2015 fantasy football preseason rankings; wide receivers

I wanted to wait on the WR, RB, and TE positions because of the constant changes that can happen with injuries and depth chart slots throughout the preseason, but it appears I need to go back and re-do my QB rankings as well.

As for my WR rankings, they are based off of PPR scoring rules (1 point per reception).  I decided to use this format for all of my rankings because I want to post throughout the year my DraftKings picks for every week, and that DFS (daily fantasy sports) site uses PPR.  I also prefer this way of scoring, but anyways, here you go.

1. Antonio Brown- The most consistent wide receiver week to week, and it’s consistency at a premium level.  This guy’s worst fantasy output last year was in week 5 at the Jaguars, where he put up 5 catches for 84 yards.  The 13 TD’s probably isn’t going to repeat itself, but Brown presents too much consistency to pass up.

2. Demaryius Thomas- He came out slow in 2014, but Demaryius Thomas still finished with 111 receptions, 1619 yards, and 11 TDs.  Julius Thomas is no longer in Denver, so Manning’s #1 red zone target is up for grabs, so don’t be surprised to see Demaryius lead wide receivers in TDs this year.

3. Julio Jones- There are two knocks on Julio.  One is his injury history, which oddly is the more popular for the minimal negativity he receives.  Injuries are not predictable, and even though you have to take into account that he does seem to be hurt every year at some point, you have to understand anyone playing this sport can get hurt at any time.  The more concerning knock on Julio is the fact he has only had 10 or more TDs in a single season once in his young career.  I haven’t done much research on this, but I think this can be chalked up to former head coach Mike Smith and his offensive scheme that preferred running the ball inside the 10 yard line.  Jones, if healthy, has all of the ability to be the #1 WR this year.

4. Odell Beckham Jr.- Don’t expect his stats from last year to continue on the same trend, but OBJ is truly a rare talent just like the rest in this class, and I honestly feel he could be one of the greatest of all time.  Last year was not a fluke, watch Beckham Jr. be one of the best in fantasy in 2015.

5. Dez Bryant- I usually like to argue that touchdown projection is relatively random, but Bryant has shown a consistency of finding the end zone.  He has 41 TD’s in the past 3 seasons.  The receptions totals have yet to break 100 in any given year, but Dez is a lock for 85-95 catches and double digit TDs 1250-1400 yards.  Sign me up.

6. AJ Green- AJ Green’s 13 games played in 2014 is far from accurate.  This guy dealt with a lingering foot injury all year, and many of the games he did play in, he would have been.  better off not for his fantasy owners.  He’s back to full health, and let’s hope his injury plagued year drops his fantasy value some so you can draft a stud later than he should be going.

7. Calvin Johnson- Pretty much the same as AJ Green’s 2014 storyline and fantasy output I project for this year, but you can’t expect the Calvin Johnson of 2012 and 2013.  I do believe he deserves to be in this top tier, as I think he could be the #1 WR in 2015, but obviously I don’t think he is the favorite.

8. Randall Cobb- Has been a favorite for Aaron Rodgers in the red zone, and also a favorite pretty much everywhere on the field in any situation…which is really nice if Cobb is on your fantasy team.  Did you hear Jordy Nelson is out for the year?  Cobb’s stock is trending up.

9. Brandin Cooks- averaged 6.9 targets in the 10 games he played in his rookie season, and with Graham and Stills no longer on the team, you have to assume their first round pick who showed he has the skills to play in the NFL will get an increase in 2015.  Some are low on Drew Brees this year, but don’t let that scare you away from Cooks’ fantasy potential.  He’s a stud.

10. Jordan Matthews- Like Cooks, this ranking has little to do with historical trends in the individual but more to do with the role he has been given in a particular offense.  Matthews is the most proven receiver on the Eagles roster (weird, right?), and with his rookie  campaign accumulating over 100 targets and 8 TDs, you have to think the sky is the limit if indeed he emerges the #1 option.  Think Jeremy Maclin numbers of last year.

11. Mike Evans- He is currently dealing with some sort of hamstring injury, so stay aware of that, but Evans is a giant receiver who gets a quarterback with a lot of promise.  Don’t forget that Vincent Jackson has a pulse (a pulse strong enough to get 19 more targets than Evans in 2014), but also don’t forget that Vincent Jackson has a career full of inconsistency.  Jackson has never had 80+ receptions, and never had 10+ TDs.  Important to lay this information out in Evans’ writeup because having another highly talented receiver on your team with a non-elite QB can be damning.  I’m not too worried about this, though.

12. Alshon Jeffery-  He was my #8 receiver to being the preseason because I love Jeffery as a talent and the role he intends to have in Chicago this year.  And to be fair for any of those that love him still, he very well could be a top5 receiver by the end of the year.  The problem is the lingering injuries.  It limited him somewhat in 2014, and the calf is now bothering him in 2015.  I can’t invest heavily in this guy until I know for a fact he’s past this muscle strain.

13. Emmanuel Sanders- Many just assumed whoever would be Peyton Manning’s #2 WR would put up elite fantasy numbers, but Sanders isn’t just some receiver.  I remember touting him as a sleeper in Pittsburgh before his move to Denver, and his first year with Manning put him in the top tiers of fantasy WRs.  Sanders finished as the #5 WR in total scoring in PPR in 2014, so 13 actually may be too low.  As much as I love Manning this year, I still have troubles putting Sanders any higher at such a rich position.

14. DeAndre Hopkins- At first, I was quick to brush Hopkins aside because of his quarterback situation.  Then I realized when look back at highlights throughout his young NFL career that this guy is the real deal.  Brian Hoyer was good enough to let Josh Gordon put up a historic season a couple years ago, so I’m guessing Hopkins will be just fine.  Once Arian Foster comes back, I think it will only open up space on the field for Hopkins to get open more often.

15. TY Hilton- Andrew Luck’s #1 target in a pass happy offense.  Don’t be afraid of the new offensive weapons coming in to Indi for 2015, but don’t forget about it, either.  I’ve seen a couple of people value Hilton a little too high, and I just don’t see his value being in the top tier of fantasy WRs.

16. Devante Adams- after the top 15 wide receivers, I see a drop off in likely elite production.  Adams steps into the #2 WR role in Green Bay, and after seeing a few bright spots in his game in 2014, I think the potential is there for him to put up elite numbers.  Draft at your own risk, but Adams has immense upside.

17. Keenan Allen- He failed to live up to his stellar 2013 rookie season, but Allen still showed he has the skills, but just needs to be more consistent in finding the end zone.  With Gates out for the first 4 weeks, we will quickly see if Allen can live up to the potential we all thought he had after his rookie year.

18. Julian Edelman- Brady avoids suspension, which greatly helps Edelman’s value.  The only problem is he is a little banged up at the moment, but when he’s fully healthy, Edelman is a 100+ receptions receiver.

19. Jarvis Landry- The Jarvis Landry love apparently grew too quickly for me to target him in the mid to late rounds of my draft next week, but hey, at least everyone is affirming my belief in this guy.  He is going to be the #1 receiver in Miami this year, and his PPR consistency is so valuable.  Lots of potential in a much improving Dolphins offense.

20. Golden Tate- So underrated as an NFL player, and even as a fantasy option.  Yes, his points per game in 2014 are inflated by his monstrous games he put up in Calvin Johnson’s absence last year, but keep in mind that he brings consistency week to week with or without Megatron on the field.  I prefer potential when drafting for the season, but I prefer consistency on a week to week basis.  I believe Tate brings both to the table.

21. Vincent Jackson- And to throw my previous analysis in the trash, he is Vincent Jackson.  He has a career history of winning you a few weeks throughout the year, then killing your team in even more weeks.  I’m banking on the fact that this guy is seeing a lot of targets in this Lovie Smith offense, and rookie quarterbacks tend to value the veteran presence in the receiving core.  I’m not saying Jackson will be better than Evans, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson once again sees more targets than anyone on the Bucs, so I think he’s a solid pick in this range.

22. Jeremy Maclin- If Maclin catches 1 TD in 2015, that will be 1 more TD than any wide receiver caught for Kansas City in 2014.  Bringing in this expensive talent pretty much means he will be a focal point in the offense, but just don’t expect a whole lot from Maclin as long as Alex Smith is under center.

23. Amari Cooper- I know, Oakland isn’t a place you expect a receiver to emerge as a star, but let’s not forget how crazy talented this guy is.  Derek Carr is far from polished, but he does have a cannon arm and isn’t afraid to sling it as he showed last year.  Cooper is going to get the volume for you to feel safe taking him here, and we really don’t know what the ceiling could be on this guy.

24. Allen Robinson- Not familiar with this Jaguars receiver?  Are you familiar with anyone on that roster?  Don’t blame you.  Robinson’s rookie season ended after week 10 due to injury, but his game log shows PPR consistency.  The targets will be there, and if Bortles can make any sort of improvement, Robinson will crack the top 20 at the position this year.

25. Sammy Watkins- This could turn out to be way too low, but the Bills QB situation is such a toss-up.  We saw what Watkins can do last year in a few weeks, but other weeks he was MIA.  Could this be the year he puts it all together?  I doubt it.  But the potential is oozing.

26. Andre Johnson-  Could be a reliable WR2 when its all said and done, but I’m not buying it.  He couldn’t get open in Houston last year as his athleticism has started to decline, and with such a deep wide receiving core in Indi, I wouldn’t be all too surprised if Johnson sort of falls down the depth chart later in the year.

27. Nelson Agholor- The rookie out of USC steps into an Eagles offense that is fantasy heaven.  I don’t expect for Agholor to be a potential sleeper that could win your league, but if you follow what Jordan Matthews did in his rookie year last year, you will see that a #2 WR in this offense can be productive enough to start most weeks.

28. Brandon Marshall- I have no idea how to rank this guy for 2015.  He is still highly talented and will be the best option in the passing game for the Jets (but don’t discount Eric Decker completely), and cummon, it’s the Jets.  Gene Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick aren’t exactly something you want your fantasy wide receiver relying on for production, and even as Marshall has proven to be a solid bet each and every year throughout his career, I’m going to look elsewhere.

29. Larry Fitzgerald- The good ol’ days of Lar bear are surely behind us, and 2014 was a rude awakening for fantasy owners.  Don’t write him off to quickly, though, as Fitzgerald still put up some solid weeks when Carson Palmer was playing last year.  This is a pick you avoid if you are swinging for potential, but Fitz isn’t a bad option to draft if you want a plug and play.

30. Charles Johnson- If you were paying close attention to fantasy at the end of last year, you probably remember this guy.  Johnson is a giant, athletic freak who has the tools to be a fantasy stud in Minnesota.  I personally don’t see that happening in this offense, but I do think Johnson has top20 upside.

31. Devin Funchess- Some are extremely high on Funchess now that Benjamin is done for the year, but some are still extremely low on him.  Carolina needs to throw the ball to someone other than greg Olsen, and my money is on this guy.  He’s not Kelvin Benjamin, though, so temper your high expectations.

32. Brandon laFell- he is currently on the PUP list in New England, so his health status must be monitored, but keep in mind that LaFell emerged as Brady’s go-to target at the wideout position late last year.  If he can get back on the field quickly, I see his stock rising.

33. Steve Smith- He just won’t go away.  And I’m okay with that.  He appeared to be on track to be the sleeper of the year last year with his first half success, but Smith started to regress as the season went on.  I could honestly see sort of the same thing for 2015, but don’t rule out that he just proves you wrong again and finishes in the top20.

34. Marvin Jones- Jones is not going to finish in this range in 2015.  He is a late round flyer on most boards, but there comes a time in my rankings where I lose interest in what the ADP tells me and I start shooting for the stars.  Jones was a breakout candidate for 2014 before his injury, and it appears his recovery is coming just in time for the start of this season.  I didn’t forget about you, Marvin.

35. Martavis Bryant- The 4 game suspension has killed the hype, which actually could be a blessing for any Bryant believers.  If you put together a strong receiving core early, Bryant is a perfect guy to stash for the first month of the season.

36. Kendall Wright- Was a 2014 breakout candidate for me, and that pick fell flat on it’s face.  Don’t blame Kendall, though, as the Titans were miserable from top to bottom on offense.  I like what I see in Mariota so far in the preseason, and Wright is a great option for a high volume in receptions for 2015.

37. Brandon Coleman- Are the Saints about to become a run-first offense?  They actually might, but that doesn’t mean they will abandon the passing game.  Brandon Coleman is a deep sleeper that I could see getting the red zone targets Jimmy Graham received throughout the year in New Orleans.  He also could be on the waiver wire after a couple of weeks, but the upside is worth the risk here.

38. DeSean Jackson- I wouldn’t have put Jackson so low if RGIII were the starter, but Kirk Cousins is not effective when throwing the ball deep downfield.  Actually, Kirk Cousins just isn’t effective at throwing the football anywhere on the field.  Jackson is the type of player I refuse to own anyways because of his boom or bust tendencies, but in 2015 I see a whole lot of bust and little to no boom.

39. John Brown- Boom or bust player with rising stock and a lot of hype.  he could be awesome, don’t get me wrong, but I just hate owning these types of players.

40. Mike Wallace– Boom. or Bust.

41. Anquan Boldin- A friend of mine recently pitched to me how undervalued Boldin has been over the past two seasons.  He was right.  Bolding has been surprisingly reliable and productive even though I just sort of wrote him off.  I’m doing it again, by the way, but I wish you the best of luck, my friend.

42. Torrey Smith- Boom, boom, boom. Bust, bust, bust,

43. Phillip Dorsett- My belief is that either Dorsett or Moncrief will emerge as the #2 WR in fantasy for the Colts by the end of 2015.  Dorsett seems to have the inside track on the #3 position right now, so my first guess is him, but this prediction could flip flop throughout the year until one emerges.

44. Donte Moncrief- He probably has the better tools to compliment Hilton as the #2 option, but he appears to be the #4 guy right now as Dorsett is the better slot receiver.  Don’t forget about Moncrief, and if you don’t want to risk losing him in a waiver claim if he emerges, don’t be afraid to stash him.

45. Markus Wheaton- A 2014 sleeper for me, and he will get the opportunity to start the year as Bryant is gone for 4 weeks.  I think Wheaton could be valuable for his time in the starting role, but from what I’ve seen from Bryant, I can’t imagine Wheaton will keep it after the first month of the season.

46. Marques Colston- If you are in a deeper league, this ranking is completely off.  If you are in a 10-team league, Colston is not going to be on a championship roster.

47. Erik Decker- This could be completely off because I saw Decker put up solid numbers in New York when he played last year, but with Marshall now in town, the targets will diminish, and with no real QB behind center, diminished targets leaves you on the brink of irrelevance.

48. Devante Parker- Some think he will be the #1 option in Miami for the 2nd half of the season, and I just don’t believe it.  he is, however, a highly talented rookie that isn’t a bad late round pick.

49. Rueben Randle- Victor Cruz suffered a nasty injury that I think will limit him for 2015.  That leaves Randle as the #2 option.  Randle showed promise earlier in his career, and I think some of that is still there, but this is the last year I’m putting any stock in his upside.

50. Dorial Green-Beckham- With a name like that, why not?  He was unreal in NCAA Football 13, and I’m expecting great things for his Madden talents.

Ryan Jackson

About Ryan Jackson

My name is Ryan Jackson and I love fantasy sports. I graduated from the University of Maine in 2014 with a degree in Journalism, and I am now a graduate student at Quinnipiac University working on a sports journalism degree.