2014 College Fantasy Football WRs

By John Laub
John Laub

2014 College Fantasy Football WRs:

Rankings, Profiles and Projections

By The Gridiron Scholar
Summa Cum Laude

1.    Antwan Goodley, Baylor

In Waco, Texas, coach Art Briles’ factory has produced top-shelf WR talent (Josh Gordon, Kendall Wright, Terrence Williams and Tevin Reese) in recent NFL Drafts. Next in line for greatness: Antwan Goodley, who ranks among the elite NFL position prospects in 2015. A well-composed athlete, the explosive receiver torched the competition last season with 71 catches for 1,339 yards and 13 touchdowns: He had five catches over 60 yards and eight over 40. The unanimous All-Big 12 selection is quick, strong and resolute and gobbles up yards after the catch with long strides. He has been clocked at 4.39 in the 40-yard dash and blows by defenders in the open field. With good hands and acceleration, Goodley’s big-play ability piques the interest of scouts and fantasy owners at the dawn of a new season. A definite first-round selection in college fantasy drafts this summer. 

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,550 and 15

Total Fantasy Points: 245

2.    Justin Hardy, East Carolina

The record-setting pass catcher is half of the foremost QB-WR combo in college football. Despite his accolades and accomplishments, it is easy to underestimate the 5’11” slot receiver, who never received a division I scholarship to play college football and had to earn one at East Carolina. Justin Hardy causes immense matchup difficulties from the “Y” position in the Pirates’ passing attack and clearly provides Shane Carden with a much-needed security blanket. A senior, Hardy has caught 266 passes for 3,047 yards and scored 25 touchdowns in three seasons. His yardage and touchdowns are the best in school history, and with three more receptions, he ascends to the top of the record books. The senior game breaker is a natural-hand catcher, who plucks the ball in the air, and employs terrific lateral mobility and elusiveness to shake defenders off. With back-to-back, 1,000-yard crusades, there is no reason to doubt that Hardy makes it three in row for exulting fantasy owners in 2014.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,350 and 12

Total Fantasy Points: 207

3.    Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

Following an impressive junior season, Tyler Lockett could have easily declared for the NFL Draft, but he elected to return to Manhattan, Kansas. One of the most exciting multi-purpose performers in the nation, the second team All-American enjoyed a highly productive 2013 campaign, catching 81 passes for 1,262 yards while reaching the end zone 11 times. As a returner, Lockett has averaged over 30 yards per kick return and scored four touchdowns during his tenure at Kansas State. Playing against some of the best defensive backs in the country, the skilled tactician tutored the competition, accelerating in and out of breaks, creating separation and gaining yards after the catch. When the curtain closes on his college career, the senior will likely own every major receiving record—receptions, yards and TDs—in school history. A likely slot target in the NFL, Lockett will demonstrate his game breaking skills for fantasy mangers throughout the season.  

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,350 and 14

Total Fantasy Points: 219

4.    Deontay Greenberry, Houston

If QB John O’Korn desires to become the next great Houston triggerman, the sophomore must locate Deontay Greenberry throughout the season. The AAC first-team wide out earned the team’s Andre Ware Offensive MVP honors after grabbing 82 passes for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns. He scored in eight of the Cougars’ 12 games, recorded multiple touchdowns twice and produced three receptions over 60 yards. The former five-star recruit has good size and dependable hands but lacks elite speed, which he compensates for with shifty moves and quick feet. In 2014, Greenberry’s goal is to capture the Biletnikoff Award (bestowed upon the nation’s best receiver), and he has labored to improve his blocking and footwork during the offseason. A tremendous purchase in fantasy drafts this year.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,300 and 12

Total Fantasy Points: 202

5.    Jamison Crowder, Duke

Duke enjoyed a storybook season on its way to the ACC Championship Game, and earned a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Texas A&M. An integral component of the club’s success, Jamison Crowder—senior wide receiver and return specialist—returns for another semester in a Blue Devils’ uniform. A dynamic player, Crowder has top-shelf hands, fast feet and excellent balance; he easily changes directions and effortlessly adjusts to deep throws, making over the shoulder catches. Crowder runs the bulk of the route tree from the slot: quick screen passes, underneath crossing patterns and deep posts. The speedster led the ACC in receiving last year with 108 catches for 1,360 yards and scored nine touchdowns. With back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons on his resume, Crowder will likely make it three in a row and provide plenty of scoring for fantasy managers.  

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,400 and 10

Total Fantasy Points: 200

6.    Devante Davis, UNLV

After an ultra-productive season, Devante Davis looked into the possibility of declaring for the NFL Draft. However, the UNVL product did not earn a high grade and decided to come back to school to improve his rating. And fantasy fanatics are thrilled. Physically, Davis has prototypical NFL size at 6’3” and 210 pounds. In the arena, he routinely conquered defensive backs last year. The Rebels’ game breaker shattered the school record with 14 touchdowns, which was fourth best in the country, and caught 87 passes for 1,290 yards. UNLV lost its signal caller (Caleb Herring) and top ball carrier (Tim Cornett), and coach Bobby Hauck will have a difficult time replacing the production of both players. With major changes at two vital positions on offense, Davis may not enjoy unimpeded routes through defensive secondaries in 2014. Expect a negligible drop off in production from the All-Mountain West second-teamer this season.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,250 and 10

Total Fantasy Points: 185

7.    Josh Harper, Fresno State

The Bulldogs lost its two best offensive weapons, QB Derek Carr and WR Davante Adams, who were both drafted in April. Despite the disappearance of his two stars, coach Tim DeRuyter plans on still employing the no-huddle spread system. At least, DeRuyter can lean on WR Josh Harper to assist transfer signal caller Brandon Connette in implementing the Fresno offense. The senior catcher was named second-team All-Mountain West Conference after snatching 79 passes for 1,011 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns, which was tied for eighth in the FBS. He set a school-mark with 17 catches against Nevada and finished the game with 253 yards and two touchdowns. A tall, athletic competitor, Harper has prodigious hands, runs precise routes and does not shy from contact, attacking underneath the defense in the middle of the gridiron.  A solid number one receiver on fantasy rosters this year, but limited upside with the changes on the team.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,100 and 9

Total Fantasy Points: 164

Magna Cum Laude

8.    Jaelen Strong, Arizona State

During his first season in the Valley of the Sun, the JUCO transfer had a breakout crusade. WR Jaelen Strong burst onto the college landscape with 75 receptions for 1,112 yards and seven touchdowns: He earned second-team All-PAC 12 honors and was named the John Jefferson Outstanding Receiver Award winner on the Sun Devils. At 6’4” and 205 pounds, Strong uses his big frame to subdue defenders, and his athleticism, large hands and above-average speed put him on the radar of NFL scouts (and fantasy owners). He fits the mold of big, tall and physical NFL wide outs and is considered a possible future first-round draft pick. However, Strong is not a finished product and must improve his route running and speed to ascend to elite status. The Arizona State performer is an exciting NFL prospect, who should garner plenty of attention in summer fantasy drafts.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,200 and 9

Total Fantasy Points: 174

9.    Rashad Green, Florida State

Rashad Green enters his senior season as one of the greatest wide outs in Florida State history. For three consecutive seasons, he has led the Seminoles in receiving, producing 171 catches while scoring 23 times, and needs only 40 catches to become the school’s all-time leader. The ultra-quick game breaker has excellent hands and is a terrific route runner. He also is a clutch performer who certainly procured QB Jameis Winston’s trust last season. Green made two key catches in the game-winning drive against Auburn: an 8-yard grab followed by an unbelievable 49-yard catch-and-run on the opening two plays of the drive. In the BCS National Championship game, six of his nine receptions went for first downs. During his career, he has caught a pass in 29 consecutive games. Green will likely pace coach Jimbo Fishers’ squad in receiving again, and fantasy fans can look forward to some tremendous performances throughout the 2014 season.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,150 and 10

Total Fantasy Points: 175

10.    Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh

When a youngster breaks freshmen school records—receptions and yards—set by All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald, opponents, scouts and fantasy fans take notice. How good was Tyler Boyd? The Panthers’ homerun hitter exceeded all reasonable expectations as a true freshman last season when he snatched 85 receptions for 1,174 yards and scored eight times. Former Panthers’ QB Tom Savage targeted him on 31% of pass plays, and he set an ACC freshmen mark for catches, surpassing former Clemson star Sammy Watkins. The comparisons to Fitzgerald are not an exaggeration: Like the Cardinals’ Pro Bowler, Boyd has incredible hands, terrific body control, clutches the ball in traffic, extends arms and body to make the catch and can take the top off the defense. A fluid athlete, the 6’2” and 185-pounder must over come the loss of Savage to the NFL, but coach Paul Chryst will surely call Boyd’s number, which should keep the fantasy points close to last year’s production.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,100 and 8

Total Fantasy Points: 158

11.    Tyler Winston, San Jose State

Tyler Winston began the 2013 season as a redshirt, but by the third game of the year against Minnesota, coach Ron Caragher removed the designation. At the end of the campaign, the top-rated recruit at San Jose was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year after collecting 58 passes for 858 yards and five touchdowns. He also posted four games with over 150 yards receiving and finished the year with back-to-back 10-catch performances. In the conference, the youngster concluded the season ranked fifth in yards per game (85.8) and eighth in yards per catch (14.8). A three-star recruit at safety, he wanted to play wide out in college, and SJSU promised him the opportunity while more prominent institutions did not. Winston’s maiden voyage was an eye-opening performance on a collegiate career that began on the sideline and provides fantasy coaches with lofty expectations in 2014.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,050 and 10

Total Fantasy Points: 165

12.    Tommy Shuler, Marshall

The Thundering Herd conquered all competition in C-USA last season and is the favored team to win the title again. If Marshall stampedes the opposition in 2014, the QB-WR combo of Rakeem Cato and Tommy Shuler will surely lead the assault. The 5’7” and 188-pound slot receiver has posted back-to-back 100-catch crusades, and is one of only eight players in major college football history to accomplish the feat. During the last two campaigns, he has nabbed 226 receptions and scored 16 touchdowns. Shuler has also eclipsed the 100-yard barrier in nine contests and gained 2,303 yards receiving. A Wes Welker clone, the quick-twitch receiver runs terrific short and intermediate routes and is not afraid of contact in traffic. He gets open in the smallest of creases and has a nose for the goal line in zone coverage. If Shuler snags 100 passes again, the All-C-USA wide out will etch his name atop the record books with three-consecutive 100-catch seasons. And fantasy fans should expect the Marshall senior to achieve history. 

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,180 and 10

Total Fantasy Points: 178

13.    Amari Cooper, Alabama

Seeking an exemplary NFL prospect, who is big, smooth and athletic with extraordinary hands? Look no further than Mobile, Alabama. Amari Cooper runs every route in the passing tree, and in two seasons for the Crimson Tide, he has averaged 16.7 yards per catch, recorded seven receptions over 50 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. After an outstanding opening act in 2012, Cooper’s production dipped as a sophomore, suffering from a toe injury at the onset of the 2013 crusade. However, in the final two contests of the year against Auburn and Oklahoma, the freakish and versatile athlete torched the opposition with 15 catches for 299 yards and a touchdown. During the off-season, coach Nick Saban stated that he wants the ball in the hands of his future first-round draft pick more often. While the veracity of Saban’s declaration can be questioned, Cooper’s skills and NFL potential cannot be understated, and fantasy buffs hope that the coach keeps his promise. 

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,100 and 10

Total Fantasy Points: 170

14.    DeVante Parker, Louisville

One of the more intriguing prospects in next April’s draft after being named college football’s “Most Freakish” athlete by NFL.com writer Mike Huguenin in May. DeVante Parker’s recent measurements foreshadow an elite performer at the next level: 4.39 40-yard dash, 35.5 vertical jump, 10’10” broad jump, 335 bench press and 17 reps of 225 pounds. On the field last year, injuries hindered Parker at times, and he even missed the Rutgers’ game. Nevertheless, the sure-handed Cardinal grabbed 55 receptions for 855 yards and scored 12 times, swelling his career mark to 28. With length and muscle, Parker snags jump balls in the end zone and uses his body to shield defenders. In Louisville, former coach Bobby Petrino returns with his pro-style passing game, and QB Will Gardner now calls the signals, replacing Teddy Bridgewater. Despite the alterations, Parker should still thrive for fantasy managers in 2014.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 950 and 11

Total Fantasy Points: 161

15.    Nelson Agholor, USC

While many USC receivers have fallen short of NFL glory, the Trojans’ playmakers more often than not produce plenty of points at the college level. A multi-purpose threat, junior Nelson Agholor led USC in receiving last year despite the presence of teammate Marquise Lee. He blossomed with 56 catches for 918 yards and six touchdowns: He also returned two punts all the way and accumulated 1,912 all-purpose yards. New coach Steve Sarkisian’s system expects its receivers to master the entire route tree, and Agholor is the ideal athlete to shine in the passing game this year. An intense competitor, he prepares well, studies film and is a leader in the locker room. With game-changing skills, Agholor is an excellent change of direction and intermediate route runner, who turns quick passes into long gains. After spring drills, the starting quarterback remains in limbo as neither Cody Kessler nor Max Browne took advantage of their opportunities. From a physical standpoint, Agholor has the tools to become the next All-American Trojan in 2014.

2014 Projections

Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,000 and 10

Total Fantasy Points: 160

Cum Laude

16.    Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
17.    Darius Joseph, SMU
18.    Matt Miller, Boise State
19.    Quinshad Davis, North Carolina
20.    Ty Montgomery, Stanford
21.    Lequon Treadwell, Ole Miss
22.    Titus Davis, Central Michigan (Sleeper)
23.    Geremy Davis, UConn (Sleeper)
24.    Larry Pinkard, Old Dominion
25.    Dres Anderson, Utah
26.    Jordan Williams, Ball State
27.    Jhajuan Seales, Oklahoma State
28.    Corey Davis, Western Michigan
29.    Stefon Diggs, Maryland
30.    Kasen Williams, Washington
31.    Sammie Coates, Auburn
32.    Austin Hill, Arizona (Sleeper)
33.    Levi Norwood, Baylor
34.    Jordan Taylor, Rice
35.    Sterling Shephard, Oklahoma
36.    Stacy Coley, Miami
37.    Tyreek Hill, Oklahoma State (Sleeper)
38.    D’haquille Williams, Auburn
39.    Dominic Rufran, Wyoming
40.    Devin Lauderdale, Texas Tech
41.    J.J. Worton, Central Florida
42.    Greg Watson, Fresno State
43.    Alonzo Russell, Toledo
44.    Dres Anderson, Utah
45.    Rashad Higgins, Colorado State
46.    Richard Mullaney, Oregon State

With his Masters in history and professional experience as an educator, John Laub is uniquely qualified to research, analyze and discover new insights and trends in college and professional fantasy football. He truly is The Gridiron Scholar.

Twitter: @GridironSchol91 or e-mail: Audibles@aol.com