Week 2: Returner rankings
1. WR Keshawn Martin, HOU – One of the few cut and dry returners on both punt and kickoff teams.
2. RB Bobby Rainey, CLE – Four kick returns for 103 yards in Week 1.
3. RB Darius Reynaud, TEN – Made a big mistake to open the game, still a very good KR/PR.
4. RB Marcus Thigpen, MIA – Fielded four kicks against Cleveland.
5. RB Darren Sproles, NO – Minimal yardage on four punt returns, also returned on KO.
6. RB Chris Thompson, WAS – Remains a great dark horse returner for the Skins.
7. WR Eric Page, TB – Returns for a great average, had a KO stolen away by Doug Martin.
8. KR Devin Hester, CHI – Still the man in Chicago.
9. WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN – Big time potential, only fields Kos.
10. WR Jeremy Ross, GB – Handled both KR and PR duties. Randall Cobb only fielded one punt.
11. WR Jacoby Ford, OAK
12. WR Dexter McCluster, KC
13. WR Jeremy Kerley, NYJ
14. WR Trindon Holliday, DEN
15. CB Javier Arenas, CB
16. WR Antonio Brown, PIT
17. CB Perrish Cox, SF
18. RB Benny Cunningham, STL
19. WR Michael Spurlock, DET
20. WR Golden Tate, SEA
21. WR Julian Edelman, NE
22. WR Rueben Randle, NYG
23. WR Harry Douglas, ATL
24. RB Fozzy Whittaker, SD
25. WR Markus Wheaton, PIT
Notes: If I've said it once, I'll say it again. Returns are an inexact science. There's no predicting or projecting them so don't try or concern yourself with it. Do not start someone solely because you think they'll score an extra point or two because of return yardage. You will see as the season progresses that roles change. A great example of that is Randall Cobb. He handled the bulk of Green Bay's returns last year, yet he only returned one punt during the Pack's loss to San Francisco. Furthermore, it came randomly in the middle of the third quarter. Maybe the aforementioned Jeremy Ross just needed a breather.
Another big drop is Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown. He will be competing with rookie WR Markus Wheaton on kickoffs and as I mentioned last week, that's where the big points are. I'm definitely a big fan of Washington's Chris Thompson. He has little competition for the job and is locked in as the top option on kicks and punts. The majority of this list is a crapshoot from week to week. These rankings factor in number of returns, yardage and the depth chart. You could have 100 NFL experts rank their Top 5 returners and each one would provide a unique mix.
Take a look at Eddie Royal, someone who has been a special teams ace for much of his career. He only fielded one punt and the team leader in return yards is rookie RB Fozzy Whittaker. Such is the life of an NFL return man. Good luck!