by Russ Bliss (2/19/13)

2013 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings

I really have to say that the WR position is as stocked with talent for fantasy football in 2013 as any other. In putting together a top 10 list, I found myself omitting guys like Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Marques Colston, Randall Cobb, Reggie Wayne, Roddy White, and Eric Decker (just to name a few). All of whom have a legitimate case to make for being highly ranked 2013 fantasy football WR's. Now usually, WR is a position of great depth in fantasy football because of the amount of them that start in the NFL. But the quality of depth at the position in 2013 is as good as it's been in years.

1) Calvin Johnson: Seriously, could any other name be listed as the top ranked fantasy football WR in 2013? Megatron is in the prime of his career and he set a new NFL record for receiving yards in 2012 with 1,964 receiving yards. The only thing that was disappointing in 2012 was the only 5 touchdowns he scored. But I counted at least 4 times when he was tackled inside the 3 yard line in 2012 and that's just not likely to be repeated. His TD totals from 2011 (16) and 2010 (12) show he usually gets into the end zone. Calvin Johnson is alone in the top WR tier in the 2013 fantasy football rankings.

2) Dez Bryant: Bryant almost singlehandedly won fantasy championships for owners with 224 yards and 2 TD's in week 16. The light bulb came on for Bryant over the last 8 games of the 2012 season and he finally started being the dominant WR he's always teased us with. In that span, he caught 50 passes for 878 yards and 10 TD's. If Bryant starts the 2013 season the same way he finished 2012, there's no reason to not expect him to challenge for elite fantasy WR status. 

3) Julio Jones: While Jones didn't jump into the elite category of fantasy football WR's in 2012, he did take another step in that direction. 79 receptions, 1,198 yards, and 10 TD's improved upon his rookie season and entering his 3rd NFL season, Jones should be primed to take another step up in production. Roddy White is still there and will get his targets, but Matt Ryan is improving and with a second season in the offense, he'll find Jones plenty of times.

4) Brandon Marshall: The reunion with Jay Cutler couldn't have gone better for Marshall in 2012. 118 receptions (tied for second most), 1,508 yards (3rd most), and 11 TD's (tied for 4th most) all set new career bests for Marshall. The Bears brought in Marc Trestman as their new head coach and Trestman has always had prolific passing attacks in the past. Set the odds at 50/50 on whether Marshall has a better statistical season in 2013 than he did in 2012.

5) A.J. Green: Green was a stud from weeks 2-11. In that span, he caught at least one TD in every game. But from week 12 on, while his yardage numbers were still good, he only caught one more TD. Green is a definite stud WR who would have had even better numbers if QB Andy Dalton didn't fade down the final few weeks again. It would also help Green out if another WR emerged as a legitimate weapon opposite him. But even with the limitations around him, Green's 97 receptions, 1,350 yards, and 11 TD's show the upside he has to post even better numbers in the future.

6) Demaryius Thomas: The arrival of Peyton Manning to Denver paid big dividends for those who had Thomas on their fantasy rosters in 2012. And while he did have 4 games with less than 50 receiving yards, he also had 7 games with over 100 receiving yards and finished with 94 receptions, 1,434 yards, and 10 TD's. As long as Manning keeps going, a second year in the offense could mean Thomas can attain these stats again in 2013.

7) Michael Crabtree: What a difference a quarterback makes. If you go from Colin Kaepernick's 3rd start all the way thru the Super Bowl, you have 8 games. In those 8 games, Crabtree blossomed into the WR the 49ers have always envisioned him being. The totals in those 8 games come out to 55 receptions for 823 yards, and 7 TD's. Crabtree went over 100 receiving yards in 5 of those games. With Kaepernick firmly entrenched as the 49ers starter heading into 2013, there are big things to come from Crabtree.  

8) Vincent Jackson: 2012 saw Jackson set new career highs in receptions (72) and yards (1,384) in his first season with Tampa Bay. 8 receiving TD's was good, but could have been better as he only had 1 in the last 6 games. This coincided with a fade by QB Josh Freeman down the stretch in which Freeman (who threw for 21 TD's in the first 10 games) only threw 6 TD passes total in the last 6 games. With the offensive system staying consistent in 2013, there shouldn't be any drop off in Jackson's production in 2013 and there's a good chance as he and Freeman continue to develop chemistry that Jackson's TD numbers could increase.

9) Victor Cruz: A restricted free agent in 2013, Cruz is set up to receive a nice payday from the Giants after a second consecutive 1,000+ yards season. His receiving yards came down in 2012 (1,092; compared to 1,536 in 2011) but he bettered his receptions and TD totals. The biggest concern with Cruz is his inconsistency in production. He had 5 games with 100 receiving yards or more, but no more than 67 in any of the other 11. He had less than 50 yards in 6 of those games. Cruz also must contend with Hakeem Nicks (who while the better player overall, can't seem to stay healthy) opposite him. If not for his upside and propensity to have great games sprinkled in with his down games, Cruz might not have made my top 10 fantasy WR's. But he's young, and has shown more than enough ability to finish in it.

10) Percy Harvin: When healthy and motivated, Harvin is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL. He's also a fantasy asset. Before suffering a season ending ankle injury in week 9, Harvin had amassed 62 receptions for 677 yards and 3 receiving TD's. He's also a rushing threat having chipped in another 22 carries for 96 yards and another TD before the injury. His TD numbers could have been better, but considering the up and down play of Vikings QB Christian Ponder, and the lack of any other good WR's in Minnesota in 2012, Harvin still managed to produce big time. The biggest concern with Harvin is his attitude. He's entering the last year of his rookie contract and is underpaid, and wants a new deal. The Vikings have been reluctant to tie up big $$$ on him because of his attitude and seemingly fragile nature. Harvin seems to always have some nagging issue that prevents him from practicing, but then he's fine on game days. Minnesota could trade him, but currently it's believed he wouldn't fetch fair value in return as other teams appear to question his attitude as well. But if the issues get resolved, and there's plenty of time between now and the start of the 2013 season for them to, Harvin becomes a legitimate top 10 fantasy WR. 

It's way early in the season and the eventual 2013 fantasy football rankings could be much different. And also remember that this is just a generalized list, and not customized to any type of scoring system. For those types of rankings, the best and most accurate fantasy football rankings can be found within our fantasy football draft analyzer, which along with Lineup and Trade Analyzer's to use throughout the season, is part of our Championship Package.

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