2012 Fantasy Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers

Who belongs as the top receiver overall?  Has A.J. Green emerged as a WR1?  Where do sleepers like Demaryius Thomas fall on the rankings?  Let’s answer these questions and all the rest as we look at the Top 50 fantasy receivers for the coming season:

  1. Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions
  2. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals
  3. Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons
  4. Andre Johnson – Houston Texans
  5. Greg Jennings – Green Bay Packers
  6. Wes Welker – New England Patriots
  7. Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants
  8. A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals
  9. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
  10. Victor Cruz – New York Giants
  11. Mike Wallace – Pittsburgh Steelers
  12. Steve Smith – Carolina Panthers
  13. Brandon Marshall – Chicago Bears
  14. Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers
  15. Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys
  16. Marques Colston – New Orleans Saints
  17. Percy Harvin – Minnesota Vikings
  18. Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
  19. Vincent Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  20. Kenny Britt – Tennessee Titans
  21. Miles Austin – Dallas Cowbys
  22. DeSean Jackson – Philadelphia Eagles
  23. Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs
  24. Stevie Johnson – Buffalo Bills
  25. Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles
  26. Robert Meachem – San Diego Chargers
  27. Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers
  28. Brandon Lloyd – New England Patriots
  29. Torrey Smith – Baltimore Ravens
  30. Pierre Garcon – Washington Redskins
  31. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis Colts
  32. Anquan Boldin – Baltimore Ravens
  33. Mike Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  34. Darrius Heyward-Bey – Oakland Raiders
  35. Justin Blackmon – Jacksonville Jaguars
  36. Eric Decker – Denver Broncos
  37. Michael Crabtree – San Francisco 49ers
  38. Denarius Moore – Oakland Raiders
  39. Titus Young – Detroit Lions
  40. Greg Little – Cleveland Browns
  41. Sidney Rice – Seattle Seahawks
  42. Santonio Holmes – New York Jets
  43. Laurent Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars
  44. Malcolm Floyd – San Diego Chargers
  45. Lance Moore – New Orleans Saints
  46. Michael Floyd – Arizona Cardinals
  47. Nate Washington – Tennessee Titans
  48. Randy Moss – San Francisco 49ers
  49. Mario Manningham – San Francisco 49ers
  50. Kendall Wright – Tennessee Titans


  • I love Wes Welker as much as the next guy, but can we ever be sure how many opportunities he’s going to get in a given game?  The Patriots have so many other options and appear so intent on getting the ball to their tight ends, it really has to be questioned and pushes him back just a handful of spots (though he’s still an obvious WR1).
  • Which Giants’ receiver should be drafted first, Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz?  Obviously I’d go Nicks, but that’s a debate that we are going to look at in detail in the coming days.
  • In his rookie season A.J. Green posted 65 receptions for 1,057 yards and 7 TD.  Impressive numbers, and I would fully expect him to be able to improve upon them in 2012.  It gets even better when you realize he converted those numbers on just 116 targets (tied for 24th in the league).  With experience and more opportunities, Green should perform like a Top 10 option.
  • Brandon Marshall is going to be reunited with quarterback Jay Cutler in Chicago this season.  Obviously he had continued to produce in Miami, as he’s posted over 1,000 yards in five consecutive seasons, though he’s been doing it with fewer receptions.  From 2007-2009 with the Broncos, Marshall posted over 100 receptions and at least 6 TD (including a 10 TD season in 2009).  While only ’08 & ’09 came with Cutler at the helm, the fact is that he’s going to have a much better QB throwing him the ball.
  • We’ve talked about the Broncos’ wide receiving corps (click here to view) and why I think Demaryius Thomas has the potential to have a monster 2012 campaign with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball.  He’s obviously a risk, but when I’d happily take.
  • Is Kenny Britt healthy?  Can he stay on the field for a full season?  Obviously, his health is currently a major question and will have a major impact on his ranking.  For now I’m going to leave him, but if it appears he’s not going to be ready for the start of the season (whether it is due to injury or his latest run in with the law) he is going to drop quickly.  Consider his spot on these ranking tenuous at best.
  • Robert Meachem left New Orleans for San Diego, where he will likely operate as the team’s top receiver.  He’s a gamble, because he’s never managed more than 45 receptions or 722 yards (both coming in 2009), but he was also always buried on the depth chart.  Things should be much different this season.  I wouldn’t take him as more than a WR3, but he has upside for much more.
  • Will Reggie Wayne be able to produce with Andrew Luck at the helm?  Throw in his age and he’s a WR3 and nothing more.
  • Will this be the season that Michael Crabtree finally realizes his potential and emerges as a viable option?  It’s hard to predict, especially considering the system, the emergence of Vernon Davis in the playoffs and the additions of Mario Manningham & Randy Moss.  That said, the potential is still there so as one of my top reserves I’d be willing to roll the dice.

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:

2012 Rankings: Top 15 Defenses
2012 Fantasy Rankings: Top 30 Quarterbacks


  1. Randy says:

    I think your rankings are pretty solid, but if there are any players I feel you might be undervaluing, they’d be Jeremy Maclin and Eric Decker.

    • That’s fair, can’t please everybody :-p

      Decker still has a lot to prove, and I’m thinking Demaryius Thomas is the guy to own in Denver. For me, Decker is a low-end WR3 no matter what.

      With Maclin, it’s tough. If DeSean Jackson decides to show up, he is going to be the clear top receiver. If not, Maclin could definitely post a monster season.

  2. 9er Nation says:

    I would absolutely love to get M. Austin as the 21st WR off the board. That is highway robbery. I have been targeting him in many mocks so far. Needless to say he is way higher on my board. He is still the #1 WR in Dallas in my book.

  3. Max McDonald says:

    Sleeper Alert on a WR that did not make the top 50 list above…Jonathan Baldwin K.C. doesn’t exactly have Joe Montana throwing him the rock…getting looks as #1 wideout with Bowe out!

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