3.27 – 2015 WR Preseason Top 10

A quick look at my preseason top10 WRs for the 2015 season. These guys have right mix of skill, teammates, scheme/usage, consistency, and upside in my opinion to contend for top fantasy WR status. Most can beat defenders in different ways and are threats in the redzone. I havent really taken schedule into consideration here, but you can reasonably expect to consider these guys matchup proof.

  1. Antonio Brown
  2. Dez Bryant
  3. Julio Jones
  4. Demaryius Thomas
  5. Jordy Nelson
  6. Calvin Johnson
  7. Odell Beckham Jr
  8. Randall Cobb
  9. AJ Green
  10. Mike Evans

Tier 1

These are the guys that I expect to have legitimate shots at the #1 WR spot. Expect to see them taken late first/early second round.

  • Antonio Brown

Last season’s #1 WR, if you had him in PPR formats or even non-PPR you knew how nice it was to be able to count on consistently great production from a single player. Haley and PIT constantly put their best playmaker in position to cut up opposing defenses. Capable of beating defenses short with his quickness and jukes as well as deep with his speed and route running, there is rarely a situation where he isnt on the field. A small gripe, I think it was a bit reckless for PIT to expose him by using him as their returner. The receivers around him (Bryant, Miller, and Wheaton) are good enough to prevent defenses from keying on Brown, not that that stopped him last year. Leveon Bell is an elite RB who keeps defenses honest. Big Ben is also a great QB who looks early and often to Brown. An understated part of their relationship may be what happens when plays break down and Ben busts out the scrambling. Not only is Ben great at keeping his eyes downfield, looking for Brown, but Brown is great at recognizing the situation and getting open/working his way back to Ben.

  • Dez Bryant

Dez is a monster, plain and simple. Not many other WRs can physically beat opposing defenses like this guy can. Dallas’s OL ensures a strong run game will be there to give Dez space to work downfield. In the redzone, you can just toss it up to this guy and reasonably expect him to come down with it. All over the field he can gash defenses for chunks of yards. Romo and Dez have a long history of success with each other and there is no reason to expect any different this year. Witten and Beasley handle the more underneath work while Williams gives Romo another look, but make no mistake, Dez is top dog here.

  • Julio Jones

Julio’s injury history does give a little pause, but he has shown that when healthy, he is a dominant force on the field. The leader in catches 20yds or more last year, “explosive” is a good adjective to describe Julio. Long-time running-mate Roddy White is showing signs of age and third musketeer and lady-deodorant advocate Harry Douglas has left in free agency leaving the door open for Julio to see even more targets. Matt Ryan is close to being an elite QB, though their OL rarely gave him the time to run the plays. With a new coaching staff, including Kyle Shanahan, and front office I expect them to address the OL to give Matty Ice some relief. With a bad defense and ineffective running game, ATL found itself throwing early and often.

Tier 1.5

These WRs I expect to perform at a WR1 level. They have a chance at being the #1 WR, but I like their chances a little less than that of the guys listed previously.

  • Demaryius Thomas

Another physical monster. Peyton doesnt have the arm to necessarily hit him deep down the field on say a go-route, but he does have the savvy to get the ball to Demaryius in spots where the WR can do the heavy lifting. Minor injuries last year so I am not too concerned there. Draft with confidence.

  • Jordy Nelson

A little older than some of the other names on this list, but he has Rodgers’ trust. On one of the top offenses in the league, Aaron makes sure to feed his best receiver. A great route-runner, Rodgers’ ability to hit him with perfectly placed passes helps him to break off big plays. Cobb and Lacy are two other threats for those precious TDs, but in this offense, there’s plenty to go around. He had a procedure done on his hip this offseason, but it’s not too concerning.

  • Calvin Johnson

Nearly a unanimous #1 WR just a few seasons ago, constant injuries have knocked him down from his perch. If he can stay healthy, he is going to be great value for whoever drafts him. Stafford almost only has eyes for Megatron and why not? Tate is an almost necessity as a handcuff for anyone who drafts Calvin. Stafford did not really show the ability to feed both receivers during the brief times they shared the field, but when Calvin was out, Tate was cookin’.

  • Odell Beckham Jr

There he is, our lord and savior OBJ. If you were lucky enough to own Odell, you probably found yourself in the playoffs and probably holding the championship at the end. Every week it seemed Odell was serving up buckets of points and highlight-reel plays. Detractors will say that Cruz’s return will cripple OBJ’s value, but Im not so sure. I dont think NYG will rush Cruz back nor do I think he will be the same player he was pre-injury. Eli has historically been diligent about feeding his top wideout. He and the NYG offense as a whole seemed to really settle in to their new offensive scheme as the year went on. With another offseason under their belts, you should expect more consistency from the NYG O. It’s yet to be seen how defensive coordinators will gameplan to contain Odell with an offseason to study tape. There is a slight injury concern with Odell, but considering he claims to have played last year with gimpy hamstrings and still wrecked the league, it’s scary to imagine what he could do fully healthy.

Tier 2

These players I would be ok with as my first WR, but ideally would like to pair them with someone mentioned earlier to give me a solid WR core. I think these guys can return WR1 value, but dont think they’ll be challenging for #1 WR at year’s end.

  • Randall Cobb

It’s a testament to Aaron Rodgers and the GB offense as a whole to see both Nelson and Cobb listed here. TDs are always hard to predict and a lot of Cobb’s value came from them last year. I dont expect they way he is used to change much this coming season however. A deadly short yardage weapon, Cobb is excellent at creating enough space to make the catch and/or pick up yards after the catch. Combine that with Rodgers’ elite accuracy and anticipation and you get a duo who can take advantage of the tiniest of windows.

  • AJ Green

I dont think anyone questions AJ’s skill or talent, the main issue lies with the guy chucking him the rock. Simply, Andy Dalton sucks. Really, it should be as simple as just throw it up to AJ, but Dalton and Cincy still struggles with that. /rant. Dalton-bashing aside, AJ did not do himself any favors last year, getting hurt and missing a good chunk of time. Like Megatron and Tate, Sanu is nearly a must-draft handcuff for anyone taking AJ. A bit more a gadget-play kind of guy, Sanu went off when AJ was on the shelf. Marvin Jones’s presumed return is also something to monitor as he is an excellent redzone weapon. The emergence of Jeremy Hill and presence of Gio Bernard theoretically gives CIN a balanced offense with a variety of weapons. It should be interesting to see how they all tie together next year. All-in-all, there are just too many questions and red flags around AJ for my liking, but if healthy and featured again, a return to monster lines is possible.

  • Mike Evans 

I also considered Emmanuel Sanders, TY Hilton, and Alshon Jeffery in this spot, but ultimately went with the young blood, Mike Evans. A word you’ll often hear Evans described as is “bully” and that’s exactly what he did to poor DBs last year, routinely abusing them at the point of the catch. The biggest question with Evans is going to be his QB situation. Presumably, TB is going to take a QB with the #1 pick. Rookie QBs have to go through their growing pains and it’s their receivers who often suffer because of it. Who knows if whoever they take will be starting from day 1, but he cant be much worse than the guys throwing to Evans last year. Glennon and McCown are not starting caliber QBs and yet Evans managed to be productive, largely off the back of 12 TDs. Vjax is also still in TB, but is another year older. If Evans’ game continues to grow, he’s going to be a scary receiver for years to come.

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