Early Fantasy Football 2014 WR Rankings

Brandon Marshall, 2013 Fantasy WR Rankings

The 2014 WR rankings are a great mix of up-and-coming talents and aging veterans, passing each other on the way up and down the rankings. Over the past few seasons, with the inordinate amount of passing yards each week, we’re finding that wide receivers, in some cases, are more valuable than running backs.

That’s the question we’re all asking as we enter the 2014 Fantasy offseason, should we go with a reliable stud wide receiver in the second half of the first round? Or do we go with a running back that has just enough issues to not be considered a top-five pick?

It’s one of those tough decisions every man or woman will have to decide for themselves, like do you want waffle fries or sweet potato fries?

It’s a question for the ages.

Super Sophomores Do It Again

There once was a theory that third-year wide receivers were huge breakout candidates in Fantasy Football. But again, in this age of big contracts and high-flying offenses, young wideouts are being asked to contribute a lot more – and a lot earlier.

Let’s look back 10 years at second-year wide receivers to see what your grandfather was dealing with when he played Fantasy Football:

2002 Top Sophomore WRs

This was actually a pretty good year for sophomore WRs, as four of them caught over 60 balls, five went for over 850 yards, and two had more than six touchdowns.

  • Koren Robinson, SEA, 160 Fantasy points
  • Rod Gardner, WAS, 149
  • Chad Johnson, CIN, 147

2003 Top Sophomore WRs

No sophomore receiver had more than 60 catches, or more than 850 receiving yards, and only Javon Walker had more than six touchdown catches.

  • Javon Walker, GB, 126 Fantasy points
  • Deion Branch, NE, 99
  • Andre Davis, CLE, 90

2004 Top Sophomore WRs

Three sophs had more than 60 catches, two went for over 850 yards, and only Nate Burleson had more than six touchdown catches.

  • Nate Burleson, MIN, 160 Fantasy points
  • Andre Johnson, HOU, 151
  • Ronald Curry, OAK, 104

Now, let’s shoot ahead a decade and see what has happened for sophomore WRs in Fantasy Football over the past three seasons.

2011 Top Sophomore WRs

Dez Bryant, 2014 WR Rankings

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant was once a stud sophomore, and now he’s just a Fantasy stud.

In this season, five sophomore receivers caught over 60 balls (and three tight ends), three went for over 850 yards, and three caught more than six touchdowns.

  • Victor Cruz, NYG, 208 Fantasy points
  • Dez Bryant, DAL, 147
  • Antonio Brown, PIT, 127

2012 Top Sophomore WRs

Just three second-year wide receivers with over 60 catches, five with more than 850 receiving yards, and six had more than six touchdown catches.

  • A.J. Green, CIN, 205 Fantasy points
  • Julio Jones, ATL, 183
  • Randall Cobb, GB, 157

2013 Top Sophomore WRs

Six sophs caught 60 or more balls, and six went for more than 850 yards, with three over the six-touchdown mark.

  • Josh Gordon, CLE, 226 Fantasy points
  • Alshon Jeffery, CHI, 192
  • T.Y. Hilton, IND, 172

The three top sophomore wide receivers from 2002-04 averaged 131 Fantasy points per sophomore season. But the three top second-year WRs from 2011-13 averaged 179 Fantasy points per sophomore season. That’s an increase of over 36 percent from a decade ago.

That very much makes me want to target some sophomore wide receivers in 2014. Keenan Allen’s an obvious guy to target, but then there are guys like Tavon Austin, Marlon Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kenny Stills, Terrance Williams and Robert Woods to think harder about.

Let me start by saying – the wide receiver position was the toughest one to rank so far.

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Early 2014 WR Rankings

My Fantasy rankings for 2014 wide receivers use the scoring standard of six points for a rushing/receiving touchdown and no points for a reception. Rookies have not been inserted because it’s just too difficult to rank them without knowing where they’ll end up.

1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

2. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns

3. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

5. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

6. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

7. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

8. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears

9. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

10. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

11. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

12. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

13. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles

14. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

15. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers

16. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos

17. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

18. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

19. Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants

20. Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks

Reggie Wayne, 2014 WR Rankings

Colts WR Reggie Wayne will turn 36 years old this coming season, and he’s coming back from a torn ACL.

21. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

22. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens

23. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts

24. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans

25. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

26. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

27. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos

28. Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins

29. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

30. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

31. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

32. Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings

33. Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles

34. Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars

35. Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars

36. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams

37. Rueben Randle, N.Y. Giants

38. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

39. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

40. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals

41. Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills

42. Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins

43. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots

44. James Jones, Green Bay Packers

45. Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks

46. Aaron Dobson, New England Patriots

47. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals

48. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers

49. Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders

50. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers

51. Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys

52. Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers

53. Stephen Hill, N.Y. Jets

54. Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills

55. Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints

56. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

57. Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles

58. Marlon Brown, Baltimore Ravens

59. Hakeem Nicks, N.Y. Giants

60. Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions

[table id=32 /]
I’m sure there are a few players we disagree on, and that’s OK, that’s what makes the 2014 WR rankings fun to talk about months before the season! Tweet me @DavidGonos or make a comment below!

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