When it comes to ranking my top fantasy wide receiver options in Week 1, one trait reigns supreme over all others: size.
A receiver who can extend farther than the defense and elevate above the secondary is as lethal a weapon as any in today's pass-first NFL.
So, it should come as no surprise that the men who made my list in Week 1 all boast tremendous size on the outside.
Here are my top fantasy WRs heading into the first Sunday of the 2012 NFL season.
No. 3: Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
As confusing as Brandon Marshall can be off of the field sometimes, he is equally as consistent and dependable on the gridiron.
Marshall, who has surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in each of the past five seasons, has joined forces with his good friend and quarterback Jay Cutler in Chicago. The tandem of Cutler and Marshall was nearly unstoppable in Denver a few years back, and is now back to torment the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
At 6'4", Marshall is a can't-miss target downfield, and a game-breaking talent after the catch. Look for the Bears to test the Colts secondary early with some deep shots to Marshall.
No. 2: Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I love Vincent Jackson's chances to have a big day against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1. Tampa Bay is playing at home, and offers few if any other legitimate receiving options for quarterback Josh Freeman.
Sure, the Bucs have Dallas Clark at tight end now, and wide receiver Mike Williams led the team in yards last season, but consider this notable stat comparison: Williams averaged 11.9 yards per catch in 2011, while Jackson averaged 18.4 yards per reception.
There is no argument. Vincent Jackson, at 6'5", is far and away the Bucs' best receiving option this weekend. He will have a phenomenal opportunity to earn tons of fantasy points as well, as he faces off against the league's 10th-worst receiving defense in 2011.
No. 1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
The top spot in these fantasy football rankings is a no-brainer. Give me Megatron all day, every day.
The 6'5" wideout led the NFL in receiving yards last year, catching 96 balls for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns. Johnson experienced a career high in each category.
It's also worth noting that Johnson had more plays of 20 or more yards (32) than any other receiver in the league last season.
When it comes to the top performing fantasy WR in Week 1, my money is on Calvin Johnson at home against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
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