Top Wide Receivers For Fantasy Football Week 1

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Thursday, September 4th, 2014 | 0


Week 1 of the 2014 NFL regular season kicks off tonight (Thursday, September 4, 2014) when the Green Bay Packers meet the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.

With the NFL placing new emphasis on defensive holding, pass interference, and illegal contact penalties, wide receivers are set to put up bigger stats than ever this year as the league continues its transition to mainly a passing league.

That makes star wide receivers more valuable than ever. You’ll simply have to have a well-rounded stable of pass catchers on your team if you expect to win in 2014. That starts this weekend, so here are the Top 10 wide receivers for fantasy football in Week 1.

1.) Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions:

Johnson was on pace for another jaw-dropping season last year before knee and finger injuries slowed him (and the entire Detroit team) town towards the stretch. They missed the playoffs, and head coach Jim Schwartz lost his job. With an offseason to recover and new leaded Jim Caldwell in the fold, “Megatron” should bounce back strong in 2014. He’s playing the suspect pass defense of the New York Giants on Monday Night in Week 1. With new running mate Golden Tate set to draw some heat off of him, Johnson is in line for a huge Week 1 box score.

2.) Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos:

Thomas put together a second straight massive stat line in 2014, signifying that he’s quarterback Peyton Manning’s true go-to receiver in Denver. The Broncos will face Manning’s old team, the Indianapolis Colts; at home in Week 1, and Thomas will be an integral part of a Broncos win. He’s set to shoulder an even bigger workload with No. 2 receiver Wes Welker suspended for the first four games of the season, but a regression could be in the cards for Manning and the Broncos. It’s hard to sustain their record-breaking pace from last year, when they faced not one single Top Eight defense. This year, they’ll face six, which may be the only thing holding Thomas back from the No. 1 spot on this list.

3.) Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons:

Jones has the potential to occupy the top spot on this list as well, but he missed the majority of last season dealing with his second broken foot in three years. He’s back to practice and has looked effective in the preseason, but that doubt of injury will unfortunately linger over Jones’ head. With Atlanta loaded for a big passing year, Jones will see an insane amount of passes thrown his way. With the New Orleans Saints headed into Atlanta Week 1, expect him to get the year started off right with a big game.

4.) Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys:

Bryant had a great year in 2013 despite some bouts with inconsistency. With a new contract looming and the Cowboys, he’ll be on the hunt for his biggest year ever in 2014. The Cowboys defense is quite possibly the worst in the league, meaning Dallas will have to throw the ball perhaps more than any other team. That means more targets for Bryant, who’s a physical end zone presence to boot. The San Francisco 49ers will travel into Dallas Week 1, and their defense has been decimated this offseason. That could means big numbers for Bryant.

5.) Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears:

Marshall has record two straight 100 catch seasons in Chicago, and now he’s in his second year under offensive guru Marc Trestman. Quarterback Jay Cutler missed several games in 2013, but now he’s back to take advantage of his connection with Marshall. Alshon Jeffery will require more looks this year, but that will also potentially find Marshall more space. The Bears have said they have new and creative ways to get him open, and that should mean a big year for him. With the lowly Buffalo Bills traveling into Soldier Field in Week 1, Marshall could exceed his ranking on this list.

6.) AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Green is an excellent receiver who consistently puts up strong numbers year in and year out. However, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton aired it out last year, and the team is headed for a more running focused gameplan this year. While that should limit Green’s looks a bit, he’ll still turn in another Top 10 season. Expect nothing less against divisional rival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1.

7.) Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears:

Jeffery came into his own in his second year in the league last year, racking up over 1,400 yards while making some of the most incredible highlight reel catches in the end zone. He’s set to explode in his third year in 2014, and playing alongside Brandon Marshall certainly doesn’t hurt. The Bills won’t be able to guard both of them in Week 1, and both of them should carve up Buffalo’s defense with relative ease on Sunday.

8.) Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons:

After years near the top of the wide receiver ranks, White had a largely forgettable 2013 while struggling with high ankle sprain and hamstring issues. He turned it on towards the end of the year, proving that he has a lot left in the tank. With Atlanta slated for some shootouts, White will see a ton of targets from quarterback Matt Ryan. Playing a pivotal game at home against the New Orleans Saints, White will catch a ton of passes in Week 1.

9.) Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers:

Brown caught 110 balls for Pittsburgh last year, and he’ll be leaned in in similar fashion this year. He may not be the biggest receiver, but he’s a special talent who can also return punts for touchdowns. Brown will be covered by Cincinnati cornerback Leon Hall in Week 1, but he’ll probably still see a lot of volume.

10.) Andre Johnson, Houston Texans:

Johnson is a bit of question mark after a brief holdout this offseason, and the Texans’ quarterback situation certainly is no sure thing. However, he’s been one of the most dependable receivers for over ten years, and somehow he always fins a way to catch 100 passes every year. Age will become a factor here, but against the weak Washington defense in Week 1, Johnson should find himself open more often than not.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

TSM Plug