In week one of this season, there were more passing touchdowns than any week in NFL history. Not only does that mean big points for quarterbacks, but that also means there are points to be had in the pool of fantasy Wide Receivers. While some big name’s struggled others got off to a great start and some solid sleeper options emerged.
As usual, there’s more volatility at this position than any other, 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. We had some disagreement and some unanimous picks this week, but here’s our top 20 options headed into week 2:
1. Brandon Marshall-Chicago Bears
The diversity in our picks starts off right at the top where we don’t have a unanimous #1 option. Instead we end up with a tie for first between Marshall (who Leo had #1 and I had #3) and AJ Green (who we both had at #2). Marshall erased any concerns about his hip with eight catches for 104 yards and a touchdown while drawing double-digit targets. This week he’ll face the Vikings who did a good job against Calvin Johnson last week allowing just four catches for 37 yards for Megatron. Marshall is definitely a top option at wide receiver and should be started in any format you can.
1. A.J. Green-Cincinnati Bengals
Green is another no-question elite option who dueled Marshall and ended up with much better numbers even though the Bears won the game. Green finished with nine catches for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He finished just a point behind Victor Cruz for the highest-scoring WR in ESPN Standard scoring comes home for a Monday Night matchup against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s pass defense looked good week one, but that was against Jake Locker and the Titans who don’t have an A.J. Green-type weapon. He’s an easy must-start on a weekly basis.
3. Calvin Johnson-Detroit Lions
I’m a little higher on Megatron than Leo who has him at 4 while I have him #1 overall. He had a rough week one finishing with 37 yards and four catches, but is in a great matchup week 2 against the Cardinals who gave up 299 yards passing to Sam Bradford and the Rams in their week one loss. I expect a huge bounce-back week for Johnson this week, so don’t think about sitting him on your bench.
4. Andre Johnson-Houston Texans
Johnson turned in a throwback game as the Texans rallied from their big deficit in San Diego. Johnson finished with 12 catches on 16 targets for 146 yards. Only Anquan Boldin received more targets and Johnson also finished in the top five in receiving yards. This week, Johnson and the Texans come home to face the Titans who many think Houston will blow out. If they do, they could rely more on the their running game, but Johnson showed us week one he’s ready to deliver with Houston has to take to the air.
5. Reggie Wayne-Indianapolis Colts
Wayne is clearly Andrew Luck’s go-to receiver and can be yours if he’s on your fantasy roster as well. He finished week one hauling in every single one of his eight targets while finishing with 96 yards and a touchdown. He doesn’t have the potential to go off for a huge number like the other top options, but he’s as steady as they come. Wayne and the Colts host Miami this weekend, but with Luck under center Wayne is just about matchup-proof.
6. Larry Fitzgerald-Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald enjoyed his QB upgrade in week one as he and Carson Palmer connected for a pair of touchdowns even though he only pulled in eight of his 14 targets. He finished with 80 yards and looks like he’ll be back to elite WR1-receiver-level with Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer breathing new life into his fantasy value.
7. Randall Cobb-Green Bay Packers
Cobb had 108 yards and a touchdown in week one against the ‘niners and now comes home to face the Redskins on a short week. The Packers should be able to exploit the Washington defense which looked vulnerable against he Eagles on Monday Night. Cobb is a WR1 as he will be all season.
8. Vincent Jackson-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Leo, who covers the Bucs, has Jackson all the way up at number 3 on his list. He did have a monster week in week one going for 154 yards on seven catches against the Jets. I have him as a borderline WR1 but just struggle to count on Josh Freeman after a rough week one. Jackson has had success against his week two opponent the Saints in the past, but New Orleans defense looked improved as they limited the high-powered Falcons attack. Jackson is a good start this week and is definitely the top option if Josh Freeman does start chucking.
9. Demaryius Thomas-Denver Broncos
Thomas had a huge week one with 161 yards on just five catches taking two of those passes to the end zone. It would have been a disappointing game except for a 78 yard catch and run in the second half, but Thomas definitely showed his WR1 potential. The question for me with Thomas is just the ball distribution since the Broncos Peyton Manning will spread things around. Denver’s next victim is the Giants who took away Dez Bryant against the Cowboys effectively in week one. Thomas should still be in for a solid game, but may not reach last week’s totals.
10. Dez Bryant-Dallas Cowboys
Speaking of Bryant, he is one of our three-way tie for the ten spot. Bryant did get an MRI on his foot, but the Cowboys do expect him to play week two against Kansas City. He may be hampered by injury, but if you have him you have to start him as long as he’s active. I’d avoid him in daily leagues since there are less risky options.
10. Julio Jones-Atlanta Falcons
Jones found the end zone while catching seven passes for 76 yards against the Saints on Sunday. With Roddy White limited by a high-ankle sprain Jones should get more attention from both Matt Ryan (more targets) and opposing defenses (more coverage). Jones and the Falcons face a Rams defense in week 2 which is on the rise but did get beat quite a bit by the Cardinals last week. Jones is another WR1 you have to play if you grabbed him in your draft.
10. DeSean Jackson-Philadelphia Eagles
Jackson looked right at home in the high-powered, high-volume Eagles offense Monday night. He finished with seven catches on nine targets and grabbed a touchdown to go with 104 yards. D-Jax looks like he could be back to WR1 levels, but is definitely worth getting in your lineup as a second WR as he and the Eagles host the Chargers in Chip Kelly’s first home game. San Diego got beat by Andre Johnson and the Texans, so expect another solid day from Jackson.
13. Victor Cruz-New York Giants
Cruz was the top scoring wide-receiver in week one thanks in large part to his trio of touchdowns. He was the only receiver to catch three scores even though he only caught five passes for 118 yards. He was targeted less than Brandon Myers and the same as Hakeem Nicks and Da’Rel Scott, but was clearly the big-play threat and the Red Zone favorite of Eli Manning. I think he’s in for another good week as the Broncos come to town in the Manning bowl since there should be plenty of points slug around. Leo is less high on Cruz since he doesn’t have him in his top 20.
14. Wes Welker-Denver Broncos
Welker is one that Leo and I agree is a solid middle of the road WR2. We actually both have him ranked 15th but he moves up due to disagreement on other options. The question isn’t whether he’s got talent or if the Broncos will put up points. The only issue what receivers the Giants take away while giving others room to work. I think New York focuses on Thomas and Welker will have a solid game.
15. Marques Colston-New Orleans Saints
Colston had a beautiful diving touchdown and caught five of his six targets for 68 yards on Sunday against Atlanta. Colston is in a tough matchup against Darrelle Revis this week but is still a WR2 in most formats.
16. Jordy Nelson-Green Bay Packers
Nelson narrowly missed my top 20, but Leo ranked him at 13. I have no problem with him as your second wide receiver in a solid matchup with the Redskins, but Aaron Rodgers spreads the ball around effectively. I think it’s Randall Cobb who has the big game this week, but both he and Nelson should be in fantasy lineups. He hauled in seven passes for 130 yards and a touchdown week one against San Francisco.
17. Steve Smith-Carolina Panthers
Smith led the Panthers in receptions with six while only Greg Olsen got more targets from Cam Newton. Smith got the Panthers only score on a three-yard strike from Newton in the first quarter. He and Carolina had to Buffalo for week 2 against a Bills defense that looked solid against New England week 1. I had Smith just outside my top 20, but I don’t have an issue with him as your second wide receiver either.
18. Julian Edelman-New England Patriots
Sometimes the situation works out perfectly for a meteoric rise in a receiver’s value. Edelman seems to be on that path this week after a big week one. Edelman caught both the Patriots touchdowns as part of his seven receptions for 79 yards. This week, the Patriots are expected to be without Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, and Shane Vereen due to injury leaving Edelman as the one proven option for Tom Terrific as he and the Pats welcome the Jets. Expect him to play a big role on Thursday Night, and he’s definitely worth a scoop and start if he’s still on waivers. Edelman was nowhere near the top 20 heading into week 1, but in week w he’s in both mine and Leo’s top 20.
19. Pierre Garcon-Washington Redskins
Garcon and Shorts tie for the 20th and final spot this week. Garcon was targeted a team-high 11 times by RG3 and finished with a team-high seven catches for 64 yards. Leonard Hankerson grabbed both scores, but Garcon definitely showed enough rapport with Griffin that he’s the clear top option in the Washington passing game. Garcon and RG3 take on the Packers this week after Green Bay gave up 400 yards through the air to Colin Kaepernick and 200 yards receiving to Anquan Boldin. Garcon is a great value play as a WR2 this week and is a nice daily league play as well.
19. Cecil Shorts-Jacksonville Jaguars
Shorts is free of Blaine Gabbert for this week and has excelled with Chad Henne under center before making him a nice sleeper play and the Jags take on the Raiders. He only had three catches week one for 40 yards but should exceed those numbers by quite a bit this week.
Honorable Metion: Dwayne Bowe-Kansas City Chiefs, Torrey Smith-Baltimore Ravens, Anquan Boldin-San Francisco 49ers, Mike Williams-Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If you have any specific questions about WR to start/sit, shout them out on twitter @ZT_Sports or drop them in the comments at the bottom of the page. Try to let me know if you’re in a PPR or non-PPR league as well since that does make a big difference.