Unlike with running backs, fantasy owners don’t have to manuever around holdouts and significant injuries when it comes to ranking their wide receivers (at least not yet in terms of the latter). So who are the best receivers to utilize for the opening week? Who faces a tough matchup? Let’s take a look:
- DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans – at New Orleans
- Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Houston
- JuJu Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers – at New England
- Davante Adams – Green Bay Packers – at Chicago
- Odell Beckham – Cleveland Browns – vs. Tennessee
- Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. San Francisco
- Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs – at Jacksonville
- Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons – at Minnesota
- Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Atlanta
- Amari Cooper – Dallas Cowboys – vs. New York Giants
- Julian Edelman – New England Patriots – vs. Pittsburgh
- Stefon Diggs – Minnesota Vikings – at Atlanta
- Brandin Cooks – Los Angeles Rams – at Carolina
- Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals – at Seattle
- Kenny Golladay – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
- Tyler Lockett – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Cincinnati
- Antonio Brown – Oakland Raiders – vs. Denver
- Keenan Allen – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Indianapolis
- Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams – at Carolina
- Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. San Francisco
- Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams – at Carolina
- Alshon Jeffrey – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Washington
- T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts – at Los Angeles Chargers
- Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns – vs. Tennessee
- Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons – at Minnesota
- D.J. Moore – Carolina Panthers – vs. Los Angeles Rams
- Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs – at Jacksonville
- Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers – vs. Los Angeles Rams
- Sterling Shepard – New York Giants – at Dallas
- Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears – vs. Green Bay
- Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans – at Cleveland
- Christian Kirk – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Detroit
- Robby Anderson – New York Jets – vs. Buffalo
- Will Fuller – Houston Texans – at New Orleans
- Dede Westbrook – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Kansas City
- Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
- Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Indianapolis
- Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Detroit
- Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos – at Oakland
- Josh Gordon – New England Patriots – vs. Pittsburgh
- Dante Pettis – San Francisco 49ers – at Tampa Bay
- DeVante Parker – Miami Dolphins – vs. Baltimore
- Donte Moncrief – Pittsburgh Steelers – at New England
- DeSean Jackson – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Washington
- Tyrell Williams – Oakland Raiders – vs. Denver
- John Brown – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Green Bay Packers – at Chicago
- Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys – vs. New York Giants
- Mohamed Sanu – Atlanta Falcons – at Minnesota
- Paul Richardson – Washington Redskins – at Philadelphia
- Last season the New Orleans Saints allowed the most points per week to opposing wide receivers and DeAndre Hopkins, who draws a matchup with the Saints, was our preseason top rated wide receiver. Seems like an obvious choice for the top spot, doesn’t it?
- The New York Giants have questions in their secondary and the Dallas Cowboys could be playing without Ezekiel Elliot (though all signs point towards him now playing, having missed all of Training Camp what can really be expected). Everything seems right for a strong opening performance for Amari Cooper, especially if New York continues to struggle getting to the quarterback.
- Another wide receiver that could benefit from a holdout running back is Keenan Allen. Of course he has a potentially more difficult matchup with an Indianapolis defense that allowed the fewest points per week to opposing WR a year ago. He also could share targets with Mike Williams, which will limit his potential upside closer to a WR2 status.
- Both Tyreek Hill and Julio Jones draw potentially difficult matchups in Week 1, but would anyone really discount them much? In the NFL things consistently change and these are two of the elite WR in the league. Matchup or not, they are WR1 until they prove otherwise.
- The Seahawks made a significant addition by acquiring Jadeveon Clowney, and while he doesn’t have a direct impact on the opposing wide receivers the havoc he could wreak could influence the performance of the quarterback (and have a trickle down effect). It could take a week or two for him to settle into the swing of things, so Tyler Boyd and company could still be unaffected this week, but it’ll be something to watch moving forward.
- Last year Julian Edelman torched the Steelers for 7 receptions and 90 yards. In two games in 2016 he combined for 17 receptions, 178 yards and 1 TD. In other words, he seems like a good bet to produce WR1 type numbers.
- Considering all of the issues and questions surrounding Antonio Brown this offseason, is anyone willing to bet on him producing big-time numbers? Sure he has WR1 potential, but in the questionable Oakland offense we’ll keep him more in the WR2 range.
- There’s a lot of potential in Christian Kirk this season, but are you willing to bet on Kyler Murray thriving immediately in his first NFL game? The risk may simply outweigh the reward, knocking him down more to the WR3 realm.
- Josh Gordon is going to be a hot name, having been reinstated to the Patriots, but he’s no guarantee to get significant opportunities. For one, it’s the Patriots. There also are a lot of additional options, from Julian Edelman to Demaryius Thomas to Jakobi Meyers (plus the running backs), making him a better play as a WR3/FLEX (or even to be left on your bench).
Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 rankings: