While fantasy owners have generally targeted running backs early in their drafts, is the game changing? More and more it’s starting to look like wide receivers could be just as big of a difference maker for fantasy owners, though who should be trusted? Who is worth an early round selection? Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently look:D
- DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans (1) – Over the past two seasons (31 games) Hopkins has averaged nearly 7 catches and just over 95 yards per game. Throw in 24 TD and it’s hard not to slot him as the best option in the league.
- Devante Adams – Green Bay Packers (2) – Adams set career highs across the board last season, with 111 catches, 1,386 yards and 13 TD in just 15 games. A healthy Aaron Rodgers and the clear top option in the offense should put him in line for another monster season.
- Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs (3) – He’s avoided a suspension, instantly making him a Top 5 option. He may not get the volume of receptions of other options, but he’s the most dangerous coming off an 87 catch, 1,479 yard and 12 TD campaign (not to mention 151 rushing yards and an additional TD). Look for Andy Reid to continue finding ways to get the ball in his hands, leading to more gaudy numbers.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers (4) – He posted big numbers last season (111 catches, 1,426 yards and 7 TD) and now will assume the lead receiver duties with Antonio Brown in Oakland. Throw in that he could take the third year leap and would it be surprising to see him produce as a Top 5 option?
- Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints (5) – He racked up 125 catches and 1,405 yards last year, though with the offense going through the running backs will he be able to replicate that? Of course even if he takes a step back 100 catches and 1,200 yards seems almost like a given.
- Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons (6) – He’s had at least 1,400 yards for five straight seasons, though the addition of Calvin Ridley (who could take a significant step forward) and the lack of TD is going to suppress his spot on the rankings.
- Odell Beckham Jr. – Cleveland Browns (7) – It’s easy to argue that he’ll have an upgrade in quarterback play and that he shouldn’t be lacking for motivation, but can he stay healthy? He’s played 16 games just once in his five year career (he’s played 12 games or less four times). That’s going to hang over him and drag him down, at least a little bit.
- Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8) – In five seasons Evans has consistently shown an ability to make big plays (15.45 yards/catch), but only once has he topped 86 catches and has been hit or miss in terms of TD (two years of 12 TD, but has had 13 TD total over the past two seasons). That type of inconsistency makes him tougher to trust than some other top options.
- Keenan Allen – Los Angeles Chargers (9) – For the second straight season Allen posted at least 97 catches, to go along with 1,196 yards and 6 TD. He’s now played in all 16 games in back-to-back seasons and while the offense will run through Melvin Gordon, Allen should continue to post strong numbers.
- Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings (10) – The presence of Stefon Diggs is going to cause some concern, but Thielen has posted back-to-back monster seasons including setting career highs across the board in ’18 (113 catches, 1,373 yards and 9 TD). He clearly has a rapport with Kirk Cousins and there’s no reason to think another big season isn’t in his future.
- Amari Cooper – Dallas Cowboys (11) – Getting out of Oakland appeared to be what Cooper needed, with 53 catches, 725 yards and 6 TD in 9 games with Dallas. With Ezekiel Elliot drawing most of the attention and the returning Jason Witten also helping to open things up, Cooper should take another step forward.
- Julian Edelman – New England Patriots (13) – Even after missing the start of the season due to suspension it was a tremendous season for Edelman, who had 74 catches and 850 yards in 12 games (that would’ve put him on pace for nearly 100 catches). With Rob Gronkowski retired he should be the focus of the passing game (though N’Keal Harry being selected in the first round will take some opportunities) and in line for another big year.
- Kenny Golladay – Detroit Lions (14) – In his sophomore season Golladay took a massive step forward (70 receptions) and with Golden Tate now in New York he could make the next leap towards super stardom.
- Stefon Diggs – Minnesota Vikings (15) – There appear to be more than enough opportunities to go around in Minnesota, as Diggs also showed a great rapport with new quarterback Kirk Cousins as he posted 102 catches for 1,021 yards and 10 TD in 15 games.
- Antonio Brown – Oakland Raiders (16) – How big of a downgrade is it going from Ben Roethlisberger to Derek Carr? It’s a significant one and it’s impossible to expect him to match the numbers he’s put up in the past. That alone brought pessimism, but now add the feet issues he’s been dealing with as well as the saga with his helmet and you have to wonder if we’re heading towards a lost season. There’s still time, but things are getting more and more concerning by the day.
- Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams (17) – He posted monster numbers in ’18, but the Rams are an offense with numerous weapons and there’s no guarantee that the opportunities continually going his way.
- Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons (18) – He scored 10 TD in his rookie season and in an offense with Julio Jones and Matt Ryan he should continue to get ample opportunities.
- Tyler Lockett – Seattle Seahawks (19) – Lockett led the Seahawks in yards in ’18 (965) and TD (10), and with Doug Baldwin retired his role should only increase. This could be a big year in terms of production.
- T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts (12) – A healthy Andrew Luck made an obvious difference, though Hilton has a bit of boom or bust regardless of who is under center and has generally failed to rack up the TD (he’s never scored more than 7 TD in a season). Now with Luck shockingly retiring from the NFL, his stock has to take a hit.
- Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20) – Bruce Arians is expected to give a big boost to the offense, with Godwin potentially being the biggest beneficiary. He scored 7 TD in his sophomore season and could form a dynamic 1-2 punch with Mike Evans.
- Brandin Cooks – Los Angeles Rams (21) – He’s the epitome of a boom or bust receiver, and one who is going to have to battle numerous others for targets. That makes him a risky WR2, though one with significant potential.
- Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals (26) – The injury to A.J. Green is going to increase his value, especially with the absence appearing to be a lengthy one. Even when he returns it’s possible we see a changing of the guards as to who the top receiver is, especially if Boyd thrives over the first few weeks of the season.
- Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams (23) – He was limited to 8 games and managed to put up gaudy numbers along the way (40 receptions, 566 yards, 6 TD). Will the opportunities be there in an offense that features several other options, though?
- Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers (24) – Tyrell Williams bolted to Oakland in the offseason, and that should mean a greater role in the offense for Williams. He already proved capable of scoring TD (he had 10 last season) and with more chances he could be a difference maker.
- D.J. Moore – Carolina Panthers (25) – Christian McCaffrey is going to be the offensive focal point, but Moore is the top receiver and opening up the offense could lead to some big numbers.
- Sterling Shepard – New York Giants (29) – While it appeared like he may miss the start of the season, that’s no longer the case. Shepard should be ready for a heavy workload, with Odell Beckham now in Cleveland and Golden Tate being suspended for the first four weeks of the season. While he may be volume dependent, but there’s WR2 upside at a lower price.
- Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears (27)
- Robby Anderson – New York Jets (28)
- A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals (22) – The initial hope was that the veteran could be ready for the start of the season, but after torn ligaments were discovered that became impossible. There’s a chance he returns for Week 3, but even that appears to be a long-shot with missing over a month a realistic expectation. Even when he returns, at his age what can we expect? At this point he’s more of a dart throw WR3.
- Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans (30) – There were high expectations heading into ’18 and while he likely fell short there’s still obvious upside (65 catches for 891 yards). Unfortunately there’s questionable quarterback play, with a chance that Ryan Tannehill wins the starting job. That’s got to downgrade him, at least a little bit.
- Alshon Jeffrey – Philadelphia Eagles (31)
- Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers (32) – He’s been drawing rave reviews this preseason and should assume the WR2 role. He’s hardly a guarantee, but there’s enough upside to put him on radars.
- Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns (33)
- Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals (34)
- Will Fuller – Houston Texans (35)
- Christian Kirk – Arizona Cardinals (36)
- Dede Westbrook – Jacksonville Jaguars (37)
- Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos (38)
- Tyrell Williams – Oakland Raiders (39) – The issues surrounding Antonio Brown could cause him to soar up the rankings, assuming he’s healthy
- Josh Gordon – New England Patriots (40) – There’s going to be a lot of hype, but we also can’t ignore the risks (as well as the rise of some rookie wide receivers). Let’s not forget he’s only played 16 games in a season once, and that came in his rookie season of 2012.
- Dante Pettis – San Francisco 49ers (41)
- Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs (42)
- Donte Moncrief – Pittsburgh Steelers (43)
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Green Bay Packers (44) – He appears primed to start on the outside, and with Aaron Rodgers at QB that’s going to give him upside appeal
- Geronimo Allison – Green Bay Packers (45)
- N’Keal Henry – New England Patriots (46)
- D.K. Metcalf – Seattle Seahawks (47) – A minor knee surgery has his status for Week 1 in question, though the fact that there’s a chance that he plays tells us that it isn’t a serious situation. He could be the number one option from Day 1, and that gives him prime sleeper appeal.
- Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys (48)
- James Washington – Pittsburgh Steelers (49)
- Jamison Crowder – New York Jets (NR)
Dropped off the Rankings – Devin Funchess (IND, 50)
Make sure to check out all of our 2019 preseason rankings: