Fantasy Football: Wide Receiver Rankings and Tiers
With the Quarterback Rankings and the Running Back Rankings in the books, we now move on the position that has seemed to evolve the most over the past 15 years, the Wide Receivers. What was once a position that was an afterthought is now 1 of the most important positions in the league due to the high volume of passes around the league. You can find easily 10 WRs that can carry you to wins in a game during the fantasy football season. So, without further ado let get to the Wide Receiver Rankings and tiers for the 2017 NFL season.
Remember, these rankings are in the order of my personal preference, so if they are within the same tier, I think all of them will be around the same range from a fantasy point projections perspective, so feel free to choose who you prefer.
Tier 1 – Elite
Odell Beckham Jr.
I’ve been with most and had Brown #1, but I have to go with my gut. My gut says that Beckham is going to have a huge year, as in 1500 yards and 15 TDs. He wants his new contract and he will get it in a big way. I’m also a big fan of Evans and with Jackson and Howard now taking some attention away from him, he will get more 1 on 1s and that’s a scary thing for a defense. Brown is probably the best WR in the sport, but being in the same offense as the best RB in the sport, Le’Veon Bell, will take away from some of his numbers. Steelers want to be a running team by philosophy.
Most will put Jones 1st or 2nd, but he doesn’t catch too many TDs. He has only caught more than 8 TDs once in his 6 years career. Atlanta also likes to run the ball in the red zone. AJ Green is as talented as the previous 4. However, he gets hurt too much. He missed 6 games last year and 3 games 2 years before. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but that’s a quarter of the season in a normal 13-week regular season. You just have to hope those games don’t keep you out the playoffs or happen during playoff time.
Tier 2 – #1 Type WRs
Nelson is probably my favorite WR in the league and thankfully for him, he’s Aaron Rodger’s favorite WR. He’s a shoe in for 1200 yards and 12+ TDs every year. Cooks and Hilton both have great QBs that like to go deep. Both could have in the range of 1200-1400 yards and 8 TDs. Bryant hasn’t been as good recently, so this could be the last time I stick my neck out for him by putting him in my top 10. Dak Prescott needs him to step up.
With the trade of Cooks to the Patriots, Michael Thomas is now the #1 WR for Drew Brees. The question is will the extra targets offset the extra attention. Amari Cooper is a very good WR. He seems to have a lower ceiling than some of the others above him but he should still put up the numbers of a #1 WR. Hopkins was a projected top 4 WR last year, but the lack of QB finally caught up to him. He’s in hold-mode until someone takes control of that starting QB spot for the Texans.
Tier 3 – Potential #1 Type WRs
Landry might be my biggest crush this year. He’s going to be available in the 4th round and has the potential of a top 10, top 5 in PPR, WR. Watkins was just traded to the Rams, he has top tier talent, but his biggest question is health. Baldwin does better than I project every year, so keep that in mind. Thomas and Robinson are top 10 WR types but happen to be on a team with QB issues. Allen is coming off an injury, but f healthy, he puts up numbers like Landry. Another 4th round guy that can easily end up in the top 10.
Tier 4 – Low-End Starters
Jeffery has big time potential and a young QB to grow with. However, he’s on a 1-year deal. Is that long enough to build some chemistry? Adams, Bryant, and Diggs are 3 WRs that are all young, ultra-talented, and are on teams that have a QB that can get them the ball. Bryant has the highest ceiling as a player but is also the biggest risk due to suspension. Golden Tate is higher than this is PPR. He started out last year slow but ended on a hot streak. Pryor is playing to get a deal. He had a solid year in his 1st year as a full-time WR. He is hoping a 2nd year could get him a big multi-year deal in next year’s free agency.
Tier 5 – Flex Options
If Benjamin is in shape, he’s a top 10 WR. However, early reports are that he’s not in shape, so you are risking a little bit with him, but he still should be in lineups. I’m not as high on Hill as most. Hard to move from a gadget guy to the #1 guy, ask Tavon Austin. Fitzgerald and Maclin are 2 older vets that won’t have too many huge weeks anymore, but they can give you solid production. Donte Moncrief could be a 10 TD guy. Luck loves him in the red zone. He, and Luck, just need to stay healthy.
Edelman will get taken higher in PPR leagues. There is a lot of weapons in NE and he’s no longer the #1 WR. Jordan Matthews was just traded from Philly to Buffalo. I think he’d give similar production on either team. He’s great in the slot and can rack up targets, but he’s top a high ceiling guy. Sanders will give solid production if he’s allowed. Bad QB situation could limit his opportunities. Parker has a high ceiling and could be the #1 red zone guy for the Dolphins. He is being forgotten about, don’t you forget about him too.
Tier 6 – Taking a Chance
Davis will start the year out slow because he’s a rookie and he’s recovering from an injury. But by the end of the year, he will be a force. In keeper leagues, he will go much higher. Crabtree is one of Derek Carr’s favorite targets. He will have a solid 900 yards and 8 TDs. Britt had his best year as a pro last year and he jumps ship to Cleveland. His numbers are a guess to me, 800 yards and 5 TDs? Snead is the #2 option in a high volume passing offense, but with the signing of Peterson, will that change?
Garcon will get a lot of targets as really the only viable option for the 49ers. He’s lost a step, so it could be a very ugly year for the 49ers. Ross is a burner that the Bengals have never seen before. I think he has the potential of Cooks, but unfortunately, he isn’t working with Drew Brees or Tom Brady. Thielen and Kupp are similar players that are slot WRs. They can rack up targets if given the opportunity. However, neither has an elite QB throwing them the ball.
Tier 7 – Bye Week Replacements
Marshall and Cobb are 2 WRs that need to prove everyone wrong. They both had a bad year last year for various reasons. Marshall is getting older and arguably the 3rd option. Cobb is the 3rd option at best but seems to be hurt all the time. Crowder and Matthews should probably be higher than this, and Crowder will be in PPR, but I think both overachieved a bit last year. Meredith is the #1 WR for the Bears for what that’s worth. For me, it’s not worth much, but I wanted to get every team’s potential #1 WR on the list.
Brown is Arizona’s speedster. He has some medical issues last year, but he can be inconsistent on a game by game basis. He reminds me a lot of D-Jax. Jones is a rookie who could start the season as a starter for the Bills. He has potential, but I think he’s a bit overrated. Chris Hogan is the #3 WR for the Pats. That’s a very inconsistent spot, but if you have a lot of people on a bye week, there’s a lot worse. Sanu will give you some good weeks if Julio Jones gets hurt, which is possible, but unless that happens, he won’t be really worth a roster spot.
Tier 8 – If You Are Desperate
I am extremely high on Stewart. He is a pick for keeper and dynasty leagues. I feel by the end of the year he’ll be the Jets best WR. Coleman spent most of last year hurt, but I think he has the talent to fill in during bye weeks if his QBs step up. I’ve never been big on Wallace and I think Baltimore will be a lot worse than people think. Sheppard will man the slot for the NY Giants and could put up solid numbers, but there are a lot of weapons on that roster. Jones doesn’t stand out to me, but if Tate got hurt, he should be at least a solid replacement for a flex.
Funchess is having a great camp and if Benjamin continues to be out of shape, he could step up and do what Benjamin did his rookie year, which was 1000 yards and 10 TDs. Beasley is a guy just for PPR. He could be more useful while Ezekiel Elliott is out on suspension. Williams and Fuller are 2 WRs I wanted to include in this article as guys to take if you are in a keeper or dynasty league. Both could miss half or all of the year, but both have good potential to be a top 25 WR the following year when they are fully back.
We’ve got 1 more Fantasy Football article this week, and it’ll be the Tight Ends. In today’s football game, some TEs are as valuable as WRs. It will be interesting to see where some of the TEs go now that there is good depth at the position. So, as always, if you have a draft before then, good luck and if you have any draft or fantasy football questions, I can be reached on twitter with the handle @Pacman453323.