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!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!
Dynasty WR Rankings
|Position Rank||Position Tier||Player Name||Overall Rank||Overall Tier|
|12||2||Odell Beckham Jr.||5||23|
|44||6||Henry Ruggs III||13||89|
|49||6||Laviska Shenault Jr.||14||107|
|55||7||Michael Pittman Jr.||14||116|
|82||9||Lynn Bowden Jr.||19||195|
|156||14||Equanimeous St. Brown||24||370|
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:
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:
PPR points per snaps in 2019 (per PFF)— JerryDonabedian (@JerryDonabedian) May 14, 2020
1. Michael Thomas (0.4)
2. Julio Jones (0.34)
3. Tyreek Hill (0.33)
4. Steven Sims (0.33) 👀
5. A.J. Brown (0.32)
6. Hunter Renfrow (0.31) 👀
7. Davante Adams (0.31)
8. Cooper Kupp (0.31)
9-11. Amari Cooper, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans (0.29)
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.
More Dynasty League Strategy
Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.