Fantasy Wide Receiver is the deepest position in most leagues, but its also one of the most important to winning each week. Volatility is the name of the game, but there are some consistent options at the top of the receiver pool that you can count on. Each week, you’ll be able to find our top 20 options here at Fansided.com with a brief analysis of what to expect from each receiver. The rankings are based on a simple composite of my rankings and my Fansided fantasy colleague Leo Howell. Here’s our top options for week 1:
1. Calvin Johnson-Detroit Lions Johnson is clearly the top receiver option and #1 on almost every list you can find. He and the Lions host the Vikings in week one who he torched for a total of 17 catches and 261 yards in two games last year.
2. Dez Bryant-Dallas Cowboys
Bryant emerged in the second-half as the #2 behind Megatron on most draft boards. He’ll start the season on Sunday Night Football against the Giants who he had 195 yards against in two games last season. He caught a touchdown in seven of his last eight games last season with 10 touchdowns during that span. Look for a big Sunday Night in Big D for Dez.
3. Victor Cruz-New York Giants
Cruz has a heel injury that is a concern but should be ready to go for the Cowboys. He actually didn’t do all that much against them last season, but is a deep threat in what should be a shootout making him an elite option this week.
4. Reggie Wayne-Indianapolis Colts
Wayne and the Colts have a great matchup against the talent-poor Raiders in Indy to start the season. While there may be some debate as to who is the second wide receiver on the Colts, it’s clear he’s Andrew Luck’s go-to option in a game where yards should be plentiful. \
5. Julio Jones-Atlanta Falcons
In what should be a great game for fantasy players, the Falcons open the season with a visit the Superdome to take on the Saints. Jones is in the magical “third year” which is typically the breakout year for receivers. Will this be the year he passes teammate Roddy White in terms of fantasy points? Whether he does or not, he should have a good week in New Orleans where he has had success in the past.
6. Vincent Jackson-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jackson will be matched up with his former teammate Antonio Cromartie as the Bucs head to the Big Apple to take on the Jets. V-Jax should be in for a big day if Doug Martin can take the pressure off Josh Freeman and leave Jackson 1-on-1 on the outside.
7. A. J. Green-Cincinnati Bengals
Green has a tough matchup in week one, but is still a top ten option as he and the Bengals open at Soldier Field against the Bears. Peanut Tillman is one of the best in the game, so drop your expectations just a bit for Green this week. He is heading into his third season and I expect a monster year, but it’s a tough start.
8. Brandon Marshall-Chicago Bears
Across the field from Green, Marshall will be matched up with the Bengals shutdown defense as he tries to reassure his fantasy owners that his hip injury is no longer an issue. The Bengals were great against the pass last year, and should be good again this year leaving Marshall in a tough spot week one. He’s still a top ten option, but he’ll typically be higher up on this list for the rest of the season.
9. Andre Johnson-Houston Texans
Johnson is the top pass-catching option in Houston by a long shot, and there may not be a true number two option. However, the Texans would much rather run the ball and play from ahead which they should be able to do against the Chargers this week. Like Green and Marshall, he’s still a top ten option, but it’ll be interesting to see how often the Texans take to the air against San Diego Monday Night.
10. Roddy White-Atlanta Falcons
White should definitely get his in the Falcons-Saints shootout. He always gets a ton of targets and should have a nice game although he was held to just one catch in his last game against the Saints.
11. Randall Cobb-Green Bay Packers
Cobb is a dynamic playmaker who should get the most targets this year from Aaron Rodgers with Greg Jennings out of the picture. He and Green Bay have a tough week one matchup as they travel to San Francisco where he had six catches for 24 yards in last year’s playoff game. The 49ers defense will look to shut him down again this week, but he should be able to improve on those numbers as the Pack look to avenge their playoff loss.
12. Larry Fitzgerald-Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald has been the victim of bad QB play the last few seasons but has shined whenever chance. The Cardinals brought in QB Carson Palmer and Head Coach Bruce Arians which should allow Fitzgerald to return to form. He does have a tough matchup this week against a rising Rams defense.
13. Marques Colston-New Orleans Saints While he doesn’t have the big-game potential of the Falcons options, Colston should also have a good game as he and the Saints host Atlanta. He had nine catches for 87 yards and a touchdown in the two games against Atlanta last season, but with Sean Payton back on the sidelines I expect the Saints offense to return to form.
14. Pierre Garcon-Washington Reskins
Garcon missed tons of time last season, but looked good when he was on the field as Robert Griffin’s top option. He and RGIII head to Phily to face a burnable Eagles secondary in a nice matchup for Garcon in week 1.
15. Demaryius Thomas-Denver Broncos
Thomas and the Broncos open against the Ravens Thursday Night. He should have a great year with Wes Welker drawing attention over the middle and leaving the big play available over the top for Peyton Manning and his big-play receiver. Thomas is less valuable in PPR, but carries more weight in long-TD rewarding leagues.
16. Danny Amendola-New England Patriots
With Wes Welker in Denver, Danny Amendola will man the slot for the Patriots as they head to Buffalo. They may not need to throw the ball too much and will probably spread the wealth, but Amendola is a solid WR2 option this week since he and Brady seem to have connected.
17. Antonio Brown-Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown enters his first year as the clear #1 wide receiver with a visit from the Titans. He caught a touchdown in each of his last four games last season and will look to pick up where he left off against a beatable Titans secondary.
18. Wes Welker-Denver Broncos
Give Welker a bump in PPR leagues since he’s sure to catch plenty of passes from Peyton in this one. He had a big game against Baltimore in the AFC Championship game with New England last year beating them for 117 yards and a score on eight catches. The only question with Welker is the target distribution since Manning has so many options in the Broncos stable of receivers.
19. Torrey Smith-Baltimore Ravens
Smith doesn’t have the Welker problem since he’s just about the only proven option Joe Flacco has to throw to. Ed Dickson at tight end and Jacoby Jones at WR have shown flashes in the past, but expect plenty of throws Smith’s way on Thursday Night in Denver. Last season in the playoffs against the Broncos, he had a monster game with 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’ll look to have a similar performance in the first game of the season, Thursday.
20. Desean Jackson-Philadelphia Eagles
Tied with Torrey for 19th, D-Jax and the Eagles face Washington on Monday night. He’s expected to get a good amount of looks in Chip Kelly’s new-look, blur offense and always seems to rise to the occasion on Monday Night Football especially against division foes. Kelly’s offense will be designed to get the ball into playmakers hands and Jackson is definitely one of the best Eagles’ playmakers.
Honorable Mention: Jordy Nelson-Green Bay Packers, Eric Decker-Denver Broncos, Dwayne Bowe-Kansas City Chiefs, Cecil Shorts-Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike Wallace-Miami Dolphins