Week 1 Rankings (2014): Top 50 Wide Receivers

by Will Overton

There are plenty of question marks around the wide receiver position this year. There is also much more depth with more top of the line talent than ever before it seems. One thing that is changing is the fact that the number one spot on this list is no longer a foregone conclusion week in and week out anymore as you’ll see on this list. Here is how I see the top 50 shaking out for Week 1:

  1. Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis
  2. Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions vs. NY Giants
  3. Brandon Marshall – Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo
  4. Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco
  5. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans
  6. Alshon Jeffrey – Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo
  7. A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore
  8. Andre Johnson – Houston Texans vs. Washington
  9. Victor Cruz – New York Giants @ Detroit
  10. Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland
  11. Keenan Allen – San Diego Chargers @ Arizona
  12. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals vs. San Diego
  13. Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers @ Seattle
  14. Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers @ Seattle
  15. Michael Crabtree – San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas
  16. Michael Floyd – Arizona Cardinals vs. San Diego
  17. Pierre Garcon – Washington Redskins  @ Houston
  18. Vincent Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina
  19. Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans
  20. Percy Harvin – Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay
  21. Eric Decker – New York Jets vs. Oakland
  22. T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts @ Denver
  23. Marques Colston – New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta
  24. Reggie Wayne – Indianapolis Colts @ Denver
  25. Emmanuel Sanders – Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis
  26. Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville
  27. Torrey Smith – Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati
  28. Desean Jackson – Washington Redskins @ Houston
  29. Kendall Wright – Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City
  30. Cordarrelle Patterson – Minnesota Vikings @ St. Louis
  31. Julian Edelman – New England Patriots @ Miami
  32. Terrence Williams – Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco
  33. Mike Wallace – Miami Dolphins vs. New England
  34. Golden Tate – Detroit Lions vs. NY Giants
  35. DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans vs. Washington
  36. Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay
  37. Cecil Shorts – Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia
  38. Riley Cooper – Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville
  39. Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina
  40. Justin Hunter – Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City
  41. Brandin Cooks – New Orleans  Saints @ Atlanta
  42. Anquan Boldin – San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas
  43. Sammy Watkins – Buffalo Bills @ Chicago
  44. Reuben Randle – New York Giants @ Detroit
  45. Brian Hartline – Miami Dolphins vs. New England
  46. James Jones – Oakland Raiders @ NY Jets
  47. Greg Jennings – Minnesota Vikings @ St. Louis
  48. Danny Amendola – New England Patriots @ Miami
  49. Andrew Hawkins – Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh
  50. Donnie Avery – Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee

 

  • It may be a surprise to see Calvin Johnson not be at the top of this list. I think the gap has narrowed at the top of the WR list and matchups will dictate who ends up number one many times. With Wes Welker likely out now with a suspension and the Broncos facing a secondary that had a lot of issues last season, Demaryius Thomas should be putting up a big game. Expectations are high enough that I think he deserves this top spot.
  • I did debate where to put Antonio Brown on this list. Brown earned himself a permanent spot in the top ten of these lists with his 110 catch season last year. Brown emerged as a go to guy and one of the elite at the position. In week one though Brown draws the duty of squaring off with Joe Haden and Cleveland. At first glance it would make me want to downgrade him further, but in two games last season against the Browns he had 15 catches combined. Brown is almost good enough to be Joe Haden proof.
  • One of the great wild cards of the wide receiver position this year, and especially these first few weeks, is Percy Harvin. It’s basically been a season and a half with Harvin sitting on the sidelines injured. But, before that injury he was a top ten wide receiver. He’s also now the man in Seattle with Golden Tate out of town and Russell Wilson is a QB on the rise. The matchup with Green Bay should be a nice one to ease Harvin back into fantasy relevance and the reward outweighs the risk.
  • The hype train on Cordarrelle Patterson makes a ton of sense to me. He is athletic, fast and has an absolute ton of potential. At the same time we are still talking about a guy whose potential is great, but is still very raw and unproven on the field. Do I think he could end up being a top 25 wideout or even top 20? Absolutely. I still have my reservations though and I need to see the results on the field before I move him up.
  • Predicting the success of rookie wide receivers is no easy challenge and for the first couple weeks I will likely be taking the conservative approach. For this week the guy I am most likely to take a gamble on is Kelvin Benjamin in Carolina. Benjamin is the one rookie going into the season as the number one guy on his team. He’s also a legitimate goal line threat at 6’5 and so the likelihood of a TD score is much higher.
  • The forgotten man at the wide receiver position appears to be Brian Hartline. This guy caught 76 passes last season while topping 1,000 yards. In nine games he had five catches or more. While Mike Wallace might be the big play guy on the team and the higher upside fantasy player, Hartline is the solid go to target for Ryan Tannehill and has a solid rapport with the young, still improving quarterback. If you play in a PPR league Hartline likely bumps up 5 or more spots on this list as well.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 rankings:

 

Week 1 Rankings (2014): Top 40 Running Backs
Week 1 Rankings (2014): Top 15 Tight Ends

31 comments

  1. Jake says:

    Who do you think has more upside between Cody Latimer and Jordan Matthews?

    • Jake says:

      I want to add Jordan Matthews but not sure if anyone I have on my bench is worth dropping… Here’s my bench: Mike Evans, Andre Williams, Knile Davis, Cody Latimer and Travis Kelce.

      Are any of them worth dropping to pick up Jordan Matthews?

      Thanks for the help

    • Nah, I’d stick with the guys you have (especially given the whole Welker debacle at this point)

  2. Mark says:

    I have a few questions. What’s your stance on drafting 2 wr from the same team such as jordy nelson and randall cobb? I drafted jordy early then when I picked another wr Cobb was still there and I needed another wr and no wr left was even comparable to him so I had to grab him because of the value. Also, with both of them playing Seattle should I bench 1 of them this week? I have reggie wayne that I could sub in for 1 of them or would you just let both play seattle?

    • I don’t have an issue drafting two from one team if they are the best available, though it wouldn’t be my first choice. Especially this week, that’s a lot of risk given the matchup. Wayne could easily have a big day, so if you want to mitigate a little bit of risk he’s not a bad plug in for the week.

      • Mark says:

        Ok im assuming cobb would be the one you would bench between jordy n him?

        • It’s really a coin flip between the two. I actually preferred Cobb to Nelson entering the season and could easily see him out producing him this week.

          Generally I wouldn’t recommend sitting your studs, this week poses a little extra risk to starting both that’s all.

  3. Keegan says:

    Feeling good about having Marshall, Allen, and Cruz

  4. jack says:

    Hey rotoprofessor. I was gio bernard, keenan allen, and ebron for demaryus thomas, dennis pitta, and sankey. Thoughts? Im trying to get him to trade only bernard and allen for dmt, pitta, and davonte freeman. Any advice?

  5. Dale H says:

    Prof…Between Andre Caldwell,Cody Latimer,Dwayne Bowe,Aaron Dobson, Hakeem Nicks, or Brandon Cooks. Could you rate in order of best to worst. Got to drop two. Also would you start any of 4 you would keep in place of Maurce Jones Drew at flex. Want to pick up a couple waiver wire deals and need to cut two of these 6 wide recievers.

    • We talked about this yesterday, w/o Latimer in the mix. Dobson is the easy first cut. Caldwell is going to be the second.

      As for this week at FLEX, it’s tough and don’t love any of the options honestly. Latimer, Nicks and MJD would be in the mix. Depends on your risk tolerance.

  6. Dale H says:

    So you hang on to Bowe ??

  7. Todd says:

    Flex question…Colston or Gerhart??? Thanks.

  8. Jason says:

    Cooks or patterson?
    cooks or colston?
    maclin,patterson,t.williams or cooks?

  9. Billy Bats says:

    Hey roto, C. Patterson or M. Floyd? Considering Floyd with the ellington situation but Patterson has been getting so many looks. What’s your take?

  10. jay says:

    flex position:

    golden tate, pierre thomas, brandin cooks, cody latimer, jordan matthews or fred jackson?

  11. DANIEL says:

    wr and flex…patterson, maclin, k. allen? which two?

  12. Billy Bats – It’s Floyd all the way for me

    jay – I’m not as big on Thomas as some are, so I’d lean Fred Jackson (who sounds like he’s going to get the bulk of the carries). I like both RB better than the WR though

    Daniel – Allen is the top option for me, and then I’d go with Patterson as the second option

  13. Sue says:

    Any suggestions on which 2 wr for week 1? Green, Crabtree, Floyd, or Colston

    • Sue says:

      Green is a given

    • Colston would be the definite sit of the group for me, leaving us with two.

      Crabtree should be the easy, no-brainer option but the matchup could yield a more ground based attack and he did deal with an injury earlier in the week (he’s listed as questionable).

      With that I’d lean Floyd, though you can’t go wrong with either. As long as Crabtree is cleared prior to his start it’s almost a coin flip. Floyd could be the “safer” choice, though, especially given the questionable outlook for Andre Ellington.

  14. Dale H says:

    Dwayne bowe or malcome floyd or andrew hawkins…need to pick up a spare wide reciever. Got too many running backs. Thanks Prof

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