Fantasy football dynasty debate: Top 5 wide receivers for 2011 and beyond

If you haven’t already checked it out, my dynasty debate on the Top 5 running backs for next season has been a huge hit. Drawing some very indepth debate from a variety of sources.

I have a feeling my Top 5 wide receivers will have a similar response. There are some unorthodox picks here. Only the strong of heart should read any further …

1. Roddy White, ATL. A spot that has been dominated by Andre Johnson and Randy Moss in recent memory, there is little to think that Roddy White, who had a career year in 2010, won’t do it again in 2011 and beyond. Matt Ryan is maturing into a solid young QB, and White is his primary weapon of choice. The other receivers on the Falcons roster are good enough to keep defenses somewhat honest, but not good enough to steal away too many of Matty Ice’s looks. Roddy has yet to turn 30 years old, and should have at least another 5 elite years in his system … likely more.

2. Calvin Johnson, DET. Has anyone done as much with so little? The past two years, people drooled over how well Calvin could do if Matthew Stafford was healthy. Instead, Stafford goes down and Calvin barely misses a beat with Pop Warner-esque signal callers flipping him the football. Johnson is a lot younger than people realize (25) and finds a way to produce regardless of who is playing QB. You can’t ignore his staying power in spite of the circumstances.

3. Hakeem Nicks, NYG. Nicks had 79 catches for 1,052 yerds and 11 TDs … and he missed action during the season due to injury. The Giants are a run-first team, but they need to keep the passing game relevant to maintain offensive balance, and Eli Manning seems to have a love affair with Nicks. The kicker, for me, is that Nicks is only 23. He’s got tons of long-term potential.

4. Andre Johnson, HOU. Some will argue he deserves to be at the top of this list based on previous years production. I like him here. His 2010 saw drops in each of the major statistical categories. Injuries played a part in that, but then again, so did the emergence of Arian Foster. Over time, Foster’s presence will only make things easier for Andre in terms of coverage, and I like him to repeat as a top 5 WR for years to come (he’s 29, so there’s plenty of tread on the tires).

5. Mike Wallace, PIT. Go ahead. Call me crazy. You’ve obviously not seen Wallace play, or his solid stats in 2010 (60 catches, 1,257 yards and 10 TDs). Remember, too, that he produced those numbers with Big Ben out of action the first quarter of the season due to off-field issues. And that long-time great Hines Ward will continue to fade into oblivion moving forward. Wallace is in a great situation where he should see consistent numbers moving forward.

And here’s where the debate can get a little crazy. There are tons of able receivers one could argue deserves to be on this list.

Mike Williams, of Tampa Bay, had one of the best rookie receiving years in recent memory. He’d be my No. 6 guy on this list, with the potential to leapfrog Wallace if Freeman can show consistent maturity.

Greg Jennings has re-emerged as an elite receiver, and a year or so from now, I expect him to be closer to the Top 5. Just not ready to push him there just yet with some of his inconsistencies.

Dwayne Bowe had a banner year. Just not ready to trust Matt Cassel, and really not thrilled with how majorly streaky Bowe was. Some record-breaking games followed by total disappearing acts.

Vincent Jackson should be considered a contender … if I knew for sure he’d be back with the Chargers and the under-rated Philip Rivers.

Larry Fitzgerald has no receiver, and unlike Calvin Johnson, he wasn’t able to piece together an elite fantasy season without a more consistent signal caller.

DeSean Jackson is a home run threat every time on the field. I just worry his size and playing style will lead to more IR time than I’d like from a Top 5 fantasy receiver.

Top 5s for 2011, by position: QB | RB | WR |TE

Who are in your Top 5 for 2011 and beyond? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

14 Responses to “Fantasy football dynasty debate: Top 5 wide receivers for 2011 and beyond”


  1. Joe

    Not offended by your list (not like the RB list anyway haha).

    My top 5 are:
    Calvin Johnson
    Andre Johnson
    Hakeem Nicks
    Roddy White
    Greg Jennings

    Honorable mention to: Miles Austin! If you calculate his stats out for the entire year with the numbers he and Romo were starting the season with, he would have easily been in the top 5 (he was on pace for around 100 catches, 1500 yards after 5 games). He was still inside the top 15 with Kitna throwing to him! I expect a big bounce back in 2011 for Miles.

    Only one I disagree with is Mike Williams…not for any statistical reason, but because I had Michael Clayton when he was a rookie for the Bucs and I kept him which ended up biting me hard his 2nd season. Clayton actually had better stats than Williams (80-1,193yds) other than TDs (11 for Williams, 7 for Clayton). I think Williams will be good, but I refuse to have him on my team…been burned by a Bucs rookie WR once too often! lol

  2. Consigliere

    I like the list.

    Calvin is going to set the league on fire and it has been proven that not even a 3rd string QB can stop him. I like White as well but i think CJ is number one.

    I would toss Dez Bryant in the mix he flashed some redic skills and ability with the ball in his hand. Teams will roll towards Austin and Bryant will light it up.

    I cant agree with Jennings… He is not the #1 receiver in Green Bay, that honor goes to Jermichael Finley. When Finley is around he is the go to guy and is uncoverable. If i were a Jennings owner it would be sell high time. Personally i would prefer a Brandon Marshall or Bryant over Jennings.

  3. Joe

    @Consigliere: whew, any league you are in and owned Jennings I bet you could easily get Dez AND Marshall for him! Jennings had his worst year in 2009 (with Finley in the lineup) and he had 68 catches for 1113 yards and 4 TDs. If you calculate Marshalls numbers out for 16 games this year he would have 98 catches, 1158 yards and 3 TDs. Unless you are in a PPR league Jennings was still better than Marshall and Marshall is still stuck in that same sad offense in Miami, with that same sad Chad Henne at QB for now. I’m not willing to take a chance on someone like Marshall until I see what that situation will shake out to down there.

    My thoughts on Dez are three-fold. For fold one check out my comments above about Miles Austin. Second, while Romo was the QB for the first 5 games, Dez averaged 4 catches, 42 yards and had 1 total TD (mapped out over 16 games that’s 64-675-3). The reason he did so well with Kitna is because they both took 2nd team snaps together in practice. And 3, Jason Garrett made it perfectly clear that regardless of how Dez got injured this year, he would still be returning punts and kickoffs. I don’t know about other folks but I don’t like my starting WR in fantasy football to be returning kicks and punts! It is all risk and NO reward (unless your league has a non standard scoring system). I think in a couple years Dez will be a beast, but for these next couple years I would put my money on Jennings.

    In terms of Finley’s impact on Jennings: Jennings only had 8 more total catches and averaged less than 10 yards per game more this year compared to last. The big jump for him was TDs where he went from 4 to 12. A good chunk of those came outside the redzone on Rodgers bombs or shorter passes where Jennings ran most of the way to the endzone. I don’t see Finley digging too much into that next year. If anything, Finley will steal looks away from Driver and Nelson (and even John Kuhn) before Jennings. Plus I would like to see Finley do some route running on that surgically repaired knee before he is coronated the best receiver in GB! And let’s not forget that Rodgers has averaged 4000 yards and around 30 TDs since taking over the starting gig 3 years ago, I think there is plenty to go around! lol

  4. Consigliere

    @Joe:

    How soon everyone forgets that Marshall is just one year removed from 3 strait 100 catch seasons and couple that with 7,6,10 TD respectively i feel i have an excellent bounce back player.

    With regards to Dez, Bryant was the 3rd WR and at times the 2nd WR so it wasnt like he was working exclusively with Kitna and not to mention the chemistry was just being developed before Romo went down. With an entire off season of work and 5 years of youth on his side and with an offensive mind taking over at HC i like the upside and potential of Bryant.

    I will agree with you that Jennings will still do well in 2011, but i dont think he will get back to the 12 touchdowns that he saw in 2010. Sure Finley has a knee injury but it wasnt an ACL tear and he has recovered just fine from it. Also you do state and i agree that Jennings worse year was 2009 with happens to coincide with Finley’s breakout year.

    Do i think Jennings is good sure i do, but if i can trade one top 10 WR for 2 top 20 WR’s each of whom have the potential to be top 5-10 ill take that all day long

  5. Joe

    @Consigliere: Believe me, I like Dez a lot. I was much higher on him going into this season than most people in my league (with the exception of a couple other owners). And I do think he will build a relationship with Romo and be a special player. That being said, I would rather have the wr that Romo already has that relationship with. It kinda reminds me of the colts when Manning had Harrison and Wayne to throw to…he LOVED Marvin and threw a ton to him, but he worked Reggie into the system and when Marvin moved on Reggie became a beast. I wouldnt be surprised if both Miles and Dez get 1200 yards and 7-10 TDs in 2011 (and a few years after). And I def agree that Garrett taking over as HC will help that offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Romo as a top 5 QB and these 2 WRs both as top 10. If Roy E. Williams gets shipped off then the sky is the limit for both.

    In terms of Marshall, believe me I love his talent. And since he is from the greatest city in the world (aka Pittsburgh) I like him even more. It is not him I am so much worried about, it is that offense and that QB. Trading for Marshall, to me, would be a high risk/high reward situation. Your numbers are correct, in DENVER he averaged 1200 yards and 8 TDs for his 3 years as a starter. I did not calculate catches because I think this list is looking at standard scoring (non PPR). But those numbers were either with Jay Cutler throwing to him (Jay was/is a gunslinger) and/or with Josh McDaniels coaching the offense. Marshall (as of now) still has Chad Henne as his QB (a Marshall owner hopes they get someone like Bulger to throw a lot) and now has the former Cleveland Browns OC has his OC (plans on running the ball A LOT, and it’s not like Clevelands offense lit it up!)…that does not give me much confidence in Marshall. Those same years that Marshall has averaged 1200yds and 8TDs, Jennings has averaged 1100yds and 8TDs as well (he surpassed both of those this year). Will Finley being back affect Jennings? Obviously! But not as much as Marshall is affected by a bad QB and a bad offensive situation. Gimme the guy who gets to catch from Aaron Rodgers any day!

    That all being said, depending on my situation (ie only having 1 keepable WR and needed to make a move) I would consider trading Jennings for Dez and Marshall, but would never consider a straight up 1 for 1 type situation.

  6. Mike

    I can’t argue too hard with the list either. The top guys are all pretty much interchangeable as well. Calvin is a stud (though if you look at Shaun Hill’s numbers this year there is NO WAY you can compare Megatron and Fitz’s QB situations, Hill was actually the BEST backup in the league this year). I don’t have Wallace in my top 5, but it’s clear he is ready to fully enter “stud” realm.

    I do understand the argument that Jennings could lose some catches with Finley coming back. There may be some truth to that, but don’t forget that Jennings also picked up stats this year because of Donald Driver’s big drop in production. There are plenty of stats to go around in that offense though, and I think Jennings is a solid top 10 WR, and I LOVE James Jones as the guy to step up and be a valuable number 2 there.

    As for the Jennings vs Dez/Marshall debate, I would rather have Jennings nest year. I LOVE Dez, and think he will be a stud soon if he can stay healthy, but knowing most of his production came from Jon Kitna’s play and not Tony Romo’s, I can’t feel safe with him in my top 10 for next season. As for Marshall, I am VERY sour on him. Yes, he is a very talented WR. Yes, he WAS good playing in an entirely different offense. The big BUT with him is I’ve yet to see him be anywhere near that WR in Miami. Going into next year with the same coaching staff, the same QB (so far), and the same issues, I’m not sure I could put Marshall in my top 20 yet alone my top 10 in 2011. Don’t forget, as talented as he is, he’s also a head case. We’ve seen someone like Randy Moss in the past star with teams where he was happy, and disappear on team’s where he wasn’t. Marshall was VERY frustrated with the coaches and QB last season. If they don’t find a way to appease him, he could very well follow in Moss’ footsteps.

  7. Consigliere

    i guess alot of this can also be attributed to a persons style of thinking.

    Me i am looking to build for the future and am willing to take shots on the up and comers at the expense of other players. With the 5 year age difference between Dez and Jennings i think that as long as it doesnt take Dez 5 years to make it to Jennings esque level i win in a trade and couple that with i should be able to get another player in that trade i could see my self winning in the long run.

    On my dynasty roster i have worked very hard to build a strong core of players thus affording me the ability to make moves that many wouldnt think of that allow me to be strong for years to come.

    In regards to Marshall, yes he is a bit of a head case but he still put up 86-1014-3 this year with horrible QB play. The Dolphins owner has called for more of an air it out attack and while i would say looking at the Browns it would be easy to say they will be run first in Miami, but there is a chance they could bring in an experience QB and change the whole dynamic. At this current state the Dolphins are in bad shape and Marshall’s value is low, which to me means time to buy.

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  9. Joe

    @Consigliere: I def agree with building for the future. I’ve been known to trade players a year too early because I would rather be a year too early than a year too late and be saddled with a player that no one wants/won’t trade for. So I can totally understand retooling and making deals to get younger, especially in dynasty leagues. I will say though, at some point a team needs to try and win in the now instead of constantly retooling. WRs tend to get to their peak level of production in their 4th or 5th year, then taper off a little after 30. I don’t think it will take too long for Dez to become a top fantasy WR, but if I had the choice, especially in a 3 or 4 player keeper league, I would take the known talent in Greg Jennings. Though I really do get your point and as someone who trades quite a bit I def appreciate someone with your perspective.

    As far as Marshall is concerned…you are partially right, it is time to buy…but BUY LOW! If I can trade someone like Stevie Johnson (possible one hit wonder) for him I would in a heartbeat. I think Marshall is still a WR2 and should have better stats in 2011, (pending they get a better QB) but if they draft someone like Cam Newton in Miami or bring in one of the lesser FA QBs I will avoid him like the plague. Wouldn’t be ironic and awesome for Marshall owners if the Dolphins traded for Kyle Orton??? lol

  10. Consigliere

    @Joe:

    After reading what you put and thinking about it i think we might be coming from two different definitions of dynasty league you refer to keeping 3 or 4 players. In my discussions i am assuming a keeping of every player.

    In my current dynasty league i am locked and loaded at RB and am pretty stacked at WR as well but i am always moving and shaking the bottom half of my roster.

    In a 3-4 man keeper league you are 100% correct i wouldnt deal Jennings for those players since you have a near sure thing in Jennings and you have question marks in Marshall and Dez.

    In my thinking and situation trading one stud for a what could be two I would be all over that.

    my league currently rosters 34 players and includes IDP’s so all of the 2nd and 3rd wr’s are most likely gone by the time you get to the FA pool. So being able to get a 2 for 1 is very valuable in the long run.

    Also with my team i do have my core of studs… Brees,Cutler, CJ2K, Mendy, B.Wells, J.Stewart, Andre Johnson… i also have Dez n Mike Williams(TB)so when i talk of tinkering with the roster i am just looking to hit it big and score a stud that i can really flip into something big down the line since my starters are pretty much set in stone.

  11. Joe

    @Consigliere: I was saying “especially in a 3 or 4 player keeper league” …I would still prefer Jennings in my 10 player dynasty and 15 player dynasty leagues for the next few years, but especially in my 4 player keeper league! haha

    PS People need to stop calling Chris Johnson CJ2K…I vote we start calling him CJ1.364K haha

  12. Mike

    Let me just say, Larry Fitzgerald had 90-1137-6 with FAR WORSE QB play than ANYONE! LOL

    I’m going to need to see Marshall keep his head on straight and Miami find a way to get him numbers before I make any assumptions on him returning to an elite level (which IMO he NEVER was quite Elite in non-PPR even in Denver). Give me a Fitzgerald and a Jennings for the next 5 years over Marshall.

    I actually own Dez on my dynasty team. Ask EP, I’ve done a pretty good job in our dynasty format…3 straight championships and a keeper core of Rodgers, Stafford, CJ, Rice, JStew, Mathews, AJ, Fitz, Dez, and Gates. I’m always tinkering and keeping the now and later BOTH in my mind. I have Dez, I love Dez’s potential as well, but I am not completely sold on being comfortable with him. His litany of injuries this season is a MAJOR concern. Again, I like him, but I don’t think I can say with complete confidence he will outscore a Greg Jennings over the next 5 years.

  13. Joe

    @Mike: Great core Mike! Wow! I think you hit the nail on the head. In your situation you can take a chance on Dez cause you have AJ and Fitz as your 1 and 2. But if you had say Fitz, Dez and Marshall I would bet you would try and get Jennings as one of your starters in a heartbeat over Dez or Marshall. In the one dynasty league I’m in I have Nicks, Austin and Britt at WR. I love having the 2 definite starters with a young up and coming potential stud in the wings with someone like Britt. Gotta think about both when building a dynasty team!

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