Inside the Playbook: Projecting the Top 5 WR Fantasy Picks in 2015

~By Tim Lee~

As we are nearing the beginning of the 2015 NFL season, fantasy drafts are about to get up and running for most fans. In this article Inside the Playbook fantasy writer Tim Lee looks at NFL Fantasy’s best Wide Receivers. Along with some honorable mentions, rookies have also been looked at to add potential value to your team.

Honorable Mention: Randall Cobb

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Fantasy Points in 2014: 203.40

Receptions in 2014: 91

Receiving Yards in 2014: 1,287

Touchdowns in 2014: 12

After inking a new 4 year deal worth $40 million, people can stop speculating about where Randall Cobb will be playing this year. More importantly, Cobb himself can keep his mind purely on football. Coming off a career best year in 2014, he was ranked 6th in the league for wide receivers. Targeted 91 times last year, combined with teammate Jordy Nelson, he will yet again be a key component in the Packer’s passing game.

Honorable Mention: Julio Jones

Fantasy Points in 2014: 197.90

Receptions in 2014: 104

Receiving Yards in 2014: 1,593

Touchdowns in 2014: 6

Coming off a massive 2014, Julio Jones set a Falcons franchise record with 1,593 receiving yards. So far, all reports are showing that Jones is having a stellar off-season building on his current skillset. Yet to sign a contract extension with the Falcons, look for Julio to be playing at his best from Week 1 as he is eyeing those guaranteed dollars his wide receiver compatriots Dez and Demaryius received previously.

Honorable Mention: A.J. Green

Fantasy Points in 2014: 137.30

Receptions in 2014: 69

Receiving Yards in 2014: 1,041

Touchdowns in 2014: 6

After an injury riddled 2014 season, A.J. Green is looking to bounce back in the 2015 season. Despite only playing in 13 games last year and slowed by injury, the Bengals’ number one receiver still had over 1,000 yards along with 6 touch downs. An elite receiver who should be the staple of any fantasy team’s receiving core.

Rookie Watch: Amari Cooper

Receiving Yards in 2014 (College): 1,727

Touchdowns in 2014 (College): 16

The number 4 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Amari Cooper has been described as super athletic and a skilled route runner. He is a complete receiver and can make big plays in big games. With the Raiders also acquiring Michael Crabtree from the 49ers, he has a solid receiver from which to learn. Most current mock drafts have him going in the 7th round. If he can have an Odell Beckham Jr. like rookie year, he could be one of the value picks of the year.

Rookie Watch: Kevin White

Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Kevin White (West Virginia) greets NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number seven overall pick to the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Kevin White (West Virginia) greets NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number seven overall pick to the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Receiving Yards in 2014 (College): 1,447

Touchdowns in 2014 (College): 10

Brandon Marshall’s departure left the Chicago Bears with a massive gap which needed to be filled at the receiver position. Kevin White was drafted for that exact reason. Having to pick up the work left by Marshall, expect White to get plenty of looks this season. White will have Alshon Jeffrey to guide him through his rookie year. Like Cooper, White is going either in the 7th or 8th round in most mock drafts.

5. Jordy Nelson

Fantasy Points in 2014: 231.90

Receptions in 2014: 98

Receiving Yards in 2014: 1,519

Touchdowns in 2014: 13

Jordy Nelson was ranked 2nd out of all Wide Receivers last year. Targeted 98 times for 13 touchdowns and 71 first downs, Nelson is not only efficient, but reliable. However, his preseason has been limited thus far after hip surgery back in March. Hoping to be getting back into peak fitness during training camp, look for Jordy to have another huge season.

4. Calvin Johnson

Fantasy Points in 2014: 157.70

Receptions in 2014: 71

Receiving Yards in 2014: 1,077

Touchdowns in 2014: 8

Calvin Johnson missed 3 games last year due to injury but still had over 1,000 yards from 71 receptions. When fit, Megatron is the best wide receiver in the game and with his 6-foot-5, 236 pound frame coupled with his explosive speed, his versatility is unmatched. Reports from training camp have revealed he is in great shape with a full off-season to recover from his 2014 injuries. This guy certainly won’t make it past the 1st round of your fantasy drafts, if you’re on the clock and he is available – take him.

3. Dez Bryant

Fantasy Points in 2014: 229.00

Receptions in 2014: 88

Receiving Yards in 2014: 1,320

Touchdowns in 2014: 16

In each of the past three years, Dez Bryant has had over 1,200 receiving yards. Also he has not missed a game for the past three seasons which is a testament to his longevity and reliability as one of the premier wide receivers in the NFL. His 2014 season saw him catch 16 touchdowns, and this performance coupled with his strong frame, Dez is a red zone threat and fantasy gold. If Tony Romo’s back can hold up this year, expect Dez to be throwing up his X plenty more times this season.

2. Demaryius Thomas

Fantasy Points in 2014: 231.90

Receptions in 2014: 111

Receiving Yards in 2014: 1,619

Touchdowns in 2014: 11

In 2014, Demaryius Thomas was ranked 3rd in the wide receiving ranks of the NFL. With 111 receptions for 11 touchdowns last year, including a spectacular 86-yard touchdown catch, he has shown again his ability as a deep threat. Touted as a speedster his entire career helped him achieve the crucial yards after catch, increasing his fantasy points per reception. Averaging over 1,400 yards in the past 3 years, Peyton Manning’s arrival to Denver has seen him flourish into one of the best wide receivers in the league. Fantasy wise, Thomas is easily a first round pick.

1. Antonio Brown

Photo credit: CBS Sports

Photo credit: CBS Sports

Fantasy Points in 2014: 253.90

Receptions in 2014: 129

Receiving Yards in 2014: 1,698

Touchdowns in 2014: 13

Ranked top out of all the wide receivers in 2014, Antonio Brown built on his 2013 season to become the best receiver in the league. Averaging over 100 yards per game last year, his production was matched by no one and was a huge part of one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. With 13 touchdowns and 85 first downs from 129 receptions, Brown averaged 15.8 points in the fantasy world. This guy is elite, take him with your 1st pick.

 

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