Updated Fantasy Football WR Rankings 2021: Best wide receivers to draft, sleepers to know



Rank Player 1 Tyreek Hill, Chiefs. Hill finished 2020 right on the heels of Davante Adams for the top WR spot. With the uncertainty surrounding the Aaron Rodgers situation, Hill should be taken as the first wideout off the board in standard leagues, though his semi-reliance on big plays dings him a bit in PPR. 2 Davante Adams, Packers. If Aaron Rodgers is the signal-caller for Green Bay, Adams will once again sit near the top of the league in targets, yards, and touchdowns. Yes, 18 touchdowns from 2020 will be tough to replicate, but he’ll see plenty of opportunity in the red zone. If Jordan Love is the guy, Adams should still serve as the security blanket in the offense, though we will be dropping him in our rankings. Expect a flurry of targets either way after he led all WRs in targets share last season at 33.93 percent. 3 DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals. In the thick of his prime, Hopkins will continue dominating with weekly monster fantasy outings. While touchdowns are fluid, last year’s six scores feels like his floor, so there’s decent likelihood he improves on last year’s performance that saw him finish fourth among WRs in PPR leagues and 10th in standard leagues. 4 Stefon Diggs, Bills. Like Hopkins, Diggs is entering year two with his star young quarterback. Diggs has been a solid fantasy option before emerging to elite status in 2020 with a top-five finish in fantasy points per game (FPPG). Diggs ranked third in 2020 in target share (29.2 percent) and will enjoy a stellar fantasy season even if that figure drops a bit.  5 DK Metcalf, Seahawks. Metcalf ranked No. 5 in standard leagues at the position last season. While he’s viable in all formats, standard leagues is where he’s the most attractive commodity. Russell Wilson’s willingness to let it rip deep, combined with Metcalf’s elite size and speed sets up for potential nuclear outings each week. In 2020, Metcalf ranked third in yards/reception among wide receivers who caught 54-plus passes.  6 Calvin Ridley, Falcons. There is some worry among the fantasy community that Ridley is somehow hindered with the loss of Julio Jones. It’s the age-old question of whether Julio’s departure means more coverage or more targets for Ridley. The fear is not warranted. In eight career games without Jones, Ridley has averaged 11.1 targets, 7.3 receptions, and 107 yards. He’s going to be just fine, and you can confidently press the draft button on him.  7 Allen Robinson, Bears. Robinson is QB-proof. From Blake Bortles to Mitchell Trubisky, he continues to put together top-15 fantasy campaigns. Oddly enough, Andy Dalton is likely an upgrade from the quarterbacks he’s been playing with. If Justin Fields is the real deal and earns the starting job, Robinson’s ceiling could be higher than we’ve ever seen. Tied for fourth in red-zone targets in 2020 (23), he’s a premier go-getter. 8 Justin Jefferson, Vikings. Jefferson started the 2020 season on the bench, leading to panic among his fantasy owners. After his breakout week against Tennessee in Week 3 (23.5 FP), Jefferson found himself within the top six in total fantasy points at season’s end. He ranked fourth in the NFL in receiving yards (1,400) on just 88 catches. If he’s anywhere near his 2020 yards/ per reception average (15.9), a 100-catch season could yield a top-five finish. 9 A.J. Brown, Titans. Before the addition of Julio Jones to the Titans, Brown probably would’ve ranked closer to the top five. Even so, Brown is still a top-10 standard scoring option. He makes every reception count, breaking 13 tackles on receptions in 2020, third best in the NFL and second among wide receivers. He can score on a long ball, take a slant the distance, or just beast a corner in the end zone. 10 CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys. Lamb is expected to take the next step as the No. 1 WR in a high-powered Dallas offense. He finished just one spot behind Amari Cooper at WR20 last year, all while dealing with the likes of Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci at QB. With Dak Prescott back at the helm, a 1,000-yard receiving season is imminent. 11 Keenan Allen, Chargers. Year two with Justin Herbert should mean excellence from Allen. Yes, he’s 29, but he’s still one of the premier route runners in the league. Those guys stick around. While his aDot of 7.29 isn’t all that impressive in standard formats, the sheer number of targets and receptions he draws makes him a great option at WR. In PPR, Allen is comfortably ranked inside the top 10. He sees just a slight drop in standard. 12 Mike Evans, Buccaneers. For those who have rostered Evans in the past, you know it’s a game of Russian Roulette. You can’t necessarily trust him week to week, but he will provide several mind-blowing games throughout the season. In 2020, he produced as low as 1.0 points and as high as 30.1 points. That gives the idea of his range of outcomes. On the bright side, he did record 21 red-zone targets in 2020, good for 11th in the league, with nine red-zone touchdowns. And in the end, he finished 10th in FPPG. On another note, a fully healthy season of Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski may limit his upside. He should be a weekly feature in boom-or-bust articles. 13 Cooper Kupp, Rams. No player is set to be more enhanced by a change at quarterback than Kupp. Kupp’s aDot of 6.44 is ugly, but Matthew Stafford will raise everyone’s aDot on the roster. After all, that’s the reason the Rams made the blockbuster QB trade. While the Rams aren’t going to completely abandon the run with the loss of Cam Akers, it can be assumed they’ll now pass more often. Kupp saw 125 targets and netted 978 yards last season. If his aDot and/or targets increase even a hair, he will be a big factor. You can also expect his career-low three TDs from last year to be closer to his totals the previous two seasons (16 in 22 games). 14 Terry McLaurin, Washington. Third-year McLaurin should be the best version of himself. Gone are the days of Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith. Oddly enough, Ryan Fitzpatrick raises the bar for the offense and McLaurin. We’ve seen Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, and DeVante Parker have tremendous fantasy success with Fitzmagic behind center. Parker finished 2019 as the No. 6 wideout in standard scoring fantasy with Fitzpatick at the helm. As WFT’s No. 1 option, McLaurin cements himself in the top 15. 15 Amari Cooper, Cowboys. Anytime you can get a piece of the Cowboys offense, do it. Cooper and Lamb are ranked closely together for a reason. They are the only receiving duo to both be inside the top 16. Dallas’ explosive offense will net smiling faces on the owners of their players. And like Lamb, Cooper still carved out a nice year with a bad QB situation in place. The only worry is an ankle injury that’s still bothering him in the preseason, but if healthy, Cooper will be solid. 16 D.J. Moore, Panthers. Moore’s talent alone could place him within the top 10 of the rankings. Unfortunately, he’s going into another year with a questionable QB. With Teddy Bridgewater at the helm of the Panthers offense last year, Moore racked up the fifth-most air yards. Air yards account for total yards of his targets, whether complete or incomplete. He also finished with an aDOT above well-known deep threats Tyreek Hill and DK Metcalf (13.36). If somehow Panthers OC Joe Brady can unlock Sam Darnold’s potential, Moore is completely equipped to break out in a big way. 17 Robert Woods, Rams. Woods outperformed Kupp in 2020, mostly due to doubling him in touchdowns (six to three). They saw eerily similar targets, catches, and yards. Both are a part of an emerging electric offense in LA, but we expect Kupp to garner more of the touchdowns in 2021. 18 Julio Jones, Titans. While Jones’ arrival in Tennessee enhances its offense, his ceiling is undoubtedly lower. The Falcons aired it out 144 more times than the Titans in 2020. Put simply, the volume will not be what it was in Atlanta for Jones. He still remains in the top 20 due to his presumed efficiency in an already efficient offense. He’ll still see plenty of opportunities, but it will likely be a far cry from his 10.5 targets/game in his last full season, especially with an already established alpha receiver in A.J. Brown lining up in the same offense. A lot has been made of Julio’s injury concerns, but prior to last season, he had missed just four of the past 96 games for the Falcons. Hopefully his seven missed games last season doesn’t become a pattern. 19 Chris Godwin, Buccaneers. Even with a crowded skill position group in Tampa Bay, Godwin could see a return to closer to his 2018 form in which he finished No. 2 among WRs. The Bucs franchise-tagged Godwin and were unable to reach an extension with him before the July 15 deadline. Godwin knows a great year means serious long-term money next offseason. Bank on him taking it to the bank. 20 Odell Beckham Jr., Browns. Before suffering a torn ACL in Week 7, Beckham Jr. showed flashes of his old self that we hadn’t yet seen in Cleveland. In Week 4, he exploded for 33.4 fantasy points. Unfortunately, he was a frustrating option at other points in the year. On the bright side, he saw eight or more targets in three of the seven games he played, possibly foreshadowing a future with consistent opportunities. If Beckham doesn’t hit this year, he likely won’t again. 21 Tyler Lockett, Seahawks. Lockett finished 2020 as WR11 despite notable inconsistency. Eight of his 10 receiving touchdowns came in just three games in which 52.6 percent of Lockett’s total fantasy points came from. When he was on, he was on. When he wasn’t on, it wasn’t pretty for your team. With a change at OC in Seattle, the passing volume of the offense is presumed to be pointing up, hopefully leading to a more consistent Lockett. 22 Kenny Golladay, Giants. In Golladay’s last complete season, he finished third among all WRs in fantasy. He did so while catching just 56 percent of his targets and averaging 18.3 yards/reception. Unsurprisingly, that kind of stat line netted a No. 9 ranking in PPR. No. 23 feels like a safe spot for Golladay heading into this year. It’s easy to sleep on Daniel Jones, but what if you knew he was the league’s best deep passer in 2020? However, Jones will not be slinging it around like Matthew Stafford did in 2019. There are more mouths to feed in New York, including a possible 100-plus targets to Saquon Barkley, Don’t forget shiny first-round rookie KaDarius Toney. Golladay will likely join Lockett in a group of boom-or-bust wideouts each week — assuming he stays healthy after missing 11 games last year. 23 Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers. Deebo Samuel was once thought of as the future No. 1 receiver in San Francisco — that is, until Aiyuk emerged. After missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury, Aiyuk struggled in his first action in Week 2. From Week 3 to Week 15, Aiyuk was No. 9 in FPPG at the position. He saw 13 and 16 targets in the thick of the fantasy playoffs in Weeks 14 and 15, rewarding fantasy owners that stuck with him. Regardless of who’s under center for the Niners, Aiyuk is primed to challenge George Kittle as the primary weapon in the offense. FantasyPros also ranks the 49ers wide receivers as the group with the easiest strength of schedule in 2021. 24 Courtland Sutton, Broncos. Add Sutton to the growing list of WRs who sat out a big portion of the 2020 season. After a breakout 2019 season with 1,100 yards and six touchdowns (WR17), Sutton only appeared in the Broncos season opener the following season. His sophomore campaign looks even more impressive when you consider Joe Flacco and a rookie Drew Lock were his two facilitators. He has a great chance to return to form this season with an alpha WR profile, and he should return as the No. 1 option in the Mile High City. (Update: Teddy Bridgewater has been named the Broncos starter. On one hand, this is concerning with the lacking deep-threat acumen from Bridgewater. However, we can assume the offense will be more efficient and have fewer turnovers, which is always a good thing for any player on the offense.) 25 Adam Thielen, Vikings. Thielen was an elite wideout in fantasy in 2020 with a 14-touchdown campaign. While that number should come down to earth, he’s still very much a fantasy-relevant option. Justin Jefferson and Thielen both commanded around a 25-percent target share and an aDot around 11.4. The Vikings didn’t add any significant pass-catchers in the offseason, so much of the same can be expected, with Thielen seeing just a slight drop at worst. 26 Robby Anderson, Panthers. While D.J. Moore was used as the deep threat in Carolina, Anderson became the underneath man for Teddy Bridgewater. If that recipe remains true, Anderson could see another flurry of targets (138 in 2020). Again, it remains to be seen if there will be competence at the Panther’s quarterback position. 27 DeVante Parker, Dolphins. Parker endured an underwhelming 2020 finish (7.4 FPPG), at least partially because of a lack of consistency from the quarterback position. It remains to be seen whether Miami will try to phase him out of the offense, or if the additions of Waddle and Fuller V will open up the field for him. Preston Williams is more likely to be the odd man out. Tua Tagovailoa is expected to take a step forward in year two, hopefully setting Parker up for a bounce-back season. 28 Tee Higgins, Bengals. The case for Higgins is that he still could be the Bengals No. 1 option over Ja’Marr Chase. Higgins could just as easily find himself leading the team in targets. While the odds may be stacked against this with Joe Burrow already having rapport with Chase, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. Either way, both are worth having on your team. On a lesser scale, Cincinnati’s offense is similar to Dallas’ — you want a piece of it. 29 DJ Chark, Jaguars. Beware. With a huge quarterback upgrade in Jacksonville, it’s easy to get excited about Chark. He enjoyed a Pro-Bowl season in 2019 and could return to form. However, he’s just as likely to get replaced as the Jags’ WR1 by Laviska Shenault or Marvin Jones. The target share is up in the air in a crowded WR room, but Chark gets the benefit of the doubt. 30 Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals. Chase’s ceiling is somewhere around where Justin Jefferson’s was in his rookie season. However, rookies don’t always hit the ground running or make immediate impacts in fantasy. He projects as the No. 1 option in Cincinnati, but nothing is guaranteed with a rookie. He won’t bust like Henry Ruggs III or Denzel Mims, but it’s tough to automatically expect him to have Jefferson-like impact in year one. That is in his range of outcomes, though.  31 Chase Claypool, Steelers. Claypool is another guy in a crowded WR room. However, he is undoubtedly the top deep threat and red-zone target in the offense. In his rookie season, he tied for 13th with 20 red-zone looks (and also received several goal-line carries on end-arounds). The 6-2, 240-pound Claypool obviously possesses the size to be a contested-catch machine in that area. He led all Steelers receivers in air yards (1,438) despite finishing third in targets (109). If JuJu Smith-Schuster had opted to go elsewhere, Claypool would be higher on the list. He likely will be in 2022. 32 Diontae Johnson, Steelers. Johnson is often criticized over his league-leading 16 drops, but he did lead the Steelers in receiving yards (924) and targets (144). He and Claypool have seemed to overtake the once No. 1 option JuJu Smith-Schuster out wide. There’s a chance Johnson reached his fantasy ceiling last year, though. The Steelers’ offense was as pass-happy as ever and should come down in volume a bit. Additionally, Najee Harris is likely to siphon targets from everyone. 33 Deebo Samuel, 49ers. Samuel was once talked about in the same breath as A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf, and Terry McLaurin. The physical nature of his game has caused his body to fail him early in his career. He’s missed 10 games in his first two seasons as a pro. Last year, when healthy, he was used in the intermediate part of the field while Brandon Aiyuk became the primary WR in the offense. Samuel still presents fantasy upside with his elite YAC skills if the 49ers can stabilize their quarterback position and he can stay on the field. 34 JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The man who was once poised to go nuclear with the departure of Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh now finds himself at the No. 35 spot in our rankings. As mentioned in the intro, Smith-Schuster found himself in a heavy-usage, low-result situation, becoming the dink-and-dunk man in the offense. Competing for targets with Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, Najee Harris, and Pittsburgh’s TEs, things could continue to go south for JuJu. However, he is in a contract year and will be as motivated as ever to reclaim his spot as the ace wideout in black and gold. But for now, the Tik-Tok star is safely enlisted on the boom-or-bust list. 35 Mike Williams, Chargers. Think of Williams as a discount version of Kenny Golladay. He won’t catch a lot of balls, but he will deliver chunk plays that often produce good weeks. In 2019, he caught just 49 passes for 1,001 yards, averaging over 20 yards/reception (all career highs). In ’20, he caught just one less pass for 250 fewer yards and put up 13.2-plus fantasy points four times, having lackluster outings otherwise. His ceiling has been potentially raised by Justin Herbert’s rocket arm, but he still doesn’t look to be a reliable option week to week. 36 Antonio Brown, Buccaneers. After a chaotic 2019 season in which Brown played only one game, he joined the Bucs in 2020. For the first time since his first few years in the league, he wasn’t the No. 1 option in an offense. However, he settled in nicely, carving out a role as a secondary receiver. From Weeks 10 to 17, Brown drew either the most or second-most targets among Tampa Bay pass-catchers, including a 13-target game in Week 10 and a 14-target game in Week 17. With a real offseason to jell with Tom Brady, Brown could find himself right in the thick of the Bucs passing game. 37 Jerry Jeudy, Broncos. Jeudy didn’t exactly make the immediate impact some had hoped for in his rookie season. Even without Courtland Sutton in the fold, Jeudy caught just 52 of 113 targets, producing 6.6 FPPG. Teddy Bridgewater is now QB1 in Denver, and Jeudy did draw a large number of targets last season where Bridgewater loves to throw the ball — the shallow to intermediate parts of the field. Even if Sutton returns healthy and ready to take over the No. 1 WR spot, any improvement in Broncos’ quarterback play could mean an uptick for Jeudy. There will still be plenty of targets to go around. 38 Michael Pittman Jr., Colts. Like Jeudy, Pittman Jr. had quite the underwhelming rookie campaign. He was used primarily as an underneath target, with an aDOT of 8.45 (lowest on the Colts). However, he is in prime position to be the No. 1 WR in Indianapolis. If Parris Campbell can stay healthy and take over the underneath role, the 6-4, 223-pound Pittman possesses the size to be an alpha receiver out wide. The last time Carson Wentz was adequately protected by his offensive line, he was in the thick of the MVP race. If Frank Reich pulls that Carson Wentz out, Pittman should see deep, accurate targets. 39 DeVonta Smith, Eagles. Coming off the heels of the greatest season ever by a college wide receiver, the naysayers point to Smith’s thin frame (6-0, 170 pounds) as the reason he won’t be successful. With elite route-running prowess and college production, he can certainly be the guy who overcomes those odds. The bigger issue is Jalen Hurts. Hurts was the most inaccurate passer in the league in 2020 (52.3 completion percentage). Smith’s profile isn’t made for contested catches. He needs a quarterback that can put it on him. If Hurts continues where he left off in the passing game, Smith won’t prove fruitful for your team in 2021. Fortunately, he should see a ridiculous amount of targets in a putrid Eagle wide receiver group. Be cautious in redraft leagues taking him too early. 40 Will Fuller V, Dolphins. Tua Tagovailoa is no stranger to playing with serious speed. Between Henry Ruggs III and Jaylen Waddle at Alabama, he’s seen his fair share of wide-open receivers streaking down the field. That bodes well for Fuller, another guy that can turn a 50-catch season into 1,000 yards and a bunch of touchdowns. His concern has been health. Since entering the league in 2016, Fuller has missed 27 of 80 possible games. Last year looked to finally be the year he was going to stay healthy, but he got tagged with a six-game suspension, serving five of them at the end of last year. His 16-game pace would’ve amounted to 77 catches for 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns. While those numbers are unlikely in a more balanced Miami offense, he’s capable of producing nuclear weeks after his Week 1 suspension is served. 41 Brandin Cooks, Texans. Cooks has somehow quietly produced 1,000-yard seasons with four different NFL franchises (NO, NE, LAR, HOU). Just last year, he finished at the WR16 spot on a bad Houston team. His drop to the No. 42 ranking has everything to do with the presumed absence of Deshaun Watson. Whether Tyrod Taylor or Davis Mills is set to take over the Houston offense, it’s tough to see a scenario where Cooks is fantasy-relevant on a weekly basis. However, if for some reason you’re adamant on having a piece of the Houston offense, he’s the guy. 42 Corey Davis, Jets. Davis gets another chance to be a team’s WR1 after A.J. Brown surpassed him in Tennessee. Davis produced a breakout year last season but still only found himself as the No. 29 WR in standard formats. Zach Wilson is young and has no prior allegiance to any of the Jets pass-catchers, but it’s unlikely Davis will dominate target share completely. 43 Tyler Boyd, Bengals. Boyd has been criminally underrated as one of the best slot receivers in the league. Expect Cincinnati to be among the league leaders in pass attempts, with Boyd getting a decent share of the targets. He’s noticeably more valuable in PPR leagues. 44 Marquise Brown, Ravens. Brown will finally get to play to his strengths in 2021. He’s not a No. 1 wide receiver; h’s a speedy field stretcher who can also make his money in the underneath game. Rashod Bateman’s arrival moves Hollywood into a more natural role. Expect his efficiency to climb to a career-high. 45 Marquez Callaway, Saints. The former undrafted receiver flashed during his rookie season when given the opportunity. Callaway will get the chance to take over for Michael Thomas (right ankle) at X-receiver, a position that often sees a lot of work in Sean Payton’s offense. In 2020, Callaway played one game without Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders being active. In that Week 7 game, he saw a 28.6-percent target share, posting eight receptions for 75 yards. Don’t believe the Callaway hype? Just ask Emmanuel Sanders. The 11-year NFL veteran had high-praise for Callaway in their one year working together. It’s not often a veteran goes out of his way to talk up an undrafted player, but it happened, and that should excite you heading into an increased Callaway role in the offense, at least for as long as Thomas is out. Consider that could be half the season, Callaway is a worthwhile late-round investment. 46 Michael Gallup, Cowboys. Not to beat a dead horse, but come on, it’s the Dallas offense. Take a chance of Gallup if he falls too far. Even with the loaded receiver room, Gallup led the Cowboys in air yards (1,252) and aDOT (11.81). He had the same number of touchdowns as Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Just because he’s the WR3 on paper doesn’t mean he won’t be a fantasy contributor. 47 Gabriel Davis, Bills. Davis is the likely WR2 in a top-three offense, but Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley will have something to say about that. The good news is Josh Allen trusted Davis in 2020. He caught 35 balls on 52 targets for 599 yards and seven touchdowns acting as the Bills primary deep threat. Rocket arm QB + deep threat = fantasy points. 48 Henry Ruggs III, Raiders. No rookie receiver was more of a letdown than Ruggs III in 2020. It’s important to remember that players with first-round draft capital get lots of time and patience, so he should still see opportunity. The hope is he’s not justone of those fast guys. You at least hope for those kinds of players to score loads of touchdowns, but Ruggs charted just two, with one seemingly being a Jets attempt at tanking. However, his price is low enough in drafts that he’s worth a flier. 49 Jarvis Landry, Browns. Landry commanded an impressive target share once again in 2020 (24.2 percent, 17th among WRs). However, the Browns ranked 29th in the NFL in passing attempts (32.9). If the Cleveland offense trends more toward a pass-friendly attack, Landry is always a candidate for high success, especially in PPR formats. Since entering the league in ’14, Landry ranks third in total receptions (636), trailing only Deandre Hopkins and Julio Jones. Even though he’s used as an underneath specialist in a low-volume pass offense, he presents a decent fantasy floor, at least in PPR, based on the number of receptions he accumulates. 50 Jakobi Meyers, Patriots. Meyers is a strong candidate to become the bonafide WR1 in New England. With Julian Edelman retiring and N’Keal Harry’s trade request, Meyers and Nelson Agholor will contend for the nod. Meyers saw the most work in a putrid passing offense in 2020 (59 catches, 729 yards, zero touchdowns). The impressive Meyers statistic was his 26 percent target share (seventh among WRs). Cam Newton will likely be replaced with Mac Jones at some point this year, and it’s fair to assume the Pats passing offense will improve as a result. 51 Jalen Reagor, Eagles. Similar to Henry Ruggs III, Reagor carries first-round draft capital with him into 2021. Yes, he was disappointing in his rookie season (31 receptions, 396 yards, one receiving touchdown), but he’s going to get plenty of time and opportunity to prove he was worth the pick. He has big-play ability with a 13.4 aDOT in ’20 and looks to be the No. 2 WR in the Eagles offense. With a new coaching staff coming into the season, he’ll get a much needed fresh start in the offense. 52 Marvin Jones, Jaguars. Jones has been one of the most underrated wideouts over the past half decade. He enjoyed arguably his best season as a pro in 2020 when he was thrust into the Detroit WR1 spot with Kenny Golladay lost for most of the season. In standard formats, Jones finished as the WR15 and was one of the best values at the position. In Jacksonville, he has more target competition, but the No. 1 wide receiver spot is certainly up for grabs. DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault Jr., and Jones are all capable of taking over that role. Jones’ edge may come from Trevor Lawrence leaning on the veteran wide receiver, setting him up for early production. 53 Curtis Samuel, Washington. Samuel joins a young and emerging group of skill players in Washington, where he will settle in nicely in the slot. In 2020, Samuel netted over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and is a threat to take carries out of the backfield. A receiver with rushing potential (41 carries in ’20) adds value to his fantasy profile. Washington possesses an elite defense, which tends to yield a lower-volume passing offense. If they pass more than we expect, Samuel could finish higher than his 56th ranking. But you shouldn’t expect him to see a ridiculous amount of volume. 54 Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaguars. Shenault flashed his yards-after-contact skills in year one. Jacksonville should be bad. Really bad. And what do bad teams usually have to do? Air the football out. Expect the Jags to be among the league leaders in passing attempts with their new franchise QB Trevor Lawrence. Shenault is set up to potentially surpass DJ Chark and Marvin Jones as the No. 1 option in Jacksonville. In fact, he already finished ahead of Chark in total fantasy points in 2020. If he jells with Lawrence early, he has the A.J. Brown-like YAC acumen to make noise in fantasy football. As a bonus, he’ll get some work on the ground, too (18 carries, 91 rushing yards last year). 55 Darnell Mooney, Bears. Surely you’ve seen the videos of Mooney burning defensive backs to a crisp only to be overthrown by whichever lackluster quarterback the Bears put out there, but if you haven’t here it is. He showed his 4.38 speed on several occasions during his rookie season, ranking 11th among wide receivers with 23 deep targets. Unsurprisingly, he ranked 69th in target accuracy. Chicago traded former second-round pick, Anthony Miller, to Houston, solidifying Mooney’s role in the offense at WR2. Even Andy Dalton is an upgrade from the likes of Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky, and if Justin Fields is as good as advertised, Mooney will carve out a nice fantasy role opposite of Allen Robinson. 56 Christian Kirk, Cardinals. It’s a now-or-never year for Kirk in Arizona. With Larry Fitzgerald, who has been playing in the slot, likely out of the fold, Kirk should see his greatest opportunity. Kirk flashes potential but hasn’t quite put it all together. The Cardinals signed an aging A.J. Green in free agency and took Purdue receiver Rondale Moore in the second round of the NFL Draft, so there is a risk of diminished targets. The good news for Kirk is Arizona’s offense will remain explosive. 57 Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins. Waddle sprints into 2020 with a familiar face at quarterback — Tua Tagovailoa. A lot has been made about Ja’Marr Chase reuniting with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati, so why can’t we do the same with Waddle and Tagovailoa? They’ve already built rapport at Alabama, and if anyone knows how to hit Waddle streaking down the field, it’s Tua. He’ll have to compete with Will Fuller for deep targets, but he’s no stranger to sharing the field with elite college wideouts (Smith, Ruggs III, Jeudy). He’s likely to be a better play in standard rankings, due to his lack of prior high-target history, but he’s never finished a collegiate season below 17 yards/reception. 58 Tre’Quan Smith, Saints. The fantasy community has long anticipated a breakout season for Smith. It seems this year could be the season it finally happens. Michael Thomas (right ankle) is expected to miss the early part of the season and will likely deal with lingering effects from his injury like he did in 2020. Per PlayerProfiler.com, Smith ranked eighth among wide receivers last season in average target separation (2.14). This indicates it hasn’t been an issue of getting open. With Emmanuel Sanders out of the fold and Thomas dealing with significant injuries, Smith should finally see a high volume of targets. 59 Cole Beasley, Bills. In 2020, Beasley earned second-team All-Pro accolades after a career year (82 catches, 967 yards, four touchdowns) in an explosive Bills offense. Still, he finished as just the WR27 in PPR formats. He’s likely to see a regression with Emmanuel Sanders stepping into the offense and Gabriel Davis set to see more opportunity. PPR is where he is most valuable because he will see targets and receptions, but the Bills have a few superior deep and red-zone threats, capping his touchdown ceiling. 60

Michael Thomas, Saints. Thomas let down fantasy owners in 2020, and many are quick to write him off. It’s important to remember he dealt with a lingering high ankle sprain all season and never got back into his true form. Still, he remained among the top-four wide receivers in target share when he was on the field (27.8 percent). If Jameis Winston is QB1 in New Orleans, a healthy Thomas will see plenty of opportunity. As weird as it may sound, Winston is an upgrade in the Saints air attack over a weaker-armed Drew Brees, at least in terms of yardage potential for the WRs. Unfortunately, Thomas is already having injury issues, as it’s been reported he might miss the first few weeks of the season after surgery on the same ankle that gave him so many problems last year. Even if Thomas is cleared for Week 1, he’s still a risk to see recurring problems throughout the season, which is why he’s ranked so low. 

Update 8/31: Thomas plummets even more with the news that he will start on the PUP list, meaning he will miss at least the first six weeks of the season.

61 Rondale Moore, Cardinals. Many fantasy owners worry about Moore’s size (5-7, 181 pounds). His elite athletic profile and early college production suggests he won’t be just another John Ross. In his true freshman season at just 17 at Purdue, Moore commanded a 29-percent target share, posting 135 touches for 1,471 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns. There’s a chance he’s not a huge priority in the offense in 2021, but he certainly has the tools to be one. It’s Christian Kirk’s prove-it year, and failure to produce early in the season may lead to an increase in Moore’s usage. Regardless, Arizona used four-WR sets on 20 percent of their offensive snaps, far more than any other team in the league. Moore will be on the field in some capacity if he stays healthy (a big “if” given his injury history). 62 Emmanuel Sanders, Bills 63 Jamison Crowder, Jets 64 Tyrell Williams, Lions. Williams finds himself on our list of sleepers mostly due to the absence of quality wide receivers in Detroit. Outside of Williams, they have Quintez Cephus, who didn’t show much as a rookie, Khalif Raymond, who’s done little in his career, and fourth-round rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown. Rams receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods have shown it’s possible to be a fantasy stud with Jared Goff at QB, and Williams has shown big upside in the past — most notably 2016 when he had 1,059 yards and seven TDs with the Chargers. The opportunity is certainly there in Detroit. For what it’s worth, Williams ranked No. 2 in contested catch percentage in ’20, per PlayerProfiler.com. 65 Bryan Edwards, Raiders 66 Nelson Agholor, Patriots 67 Darius Slayton, Giants 68 Russell Gage, Falcons. An increase in opportunity is imminent with the loss of Julio Jones in Atlanta. In 2020, with Jones in and out of the lineup, Gage produced 10.5-plus PPR fantasy points in nine out of 16 outings, seeing 10-plus targets in four games. He’s more attractive in PPR formats due to his low aDOT of 8.15 in ‘20. He’s still likely to be the No. 3 option in the passing attack with the addition of Kyle Pitts, but it’s apparent Matt Ryan trusts him. In a high-volume passing attack, he’s worth a dart throw in the later rounds of the draft. 69 Allen Lazard, Packers 70 Mecole Hardman, Chiefs. At last, Sammy Watkins is out in Kansas City. Hardman has every opportunity to be the clear-cut No. 3 option the Kansas City passing attack. A wideout who possesses 4.33 speed in an elite offense run by Patrick Mahomes presents unlimited potential in 2021. Of course, his ceiling is limited with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce hogging targets, but if Hardman can garner more than his laughable 10-percent target share in ‘20, he could be a viable play most weeks. 71 T.Y. Hilton, Colts. While Hilton isn’t the elite fantasy option he once was under an Andrew Luck-led offense, he still has value when healthy. However, he’s currently dealing with a neck injury that will keep him out indefinitely. He shouldn’t be considered the Colts WR1 this year, but it wouldn’t be totally surprising if it plays out that way when he’s on the field. 72 Kadarius Toney, Giants 73 Sammy Watkins, Ravens 74 A.J. Green, Cardinals 75 Van Jefferson, Rams. Yes, the Rams are loaded at the wide receiver position, but there will be lots of targets to go around in a high-powered air attack.. After losing Cam Akers for the entire season with a torn Achilles’, it can be assumed Los Angeles will lean more towards the pass. Tutu Atwell will likely take a redshirt year and won’t be heavily involved in the offense, while DeSean Jackson has proven he won’t be healthy for the majority of the season (played in only eight games over the past two years). Jefferson is heading into his sophomore season and looks poised to settle comfortably into the offense. 76 Elijah Moore, Jets. Moore is a route-running technician who thrives in getting open with comfortable separation. In his final year at Ole Miss, Moore exploded for nearly 1,200 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Coming into his rookie season with fellow rookie Zach Wilson could prove beneficial for his production. Wilson has no prior allegiance to any of the pass-catchers in New York, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Moore hits the ground running as its No. 1 WR. 77 Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions 78 Denzel Mims, Jets 79 Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs 80 Josh Reynolds, Titans 81 Tim Patrick, Broncos 82 Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers 83 DeSean Jackson, Rams 84 Randall Cobb, Texans 85 Rashod Bateman, Ravens. Even if you’re a Lamar Jackson doubter, Bateman presents tremendous upside in his rookie season. In a pedestrian passing offense at Minnesota, Bateman posted 2,400 receiving yards and 19 receiving touchdowns in 31 career games. He was drafted to be the No. 1 wide receiver right out of the gate. The Ravens made wide receiver a top priority in the offseason with the addition of Sammy Watkins, Tylan Wallace, and Bateman, hinting at their plan to enhance the passing offense in volume and efficiency. Bateman projects as an alpha No. 1 wideout, and with Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews as solid pass-catching threats already in the offense, Bateman could step into a favorable position early. 86 Preston Williams, Dolphins 87 Quez Watkins, Eagles 88 Rashard Higgins, Browns 89 Josh Palmer, Chargers. Palmer being selected in the third round in the 2021 NFL Draft came as a surprise to many, but it’s a good indication of how the Chargers’ front office views him. Outside of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, no other Chargers WR looks all that impressive, hence why they made Palmer a priority. Palmer’s collegiate numbers (99 catches, 1514 yards, seven receiving touchdowns) won’t amaze anyone, but when you consider the atrocious Tennessee passing offense he played in, his production was respectable. Being tethered to a promising young stud in Justin Herbert bodes well for his chances early in his career. Keep him on your watchlist early in the season. 90 Kendrick Bourne, Patriots 91 Sterling Shepard, Giants 92 KJ Hamler, Broncos 93 Terrace Marshall Jr., Panthers 94 D’Wayne Eskridge, Seahawks 95 Amari Rodgers. Like many Packers players, Rodgers’ fantasy prospects will be heavily reliant on Aaron Rodgers’ status with the team. Aaron has shown time and time again he can elevate the players around him to higher fantasy ceilings. Amari flashed in his senior season (77 receptions, 1,020 yards, seven touchdowns) when he was finally given the chance to operate as the No. 1 option at Clemson after the departure of Tee Higgins. With the addition of Randall Cobb in Green Bay, he’s unlikely to see significant volume on a weekly basis. 96 Khalif Raymond, Lions 97 Miles Boykin, Ravens 98 Hunter Renfrow, Raiders 99 Parris Campbell, Colts 100 Damiere Byrd, Bears 101 Anthony Miller, Texans 102 Nico Collins, Texans 103 Donovan Peoples-Jones, Browns 104 Adam Humphries, Washington 105 Andy Isabella, Cardinals 106 Olamide Zaccheaus, Falcons 107 Mohamed Sanu, 49ers 108 Dyami Brown, Washington


Source link