The Late Round Quarterback staff put together their wide receiver rankings for the 2013 season. The following rankings are based on standard wide receiver scoring in redraft leagues, where each touchdown is worth six points and one point is rewarded for every 10 rushing and receiving yards.
Little known fact about me: before I loved kickers, wide receivers were my one true love. While we spend a lot of time on here discussing strategy, I think sometimes we get away from the fun of the game. By far, the most fun position to own a stud in is wide receiver – but because they are so volatile drafting a wide receiver and playing a wide receiver has a ton of inherent, built-in risk.
Because of this risk, I think you might see a lot of dissension come draft time about which wide receivers belong where. Where there was no doubt, however, was that Megatron was the #1 wide receiver. Not a single ranker had Calvin Johnson at any spot lower than 1, and with good reason. His consistency in a wildly inconsistent world, not only with his production, but probably more importantly with his opportunity, makes him easily the number one wide receiver.
The rankers all did agree, to some extent, on how high they have AJ Green. Everyone had Green at 2 or 3 – and for me it all comes back to how consistent Green was. People poo-poo Green’s quarterback situation, but the fact of the matter is this guy was one of the most consistent performers every single week at the wide receiver position.
After Green, however, the dissention begins within the ranks. Perhaps the most interesting point of dissention, something I’ll be interested to see as we move closer to the draft, is where people draft Roddy White versus Julio Jones. JJ and I were the only two rankers who had Roddy ahead of Julio Jones. I understand the allure of Jones, but White has been a consistent performer year-after-year with no major signs of slowing down. Jones had some big games, sure – but he also had some absolute duds. I think we might be splitting hairs at this point, but I’ll take the established, consistent vet over the young upstart, particularly when that vet is Roddy White.
One guy who’s rank I’m surprised at is Dwayne Bowe, but probably not for the reason you think. I had Bowe ranked 19, which I thought would be amongst the highest on Bowe – I’ve always been the guy higher on Bowe than most of my league mates or contemporaries. Turns out, I was actually lower on Bowe than the average. Chad, Austan, JJ, and Travis had Bowe at 12, 14, 16, and 17, respectively – all better than my 19 rank. Meanwhile, Ladd was lowest on Bowe at 26 – which is sort of where I expected everyone else to rank him. Bowe’s got a ton of talent, but his quarterback is ultimately the untrustworthy Alex Smith. Might Bowe win up as the 12th best WR in the league this year? Could be – but I think at that point he will need to hit what I think is his ceiling to meet that draft position. Try and gauge where your league is on Bowe, because if he’s the 26th wide receiver off the board I think that’s very good value. If he’s at 12, let your league-mate reach.
The ranking of Mike Williams similarly surprised me. It’s clear that Williams, when put in a real-life WR1 position, he’s just simply not as good. His 2011 campaign was pretty abysmal, but with Jackson at his side in 2012 Williams was a very good fantasy wide receiver. I knew JJ would be high on him (and he was the highest on Williams, at 26), what I did not expect is that my ranking of 32 would be at the average. I thought 32 would be quite a bit higher than my fellow rankers, but if leagues are trending the way we are, I think that leagues are getting smarter and catching on to how good this guy is.
I also happened to be the highest on Eric Decker, which I did not think was unlikely to happen. I think people are sort of getting a little bit panicky about the number of targets in Denver. I understand people think Welker is just going to drink Decker’s milkshake – and that’s reflected in the rankings above as Travis and I were the only two to rank Welker below Decker – I think Welker is a much different wide receiver than Decker. I believe Decker has much more ability outside the hashmarks, and I think Welker will be eating the targets that previously went to Stokley, Tamme, and Dreesen more than he will eat into Decker’s targets. I think Decker and Welker are closer than most people ranked them, but our aggregate rankings are about right. I’d just flip them around.
One instance in which the rankings broke out as I thought they would was Desean Jackson. I was tied with Chad as the lowest on Jackson at 41, and Austan had him as high as 33. I’ve sort of gone back and forth over time on Jackson. When he had his first breakout season, I was not in on the Desean hype train at all. I felt he was a one trick pony and would fall back to earth like a ton of bricks. The Desean had another great season, doing The Jerk in the endzone and generally making me feel like a total idiot. Then, the year after, Jackson did what I thought he would and was pretty poor from a fantasy and real-life perspective. I just feel as though it’s pretty easy to take Jackson out of the game from a real life perspective. If he catches the ball he’s got a great chance to score six. The problem is getting him the ball – he is not that versatile of a receiver and does not have the best hands. I’ll probably be lowest on Jackson in every league I’m in – and I’m proud of it.