As you prepare for each draft, multiple factors are incorporated into your analysis of every selection. For those of you who participate in the highly popular Best-Ball leagues, this process includes building a team that can withstand the challenges that can emerge during the season, without having the opportunity for any form of in-season roster management. That’s why the team at RotoBaller provides a detailed analysis of our latest Best-Ball rankings that help you plan your drafts.
This article will present a breakdown of the wide receiver position. It is recommended that you develop a strategy for selecting your receivers that remains flexible based upon the flow of each draft. Some owners are capitalizing on the opportunity to seize elite receivers during the initial rounds, as their league-mates focus on collecting running backs. Others are stockpiling productive receivers after they have drafted backs with their early picks.
Regardless of how you build your roster, wide receivers will perform a significant role in determining your team’s success. 23 receivers are located among the top 50 in our rankings, while 60 receivers currently reside among the top 150. We will continue to update rankings in every format as we approach Week 1, and you can find the latest rankings here.Editor's Note: Love the strategy of season-long fantasy sports? Live for the short term gratification of DFS? Try Weekly Fantasy Sports on OwnersBox - a new weekly DFS platform. Sign up today for a FREE $50 Deposit Match. Sign Up Now!
WR Best-Ball Rankings
|Position Rank||Position Tier||Player Name||Overall Rank||Overall Tier|
|13||2||Odell Beckham Jr.||29||4|
|58||9||Michael Pittman Jr.||136||11|
|61||9||Henry Ruggs III||155||12|
|90||11||Laviska Shenault Jr.||244||16|
|125||13||Stanley Morgan Jr.||333||19|
Thomas has never finished lower than WR7 in point per game scoring (PPR) since his 2016 rookie season, including last year’s rise to WR1. He has also experienced a steady increase in targets and receiving yards during that span, which culminated with the career highs that he attained during 2019 (185 targets/1,725 yards/91 first downs).
Most 1st Downs by a receiver in 2019
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) August 13, 2020
He also led the NFL in each category, along with receptions (149), red-zone targets (26), and 100-yard performances (10). Thomas remains the premier weapon for Drew Brees, and nothing should deter you from making him the first wide receiver to be selected during your drafts.
Adams was fourth overall in yardage entering week 5 (378/95 per game) and was averaging 9 targets per game. A turf toe issue sidelined him from weeks 5-8, but his usage and output were exceptional following his return. Adams finished second in targets (91) and receptions (58) from weeks 9-17 and was second in point per game scoring during Green Bay’s final seven games. The Packers have chosen to compete with a dearth of receiving weaponry, which makes Adams a strong candidate to lead the NFL in targets. The relentless selection of running backs also leaves him available in Round 1 of most drafts.
The dynamic Hill has sustained an ADP in the teens throughout the offseason, in anticipation of the statistical fireworks that will ensue if he performs with Patrick Mahomes for 16 games. He was limited to 12 snaps from weeks 1-5, due to a shoulder injury. But he reemerged to lead all receivers in targets (52) and touchdowns (5) from weeks 6-10 while generating 844 yards and seven touchdowns during his final 11 contests. He also finished fifth in percentage share of team's air yards (40.1) during that sequence and presents owners with the potential to explode for huge gains on every route.
Chris Godwin: highest graded WR in football in 2019 pic.twitter.com/6QUDwK1Q7j
— PFF (@PFF) July 17, 2020
Anyone who believed in Godwin during their 2019 draft process was rewarded with an undisputed breakout season. He vaulted into the league’s elite tier of receivers by finishing second in point per game scoring, yardage (1,333), and touchdowns (9) from weeks 1-15 before a hamstring issue ended his season. Godwin enters his fourth season at age 24 while presenting opposing defenders with a lethal combination of size, speed, and versatility. This will allow him to remain among the NFL’s most prolific receivers with Tom Brady under center, which keeps him embedded among your early WR1 options.
Jones remains anchored within the league’s top tier of receivers as he enters his 10th season. He has averaged 162 targets (10.5 per game) since 2014 and has averaged 623 receptions (6.7 per game) and 9,388 yards (102 per game). This has preserved his place among the top seven in point per game scoring during that six-year sequence. Jones also led the league in air yards (1,911), finished second in targets (157), yardage (1,394), and completed air yards (1,039), and was fifth in receptions (99). The 31-year old Jones remains available in Round 2 and will deliver exceptional numbers once again.
|Weeks 1-17||Targets||Receptions||Yards||Air Yards||Comp Air Yards|
Hopkins stockpiled 830 targets from 2015-2019, led the league in 2017 (174), and finished among the top five in four of those seasons. He also led the league in target share during 2018 (33.1%) and finished second last season (30.9%). But even though Hopkins will maintain an integral role as the WR1 in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, he will not reach the share that owners have become accustomed to. His diminished target total will also prevent him from matching the averages in receptions (97) and yardage (1,300) that he has attained since 2014. This places him at the low end of our tier 1 rankings.
Golladay has risen to WR1 status, which is reflected in our rankings, his ADP, and the production that he delivered during 2019. Golladay finished sixth in points per game scoring (non-PPR), led the NFL in touchdowns (11), and finished seventh in receiving yards (1,190). He also finished third in air yards (1,745), and yards per reception (18.3), while his proficiency as a vertical weapon fueled his five games of 100+ yards. Golladay also persevered through the eight-game absence of Matthew Stafford to achieve those career-best numbers and is primed to generate sizable production as Stafford re-emerges under center.
Cooper begins his second full season with the Cowboys after eclipsing 1,000 yards for the fourth time in five years. He also finished seventh in both receiving yards (1,189) and touchdowns (8), while his effectiveness as a downfield weapon propelled him to 10th in air yards (1,536) and third in completed air yards (935). Cooper also established new career-highs in yards per reception (15.1) and yards per target (10). His ability to prevail against overmatched defenders will sustain his role as the primary option for Dak Prescott while making him a low-end WR1 for owners.
Moore delivered a breakout season at age 22, by finishing within the top 10 in targets (135/9 per game), receptions (87), and receiving yards (1,175). He accomplished it despite missing Carolina's season finale (concussion) and operating with Kyle Allen for 12 of his 15 matchups. Moore will be performing in a restructured offense that is being concocted by Matt Rhule and Joe Brady, while also operating with a new quarterback. However, Teddy Bridgewater should locate his WR1 on a frequent basis. This could elevate Moore among the leaders in yards after the catch and he should also exceed last year’s touchdown total (4).
Evans has surpassed 1,000 during all six seasons of his career (1,210 per year) while averaging 139 targets and 15.8 yards per reception during that span. He also led the NFL in air yards (1,779) and was third in receiving yards (1,157) before being sidelined from Weeks 15-17 (hamstring). There is concern whether 43-year old Brady can engineer a downfield aerial assault. But Brady will be blending his strengths with Bruce Arians’ vertical approach, while Evans could be deployed in a mixture of high percentage routes and deep balls. This makes him an appealing target at his Round 3 ADP.
Thielen owners were forced to contend with consistent frustration during 2019, due to his lingering hamstring injury and the rigid offensive philosophy of Mike Zimmer. Thielen was sidelined for the first time in his career after performing in 87 consecutive games. He also averaged just 4.8 targets, 3.0 receptions, and 41.8 yards per game during the 10 games in which he was available. Those averages will rise this season, as the departure of Stefon Diggs has elevated Thielen into an unchallenged role as Minnesota’s WR1. However, his ceiling will be constrained by an offense that maintains a strong reliance on the ground game.
Most targets past the sticks in 2019:
🔹 Allen Robinson - 102
🔹 Julio Jones - 96
🔹 Keenan Allen - 86
🔹 DeAndre Hopkins - 85 pic.twitter.com/mnYuqJoAm3
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 11, 2020
I have been targeting Robinson as my WR1 consistently during drafts in which I selected running backs during the first two rounds. His status as Chicago’s primary receiving weapon remains uncontested, and his massive target share should match the 27.3% that he registered during his stellar 2019 season. Robinson finished third in targets (154) while collecting 10+ in seven different games. Five of those occurred during the Bears’ final six matchups, as Robinson was third in targets and fourth in receptions during that sequence. Robinson also finished sixth in air yards (1,686), seventh in percentage share of team’s air yards (38.6), and is undervalued at his ADP.
|Weeks 12-17||Targets/Game||Targets||Target Share||Receptions||Yards|
One year ago, Beckham’s ADP (14) placed him at WR6. Optimism was based on the premise that he would be reenergized in a fresh environment. But Beckham failed to match lofty expectations while finishing 18th in receptions (74), and 23rd in yardage (1,035). He also averaged a career-low 64.7 yards per game and managed just four touchdowns. Despite the discouragement of 2019, the Browns have embarked on a promising path under Kevin Stefanski. Beckham’s Round 4 ADP also provides an opportunity to bet on his remaining talent.
Smith-Schuster is currently being drafted at WR12, as many owners remain confident that he can rekindle the production that he attained in 2018 (166 targets/111 receptions/1,426 yards). But his numbers plummeted last season (42 receptions/552 yards), as he was impacted by multiple injuries (knee/foot), and the prolonged absence of Ben Roethlisberger. Smith-Schuster will face competition for targets from the emerging Diontae Johnson, who assembled an impressive rookie season. Roethlisberger’s return also does not automatically assure that Smith-Schuster’s output will be restored to its 2018 level.
Brown established his ability to perform effectively as Tennessee’s primary receiving weapon after Ryan Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota under center. He finished third in point per game scoring (non-PPR) from weeks 7-17, while finishing sixth in yardage (778), and fifth in touchdowns (6). Brown also led the league in yardage (605) and touchdowns (5) from Weeks 12-17 and finished the season with the NFL’s highest yard per target average (12.5). Brown has emerged as a viable WR2 with the potential to achieve WR1 output during his second season.
Kupp averaged 12.6 targets, 8.2 receptions, and 101 yards per game from Weeks 1-5. But those averages dropped to 5.9 targets/4.5 receptions/46.1 yards per game in Weeks 10-17, as Kupp trailed Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee in each category. His snap count percentage also diminished from 88.2% in weeks 1-12 to 63.3% in weeks 13-17, while Higbee’s snaps surged to 69%. Kupp did lead the Rams in red-zone targets (21), but he trailed Higbee yet again from Weeks 13-17 (13/8). However, Brandin Cooks also collected 23 targets during that span, and his departure improves Kupp's opportunity to remain highly involved - regardless of how Sean McVay blends his personnel packages.
Highest end-zone target percentage in 2019:
🔹 D.K. Metcalf - 19% pic.twitter.com/LzjUOQ05lo
— PFF (@PFF) August 16, 2020
Expectations for Metcalf’s 2019 rookie season were frequently tempered due to the limitations of his route tree and experience (21 games) at Ole Miss. But he developed into an explosive weapon for Seattle, while leading all first-year receivers in targets (100), and finishing third in receiving yards (900) and touchdowns (7). Metcalf also emerged as a resource near the end zone by finishing 10th overall in red-zone targets (18). His continued advancement as a receiver will combine with his speed and athleticism to produce numbers that exceed his Round 5 ADP.
Mohamed Sanu had been averaging six targets per game for the Falcons before an October trade extracted him from their roster. That created an enormous path for Ridley to accumulate targets and yardage as Atlanta’s unquestioned WR2. Ridley’s averages rose from 6.3 targets, 4.1 receptions, and 53.2 yards per game before Sanu’s departure, to 8.2/5.7/82.1 per game from weeks 8-14. He also tied for ninth in point per game scoring during that sequence, before being sidelined during weeks 15-17 (abdomen). Ridley also finished second overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average).
As Kupp’s usage and output diminished last season, Woods paced the Rams in receptions (59/5.9 per game, yardage (779/77.9 per game) and targets (92/9.2 per game) during LA’s final 10 contests This included weeks 13-17, when Woods finished second overall in targets (59), receptions (39), and fourth in yardage (471). Woods' snap count was not curtailed by the Rams’ mixture of personnel packages, as he led all receivers in snaps (357). Woods’ ADP has risen 17 slots since April, and he should lead LA in targets, receptions, and yardage this season.
Over the last 10 seasons there have been 25 players to have an 1000 yard receiving season at age 23 or younger.
Pretty much all have gone on to become fantasy stars except Kelvin Benjamin and Sammy Watkins.
This is a DJ Chark tweet. pic.twitter.com/x2b9H56I7x
— Bobby Koch (@RekedFantasy) July 5, 2020
Chark experienced a meteoric rise from infinitesimal numbers as a rookie to finish among the top 20 in multiple categories. He was eighth in scoring after Week 14 and was also fourth in touchdowns (8), and sixth in air yards (1,355). He also averaged 8.2 targets, 5.2 receptions, and 74 yards per game) before contending with an ankle injury from Weeks 15-17. Chark still tied for seventh in touchdowns (8) while finishing 19th in targets (118), 17th in air yards (1,421), and 13th in percentage share of team’s air yards (34.9). He is now primed to flourish as Jacksonville’s primary receiver once again.
Sutton’s ascension into WR2 terrain during 2019 would normally have vaulted him to a more prestigious tier in our rankings. He finished inside the top 20 in scoring, targets (125/7.8 per game), yardage (1,112), air yards (1,452), and yards per route (2.48), while also leading the NFL in percentage share of team's air yards (42.93). But he was also absorbing targets in a Denver offense that was deficient in additional talent at his position. Now he must compete for opportunities with Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Noah Fant while functioning with a quarterback that remains unproven.
Allen is still just 28-years old, hasn’t missed a game since 2016, and has consistently proven his ability to accumulate high-quality production. He has averaged 148 targets, 101 receptions and 1,263 yards since 2017, and finished among the top six in targets (149), receptions (104), and yardage (1,199) during 2019. He retains the necessary skills to achieve similar results this season. But his customary Round 2 ADP has descended to Round 5. This is a byproduct of his conversion from consistent statistical success with Philip Rivers to the uncertain ramifications of operating with Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert.
McLaurin was the 101st receiver selected in last August's drafts (ADP 282). But he quickly seized Washington’s WR1 responsibilities and exceeded even the most optimistic projections. McLaurin led rookies in point per game scoring and finished second in receptions (58). His usage as a downfield weapon also lifted him to sixth in percentage share of team’s air yards (37.09), 10th in both yards-per-target (9.9), and 10th in yards per reception (15.8). He will operate with an unobstructed path toward high volume as Washington’s primary receiver. which should launch him into high-end WR2 territory.
Metcalf has been commandeering conversation as an ascending presence, but Lockett led Seattle in targets (110), receptions (82), receiving yardage (1,057), and touchdowns (8) in 2019. He also paced the Seahawks in air yards (1,340), percentage share of air yards (29.8), and target share (22.3). His numbers did plunge from 8.8 targets, 7.3 receptions, and 90.4 yards per game in Weeks 2-9 to 5.4 targets/3.3 receptions/41.4 yards per game from weeks 10-17. However, Lockett was contending with health issues (shin/flu), and owners can target him near the conclusion of round 5.
After four seasons of uninspiring numbers (5.3 targets, 3.1 receptions, and 41.8 yards per game), Parker experienced a career reawakening in 2019. He skyrocketed to fourth in both receiving yards (1,202) and air yards (1,713) and tied for third in touchdowns (9). His usage and production rose after promising rookie Preston Williams was sidelined, as Parker vaulted to first in touchdowns (5), and second in yardage (802) from weeks 10-17. He was also sixth in targets (76) and third in point per game scoring (PPR) during that span. Owners can select him confidently at his Round 6 ADP.
Green was 10th in point per game scoring after week 7 of 2018, before a lingering toe issue interrupted his season and his highly productive career. He is an intriguing Round 7 option as he returns to a transformed Cincinnati offense. However, his latest hamstring issue should be monitored.
Hilton should reclaim his role as Indy’s WR1 and benefit from operating with Rivers. He should also rebound from his career-worst 2019 season (68 targets/45 receptions/501 yards). But he might not reach his averages from 2013-2018 (131 targets/76 receptions/1,206 yards.
Landry finished 13th in targets (138), 12th in receptions (83), and achieved career highs in yardage (1,174) and yards per reception (14.1). Even if he does not replicate those numbers in Cleveland’s restructured offense, he remains undervalued at his Round 7 ADP.
Diggs finished second overall in yards per target (12.0), third in percentage share of team’s air yards (41.3), and fourth in yards per reception (17.9). But he now resurfaces in a Buffalo offense that finished seventh in run play percentage, and will also deploy John Brown as a downfield weapon.
Boyd finished among the top eight in targets (148), and receptions (90). The reemergence of Green and the presence of John Ross and Tee Higgins will prevent Boyd from reaching those 2019 numbers. But if Green encounters another significant health issue, then Boyd's stock will elevate immediately.
Gallup finished seventh in yards per reception (16.8) while finishing 10th in targets (57), and fifth in yardage (577) from Weeks 11-17. His enormous talent should propel him to favorable output despite competition for targets from Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.
Marquise Brown averaged 8.5 targets and 76 yards per game from Weeks 1-4 but just 3.7/28 per game from Weeks 5-17. He is healthy and can unleash his big-play potential with greater frequency.
Only Thomas captured double-digit target totals in more games than Edelman (10). But the 34-year old must now function without his customary signal-caller. Fuller can become Deshaun Watson’s primary target -if he can elude further injury. He averaged 9 targets/75 yards per game from weeks 2-6, but just 4.6/45 yards during his other matchups.
Slayton led the Giants in touchdowns (8) and targeted air yards (23.8). But the target shares for Slayton (14.3), and teammates Sterling Shepard (14.2) and Golden Tate (14.7) were extremely close.
The timeline for Samuel’s return is unclear. But he will function as the 49ers’ WR1 whenever he is operating at full capacity. Johnson overcame deficiencies at quarterback to lead Pittsburgh in targets (92), receptions (59), and target share (18.9).
Tiers 8 and 9
A sizable number of factors can emerge before week 1 that would alter the value of receivers in these tiers.
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