Fantasy Football WR draft tiers: Calvin Johnson is peerless


Denver’s Demaryius Thomas stands atop the second tier of WRs, looking up only at Calvin Johnson. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As a tool for fantasy drafts, players can be grouped together in tiers of similar projected fantasy production.  Tiers can help a drafter decide how to choose between players at different positions; if a given player is the last one left in a higher tier, an owner may choose to select him over another player at a position with several players of comparable value left on the board.

Positional Rankings: Top 30 QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Ks | DEF

Draft Talent Tiers: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs

Fancy Stats Value Players: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs

To create our tiers, we are using Gene Wang’s top 30 WRs. Scoring figures are for standard settings and are courtesy of Fantasy Pros.

TIER 1

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

Josh Gordon actually led all WRs in points last year, but even if he were guaranteed to play this season (and with a possible year-long suspension, he’s not), Megatron would stand alone here. Johnson finished second to Gordon in 2013, and first in 2011 and 2012. That consistent production — not to mention his size, speed and primary role in a pass-happy, indoor offense — make Johnson the only choice lo lead off his position.

TIER 2

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

Six more size/speed freaks set to garner a plurality of targets in their teams’ offenses. Thomas presents the only plausible alternative to Megatron as the No.1 fantasy receiver in drafts. Marshall appeared to gain an equal last season in Alshon Jeffery but Marshall remained the apple of Jay Cutler’s eye. Jones was on his way to a monstrous 2013 campaign before getting injured in Week 5.

TIER 3

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

Victor Cruz, New York Giants

The rest of the players in the hunt to produce WR1 numbers. Brown racks up catches but doesn’t have the size of the Tier 2 guys and is less likely to hit double digits in touchdowns. Jeffery, as mentioned, emerged alongside Marshall last season; can he keep it up? DeSean Jackson and Garcon need to sort out who is the WR1 on their own team. Johnson, Vincent Jackson and Fitzgerald are all 30-plus-years-old but should have some life left in their legs.

TIER 4

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers

Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles

Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

Wes Welker, Denver Broncos

Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

A large group of solid choices to be a fantasy team’s WR2. Crabtree just needs to stay healthy, as do White, Maclin, Colston and Harvin. Hilton, Edelman and Welker could mix in big weeks with quieter ones, depending on their teams’ game plans. Allen shined as a rookie, and many feel Floyd will overtake Fitzgerald as soon as this season to become the Cardinals’ top WR.

TIER 5

Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans

Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos

Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings

Terrific WR3s here, who could be defensible WR2s, particularly if owners have stocked up at other spots. Patterson stands out as a tempting dice-roll. He’s a hugely talented, but raw, prospect who could take the next step this season, or who could prove he still has a ways to go.

This former editor and part-time writer at The Post is now happy to prove that if you combine 'blowhard' and 'blaggard,' you get 'blogger.' He previously had used 'Desmond Bieler' as his byline, but feels that shortening the first name to 'Des' nicely conveys his ever-decreasing gravitas. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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Des Bieler · July 31