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Dynasty Tiered Rankings and Analysis (Wide Receiver)

It's never too early for some fantasy football rankings, right?

We here at RotoBaller firmly believe that, which is why we've already done rankings for the 2020 season. Standard. PPR. Dynasty. (Click the word "dynasty" to go see our complete dynasty rankings.)

But what are rankings without some kind of context by which to understand those rankings, a way of figuring out what all of those numbers and names and tiers and so on all mean? That's why I'm here today. We're going to look at our dynasty wide receiver rankings and then try to make sense of some of the most important things about the rankings. Ready? Scroll on down!

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Dynasty WR Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Michael Thomas 2 3
2 1 Chris Godwin 3 7
3 1 Davante Adams 3 8
4 1 DeAndre Hopkins 3 9
5 1 Tyreek Hill 3 10
6 1 Amari Cooper 4 12
7 2 D.J. Moore 4 14
8 2 Mike Evans 4 16
9 2 JuJu Smith-Schuster 5 19
10 2 A.J. Brown 5 20
11 2 Kenny Golladay 5 22
12 2 Odell Beckham Jr. 5 23
13 2 Julio Jones 6 26
14 2 Courtland Sutton 6 29
15 2 Cooper Kupp 6 31
16 2 D.K. Metcalf 6 32
17 3 Allen Robinson 6 33
18 3 Calvin Ridley 7 36
19 3 D.J. Chark 7 38
20 3 Jerry Jeudy 7 39
21 3 Keenan Allen 7 40
22 3 CeeDee Lamb 7 42
23 3 Stefon Diggs 8 45
24 4 Deebo Samuel 8 46
25 4 Terry McLaurin 8 48
26 4 Tyler Lockett 9 52
27 4 Michael Gallup 9 54
28 4 Jarvis Landry 9 55
29 4 Tyler Boyd 9 56
30 4 Robert Woods 10 58
31 4 Adam Thielen 10 59
32 4 DeVante Parker 10 62
33 4 Jalen Reagor 10 63
34 4 Christian Kirk 10 65
35 5 Justin Jefferson 12 73
36 5 Marquise Brown 12 77
37 5 T.Y. Hilton 12 79
38 5 Will Fuller 12 80
39 5 Mike Williams 13 82
40 5 N'Keal Harry 13 83
41 5 Darius Slayton 13 85
42 6 Brandin Cooks 13 87
43 6 Tee Higgins 13 88
44 6 Henry Ruggs III 13 89
45 6 A.J. Green 13 93
46 6 Denzel Mims 14 102
47 6 Diontae Johnson 14 104
48 6 Sterling Shepard 14 106
49 6 Laviska Shenault Jr. 14 107
50 6 Mecole Hardman 14 108
51 7 Curtis Samuel 14 110
52 7 Anthony Miller 14 111
53 7 Robby Anderson 14 114
54 7 John Brown 14 115
55 7 Michael Pittman Jr. 14 116
56 7 Julian Edelman 14 120
57 7 Alshon Jeffery 15 122
58 7 Preston Williams 15 123
59 7 Marvin Jones 15 125
60 7 Parris Campbell 15 129
61 7 Bryan Edwards 15 132
62 7 Brandon Aiyuk 15 137
63 7 Golden Tate 16 142
64 7 Sammy Watkins 16 149
65 7 Jamison Crowder 16 150
66 7 Corey Davis 16 151
67 7 John Ross 16 154
68 8 James Washington 16 155
69 8 Andy Isabella 17 157
70 8 Dede Westbrook 17 159
71 8 Chase Claypool 17 163
72 8 Breshad Perriman 17 164
73 8 Tyrell Williams 18 167
74 8 J.J. Arcega-Whiteside 18 171
75 8 Hunter Renfrow 18 172
76 8 Emmanuel Sanders 18 175
77 8 Allen Lazard 18 176
78 8 Antonio Gandy-Golden 18 182
79 8 KJ Hamler 19 188
80 8 Tyler Johnson 19 190
81 9 Larry Fitzgerald 19 193
82 9 Lynn Bowden Jr. 19 195
83 9 Tre'Quan Smith 19 197
84 9 Van Jefferson 19 198
85 9 Kenny Stills 20 208
86 9 Josh Reynolds 20 210
87 9 Miles Boykin 20 211
88 9 Jalen Hurd 20 212
89 9 DeSean Jackson 20 213
90 10 Donovan Peoples-Jones 20 216
91 10 Steven Sims 20 218
92 10 Keke Coutee 21 221
93 10 Cole Beasley 21 223
94 10 Nelson Agholor 21 225
95 10 Randall Cobb 21 227
96 10 Devin Funchess 21 228
97 10 Kelvin Harmon 21 229
98 10 Mohamed Sanu 21 231
99 10 Marquez Valdes-Scantling 21 235
100 10 Damiere Byrd 21 237
101 11 Auden Tate 21 238
102 11 Isaiah Hodgins 21 245
103 11 Devin Duvernay 21 246
104 11 Dante Pettis 21 247
105 11 Hakeem Butler 21 248
106 11 DaeSean Hamilton 21 249
107 11 Albert Wilson 21 252
108 11 Chris Conley 21 255
109 11 Demaryius Thomas 21 256
110 11 Trent Taylor 21 258
111 11 Phillip Dorsett 21 259
112 11 Geronimo Allison 22 261
113 11 Jakobi Meyers 22 262
114 11 Marquise Goodwin 22 265
115 11 Zach Pascal 22 266
116 11 James Proche 22 274
117 12 Adam Humphries 22 275
118 12 Demarcus Robinson 22 276
119 12 Josh Gordon 22 277
120 12 Antonio Brown 22 278
121 12 Collin Johnson 22 280
122 12 OlaBisi Johnson 22 285
123 12 Kendrick Bourne 22 289
124 12 Justin Watson 22 290
125 12 Scott Miller 22 292
126 12 Gabriel Davis 22 293
127 12 KeeSean Johnson 22 300
128 12 Zay Jones 23 302
129 12 Quintez Cephus 23 303
130 12 Russell Gage 23 307
131 12 Trey Quinn 23 321
132 12 Rashard Higgins 23 324
133 12 Laquon Treadwell 23 325
134 13 John Hightower 23 326
135 13 Deon Cain 23 327
136 13 Marqise Lee 23 328
137 13 Quartney Davis 23 329
138 13 Joe Reed 23 331
139 13 Danny Amendola 23 336
140 13 Byron Pringle 23 338
141 13 Darnell Mooney 23 339
142 13 Keelan Cole 23 340
143 14 Robert Foster 23 343
144 14 Quez Watkins 24 349
145 14 Willie Snead 24 350
146 14 Kalija Lipscomb 24 351
147 14 Allen Hurns 24 356
148 14 David Moore 24 361
149 14 K.J. Osborn 24 362
150 14 K.J. Hill 24 364
151 14 Marquez Callaway 24 365
152 14 Jauan Jennings 24 366
153 14 Quincy Enunwa 24 367
154 14 Greg Ward 24 368
155 14 Riley Ridley 24 369
156 14 Equanimeous St. Brown 24 370
157 14 Jeff Thomas 24 371
158 14 Kendrick Rogers 24 372
159 14 Antonio Callaway 24 373
160 14 Gary Jennings 24 374
161 14 Tim Patrick 24 375
162 14 Omar Bayless 24 376
163 14 Taywan Taylor 24 377
164 14 Taylor Gabriel 24 378

 

Top Tier Analysis

Six wide receivers make up our first tier of players, though one of them is a little step ahead of the other five.

That one who's snuck slightly ahead is New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas, who comes in as our third-ranked player overall in dynasty behind Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley. Thomas is a master of the things that he does, namely turning slant routes into huge numbers. I know some people think that Thomas is a bit of a few-trick pony:

https://twitter.com/YGOTFBKOST3/status/1260684757265870851?s=20

but hey, I think he's just a guy who does some things at an elite level, and he's started his career with four 1,000-yard seasons in a row, including an NFL-best 1,725 yards this past season. He's led the league in receptions two years in a row. He's been productive when Drew Brees was throwing him the ball and when Teddy Bridgewater was throwing him the ball. He's only 27. How can anyone else surpass him in the wide receiver rankings?

Things get more crowded after that, with the next four receivers all ranked consecutively in our overall rankings. In order, they go: Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, and Tyreek Hill.

Godwin being the dynasty WR2 would have shocked me a year ago. I've long been a Godwin fan and had unsuccessfully tried to trade for him multiple times in our staff dynasty league, but I didn't see this level of breakout coming. Godwin caught 86 passes for 1,333 yards in 14 games this season, catching nine touchdowns. He can play inside and outside and can impact the game at multiple levels as a receiver. He's also 24 years old and while his quarterback situation might not be as good with Tom Brady as it was with Jameis Winston from a purely fantasy perspective, Godwin's got the talent to make up for a decrease in deep looks. I know Mike Evans is Mike Evans, but Godwin's the best receiver in Tampa Bay.

Davante Adams and DeAndre Hopkins being next brings up an interesting conversation about what fantasy owners value more. I had Hopkins higher in my personal rankings (he was still my WR2 behind Thomas, actually, and I had Godwin over Adams as well), but that pesky "everyone's rankings are weighted equally" thing won out. The two players are virtually the same age, with Hopkins born in June of 1992 and Adams in December.

I think there are concerns about Hopkins joining a more crowded weapons field in Arizona and if Kyler Murray's going to be able to help Hopkins return to his 2017 and 2018 ways after a slightly disappointing 2019 season, but I'm a big believer in 1) Hopkins still being one of the most talented -- if not the most talented -- wide receivers in the NFL and 2) Murray taking off in 2020 with a primary target as good as Hopkins. Meanwhile, Adams is obviously a great player in an offense that's likely to feature more total pass attempts than Arizona, but his quarterback is aging, and Adams is coming off of an injury, and ultimately I think there's a little lower of a floor here than there is with Hopkins.

WR5 is Tyreek Hill. Let's keep this simple: he's fast as hell and Patrick Mahomes is his quarterback and he's younger than Hopkins and Adams, but his game's a little too limited to rank him over those too.

Rounding out this tier is Amari Cooper. Cooper has been in the NFL since 2015 but is still just going to be 26 when this season starts. After some inconsistent play in Oakland, he was traded to the Cowboys, where his play has been mostly better, though there have been a few stinkers in road games. Cooper's good. I'm not going to deny that he's one of the most talented receivers in this league.

The problem is that his game-to-game consistency is an issue, and that the Cowboys just drafted CeeDee Lamb to complicate this receiving corps more. But talent matters, and Dallas has an offensive system with new head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore that should lead to huge success in the passing game, so Cooper checks in as our WR6.

 

Wide Receivers Who Are Trending Down

Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns - WR12

Beckham's first season in Cleveland didn't go as well as expected, but his numbers were mostly fine: 74 catches for 1035 yards and four touchdowns. The touchdown number should rise, though his targets will continue to be impacted as long as he shares the field with Jarvis Landry. Still, he's a fringe WR1 with upside, and I think it's a safe bet to say his catch rate will improve next season.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons - WR13

Jones isn't a dynasty WR1 anymore? This ranking is all about projection going forward since Jones is about to enter his age-31 season. He's coming off a strong 99-catch, 1,394-yard season and has posted 90 or more receiving yards on average per game for seven years in a row while finishing as a top-six fantasy receiver for five consecutive seasons. If this were re-draft, he'd be right where he always is in the rankings, but at some point Jones has to fall off because of the wear-and-tear that comes with being catching as many passes as he has year after year after year. I can't believe we've reached this point, but Jones is actually a great value for dynasty owners trying to win now.

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers - WR21

Unlike with Jones, I think we can make a solid argument that Keenan Allen's best days are actually behind him and that his fall in dynasty rankings isn't just about age. Allen's only entering his age-28 season and has played all 16 games for three years in a row, finishing with three 1000-yard seasons in a row. But changes are afoot in L.A. as Tyrod Taylor takes over at quarterback, with Justin Herbert waiting in the wings, and Allen had some troubling metrics last year: 46th among wide receivers in true catch rate, 57th in target separation, 44th in production premium. Maybe I'm wrong and the change in quarterbacks doesn't hurt him that much, but it really feels like Allen's not going to be the same guy.

Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills - WR23

I'll keep this short: Diggs goes from Minnesota, where quarterback Kirk Cousins was fifth in true completion percentage and eighth in accuracy rating last year, to Buffalo, where quarterback Josh Allen was 33rd in true completion percentage and 35th in accuracy rating. Diggs is in a terrible spot for fantasy.

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings - WR31

Thielen missed six games last year, and in the 10 games he did play, saw his yards per game drop from 85.8 in 2018 down to 41.8 in 2019. The Vikings drafted Justin Jefferson to replace Stefon Diggs, and it shouldn't be long before Jefferson ends up as the main guy in Minnesota with Thielen playing a more complementary role.

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts - WR37

On one hand, adding quarterback Philip Rivers -- who still has a pretty good deep ball and is reportedly planning to stay with the Colts for multiple seasons -- raises Hilton's ceiling. But he's turning 31 during the season and in two of the last three years averaged 60 or fewer receiving yards per game. He suffered a quad strain and calf tear last season and has dealt with a variety of injuries over the last couple of seasons.

 

Where The Top Rookies Rank

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos - WR20

The Jeudy/Courtland Sutton pairing has the potential to be really, really good, but there's still a little uncertainty with this landing spot because second-year quarterback Drew Lock is such an unknown. A great route runner, Jeudy's going to be a useful fantasy option for years to come, but the answer to the question "how useful?" is really going to come down to the quarterback play.

CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys - WR22

Being drafted onto a team that already has Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup wasn't the best case scenario, but consider this: Randall Cobb had 828 yards as the third receiver on this team last year, and Gallup's probably not going to get a long-term extension from this team as they'll need to be smart about how they allocate their money after the inevitable Dak Prescott extension. Lamb could form one of the NFL's best 1A/1B combinations with Cooper by 2021 or 2022.

Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles - WR33

This wasn't who Eagles fans wanted at wide receiver, but it's who they got. Reagor's an undersized receiver who overcame poor quarterback play at TCU -- sorry, Max Duggan! -- and while there are concerns about his catch rate in college, he should see plenty of looks in Philly and have a chance to rack up the YAC as an underneath option for Carson Wentz.

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings - WR35

With Diggs gone, Jefferson's going to be expected to get on the field and be productive immediately. We all know that first-round receivers haven't necessarily done a great job of that in recent years, but I like Jefferson's chances: he's a tall wideout who can make tough grabs and can play from the slot or outside.

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals - WR43

A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd are the top-two guys in Cincy for now, but don't be shocked if Green is off this roster in 2021, opening up a role for Higgins as the outside weapon for Joe Burrow. He can make contested catches and can be a big play guy for Burrow, but I don't love his short-term outlook. But hey, this is a dynasty article, so his upside matters a lot here, so grabbing him around WR40 if you're in a start-up and have your eyes on the future more than the present could be a smart plan.

Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders - WR44

Ruggs was the first receiver taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, a surprise move until you remember that the Raiders have a long legacy of loving speed and, well, Ruggs has speed. He's not going to lead the Raiders in targets, and he probably won't be second on the Raiders in targets, and his quarterback, Derek Carr, isn't the kind of big arm guy who's going to put the ball where Ruggs needs it, but...sorry, I lost that train of thought because I still don't really get this pick for Vegas. Ruggs has the potential to be a big-play guy, a DeSean Jackson or Will Fuller kind of player, but I think Vegas might need to make a quarterback change before he can fully become that guy.

 

Let's Find Some Value Guys!

Here are some non-rookie players ranked outside of our top-36 who have a decent chance of one day breaking into our top-36.

N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots - WR40

Fun fact: You spent a top-four rookie draft pick on N'Keal Harry last year and then he caught 12 passes for 105 yards. (Sorry, did I say fun? There could have been a better word there.) But Harry is only going to be 22 for most of the 2020 NFL season and he has the size and athleticism to be a threat on the outside. A lack of stability at quarterback for the New England Patriots -- wow, I just typed that -- hampers things, but looking at our overall rankings, Harry is now ranked 11th out of the 2019 rookie class. Great buy low candidate if you still believe he has the talent he did when he was going third or fourth before last season.

Darius Slayton, New York Giants - WR41

Just one spot behind Harry is someone who might not have the same athletic profile, but who did show a ton of production as a rookie. Slayton had 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie. He showed a good rapport with Daniel Jones, and while his per play numbers were significantly more efficient with Eli Manning throwing him the ball, that 11-throw sample is the ultimate #SmallSampleSizeAlert. Slayton shouldn't be New York's top option at wide receiver, but if he can settle into a long term role as the No. 2 guy behind Sterling Shepard or [insert someone not currently on the team] then he can be a great dynasty asset.

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs - WR50

To copy/paste what I wrote about Tyreek Hill: " Let's keep this simple: he's fast as hell and Patrick Mahomes is his quarterback." It's a little less simple when Hardman is fourth in the receiving pecking order behind Hill, Sammy Watkins, and tight end Travis Kelce, but Watkins probably isn't a Chief by 2021, giving us a chance to see Hardman in an expanded role then. Buy him now while he's still cheap.

Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins - WR58

The undrafted free agent in 2019 was on his way to a great rookie campaign before a torn ACL ended his season after eight games. But in those games, Williams caught 32 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns, teasing that he could be a solid starter in this league going forward. Even more impressive is that he did all this with 38.3 of his targets coming from Josh Rosen. (Williams was 8-for-23 with 106 yards off Rosen targets, versus 24-for-37 for 322 yards off Ryan Fitzpatrick targets.) Williams with consistent quarterback play can be a 1000-yard receiver.

Steven Sims Jr., Washington Redskins - WR91

Someone's got to break out here beside Terry McLaurin, right? I spent a lot of time thinking that someone might be Kelvin Harmon, but I've started to come around on it being Sims instead. I think a slot guy like Sims is more likely to carve out a usable role with Dwayne Haskins than another outside guy is, and also this tweet swayed me some as well:

Sims is going to be a safe option for Haskins, who's likely going to need to get the ball out quickly to the slot guy because he won't have time to let things develop downfield behind an offensive line that ranked 31st in adjusted sack rate last season.

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