Top 20 WR Rankings For 2014 – Updated 2014 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy

It’s always tricky to put rankings together well in advance of training camp and the pre-season games. So many tidbits of information are still lacking at the moment. Still with that said the top group, barring injury, should remain stable. Earlier in the off-season I put together my initial top 20 WR rankings. This is an updated version taking some more recent information into account.

Be sure to check out our updated Top 20 RB rankings for the 2014 Fantasy Football Draft

These rankings include tiers and are designed to help craft strategies to dominate your draft.

Updated Fantasy Football 2014 Top 30 WR Rankings (Non-PPR): 


Tier 1
1) Calvin Johnson
2) Dez Bryant – Bryant gets a bump to #2 in our updated rankings. Dez will benefit from a new Offensive Coordinator in Dallas that loves to throw to the #1 WR. In addition I believe the emergence of Tererrence Williams last season as a viable #2 WR should further open things up for Dez.
3) Demaryius Thomas – The primary target for Peyton Manning combined with a fantastic skill set keeps DT in the elite category.
4) A.J. Green – Green has been one of the more consistent elite WR’s the past few seasons. It’s scary to think what he could do with a better QB.
5) Julio Jones – Assuming Jones comes back fully healthy he will be a round 2 bargain at WR with potential to finish as high as #1.
6) Brandon Marshall – Marshall gets a ton of looks in the Bears high flying offense. There is some concern that Alshon’s emergence as a WR1a will reduce some of his targets but I expect him to make it up with a higher conversion rate due to defenses having to account for AJ.

Tier 2
7)  Jordy Nelson – Nelson, while not as gifted of an athlete as the Elite Tier WR’s,  gets a bump due to opportunity and QB play. Rodgers loves him. He has plenty of big play potential and should be a top 10 fantasy scorer with a high floor on a weekly basis.
8) Antonio Brown – I expect Brown to be a target monster once again for Pittsburgh. He was the #1 WR for PPR purposes last season. Expect more of the same from a little changed Pittsburgh Offense.
9) Alshon Jeffrey – Jeffrey emerged as a big play threat in his sophomore campaign and he should continue to improve in year 3.
10) Randall Cobb – Cobb appears completely healthy and ready to return to his “slot reciever” role with Green Bay. He is a dual threat player that gets yardage through the air and on the ground. Think Corradelle Patterson in a great offense.
11) Vincent Jackson – Jackson is getting a bit long in the tooth but last season he showed no real signs of slowing down. For 2014 he gets an upgrade at QB with Josh McCown taking over the job for the Bucs. The addition of WR Mike Evans as well as the return of Doug Martin  should help take some defensive pressure off of him this season.
12) Pierre Garcon – Garcon should still be a solid producer in 2014. He is a favorite of RG3 and I believe the addition of Jackson will only open things up further for Garcon.
**Note – There is a major drop off in the WR class after the top two tiers. This is the area of the draft (round 3) where owners should consider Elite TE’s (Thomas, Gronk) or Elite QB’s (Manning, Rodgers, Brees).

Tier 3 

13) Keenan Allen – Allen relied heavily on TD’s in 2013 for fantasy points. I remember a game where he had just 3 receptions with 2 being tuddies. There is reason for caution but at the same time he should be a better player going in to his second season.
14) Andre Johnson – Johnson is currently holding out for a trade. Houston looks like they are taking a step back this season and AJ wants no part of it. Still it’s hard to ignore his production in 2013 which also came with garbage at the QB position. The fact that AJ is ranked this high with all the uncertainty that comes with his current situation is a good reason to shy away from tier 3 WR’s and look to fill other areas of need.
15) Victor Cruz – Cruz was a major disappointment in 2013. The talent is still there but his QB play is very suspect. One reason for hope is a change at the Offensive Coordinator position for the G-Men. This is a risky player to take high in the draft but he has the potential for a major bounce back if the Giants offense improves.
16) Wes Welker – Concussion Alert! Welker could be the highest risk play in the top 20 for 2014. Ironically his situation reminds me of the Danny Amendola situation in 2013. A major injury risk player with a sky high ceiling if he stays healthy. I will avoid him this season.
17) Larry Fitzgerald – Larry is still the man and should be a quality WR2 in 2014. His upside is limited by mediocre QB play as well as a division that makes it difficult for any offensive players to shine.
18) Roddy White – Was 2013 an aberration or was it the beginning of the end for White?  I don’t know yet but things should become clearer as we get to the pre-season. For now I’m assuming he comes back healthy and gives it another big run. White could be a steal if he is able to get back to his 2012 self.
19) Jeremy Maclin – Another high risk high reward play. Maclin has never played in a full 16 game season. That said he is in a situation to succeed in the Eagles fast paced and explosive offense. Unlike Welker I will not hesitate to grab Maclin as my WR2. Just back him up with Cooper or Matthews to be safe.
20) Eric Decker – I know the Jets offense rarely produces quality WR’s for fantasy purposes but this season could be different. Regardless of whether Geno or Vick wind up starting Decker should see a boatload of targets. He is also a red zone threat. He should produce solid WR2 numbers.

Honorable Mention (these guys just missed our top 20 list):
Michael Crabtree, Percy Harvin, Coradelle Patterson, Kendal Wright


Conclusion:


The key takeaway from this list should be the major dropoff at WR after the first two tiers. The “depth” being talked about at WR is a bit deceiving this season. There just isn’t a hugh difference between players in tier 3 and players that can be had much later in the draft (think Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders and Terrance Williams).