Instead of straight rankings, this format will feature tiers so as to be less arbitrary.
This is not a fantasy football cheat sheet, nor is it an attempt to predict which players will finish with the best statistics this season. The premise is which kick returner I would want for the 2013 season. Although statistics, scouting reports and other factors such as durability were considered, the criteria primarily is based on game film from the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Brandt: Gauging injury fallout
In the wake of an injury-filled week, Gil Brandt names the teams that can keep things rolling along -- and some that might fall apart. READ
Back in 2010, Thigpen became first player in CFL history to score touchdowns five different ways in the same season (punt return, kickoff return, missed field goal return, running, receiving). He's now one of the NFL's most effective returners for the Dolphins. ... Martin has taken a bit of the sting out of the Texans' loss of Holliday.
McCluster turned in the most exciting return of the season on an 89-yarder in Week 4. ... Tate and Doss have adopted well to their new roles this season. ... Peterson and Hilton remain two of the most dangerous players in the league with the ball in their hands.
Austin is averaging a disappointing 18.3 yards per kickoff return and 4.2 yards per punt return for the Rams, but he's had back luck with penalties. ... Sproles isn't quite the return threat that he was with the Chargers. ... Reynaud hasn't been able to duplicate last season's success. It doesn't help that he was cut by the Titans this week... Brown is concentrating more on offense as the No. 1 receiver this season.
A healthy Harvin is the most dangerous kickoff returner in the league. Wilson isn't far behind.