Fantasy Football: NFL Wide Receiver Rankings and Tiers
We’ve gone through the QBs, the TEs, and the RBs in previous fantasy football articles. Today ends the week-long of fantasy articles, so let’s get right into it. Today, we’ll be going through Wide Receiver Rankings and tiers for the 2018 NFL season. Don’t forget, these rankings are in the order of my personal preference. If they are within the same tier, all should be around the same range from a fantasy point projections perspective. Feel free to choose whom you prefer.
Tier 1 – Elite
Brown is the best WR in football, period. You can write down 1300-1400 yards and 10 TDs for him right now and you won’t be disappointed with what he ends up with. Hopkins may be next in line as the best WR in the sport. No matter who his QB is, he has produced. Beckham missed almost all last year and he may be playing for his contract. I expect a huge year out of him. Most would put Thomas in the 2nd tier, or behind Julio Jones, but he will score more TDs and he’s in a better offense to produce, in my opinion.
Tier 2 – Top 5 Possible
Speaking of Jones, despite the disappointing year last year, I still must put him as a top 5 WR. He is much more of a risk than taking him last year brought. Adams is the #1 WR for the best QB in the world, there isn’t much explanation needed there. Gordon is a curious case. If he comes back to the team, he’s immediately a top 10 WR in the league, but if this absence gets past the preseason, it’s up in the air where you draft him.
Green is the most inconsistent, good WR in the league. He seems to have a lot of monster games and a lot of below average ones. Do you blame him or do you blame Andy Dalton? Do you blame the playcalling? No matter who is to blame, that’s just what you are going to get. Evan was a top 5-6 WR going int last year, but with more weapons in Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston being suspended at the start of the year, he may get off to a slower start than usual.
Tier 3 – Other #1 Type Wide Receivers
Allen is 1 of the most underrated WRs in the league. He puts up top 10 type numbers, but he is rarely mentioned when talking about some of the best WRs in the sport. Philip Rivers feeds him heavily. The only question is him staying healthy. Hill had a magical year last year with Alex Smith. I’m giving him the respect of being a #1 type WR, but a new QB and Watkins on the other side could hurt his numbers. Hilton is the happiest man to see Andrew Luck back. With everything in place, he’ll be 2016 form.
Tier 4 – Borderline #1 Wide Receivers
Before the injury, Robinson was looked at as a top 6-7 WR. We must see if he’s back after missing last year, but if he is, watch out. Trubisky is better than Bortles and Robinson could have a huge year. Cooks will play for his 3rd team in 3 years. No matter where he plays, you can typically count on 1100 yards and 8 TDs. Jones III is in a heavy passing offense and seems to be Matt Stafford’s guy near the goal line. He will quietly put another 1000-1100 yards and 9-10 TDs.
Thielen burst onto the scene last year with almost 1300 yards. Will that continue with a new QB or will Stefon Diggs take the throne as the new #1. It’s an interesting case, but hard to ignore his production from last year. Cooper could benefit from being slept on this year due to his horrible year and numerous drops last year. Coach Jon Gruden won’t stand for that. I expect a big bounce-back year. Baldwin gets underrated every year. I’ll give him his credit and say he finishes as a top 10 WR despite my hesitations.
Tier 5 – Starters
Stefon Diggs – Minnesota Vikings
Alshon Jeffery – Philadelphia Eagles
Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans
Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns
Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals
Diggs, as I mentioned earlier, could be the #1 for the Vikings and could put up big numbers. He worth the risk. The Jeffery ranking is due to if he starts the season NOT the PUP list. If he is, he automatically misses the 1st 6 weeks and he drops down to tier 7. As of right now, no one knows for sure. I think Davis is ready to take the league by storm. I think he will go over 1000 yards and around 10 TDs. The only reason he’s even this low is that I’m trying to temper expectations.
If Gordon doesn’t come back to start the season, move him up to tier 4. However, even if Gordon is there, I still expect a good season from Landry. He is draftable as a starter. Thomas is the forgotten man. I may not be the biggest Case Keenum fan, but he’s better than what they were running out there last year. Fitzgerald is Mr. Consistent. No matter how bad his team is, no matter who the QB is, he’ll get 1000 yards and 6 TDs. I expect the same next year, in what could be the future hall of famer’s final year.
Tier 6 – Flex Options
Julian Edelman – New England Patriots
Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers
DaVante Parker – Miami Dolphins
Juju Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers
Golden Tate – Detroit Lions
Jordy Nelson – Oakland Raiders
Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs
Kelvin Benjamin – Buffalo Bills
Marquise Lee – Jacksonville Jaguars
Edelman is a starter, but he is suspended to start the season, which lowers his value I the draft. If you can get him as a flex, when he comes back, you’ll have an extra starting type guy. Funchess started to show his potential last year, but with them being a running team and now DJ Moore in the fold, his numbers could go up with less attention, or go down with fewer looks. Parker has been a disappointment for the Dolphins. He’s the #1 WR this year and it could be a do or die season for him.
Smith-Schuster has taken over as the 3rd option in Pittsburgh. He has the potential for a big year, but you must be aware of a possible sophomore slump. Tate is another 1 of those players that is very consistent. You can count on him for 90 catches for 1000 yards and 4-5 TDs. I’ a big Nelson fan, but he no longer has Aaron Rodgers throwing him TDs. I think he can still have a good year, but he will likely play a secondary role in the offense to Amari Cooper.
Watkins moves from the Rams to the Chiefs and it will be interesting to see what it does to his production. I think he’ll have good and bad weeks, pretty much the same as with the Rams. Benjamin, despite what he may think, goes to a team with a worse QB. I don’t see his numbers being that impressive, but he’s a big red zone target. Could approach 10 TDs. Lee will be the #1 WR for Jacksonville. That may not be saying much, but any #1 WR must be at least respected.
Tier 7 – Bye Week Options
Paul Richardson – Washington Redskins
Michael Crabtree – Baltimore Raves
Marquise Goodwin – San Francisco 49ers
Allen Hurns – Dallas Cowboys
Robby Anderson – New York Jets
Chris Hogan – New England Patriots
Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers
Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams
Sterling Sheppard – New York Giants
I think Richardson will end up being the #1 WR for the Redskins. He’s a good deep threat. He won’t put up spectacular numbers but fits into this category well. Crabtree will be the #1 WR for Baltimore, and as I said earlier, any #1 WR must be at least respected. Goodwin will be the main target for Jimmy G and if they hope to move the ball, or play as well as they are being hyped to play, he must produce big time.
Hurns will play the Dez Bryant role for the Cowboys this year. Unfortunately, they are a running team and he’s not a real #1. Anderson is in the same situation for the Jets. Last year he surprised everyone, but there is no way you can count on him for every week production. Hogan got off to a huge start last year because Edelman was out and now he gets a chance to do that same this year. He could come near to his numbers of last year.
Cobb has slowed down over the past couple year. Injuries and age are seemingly catching up to him. However, he will be entering the year as Rodger’s #2, so that’s worth something. I’m not the biggest fan of Woods, but he was solid last year, and he could put up the same type of production this year. He’s still young. Sheppard will have to play a big role for the G-men this year. The Giants have a lot of weapons this year and he can live in the middle of the field and catch a bunch of 3rd down passes.
Tier 8 – Speedy Hit or Miss guys
DJ Moore – Carolina Panthers
Will Fuller – Houston Texans
Ted Ginn – New Orleans Saints
John Ross – Cincinnati Bengals
Kenny Stills – Miami Dolphins
John Brown – Baltimore Ravens
DeSean Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams
Jamison Crowder – Washington Redskins
It may take Moore some time to get up to speed for the Panthers, but he is very talented and could end up taking a good chunk of their targets by the end of the year. Fuller is a big-time deep threat and should produce like a younger Ted Ginn. Speaking of Ginn, he’s still around and should continue to have the sporadic numbers he typically puts up. He can put up 20 yards 1 weeks and 150 with 2 TDs the following week. It can be maddening.
One of my sleepers for this year is Ross. After having a year full of injuries and bad production, he will be a starter this year. His deep speed, if healthy, can be like what Tyreek Hill did last year. Still has always been in the hit or miss production role. That will not change this year. Brown can do the same thing as I said Ross can do. Flacco has a big arm so it seems to fit. You can’t count on it but keep his name in mind in the later rounds.
D-Jax had a horrible year last year. He hopes is it just a fluke, but father time is undefeated and when WRs hit 30, he starts creeping around the corner. Kupp seems to be Jared Goff’s favorite WR. The only problem with him is he’s in an offense with Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods. There’s only 1 football. Crowder is usually the slot guy for Washington. He could rack up the catches for PPR league, but I don’t see him having a huge yardage or TD year.
Tier 9 – Insurance guys very late
Mohamed Sanu – Atlanta Falcons
Emmanuel Sanders – Denver Broncos
Rishard Matthews – Tennessee Titans
Nelson Agholor – Philadelphia Eagles
Pierre Garcon – San Francisco 49ers
Corey Coleman – Buffalo Bills
Donte Moncrief – Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers
Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons
Sanu put up okay numbers and I think he will start the year as a starter. He’s on a good offensive team. Unfortunately, I think by the end of the year, he’ll be replaced by someone I’ll get to later. Sanders is a bit of a forgotten man and he hopes to rebound from an ugly year with a new QB in Case Keenum. Matthews has been the #1 WR for the Titans the last 2 years. He will likely be replaced as that #1 guy by Corey Davis, but he is still dependable, and he is a safety blanket of Marcus Mariota.
Agholor could be thrusted into a #1 WR role if Jeffery starts the year on the PUP list. I’m not big on him, but I can’t ignore the good year he had. Garcon is coming off a serious injury and is on the wrong side of 30. I would stay away, but he is a starter for a team lacking quality wide receivers. Coleman was practically given away to the Bills and now moves into a possible starting role. I like him better than Zay Jones, who isn’t in this article, so he’s someone to take a very late round flyer on if you need a 5th WR.
Moncrief is a big WR that could be a red zone threat for the Jags. He won’t be as productive and when Andrew Luck was his QB, but he could have a few solid weeks, just hard to predict when. Williams is a guy that I really like as a sleeper. He missed most of last year with a back injury, but he is ultra-talented. He is in a high passing offense and has a big body for the red zone. Rivers will like him. Ridley is the guy I mentioned earlier about taking Sanu’s job. I love his skill level and he could be a producer late this year.
I purposely didn’t put these 2 in the rankings, but they are for very different reasons. Dez Bryant, at the time of this article being written, is unsigned. If he does sign with a team that he can start on, like the Browns, I would have him in Tier 5, a low-end starter. Martavis Bryant is a great talent that doesn’t seem to get it. He’s always a risk to be suspended, he has taken on Jon Gruden’s playbook slowly, and I don’t think he’s worth the aggravation. In terms of talent, he’s a flex or bye week option.
If Alshon Jeffery starts the year on the team, I would stay away from Wallace. However, if he’s on the PUP, then he will be a starter for a team that will put up a lot of points. If Mike Williams gets hurt again or disappoints, Tyrell Williams will be there to get his targets. Once again, a high scoring offense that likes to pass a lot. Taylor will start the year as the #3 for the Titans, but he will be their deep threat. If Matthews slows down, he could start in what could be a new, explosive, spread offense in Tennessee.
And with that, you should be now fully prepared to do your Fantasy Football Draft. I will be available all year to help you with starts and sits, as well as waiver wire pickups, and your last-minute lineup decisions. I can be reached on twitter with the screen name @Pacman453323. Good Luck with your drafts and most importantly, enjoy the games.
How do you rank the wide receivers for fantasy football purposes? Leave a comment below.
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