Over the past 10 or 15 years, we’ve seen the wide receivers position climb to higher Fantasy worth, in a group, no less. It was just 20 years ago that Jerry Rice ran the position, as the only wideout to be considered with a first-round draft pick. But as we look at the 2015 Wide Receivers rankings, we see there are actually a few that should garner that distinction.
But before we dive deep into these Fantasy WR rankings, I want to take a look back at some of the offseason news surrounding this Fantasy position.
I want to share some quick opinions on some of the trades and free agent movements, as well as a look at how the youth at the position might have changed how Fantasy owners approach wide receivers altogether.
Fantasy Offseason News for Wide Receivers
Here’s a quick wrap-up of some interesting things that happened to the wide receivers position since the end of last season.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland: For the second year in a row, Gordon was suspended for the year for substance abuse, but unlike last year’s suspension, this one isn’t getting overturned – and the team is firmly behind the suspension. Even when he played last year, he wasn’t the Fantasy star we remembered from 2013, as he reportedly had conditioning and playbook issues.
Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas: Both superstar wide receivers got paid this offseason in a big way. As I mentioned in an article on About.com, you can consider a fat new contract a reason for a player to bust in a given season. These two guys are complete beasts, though, with above-average quarterbacks and offenses. On a scale of “bust” predictability, they have to be in the low percentages. Manning and Romo will still look to both of these guys as their main targets.
Andre Johnson, Indianapolis: Johnson’s 2014 season was a disappointment, but now he goes to play with Andrew Luck, which is easily the best quarterback he has ever had. Johnson will serve as just one of many targets for Luck, but the two should match together well. His arrival shouldn’t inhibit T.Y. Hilton’s Fantasy value much either, but instead, take a chunk out of TE Dwayne Allen’s targets.
Julian Edelman, New England: Tom Brady’s four-game suspension certainly hurts Edelman’s value, but since that suspension could be possibly overturned or amended, I still like him as a top-20 Fantasy WR. He does enough underneath stuff that he’ll also be a weapon used heavily by sophomore QB Jimmy Garaoppolo.
Brandon Marshall, N.Y. Jets: Marshall goes from Jay Cutler’s inconsistent offense to Geno Smith’s inconsistent offense, and he’ll play alongside Eric Decker instead of Alshon Jeffery. Marshall’s big Fantasy years are behind him, much like Andre Johnson, but he’s definitely a target to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, the Jets offense won’t give him as many scoring opportunities as he had with Chicago.
Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City: Much was made about the fact that the Chiefs wide receivers went all of 2014 without catching a touchdown pass. The addition of Maclin (replacing Dwayne Bowe, who moved on to Cleveland) should amend that, and also give the Chiefs more of a downfield threat than they’ve had in the past. The problem, however, is that QB Alex Smith doesn’t throw downfield much at all.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle: ESPN notes that Seahawks rookie sleeper Tyler Lockett had more catches of 10 or more yards against Power 5 teams in college than any other player, including Amari Cooper and Kevin White. He could end up serving as the Seahawks’ slot receiver this year. With TE Jimmy Graham on board, this offense could make even bigger strides in the passing department for 2015.
Mike Wallace, Minnesota: Wallace griped and grumbled his way out of Miami and up to Minnesota. He switched out Ryan Tannehill, who seemed to figure everything out last year, for Teddy Bridgewater, who is working on developing into a useful starter in his second NFL season. Wallace should become a favored target quickly, regardless of the existence of Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson. The return of Adrian Peterson to this offensive instantly gives Bridgewater more breathing room – and time to hit his targets.
Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia: The departure of Maclin means more pressure on the sophomore wide receiver (and TE Zach Ertz), and while this offense is certainly fast-paced, it should be tough for Matthews to get open early on in the season. Once rookie WR Nelson Agholor steps up, though, things should be different. Matthews is likely in for a better second half than first half this year.
Those are just a few of the news and notes Fantasy Football owners should be thinking about in regards to wide receivers. Now let’s get into the rankings for 2015!
Fantasy Football 2015 Wide Receivers Rankings
These WR rankings are based on standard non-PPR leagues. You can also check out:
The wide receivers position is not quite as volatile as the running backs, but it’s also not as deep. We’ll get into that in future articles, but for now, these 2015 Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings should get you well on your way to a successful draft!
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.