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Brandon Marshall No. 1 in Complete Projection of Top 40 Wide Receivers

A couple of days ago, I generated my Top 20 Running Back Rankings using the groundbreaking RB Sim Score Lab. There were a few surprises, including Trent Richardson at No. 1 overall. While most people would have trouble taking Richardson in the first few picks, the Sim Scores are adamant he’s undervalued. His presence late in Round 1 is one of the main reasons RB-RB is a viable strategy from any draft spot this year.

Today, I wanted to create a similar set of rankings for WRs. For this exercise I used the WR Custom Cheat Sheet app. Instead of simply using the default WR Sim Scores, you have a wide variety of options for customizing the results. I went through and made adjustments to the profile of almost every receiver. I then generated the results without knowing whether they would fit with my preconceived notions. Not surprisingly, there were a handful of results that were personally jarring.

If you’re serious about winning titles, going through the process of challenging your beliefs is much more important than trying to find information that confirms what you already think.

So here are my WR rankings. I’ve broken them down by tier and added a few comments after each group. Brandon Marshall is No. 1, which should come as no surprise to those who’ve read Why Marshall is Undervalued or perused the WR Upside Ratios.

1 Brandon Marshall 4 11.02 16.99 1 1 3
2 Calvin Johnson 1 10.83 16.13 2 2 -1
3 Roddy White 10 9.93 15.69 8 3 4
4 Dez Bryant 3 10.53 15.47 6 4 -2
5 Demaryius Thomas 6 10.57 15.35 5 5 1
6 Vincent Jackson 13 10.78 15.28 3.5 6 8
7 Marques Colston 15 10.78 15.19 3.5 7 10
8 A.J. Green 2 9.59 14.98 9 8 -6
9 Danario Alexander 33 9.99 14.2 7 9 25
10 Julio Jones 5 9.14 13.91 10 10 -5

Undervalued: Marques Colston and Vincent Jackson. RotoViz has covered these guys a lot, but that’s because they’re probably the two most important players for 2013. I think their presence in Rounds 3 and 4 is the final piece of the puzzle when deciding you must go RB-RB to start.

Overvalued: A.J. Green and Julio Jones. The up-and-coming megastars may not return value this season. I selected Julio Jones in the first round of the RotoViz Dynasty startup, but in redraft he’s one of 10 guys who will cost you a title.

Worth a Second Look: Roddy White. I have White as the WR1 on my All-Trap Team. While I’m still pretty comfortable with that analysis, the App has provided some food for thought here.

Cognitive Dissonance: Danario Alexander. The Chargers star led the league in fantasy points per target last season and is one of my favorite players. I think you should target him in drafts this season, but he’s not the most underrated player in fantasy football as the app suggests.

11 Jordy Nelson 14 9.14 13.79 11 11 3
12 Victor Cruz 12 8.65 13.65 16 12.5 -2
13 Eric Decker 25 9.12 13.65 12 12.5 13
14 Cecil Shorts 32 8.79 13.55 14 14 18
15 Andre Johnson 11 8.68 13.46 15 15 -4
16 Greg Jennings 29 7.88 13.25 25.5 16 8
17 Percy Harvin 9 8.41 13.21 22 17 -11
18 Josh Gordon 38 8.93 13.18 13 18 22
19 Antonio Brown 24 8.26 13.09 23 19 3
20 Pierre Garcon 23 8.46 12.96 19.5 20.5 3

Undervalued: Eric Decker. Cecil Shorts. For anyone looking for great mid-round values, these guys are players to target. Davis Mattek eviscerated concerns about Decker’s upside in his recent article on red zone performance. Cecil Shorts was the headliner for my 10 Most Undervalued List.

Overvalued: Andre Johnson. This was the projection I found most personally disturbing. My draft strategy in How To Lose a Draft in 10 Picks was heavily predicated on Andre1500 being an incredible value in Round 3. Johnson falls here because I’ve moved some of his targets to DeAndre Hopkins. I’ll come back to this issue in a future post.

Worth a Second Look: Greg Jennings. I’m a lot more interested in the Vikings’ presumptive No. 1 after going through this exercise. My exhaustive look at Adrian Peterson suggested Minnesota will have to throw more in 2013 and Jennings could see far more targets than anyone is expecting.

Cognitive Dissonance: Josh Gordon. If you’re high on Josh Gordon, you should definitely pick him. The cost at his current 8th round ADP isn’t prohibitive. But I’m not sold on the second year player.

21 Steve Johnson 36 8.46 12.96 19.5 20.5 16
22 Jeremy Maclin 40 8.53 12.91 18 22 20
23 Randall Cobb 8 7.88 12.81 25.5 23 -16
24 Hakeem Nicks 19 8.17 12.54 24 24 -5
25 Justin Blackmon 48 8.46 12.54 21 25 25
26 Mike Williams 39 8.54 12.51 17 26 17
27 Miles Austin 35 7.8 12.3 27.5 27 8
28 Reggie Wayne 20 7.5 12.26 31 28 -10
29 Danny Amendola 18 7.19 11.82 38 29 -16
30 Dwayne Bowe 16 7.16 11.81 39 30 -18

Undervalued: Stevie Johnson, Justin Blackmon, Mike Williams. The Bills’ No. 1 receiver is coming off of three straight 1,000-yard campaigns and drafters aren’t impressed. Johnson ranked No. 2 on my undervalued list. Justin Blackmon is going to be a value despite his suspension. Mike Williams may be Mr. RotoViz.

Overvalued: Randall Cobb, Reggie Wayne. The Packers seem committed to getting Cobb the ball, so I certainly don’t begrudge anyone their high opinion of his fantasy prospects. I’ve previously voiced concerns about his talent ceiling and ranked him No. 2 on my overvalued list. Reggie Wayne is going to absolutely crater this season.

Worth a Second Look: Jeremy Maclin. This was originally going to be Maclin, but he’s out for the season. While I don’t expect Damaris Johnson to finish as WR22, he’s suddenly an incredible stealth prospect in Chip Kelly’s scheme. Surprisingly, he compares favorably to both Tavon Austin and Black Mamba.

Cognitive Dissonance: Dwayne Bowe. The Chiefs star has consistently shown himself to be a reality dynamo in the Advanced Targets analysis I do for PFF. He’s not going to underperform by this much.

31 James Jones 28 7.52 11.75 30 31 -2
32 Denarius Moore 46 7.8 11.66 27.5 32 16
33 Torrey Smith 22 7.74 11.54 29 35 -10
34 Mike Wallace 21 7.28 11.22 34 36 -14
35 Ryan Broyles 49 7.47 11.14 32 37 15
36 Lance Moore 41 7.25 11.14 36 38 4
37 Wes Welker 17 6.87 10.88 42 39 -23
38 Brian Hartline 54 6.89 10.68 41 40 14
39 T.Y. Hilton 30 6.75 10.48 44.5 43 -14
40 Chris Givens 53 7.3 10.43 33 44 15

Undervalued: Lance Moore, Brian Hartline. I’ve suggested Moore is a key Round 9 pick if you’re trying to avoid swing-and-miss players. I thought it was interesting that the Fantasy Douche is taking a mulligan on his Hartline praise. I’m still on the bandwagon.

Overvalued: Wes Welker, Mike Wallace. I agree with Davis and listed Welker as one of my most overvalued. We think Mike Wallace’s ADP is broken. Too make matters worse, early reports suggest Mike Wallace and Ryan Tannehill haven’t been on the same page.

Worth a Second Look: T.Y. Hilton v. Chris Givens. A month ago I investigated these two receivers in great detail and determined they represent almost identical value in 2013. If that’s the case, Hilton is dramatically overvalued while Givens is a bargain.

Cognitive Dissonance: I wouldn’t select Denarius Moore in the same vicinity as Torrey Smith.

Note about the PFF Draft Guide: Ryan Broyles, potential possession receiver extraordinaire in the Lions’ pass-heavy offense, was cleared for training camp despite back-to-back ACL tears. I wrote about Broyles’ prospects in my possession receiver Breakouts article for the PFF Draft Guide.

Shawn Siegele is the creator of the contrarian sports website Money in the Banana Stand and Lead Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy.

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