WR2 Rankings: Calvin Ridley, Jarvis Landry, and More

WR2 Rankings
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Over the past nine seasons, there have 41 instances of a team having more than one player finish among the Top 24 PPR fantasy wide receivers. In 2013, the Denver Broncos produced three wideouts (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker) who all ended the season as the WR18 or better. Identifying the league’s best WR2 options is a huge advantage on draft day.

In 2019, there were four players that finished as a Top 24 PPR wideout (Weeks 1-16) despite not being the highest-scoring fantasy receiver on their own team:  Mike Evans (WR11), Robert Woods (WR19), Calvin Ridley (WR22), and Marvin Jones (WR24).

I examined the second-best wide receivers on every NFL team and rated them on a six-point scale for each of the following categories:

  • Athleticism
  • Quarterback play
  • Positional Competition
  • Overall Team Target Competition
  • History of Production
  • Fantasy Upside

Calculating an average score for each player, here are my WR2 Rankings in reverse order.

(All statistics from PlayerProfiler)

WR2 Rankings: Calvin Ridley, Jarvis Landry, and Others

32. Kelvin Harmon (Washington Redskins): The second-year receiver from North Carolina State failed to impress as a rookie. Harmon tallied 30 receptions for 365 yards with no touchdowns. The former sixth-round pick has good size (6-foot-2, 221 lbs) but lacks the speed (4.60 40-Yard Dash) or athleticism (11.47 Agility Score) to instill much confidence. He did tally consecutive 1000 yard seasons for the Wolfpack and 20 of his catches occurred after Dwayne Haskins became the starting quarterback. Harmon will be pushed by explosive rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden as well as slot receivers Steven Sims and Trey Quinn. Haskins is a concern at quarterback and is likely to opt for safer passes to running backs Derrius Guice and versatile rookie Antonio Gibson. Too much competition for Harmon to make a worthwhile WR2 impact in 2019.

31. Anthony Miller (Chicago Bears): The former second-round pick from Memphis gets high athleticism marks for tremendous burst and agility, but has only produced 85 receptions over 31 games played the past two seasons. While much of that can be attributed to inconsistent quarterback play from Mitchell Trubisky, it is unclear whether Nick Foles will be the key to unlock a third-year breakout. Miller flashed his potential with the overall WR7 and WR5 PPR performances in Weeks 13 and 15 but also totaled 11 weeks outside WR3 production. His lack of consistency and questionable quarterback play place him towards the bottom of this list.

30. Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers): The 49ers had the second-lowest passing rate among all NFL teams, but first-round draft capital combined with Emmanuel Sanders departure give Aiyuk a chance for an immediate fantasy impact. The explosive Arizona State product should easily move ahead of Dante Pettis, Jalen Hurd, and Kendrick Bourne on the San Francisco depth chart. While tight end George Kittle siphons the larget tight end target share (28.2%) in the NFL, Aiyuk has a chance to follow the schematic demonstrated by Deebo Samuel last season. With the overall WR16 and WR2 performances in the last two games, Samuel proved that rookie wide receivers can be impactful at the most opportune time in fantasy football.

29. N’Keal Harry (New England Patriots): Obviously a huge downgrade at quarterback, but little target competition for the 2019 first-round pick for the Patriots. After missing nine games with an ankle sprain, Harry managed just 12 receptions but two touchdowns over New England’s final seven games, experiencing high variance in per game snap share. I love his athleticism (particularly his 81st percentile Catch Radius), but a lack of rookie production combined with unproven Jarrett Stidham at quarterback keeps him at the bottom of the WR2 Rankings.

28. Jerry Jeudy (Denver): The 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft enjoyed a huge junior year breakout season for Alabama. Jeudy totaled 68 receptions, 1315 yards, and 14 touchdowns for the eventual 2018 National Champions. The concerns with Jeudy are two-fold:  target competition and quarterback play. Denver lead wideout Courtland Sutton produced a 26.1% target share in 2019, ranking Top 10 among all wide receivers. Also, tight end Noah Fant enjoyed a fantastic rookie campaign with two TE2 performances in the second half of the season. Denver also selected Penn State star K.J. Hamler in Round 2, leading to a crowded receiving core for unproven quarterback Drew Lock.

27. Dede Westbrook (Jacksonville Jaguars): As a card-carrying Dede Westbrook truther, it is painful to concede his breakout window is closing. Despite produced the exact same amount of receptions (66) and targets (101) as he did in 2018, despite seeing a massive increase in ADP (WR32 from WR60). The Jaguars spent a second-round pick on Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault, signed red zone tight end target Tyler Eifert, and reunited satellite back Chris Thompson with offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. The talented Westbrook has just two WR1 performances in the past two seasons making better WR2 options than this post-hype wideout entering his fourth season.

26. Miles Boykin (Baltimore Ravens): Despite his low ranking, the uber-athletic Boykin has one of the biggest upsides of any receiver on this list. The second-year Notre Dame standout was used sparingly as a rookie with just 22 targets and 13 receptions in a full 16 games played. His 4.42 40-Yard Dash speed at 6-foot-4, 220 lbs with a 10.64 (99th percentile) Catch Radius bring a foundation that very few players on this list can match. Baltimore run-heavy attack only translated to the NFL’s lowest pass play opportunities at just 45.93 percent. Lead wide receiver Marquise Brown managed just 71 targets on a 59 percent Snap Share in 14 games and lacks alpha receiver size at only 5-foot-9, 166 lbs. The biggest competition for targets comes from 2019 breakout tight end Mark Andrews (10 touchdowns) and third-round Texas speedster Devin Duvernay.  League MVP Lamar Jackson‘s 66.1 percent completion percentage is encouraging, giving an unproven Boykin an extremely high-floor for a very low draft-day price.

25. Corey Davis (Tennessee Titans): Much more was expected from the fifth-overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. After 65 receptions, 891 yards, and four touchdowns in 2018, Davis took a step backward last season with just 43 receptions, 601 yards, and two touchdowns. Even worse, Davis’s production fell off even further when Ryan Tannehill took over as quarterback.

The only reason he makes No. 25 is the lack of target competition among the Titans’ wideouts. However, the development of tight end Jonnu Smith and dominance of wideout A.J. Brown keeps his upside severely capped. You would need to be the greatest of truthers to believe in Davis this season.

24. Curtis Samuel (Carolina Panthers): At this time last year, there were viral GIFs of quarterback Cam Newton connecting on deep passes with Curtis Samuel. This led to huge fantasy disappointment when Samuel produced just 54 receptions and 627 receiving yards despite a 91 percent Snap Share last season. His 4.31 40-Yard speed still reamins and his nine red zone receptions ranked 13th among all wide receivers. While new signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater should provide more consistency than Kyle Allen, the addition of field stretcher Robby Anderson and establishment of alpha receiver D.J. Moore have tempered expectations for Samuel in 2020. An understated positive could be the consistent negative game script Carolina is likely to face with their poor defense in the high-scoring NFC South.

23. Allen Lazard (Green Bay Packers): Opportunity trumps all. Lazard was the de facto winner of a shocking Green Bay draft and the departure of veteran wideout Geronimo Allison to Detroit. The former undrafted Iowa State product appears to have a hold on the coveted WR2 role with All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With prototypical size at 6-foot-3, 225 lbs, Lazard’s connection with Rodgers produced the 12th best QB Rating in the league for a wide receiver. Head coach Matt LaFleur seems to be indicating a run-heavy attack, but few second-fiddle wide receivers have a better situation than Lazard.

22. Tyler Boyd (Cincinnati Bengals): Few players on this list can boast anywhere near 255 targets and 166 receptions over the past two seasons. However, the heavy personnel changes and target competition limit the potential upside for Tyler Boyd. The wide receiver core is robust with All-Pro A.J. Green, second-round draft pick Tee Higgins, and explosive deep threat John Ross now playing for a new contract. The biggest change is at quarterback, where Boyd will need to develop chemistry with first-overall pick Joe Burrow. With the likelihood of an abbreviated training camp, it appears likely the past two seasons will be a distant memory for the fifth-year wide receiver.

21. Henry Ruggs (Las Vegas Raiders): The draft capital and upside of the speedy rookie moved him ahead of Boyd despite having the same overall rating. Ruggs’ blazing 4.27 40-Yard Dash and 17.4 college yards per target are exactly what former owner Al Davis would want in a first-round pick. Quarterback Derek Carr will need to improve on his 36.2 deep ball completion percentage which only ranked 18th among all starting wide receivers. While Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones, and fellow rookie Bryan Edwards are not intimidating target competition, there is limited upside for a rookie wideout with average quarterback play and less time to form an on-field connection than most seasons. Ruggs will have huge weeks but lack the consistency to finish inside the Top 24 fantasy wide receivers.

20. Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles): While Eagles fans denounced this pick on social media, Reagor could find himself as the top wide receiver on an explosive Philadelphia offense. With recent talk that veteran Alshon Jeffery is unlikely to make the 53-man roster, Reagor could see one of the largest target shares among all rookies. Outside of 33-year old volatile wide receiver DeSean Jackson, there is really no competition for targets among the other wideouts. The main obstacle to a Reagor WR2 rookie performance would be the league-high rate (46.1 percent) of 12 personnel the Eagles used last season. The tight end duo of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert ran 845 routes and totaled 222 targets. If Jeffery makes the roster, Reagor is so skilled that he could still make a WR3 or better fantasy impact.

19. Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings): Jefferson landed in the ideal fantasy spot for a rookie wide receiver. The Vikings have typically produced a consolidated target share with veteran Adam Thielen and former Minnesota playmaker Stefon Diggs. The 6-foot-1 burner from LSU needs to only pass former seventh-round Olabisi Johnson to inherit Diggs’ starting role. Jefferson operated primarily out of the slot in college but showed enough athleticism at the combine to warrant an expanded role.

With Thielen close to 30-years old and suffering a myriad of injuries last season, this landing spot brings a high-end WR2 into Jefferson’s first-year range of outcomes.

18. Sammy Watkins (Kansas City Chiefs): As long as he is tethered to Patrick Mahomes, it is difficult to remove Sammy Watkins from Top 24 consideration. However, it is too hard to trust him despite his elite athleticism and speed in the ideal offense. Watkins produced the overall WR1 performance in Week 1 last year with 198 receiving yards and three touchdowns in a 40-26 season-opening win at Jacksonville. However, he produced just one WR3 performance (Week 9, WR26) for the rest of the entire season. A litany of foot and hamstring issues have also caused him to miss over 17 games over the past four years. Kansas City used 11 personnel 60% of the time, meaning Watkins will have plenty of opportunities to find fantasy production with the league’s best quarterback. Watkins is again a difficult projection in the WR2 Rankings.

17. Breshad Perriman (New York Jets): Fantasy owners that waited four seasons for the breakout of the former first-round pick from UCF had their faith rewarded at the end of the 2019 season. When injuries forced both Tampa Bay receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin out of the lineup. Perriman’s production finally started to match his talent. During Weeks 14-17, Perriman posted 290 receptions, 419 yards, a positional-leading five touchdowns, and the third-most fantasy points among all wide receivers. He signed a one-year, eight million dollar contract with the Jets, and has all the financial reasons in the world to prove that wasn’t a fluke. Perriman has a young franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold and a depth chart void of competition for the outside role. Was the four-game sample a sign of things to come, or an outlier in an underachieving career?

16. Preston Williams (Miami Dolphins): The undrafted free agent from Colorado State parlayed a tremendous training camp and preseason into a solid wide receiver role in Miami before an ACL tear ended his season in Week Nine. Williams left that game against the Jets after a punt return while already producing 72 yards and two touchdowns, the overall WR6 performance that week. He is on pace to return for the start of the season and will have opportunities in a Dolphins offense that produced the fourth-most passing plays among all teams. Williams should start opposite DeVante Parker and could be Miami’s best wide receiver by season’s end. With unknown efficiency after knee surgery, he has the largest variance of any receiver on this list.

15. Diontae Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers): The buzz for the 2020 Diontae Johnson breakout is palpable.

The former third-round pick from Toledo battled a sports hernia for most of last season, but still found a way to impact even with subpar quarterback play from Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges. Johnson posted three Top 12 fantasy WR games and appears to have passed James Washington as the clear second-option behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. The key is the health of 38-year old Ben Roethlisberger who returns after surgery to attach three elbow tendons. He will need to develop a rapport, but even just 14 games with Roethlisberger would put Johnson near the top of WR2 Rankings.

14. John Brown (Buffalo Bills): The now 30-year old veteran deep threat enjoyed a career resurgence in 2019 with strong-armed quarterback Josh Allen, finishing with a career-high 72 receptions. His 14.7 fantasy points per game average placed him inside the Top 24 as the PPR WR22. The arrival of Stefon Diggs will, unfortunately, siphon targets on an offense that already ranked near the bottom (26th) in passing percentage. Brown’s 94.9% snap share should remain consistent, but the presence of Cole Beasley also limits his upside. Brown is one of the most accomplished and receivers on this list, but his competition for targets caps his ceiling among other WR2s.

13. Mike Williams (Los Angeles Chargers): If Philip Rivers had remained the Chargers’ quarterback, Williams would be much higher on this list. However, with a change to an even weaker armed Tyrod Taylor stifles the production of a player who heavily relied on deep targets for production. His 18.3 ADOT (Average Depth of Target) was third-best among all wide receivers. Rivers’ 8.7 yards per pass attempts ranked third-best among all quarterbacks, which makes Williams’ 2020 potential very much uncertain. With only 91 receptions in 31 games the past two seasons, Williams’ fantasy production is too reliant on big plays to project a Top 24 overall finish at the position. With Taylor, Williams is an NFL team WR2, but only a low-end WR3 for fantasy football.

12. Christian Kirk (Arizona Cardinals):  The expectations for a breakout sophomore NFL season never materialized for Kirk despite a 98.5 percent (2nd best among wide receivers) Snap Share. His 68 receptions did rank inside the Top 25 wideouts but his 709 receiving yards was only 42nd among pass catchers. At 5-foot-10, 201 lbs, Kirk lacks prototypical NFL size and now must also contend with All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins in addition to Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald for targets.  Second-year speedster Andy Isabella also looms as a potential target siphon with an increased role. The positives include ascending quarterback play from Kyler Murray and the lack of any tight end of consequence. Kirk is a solid NFL wide receiver in a high-volume offense, but I have tempered expectations for a Top 24 season in 2020.

11. Michael Pittman (Indianapolis Colts): The 6-foot-4, 223 lb USC product has the best opportunity of any rookie wide receiver in 2020. Pittman has already been listed as the outside wide receiver opposite T.Y. Hilton.  New quarterback Philip Rivers has no established rapport with any current Colts pass catcher, giving Pittman one less obstacle to a big season. A 111.2 (93rd percentile) Speed Score and 10.24 (89th percentile) Catch Radius already has head coach Frank Reich praising his potential.

Hilton has missed eight games the past two seasons with injuries and is now on the wrong side of 30-years old. Without a resume of prior NFL production, Pittman couldn’t crack the Top 10 of this list. But don’t be surprised if the Indianapolis rookie ends the season as a Top 24 fantasy option.

10. Michael Gallup (Dallas Cowboys): The former third-round pick was one of the few players on this list hurt by the NFL Draft. The Cowboys saw explosive wideout CeeDee Lamb fall to them at the 17th overall pick, bringing an athletic player with high draft capital to the Dallas passing attack. This has unfortunately overshadowed a strong first two seasons for Gallup. He produced 1107 receiving yards en route to the 15.2 fantasy points per game which ranked 17th among all wide receivers. Gallup must improve on a 16.5% drop rate (13 passes) which was among the worst in the league. The presence of Lamb is a concern, but a 55/828/3 stat line for the rookie would just mimic Randall Cobb in 2019. Having already proved he can finish among the Top 20 wide receivers, Gallup has one of the best combinations of talent and past production of any WR2 in the NFL.

9. Will Fuller (Houston Texans): Will the DeAndre Hopkins trade to Arizona be the key to unlocking Will Fuller’s season-long potential? Only with the caveat, “if he can stay healthy.”

The Texans traded for Brandin Cooks and have Kenny Stills and Keke Coutee returning to round out a deep wide receiving core. Fuller receives elite quarterback play from Deshaun Watson and has a production upside as high as any player at his position in the NFL. It is just difficult to fully trust a player that has missed an average of 6.7 games per year since 2017.

8. Emmanuel Sanders (New Orleans Saints):  Whenever Sanders goes, fantasy production follows. in 2018, he produced four Top 12 weekly wide receiver fantasy performances in just 12 games. Last season, he tallied three overall WR6 or better games including the overall WR1 performance (34.1 PPR points) in Week 14 at New Orleans. Despite turning 33-years old, Sanders finds himself in New Orleans with Drew Brees, one of the best situations of his 11-year career. The Saints actually saw an increase in their passing play percentage from 54.3 percent to 60.4 percent last year. The Saints feature a consolidated target share with Sanders alongside last year’s overall receptions leader, Michael Thomas. With Alvin Kamara averaging over 100 targets per season, it’s tough to see Sanders in the Top 20 overall fantasy wideouts. But with an elite quarterback inside the fantasy-friendly Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Sanders rates as a viable low-end WR2/high-end WR3 fantasy option.

7. Darius Slayton (New York Giants): Athleticism? Check. Quality rookie year production? Check. A strong connection with a young franchise quarterback? Check. After 740 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his first season for the Giants, it is possible Slayton is now the team’s No. 1 receiving option ahead of veteran Golden Tate. Slayton’s 4.39 speed and 10.32 (95th percentile) Catch Radius helped him to a pair of Top 3 overall WR performances in 2019. While the Giants will look to a more balanced offensive attack after finishing with the third-highest percentage of passing plays (64.2 percent) among all teams, Slayton’s big-play connection with Daniel Jones provides an upside higher than most on this list. Playing opposite a defense that is still expected to struggle, fantasy owners can only hope he can maintain the 10th best wide receiver efficiency with even more volume in 2020.

6. Marvin Jones (Detroit Lions):  When paired with Matthew Stafford, Jones has produced like a WR1. Last season, that pairing produced per-game averages of 5.3 receptions, 66.9 yards, and 0.8 touchdowns. Over a full season, this projects Jones for 264 PPR points which equate to last year’s overall WR6. His ADP is suppressed as a result of a knee contusion and ankle sprain that has caused him to missed 10 combined games over the past two seasons. Being on the wrong side of 30-years old and a lack of production without Stafford has made Jones one of the best values in all fantasy formats. He has overall Top 20 upside well within his range of outcomes and a strong Top 10 player in our WR2 Rankings.

5. D.K. Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks): With 4.33 speed 6-foot-3, 228 lbs, Metcalf is one of the best athletes at the wide receiver position. He enjoyed strong rookie year production with 58 receptions, 900 receiving yards, and an impressive seven touchdowns. He serves as the perfect complement to 5-foot-10 fellow wideout Tyler Lockett. Seattle did add veteran Phillip Dorsett, but Metcalf carries massive upside in a consolidated Seahawks passing game. Metcalf only received ten fewer targets than Lockett and ranked Top 15 among all wideouts in contested catch rate. The only negative on the Metcalf projection is offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s run-heavy scheme. However, Metcalf’s athleticism, rookie year production, and fantastic quarterback play easily place him inside the Top 5 of the WR2 Rankings.

4. Jarvis Landry (Cleveland Browns): Landry is one of the most underappreciated assets in fantasy football. He has caught at least 81 passes in each of his six NFL seasons. His pedigree of efficiency was supported by a 26.6% target share, sixth among all wide receivers. His 14.8 PPR points per game with a disappointing season from quarterback Baker Mayfield, is incredibly encouraging for 2020. Landry is just three years removed from a league-leading 112 reception season while with Miami. Similar to D.K. Metcalf, Landry benefits from a consolidated wide receiver target share along with Odell Beckham Jr., who should have an increased role in 2020. Per Sharp Football Stats, new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski ran 11 personnel just 20.6 percent of the time, ranking last in the league. While Cleveland may feature tight ends Austin Hooper and David Njoku more, Landry’s consistency high target volume solidifies his place as an elite PPR option in all formats.

3. Robert Woods (Los Angeles Rams): The 28-year old wideout has seen his career take off since joining the Rams in the 2017 season. The departure of Brandin Cooks provides even more opportunity for elite production in the Rams explosive offense.

Woods has produced the overall WR16 and WR12 PPR per game averages the past two years. He was actually a WR1 last season with Brandin Cooks still on the team. Los Angeles expects a big step forward from fourth-year wideout Josh Reynolds, and Tyler Higbee‘s late-season breakout could siphon some targets away from Woods. Regardless, he checks all the boxes of past production, quarterback connection, and target volume to again finish as not only a Top 24 fantasy option but repeat as a Top 12 overall wide receiver.

2. Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): In 2019, Mike Evans joined Randy Moss as the only two wide receivers in NFL history to reach 1000 yards in each of their first six seasons. This makes it hard to consider him WR2 in Tampa Bay, but that’s exactly what he was in 2019 due to Chris Godwin‘s monster breakout. Evans’ 6-foot-5 frame and 10.32 (94th percentile) Catch Radius are elite weapons for a Tampa Bay offense that ranked seventh in the NFL with a 62.3 percent passing rate. Detractors point to Evans’ volatility as a major weakness in seasonal leagues. In 2019, he produced three overall WR2 or better performances and six overall WR33 or worse results. Regardless, his production is unrivaled among all wideouts on this list, and with legendary quarterback Tom Brady now under center, it’s impossible to see him finish outside the Top 20 fantasy receiving options.

1. Calvin Ridley (Atlanta Falcons):  The big breakout candidate in 2020 will be the Falcons’, Calvin Ridley. He resides in a wide receiver binary target share in an Atlanta offense that passed a league-leading 67% of the time last season.  Ridley’s 17 touchdowns over his first two NFL seasons ranks sixth-most in NFL history. All-Pro teammate Julio Jones is the clear top option in the Atlanta offense, but also turned 31-years old and has a history of nagging injuries. With tight end Austin Hooper vacating 97 targets and Mohamed Sanu traded in October of last season, Ridley opens 2020 with the highest ceiling of his young career. The Falcons are an elite passing offense, that plays home games indoors, in a division where they will need to score a ton of points to win. His 4.43 speed and connection with quarterback Matt Ryan give this 25-year old wideout the best chance to be this season’s breakout WR2.

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