Updated: Jun 27, 2019
The wide receiver position is probably one of the hardest positions to rank in fantasy football. Why? Because its just so much more talent there than any other position. Just trying to chose a number 1 receiver in this ranking was difficult because its literally splitting hairs in picking between these guys because there's so much talent. But fear not! I was able to get it done!
So take a look at my Top 12 for the Wide Receiver position and let me know what you think.
1. Devante Adams - Greenbay Packers
Picking between DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones and Devante Adams was particularly tough. All three of these guys get a ton of snaps and targets and are key pieces in their offenses respective passing attacks. The reason Adams clinched it for me was that in terms of targets, he only missed beating Julio out by 1 target and beat Hopkins for targets by 6 (Adams - 169, Jones - 170, Hopkins - 163) last season.
Adams is also targeted more in the end-zone than Julio is too (Adams - 38.9% target share to Jones - 32.3% target share). Hopkins was targeted just ahead of Adams in the end-zone (Hopkins - 44.4% to Adams - 44.3%) last season but Adams scored more touchdowns than the other receivers with 13 touchdowns. Rodgers wants to target Adams even more this season and with Adams being paired with arguably the best QB in the league helps make the case for him to be the number 1 wide receiver on my draft board.
2. DeAndre Hopkins - Houston Texans
Hopkins is a great receiver and can arguably go number 1 overall in some fantasy leagues this season. Being number 2 is in no way a misnomer to the talented receiver. Hopkins is surely a safe pick as a top end wide receiver as he plays 100% of the snaps for the Texans and was ranked 5th in targets last season with 163. Combine that with his 11 touchdowns last season (which probably could have been more), Hopkins is a freak of nature when it comes to catching the football. No one does it better...except maybe Devante Adams.
3. Julio Jones - Atlanta Falcons
Julio is no slouch and he could easily vie for the top wide receiver spot as well. I think Julio can do more damage in PPR formats than he can do in Standard league scoring. The reason being is that for someone that gets targeted the way he does, he just doesn't seem to get enough touchdowns each season. Only seeing a mere 23% of the red-zone targets for the Falcons despite his big frame and solid hands, Jones has only sported 1 season where he caught over 8 touchdo which was back in 2011. Falcons need to show more faith in Julio in the end-zone. They do that and the discussion for top dog at wide receiver will certainly be revisited in fantasy.
4. Juju Smith-Schuster - Pittsburgh Steelers
I may catch some heat for this one but hear me out first. Juju nearly beat Antonio Brown in targets last season (169-166), which shows that him and Big Ben have a good rapport with each other. Juju also averaged 18.4 fantasy points per game last season. He should continue to build off of last seasons success and should get plenty of opportunity to do so. Most of his numbers should see an increase with Antonio Brown being in Oakland. Being the lead guy in the kind of offense that the Steelers sport should be an interesting watch this season.
5. Mike Evans - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans is a receiver I really like but doesn't seem to get the kind other receivers get. Maybe its because of Jameis Winston being goofy half the time, I don't know. What I do know is that Evans is the guy for Tampa and could get a bump in production with Bruce Arians calling the shots now at Head Coach.
Evans sports a 90% snap share for the Bucs. His Red-zone target share was only 16.3% last season but with a guy like Evans who can do what he does in high-pointing the ball, I expect that number to go up as well as his touchdown total from the 9 he caught last year. Evans shows promise and Bruce Arians should be looking to get more out of him this coming season.
6. Odell Beckham Jr - Cleveland Browns
After the initial shock of Beckham being traded and being swept up in the hype of what he could do with the Browns offense, I had to take a step back (I still can't believe they traded him). Sure Beckham could be awesome with Baker Mayfield and he'll likely command a large portion of targets, but he has to learn a new sytem, gel with Mayfield and get on the same page during camp. The potential is there for Beckham to be great this year after a down season with the Giants. This will be new territory for a guy who had 124 targets last season before going out because of injury after 12 games. Beckham has some work do to but the potential is there for him to move up in my rankings.
7. Antonio Brown - Oakland Raiders
Antonio Brown may have something to prove this season now that he's in Oakland and away from the Steelers elite passing game. Oakland revamped their wide receiver corp this offseason by bringing in Brown and former Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams. Browns production in Pittsburgh was amazing with him commanding a 97.2% snap share and turned that into 169 targets for 1,297 yards and 11 touchdowns. The real question is here is whether or not Raiders QB Derek Carr can get the ball to Antonio Brown and make him as fantasy relevant as he was in Pittsburgh. Carr may have more of an impact on Brown's fantasy value than most want to realize.
8. Michael Thomas - New Orleans Saints
Thomas is one of the best receivers in the game, there's no doubt about that. But when you look at the Saints passing attack, there isn't much there. They have no legit wide receiver option to help out in the passing attack. This is reflected in Thomas' 90.7% snap share usage and his 147 targets from last season. He did tie a career high with 9 touchdowns last season which is good, but he lacks consistency on a game to game basis and actually plays a bit better at home than away.
Thomas even had a stretch of being frozen out of the end-zone last season, scoring once over the last 6 weeks of the season. Thomas may yield higher in a PPR format than a standard league in my opinion.
9. A.J. Green - Cincinnati Bengals
Green is looking to rebound from injuries that poked holes in his game last season. With Zac Taylor running the show in Bengals Land, Green could be looking at a nice bounce back year. He has to prove that he can stay healthy after dealing with injuries 2 out of the last 3 seasons and that's where some of the risk comes in. The biggest stat that stands out to me is his usage in the end-zone. A huge 52% of the teams targets go to Green when they get near the end-zone, and thats perfect for a wide receiver like Green.
10. Amari Cooper - Dallas Cowboys
Cooper gets to have a full off-season with the Cowboys this year. Along with that, Cowboys offense looks to make some changes and step into the 21st century towards a more modern passing attack with Cooper leading the charge.
Cooper finished as a Top 20 WR in fantasy last season despite only playing half the season with the Cowboys. Cooper's 32.1% End-Zone target share from last season is also another mark that should increase as well in 2019. With the Cowboys offense looking to make changes and Coopers role going up, his ceiling makes him an ideal pick for your fantasy team.
11. T.Y. Hilton - Indianapolis Colts
At first glance, with all the pieces that have been added to the offense from Devin Funchess, to the drafting of Parris Campbell, Jack Doyle returning from injury, and Eric Ebron looking to continue his rebirth with the team, it looks like it could be a crowded room in that offense.
For a few years now, Hilton has had to carry the passing attack of the Colts nearly by himself. Now he's in solid group where the attention from the defense won't solely be on him. Hilton commanded nearly 80% of the target shares last season and put up 1,270 yards and 6 touchdowns. Hilton has never really been a touchdown hog but he's seen at least 120 targets or more the last 3 seasons. He'll get his chances to get into the end-zone but his opportunity is rock solid.
12. Stefon Diggs - Minnesota Vikings
Chosing between Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen is not easy. Both were heavily targeted last season and both have WR 1 looking roles in the Vikings offense. I think Diggs is on the cusp of having an even better season in 2019 though. Diggs seemed to keep up the pace towards the end of the season while Thielen kind of faded from the end-zone over the last 4 weeks of the fantasy season. While that may attribute to the Offensive Coordinator changes that were made around that time, Diggs still managed to score over the same span 3 out of 4 weeks. Diggs was also targeted in the end-zone more than Thielen last year as well at 30% of the teams targets in that area. Both are still more than viable but I'm giving the edge to Diggs here.
Just missed the Cut:
Adam Thielen - Minnesota Vikings - Like I said with before, you can't really go wrong with either Diggs or Thielen but with Thielen getting targeted a bit less than Diggs where it counts, the end-zone, that was just enough for Diggs to edge out Thielen.
Keenan Allen - Los Angeles Chargers - Allen gets a ton of targets but this season there will be plenty of mouths to feed and he already doesn't get targeted enough in the end-zone for me. He's good, but there are so many other guys that can score that are better.
Tyreek Hill - Kansas City Chiefs - Before the news broke about his child abuse investigation, I had Hill as a top 5 WR. Now the hope is that he doesn't gain the wraith of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell so that he has a chance to play this season. Until his investigations come to a close, there's no way you can rank Hill.
Robert Woods - Los Angeles Rams - I think Woods is the most consistent wide receiver that you can have in both PPR and Standard formats... as a WR 2. There are just too many mouths to feed in LA and while he will get scoring opportunities, they just aren't enough for him to bump any of the other guys on this list out.
That wraps it up for my list. Hit me up on Twitter @IAmHyperion_FPH and lets talk it up about my rankings! Looking forward to it.