2012 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers 21-40
These 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers Rankings will be updated often throughout the summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out my other 2012 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2012 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens. Bye: 8. AUG. 24 UPDATE: Torrey Smith dominated Jacksonville. The secondary had no answer for the second-year wideout, who is not just a burner anymore. Smith now runs a variety of routes, which means he's probably going to have a huge season if you factor in his pure talent level. It's no coincidence that Smith had 12 targets, eight catches and 103 yards in two-and-a-half quarters of action. He's a stud. Get him on your team.
Torrey Smith played really well at times as a rookie last year, racking up 50 receptions, 841 yards and seven touchdowns despite doing absolutely nothing in the first two weeks of the season. Smith is talented enough to become Baltimore's No. 1 receiver. It helps he has the best quarterback in the NFL throwing the ball to him. OK, maybe not.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 77 catches. 1,140 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 156.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 233.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles. Bye: 7. AUG. 21 UPDATE: Jeremy Maclin saw just two targets from Nick Foles at New England, one of which was intercepted. Foles didn't look comfortable throwing to Maclin, preferring DeSean Jackson by a wide margin.
Jeremy Maclin's mysterious sickness is completely gone, which is obviously great news. He's in much better shape and should have a great season - as long as the starting quarterback stays healthy. The quarterback is always hurt, however, so you run the risk of getting minimal production from Maclin in the weeks that Mike Kafka has to start.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 72 catches. 1,070 yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 155.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 227.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Bye: 7. AUG. 21 UPDATE: DeSean Jackson had a huge outing at New England. He saw a combined eight targets from Nick Foles and the other guy, catching four of those balls for 82 yards. Foles really seemed to prefer throwing to Jackson over Jeremy Maclin. That's good to know for when Foles is forced into the lineup early in the regular season.
DeSean Jackson suffered a monstrous hit in a Thursday night battle against the Texans during the 2010 season. Ever since then, he's had only three games in which he's topped 100 yards. Aside from being very overrated, Jackson is way too brittle. Let someone else spend an early pick on him.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 64 catches. 1,110 rec. yards. 70 rushing yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 154.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 218.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins. Bye: 10. AUG. 26 UPDATE: Pierre Garcon continued to serve as Robert Griffin's primary receiver. He was the only Redskin to receive more than three targets against the Colts. He saw six balls come his way, catching three of them for 29 yards. Two of the other misfires were deep downfield, where Griffin just barely overthrew him. The two will eventually connect on those as they continue to play together.
AUG. 11 UPDATE: Pierre Garcon appears to be Robert Griffin's favorite receiver. He saw four of Griffin's six attempts go his way, catching three of them for 58 yards and a touchdown in just one quarter of action of the preseason opener. It's a small sample size, but Griffin really seems to favor Garcon, so he definitely deserves a stock up arrow.
The Redskins overpaid for Pierre Garcon when they signed him to a 5-year, $42.5 million contract in March. He has great speed, but drops way too many passes. He'll undoubtedly frustrate Robert Griffin at times, but there's no questioning that Garcon's play-making ability meshes well with Young Griff's deep accuracy.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 73 catches. 1,060 yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 154.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 227.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts. Bye: 4. AUG. 20 UPDATE: Reggie Wayne caught six passes for 74 yards in one half of action against the Steelers. Andrew Luck really locked into him in the second quarter, targeting him a whopping eight times when no other wideout (or tight end) saw four balls go their way. With Austin Collie injured, Wayne's stock is definitely going up.
Reggie Wayne shocked the football world when he re-signed with the Colts in mid-March. It was a foregone conclusion that he'd either follow Peyton Manning or go back to his old stomping grounds in Miami, but Wayne opted to re-sign with the only team he's ever played for. Wayne will have to endure Andrew Luck's growing pains, but Luck, even amid possible rookie struggles, will be a billion times better than Dan Orlovsky, Curtis Painter and Kerry Collins were last season.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 83 catches. 1,120 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 154.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 237.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs. Bye: 7. AUG. 25 UPDATE: Dwayne Bowe suited up for the first time this preseason. He didn't start against the Seahawks, but he entered the game on the second drive. He nearly came up with a 15-yard reception on the team's third possession and then later dropped a ball. The only target he actually converted was a 9-yard sliding catch. I'm not a fan of Bowe this year; he held out for so long and it looks like that's going to negatively impact his 2012 campaign.
AUG. 18 UPDATE: Dwayne Bowe has signed his franchise tender, concluding his holdout. Bowe is still at risk to have a down season because he has missed so much training camp time, but there's a better chance now that he'll have a solid campaign.
AUG. 1 UPDATE: Dwayne Bowe's holdout continues. Bowe won't get the long contract he's coveting right now, so he's either making a dumb decision on his own or getting bad advice from his agent. Either way, he's not practicing, so his statistical output probably won't be as high this year as it should be.
Dwayne Bowe somehow managed to catch 81 passes for 1,159 yards and five touchdowns despite the fact that Tyler Palko and Kyle Orton were throwing to him for half the year. Matt Cassel will be back, so that's a plus. The problem is that Bowe is threatening to hold out because he doesn't want to sign his franchise tender. Players who hold out usually struggle, so be careful.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 73 catches. 1,100 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 152.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 225.
Marques Colston, WR, Saints. Bye: 6.
Marques Colston just signed a 5-year, $40 million contract with $19 million guaranteed. Colston has exceeded the 1,000-yard mark in five of his six NFL seasons, so it was well deserved. Unfortunately, Colston, like all of the other Saint players, could have a down year because of the whole Bountygate scandal.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 79 catches. 1,100 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 152.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 231.
Miles Austin-Jones, WR, Cowboys. Bye: 5. AUG. 20 UPDATE: Jerry Jones told the media that Miles Austin-Jones will be out for the rest of the preseason with his hamstring injury. Austin-Jones is tentatively expected to be back in Week 1, but who knows at this point? His hamstring injury has been bothering him for two years now and simply will not go away.
AUG. 7 UPDATE: Miles Austin-Jones strained his hamstring Saturday. Cowboy personnel dismissed this as a big deal, but considering Austin-Jones missed lots of time last year with this same injury, it should make you think twice about drafting him.
Miles Austin-Jones had a miserable 2011 campaign, as a nagging hamstring injury limited him to 43 catches in 10 games. He later revealed to the media that he wasn't prepared to play football last year because of the lockout. He'll be ready this time. I see no reason why Austin-Jones can't revert back to 2009 and 2010 form. He didn't miss a single game in those two seasons. Buy low.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 68 catches. 1,090 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 151.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 219.
Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers. Bye: 4. AUG. 29 UPDATE: Mike Wallace has finally reported to the Steelers. While this is good news, it's very unlikely that he'll be a big producer this year. Not only is Wallace way behind in learning Todd Haley's playbook; he's also at risk of being yet another holdout who has a bad year because of missed time.
JULY 29 UPDATE: Mike Wallace may now hold out into the season in the wake of Antonio Brown's extension. There's also a chance he could be dealt to a team with a worse and/or more inexperienced quarterback than Ben Roethlisberger.
Mike Wallace is holding out for a long-term contract - he apparently wants Larry Fitzgerald-type money - which is definitely not a good sign. Players who hold out well into training camp usually get hurt or just underproduce that season. Unless Wallace agrees to terms sometime soon, I'd stay away.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 62 catches. 1,000 yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 136 (151).
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 198 (213).
Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers. Bye: 7.
Malcom Floyd ascends to San Diego's No. 1 receiver in the wake of Vincent Jackson's signing with the Buccaneers. Floyd has proven that he can post big numbers as Rivers' top downfield target, so he could be in for a huge 2012 campaign.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 57 catches. 1,080 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 150.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 207.
Nate Washington, WR, Titans. Bye: 11. AUG. 12 UPDATE: Matt Hasselbeck's favorite receiver in the preseason opener was Nate Washington; he targeted him four times. Washington caught three of those balls for 24 yards. He can be started as a WR3 or flex as long as Kenny Britt is injured and/or suspended.
AUG. 5 UPDATE: I discussed moving up Nate Washington in a recent fantasy mock draft because Kenny Britt is sure to be suspended. You can see a list of all of the fantasy mock drafts by clicking the link.
Nate Washington somehow tallied 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns last year, but don't expect him to come close to that figure in 2012. Kenny Britt will be back, rookie Kendall Wright will command playing time, and young wideout Damian Williams will be on the field more often. Washington will probably be overdrafted in your league because of his 2011 numbers, so stay away unless he really falls.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 75 catches. 1,060 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 148.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 223.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders. Bye: 5. AUG. 19 UPDATE: Darrius Heyward-Bey saw five targets from Carson Palmer versus Arizona, but came up with one catch for 14 yards. He could have scored a touchdown, but dropped a pass in the end zone. Palmer doesn't look very good, so Heyward-Bey will get a stock down this week.
Well, wouldn't you know? Darrius Heyward-Bey is a "great playa" after all. Heyward-Bey finished with 64 catches for 975 yards and four touchdowns, but he did all of his damage late. His final five games: 29 receptions, 456 yards, three scores. Translated over 16 games: 92 catches, 1,459 yards, nine touchdowns.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 71 catches. 1,050 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 147.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 218.
Titus Young, WR, Lions. Bye: 5. JUNE 6 UPDATE: Titus Young made headlines for punching safety Louis Delmas and getting thrown out for OTAs. Well, he's back, and he's been the star on offense, catching every ball in sight. With Calvin Johnson destined to suffer from the Madden Curse, Young will be a huge part of Detroit's aerial attack this year.
Titus Young shared targets with Nate Burleson as a rookie, but he'll have a bigger role in his second NFL campaign. We already had a hint of what's to come late in 2011; Young caught 19 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns in the final five weeks. He should be able to maintain (or even beat) that pace this year - especially if the Madden Curse smites Calvin Johnson. There's some concern that he was suspended for punching a teammate, but that will likely blow over by training camp.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 75 catches. 990 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 141.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 216.
Kendall Wright, WR, Titans. Bye: 11. AUG. 24 UPDATE: Kendall Wright looks really good. He caught four of the five passes thrown to him for 44 yards and a touchdown. His best play was a 29-yard leaping grab. He's the real deal and is worth taking in the final rounds as a high-upside flier. Jake Locker really looks comfortable throwing to him.
AUG. 12 UPDATE: Jake Locker seemed to like throwing to rookie wideout Kendall Wright, who caught all three targets thrown his way for 47 yards in the preseason opener. There's little doubt that Locker will be named the starter sometime soon, which bodes well for Wright's fantasy prospects.
JULY 24 UPDATE: Ah, so that's why the Titans spent the 20th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on Kendall Wright. Kenny Britt was arrested for the eighth time, so he'll be facing suspension. Wright will have to be a big part of Tennessee's offense immediately.
It's possible that Kendall Wright could have the best rookie year of all the receivers. He's very talented, and out of the Titans, Jaguars (Justin Blackmon) and Cardinals (Michael Floyd), Tennessee has the most stable quarterbacking situation. Also keep in mind that Kenny Britt may not be 100 percent, so Jake Locker may opt to lean on the speedy rookie.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 57 catches. 930 yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 138.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 198.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers. Bye: 5. AUG. 18 UPDATE: Josh Freeman tried to get something going with Vincent Jackson. He targeted him thrice, but Jackson could only come up with one catch for eight yards. Freeman and Jackson haven't looked like they're on the same page through two preseason games. Perhaps they'll gel eventually, but this has to be a concern. Avoid Jackson in your fantasy draft because he's going way too early.
Like Sidney Rice a year ago, Vincent Jackson showed very little regard for his career and instead chased the money to a location with mediocre (or worse) quarterback play. I'd stay away from Jackson unless he somehow really falls in your fantasy draft. He doesn't care about football very much, so counting on him to win fantasy games would be a mistake.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 60 catches. 950 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 137.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 197.
Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders. Bye: 5. AUG. 19 UPDATE: Denarius Moore continues to miss action with a hamstring injury that has lingered for a month now. This is now troubling, so I'm going to move him down my 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings.
Denarius Moore is a very talented deep threat. He was impressive as a rookie last year, catching 33 balls for 618 yards and six touchdowns. His numbers could soar, given that he has an entire offseason with Carson Palmer.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 55 catches. 920 yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 134.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 189.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars. Bye: 6. AUG. 31 UPDATE: Justin Blackmon led the Jaguars with six targets against Atlanta's backups. Blackmon won't find the end zone very much this year, but it appears as though he'll be useful in a PPR league. Blaine Gabbert is too craven to throw the ball downfield, so he's going to keep settling for short junk to his rookie wideout.
AUG. 24 UPDATE: Blaine Gabbert seems pretty comfortable throwing to Justin Blackmon, who saw a team-high eight targets at Baltimore. Blackmon caught four of those balls for 72 yards. Gabbert may really struggle at times this year, but it appears as though Blackmon will still be capable of posting solid fantasy numbers.
AUG. 19 UPDATE: Justin Blackmon caught all four of his targets for 48 yards and a touchdown at New Orleans. He looked good, as he broke tackles on numerous occasions. With Blaine Gabbert perhaps being somewhat functional, Blackmon is back on the fantasy radar.
JUNE 19 UPDATE: Justin Blackmon has been a bit of a disappointment at the Jacksonville OTAs. He just hasn't looked like a No. 1 receiver because of a lack of game-breaking speed. Of course, it could be the quarterback's fault. I guess we won't know until Blaine Gabbert is upgraded.
JUNE 6 UPDATE: Justin Blackmon is an idiot. He was arrested for an alleged DUI, reportedly blowing a .26. He could be suspended for one or two games. If Blaine Gabbert wasn't enough to keep you away from Blackmon, maybe this will.
Poor Justin Blackmon is going to rot away in Jacksonville as long as Blaine Gabbert is under center. Having said that, he's worth a late-round flier because Chad Henne could take over by October. I'm not saying Henne's any good, but he's a billion times better than Gabbert.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 70 catches. 920 yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 128 (133).
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 198 (203).
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans. Bye: 11. AUG. 31 UPDATE: Roger Goodell has apparently gone soft because Kenny Britt somehow received just a one-game ban. This is obviously good news for him, though his shaky knees remain a concern.
JULY 24 UPDATE: It's official - Kenny Britt is an idiot. He was arrested last week for the eighth time; this occasion being for a DUI. Britt will undoubtedly be suspended. Match that up with his shaky knees, and you have a guy who now should not be drafted until the double-digit rounds.
Kenny Britt tore his ACL last year, but did so in September. He's already making cuts. However, there has been swelling, and he told the media, "hopefully I will be back." Players are usually cocky, so that statement is a bit worrisome. Britt is worth a mid-round gamble, but make sure you have extra receiving depth just in case.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 54 catches. 860 yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 122 (132).
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 176 (186).
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers. Bye: 9. AUG. 27 UPDATE: Michael Crabtree was the only Niner to see more than one target from Alex Smith against the Broncos, catching all three of them for 21 yards. It was a small sample size, but it's an indication that Smith still prefers throwing to him over anyone else despite all of the additions the front office made this offseason. Miguel Lobsterbush is going really late in fantasy drafts, so he provides some good value in the double-digit rounds.
Miguel Lobsterbush has never lived up to being a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft. He actually posted career-high figures last year, catching 73 balls for 880 yards and four touchdowns. Crabtree was shut down in the playoffs, prompting the 49ers to bring in Mario Manningham and Randy Moss. Crabtree is still the No. 1 wideout, however, and unlike last year, he's not holding out. It wouldn't surprise me if he took another step forward.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 71 catches. 930 yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 129.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 200.
Greg Little, WR, Browns. Bye: 10. AUG. 25 UPDATE: Greg Little saw five targets from Brandon Weeden versus Philadelphia, but came up with just one catch for three yards. Little is such a frustrating, inefficient receiver. He has loads of potential, but just can't seem to live up to it.
AUG. 17 UPDATE: Greg Little led the Browns with four catches (on a team-high five targets) for 45 yards in one half of work at Green Bay. He also nearly scored a touchdown, getting tackled at the 1-yard line in the second quarter. Though he had a drop - an issue that plagued him last year - Little can be a WR3 this season if Brandon Weeden plays well. Weeden improved in his second exhibition contest, so that's a good sign.
JUNE 6 UPDATE: Brandon Weeden compared Greg Little to Justin Blackmon, minus the DUI, of course. Little, Cleveland's No. 1 receiver, reported to OTAs in fantastic shape. He came into the league with good athleticism, and now it seems like he's taking football seriously. Try to get Little on your roster in the late rounds.
The Browns wanted to draft Kendall Wright, but the Titans snatched him two picks earlier. Cleveland didn't end up with anyone who could challenge Greg Little's claim as the No. 1 wideout. Add in the upgrade at quarterback, and Little could end up being a borderline WR3.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 69 catches. 900 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 126.
Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 195.
I think Dalvin Cook is the best fit, but it's close...they need a CB to replace Josh Norman, but it's a deep class. And I'm sure Rivera is looking at Barnett and Charlton, a DE is always on their list.
As the NFL Draft approaches, I will be making weekly adjustments up until the 27th of April. Rest of the writeups will be coming later this week. Any questions/comments/criticisms can be voiced in the comments. I will respond to all.