This week, I came to a realization. We are at the halfway point of the NFL regular season. This means we only have eight more weeks of Fantasy Football.
Every year we plan so long for the season. We remind ourselves not to take it for granted, reminded by the long, harsh offseason. Yet we still manage to do exactly that.
I admit that Fantasy Football takes up more of my time than it probably should. Chances are, if you are reading this, that probably applies to you too. Maybe it is best for all of us if that the season isn’t so long. Wrong. I, and probably you as well, couldn’t care less if it takes up our time. We should try and preserve the season, and there is one great way to do that.
You better win your league. From personal experience, I can assure you that the best way to keep the Fantasy spirit alive is sporting your league trophy right on your very own desk. If your league doesn’t have a trophy, then you better get one, because your league must suck.
Back on topic, you need to win your league, and I as well as the other “So-Called Fantasy Experts” are here to help. My Rest-of-Season rankings series is a great way to get a second opinion on how good your players actually are stacked up to the rest of their positions. This week, we will be going over wide receivers. Without further ado, let’s get into the rankings.
Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings
No. 1: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
A huge game against the Panthers and many other solid performances have put Jones as the No. 1 scoring Fantasy WR entering Week 8. Julio still could score a few more touchdowns, and can disappear from time-to-time (just like he did this week: three catches, 29 yards and zero touchdowns), but there isn’t too much to complain about with Julio. Everyone knows that he is one of the best wide receivers in Fantasy, and I even have him penciled in as the No. 1 overall, and I don’t think that too many people will argue with that.
No. 2: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
By now, you know the story with Brown this year. He was a consensus No. 1 overall pick and is enjoying another great season, but people are still expecting a bit more. He is “only” on pace for 1,353 yards and 11 touchdowns. These numbers, especially the yards, are a noticeable drop-off from his amazing outputs in 2014 and 2015. Still, having a player playing so well and still being a slight disappointment can only mean he is one of the best players at his position. Even with Ben Roethlisberger’s health up in the air at this moment, Brown remains a weekly high-end WR1.
No. 3: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Green has always had the potential to be a Top 3 Fantasy wide receiver, and this year he has blossomed into exactly that. His 18 targets in Week 8 show how heavy his role has been in the Bengals offense, and Green owners have reaped in the benefits. He has elite upside every week, and he entered the week as the No. 2 scoring wide receiver despite only scoring three touchdowns on the year. With his 6’4″ frame, he is bound to find the end zone more often, and that could even boost his value, but even now, he is a high-end WR1.
No. 4: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Like A.J. Green, Mike Evans is another player who seemed on the verge of a breakout and finally has this year. Despite only topping 100 yards once this season, Evans is turning his huge size (6’5″) into touchdowns, six of them to be exact. Also like Green, he has a very heavy role in his teams offense, as he sits at third in the NFL in targets entering the week with 73, three more than Green. Evans is another high-end WR1.
No. 5: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
Those who counted on OBJ to be their full-on stud WR1 this year have been disappoitned. The only reason he is in the Top 10 in Fantasy scoring is because of his huge Week 6 performance against the Ravens. However, Beckham is an amazing player and has an easy schedule the rest of the way, so you can’t count him out yet.
No. 6: T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
The NFL’s leader in targets entering Week 8, Hilton is in the midst of the best season of his career. While the targets may go down with the return of Donte Moncrief, he still retains immense value. He struggled in Week 8 but still has elite upside and should continue to produce consistently. His speed gives him the chance to score on any given play, and he has used it to have a couple of huge games this year. He is a mid-WR1 for the rest of the year.
No. 7: Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
This year has been no sophomore slump for Cooper, as he has built on last years success with another great season. The Raiders offense has been pass heavy, and this has allowed both Cooper and Michael Crabtree to thrive. Cooper has four 100 yard games already this season, but he only has two touchdowns. If he can find the end-zone more often, Cooper makes for a good mid-WR1.
No. 8: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Jordy has everything you would want out of a WR1. He has talent, a good quarterback, a pass heavy offense and a great track record. The one thing holding him back is the Packers abundance of receivers. It is hard to believe that they are supplying Fantasy value for so many players at one position at the same time, but they are. Jordy might disappear some games, but more often than not he will be able to put up WR1 numbers.
No. 9: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
As shown by his success last season, Hopkins isn’t lacking of talent. The thing holding him back is Brock Osweiler, who has been awful this season. If I had Hopkins, I wouldn’t feel too great about it, however, he still possesses enough upside to be considered a weekly WR1, but he is one with a low ceiling.
No. 10: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
After battling injuries for what has seemed like forever, Dez Bryant is (hopefully) back for good. On Sunday Night against the Eagles, he had four catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. He could have been even better if he would have caught more of his 14 targets, but they weren’t his fault. Barring injury, Dez should be able to rise up this list in the coming weeks.
No. 11: Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
A lot of people slept on Benjamin, including me, and we all have been wrong so far. Benjamin has picked up right where he left off in 2014 and is on his way to a nice Fantasy season. He has had at least 70 yards or a touchdown in all games he has played this season, outside of his Week 3 goose-egg against the Vikings. This consistency is ever so valuable in Fantasy, and his elite touchdown upside makes him a high ceiling player. He is a great low-end WR1
No. 12: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald is truly ageless. The future Hall of Famer is going to be able to add another great season to his long list that he has compiled throughout his amazing career. He has been Carson Palmer’s favorite target this season, and that has resulted in consistency that has allowed him top top 60 receiving yards in all games but one. He also has five touchdowns on the year which always helps out. Fitz is best used as a high-end WR2, but as this ranking suggests, he could also be considered a low-end WR1.
No. 13: Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
I said a similar thing in my last WRs article, and I will say it again. I love Cooks as a WR2. While he can disappear some games, he has crazy upside that can win you a game on any given week. His five touchdowns on the season have also been crucial to maintaining as much consistency as he possibly can. All things considered, he is a high-end WR2 in the Saints high powered passing offense.
No. 14: Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
It is kind of crazy to think about what Crabtree is doing in Oakland. He is dominating week in and week out as the No. 2 wide receiver on the Raiders depth chart. Outside of an outlier game against the Chiefs, Crabtree’s worst Fantasy week has been nine standard points. His huge workload to go along with consistent yardage totals and six touchdowns on the year give him one of the highest floors in football. I almost feel bad not having him higher considering how great he has been this year. All in all, he is an ideal high-end WR2.
No. 15: Brandon Marshall, New York Jets
If someone was to ask you how Brandon Marshall was going to produce if Eric Decker was out for the year, you probably would have predicted double of what he has had so far. His two touchdowns so far are a huge downgrade from his total of 10 last year, and it is a mystery considering that he is by far the best red zone threat on the Jets with Decker out. He also hasn’t had the best of yardage totals. His workload and track record brings reason for optimism, and there is a chance that he can produce like a WR1 very soon, but either way, he is a great WR2.
No. 16: Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Too bad Cobb missed his Week 8 matchup, as he was finally beginning to return back to his 2014 self. However, this Packers team wants to pass a lot, and you can bet that Cobb will be a huge part of that. He should be back for Week 9, and will hope to build upon the WR2 foundation that he has created for himself in the past few weeks.
No. 17: Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
As expected, Landry has been a PPR machine, but he has also been a good option in standard leagues. He has had 59 or more yards in all but one game this year, and as I have stated throughout this rankings series, consistency always has value. His lack of touchdowns (one on the season) holds him back from anything higher than WR2 status, but his consistency makes him exactly that.
No. 18: Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Although drops have once again been a problem for Thomas this year, he has put up another solid season in Denver so far. A heavy role in the Broncos’ passing game compensates for the fact that he doesn’t have the best quarterback, and while his current pace of 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns would be his worst season since 2011, those numbers are still good enough for a WR2.
No. 19: Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
You can make the argument that Robinson has been the biggest bust in all of Fantasy. It isn’t all his fault, as Blake Bortles has been atrocious, but Fantasy owners only care about the numbers their player put up, no matter who’s fault it is. Coming into the Week, Robinson only had one game with 70 yards receiving. He had a decent week in Week 8 with six receptions while posting his second 70-plus yard game of the year, but the number to watch is his targets. He had 15, and this shows that Blake Bortles knows that he has to get the ball into the hands of Robinson. There is still a chance that he could bounce back into WR1 territory, but I would rather bet on inconsistent Robinson being an inconsistent WR2.
No. 20: Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
Marvin Jones burst onto the Fantasy scene early this year. After his amazing start, he has settled in nicely as a solid WR2 who has scored over seven standard Fantasy points in every game this year coming into the week. The streaked was snapped in Week 8, as he only managed 33 yards against the Texans. His targets and catches have been noticeably down since the first three weeks, but his big play ability will likely keep him in the WR2 conversation more weeks than not.
No. 21: Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
Up until this week, Jeffery’s entire Fantasy season had been a huge disappointment. I believed he had a chance to bounce back in Week 8 even against the Vikings great pass defense because of the return of Jay Cutler. He had four catches for 63 yards and his first score of the season. Right now he will make for a solid WR2 with room to improve, but he has also been the center of trade rumors recently, and depending on the team he would be traded to, it could also boost his Fantasy stock.
No. 22: Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns
While Charles Woodson’s prediction of 1,800 yards on the season may have been a bit unrealistic, not many people even thought Pryor would approach his current production. He has had a consistently heavy role in the Browns offense, and has also managed decent yardage totals and a healthy amount of scores. His contributions through the passing and running games also don’t hurt. While he may see a bit of a downgrade with the return of Corey Coleman, he has established himself as the top option in the Cleveland offense and should be able to produce low-end WR2 numbers.
No. 23: Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
In a prime matchup against a pathetic Saints secondary, Baldwin failed to take advantage as he only managed four receptions for 51 yards. He has been inconsistent this year, and has shown to have a very low floor. However, if Russell Wilson can eventually heal up, it would surely benefit Baldwin. For now, he is a low-end WR2 with upside and the potential to improve.
No. 24: Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
Matthews ended 2015 by stringing together a few nice performances which made him a prime breakout candidate this year. After bursting onto the scene in Week 1, he has only managed solid, albeit unspectacular performances since. In Week 8, he posted his second best game of the year, with 11 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. In order to win games, the Eagles will need to find ways to get the ball to Matthews, and that certainly helps his outlook. The pass defenses that he will face in the upcoming weeks are also rather weak. If he can maintain a heavy role and score a few touchdowns, he makes for a good WR2, but for now, he is best considered as a low end WR2
No. 25: Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
Even with Peyton Manning gone, Sanders has managed to retain value in the Fantasy world. His steady share of targets makes him a reliable option every week. While he is producing consistent yardage and catches, Trevor Siemian still isn’t a great quarterback and he doesn’t score enough touchdowns to be a sure bet as a WR2. He isn’t the worst WR2, but I would prefer owning him as a high-end WR3.
No. 26: Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
In his first game since Week 2, Moncrief had four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 40 yard touchdown called back. The Colts were very happy to have Moncrief back, and Andrew Luck welcomed him back immediately with nine targets. He should be able to reclaim his low-end WR2 value that he had pre-injury, and that is always valuable on your Fantasy team.
No. 27: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
To the surprise of most, Michael Thomas has been the rookie breakout wide receiver this year. He has three touchdowns on the year, and has managed over 55 yards in all games but one. As a highly drafted rookie, his role will only go up, so we could be looking at a WR2 by the time this season is over. For now, he is a great WR3.
No. 28: Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
As mentioned in the Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb sections, the Packers have a lot of damn wide receivers! While I am sure the Packers are thrilled, Fantasy owners are not. Adams has had 25 catches on 30 targets in the past two weeks, but that role is unsustainable. While the looks should go down, his touchdown share and value should stay. He should be a good WR3 moving forward.
No. 29: Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
After being shot out of a cannon to start the year, Diggs looked the part of a WR2. However, he has struggled since then, but did manage a solid line on Monday Night against the Bears with eight catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. With Sam Bradford at the helm of the Minnesota offense, Diggs will have a low floor, but he still should manage to put up WR3 numbers for the rest of the season.
No. 30: Tyrell Williams, San Diego Chargers
With Keenan Allen out for the year, Williams has done a decent job filling in as the de facto lead wide receiver for the Chargers. In games not against the Broncos, he has only had one where he failed to top 60 yards. He has had two games of over 100 yards, and while he only has two touchdowns, his 6’4″ height makes room for growth in that department. Williams is a fine WR3 for the rest of the year.
We hope you liked our 2016 Rest-of-Season Wide Receiver Rankings! Make sure to come back next week as we take another look at our rest-of-season tight end rankings.
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