2012 Fantasy Rookie WR Rankings

Overlooked by many, but the rookie wide receivers from 2011 were one of the best groups in the past few years, from a Fantasy Football perspective. So these 2012 Fantasy Rookie WR Rankings should elicit some attention by all owners. Obviously, there are the superstars to think about as possible mid-round picks, but there are a handful of rookie receivers that have a chance to surprise from a Fantasy Freshmen sleeper standpoint.


Learning from the Past

How excited should we be for this incoming class? Well, last year’s first-year wide receivers produced great numbers that I think were hidden a bit by the numbers produced by veteran receivers. Look at the top three rookies from 2011 – A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Torrey Smith – compared to the other top rookies from the past decade.

(Only the wide receivers with at least 70 catches OR 1,000 yards or 7 touchdown catches are shown.)


  • A.J. Green, CIN – 65 catches-1,057 yards-7 TDs
  • Julio Jones, WR, ATL – 54-959-8
  • Torrey Smith, BAL – 50-841-7

Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Fantasy Wide receivers

Mike Williams had one of the best rookie seasons for a wide receiver in the past 10 years — and then 2011 happened.


  • Mike Williams, TB – 65-964-11


  • Austin Collie, IND – 60-676-7


  • Eddie Royal, DEN – 91-980-5


  • Dwayne Bowe, KC – 70-995-5


  • Marques Colston, NO – 70-1,038-8

2005 –


  • Michael Clayton, TB – 80-1,193-7
  • Larry Fitzgerald, ARI – 58-780-8
  • Roy Williams, DET – 54-817-8
  • Lee Evans, BUF – 48-843-9


  • Anquan Boldin, BAL – 101-1,377-8


  • Donte Stallworth, NO – 74-894-2

As you can see, the only receivers in the past 10 years to make all three marks in one year were Colston, Clayton and Boldin. Despite the recent explosion in NFL passing games, none of this year’s wide receivers should be expected to reach that trifecta mark.

And really, it would be surprising to see more than one or two receivers come close to any of those marks. Even with the addition of Baylor WR Josh Gordon to Cleveland in the recent supplemental draft. At least he helped bolster the middle of this year’s Fantasy Rookie WR Rankings.


2012 Rookie Wide Receivers Preview

Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor -- 2012 Fantasy Rookie WR Rankings

Kendall Wright is in a great situation in Tennessee and most sites aren’t projecting him to finish among the top 40 wide receivers. Photo Credit: E2 Photography

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