Pre-Preseason CFB Fantasy Ranks: WRs

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Justin Blackmon is one of the top fantasy receivers for 2011.

Justin Blackmon is one of the top fantasy receivers for 2011.

Despite the departure of A.J. Green, Randall Cobb, Julio Jones and Torrey Smith to the NFL Draft, plenty of talented receivers will return to lead college fantasy rosters in 2011. Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd and Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles surprisingly decided to return to school for another year, bolstering a strong returning group of receivers for 2011.

Broyles and Blackmon sit atop Athlon’s first release of fantasy receiver rankings for 2011 and there’s not much separation between the two. Blackmon outscored Broyles in 2010, but loses coordinator Dana Holgorsen. Although we expect another monster year from Blackmon, reaching last season’s numbers may be difficult. With quarterback Landry Jones back and a solid offensive line in place, expect the Sooners to be even more dangerous on offense in 2011. Broyles posted 131 receptions last season and barring injury, expect another year of 100-plus catches.
 
Receivers are the most difficult position to project in the preseason, but 2011 is shaping up to be a strong fantasy class. With a lot of uncertainty at quarterback and a dropoff after the top 10 running backs, expect to see a lot of receivers in the first four rounds of the draft. Even if you miss out on Broyles, Blackmon or Western Michigan’s Jordan White, Arizona’s Juron Criner, Tulsa’s Damaris Johnson or East Carolina’s Lance Lewis should be solid No. 1 receivers.
 
Keep an eye on
 
Boise State – Titus Young and Austin Pettis combined to catch 142 passes for 2,166 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. With both players departing, it’s up to Tyler Shoemaker, Geraldo Hiwat and Kirby Moore to pickup the slack in 2011. Shoemaker gets the early nod as our top fantasy receiver from Boise State, but Hiwat is one to watch in spring practice.
 
Hawaii – Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares have finished their eligibility, leaving senior Royce Pollard as the team’s top returning receiver. Pollard should easily surpass last season’s numbers – 64 catches for 901 yards and seven scores – but keep an eye on Darius Bright in spring ball. With quarterback Bryant Moniz returning, the Warriors should produce two receivers among the top 40 in fantasy points by the end of 2011.
 
Dominique Sandifer, San Diego State – With Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson gone, is Sandifer the go-to option for quarterback Ryan Lindley in 2011?
 
Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers – The Scarlet Knights were dreadful on offense last season, finishing last in the Big East in scoring offense. New coordinator Frank Cignetti needs to get Sanu more involved with the offense, but will the junior see 60 rushing attempts in 2011 or spend more time lined up on the outside?
 
West Virginia – New coordinator Dana Holgorsen should get instant results from the Mountaineer offense, particularly in the passing game. Junior quarterback Geno Smith should be primed for a bump in stats this year, but who will catch his passes? Tavon Austin appears to be staying at receiver for 2011, and is the top returning playmaker for the West Virginia offense. Although Austin could catch 80 passes this year, expect another receiver to emerge as a fantasy option from this offense.
 
Robert Woods, USC – With Ronald Johnson out of eligibility, Woods is expected to emerge as the No. 1 option for quarterback Matt Barkley. With a shaky offensive line, the Trojans will lean more on a spread attack, allowing Barkley and Woods to form a potent combination in 2011.
 
Athlon's Pre-Preseason Top 50 Fantasy Wide Receivers for 2011
 
Expect many changes throughout the offseason, but here's an early look at the 2011 big board for wide receivers.
 
Rank Player Team Year 2010 Fantasy Points
1 Ryan Broyles Oklahoma SR 282.2
2 Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State JR 340.7
3 Jordan White Western Michigan SR 245.7
4 Lance Lewis East Carolina SR 214.9
5 Juron Criner Arizona SR 223.3
6 Alshon Jeffery South Carolina JR 232.2
7 Michael Floyd Notre Dame SR 187.1
8 Damaris Johnson Tulsa SR 213.8
9 Jeff Fuller Texas A&M SR 201.8
10 Eric Page Toledo JR 232.8
11 Patrick Edwards Houston SR 229.8
12 Cole Beasley SMU SR 180.6
13 Cody Wilson Central Michigan JR 198.8
14 Kamar Jorden Bowling Green SR 183.9
15 Tavon Austin West Virginia JR 169.3
16 Royce Pollard Hawaii SR 141.2
17 Jeremy Ebert Northwestern SR 172.8
18 DJ Woods Cincinnati SR 182.1
19 Robert Woods USC SO 158.2
20 T.Y. Hilton FIU SR 189.4
21 Roy Roundtree Michigan JR 155.8
22 Marquess Wilson Washington State SO 164.1
23 Darius Johnson SMU JR 131.8
24 Greg Childs Arkansas SR 125.9
25 Kendall Wright Baylor SR 162.7
26 Nick Harwell Miami, Ohio SO 138.6
27 T.J. Moe Missouri JR 178.1
28 Tyron Carrier Houston SR 229.8
29 Jermaine Kearse Washington SR 203.1
30 James Rodgers Oregon State SR 52.7
31 Ryan Swope Texas A&M JR 137.1
32 Mohamed Sanu Rutgers JR 151.2
33 Conner Vernon Duke JR 159.8
34 Derek Moye Penn State SR 150.5
35 Marvin McNutt Iowa SR 153.8
36 Dwight Jones North Carolina SR 142.1
37 Chris Owusu Stanford SR 71.6
38 Kenny Stills Oklahoma SO 127.8
39 Alex Torres Texas Tech JR 79.9
40 A.J. Jenkins Illinois SR 135.4
41 Josh Gordon Baylor JR 125.4
42 Dwayne Frampton Arkansas State SR 148.9
43 Tyler Shoemaker Boise State SR 89.1
44 Da'Jon McKnight Minnesota SR 159.1
45 Damarlo Belcher Indiana SR 146.2
46 Mark Harrison Rutgers JR 158.9
47 Kevin Bolden Southern Miss SR 126.7
48 Geraldo Hiwat Boise State SO 21.5
49 Dominique Sandifer San Diego State JR 35.3
50 Darius Bright Hawaii JR 0

Scoring system rankings based upon - 

Passing TD = 4 points
Rushing/Receiving/Special Teams TD = 4 points
25 passing yards = 1 point
10 rushing/receiving yards = 1 point
Reception = 0.5 points
Interceptions = -1 point
Fumbles lost = -1 point
2 point conversions = 2 points

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<p> It’s never too early to start looking ahead at the 2011 college fantasy season. Athlon takes a look at the returning options at wide receivers and some of the names to watch.</p>