Meriweather was cut, leaving a little bit of a question mark in a Patriots’ secondary that was well below average in 2010.  In fact, it was among the worst in the league, allowing 258.5 yards per game.  They were better in the preseason (187.0 passing yards/game), but how much can we really read into that?  Brandon Marshall and company could be inline for a big game.
  • Miles Austin vs. Darrelle Revis.  It’s unfortunate, but Austin has to be considered, at best, a WR2 in Week 1.  I’d still use him unless you are loaded with alternatives, but be prepared for a poor week.  Will that mean Tony Romo and Dez Bryant going after Antonio Cromartie?  It could be a big week for Bryant, making him an attractive WR2.
  • We all know that Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco and company are going to get their opportunities to produce.  The question is, who is going to be the focus this week?  Will it be the receivers?  How about the running backs?  Maybe the pair of young tight ends?  That type of uncertainty helps to suppress everyone’s value a little bit, though chances are everyone could end up more than usable.
  • Kenny Britt was able to avoid league suspension, despite his numerous offseason indiscretions.  Now, he needs to get down to business and make a statement in Week 1.  He draws a Jaguars defense that was poor against the pass in 2010 and the worst in the league in the preseason (292.0 passing yards/game as well as 7 TD allowed).  While he may not have the best QB tossing him the ball, he has the opportunity to put up some impressive numbers this week.
  • Will Jeremy Maclin be completely up-to-speed in Week 1?  I’m not willing to take the risk, personally, and would only consider him a WR3 until he proves otherwise.
  • Mike Thomas was a preseason sleeper for many.  Now, in Week 1, he’ll have the chance to make those who selected him look extremely smart.  The Titans’ were among the worst passing defenses in the league in 2010 and followed that up by again looking unimpressive in the preseason.  Thomas should be considered a viable WR2 in all formats.
  • Does anyone have faith in the Seattle Seahawks wide receivers with Tarvaris Jackson as the QB?  Sidney Rice is nothing more than a WR3 right now (and Mike Williams more of a bench warmer), though a change at QB could lead to significantly more value.

Make sure to check out all of Rotoprofessor’s Week 1 Rankings:

Week 1 Rankings: Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 1 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs


  1. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Ok so here is the first of my many “Weekly Lineup” decisions that I need to make (#1 of 16, to be exact)

    I need to start 1 RB, 2 WR and 3 Flex… Also, we have PPR scoring (.5 pts) enabled ONLY for WR/TE (PPR does not apply to RBs). Here are my options:
    -Ray Rice vs PIT
    -McFadden @ DEN
    -Mendenhall @ BAL
    -Daniel Thomas vs NE
    -Ryan Grant vs NO
    -J Stewart @ ARI
    -B Marshall vs NE
    -M Colston @ GB
    -Mike Williams (TB) vs DET
    -J Maclin @ STL
    -M Austin @ NYJ
    -Amendola vs PHI

    My definites are Rice, DMC, Marshall and Williams. I was thinking that Maclin would be an easy choice, but seeing your ranks above makes me concerned. So who would you pick as your top 6 skill players from this bunch?

    • I would definitely agree with your Top 4 must plays. I think I would also include Mendenhall in that group, bringing it up to 5.

      The final spot is a real wild card. Austin is tough, based on the matchup. If Maclin had been healthy during training camp, I’d agree he was a good play, but there is a bit of risk there regarding if he’ll be 100% up-to-speed or not. Colston is another injury risk, though he did perform in the preseason and is more a long-term injury risk.

      If you are a gambler, I could see riding Maclin. Othersie, it’s Colston or Austin, depending on your opinion there. I’d probably go Austin, but it’s a real toss-up.

  2. Ryan Booker says:

    How do you see things for the ‘Skins versus NYG this weekend? Grossman getting the start over Beck seems like it might mean Santana Moss will get the ball a little more.

    I am starting LeSean McCoy at RB and Greg Jennings and Dwayne Bowe at WR1 and WR2 in a 16-team, non-PPR league but I need to decide between Tim Hightower, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Santana Moss, Plaxico Burress, and Devone Bess for my flex. I’m leaning towards Hightower or Moss but having trouble making up my mind between the two.

  3. mark says:

    at flex would you start boldin over b jacobs?
    and is deion branch worth keeping on the bench and when to start him any ideas
    thx mark

  4. Ryan – I actually liked Moss regardless of who was starting at QB, though I do think Beck’s upside is greater than Grossman’s. I think Hightower vs. Moss is probably close, though in that type of situation I generally err towards the RB. Hightower should get his rushing yards, plus could be a nice safety valve as the Giants get a pass rush. I’d go with him.

    mark – I would definitely go with Boldin, as Jacobs is going to be sharing carries and his exact role may not be known. As for Branch, it’s hard to say exactly when he could become a viable option. It will depend on your other options and matchups, though Boldin will likely always be a better option.

  5. joseph says:

    can’t decide on flex….britt or best? i am thinking britt because of the jags pass D but am i crazy!?

    • I would not call you 100% crazy. I have Britt as the #16 WR for this week, compared to Best as the #22 RB. So, you could argue it either way and both are good options. I’d lean towards the RB (though format does matter), but if you feel stronger towards Britt I wouldn’t call it a poor decision.

      • Joseph says:

        My concern with Best is not only the concussion he suffered which can have unforeseen effects in season play but how effective Stafford was in the preseason and his only real flaw is being injury prone. Yes if he comes up big early this can mean big numbers but against Tampa bay with Freeman at the helm I am worried it will be a QB shootout. I will go with Britt but only because I am projected to win by 46…fingers crossed.

  6. Gamer says:

    lol. I too was comparing Javid Best to Kenny Brit for my flex (and Ryan Mathews). I’m leaning towards Best. But your rankings have me wondering if Britt should be my WR2 over Stevie Johnson. Should Britt’s hamstring and lack of playing time not concern me as much?

  7. Alex says:

    On my roster i have both miles austin and dez bryant, my first reciever is roddy white. U really think i shud start dez bryant over miles austin this week because of revis?

    P.S. Joseph Addai or Felix Jones as third runner this week?


  8. Gamer – It’s a concern, but the Jaguars just aren’t expected to be very good. I do like his upside more than Johnson’s this week, but if you are worried Johnson is a nice fallback option.

    Alex – I would go with Bryant over Austin, assuming Revis is going to shadow Austin. That would give Bryant a good opportunity to put up big numbers. As for the RB, I like Addai this week w/o Peyton.

  9. Benson says:

    I need three receivers this week I am starting Roddy White, Anquan Boldin,

    for my third option I have Nate Burleson, Chad Ochocinco, Jacoby Ford, and my sleeper Andre Roberts

    I am at a loss for which should round off my three?

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