Dynasties rise and dynasties fall due to the best use of their skilled warriors and best weapons. On your fantasy dynasty teams, wide receivers can be the keys to the kingdom as they can play at high levels into their thirties unlike most running backs. Once you have built an impressive stockpile, you can move on to less stable positions. Let's see how I breakdown my top 24 dynasty wide receivers . I listed each wide receiver's age at the end of 2012 in parenthesis. Use this as a snap shot for the next 2-3 years.
Calvin Johnson (27), Detroit Lions
Johnson was a monster last year with 96 receptions for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns. As a dynasty owner, you can get excited as this was his first fully healthy year with Matthew Stafford. The Lions play in the weakest pass defended division and at 27 years old, Johnson has a lot of years left. He should regress to an average of 85 catches with 1,400 yards and 12-14 touchdowns which are solid numbers despite him becoming the Madden Cover guy this year. He is a top 5 selection in a start-up league and should be for the next 7 years.
Larry Fitzgerald (29), Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald is the consummate professional. Last year with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton playing quarterback, he managed to catch 80 passes for 1,411 yards and score 8 touchdowns. The talk at camp is how much more they will use Rob Housler and run the ball more with both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams. Fitzgerald can produce with three defensive backs covering him. With the added offensive threats, he can keep up an 80 catch, 6-8 touchdowns with at least 1,200 receiving yards for the next few forseeable years. I'll take that consistency from year to year.
AJ Green (24), Cincinnati Bengals
Green might seem high here. In 14 1/2 games last year, he produced very well considering Andy Dalton was his quarterback, 63 catches for 1,031 yards with 7 touchdowns. Green can adjust to the ball better than any wide receiver outside of Larry Fitzgerald. With Jerome Simpson and Cedric Benson out-of-town, AJ Green is far and away the best offensive weapon the Bengals have. For Green's sake, you have to hope one of the rookie wide receivers, Mohammed Sanu or Marvin Jones, steps up. Green should easily produce 75 receptions with over 1,200 yards and 9-10 touchdowns per season for the next 5-10 years barring injury.
Hakeem Nicks (24), New York Giants
Nicks is a special talent; it's too bad he is so brittle. With that being said, he still manages to have 75+ receptions, over 1,100 yards, and score 7-11 touchdowns each year. Victor Cruz can score from anywhere, but Nicks can out hustle and out think most defenders. Once Brandon Jacobs left town, the offense reigns went to Eli Manning. This offense will be quick striking on the ground as well with the shifty Bradshaw and the speedster Wilson. I wouldn't be surprised to see some run and shoot tendencies from the Giants to keep their ferocious defense firing on all cylinders. This will increase Nicks' targets and we may see more of an uptick than originally thought.
Brandon Marshall (28), Chicago Bears
For all of his false bravado, Marshall is a fantastic football player. He produced 82 receptions, 1,277 yards, and 6 touchdowns. This is more impressive when you consider he had Chad Henne and Matt Moore throwing him the rock. Marshall left Miami with more baggage than usual, but now he gets re-united with Jay Cutler . In the three years Marshall played with Cutler, he averaged over 100 catches, 1,250 yards, and 8 touchdowns. The NFC West is horrible versus the pass and Cutler will target his best bud over 150 times for the next few years. Take advantage of this connection if you can.
Percy Harvin (24), Minnesota Vikings
Harvin was a jack of all trades last year once Adrian Peterson went down. On 138 touches, he scraped out 1,309 combined receiving and rushing yards while scoring 8 touchdowns. Harvin is unhappy one day and happy the next so if you don't like headaches (his and the ones he could give fantasy owners) stay away. Being the 2nd best playmaker on your team has its advantages, expect his touches to increase. He is a tough guy who is a lock for 80+ catches, 1,200 combined yards, and 6-8 touchdowns for a long time. Yes, you may sweat out his latest drama, but in the long run he will be worth it.
Demaryius Thomas (25), Denver Broncos
Thomas is a physical beast at 6' 3" 235 lbs and has the speed to outrun defenses as he proved in the playoffs last year. Much like Kenny Britt, Thomas is injury-prone. He played in 18 out of a possible 32 games the last two seasons. He gets a huge upgrade at the quarterback position from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning. A few years catching 90+ balls with 1,200 yards receiving and 10+ touchdowns are in Thomas' future. The biggest question is how long will Manning hold up? That will be the key to Demaryius Thomas' value.
Julio Jones (23), Atlanta Falcons
When Julio Jones is on, it is a scary thing for opposing defenses. He put up 54 receptions for 959 yards, and 8 touchdowns in his first year. These totals occurred in 13 games. Jones is a big, physical guy who wore down last year, partly because he suffered a lower leg injury while training for the draft. Reports out at camp are that he is looking great and this will be the year he and Roddy White look like peers. He is a lock for 65+ catches, 1,200 yards, and 9-11 touchdowns.
Dez Bryant (24), Dallas Cowboys
Bryant put up 63-928-9 touchdowns in his first year as a starter in 15 games. Let's face it, he has all of the tools needed to be a stud wide receiver: physicality, leaping ability, soft hands, and great field vision. On the other hand, Bryant is a prima donna knucklehead at times. Hopefully, he will work on his conditioning and not leave in the middle of games this season, and beyond. If he decides to be at the top of his game with the playbook and physically, Bryant could easily average 85 receptions, 1,200 yards, and 12 touchdowns a year. Only time will tell if he is serious about being a professional receiver.
Marques Colston (29), New Orleans Saints
Colston doesn't get enough love because some think he is getting a bit long in the tooth. He isn't Drew Brees' number one target in New Orleans anymore as Jimmy Graham took that spot. I'm not sure if he is even the second target or if Darren Sproles is. Still in 2011, Colston put up 80 receptions for almost 1,150 yards and 8 touchdowns despite missing 2 games. He is averaging 78 catches, 1,080 yards and 8 touchdowns over the past three seasons. I don't see those numbers changing over the next few years.
Greg Jennings (29), Green Bay Packers
At first glance, it may seem that time is slowing down for Jennings. He failed to get to 1,000 yards, had less than 70 catches, and caught 9 touchdowns last season. Jordy Nelson definitely stepped it up last year, but don't throw in the towel yet. Jenning was injured during Week 15 and did not return until the playoffs. He gets to play with the best quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, and their defense stinks so they will always be in shootouts. Jennings will find a way to put up 75+ catches, at least 1,100 yards, and 7-10 touchdowns for the next several years.
Mike Wallace (26), Pittsburgh Steelers
This ranking has zero to do with my Steelers tattoo. Although he faded in the last eight games last year, Wallace still produced 72 receptions, almost 1,200 yards, and 8 touchdowns. With new Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley, I expect the Steelers to throw the ball more often as Isaac Redman has limited career carries. Wallace has the playmaker ability more like Dwayne Bowe and Larry Fitzgerald than his counterparts Brown and Saunders. Haley's offense will be about quick strikes which plays to Wallace's strengths. Yes, the holdout is a concern, but he was coveted by the Patriots who run an even more pass-happy. Regardless of NFL team, Wallace will produce 80+ catches with 1,300+ yards and 7-10 touchdowns for the next five years or so. Get him now!
Jeremy Maclin (24), Philadelphia Eagles
Maclin is a spry 24 years old who will have a more optimistic summer than last year's with his "mystery" aliment. He only played in 13 games of a much maligned campaign. There were glimpses that he would emerge as the #1 wide receiver in Philadelphia. I'm sure last year's numbers: 63 catches, 859 yards, and 5 touchdowns didn't single-handedly win anyone a fantasy title. Let's have more faith in him. It's reasonable to conclude that he will get to season averages of 75+ receptions, over 1,000 yards and 7-9 touchdowns a season playing with Michael Vick.
Steve Johnson (26), Buffalo Bills
Johnson has been very consistent for the past two years once he became the starter of #BillsNation. Outside of their talented running backs, Johnson is the Bill's top offensive threat. As he only turns 26 in July, his best years of football are in front of him. Hopefully, Buffalo will develop another wide receiver, but then again, Johnson does a good job taking on high level competition. Darrelle Revis, who most consider the best cover cornerback, struggles covering Johnson. Last year in two games versus Revis, Johnson caught 8 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. Johnson is a lock for 80+ receptions with at least 1,100 yards and 8-11 touchdowns as long as Chain Gailey is the head coach of the Bills.
Antonio Brown (24), Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown had a great second half last year and finished the season with 63 receptions for 1,018 yards, but only 2 touchdowns. The small amount of touchdowns is concerning; however, he makes up for it in versatility as he excels in the return game too. He isn't much of a red zone threat, but he will be in Haley's high-powered offense for at least the next two years. Brown will be a lock for 75+ catches with 1,100 yards and increase his touchdowns to the 5-7 range for the next few years. This is the time to get him at a discount.
Andre Johnson (31), Houston Texans
Johnson is still one of the most physically dominating wide receivers in the game entering his 9th season in the NFL. Unfortunately for him, his body is starting to break down and the Texans are going to a more ball control offense with Arian Foster and Ben Tate. It is hard to imagine that Johnson will come close to his 100+ catch seasons (he did this three times). Johnson will take over games when the running game isn't working, but those opportunities are fewer and fewer. He should be good for 80 catches, right around 1,000 yards, and 7-9 touchdowns. Keep in mind he has already peaked, but can still produce at a high level barring injury for next 3-4 years.
Roddy White (31), Atlanta Falcons
For the past two years, White was the apple of Matt Ryan's eye with 179 targets each year. He did turn those 179 targets into at least 100 receptions, 1,300 yards (give or take a few), and 8 touchdowns. Even at the ripe old age of 31, he is producing at a very high level. His targets should fall to the 130 range to even things up with Julio Jones. With Michael Turner fading, look for the Falcons to be more pass happy. We should be in store for a few more 85+ catch, 1,200 yard, and 7 touchdown seasons for the next few years.
Wes Welker (31), New England Patriots
Welker is above all else a PPR monster. Out of the past five years, he has one season below 112 receptions and that was in 2010 when he was returning early from a knee injury. Even at his small stature, 5' 9" 185 lbs, Welker is finding his way into the end zone more due to defenses focusing on the Pats tight end duo of Gronkowski and Hernandez. I have a feeling he will be moving on from New England after this season, but regardless of offense next year he should still manage 90 catches for 1,050 yards and score 5-7 times in 2012 and 2013.
Pierre Garcon (27), Washington Redskins
Garcon was a bit of a surprise last year as he managed to produce 70 receptions for 947 yards and 6 touchdowns. The knock on him is that the production was skewed by three extremely productive games. The entire Colts offense had the displeasure of catching passes from the mighty crew of Collins, Painter, and Orlovsky (sounds like a better law firm than a quarterbacks crew). Since Garcon was highly productive as Peyton Manning's 3rd/4th target, he should excel with RGIII's cannon for an arm. Shanahan didn't sign him to just use him as a deep threat. Garcon should average 75+ catches with 1,150 yards and 9 touchdowns for the next several years.
Eric Decker (25), Denver Broncos
Last year's stats of 44 catches for 612 yards and 8 touchdowns do not tell the story. Decker was having a breakout season with Kyle Orton at the helm and then Tebow fever struck. His production dried up and Tebow favored Demaryius Thomas instead. Now he gets to play with an equal opportunity quarterback in Peyton Manning. Manning isn't afraid to throw into tight coverage which helps Decker as he sometimes has issues gaining separation from defenders. Decker should be good for 70+ receptions, a little over 1,000 yards, and a handful of touchdowns with Manning at the helm.
Brandon Lloyd (31), New England Patriots
After entering the NFL in 2003, he has bounced around from system to system until he found his calling with Josh McDaniels. Under McDaniel's tutelage, Lloyd put up career highs in 2010 of 77 catches, 1,448 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Last year, he disappointed with 70 catches, 966 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Much of that was due to health of Sam Bradford. Tom Brady is no Sam Bradford, so I would expect 70 catches, over a thousand yards, and 7 touchdowns to be easy money for him. Keep in mind Lloyd barely played 4 out of his 9 NFL seasons, so he has fresh legs for a 31-year-old.
Vincent Jackson (29), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Poor Vincent Jackson, he wanted to get paid (and he did) but now he gets to play on another run-first team with a less accurate quarterback. The move from Philip Rivers to Josh Freeman will be significant. He produced well at times last year with 60 catches, 1,106 yards and 9 touchdowns. Jackson is a big play receiver who seemed to lose focus more than a few times last year. Hopefully a change of scenery will do him some good. I doubt if he catches more than 65 passes, but he should be good for over a thousand yards and 7-8 touchdowns each year for a while.
Jordy Nelson (27), Green Bay Packers
Nelson came on strong in his 4th year with 68 receptions, 1,263 yards, and 15 touchdowns. Those touchdowns seem to be a bit overstated as I doubt if he exceeds 10 touchdowns in any other season in his career. It seems more likely Nelson regresses to 60 catches, a little over 1,100 yards, and 9 touchdowns yearly. He should be able to produce those type of numbers with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback; however, be concerned about Randall Cobb's increased playing time.
Kenny Britt (24), Tennessee Titans
Britt seems to have knees of glass; however, if he is on the field watch out! He has played in 13 games out of the last two years and was highly productive. You have to love his talent, but will he stay healthy? He is the ultimate risk/reward play. If he can get through the season, Britt should surpass 70 catches, a thousand yards, and catch 10 touchdowns. Once or should I say, if healthy, he could improve to a 85+ catches, 1,200 yards, and 10-12 touchdowns average per season before he turns 26.
Andy Miley is the host of Dynasty Blitz Podcast on Blog Talk Radio, Dynasty/Keeper Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Alarm and can be found on twitter @AndrewMiley