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Staff Fantasy WR Rankings For 2013

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Does Cruz's contract status affect our experts ranks and hopes for more salsa time? Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Does Cruz's contract status affect our experts ranks and hopes for more salsa time? Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Last year, it was Calvin Johnson and everyone else when it came to the wide receiver position. Megatron, man who crushed the Madden curse one-handed like a spectacular touchdown catch, remains in that spot. It’s really a deep spot, with the usual potential for fantasy land mines. After the spectacular rookie performances by A.J. Green and Julio Jones, there were no such transcendent stars in the 2012 class, and the 2013 class looks intriguing, but with no instant fantasy difference-makers.

How does the Football.com staff rank the 2013 wide receivers? Take a gander.

Rank First Last Tm Jake Nick Zach Jeff Charles Staff AVG
1 Calvin  Johnson DET 1 1 1 1 1 1.0
2 A.J.  Green CIN 3 2 3 2 2 2.4
3 Brandon  Marshall CHI 2 4 6 4 3 3.8
4 Dez  Bryant DAL 5 3 5 3 4 4.0
5 Julio  Jones ATL 4 5 2 6 6 4.6
6 Demaryius  Thomas DEN 6 6 4 5 5 5.2
7 Roddy  White ATL 9 8 7 9 8 8.2
8 Percy  Harvin SEA 7 7 10 11 7 8.4
9 Andre  Johnson HOU 8 9 8 10 10 9.0
10 Larry  Fitzgerald ARI 10 14 13 8 9 10.8
11 Vincent  Jackson TB 12 13 11 12 11 11.8
12 Randall  Cobb GB 13 12 14 7 14 12.0
13 Victor  Cruz NYG 11 10 16 13 12 12.4
14 Jordy  Nelson GB 15 19 15 14 17 16.0
15 Hakeem  Nicks NYG 18 16 9 18 20 16.2
16 Reggie  Wayne IND 14 15 22 16 15 16.4
17 Dwayne  Bowe KC 16 20 12 21 16 17.0
18 Marques  Colston NO 17 17 24 15 13 17.2
19 Wes  Welker DEN 19 22 23 17 19 20.0
20 Danny  Amendola NE 21 24 19 20 18 20.4
21 Pierre  Garcon WAS 22 25 18 23 21 21.8
22 Mike  Wallace MIA 25 26 17 24 23 23.0
23 Steve  Smith CAR 20 18 30 25 22 23.0
24 Antonio  Brown PIT 24 23 29 22 28 25.2
25 Torrey  Smith BAL 27 21 35 19 27 25.8
26 Greg  Jennings MIN 28 27 26 27 26 26.8
27 Eric  Decker DEN 23 28 28 28 29 27.2
28 Steve  Johnson BUF 31 33 25 26 30 29.0
29 Jeremy  Maclin PHI 32 30 21 29 34 29.2
30 Cecil  Shorts JAC 26 27 38 31 24 29.2
31 T.Y.  Hilton IND 30 29 32 38 25 30.8
32 Josh  Gordon CLE 34 34 20 32 35 31.0
33 James  Jones GB 29 31 27 34 36 31.4
34 DeSean  Jackson PHI 33 32 37 30 31 32.6
35 Miles  Austin DAL 35 37 36 35 32 35.0
36 Mike  Williams TB 39 36 31 36 44 37.2

37

Danario  Alexander SD 37 35 39 37 38 37.2
38 Kenny  Britt TEN 41 43 34 44 33 39.0
39 Tavon Austin STL 38 40 46 33 43 40.0
40 Justin  Blackmon JAC 40 39 41 43 40 40.6
41 Kendall  Wright TEN 48 44 33 39 42 41.2
42 Lance  Moore NO 42 38 43 42 45 42.0
43 Denarius  Moore OAK 43 42 49 45 37 43.2
44 Deandre Hopkins HOU 46 47 45 40 41 43.8
45 Anquan Boldin SF 36 46 42 50 50 44.8
46 Sidney  Rice SEA 45 45 NR 46 39 46.0
47 Emmanuel  Sanders PIT 44 46 NR 41 46 46.4
48 Alshon  Jeffery CHI 47 49 44 NR 47 48.4
49 Brian  Hartline MIA 49 50 NR 49 48 50.2
50 Santonio  Holmes NYJ 50 48 50 NR 49 50.4

Let's have a moment of silence for Michael Crabtree, who was a late bloomer in 2012 and whose 2013 value disappeared when he tore his Achilles tendon during OTAs. The 49ers passing game took a major hit, and at this point it doesn't seem like a winning bet to find any value in that group of receivers. 

Most experts, and this crew is no different, think that Julio Jones will outproduce Roddy White this year. Eventually, it's going to happen. There's a dream that Larry Fitzgerald will return to prominance after last year's complete disaster in Arizona. Vincent Jackson had the free-agent year for the ages in Tampa, setting career highs in catches and yards per catch. There are two teams with fascinating trios. The Broncos have Demaryius Thomas, who soared into the elite with the help of a car salesman named Peyton Manning, new free agent Wes Welker and Eric Decker, all Top 20 guys last year. The Packers have Randall Cobb, who broke through in a big way last year, Jordy Nelson, who scored 15 TDs in 2011, and James Jones, who was the league's surprising TD reception leader in 2012 with 14. The two rookies from 2012 earning most excitement are Cleveland's Josh Gordon and Indianapolis's T.Y. Hilton, not the first-rounders.

Everyone on staff put Calvin Johnson at number one, and that makes sense since he was the 2012 scoring leader and finished the season with a paltry five TDs. It's rare that the top scorer has room for growth. Here are some of the big differences in rankings.

Jake Ciely Outliers

Eric Decker (23rd, staff average 27.2): Most think that Decker's fantasy scoring will have to take a hit due to the signing of Wes Welker. Jake's not convinced. Decker was a red-zone beast last year and that should help with the inconsistent weekly performances.

Kendall Wright (48th, staff average 41.2): Wright led the Titans in receptions, but there are more wide receiver mouths to feed this year. Jake thinks that teammate Kenny Britt will be a (slightly) better option.

Nick Raducanu Outliers

Larry Fitzgerald (14th, staff average 10.8): 2012 is not a season that Fitz is going to want to recall when his career is over. His numbers have taken a noticeable dip since the end of Kurt Warner's career. Between 2005 and 2011, he was a Top Five receiver five out of seven years. Last year, he was out of the Top 40. Bruce Arians helped resurrect Reggie Wayne's career and could do the same for the former University of Pittsburgh star. At age 30, it's a legitamate question to wonder if his best football is behind him.

Steve Smith (18th, staff average 23): Smith was a Top 10 wideout in Cam Newton's rookie year and dropped to 19th last year, due mainly to a touchdown drought. Is the 33-year-old criminally underrated in 2013? The Panthers don't have anyone else. 

Zach Law Outliers  

Cecil Shorts (38th, staff average 29.2): The late-season concussion is a concern, as is the continued QB "battle" between Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. If he can stay out of trouble, Justin Blackmon should become the team's top receiver by the end of the year.  

Brandon Marshall (sixth, staff average 3.8): The Bears have improved their offensive line and Martellus Bennett should take away some targets. Dez Bryant had a crazy good second half, and Demaryius Thomas is only on the way up, so they went ahead of mister Marshall.

Jeff Brubach Outliers

Torrey Smith (19th, staff average 25.8): After a Super Bowl win, Ravens are not rushing up the rankings. Smith has been a consistent performer with 49 and 50 catches in two years. He's going to be the number one target this year, but is it enough to make him a solid WR2? Bru thinks so.

Tavon Austin (33rd, staff average 40): Rookie wideouts are usually a bad bet, but there are generally a few who contribute at least in a spot role. Austin should get the most targets for the Rams in 2013, but that offense is crowded with receiving talent.

Charles Murphy Outliers

Marques Colston (13th, staff average 17.2): It's hard to believe, but Colston is a boring player. He's the top target on one of the best offenses in the NFL, but people believe that his legs are going to fall off any day now.   

Jeremy Maclin (34th, staff average 29.2): Someone has to produce for the new-look Chip Kelly offense, right? Maclin's been a disappointment, with no 1,000-yard seasons in his four NFL campaigns.