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1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Outlook: The only receiver projected to score more than 230 points, Johnson has posted at least 1,400 yards receiving in three consecutive seasons, including a record-setting 1,964 yards in 2012. He’s now playing for an offensive coordinator (Joe Lombardi) that comes from New Orleans, which featured the league’s best passing attack over the last decade. In other words, when it comes to fantasy receivers, Johnson is the crown jewel.
Projections: 1,732 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
2. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Outlook: Playing with Peyton Manning has morphed Thomas into one of the league’s elite receivers, after underachieving in his first two NFL seasons. He’s a good bet for another 1,400-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in '14.
Projections: 1,429 receiving yards & 13 touchdowns
3. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Outlook: Since entering the league in '11, Green’s been one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL. He’s posted 1,000 or more yards in each of his three seasons and is coming off back-to-back 11-touchdown seasons. Green’s an elite fantasy receiver, even with the departure of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
Projections: 1,434 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns, & 1 fumble
4. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Outlook: One of four receivers projected to score at least 210 points, Bryant caught a career-high 13 touchdowns a year ago. This off-season, Dallas hired Scott Linehan to be their passing game coordinator. Linehan is known for his pass-happy approach, and has coached Johnson, Torry Holt, and Randy Moss to big fantasy seasons. Bryant is a good bet to join that list.
Projections: 1,341 receiving yards, 14 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
5. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Projections: Even without Aaron Rodgers for a majority of last season, Nelson managed to set a career-high in receiving yardage with 1,314 yards. The last time both Rodgers and Nelson didn’t miss significant time due to injury was in '11, when Nelson caught 15 touchdown passes. With both players healthy, Nelson’s fantasy stock is as high as it’s ever been.
Projections: 1,276 receiving yards & 13 touchdowns
6. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Outlook: It is pick your poison in Chicago with Marshall and third-year receiver Alshon Jeffery. Marshall remains a slightly better fantasy option because of his rapport with Jay Cutler. Look for Cutler to continue to target Marshall heavily in Marc Trestman’s offense.
Projections: 1,323 receiving yards & 11 touchdowns
7. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Outlook: A second consecutive season with 1,400-plus yards is plausible for Brown, who finished the second half of '13 with 798 yards and five touchdowns. Entrenched as Pittsburgh’s top receiving threat, Brown is worth a third-round pick in your fantasy draft
Projections: 1,449 receiving yards, 8 rushing yards, & 8 touchdowns
8. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
Outlook: Coming off a breakout campaign in '13, Jeffery is a legit WR1 with the upside to emerge as a top five fantasy receiver. Because he plays opposite of Marshall, defenses often cover Jeffery with just one man, a difficult task for nearly every cornerback in the league.
Projections: 1,337 receiving yards, 9 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
9. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Outlook: All indications are that Johnson doesn’t want to play for Houston anymore. It’s unlikely he’ll be dealt before the season, though, so Johnson’s choices are to sit out a large portion of the year, or report to training camp. Most players choose the latter. Assuming Johnson chooses that route, the disgruntled veteran is a top 10 fantasy receiver.
Projections: 1,336 receiving yards & 9 touchdowns
10. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Outlook: Entering the last year of his contract, Cobb is positioned nicely to set career highs in both receiving yards and touchdowns. The fourth-year receiver plays in one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL, and displays game-breaking ability. As long as he remains healthy, he’s a WR1 with significant upside.
Projections: 1,117 receiving yards, 162 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, & 1 fumble
1 point per 10 yards receiving
1 point per 10 yards rushing
6 points per touchdown
-2 points per fumble