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This blog was born out of a Dynasty Rankings thread originally begun in October, 2006 at the Footballguys.com message boards. The rankings in that thread and the ensuing wall-to-wall discussion of player values and dynasty league strategy took on a life of its own at over 275 pages and 700,000 page views. The result is what you see in the sidebar under "Updated Positional Rankings": a comprehensive ranking of dynasty league fantasy football players by position on a tiered, weighted scale. In the tradition of the original footballguys.com Dynasty Rankings thread, intelligent debate is welcome and encouraged.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wide Receiver Rankings | September 25, 2008

WIDE RECEIVERS

TIER ONE

1. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI | Age: 25.0 | Value Score: 99
Young, ultra-talented, reliably consistent, and a target monster as well as red zone stud; ideal nucleus player.

2. Calvin Johnson, DET | Age: 23.0 | Value Score: 98
I'm always willing to stick my neck out for dominant talent, and Calvin Johnson remains the most dominant WR talent to enter the league since Randy Moss; buy low if possible.

3. Reggie Wayne, IND | Age: 29.8 | Value Score: 97
Being Peyton Manning's #1 target is the perfect recipe for long-term value; high marks for consistency going forward.

4. Andre Johnson, HOU | Age: 27.2 | Value Score: 97
The elite talent was always there, and now he has a QB who can get him the ball; only minor negative is history of unreliability at times.

5. Steve Smith, CAR | Age: 29.3 | Value Score: 96
Personally, I'd take Smith ahead of Wayne and Johnson, but I'm a gambler. Smith would be fighting for the top spot on this list if not for short- & long-term QB issues.

6. Brandon Marshall, DEN | Age: 24.5 | Value Score: 95
There's more than a hint of high knucklehead potential here . . . and it now looks like some sort of (lengthy?) suspension is looming during the '08 season. See this post for deeper value discussion.

7. Randy Moss, NE | Age: 31.6 | Value Score: 94
Dominant enough to stay productive with Cassel, but his consistency is in serious doubt.

8. Greg Jennings, GB | Age: 25.0 | Value Score: 94
Was the '07 TD total an aberration, or can we expect Jennings to overcome his low target numbers to produce like a star even with Rodgers taking over for Favre?

TIER TWO

9. #Marques Colston, NO | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 89
When can we start asking if Colston is injury-prone? He certainly doesn't leave me with a warm and safe feeling .

10. Braylon Edwards, CLE | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 88
I'm expecting consistent TD numbers, but the targets and yardage may be slightly less than the guys ahead of him.

11. Terrell Owens, DAL | Age: 34.8 | Value Score: 88
Worth more to an annual contender than he is to a rebuilder; a true difference maker at a position where there aren't many, T.O. still gives you a weekly advantage over most of the owners in your league.

12. #Anquan Boldin, ARI | Age: 27.9 | Value Score: 88
The difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 is weekly reliability, and Boldin hasn't been reliable for a couple of seasons now. The talent is top-notch, but the assurance is waning.

13. Santonio Holmes, PIT | Age: 24.5 | Value Score: 86
Outstanding playmaker who excels at taking a short-to-middle pass to the house; not yet the go-to WR in his own offense, and I'm slightly concerned that he's not physical enough to be a high reception WR.

TIER THREE

14. Santana Moss, WAS | Age: 29.3 | Value Score: 80
Went from over-rated to under-rated in one season. His inconsistency from game-to-game and year-to-year will always keep him out of the top tier, but he's too talented to be passed up by flavors of the day.

15. Chad Ocho Cinco, CIN | Age: 30.6 | Value Score: 80
Highly consistent seasonal numbers but schizophrenic game-to-game numbers. Would be higher if not for his more severe than usual shenanigans this off-season; becoming very high risk as it gets more and more obvious that he's now a crazy person.

16. Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ | Age: 26.3 | Value Score: 79
The Jets passing game just got a whole lot more reliable and explosive. Cotchery's value gets a nice spike, but it remains to be seen who Favre's favorite will be.

17. Dwayne Bowe, KC | Age: 24.0 | Value Score: 79
Value is highly dependent on the Croyle situation this season; another elite physical talent at WR who should produce as both a playmaker and a possession WR.

18. Plaxico Burress, NYG | Age: 31.1 | Value Score: 78
Return of the Knucklehead factor.

19. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN | Age: 30.9 | Value Score: 77
Clearly the #2 WR in the Bengals offense, Housh has produced like a stud for two years, but he's an ideal sell high this off-season due to his lack of staying power.

20. Roy Williams, DET | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 77
Desperately needs a trade . . . how about Tennessee?

21. Lee Evans, BUF | Age: 27.5 | Value Score: 76
Has Tier 1 talent but the Bills offense, especially the QB play, has held him back. Evans can be both a possession WR and a huge big play threat down the field. He has the whole package if his QB can get him the ball.

22. Roddy White, ATL | Age: 26.8 | Value Score: 75
Prime sell-high. White did produce under all 3 woeful QBs in '07, but the Falcons had to pass a ton because their running game was so dreadful. With Mularkey's power running game and Michael Turner in town, plus further poor quarterbacking, the passing numbers will suffer in '08.

23. Torry Holt, STL | Age: 32.3 | Value Score: 75
After an impressive display with a bum knee in a sunk offense in '07, expect Holt to bounce back with another Tier 1 performance in '08. Age & gimpy knee keeping his value down just a tad.

TIER FOUR

24. DeSean Jackson, PHI | Age: 21.8 | Value Score: 68

25. Hines Ward, PIT | Age: 32.5 | Value Score: 67
Off-season surgery should help him regain a step or two after playing through tears of his MCL, PCL, and right meniscus last season; as exhibited in the playoff game against JAX, he's still Big Ben's most reliable WR as well as a prime red zone weapon.

26. Wes Welker, NE | Age: 27.3 | Value Score: 67
I think Welker's '08 value takes a significant blow with Brady's injury. Can Cassel get the ball to Welker often enough to make him valuable? Will those short pass plays become runs instead?

27. Marvin Harrison, IND | Age: 36.0 | Value Score: 66
"Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun, but Mama, that's where the fun is." High risk, high reward. How lucky do you feel? I think Marvin has another difference-making season left in him, but I'm not willing to invest heavily to find out at age 36. Update: Harrison practicing and running freely; coach Dungy not worried about Philadelphia shooting.

28. Laveranues Coles, NYJ | Age: 30.7 | Value Score: 65
If Coles can fill the Donald Driver go-to role for Favre, he could stand to gain as much as anybody from the Favre trade. Still a lack of upside, but intriguing as a high catch/low TD WR3.

29. Eddie Royal, DEN | Age: 22.3 | Value Score: 64
An awful lot of buzz coming out of Broncos camp from his head coach, teammates, and beat writers.

30. Vincent Jackson, SD | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 63
Did Vincent Jackson make the leap in the playoffs, or was it simply the result of increased opportunity with Gates so gimpy? He can be a red zone weapon, but there are only so many balls to go around in San Diego.

31. Anthony Gonzalez, IND | Age: 24.0 | Value Score: 62
It's so tough to rank Colts offensive players on talent because the Peyton Manning factor skews the results. There's no reason Gonzalez can't produce like a starter as long as he plays like a starter---no sure thing with Marvin possibly bouncing back this season.

32. Chris Chambers, SD | Age: 30.1 | Value Score: 61
I've yet to see a convincing argument for Catch % as a tell-all metric, but that didn't stop the stats guys from hammering Chambers for years. He's still a very good talent, one of the better red zone receivers, and his current QB is a considerably better passer than any QB he ever had in Miami.

33. #Sidney Rice, MIN | Age: 22.0 | Value Score: 55
The talent is obvious. Rice should be a playmaker and a TD scorer in a normal offense, but the Vikes are far from a normal offense; pray for a QB trade.

TIER FIVE

34. Donald Driver, GB | Age: 33.6 | Value Score: 40
It doesn't pay to be Favre's go-to guy when Favre is no longer around; heading into his mid-thirties, Driver may be entering his last startable season.

35. #Kevin Curtis, PHI | Age: 30.2 | Value Score: 38
Explosive in doses but not reliable enough to be a weekly fantasy starter. Still, 1100 yards and 6 TDs isn't bad production for a WR3.

36. Bernard Berrian, MIN | Age: 27.7 | Value Score: 37
Grossman was a horrible QB, but at least he had eyes for Berrian. Changing teams is rarely friendly to non-elite WRs, and Berrian is headed to one quarterbacked by Tarvaris Jackson.

37. Matt Jones, JAX | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 36

38. Devin Thomas, WAS | Age: 21.8 | Value Score: 36

39. Mark Clayton, BAL | Age: 26.2 | Value Score: 35
Talk about a let-down season. As disappointing as Clayton's production was in '07, it's tough to muster up the faith again in '08. Seriously, zero TDs?! You better hope the string of foot, calf, and back injuries were much worse then he let on.

40. Jordy Nelson, GB | Age: 23.3 | Value Score: 34

41. Donnie Avery, STL | Age: 22.6 | Value Score: 32

42. Josh Morgan, SF | Age: 23.2 | Value Score: 31
The star of Niners camp, Morgan was mentioned as a possible starter by Coach Nolan.

43. Robert Meachem, NO | Age: 24.0 | Value Score: 31
Great buy-low as a '07 1st rounder who redshirted last season with a bothersome knee. A good deal more talented than the WRs ahead of him on the Saints depth chart, so don't rule a fast move now that he's healthy and working with David Patten to improve.

44. James Hardy, BUF | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 30

45. #James Jones, GB | Age: 24.5 | Value Score: 30
Favre's exit may lead the Pack to a gradual shift away from Driver and towards the younger receivers. Jones had a terrific rookie season as a 3rd WR in the Packers offense.

46. Ted Ginn Jr., MIA | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 29
No matter how fast you are, it's going to be tough for an unpolished WR to produce in that offense. All upside, no production at this point.

47. #Deion Branch, SEA | Age: 29.2 | Value Score: 28

48. Bobby Engram, SEA | Age: 35.7 | Value Score: 28

TIER SIX

49. Antonio Bryant, TB | Age: 27.5 | Value Score: 22

50. #Laurent Robinson, ATL | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 21
Needs to bulk up while he's stashed on your bench; it won't take much to bypass Michael Jenkins and Joe Horn, and he could end eventually end up with a Darrell Jackson type of career in right offense.

51. Reggie Brown, PHI | Age: 27.7 | Value Score: 20
He just couldn't get the separation needed to become a reliable target for McNabb; may bounce back somewhat, but the lack of speed looks troublesome.

52. Patrick Crayton, DAL | Age: 29.4 | Value Score: 19

53. Limas Sweed, PIT | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 18

54. Steve Smith, NYG | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 18

55. #Malcolm Kelly, WAS | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 17

56. [#]Nate Burleson, SEA | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 15
Plenty of opportunity in '08 with Branch injured and Hackett gone. If that translates into a marked increase in targets to go with his impressive '07 red zone production, Burleson could be a major sleeper.

57. *Chris Henry, CIN | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 15

58. Derrick Mason, BAL | Age: 34.6 | Value Score: 14

59. Justin Gage, TEN | Age: 27.6 | Value Score: 14

60. Kevin Walter, HOU | Age: 27.1 | Value Score: 14

61. #Jerry Porter, JAX | Age: 30.2 | Value Score: 13
Extremely high knuckle-head factor, always an over-rated talent, and the Jags just don't pass enough. Still, it beats the Raiders offense.

62. Javon Walker, OAK | Age: 29.9 | Value Score: 13
Swampland in Florida, oceanfront property in Arizona---you name it, Walker is it. When your coach is openly pining for you to undergo microfracture surgery, then you might have a problematic future.

63. Mike Walker, JAX | Age: 23.8 | Value Score: 13

64. #Donte' Stallworth, CLE | Age: 27.8 | Value Score: 12

65. #Joey Galloway, TB | Age: 36.8 | Value Score: 12

66. Lance Moore, NO | Age: 25.1 | Value Score: 12

67. #Bryant Johnson, SF | Age: 27.5 | Value Score: 11

68. Jerome Simpson, CIN | Age: 22.6 | Value Score: 11

69. Ronald Curry, OAK | Age: 29.4 | Value Score: 11
I want to rank him higher, but I see tough days ahead in '08 with Russell learning on the job.

70. D.J. Hackett, CAR | Age: 27.1 | Value Score: 10

71. Jacoby Jones, HOU | Age: 24.2 | Value Score: 9
How tough can it be to beat out Kevin Walter? The recent DWI didn't help matters.

72. Isaac Bruce, SF | Age: 35.8 | Value Score: 8

73. Reggie Williams, JAX | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 8

TIER SEVEN

74. Miles Austin, DAL | Age: 24.2 | Value Score: 6

75. Arnaz Battle, SF | Age: 28.6 | Value Score: 6

76. Steve Breaston, ARI | Age: 25.0 | Value Score: 6

77. Muhsin Muhammad, CAR | Age: 35.4 | Value Score: 6

78. Demetrius Williams, BAL | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 6

79. Amani Toomer, NYG | Age: 34.0 | Value Score: 6

80. Jason Hill, SF | Age: 23.6 | Value Score: 5

81. Mario Manningham, NYG | Age: 22.3 | Value Score: 5

82. Devin Hester, CHI | Age: 25.8 | Value Score: 5

83. Early Doucet, ARI | Age: 22.8 | Value Score: 5

84. Craig Davis, SD | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 5

85. #Brandon Lloyd, CHI | Age: 27.2 | Value Score: 4

86. Darrell Jackson, DEN | Age: 29.7 | Value Score: 4

87. Will Franklin, KC | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 4

88. Lavelle Hawkins, TEN | Age: 22.2 | Value Score: 4

89. Hank Baskett, PHI | Age: 26.0 | Value Score: 4

90. Devery Henderson, NO | Age: 26.5 | Value Score: 4

91. #David Patten, NO | Age: 34.1 | Value Score: 4

92. Antwaan Randle El, WAS | Age: 29.1 | Value Score: 4

93. Brandon Stokley, DEN | Age: 32.2 | Value Score: 4

94. #Drew Bennett, STL | Age: 30.0 | Value Score: 4

95. [#]Ben Obomanu, SEA | Age: 24.8 | Value Score: 4

96. Dwayne Jarrett, CAR | Age: 22.0 | Value Score: 4

TIER EIGHT

97. Isaiah Stanback, DAL | Age: 24.1 | Value Score: 3

98. Harry Douglas, ATL | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 3

99. Andre Caldwell, CIN | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 3

100. Derek Hagan, MIA | Age: 24.0 | Value Score: 3

101. Earl Bennett, CHI | Age: 21.5 | Value Score: 3

102. Courtney Taylor, SEA | Age: 24.4 | Value Score: 3

103. Brandon Jones, TEN | Age: 29.4 | Value Score: 2

104. #Keenan Burton, STL | Age: 23.9 | Value Score: 2

105. Jabar Gaffney, NE | Age: 27.8 | Value Score: 2

106. Sam Hurd, DAL | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 2

107. Domenik Hixon, NYG | Age: 23.9 | Value Score: 2

9 comments:

sterjs said...

Interesting that Chad Johnson rose back to 14. Is this because he is playing without the shoulder brace? I bought low(Roddy White straight up for Chad Johnson) before the season started on the premise that his shoulder injury was less serious than speculated and I hope to be rewarded this season.

I am a lot higher on Anthony Gonzalez than you apparently. I would rank him just ahead of Torry Holt, about equal to Roddy White. I might be overprojecting, but the heir apparent at #2 WR for the greatest QB of all time is someone I want on my team more than a number of players ranked higher like Chris Chambers, Hines Ward and DeSean Jackson.

Thanks for the sweet rankings.

Chris Wesseling said...

Re: Chad. I'd say it's less a matter of him rising as opposed to the guys around him falling. I'm guessing his season will turn around, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding him . . . not least of which is another Bengals tailspin season or three.

Re: Gonzalez. It's just a matter preference. How long do you want to wait on him being startable if you're a contender? If you're a builder, sure, he makes as much sense (or even more) than the rest of those guys . . . though I'd say DeSean Jackson certainly looks more talented -- and has a sweet QB of his own.

EdMcGon said...

In keeper league terms, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are interchangeable to me, and I might even prefer Johnson only because he's slightly younger. Both of them play for wretched teams, so they'll both get chances.

Short term, Johnson might be better only because of the trade rumors swirling around Roy Williams, plus Fitzgerald has Boldin stealing catches from him.

On the other hand, Brandon Marshall could easily top both of them with a big asterisk next to his name for the knucklehead factor. Marshall is just on a level above everyone else in the NFL, especially due to the presence of Cutler.

I also think you have Andre Johnson rated too high. The Texan offense is too inconsistent, as reflected in Johnson's numbers, for Andre to be that high. I'd put him at the bottom of the first tier, or even the top of the second.

Finally, at this point in time, I'd rate Moss with Ocho Cinco. Moss clearly won't do much without Brady. By the time Brady is back next year, Moss will be another year older, assuming he doesn't grumble his way out of New England before then. There's too much downside with Moss to rate him tier one.

Chris Wesseling said...

Ed,
This is refreshing. You're getting on me for "my guys". . . players I love . . . players I've had to defend for being too high on them.

I've been sky high on Calvin Johnson and even called him the one must-buy of the offseason. But to compare this year's Cards to this Lions is crazy. Fitz's "wretched team" has a good chance to win the West, and he's playing in a fantasy feast offense. If Boldin is stealing catches, it doesn't stop a healthy Fitz from getting 100 catches, 1,400 yards, and 10 TDs.

I hear ya on Marshall. I don't think he's playing on another level than a guy like Fitz, but the Broncos offense certainly helps. Fitz has a stability edge by miles.

Andre Johnson will be fine.

Re: Moss. With his downside also comes the best upside in the league. He won a lot of leagues last year, and he can do it again next year. I'd swoop in and grab him if his owners believe the way you do about him.

Anonymous said...

I'll second the Andre Johnson is too high vote. That offense is very flawed and I'm not convinced Schaub is the answer there. I'd have a hard time taking Johnson over Wayne or Marshall,despite Marshall's red flags.

Steve Smith is another guy who I like, but I don't see him as better than Marshall or even TO at this point. Delhomme hasn't lokked the same so far this year and Carolina seems recommited to the run and are able to execute the run, which hasn't been the case since their super bowl season. All of these things add up to me to make Smith more in line with the Boldins and Jennings of the world as a decent WR1 but not a guy who's quite elite.

I don't get all the Anthony Gonzalez hype myself. I think he is still far behind Harrison in the Colts pecking order. It could be another 2 years before Gonzalez is worthy of being a WR2. Marvin meanwhile seems a little undervalued to me, he narrowly missed 2 more TD's against the Jags and I have to believe as Manning gets healthier he'll regain his timing with Marvin which he seemed to be trying too hard to do during the Jaguars game.

Finally, I like the Seahawks WR's a little more than most, but how can 40+ guys be ahead of both of them? What upside do Mark Clayton and the Packers 3rd and 4th WRs have that they don't? Branch and Engram could both step in and be top-25 WRs the rest of this season. Maybe higher in Branch's case as Hasselbeck said he's the best he's ever seen him look.

EdMcGon said...

Fitz's "wretched team" has a good chance to win the West, and he's playing in a fantasy feast offense.

Chris,
Just one problem with this: What if Kurt Warner gets hurt? Fitz's value drops with Leinart under center.

This is where Johnson's value is: He can make plays regardless of the QB. I still remember him in college, making catches on the most boneheaded throws.

Both of them are about equal value now, but in the long term, I take Johnson. He could easily be the next Jerry Rice.

This is refreshing. You're getting on me for "my guys". . . players I love . . . players I've had to defend for being too high on them.

That's cause you're a smart guy, and that's why I read you. ;)

Re: Moss. With his downside also comes the best upside in the league. He won a lot of leagues last year, and he can do it again next year. I'd swoop in and grab him if his owners believe the way you do about him.

I avoid prima donnas like Moss and TO. They can win your league, or lose it. I prefer solid receivers who just put up points every week. Then I can rely on my QB's and RB's to win games for me. ;)

EdMcGon said...

Branch and Engram could both step in and be top-25 WRs the rest of this season. Maybe higher in Branch's case as Hasselbeck said he's the best he's ever seen him look.

Anonymous,
The problem with Branch is his injury history. Since he was traded from the Patriots, I can honestly count on one hand the number of times I've started him (and usually regretted it afterwards).

I would call Branch and Engram WR3's, and only with a good matchup. You might be able to squeak them in as a WR2 on a good week (or as a bye week fill-in), but only if you have no other options at WR.

Chris Wesseling said...

I agree with Ed on the Seahawks WRs. Engram's dynasty value is hampered by his age. Branch is possibly the most overrated fantasy WR of the past 5 years, and he's coming off of ACL surgery.

Chris Wesseling said...

Ed,
Fitz has always produced. It doesn't matter who the QB is -- he gets his. A 25-year-old WR with two 100 reception, 1400 yard, 10 TD seasons under his belt? Yes please.

Oh, and I don't buy into the letting the QBs & RBs win my games for me. I want my WRs to dominate too.