Fantasy Fox: Early look at the top 60 wide receivers
MAY 26, 2014 2:42p ET
Here are my inaugural rankings for the top 60 wide receivers in standard-scoring leagues ... as post-draft minicamps open throughout the NFL:
For the purposes of this exercise, let's assume, for now, that Cleveland's Josh Gordon (the NFL's leading receiver last year) and Jacksonville's Justin Blackmon (48 targets over just four games) are given year-long drug suspensions by the NFL.
And if that should change ... we'll adjust accordingly.
1. Calvin Johnson, Lions
2. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
3. A.J. Green, Bengals
4. Brandon Marshall, Bears
5. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
6. Julio Jones, Falcons
7. Antonio Brown, Steelers
8. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
9. Wes Welker, Broncos
10. Jordy Nelson, Packers
11. T.Y. Hilton, Colts
12. Randall Cobb, Packers
13. Keenan Allen, Chargers
14. Pierre Garcon, Redskins
15. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
16. Andre Johnson, Texans
17. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
18. Eric Decker, Jets
19. DeSean Jackson, Redskins
20. Torrey Smith, Ravens
1. Calvin Johnson (84 catches, 1,492 yards, 12 TDs) would have likely crossed the 1,600-yard, 13-TD threshold last year, if he hadn't been slowed by a knee injury in the final four games (sitting out Week 17 altogether).
From Weeks 2-13, spanning 10 games, Calvin racked up 100 yards receiving and/or one touchdown nine times.
2. The wonderfully consistent Demaryius Thomas has notched at least 92 catches, 141 targets, 1,430 yards and double-digit touchdowns over the last two seasons, cementing his slot behind Calvin Johnson.
It also helps that Thomas (11 double-digit target outings last year, including the playoffs) scored a touchdown in each of his last five games (postseason included).
3. Speaking of consistent ... the Bengals' A.J. Green (98 catches, 1,426 yards, 11 TDs) tallied 100 yards receiving in five straight games last season (Weeks 6-10). And for 2012-13, Green never endured more than two games without registering double-digit fantasy points (standard-scoring leagues).
4. Antonio Brown (110 catches, 1,499 yards, eight TDs last year) may be a tad high for No. 7, considering the Steelers bolstered their receiving corps during the offseason (Lance Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, rookie Martavis Bryant).
That aside, it's hard to discredit an under-26 stud who attracted nine-plus targets 12 times last year -- his first campaign without Mike Wallace.
5. Alshon Jeffery (89 catches, 1,421 yards, seven TDs) is the highest-ranking WR2 in this countdown (one slot ahead of Wes Welker).
His 2013 highlights include: Two 200-yard games and 11 outings of eight-plus targets (five in double digits). Plus, he's now a decent bet for 80-90 rushing yards per year.
6. If you take away his Thanksgiving clunker against the Lions (two catches, 14 yards), Packers wideout Jordy Nelson averaged seven catches, 10.1 targets, 114 yards and 0.86 TDs on the road last season.
7. The odds of Pierre Garcon (113 catches, 1,346 yards, five TDs) replicating his double-digit targets streak of 10 straight games (Weeks 8-17) are quite long; and that would have remained the case even if Chip Kelly and the Eagles hadn't gift-wrapped DeSean Jackson for the Redskins.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with 85 receptions and eight touchdowns -- two attainable goals within the Redskins' progressive passing attack.
21. Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
22. Victor Cruz, Giants
23. Kendall Wright, Titans
24. Michael Crabtree, 49ers
25. Marques Colston, Saints
26. Julian Edelman, Patriots
27. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
28. Anquan Boldin, 49ers
29. Roddy White, Falcons
30. Percy Harvin, Seahawks
31. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
32. Mike Wallace, Dolphins
33. Reggie Wayne, Colts
34. Riley Cooper, Eagles
35. Denarius Moore, Raiders
36. Steve Johnson, 49ers
37. James Jones, Raiders
38. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
39. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
40. Marvin Jones, Bengals
1. Cordarrelle Patterson's lofty -- and dare we say it, ambitious -- ranking comes on the the presumption of double-digit touchdowns in Year 2, through a combination of receiving, rushing and kick-returning scores.
As a rookie, Patterson (45 catches, 469 yards, four TDs) rolled for nine TDs ... without really possessing a full grasp of the Vikings offense.
2. We're taking a small leap of faith on Percy Harvin at No. 30. He's a known injury risk and has never racked up double-digit touchdowns in a single campaign.
3. Julian Edelman (105 catches, 1,056 yards, six TDs) will likely garner a top-20 ranking with Points Per Reception rankings later in the summer. But for this countdown, there's some non-PPR trepidation about a guy who totaled only 18 catches, 181 yards and zero TDs from Weeks 5-11 last year (six games).
4. By my count, the Jaguars' Cecil Shorts (66 catchs, 777 yards, three TDs) was one of only nine wideouts to collect double-digit targets in nine or more games last year (regular season).
5. Don't fall asleep on Dwayne Bowe's rock-solid production at the end of last year:
From Week 9 to the wild-card round, the Chiefs wideout tallied four games of double-digit targets and four touchdowns -- including an eight-catch, 150-yard, one-TD demolition of the Colts during the playoffs.
6. Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright (94 catches, 1,079 yards, two TDs) shall be an easy Round 5 pick for PPR leagues.
On the flip side, Wright (93 targets in his final 10 outings) still must sing for his proverbial supper in standard-scoring leagues.
7. Time will tell if Marvin Jones (51 catches, 712 yards, 10 TDs last season) was a one-year wonder in the Bengals offense.
However, it's worth noting: On a per-game basis last year, Jones caught 50-plus percent of his targets 14 times -- including that absurd outing against the Jets, pulling in eight receptions (on eight targets) for 122 yards and four TDs.
41. Greg Jennings, Vikings
42. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos
43. Miles Austin, Browns
44. Danny Amendola, Patriots
45. Brian Hartline, Dolphins
46. Marqise Lee, Jaguars
47. Brandon LaFell, Patriots
48. Golden Tate, Lions
49. Tavon Austin, Rams
50. Nate Washington, Titans
51. Hakeem Nicks, Colts
52. Brandin Cooks, Saints
53. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
54. Sammy Watkins, Bills
55. Rueben Randle, Giants
56. Jordan Matthews, Eagles
57. Robert Woods, Bills
58. Kenny Stills, Saints
59. Markus Wheaton, Steelers
60. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers
60a. Aaron Dobson, Patriots
Jay Clemons can be reached via Twitter, day or night, at @FOX_JayClemons.