Week 4 Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers

There have been some impressive performances in the first few weeks of the NFL season, especially in the passing game.  Should we expect things to change for the coming week?  Do we ride the hot hand or look for the next shining star?  Let’s take a look at how things look for the coming week:

  1. Wes Welker – New England Patriots – at Oakland
  2. Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions – at Dallas
  3. Vincent Jackson – San Diego Chargers – vs. Miami
  4. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals – vs. New York Giants
  5. Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants – at Arizona
  6. Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons – at Seattle
  7. Mike Wallace – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Houston
  8. Greg Jennings – Green Bay Packers – vs. Denver
  9. Andre Johnson – Houston Texans – vs. Pittsburgh
  10. Brandon Marshall – Miami Dolphins – at San Diego
  11. Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Minnesota
  12. Stevie Johnson – Buffalo Bills – at Cincinnati
  13. DeSean Jackson – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
  14. Brandon Lloyd – Denver Broncos – at Green Bay
  15. Santana Moss – Washington Redskins – at St. Louis
  16. Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Detroit
  17. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis Colts – at Tampa Bay
  18. Steve Smith – Carolina Panthers – at Chicago
  19. Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
  20. Sidney Rice – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Atlanta
  21. Denarius Moore – Oakland Raiders – vs. New England
  22. Mike Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Indianapolis
  23. Lance Moore – New Orleans Saints – at Jacksonville
  24. Nate Washington – Tennessee Titans – at Cleveland
  25. A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Buffalo
  26. Santonio Holmes – New York Jets – at Baltimore
  27. Anquan Boldin – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New York Jets
  28. Percy Harvin – Minnesota Vikings – at Kansas City
  29. Eric Decker – Denver Broncos – at Green Bay
  30. Mike Thomas – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. New Orleans
  31. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons – at Seattle
  32. Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers – vs. Denver
  33. David Nelson – Buffalo Bills – at Cincinnati
  34. Deion Branch – New England Patriots – at Oakland
  35. Robert Meachem – New Orleans Saints – at Jacksonville
  36. Nate Burleson – Detroit Lions – at Dallas
  37. Johnny Knox – Chicago Bears – vs. Carolina
  38. Mario Manningham – New York Giants – at Arizona
  39. Devery Henderson – New Orleans Saints – at Jacksonville
  40. Dexter McCluster – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Minnesota
  41. Mike Sims-Walker – St. Louis Rams – vs. Washington
  42. Early Doucet – Arizona Cardinals – vs. New York Giants
  43. Davone Bess – Miami Dolphins – at San Diego
  44. Plaxico Burress – New York Jets – at Baltimore
  45. Torrey Smith – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New York Jets
  46. Mohamed Massaquoi – Cleveland Browns – vs. Tennessee
  47. Titus Young – Detroit Lions – at Dallas
  48. Danario Alexander – St. Louis Rams – vs. Washington
  49. Jabar Gaffney – Washington Redskins – at St. Louis
  50. Jacoby Ford – Oakland Raiders – vs. New England

Thoughts:

  • Mike Wallace was thought of as nothing more than a big play receiver entering the season.  All he’s done thus far is catch 21 passes for 377 yards and 2 TD, putting him second in receiving yards (behind Wes Welker’s 458) and tied for third in receptions (again behind Welker, who has 31).  He’s clearly entrenched himself as a WR1 at this point.
  • Speaking of Welker, while the Patriots like to move the ball around, he is the only player who has been targeted at least 10 times in each of the first three weeks.  That speaks volumes, especially as he prepares to take on a Raiders’ defense that is fifth worst against the pass (289.7 passing yards/game).  How can we not consider him the top option this week?
  • Andre Johnson is one of the elite receivers in the game.  No one is going to argue that fact.  However, taking on a Steelers defense that has been dominant (as expected), it is going to be a tough week.  He’s a WR1, but temper expectations this week.
  • While Dwayne Bowe got off to a poor start in Week 1, he is starting to turn things around (9 receptions for 168 yards and 1 TD over the past two weeks).  He draws a Vikings defense that is among the worst in the league against the pass, allowing nearly 300 yards per game, so Bowe should be a solid option this week.
  • If Brandon Lloyd is healthy he could be in for a big day against a Packers defense that has been susceptible to the pass thus far this season.  Monitor the news, but consider him a lock at WR2 if he’s going to take the field.
  • Even if Brandon Lloyd is back in the lineup, you have to believe Eric Decker is going to play a major factor.  Forget about what he’s done thus far (15 receptions for 214 yards and 2 TD), the team is likely going to be locked into a shootout with the Packers.  He should continue to produce and is a good play in all formats.
  • It isn’t that Reggie Wayne isn’t getting the ball thrown his way, as he’s had at least 8 targets all three weeks.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to convert them (despite 13 targets, he had 3 receptions for 24 yards in Week 3).  There has been talk that the Colts could make a change at QB this week, so don’t lose hope yet.  He’s going to continue to be a major focus in the offense and, sooner or later, you have to think it is going to click.
  • The targets for Santonio Holmes have gone from 10 to 4 to 2 over the first three weeks.  Really?  It’s impossible to think that will continue, and the Jets could make a concerted effort to get him the ball this week against Baltimore.  However, with the recent trend, he’s a major risk.
  • Detroit’s defense is very good, there’s no arguing that.  However, facing Kansas City and Minnesota helps matters.  Look for the Cowboys, and specifically Dez Bryant (and Jason Witten), to try and exploit them a bit.  Bryant is getting healthy and should get more than the 4 targets he received in Week 3 (he converted all 4 to receptions, picking up 63 yards).  He’s a solid WR2.
  • Sidney Rice made quite the splash in his 2011 debut, picking up 8 receptions for 109 yards (and he was targeted 10 times).  He draws a Falcons defense that has given up the 11th most passing yards in 2011 (261.0 yards/game).  He’s a risky option, but a viable one as a WR2.
  • Week in and week out, Johnny Knox is becoming more and more involved in the Bears’ offense.  After losing his starting spot in the preseason, he has gone from 4 to 6 to 9 targets.  We all knew that he was the most talented option and it was just a matter of time before he became the top option for the team and a borderline usable for fantasy owners.
  • Is Mario Manningham healthy?  He’s going to be a risky option at this point, especially with Victor Cruz breaking out in Week 3.

Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessor’s Week 4 information:

Week 4 Rankings: Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 4 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

18 comments

  1. Ket says:

    I have Nicks, Austin, Maclin, L Moore to go with Pettigrew, AHernandez, T Gonzalez for a WR and 2 WR/TE slots.

    Do I drop Gonzalez to pick up Colston who’s on waivers? They say he plays this weekend.

    • He may play this weekend, but I don’t think he’s going to have value quite yet.

      I don’t have a problem dropping a TE, but I’m not sure Gonzalez is the one I’d drop. He has proven in the early going that he can still produce and is a playable option. I would think, given the format, you would be able to trade him to get value back, no?

      I’d be more apt to drop Moore for Colston, personally. Moore is too unpredictable and, given the other options, I don’t think you’d use anyways. However, as I said, I’d try packaging maybe Moore & a TE for something as opposed to dropping them.

      • Ket says:

        Thanks – I’ve offered a trade of DeAngelo Williams and Tony Gonzalez for Shonn Greene and not taken…

        Moore when healthy has been productive, but Sproles dips into his production. All NOs WRs have this issue -even Colston. Though Colston is more valuable for the season than Jacoby Ford, Danny Amendola, etc – also on waivers.

        Are you thinking to drop Pettigrew vs. Gonzalez? He had 70 catches, 500+ yds last year without Stafford half the season.

  2. Mike W says:

    I am going to tell you who I have on my team in hope that you could give me advice as to whether or not I should make any trades or if my team is good as is. Here is my team:

    QB Philip Rivers
    RB Rashard Mendenhall, Beanie Wells
    RB/WR Daniel Thomas, David Nelson
    WR Reggie Wayne, Brandon Lloyd
    TE Dustin Keller
    D/ST Redskins
    K Mason Crosby

    Bench:Antonion Gates, Roy Williams, Jerome Simpson, Devery Henderson, Rex Grossman, Victor Cruz, Torrey Smith

    Any thoughts? I appreciate it…

    • I think you could use depth in the RB spot. While your three options are fine, Wells/Thomas are far from elite or sure things. Adding another borderline option for bye weeks/tough matchups would go a long way.

  3. Bruce says:

    What’s going on with Mike Williams (TB)? You don’t even have him ranked for week 4.

  4. Bruce says:

    Who would you want for the rest of this season? Percy Harvin (Min), Marques Colston (NO), Sidney Rice (Sea), Mike Williams (TB).

  5. Bruce – Thanks for the heads up! Williams was an oversight, but he has been added to the rankings as a low-end WR2.

    As for the other question, I’d probably say Colston or Williams, but in any given week any of the four could be the better option. Do you have to drop any of them?

  6. stephen says:

    I currently have
    WR:
    Calvin Johnson
    Mike Wallace
    Stevie Johnson
    Santonio Holmes
    Mario Manningham
    RB:
    Chris Johnson
    Rashard Mendenhall
    Peyton Hillis
    Jahvid Best

    My league starts 2 WR 2 RB and a Flex. I can never make up my mind on starting stevie johnson in the flex over one of my RBs since they arre having down years. Someone offered to trade me M.J.D. and Julio Jones for Mike Wallace and Jahvid Best. Should I accept this to lose depth at WR but gain top 5 RB and possibly stop losing hair over who to start? That said who would you start? Thanks again.

  7. Eric says:

    Hi Rotoprofessor,

    I have Maclin on my team but with both he and Vick recovering from injuries I just don’t trust him as a pick, especially since he limited me on points last week in what was supposed to be a favorable matchup. I’m planning on playing Denarious Moore instead.

    In your opinion, do you think we can take Maclin seriously this season after the horrendous performance by the Eagles last weekend? There are so many things stacked against the Eagles’ throw game and Maclin right now:

    - Vick is getting hurt almost every game.
    - Maclin has now sustained an injury as well.
    - Vick has no offensive line and therefore is ending up on the ground pretty much anytime they don’t do a running play, which will be bad for passing points.

    All of these things are making me wonder if I should just try to get rid of him for a flex receiver on a team where I can expect the receiver and the QB to stay healthy most of the season and have a decent number of passing plays.

    Thanks for your insight!

  8. stephen – I would start:
    RB – Johnson & Best (though Hillis is real close, if healthy)
    WR – Johnson & Wallace
    FLEX – I’d probably go S. Johnson if it’s a PPR (If not, we need to discuss further)

    As for the trade, I wouldn’t be sold that MJD is going to remain a Top 5 back, so I’d have a little bit of trepidation with the deal. Look around and see what others are offering.

    Eric – Maclin has a ton of upside, so I wouldn’t just write him off due to the injuries. At the same time, if there is someone who is willing to pay top dollar for him, I wouldn’t hesitate. Kick the tires and see what’s available (then again, I never believe in untouchables)

  9. stephen says:

    thanks again. My league isn’t ppr, and the new offer on the table is M.J.D. and Desean Jackson for Wallace and Best. I feel like I would be losing depth, but gaining on my starters. I think that I would be losing overall value on the trade. Am I overvaluing my players? Also, How do you feel about willingly losing in trade value to improve your starting team?

    • That’s an intriguing deal and really depends on how you value the players. If you love your guys, then I wouldn’t have an issue standing pat. Jackson/MJD is a very fair offer, though they do offer a lot of injury risk.

  10. Josh says:

    In a league that isn’t ppr and no flex(???), 3 WR format, starting Jennings and VJax, what are thoughts on my #3? Cruz, Burelson, SimsWalker, Torrey SMith @ #3?

    Burelson should tear it up against Cinci’s D, SimsWalker had one good week, Cruz is moving up the ranks with everyone elses injuries, and Smith is a long shot.

    Also, only have two RB’s, which two would you start: Foster, K. Hunter, Starks, McGahee? Lets just say it’s say its probably not gonna be a good season…

    • For the WR, I’d go with Burleson. He just has the highest upside.

      As for the RB, it’s tough to say until we know who’s going to be playing and who isn’t. All I can say is monitor the news and go with the guys who appear to be primed for the most carries.

  11. Andrew says:

    I’m in a deep league, so pick 3 to start.

    Mohammed Massoquoi, Mario Manningham, Mike Sims-Walker, Brandon Gibson, Dane Sanzenbacher, Malcom Floyd, Victor Cruz, and Anthony Armstrong.

    As of now I’m starting Massoquoi, Manningham, and Sims-Walker. I figure Cruz probably won’t get much more time since Manningham’s back, Sanzenbacher is a #3 so he probably won’t have the type of success he’s had the last 2 weeks, Armstrong drops too many passes and will either get me like 10 points or 0, and Floyd may or may not play much. Also, as the Rams new #1 I figure Sims-Walker is bound to get his first TD reception soon. If you think I’m wrong with any of this, please let me know

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