1. Antonio Brown
No receiver caught more balls or had more yards than Brown in 2014. Simply put, Brown is a stud. Ben Roethlisberger throws his way a ton, and Brown does his part. When you catch 129 passes for 1698 yards you can’t be anything but the number one receiver.
2. Dez Bryant
Bryant led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 16, and was eighth in yards with 1320, but finished outside of the top 10 in targets. While Bryant wasn’t getting targeted as much as top receivers, most likely because the Cowboys ran the ball an insane amount of times, but Tony Romo always looks Bryant’s way. Also, with DeMacro Murray the Cowboys could be looking to throw more which would create more opportunities.
3. Demaryius Thomas
Thomas led the NFL in targets in 2014 with 184, and finished second in yards with 1619. With Julius Thomas out of town it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Thomas inherit a lot of his red zone targets.
4. Julio Jones
Jones had a lot of yards with 1593, but fell really sort in the touchdown category with only six. Jones has had a 10 touchdown season, but hasn’t really exploded in the category yet. With the loss of Harry Douglas, and Roddy White getting older, Matt Ryan will keep forcing it to Jones.
5. Alshon Jeffery
Jay Cutler is horrible, but he produces fantasy stars in the form of Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte, and now Jeffery. Cutler forced the ball to Brandon Marshall to as many as 194 targets in 2012, and he’ll do the same with Jeffery.
6. Jordy Nelson
Except for an injury filled 2012, Nelson has been as consistent as they come for the past four years. While Nelson is Rodgers’ go-to target, the Packers do have plenty of other receivers with Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams that could steal some of Jordy’s thunder.
7. Mike Evans
I am the number one supporter of the Mike Evans fan club, and it will not be before long until he is the number one fantasy receiver. Odell Beckham Jr. gets all of the hype, but simply put no other receiver can do what Evans can. He is bigger, and faster than everyone, and that will translate to a lot of yards and touchdowns. However, Evans will have to deal with a rookie QB, but if Jameis Winston knows what’s best for him he will throw it up to Evans 10 plus times per game.
8. Odell Beckham Jr.
OBJ finished the second half of the season as the number one receiver, and did it in astonishing fashion. He was unstoppable, and made some of the most ridiculous players ever seen. 2015 should be more of the same, but Victor Cruz is returning, and OBJ will be the number one priority of every defense in the NFL when they play the Giants. He’ll be great, but don’t expect better than what he did last year.
9. Calvin Johnson
Johnson is still his great self, but other talent has supplanted him as a top five receiver. His numbers were down in 2014 due to an ankle injury that limited him 13 games, but his per game numbers were still on point. Also working against Johnson is the erratic play of Matthew Stafford, the solid play of Golden Tate, and the potential emergence of Eric Ebron.
9. Randall Cobb
At only 5’10 Cobb makes a lot of plays in the red zone for a receiver so short, Rodgers just looks his way there a lot. Cobb will have another great year, but like I said about Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams could get more looks.
10. A.J. Green
I am done with A.J. Green, I’m sorry, but after he burned me in the fantasy championship last year I just can’t draft him again. The championship game was week 16, I had Green, and my opponent had Peyton Manning. Manning did everything he could to help me win the game with four interceptions, but Green did nothing. I lost by less than two points. Regardless, this is a solid spot for Green for those that want to draft him. While the Bengals are focusing more on the run, Andy Dalton was horrible last year, and will most likely step up a bit. If Green can stay healthy he could be a steal.
11. T.Y. Hilton
Hilton is one of those classic little fast receivers that is constantly making big plays. The Colts lost Hakeem Nicks, and Reggie Wayne, but also gained Andre Johnson. Johnson definitely isn’t his old self, but still has plenty left in the tank. Hilton will continue to be Andrew Luck’s favorite target.
12. Kelvin Benjamin
Benjamin is a lot like Mike Evans, but he isn’t as fast or as refined of a receiver. Benjamin left a lot of plays on the field in 2015, but the Panthers haven’t done anything to upgrade the receiver position. Benjamin will continue to be Cam Newton’s best target next to Greg Olsen, and could be near the top in receiving touchdowns.
13. Brandin Cooks
Cooks is going to erupt in 2015. With Jimmy Graham out of the picture, and Marques Colston hanging on by a thread at this point, Drew Brees will have nowhere left to look but Cooks’ way. Cooks’ had a rough rookie season after only playing 10 games, but not every rookie receiver is OBJ or Mike Evans. Cooks is a lot like Randall Cobb, but faster with 4.33 speed compared to 4.46. This is your most improved receiver from 2014 to 2015.
14. Emmanuel Sanders
Sanders took a huge leap going from the Steelers to the Broncos with the help of Peyton Manning. After a 1404 yard season, and nine touchdowns Sanders was one of the biggest steals of 2014. Also, Julius Thomas is gone which is good for both Sanders and Thomas. One thing I would like to point out is that I generally dislike drafting number two receivers as my number ones, but guys like Sanders and Cobb are worth it.
15. Keenan Allen
Boy, Keenan Allen sure was horrible last year. Despite catching seven more passes, Allen’s yards fell from 1046 to 783, and his touchdowns dropped by four. Simply put he was bad. However, this is where the receiver rankings get interesting because there are equally talented receivers, but none of them have a QB nearly as good as Philip Rivers. Hopefully Allen rebounds, and he has the talented and QB to do it.
16. Jeremy Maclin
17. Brandon Marshall
18. DeAndre Hopkins
19. DeSean Jackson
20. Sammy Watkins
21. Jarvis Landry
22. Golden Tate
23. Jarvis Landry Jordan Matthews
24. Julian Edelman
25. Michael Floyd
26. Vincent Jackson
27. Andre Johnson
28. Torrey Smith
29. Martavis Bryant
30. Charles Johnson
31. Victor Cruz
32. Eric Decker