The top of the wide receiver position, based on fantasy points, has been one of the toughest to predict. Since 2006, no more than two wideouts have finished in the top five in back-to-back seasons. Over the last three seasons, the lone player to hit that level in consecutive campaigns is Calvin Johnson (2011-2012). Furthermore, no more than four have finished in the top 10 during that time. However, I think there's a chance this trend could end in 2013.
The wide receiver spot has a new influx of young superstars, a list that includes the likes of Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julio Jones. All five of those players finished among the top 10 players at their position in 2012. These youngsters join other veteran wideouts in their prime such as Megatron, Brandon Marshall, Roddy White and Vincent Jackson, all of whom will be drafted in the first four to five rounds in fantasy drafts.
So, what can we expect from wideouts in 2013? Here's an early look at how the top of the position will look before there's been one free-agent move, one rookie drafted or one offseason trade.
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (2012 - 220.40 points): Johnson looked like he was going to be the latest victim of the Madden cover curse in the first half of the season, but he exploded over the final nine weeks with eight 100-plus yard performances. Johnson, who broke the single-season record for receiving yards, will remain the unquestioned No. 1 wideout in fantasy football in drafts.
2. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (2012 - 202.80 points): Green, a member of my 2012 fantasy man-crush list, broke out in the stat sheets to the tune of 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. That was good enough for him to finish fourth in fantasy points at the position on NFL.com. A consistent and productive wideout with a brilliant future, Green will have second-round value in 2013 leagues.
3. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears (2012 - 216.60 points): After a couple forgettable seasons in Miami, Marshall returned to fantasy prominence with 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns as the top option for Jay Cutler in Chitown. Still in the prime of his career at 28, the Central Florida product should continue to find statistical success regardless of which direction the Bears go with their head coach.
4. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (2012 - 207.70 points): Bryant started the 2012 campaign so slowly (from a statistical perspective) there were questions about whether he was a viable fantasy starter. Well, 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns later and he's among the elite wideouts in fantasyland. Bryant, who is still entering the prime of his career, will be a second- or third-rounder in 2013.
5. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (2012 - 197.40 points): Thomas, another member of my 2012 fantasy man-crush list, orange crushed the competition with over 1,400 yards, 10 touchdowns and just under 200 fantasy points. As long as Peyton Manning is under center for the Broncos, Thomas should remain one of fantasy football's best wide receivers. He'll be a second- or third-round selection.
6. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (2012 - 182.80 points): Jones did have his share of down statistical weeks, but he scored 12-plus fantasy points in four of his last five games (during the fantasy season) and ranked among the top 10 players at his position. A young standout with worlds of statistical potential, Jones will no doubt be one of the most coveted wide receivers next season and far into the future.
7. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings (2012 - 99.30 points): Harvin missed a decent portion of the season with a bum ankle, but he was productive before being injured. In fact, he would have projected to be a top-10 fantasy wideout if he had been able to play a full 16 games. With skills as both a runner and receiver, the playmaking Harvin has a ton of statistical upside in an offense that will use him as a No. 1 pass option.
8. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (2012 - 183.80 points): Johnson was considered a bust in the first half of the 2012 season, scoring double digit fantasy points just twice in his first seven starts. He caught fire down the stretch, though, as A.J. recorded 100-plus yards in four his final seven contests. While his four touchdowns left much to be desired, Johnson is still a legit No. 1 fantasy wideout.
9. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012 - 188.40 points): Jackson posted a nice first season in Tampa Bay, posting 72 catches, a career-best 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns as the top option in the pass attack for Josh Freeman. He has now posted 1,000-plus yards and scored at least seven touchdowns in each of his last four full seasons, so Jackson is a cinch top-10 wideout in fantasy football.
10. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (2012 - 177.10 points): White might have had a modest statistical season in 2012 based on his standards, but he still finished among the top 10 fantasy players at his position. In an offense that will continue to thrive under OC Dirk Koetter, White will no doubt remain one of the top options for Matt Ryan. White will be drafted between Rounds 3-4 in most leagues next season.
11. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos (2012 - 188.40 points): Decker, a preseason sleeper on NFL.com, went off for career bests in receptions, yards and touchdowns in 2012. In fact, he finished with more fantasy points than A.J., Jones and White! While his value is clearly tied to the presence of Manning, it's going to be tough to look past Decker's statistical success somewhere in the third to fourth rounds of drafts.
12. Wes Welker, New England Patriots (2012 - 171.40 points): Welker had yet another solid campaign in 2012, posting 100-plus catches for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Assuming that he's back in New England, Welker should remain a solid No. 2 fantasy wideout in standard leagues and a No. 1 choice in PPR formats. Look for him to come off the board somewhere between the third and fifth rounds.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!