Despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the NFL seems intent on having a 2020 season. With the opt-out window shortly coming to a close, it’s time to look at the updated fantasy football wide receiver rankings.
Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings
Tier 1: Elite WR1’s
Michael Thomas was the WR1 last year behind a historically good campaign, and WR1’s historically don’t repeat in consecutive seasons. However, Thomas’ high target share and his presence in a great offense make him too good to bet against. The Green Bay Packers did nothing to address their skill position players, which means that Green Bay’s entire passing attack will be Aaron Rodgers looking for Davante Adams.
Age will catch up to Julio Jones one of these days, but I’m betting that it won’t happen this year. He’s still arguably the best receiver in football, has a great quarterback, and a terrible defense. Tyreek Hill might not offer the same week-to-week consistency as the other receivers in this tier, but his game-breaking ability leads to more week-winning performances than anyone else in the league.
Tier 2: Mid/Low WR1’s
- Chris Godwin
6. D.J. Moore
7. DeAndre Hopkins [Fantasy Profile]
8. Adam Thielen [Fantasy Profile]
9. Kenny Golladay [Fantasy Profile]
10. Robert Woods [Fantasy Profile]
11. Calvin Ridley [Fantasy Profile]
12. Allen Robinson
Chris Godwin probably won’t put up the same numbers that he did a season ago. Jameis Winston’s turnover-prone style of play turned every game into a shootout, and that won’t happen with Tom Brady. That said, this will still be an elite offense, Brady loves his slot receivers, and he’s never had one as good as Godwin. D.J. Moore is a PPR machine that absolutely destroys underneath coverage and possesses great YAC ability. He’s a perfect match for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and Carolina’s atrocious defense ensures that they’ll be throwing the ball a lot. He has an outside shot to lead the league in targets.
DeAndre Hopkins is a ridiculously talented receiver with the potential to finish as the WR1. However, history shows us that it’s not a good idea to bet on a receiver switching teams, especially in a shortened offseason. Adam Thielen is the only receiver of note left in Minnesota and should be a target machine.
Part of Kenny Golladay’s 2019 success came on the back of an unsustainably-high touchdown efficiency. Some regression is coming, but he should remain a top fantasy receiver. When the Rams started using a higher percentage of 12 personnel, Robert Woods was on pace for 181 targets. That obviously can’t last over a full 16-game season, but he’s going to be a featured part of this passing attack and is due for some positive touchdown regression.
Calvin Ridley was the WR8 on a per-game basis following the Mohamed Sanu trade. While he’ll never usurp Julio Jones as the top option in Atlanta’s passing game, Matt Ryan is more than capable of supporting two WR1’s. Allen Robinson would be higher on this list if he didn’t have to deal with a quarterback controversy, and if those quarterbacks weren’t Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles.
Tier 3: WR1 Potential
I expect Chris Godwin to be the primary target in Tampa Bay’s passing attack, but Mike Evans definitely has the talent to win that job. If he does, he’s a top-five fantasy receiver. Amari Cooper will probably finish higher than the WR14, but his week-to-week inconsistency forces him to fall on this list.
Odell Beckham Jr. clearly played through injury in 2019 and should be better in 2020. However, he’s battled injury for a very long time now and still hasn’t completely developed a rapport with Baker Mayfield. A.J. Brown will see a higher target share in 2020, but that increase in targets will be offset by his completely unsustainable big play rate regressing to the mean.
Tier 4: Great WR2’s
- DJ Chark
18. Tyler Lockett
19. Juju Smith-Schuster
20. T.Y. Hilton
21. Terry McLaurin [Fantasy Profile]
22. Cooper Kupp
23. Courtland Sutton
24. Marquise Brown
DJ Chark proved that he can lead a receiving corps last year, and this year he won’t have to deal with the Nick Foles/Gardner Minshew controversy. However, he is still in a low-scoring run-first offense that could easily fire their head coach midway through the season. D.K. Metcalf is great, but Tyler Lockett is going to remain the top option in Seattle’s passing attack. If they actually let Russ cook, Lockett would be a locked-and-loaded WR1.
Betting on Juju Smith-Schuster is also betting on an age-38 Ben Roethlisberger coming back from a serious elbow injury and playing like his old self. Smith-Schuster proved last year that he isn’t quarterback-proof, and he carries too much risk to take earlier than this. T.Y. Hilton is the only proven receiver in Indianapolis, but he’s getting up there in age, missed games last year, and already has a hamstring ailment.
Terry McLaurin is getting overlooked because of a disappointing midpoint of the season. He was the WR6 through the first six weeks of the season and the WR23 from Weeks 11-16. Ron Rivera won’t run the ball as much as Bill Callahan, so McLaurin should be a safe, reliable WR2. Cooper Kupp started to get phased out of the offense down the stretch, and I am worried that will carry over into 2020.
Courtland Sutton had a fantastic season last year, but he has an unproven quarterback in Drew Lock and competition for targets in Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Noah Fant. As if that wasn’t enough, signing Melvin Gordon implies that the Broncos want to be a run-first team. The Baltimore Ravens don’t throw the ball that often, but Marquise Brown is basically the only reliable receiver on the roster. Now that he’s healthy, his big-play potential should make him a great boom-or-bust option in fantasy.
Tier 5: WR2 Potential
- Michael Gallup
26. DeVante Parker [Fantasy Profile]
27. Stefon Diggs
28. D.K. Metcalf
29. Keenan Allen
30. Diontae Johnson
31. A.J. Green
32. Tyler Boyd
33. Jamison Crowder [Fantasy Profile]
34. Marvin Jones
35. Jarvis Landry
Michael Gallup quietly recorded 1,107 receiving yards last season, and it’s going to be hard for CeeDee Lamb to take away too many targets in a shortened offseason. DeVante Parker broke out in a big way last year, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has a history of getting elite production out of his top wide receiver. Only time will tell if Parker can still produce with a healthy Preston Williams and Tua Tagovailoa under center.
Stefon Diggs is a great receiver, but it’s hard to trust him to succeed in a new offense with arguably the least accurate quarterback in the league. D.K. Metcalf has the potential to blow way past this ranking, but I don’t project Seattle’s offense to have enough pass attempts for him to truly reach his ceiling. I hate my fantasy wide receiver ranking of Keenan Allen, but I just can’t find a way to move him any higher with his current quarterback situation.
Diontae Johnson has the general playstyle of a poor mans’ Antonio Brown and could be a favorite of Ben Roethlisberger. Even if Big Ben gets hurt again, Johnson already proved he can get by with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges under center. If A.J. Green is healthy and back to his old self, he’s a fringe WR1. However, it’s been too long since we’ve seen that version of Green on the field for a full 16-game season. Tyler Boyd and Jamison Crowder are essentially the same player. They should see a bunch of targets but probably won’t make too many big plays.
Marvin Jones is annually overlooked and will have his fair share of big games. However, he’ll also have more than his fair share of bust performances. Jarvis Landry would be higher, but I’m worried about his offseason hip surgery. Even if he’s back on the field for Week 1, it could take him some time to find his form.
Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Good Depth
- Will Fuller
37. Julian Edelman
38. Golden Tate
39. Brandin Cooks
40. Preston Williams
41. Sterling Shepard
42. DeSean Jackson
43. John Brown
44. Hunter Renfrow
45. Darius Slayton
46. Anthony Miller
47. Mike Williams
48. Jalen Reagor
49. Jerry Jeudy
50. Emmanuel Sanders
I think Will Fuller will end up being Deshaun Watson’s primary target, but both he and Brandin Cooks will have their weeks of fantasy relevance. Julian Edelman isn’t going to be quite as effective without Tom Brady, and it’s hard to trust him to stay healthy and productive for a full 16 games at his current age.
I don’t think I’ve left a draft without DeSean Jackson. Injuries are definitely a huge concern, but he has the highest ceiling of anyone in this tier. Zach Ertz is the only other proven weapon in Philadelphia’s offense, and Jackson only needs one or two catches per game to turn in a solid fantasy performance.
Hunter Renfrow quietly averaged 2.39 yards per route and still has checkdown specialist Derek Carr throwing him the ball. He has potential to turn into a low-end WR2 with enough volume. It’s hard to project any rookies making early contributions with this offseason, but Jalen Reagor and Jerry Jeudy have the easiest path to the field.
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