Saddle up, PPR drafters! Here’s your all-inclusive reference for each tier of receivers throughout your draft.
We’re looking at how safe each receiver is, their potential upside (or lack thereof) and if they have a chance to jump up a tier in the receiver hierarchy or if they belong in the one below.
Snagging a receiver from one of the top tiers will give you a great base at the position and a leg-up against any owner who doesn’t have one. Yet if you fail to get a member of the top two tiers, don’t fret, but make sure you know who you’re targeting in tier three and beyond.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!
Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings
|Position Rank||Position Tier||Player Name||Overall Rank||Overall Tier|
|15||3||Odell Beckham Jr.||34||3|
|55||8||Henry Ruggs III||133||9|
|62||9||Michael Pittman Jr.||156||10|
|78||11||Laviska Shenault Jr.||201||12|
|128||13||Paul Richardson Jr.||464||19|
|154||13||Equanimeous St. Brown||511||20|
Thomas has been as consistently productive as you could ever want or expect from a wide receiver since entering the league in 2016. He’s missed just one game in four years and while he’s tallied over 90 receptions and more than 1,000 yards in each of his NFL seasons, it was last year where he really, really took a leap forward into elite territory.
Thomas led the league in both receptions (149) and receiving yards (1,725) in 2019, while adding nine touchdowns. As the clear focal point of a productive offense in New Orleans, Thomas is the clear Number 1 receiver on the board.
Adams, meanwhile, might be just as clear as the Number 2 receiver on the board. Like Thomas, Adams is the clear focal point of his team’s passing game and he has a quarterback who very much knows this and isn’t afraid to force the ball his way. Adams missed four games last year while dealing with turf toe and as a result, his season-long numbers from 2019 – 83 receptions, 997 yards and five touchdowns – don’t blow you away. However, just take a look one year back to 2018, when he caught 111 passes for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns and it’ll be clear what kind of upside he possesses.
Jones is the scariest member of this group for two reasons. First, he’s the oldest at 31 years of age and has a lot of wear and tear on him at this point. Second, he has an emerging young receiver on his team – Calvin Ridley, of course – who could continue to chip away at his target share.
The best version of Jones is a PPR dream. Look no further than his 2015 season where he caught 136 passes for 1,871 yards. However, that was five years ago and Jones has only topped 100 receptions in a season once since then. Last year, Jones caught 99 passes for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns. It’s reasonable to expect similar numbers this year, which would certainly validate his Tier 1 status, but he doesn’t have quite the upside anymore to reach the potential of Thomas and Adams.
Hill was on his way to becoming an elite fantasy receiver even before the emergence of Patrick Mahomes. But now that he’s catching passes from the league’s most dynamic quarterback, his fantasy value is even more substantial. In Mahomes’ 2018 breakout season, Hill caught 87 passes for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last year, Hill missed four games and the Chiefs’ offense as a whole wasn’t quite as electric as the previous season, resulting in Hill’s end of season numbers looking slightly underwhelming at 58 receptions for 860 yards and seven touchdowns.
Hill is no doubt more valuable in non-PPR than he is in PPR. His big play ability led to him averaging 17 yards per reception in 2018. As a comparison, Thomas averaged just 11.7 yards per reception last year. However, while Hill won’t lead the league or likely even finish amongst the top five or so in receptions, he’s likely to be right at the top of the league in both receiving yards and touchdowns and is still an elite, top tier target in PPR.
Right on the cusp of the top tier are two receivers in the midst of a situation change. Hopkins has the bigger one, heading from Houston to Arizona, while Godwin’s signal-caller has switch from the gun-slinging Jameis Winston to the all-time great Tom Brady.
Hopkins is certainly in a great situation to have success. There’s no doubt about that. It’s just a question of exactly how his success will be manifested in fantasy terms, essentially how it compares to his fantasy output in Houston. The Arizona passing game should be electric, but there may be some weeks where they’re able to flourish without the need to heavily incorporate Hopkins. If defenses focus on Hopkins, quarterback Kyler Murray might in turn look to Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald more, or even the team’s solid pass-catching running back Kenyan Drake. Hopkins will have big weeks and certainly some sturdy season-long numbers, but he may not have the remarkable consistency that the Tier 1 guys have.
Same goes for Godwin. All Winston jokes are welcome here, but the guy still threw for a whopping 5,109 passing yards last year. That’s a total that Brady has reached just once in his career and last year, Brady was under that clip by more than 1,000 yards. Brady will most likely top his total from 2019 this year if he stays healthy, given Tampa Bay’s pass-focused offense, but it’s still unlikely that he’ll reach Winston’s mark from 2019.
Godwin also has the Mike Evans factor. Evans has compiled over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his six NFL seasons and has averaged over 17 yards per reception the past two years. You could argue Evans is even the 1A to Godwin’s 1B. Godwin has the higher upside as he excelled in his first high-leverage season last year, catching 86 passes for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns over 14 games. However, overall, he’s a slight notch below Hopkins in this tier.
This is an exciting and extremely important group that could make or break any owner’s season.
Robinson, Evans and Thielen are the safest members of the group, but also have the lowest ceiling. As long as all three of them remain healthy, they should return a low-end WR1 or at least a high-end WR2 type of season.
Golladay and Kupp have a good degree of safety as well, but they also have significant upside.
Golladay has flourished since he first became Matthew Stafford’s clear No. 1 target in 2018 and there could still be some room to grow for him even after a remarkable year where he caught 65 passes for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s had a shade under 120 targets in each of the past two years. If that number can jump up to 130 or more, he could cement his place in Tier 2.
Kupp, meanwhile, received 134 targets in 2019, and wound up with 94 receptions for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns. Now that the Rams are without Brandin Cooks, Kupp should see even more of a target-share, which could propel him to his first 100-reception season.
Smith-Schuster, Cooper, Moore and Beckham are the toughest calls here.
With Ben Roethlisberger back under center, there’s really no good reason we shouldn’t be discussing Smith-Schuster as a potential top tier receiver this year just like we did last year. The only thing that’s changed is that we saw that things can get extremely messy for Smith-Schuster when Roethlisberger isn’t in the picture. A worst-case scenario was certainly ugly for Smith-Schuster, but a best case scenario is a top tier WR1.
Cooper had a great end of the year stats last season with 79 receptions, 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns. However, fantasy owners need to be very aware that Cooper has a knack for inconsistency. Nearly a fifth of his yards from last season came in one game, when he totaled 11 receptions for 226 yards against Green Bay. He was held under 25 receiving yards on four occasions – yes, you read that right. Plus, the presence of rookie first-round pick CeeDee Lamb could make things even more complicated for Cooper.
Moore broke out last year with 87 receptions for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns, despite the team relying on the uneven play of quarterback Kyle Allen through most of the season. This year, with Teddy Bridgewater under center, it’s hard to know exactly how good the Panthers passing game will look apart from the seamless beauty of a Christian McCaffrey dump-off. Moore should reach 1,000 yards again this year if he stays healthy, but don’t expect him to improve much upon his receptions from last year. If anything, he may end up falling a bit short of that clip this year.
As for Beckham, last year was a nightmare and he still managed a decent WR2 year at the end of the day with 74 receptions for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns. It’s hard to imagine this year being any worse for him if he stays healthy. He’s a solid target as your WR2.
Hopefully once you get to this point, you already have one or two players from the above three tiers.
If not, or if you have a risky player like Smith-Schuster, Cooper or Beckham, then you’ll want to go for some safety here. Look no further than Allen and Hilton, two safe and reliable PPR veterans who should be peppered with targets this year.
As for the two Seahawks in this group, Lockett is the safer bet than Metcalf in PPR. Metcalf has shown a lot of big-play potential and has a chance to end up with the better season overall, but Lockett is more likely to lead the Seahawks in targets and receptions.
Wood might be the steal of this group overall, due to both his safety and his upside potential. He caught 90 passes for 1,134 yards and two touchdowns last year. The low touchdown output was likely a fluke and there’s a chance he benefits more from the departure of Cooks than Cupp does. The fact that Woods is going about 10 picks after Cupp and could easily produce similar or better numbers than his teammate is an indication of his value here.
That leaves us with the four most volatile players from the group: Brown, Chark, Sutton and Parker.
Sutton was a breakout performer last year, catching 72 passes for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. But the team’s addition of the hyper-talented rookie Jerry Jeudy complicates matters for Sutton, as does the reliance on the still-developing arm of quarterback Drew Lock. Jeudy will certainly have games where he’s featured and expecting Lock to produce two sturdy fantasy receivers might be a risky practice.
Brown did his best Amari Cooper impression as a rookie, compiling 626 of his 1,051 total receiving yards in just five games while failing to top 30 receiving yards on six occasions. But if he finds more consistency, he could be a gem.
Chark and Parker are the two clear No. 1 receivers in questionable passing offenses. They’re both solid options as a WR2, but don’t expect either to take a leap into WR1 territory.
Despite the fact that he’s now 34 years old and won’t be catching passes from Tom Brady this year, there’s still a solid argument to make for Edelman as the top PPR option in this group. He had 153 targets last year and caught 100 passes for 1,117 yards and six touchdowns. While the signal-caller is new, the offense should generally function the same, which should mean a lot of short passes to the wily veteran.
Ridley, McLaurin, Boyd, and Brown are all extremely exciting in this group.
Brown has exceptional play-making abilities and projects as someone who is better in non-PPR than PPR, but he could still have room for PPR growth as his chemistry with Lamar Jackson grows.
Ridley and McLaurin are waiting outside the gate of fantasy stardom, but they’re locked out for now by, respectively, an elite receiver teammate soaking up targets and a shaky offense. The two had remarkably similar seasons last year, both with exactly 93 targets (Ridley missed three games, McLaurin missed two). As the clear No. 1 on his team, you’d think McLaurin has the higher upside overall, but due to the high-productivity of the Falcons offense, it isn’t quite that easy to declare that. Both are great options here.
Boyd, meanwhile, has developed into a PPR dream. He caught 90 passes on 148 targets this year and should be a reliable safety net for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow this year, giving him the chance to reach or improve on his reception total from last year.
Boyd’s teammate Green is the scariest member of this group. Last year, Green missed the entire season due to torn ligaments in his ankle, despite the fact that the injury was first projected to cost him only the start of the year. Fantasy owners will likely be hesitant to draft Green amongst this group, so you can avoid him as well and only grab him if he falls a bit further down.
Diggs and Landry both project to be low-end WR2 options in PPR. Now in Buffalo, Diggs won’t be plagued by the looming presence of Thielen, but he still won’t find himself peppered with targets in the way he may have been hoping for when he was discontent in Minnesota. Landry somewhat quietly out-produced his teammate Beckham last year, catching 83 of his 138 targets for 1,174 yards and six touchdowns. It’s unlikely he’ll outperform Beckham again, but he should still register a similar reception total.
Cooks vs Fuller is one of the most intriguing fantasy debates of the offseason and we barely have time to skin the surface of it here. The Texans will have an elite passing offense in 2020. You can count on that. However, it’s hard to project exactly how that will manifest itself in the week-to-week production of Cooks and Fuller. They’re both great options as your WR3, with Fuller getting a slight edge in my eyes due to his already-established rapport with quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The main thing that’s held Jones back the past few years has been injuries. When healthy, he’s been almost equally productive to his star teammate Golladay. However, with the 26-year-old Golladay in the heart of his prime and Jones, now 30, nearing the end of his, his per-game production should be starting to tail off.
Gallup is a bit of a risk here. He had 113 targets last year, up from 68 his rookie year, but it’s likely his 2020 target-share will fall somewhere between those two clips, primarily due to the presence of the team’s aforementioned rookie receiver Lamb.
Tate will be a factor in PPR leagues for as long as he maintains regular playing time on an NFL team. His upside is limited, but if you need safety as a WR3 or flex here, he’s a great option.
With PPR safety in mind, Sanders and Crowder would be next on the list.
The three rookies here – Lamb, Jeudy and Jefferson – are all more enticing in non-PPR, but that doesn’t mean that they have no value in PPR. The problem in PPR is that it’s hard to expect them to receive enough of a target share to warrant starting them every week, especially in a COVID-modified year that has led to a compromised offseason. They likely won’t be as well-groomed for the start of the year as they would have been with a normal offseason.
Kirk and Slayton stand out in this group as the two receivers who have the best chance of establishing themselves as must-start receivers. Kirk has the luxury of a high-end passing offense and Slayton has shown the ability to be a big play generator for a passing offense that’s on the rise.
Williams has been a much more enticing receiver in non-PPR since he first entered the league and this year, that may be even more of the case with the team’s shift from Philip Rivers to Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert.
Brown, meanwhile, is going to struggle to come close to his production from last year with the team’s addition of Diggs and is the riskiest member of this group overall.
Anthony Miller, Sterling Shepard, Diontae Johnson, Preston Williams, Deebo Samuel, Robby Anderson, N’Keal Harry, Breshad Perriman, Henry Ruggs III, Allen Lazard, Jalen Reagor, Brandon Aiyuk, Curtis Samuel, Sammy Watkins, DeSean Jackson, Michael Pittman Jr., Dede Westbrook, Parris Campbell, Mecole Hardman, Alshon Jeffery, Tee Higgins
Amidst these many names, the ones who have the best chance of being regular starters in non-PPR regardless of injuries on their team are Anthony Miller, Diontae Johnson, Deebo Samuel and Aiyuk.
Samuel is dinged a bit due to his broken foot that will cost him essentially the entire offseason and potentially the start of the season, but if he improves on his strong rookie campaign last year, you’ll be happy you drafted him. His teammate, Aiyuk, meanwhile, could reap the rewards of Samuel’s injury and step-in as the team’s No. 1. Drafting both players as a package is an intriguing hedge.
Miller had some strong showings late last season, which could suggest he’s cemented his place as the No. 2 for the Bears, a role that could certainly generate consistent fantasy production. Diontae Johnson, meanwhile, looks to be in a similar spot, as the No. 2 for a strong Steelers passing offense, taking up the role that his teammate Smith-Schuster flourished in while Antonio Brown was around.
The two Chiefs – Watkins and Hardman – are good boom/bust picks who could explode or implode any given week. Yet that boom/bust quality certainly makes them more enticing in non-PPR.
Reagor is extremely interesting as he seems to provide a unique skillset amidst the current Eagles receiving corps and could be a PPR specialist if he plays in the slot, which seems somewhat likely.
Harry, Perriman and Lazard all seem more apt for non-PPR, though Perriman could be the most likely one to find a high target-share and be equally valuable regardless of formats.
Shepard has shown flashes of PPR value, but the presence of both Tate and Slayton really complicates things for him.
Drafting both of the Colts – Pittman and Campbell – with late picks could be a favorable strategy to see if you can land a clear No. 1 receiver out of it.
As for everyone in this group and in lower tiers as well, consider the rest of the receivers you already drafted to help narrow down your selections. Handcuffing receivers isn’t essential, but it’s something worth considering, especially in deeper leagues. Drafting Lazard as insurance to Adams, or drafting Westbrook as insurance to Chark, for example.
A lot of the players from this tier and the tiers below will be constantly fluctuating between rosters and the waiver wire throughout the year. Don’t be too tied to anyone if you see someone else worth gambling on available.
Win Big With RotoBaller
Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:
More Fantasy Football Analysis
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.