I have received multiple requests from FTA.com members asking me for an article with the top 4 WR for each team. Apparently no one likes having to go depth chart by depth chart searching for those sleeper WR picks for fantasy football 2012. So without further ado, here are the top 4 WR as currently listed by their teams depth charts for 2012.
Hit that Login/Register button at the top of the site so you can ask fantasy football questions in our forums
I will highlight in bold the WR that should be drafted in most formats for 2012, rankings are based on passing yards from 2011
New Orleans Saints (1st ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Marques Colston WR2 – Devery Henderson WR3 – Lance Moore WR4 – Courtney Roby
The top ranked passing attack from 2011 may take a step or two back in 2012 with all the offseason issues that the Saints suffered through. That would include the Drew Brees contract saga, and the coaching situation. We will be able to gauge the effect of coaching in the NFL through the Saints this year, as they will be without their head coach for the duration of the season. While the offense will still be solid, Colston is the only WR1 here, as both Henderson and Moore are mid to late round pickups on draft day 2012.
New England Patriots (2nd ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Wes Welker WR2 – Brandon Lloyd WR3 – Jabar Gaffney WR4 – Deion Branch
Wes Welker is expected to once again eclipse 100 receptions in 2011, making him Tom Brady’s favorite target (Until they reach the red zone) Brandon Lloyd also figures to see plenty of catches making him a nice pickup in the middle to late rounds of fantasy drafts. Gaffney and Branch are best left for the deepest of formats.
Green Bay Packers (3rd ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Greg Jennings WR2 – Jordy Nelson WR3 – James Jones WR4 - Donald Driver
Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson are both legit WR1 in fantasy football this year, and should be drafted as such. We have Nelson narrowly ahead of Jennings in our WR rankings because of Jennings troubling injuries this preseason. James Jones is a late round flier, that could be a decent fill-in for bye weeks. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Randall Cobb, who is currently listed behind Diondre Borel on the Packers official depth chart. I don’t consider Cobb a serious sleeper pick this year as there are too many good receivers already in the mix in Green Bay.
Detroit Lions (4th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Calvin Johnson WR2 – Nate Burleson WR3 – Titus Young WR4 – Ryan Broyles
It should come as no surprise, when we have the Lions QB projected to throw for over 5,100 yards, that the top 3 WR for the Lions are all options this year in fantasy. Calvin is clearly the best WR in football heading into the season, and is a first rounder in all formats, but Burleson and Young are solid late round sleeper picks as they will see their share of targets this season.
New York Giants (5th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Victor Cruz WR2 – Hakeem Nicks WR3 – Jerrel Jernigan WR4 – Rueben Randle
It should come as no surprise that fantasy owners decide to look for the 2012 version of Victor Cruz on the Giants roster. Clearly Cruz and Nicks are both solid WR options for your fantasy team, and many pundits think Rueben Randle could turn heads this season as a late round sleeper pick
San Diego Chargers (6th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Robert Meachem WR2 – Malcom Floyd WR3 – Eddie Royal WR4 – Vincent Brown
If Philip Rivers can get his arm going again in 2012, both Robert Meachem and Malcom Floyd will have the opportunity to become WR1 in fantasy formats as the San Diego Chargers love to air the ball out. Target Meachem and Floyd in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts 2012.
Dallas Cowboys (7th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Dez Bryant WR2 – Miles Austin WR3 – Kevin Ogletree WR4 – Dwayne Harris
Both Bryant and Austin have suffered injuries this preseason, and are expected to return in time for the opener. If that doesn’t happen with one or both receivers, Kevin Ogletree could be this years Laurent Robinson, as Tony Romo will have to throw the ball to someone. Be sure to monitor the Bryant/Austin situation as Ogletree could be one of the hottest pickups the first two weeks of the season.
Atlanta Falcons (8th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Julio Jones WR2 – Roddy White WR3 – Harry Douglas WR4 – Kerry Meier
It is scary to consider that the Falcons had the 8th best passing offense last year, and have upgraded considerably as they are showcasing their new no-huddle offense in the 2012 preseason. This team should end up a top 5 passing offense this year, making Jones and White both WR1 in fantasy leagues. Harry Douglas is a nice sleeper pick to keep an eye on, especially if Jones or White goes down to injury. Douglas showed the ability in 2011 to make big plays when the team needed him.
Philadelphia Eagles (9th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Jeremy Maclin WR2 – DeSean Jackson WR3 – Riley Cooper WR4 – Jason Avant
The “dream team” returns for 2012, featuring the electric offense we expected to see last year. DeSean Jackson gave an interview where he stated that he would be trying this year, causing fantasy owners to move his ADP up a round or two. Both Maclin and Jackson should be viewed as solid WR2 with the upside to be WR1 in the Eagles offense.
Pittsburgh Steelers (10th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Mike Wallace WR2 – Antonio Brown WR3 – Jerricho Cotchery WR4 – Emmanuel Sanders
When most fantasy owners think of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they think defense, but the Steelers had the 10th overall passing offense a year ago, and with a new offensive coordinator in town, rumors have circulated about a new no huddle attack. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown could both have solid years if Big Ben can stay healthy throughout 2012.
Oakland Raiders (11th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Denarius Moore WR2 – Darrius Heyward-Bey WR3 – Jacoby Ford WR4 – Eddie McGee
Another surprising team on the passing offense list is the Oakland Raiders, who were 11th last season. Carson Palmer still knows how to throw the ball around, and with a full offseason under his belt, it stands to reason that the team’s WR will have more opportunities in 2012. Both Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey are solid WR2 with upside in fantasy football this season.
Tennessee Titans (12th ranked passing offense -2011)
WR1 – Nate Washington WR2 – Damian Williams WR3 – Kenny Britt WR4 – Lavelle Hawkins
Kenny Britt will be coming back from injury, and facing a suspension at Roger Goodell’s discretion, so he isn’t a recommend draft pick for fantasy football 2012. Nate Washington and Damian Williams project to see the majority of targets from Jake Locker, and should be viewed as late round draft picks in most formats.
Carolina Panthers (13th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Steve Smith WR2 – Brandon LaFell WR3 – David Gettis WR4 – Armanti Edwards
As Cam Newton continues to refine his game in the 2012 season, both Smith and LaFell are middle round fantasy options on draft day this season. The drop off in talent is steep after LaFell, as both Gettis and Edwards are on no one’s radar this preseason.
Washington Redskins (14th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Pierre Garcon WR2 – Santana Moss WR3 – Leonard Hankerson WR4 - Josh Morgan
With the arrival of Pierre Garcon in Washington, the Redskins now have two legitimate wideouts that should be considered for fantasy rosters. A large part of their production will obviously depend on RGIII, but with all 3 Redskins RB’s suffering from injuries, it is likely Shannahan will be calling for more passes in 2012.
Buffalo Bills (15th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Steve Johnson WR2 – Donald Jones WR3 – David Nelson WR4 – Derek Hagan
Steve Johnson is the only WR that is a must-add in fantasy drafts this season. The Bills passing attack figures to remain in the middle of the pack for 2012, meaning the other 3 WR will find targets hard to come by on a weekly basis.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Vincent Jackson WR2 – Mike Williams WR3 – Arrelious Benn WR4 – Preston Parker
With new coach Greg Schiano, the offense seems destined to run through new RB Doug Martin. While both V Jax and Mike Williams are fantasy worthy this season, we don’t consider Benn or Parker legitimate options on draft day and they are best left to waivers.
Arizona Cardinals (17th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Larry Fitzgerald WR2 – Andre Roberts WR3 – Early Doucet WR4 – Michael Floyd
The problem in Arizona seems to revolve around finding an efficient NFL quarterback. Both Kolb and Skelton have looked terrible at points in this preseason, and no matter who wins the job, it doesn’t look like a WR dream job for 2012. While Larry Fitzgerald would make me look good if I stepped out on the gridiron, the rest of the WR are speculative late round sleeper picks at best. If Kolb or Skelton suddenly finds their mojo, or if Kurt Warner is brought out of retirement, then I would start to consider the other 3 WR on this list.
Houston Texans (18th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Andre Johnson WR2 – Kevin Walter WR3 – Keshawn Martin WR4 – Bryant Johnson
After losing Matt Schaub last year the Texans offense relied almost exclusively on their duo of running backs. With Schaub restored to full health in 2012, Andre Johnson has once again become a top 5 WR in fantasy football, and both Walter and Martin are sleeper picks depending on how deep your league is.
Baltimore Ravens (19th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Torrey Smith WR2 – Anquan Boldin WR3 – Jacoby Jones WR4 – Tandon Doss
Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin will likely be interchangeable as the #1 WR option for the Ravens this season, and while neither is a WR1 in fantasy football, they are both decent late round pickups. Just remember that offense runs through Ray Rice and the defense, so the Ravens aren’t likely to air the ball out too often in 2012.
Cincinnati Bengals (20th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – A.J. Green WR2 – Brandon Tate WR3 – Andrew Hawkins WR4 – Armon Binns
Oddly enough, we find one of the top WR in football playing for the 20th best passing offense from a year ago. While Andy Dalton may be marginally better this year, we are expecting big things from A.J. Green, and Brandon Tate may be a nice sleeper pick at the end of drafts or off waivers if the Bengals get their air attack straightened out.
New York Jets (21st ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Santonio Holmes WR2 – Stephen Hill WR3 – Jeremy Kerley WR4 – Chaz Schilens
With the sad state of affairs in the Jets passing game, none of these WR are a terrific option on draft day. Owners who like to gamble can take a chance on Santonio Holmes, but other than that the Jets WR should be ignored in fantasy football 2012. Just imagine what will happen once Tebow takes over…
Seattle Seahawks (22nd ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Sidney Rice WR2 – Golden Tate WR3 – Doug Baldwin WR4 – Ben Obomanu
Rookie Russel Wilson figures to lead the Seahawks in 2012, but even if it is Matt Flynn, either QB looks capable of airing the ball out, at least better than Tarvaris Jackson did last season, meaning Rice and Tate are nice mid to late round adds. Depending on how deep your league goes, even Doug Baldwin could achieve sleeper status this year for what should be a much improved Seahawks offensive passing game.
Miami Dolphins (23rd ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Davone Bess WR2 – Legedu Naanee WR3 – Julius Pruitt WR4 – Marlon Moore
There aren’t any must adds on this list, making Bess and Naanee speculative late round adds at best. Ryan Tannehill has been up and down in the preseason this year, so it doesn’t look like the Dolphins WR will be making the leap to stardom in 2012.
Cleveland Browns (24th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Greg Little WR2 – Mohamed Massaquoi WR3 – Josh Gordon WR4 – Travis Benjamin
Greg Little is a nice sleeper pick at the end of fantasy drafts, and how high he can go will depend largely on his new QB, Brandon Weeden. The rest of the WR for the Browns are likely to spend the year on the waiver wire except in the deepest of formats.
Kansas City Chiefs (25th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Dwayne Bowe WR2 – Jon Baldwin WR3 – Steve Breaston WR4 – Terrance Copper
The Chiefs figure to have about the same passing offense this year as the majority of their pieces have returned with Matt Cassel at the helm, and Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin at WR. Bowe is still a WR2 in most fantasy formats, and Jon Baldwin can be a decent late round addition who should see his fair share of targets this season.
Chicago Bears (26th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Brandon Marshall WR2 – Alshon Jeffery WR3 – Earl Bennett WR4 – Devin Hester
Alshon Jeffery is currently listed behind Hester on the depth chart, but that figures to change heading into the season as Alshon continues to put his physical talents on display in the preseason. Jeffery is one of our favorite waiver wire sleepers heading into 2012, and if you need depth at WR on your fantasy squad, you will want to consider adding him. Brandon Marshall is clearly a top 10 fantasy WR heading into the season, and should go by the middle of the third round in most formats.
Indianapolis Colts (27th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Reggie Wayne WR2 – Austin Collie WR3 – LaVon Brazill WR4 – Donnie Avery
You remember how bad the Colts offense was in 2011? Well here is a surprise, they were only the 5th worst passing offense in the league, and there is really only one way for them to go from here with Andrew Luck at the helm. Reggie Wayne is a solid WR2 for fantasy football, and with Austin Collie and his concussion he becomes a late round flier with fantasy owners who hope he can come back to full health.
Minnesota Vikings (28th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Percy Harvin WR2 – Jerome Simpson WR3 – Stephen Burton WR4 – Michael Jenkins
Percy Harvin makes up a large chunk of the Vikings offense, and with an ADP in the 4th round represents a nice value in fantasy drafts. We have him projected to rack up 1,600 yards from the line of scrimmage as they get him the ball through the air and on the ground. If Ponder has improved as much as the Vikings beat writers have reported, Simpson and Burton could achieve sleeper status, but chances are they are being ignored on draft day.
San Francisco 49ers (29th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Michael Crabtree WR2 – Randy Moss WR3 – Mario Manningham WR4 – Kyle Williams
To be fair, I don’t personally consider any of these WR an option for 2012. The 49ers figure to run the ball even more with their stable of 4 RB’s, and with that staunch defense, they won’t be playing from behind too often, so they won’t have to air the ball out. The only reason I highlighted the top 3 WR here is that they are being targeted in fantasy drafts this season as options for fantasy teams, but I would steer clear of what figures to be one of the league’s worst passing offenses again in 2012.
St. Louis Rams (30th ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Danny Amendola WR2 – Brian Quick WR3 – Brandon Gibson WR4 – Steve Smith
Brian Quick is techinically listed as the #4 WR on the Rams depth chart heading into the 2012 season, but from what we have heard about his talents, we fully expect him to be one of the top two options in the Rams offense this year. Quick is a solid sleeper pick at the end of drafts, and while he is a bit of a project, the Rams seem to like him and so should fantasy owners.
Denver Broncos (31st ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Demaryius Thomas WR2 – Eric Decker WR3 – Matthew Willis WR4 – Andre Caldwell
Even if Peyton Manning falls flat on his face in 2012, chance are the Broncos passing game will still be much improved from 2011. Tim Tebow clearly skewed the stats towards the run game, so don’t hold that against Demaryius Thomas who is ready to announce himself to fantasy owners everywhere in 2012. We are sold on his physical talents, and Eric Decker makes for a great late round pick who has shown decent chemistry with Peyton Manning so far in training camp.
Jacksonville Jaguars (32 ranked passing offense – 2011)
WR1 – Laurent Robinson WR2 – Justin Blackmon WR3 – Mike Thomas WR4 – Cecil Shorts
From the early preseason returns, it looks like Justin Blackmon could be the Jaguars leading receiver in 2012. Robinson obviously presents a more seasoned veteran for Gabbert to throw to, and both WR remain low ranked WR3 heading into 2012. If Gabbert can stand in the pocket and make better passes this year, fantasy owners could get a steal with either one of these guys in the late rounds of fantasy drafts.