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The wide receiver landscape this year offers anchor WR1s well into the second round and players who could finish as WR2 well into the 7th-8th-9th round range. This should offer maximum flexibility in draft plans, with the ability to take two #1s early and wait on the position until later to get strong complements with upside, or perhaps even going running back heavy early and filling out your wide receiver completely from players drafted in the fifth round or later. This year more than ever should be about getting “your guys” at wide receiver.
These are the guys you set your watch by. They rarely have letdown weeks, all except Beckham have good quarterbacks and chemistry with their passer, and Beckham is arguably getting a big upgrade. The possibility of getting two of them picking at or near the turn is tantalizing.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU - Priced Correctly
Might take a small target hit if Coutee and Fuller stay healthy, but that would also open up more big plays for him and make the offense much more productive.
Davante Adams, GB - Priced Correctly
Will have better complements around him and Rodgers might spread the ball around more if he allows himself to be coached, but Adams production is proven and consistent.
Julio Jones, ATL - Priced Correctly
Coming off of his best season since 2015 and Calvin Ridley will keep defenses honest. We just need to see an uneventful return to practice after offseason foot surgery.
Odell Beckham Jr CLE - Priced Correctly
How much was Eli Manning holding him back? #1 overall receiver is possible, but his history of injuries keeps him at the bottom of this tier.
Elite Weekly Ceiling with Lower Floor
This group can match the elite group in any given week. They could end up ranked with the elite group on a regular basis within the first two weeks of the season. The only factor that separates them is more frequent floor weeks than the top four, but that can change this year.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT - Target
He will face more coverage geared to take him away but he could lead the league in targets. Ben Roethlisberger will force the ball to his favorite target and there’s no doubt that will Juju this year.
Mike Evans, TB - Target
Evans finishing in the top five should surprise no one. If Jameis Winston is better in the Bruce Arians offense and some of the vacated targets go to Evans, he can hang with any wide receiver in the league.
Michael Thomas, NO - Priced Correctly
Thomas was massive when Mark Ingram was out last year, and Latavius Murray isn’t going to be Ingram’s equal in the offense, including the passing game. Thomas’s production tailed off late and he doesn’t usually make big downfield plays to salvage good stats in low volume weeks.
Tyreek Hill, KC - Priced Correctly
Hill’s big weeks are as good as any receiver, but sometimes he can be a small factor in the box score. If Sammy Watkins stays healthy and Mecole Hardman plays a decent-sized role, Hill’s variance will continue to be wider than other WR1s.
High Weekly Floor with Lower Ceiling
This group might not win weeks for you, but their volume and efficiency should keep them holding serve against your counterparts lineup. The ADPs of this trio have a large range, but all should play similar “move the sticks” roles for their team with more receptions but fewer big plays and scores than their ADP peers.
Antonio Brown, OAK - Avoid at ADP
How will he riff with Derek Carr after missing most or all of camp? How much of his value was created by the rare chemistry between him and Ben Roethlisberger? Carr’s style is not to make aspirational small window throws, and Roethlisberger and Brown feasted on the highwire act.
Keenan Allen, LAC - Priced Correctly
Allen is good enough to be a top-five receiver if he got the volume to do it. The Chargers offense should continue to be more balanced and spread the ball out between a variety of targets, so Allen is likely to meet, not exceed expectations.
Strong WR2 High Floor
This group will be excellent and reliable to roll out there as your WR2 (and a killer WR3), and they can put up WR1 numbers in any given week. Their season-long upside is capped as long as their teammates stay healthy.
Adam Thielen, MIN - Priced Correctly
Thielen will never again approach the numbers he posted during the first half of 2018. He won’t be as bad as the beginning of the Stefanski era, but this will still be a low volume, conservative offense.
Stefon Diggs, MIN - Priced Correctly
Diggs outperformed Thielen after Kevin Stefanski took over last year on the back of touchdowns, but he’s less durable, so he’s the lower of the two, although they have very similar values and weekly/season-long range of outcomes.
Cooper Kupp, LAR - Priced Correctly
Kupp is healthy by all outward indications, and he should remain one of Jared Goff’s favorite targets. He’ll have the highest weekly floor of the Rams trio, but with a similar ceiling.
Robert Woods, LAR - Priced Correctly
Woods broke out last year and had a similar scoring profile to Kupp. He also did a better job of maintaining value in December when the offense bogged down than Brandin Cooks did.
Strong WR2 High Ceiling
Like the high floor quartet, you should feel good about marching any of these options out there as your WR2 and great about slotting them as your WR3. They have more big-play potential than the high floor options, with more week-to-week volume variance.
Tyler Lockett, SEA - Target
Lockett was a solid WR2 last year with only 71 targets. That number is sure to go up and he will work out of the slot more often with the potential for a second deep threat (DK Metcalf) that defenses have to account for. The Seahawks might also pass more while their pass rush is weakened for the first six games while Jarran Reed serves his suspension.
Brandin Cooks, LAR - Priced Correctly
Cooks was more efficient turning targets into catches last year but slowed down with the offense late in the season. He has a little more variance than his Rams teammates but can also get behind the defense for the big play.
Amari Cooper, DAL - Avoid at ADP
UPDATE: Cooper's foot/heel injury is enough to knock him down a tier with the uncertainty it adds to his outlook
Cooper had ceiling games to match anyone at his position last year, but his floor games were lineup killers. A full offseason with Dak Prescott and the hope of some new wrinkles from new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore improves his outlook.
Allen Robinson, CHI - Target
Robinson is looking better than he did in last year’s camp now that he’s two years removed from ACL surgery. He’ll be this offense’s #1 and have some games where he is vastly better than his counterpart. Trubisky should also be better in year two under Nagy. Remember, Robinson was elite with Blake Bortles.
Sammy Watkins, KC - Target
Watkins will be projected as a top 20 receiver any time he is healthy - but how often will he be healthy? He is having a tremendous camp and should face beatable matchups every week with the arsenal of weapons that the Chiefs will roll out there. And he gets arguably the most valuable targets in the league because he plays with Patrick Mahomes II.
Josh Gordon, NE - Target in 6th/7th
We already know what Gordon can do with Tom Brady, it’s just a question of whether he can stay on the field. If his ADP gets too high, his risk of relapse and suspension makes him not worth it in this very deep wide receiver class.
A.J. Green, CIN - Avoid at ADP
What do we do with Green? He should return in the first 3-4 weeks of the year if the reports are correct, but how many weeks will take for him to return to form? How good will his situation be with the Bengals offensive line looking shaky again? Will the new offense improve his efficiency and usage once he does return? Green has been a very trustworthy player over the years, but there is more uncertainty than ever in a year with a deep wide receiver group that is stocked with high best case scenario ceilings
Upside WR3/Flex - High Weekly Floor
How deep is wide receiver this year? There are multiple players who could be top 10 in catches - even exceed 100 receptions - who will be available in the fifth round or later. There is no excuse to fail to get “your guy” in this year’s drafts. Chances are you will be hot and heavy after at least one of this quartet.
Chris Godwin, TB - Priced Correctly
Godwin won’t leave the field and should have the opportunity to turn up the heat under his numbers this year. Chemistry with Jameis Winston and downstream efficiency will determine whether he represents a big win at ADP or simply a solid pick.
Christian Kirk, ARI - Target
How much do you believe in the Arizona offense? Kirk is a reasonably priced piece who was coveted by Kliff Kingsbury enough to try to recruit him twice. He can play inside and outside and he can work well in the short and deep passing games. If he meshes well with Kyler Murray’s mindset and the Air Raid offense, pinball numbers could follow.
Tyler Boyd, CIN - Priced Correctly
Boyd was actually better with AJ Green that without him last year, so Green’s early-season absence might not equal bigger numbers for the player who will occupy the Cooper Kupp role in the Rams offense imported by new head coach Zac Taylor. His ceiling is lower than some ADP peers, but his floor is higher.
Upside WR3/Flex - High Weekly Ceiling
The WR3/flex tier goes on forever. This group gives you the ability to post a WR1 score from your WR3/flex slot on the back of big plays and touchdowns. You should be targeting at least 1-2 of them in the mid-rounds, and it’s not crazy to build your whole wide receiver group from the WR3/Flex tiers, especially when you include guys like Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins who are being drafted as WR3s.
Calvin Ridley, ATL - Priced Correctly
Ridley is over his early camp hamstring injury and the buzz is that the game is slowing down for him, the team expects a breakout, and he should be the WR2 ahead of Mohamed Sanu. He’s in a good offense with a good passer, so consider Ridley a safe investment with upside.
Robby Anderson, NYJ - Priced Correctly
Anderson will face some tough #1 corners, but he showed the ability to win when the ball was in the air, and he has a young quarterback to grow with.
Kenny Golladay, DET - Avoid at ADP
Golladay was up and down after Golden Tate was traded, and even moreso after Marvin Jones got hurt. He should have a similar scoring profile to Jones, but Jones comes at a fraction of the cost.
T.Y. Hilton, IND - Consider in 5th/6th
Hilton wasn’t close to healthy for a lot of last year. If he can stay off of the injury report, career highs across the board are possible. He has better complements than last year, which should help his ability to get free deep, but we saw how this went when Jacoby Brissett was in during 2017.
Will Fuller, HOU - Priced Correctly
Fuller is already a proven near WR1 for fantasy when he’s healthy and playing with Deshaun Watson, although his numbers took a hit when Keke Coutee was out there last year and there is that staying healthy issue. All of this seems to be priced into his reasonable ADP considering his per-game scoring history.
Corey Davis, TEN - Priced Correctly
Was Davis inefficient because Marcus Mariota was hurt? Because of the lack of good complementary targets to keep the defense honest? Or was it him? Mariota is healthy and the pass offense has a lot more going for it this year. Davis being a frustrating sporadic fantasy factor won’t be surprising, but a breakout year that helps win fantasy leagues shouldn’t be either.
Dante Pettis, SF - Priced Correctly
Pettis will grow in his second year, and he has Jimmy Garoppolo. He just has to stay healthy and play with an edge to fulfill expectations.
Mike Williams, LAC - Priced Correctly
Williams could be a touchdown king for Philip Rivers and soak up some of the targets vacated by Tyrell Williams. If his volume doesn’t increase more than incrementally, his low weekly floor may give fantasy players indigestion.
D.J. Moore, CAR - Avoid at ADP
Moore is being projected well ahead of Curtis Samuel this year, but there was little separation between the two in production down the stretch, and Samuel is creating a lot more camp buzz. You’ll have to pay a premium if you want him as your WR3.
Curtis Samuel, CAR - Target
Samuel has been the talk of Panthers camp and he produced at a similar clip to DJ Moore over the last six games last year. He has more deep speed than Moore and a similar amount of draft capital and room to grow into his game. Samuel remains one of the best values at the wide receiver position this year.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB - Target
Valdes-Scantling already showed big-play ability last year, and with a successful summer, he should be an every-down outside wide receiver. Aaron Rodgers can easily support two consistent fantasy forces at wide receiver if he’s playing at his typical level, which is more likely with the head coaching change in Green Bay.
Veteran WR3 - High Weekly Ceiling
There’s nothing wrong with a veteran WR3, we just already know what they are. This group offers big-play upside and a few of them can be drafted as in WR4 or even WR5 draft territory.
Alshon Jeffery, PHI - Avoid at ADP
Jeffery should be the most valuable Eagles receiver, but the team has a myriad of options in the passing game now and there should be no need for Carson Wentz to lean on him. His stretch of floor games from Week 8-13 last year is scary at his ADP.
Jarvis Landry, CLE - Priced Correctly
Landry will get fewer targets than last year, but they should be farther downfield and therefore more valuable. Will that make him an every-week start in fantasy leagues? It probably comes down to Baker Mayfield’s precision and Landry’s ability to add value to his targets. The ceiling is low without a Beckham injury in any event.
DeSean Jackson, PHI - Target
Jackson was a near WR1 with Ryan Fitzpatrick last year, so what can he do with Carson Wentz? He and Wentz have reportedly shown natural chemistry from day one in practice, and we know Jackson will get favorable matchups considering the problems their WR/TE group will present matchup-wise. He won’t be on the field more than 50-60% of the time, but that’s even to matter in fantasy leagues if he and Wentz are in sync.
Marvin Jones, DET - Priced Correctly
Jones produced similar numbers to Kenny Golladay last year while healthy. He’s older than Golladay and coming off of a season marred by a knee problem, but the ADP gap between the two isn’t justified. Jones could actually benefit if defenses start putting their #1 corner on Golladay.
John Brown, BUF - Target
Brown has asserted himself as the clear #1 for Josh Allen, and we saw what Robert Foster could do as Allen’s deep target last year. He has posted a long track record of production and with his injury problems behind him, Brown is a must pick in the second halves of drafts.
Kenny Stills, HOU
Stills got a huge boost in offense/quarterback quality and he is competing with two injury prone wide receivers for targets
Veteran WR3 - High Weekly Floor
This group won’t post a lot of big plays or week winning totals, but they should be a frequent target with their route-running savvy and reliable hands.
Julian Edelman, NE - Consider at ADP
UPDATE: Edelman's weekly floor and ceiling are lower with the return of Josh Gordon.
Edelman is an exciting PPR proposition (assuming his thumb is okay) because Tom Brady will likely lean on him on key downs and no-huddle situations. He could set career highs in targets and catches if he stays healthy.
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI - Priced Correctly
How will Fitzgerald take to the air raid system? He was reasonably productive in a garbage fire last year, so a return to 100-catch form in a much better environment is possible.
Emmanuel Sanders, DEN - Target
Sanders' Achilles tear is behind him and all reports out of Denver camp have him looking as good as ever. Joe Flacco has a long history of riffing with veterans that are good route runners in his first year with them, so Sanders should a solid bye/injury/emergency option at worst.
First Tier Upside Bench Stash
Now we are to the point in your draft where you are drafting strictly for ceiling. With a WR3 group that stretches into the 40s on draft boards, there’s no need to swing for singles in the second half of your draft. This group gives you the potential to become strong fantasy plays for the mere cost of a bench slot.
Keke Coutee, HOU
Consider that Coutee was outproducing Will Fuller last year when they played together even though he wasn’t close to 100%. He has been getting praise through the offseason and camp, but will go into the season with an ankle injury that might delay the start of his campaign. He should be just as frequent a target, but with his deep speed and dangerous game after the catch restored if the ankle heals fully.
Anthony Miller, CHI
Miller made some eye-popping plays last year while he was playing with a bum shoulder. That’s fixed now, and only the spread-it-around ethos of the Chicago pass offense will prevent a breakout year.
Courtland Sutton, DEN
Sutton has some big-play ability downfield, but it’s uncertain how well he will riff with Joe Flacco in an offense that should be balanced. He could also take a big step forward in his second year that demands more targets.
Dede Westbrook, JAX
What is Nick Foles #1 receiver worth in Jacksonville’s offense? Will Westbrook be the clear #1? It’s hard to picture a big overachiever in this passing game, but if there is one, Westbrook will be it.
Michael Gallup, DAL
Gallup is an ascendant player in his second year, but how good can his numbers be with Randall Cobb and Jason Witten in the fold? He will have some impressive plays and games, but targets might be inconsistent.
Miles Boykin, BAL
Among a lot of buzz that Boykin is standing out in camp, there’s the background of a lot better pass offense this year in Baltimore. If any Ravens receiver is relevant against an early-season schedule of Miami, Arizona, and Kansas City, Boykin is the best bet.
D.K. Metcalf, SEA
Tyler Lockett already showed last year that you don’t need a ton of targets from Russell Wilson to relevant in fantasy leagues. Anyone fast enough to run with Metcalf probably will have trouble beating him to the ball in the air and tackling him. The possibilities are exciting to say the least.
First Tier Big Play Bench Stash
This group can make your week in a pinch because they can make your week on one play. They might even do it consistently enough to look like an every-week start for a stretch. All are skilled and with an injury to a teammate they might end up being a hit.
Marquise Goodwin, SF
Goodwin was seen as Jimmy Garoppolo’s budding #1 receiver and worth a 5th-6th round pick in drafts at this time last year. He will play fewer snaps this year, but hopefully, that will help him stay healthy. If the chemistry is still there with his quarterback, he’ll have some value this year.
John Ross, CIN
Ross can’t stay on the field, but if he can find a way to, he’ll be a top outside option early in the season while AJ Green is out. He has already shown a knack for scoring, now he just has to stay off of the trainer’s table.
Marquise Brown, BAL
Brown has been cleared to practice, but getting back to true full speed might not happen right away and Miles Boykin is stealing his thunder. He’s still a player of immense ability to stash or monitor, especially if the Ravens pass offense improves as much as hoped.
DeVante Parker, MIA
Another year, another camp full of hype from Parker. Ryan Fitzpatrick is better at generating wide receiver fantasy value than Ryan Tannehill - or Josh Rosen, but Fitzpatrick has to beat out Rosen to make Parker truly intriguing late in drafts.
Deebo Samuel, SF
Samuel might lead the 49ers receivers in targets and catches with his strong intermediate game, and it’s not difficult to envision a scenario where both Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis have trouble staying healthy, allowing Samuel to greatly exceed expectations.
First Tier High Floor Bench Depth
There’s nothing wrong with stocking your bench from players in this group. They should be high floor options who are fine bye/emergency/injury plays, but vastly exceeding expectations is probably not in the cards.
Geronimo Allison, GB
Allison should be the top slot receiver for the Packers, although they may use some two-tight end sets to limit his involvement and other wide receivers could challenge him for snaps with a good summer. He was relevant last year before getting hurt.
Golden Tate, NYG
Tate will almost certainly lead the Giants receivers in receptions, but you have to hold him for four zeroes and then who knows how he will perform if Daniel Jones takes over?
Mohamed Sanu, ATL
Sanu should take a step back with Calvin Ridley takes a step forward, but he can be an every-week fantasy starter if one of the Falcons top two receivers go down.
Sterling Shepard, NYG
Jamison Crowder, NYJ
UPDATE: Crowder has had a good camp and the team is designing plays to get him open in the end zone.
Rashard Higgins, CLE
Higgins will be the #3 to open the season. He has excellent chemistry with Baker Mayfield and is likely to face a favorable matchup while defenses fret about Odell Beckham.
Trey Quinn, WAS
Look for Quinn to lead Washington in targets and catches unless Jordan Reed stays healthy. He’ll be the high percentage option in a conservative pass offense.
Nelson Agholor, PHI
Agholor remains a big part of the Eagles offense and should get more work from the slot with DeSean Jackson on the roster, but his weekly production will be inconsistent.
KeeSean Johnson, ARI
Johnson has been the best of the three rookie receivers at taking to the offense and has gotten the most first-team snaps as a result. He might end up being a safe quickly open option for Kyler Murray in an offense that will likely give up a lot of pressures.
Second Tier Upside Bench Stash
You only have to get to the remaining tiers in deep drafts, they can also serve as early-season waiver wire watch lists. If you do have to dig deep, look to players with upside because of an open role (New England outside receiver, Arizona outside receiver), and of course any receiver that Aaron Rodgers loves (Kumerow). Preseason performance should clarify which players to target from this group.
Albert Wilson, MIA
Second Tier Big Play Bench Stash
If big plays are your thing, there’s still plenty of players late in deep drafts who can be game-breakers. Callaway was an exciting prospect in the DeSean Jackson role in the Todd Monken offense, but he showed up to camp out of shape and now will serve a four-game suspension. The Steelers WR2 role has no clarity at this point. If one player emerges, they will be a first-tier bench option. Tyrell Williams might not be the best match with Derek Carr. Hardman might do a Tyreek Hill impression on the field quickly and get snapped up in early waiver runs. There’s a lot of experience in this tier, and some of these players are in good offenses with good quarterbacks. All have late-round best-ball appeal. If Jameis Winston finds his deep accuracy, there’s something there for the Bucs top deep threat. Malone should get the first crack at the outside snaps A.J. Green is vacating. Even Taylor becomes more interesting with the improvements in the Titans offense and the prospect of good health from Mariota. All of these players deserve to be on early-season waiver watch lists.
James Washington, PIT
Mecole Hardman, KC
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, PHI
Parris Campbell, IND
Second Tier High Floor Bench Depth
Projection-based rankings will love this tier, but the chances of being consistent difference makers in fantasy lineups is low. The Jets should have a short-range target emerge from Enunwa or Crowder, maybe due to one getting hurt. Renfrow has a chance to catch 70-80 balls considering Derek Carr’s hot zones on the field. None of these players are worth drafting in typical leagues, but many of them will be adequate PPR bye/injury/emergency options, and some will finish in the top 50 in PPR leagues, if not higher.
Devin Funchess, IND
Waiver Wire developmental injury Upside Watch List
And the beat goes on… if your waiver wire watch list isn’t deep enough, this group of young and intriguing talents could become hot pickups if an injury or two happen in front of them and they are developing well or otherwise playing the best ball of their careers to date.
Demarcus Robinson, KC
Robert Foster, BUF
Justin Watson, TB
A.J. Brown, TEN
Josh Reynolds, LAR
Keelan Cole, JAX
Preston Williams, MIA
Deon Cain, IND
Jakeem Grant, MIA
Terry McLaurin, WAS
Javon Wims, CHI
Artavis Scott, LAC
Keith Kirkwood, NO
Jazz Ferguson, SEA