This week we will look at the consistently consistent wide receivers. The Top 50 most consistent wide receivers and the number of Quality Games Earned each year are listed below.
I’m going to break these Top 50 into four tiers, analyze each tier and provide some insight on the players within each tier.
Tier One – The Elite (Ranks 1 – 8)
The Triple Double group is very small for wide receivers. We start with the top two most consistent receivers over the past three seasons, Roddy White and Larry Fitzgerald. The surprise is the third Triple Double receiver and that is Marques Colston.
The remainder of the Top Eight is no surprise. Calvin Johnson had a career year this season and Wes Welker is PPR gold every season when he’s healthy. Next is a quality trio of receivers. Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings and Hakeem Nicks have all earned double digit Quality Games over the past two seasons and are easily late first or early second round picks next season.
Tier Two – The Above Average (Ranks 9 – 18)
Reggie Wayne was expected to remain in Tier One at the end of 2011, but Peyton Manning’s injury hurt his opportunities this season. Brandon Marshall returned to form with his 10 Quality Games in 2011 and should be a good value pick in 2012.
Some of other good value picks in 2012 from this tier include Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin and Miles Austin. Harvin’s value will be the highest of these three since he ended the season ranked tied for fourth in Quality Games with 12. Maclin and Austin had injury issues in 2011 and will see their stock drop, but when healthy these two are extremely consistent.
Andre Johnson will be the one to watch, as we get closer to preseason in August. If he’s 100 percent healthy again, he’s a first or second round pick. However, there’s a little too much risk for me when choosing someone that high.
Tier Three – The Average (Ranks 19 – 30)
Steve Smith, from Carolina, is a surprise to be this low. However, his three Quality Games in 2010 is the reason for his ranking. The emergence of Cam Newton should continue my faith in Smith’s consistency for 2012. However, during the 2011 season, Smith earned seven Quality Games in his first eight games, but he only earned four over his last eight games. It wasn’t Newton’s fault. Newton still earned six Quality Games over the last eight games. This means that Carolina needs to find a better WR2 to keep teams from double-teaming Smith. If they don’t, stay away from drafting Smith early in this year’s draft.
Steve Johnson is the opposite of Steve Smith; he got better as the season progressed. He earned six straight Quality Games over the last six games of 2011. Mario Manningham will be an intriguing pick in 2012. He missed five games in 2011 and only earned four Quality Games due to the emergence of Victor Cruz. If all three Giants’ receivers are healthy in 2012, where all of the targets going to go? Manningham will be a great late round pick for handcuffing to Nicks or Cruz.
Tier Four – The Others (Ranks 31 – 50)
Let’s separate three players from list right away. Jordy Nelson and Dez Bryant are low WR1 picks in 2012, and Nate Washington showed some solid consistency during Kenny Britt’s absence and still should be a good value WR3 in 2012.
Vincent Jackson sits here due to his inconsistency and only one Quality Game in 2010. He will always be over-drafted and will never be on my team until he proves he can be a more consistent Fantasy player.
Mike Williams went from an extremely consistent rookie to an inconsistent sophomore player. I partly blame the horrible play by Josh Freeman and the rest of the Buccaneers’ offense. I like Williams as a late round pick in 2012 especially if Tampa Bay can improve their offensive weapons around him.
There are your most consistent wide receivers over the past three seasons. Keep this information handy as you prepare for your drafts this season. Consistency is good but consistently consistent is great!