Wide receiver is usually one of the deepest positions for fantasy owners. Often, rosters have at least three starting wide receiver spots, so drafting at least one solid wideout is important. This also is a position where fantasy owners can gamble on players in the later rounds or the lower tiers. Sometimes rookies who are drafted later pan out to be solid fantasy options as the season goes on.
— Tiers by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
These are the top-tier, elite receivers in the league. They have proven themselves and are no-brainer starting receivers each week. If you can grab one of these guys in the early rounds, you should be happy with your WR1. Pair him up with a few others, and you will have easy lineup decisions, for a few weeks anyway.
1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
At 27 years old, on an offense that loves to throw the ball, and coming off of a record-breaking season, Thomas is the top-ranked wide receiver and the definition of elite. He had 10 games in 2019 with more than 100 receiving yards — and that was without Drew Brees for some of them. Thomas hasn't had double-digit touchdowns yet, but 2020 might be the year for that.
2. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
The change of scenery for Hopkins should do him good. The Cardinals want to pass the ball, and Kyler Murray can certainly sling it downfield. This pair should be able to connect and boost each other's fantasy value compared to last year. It's hard to predict without seeing them before the season starts, but all signs point to Hopkins maintaining his status as a top-tier receiver.
3. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill and Patrick Mahomes work well together, as long as Hill can stay healthy. In 2019, he did deal with injuries that brought his numbers down a bit. However, in looking at his 2018 numbers, he can easily reach 1,500 receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns again. Assuming health, Hill is an elite WR1.
4. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
While Adams' 2019 year was not quite as spectacular as his 2018 season, he still clearly connected with Aaron Rodgers. Adams did deal with a toe injury that cost him four games, but it affected him when he was on the field as well. He ended with just under 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. Expect more than that in 2020.
5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones' 2019 season was a down year for him, but he's still just 31. With Calvin Ridley in the picture, Jones has to share a bit more. However, Matt Ryan can certainly utilize both receivers, and defenses aren't going to know who to cover. The problem for Jones' fantasy owners has been touchdowns — he hasn't had double-digit touchdowns in a season since 2012. However, his 100-plus yard games still keep him in the elite group.
The wide receivers in Tier 2 round out the WR1s, at least entering the season. Obviously this will change from week to week, but overall, these are the receivers that have a solid role on their team and have proven themselves in the past. They aren't the elite guys in the top tier, but they are top options. These players will likely fall into the second round and later on draft day, but grabbing them will help your team succeed.
6. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Godwin broke out in 2019, with 1,333 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He is now going to be paired with Tom Brady, and the duo should be productive. As this offense develops, expect Godwin to be a large part of the passing game.
7. DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers
Moore showed what he is capable of in 2019, and he can continue to build upon that with Teddy Bridgewater under center. With a solid quarterback, Moore should improve upon his 1,175 receiving yards and four touchdowns. The Panthers need more than Christian McCaffrey if they are going to be successful on offense, so they will certainly need more (pun intended) from their third-year wideout.
8. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
The touchdowns are what stick out for Golladay in 2019. He had 11 touchdowns and 1,190 receiving yards. He's the top receiving option in Detroit, and, with Geronimo Allison opting out this season, he has less competition for targets. The team is going to need Golladay to step up and he is capable of doing so. Either way, the touchdowns are what are going to appeal to his fantasy owners.
9. Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears
Fairly quietly, Robinson had seven touchdowns and nearly 1,200 receiving yards in 2019. The Bears were not the best team for fantasy production, and their quarterback situation for 2020 is murky at best. However, if Nick Foles starts, he and Robinson certainly can connect, as Foles' arm is arguably better than Mitchell Trubisky's.
10. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
Ridley's 2019 season was cut short with an abdomen issue, but he still put together a very nice campaign. He ended with 866 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. As Julio Jones gets older (and is often injured), Ridley's time to shine is coming. Having Jones on the field actually helps Ridley as it means defenses have to game plan for both receivers.
11. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
Cooper is only 26 and looked good when playing for the Cowboys in 2019. He did suffer some injuries, which hurt his numbers a bit, but he ended the season with nearly 1,200 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Both of those numbers are career highs. Cooper should remain the focal point in the Cowboys' passing game in 2020.
12. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Last season was a rough one for Smith-Schuster, but part of that could have been because Ben Roethlisberger missed nearly all of the season. Smith-Schuster has the ability to be a WR1, but he has to show it consistently and stay on the field. He is poised for a rebound in 2020.
The receivers in this tier are solid WR2s that could easily be a WR1 in any given week. Adam Thielen has the potential to be an elite receiver, but after an injury-riddled 2019, it's hard to trust him in that category. A.J. Brown had a promising rookie season, and if he can build on that, may end up in a higher tier in the future — or even later this season.
13. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
The touchdowns haven't been there for Woods, but the yards have over the past two seasons. He had just over 1,200 yards in 2018 and just under that number in 2019. However, he only had two touchdowns last year. Brandin Cooks is gone, and Woods appears to be the lead receiver, with Cooper Kupp playing the slot. Woods should see plenty of targets and get the opportunities to succeed in 2020.
14. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
With Stefon Diggs gone, Thielen's value is raised. However, fantasy owners burned by his injuries last season may still be a little wary. He played in only 10 games and had 418 receiving yards. His six touchdowns (and all but 27 of his yards) all came within the first seven weeks of the season. Thielen really didn't play once he injured his hamstring, and it was frustrating for fantasy owners. If healthy, he should bounce back in 2020.
15. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
In his rookie year, Brown connected with Ryan Tannehill and ended the season with more than 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. Tannehill is back for 2020, and Brown should improve in his sophomore year. The team is lacking other proven pass catchers, so Brown should not lack for targets.
16. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Similar to the situation in Atlanta, Evans is a solid wide receiver, but younger, speedier Chris Godwin is slowly taking over as the top option. The other factor working against Evans is that Tom Brady is his quarterback. While that shouldn't be a negative, it may be harder for Brady to get the ball to Evans than Godwin. Both receivers are going to be fantasy assets, but Godwin is ranked higher.
17. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
In 2019, Beckham didn't put together the season in Cleveland that fantasy owners had wanted. To be fair, Beckham may not have been at full strength for the duration of the season, as he underwent core surgery in January to repair a hip and groin issue he dealt with throughout. There are still some questions about the chemistry between Beckham and Baker Mayfield, but assuming he stays healthy, OBJ should be able to improve upon the 1,035 receiving yards and four touchdowns he produced last season.
18. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
In each of the past three seasons, Allen has played all 16 games and has topped 1,000 yards. He's also only had six touchdowns in each season. However, this year he doesn't get to play with Philip Rivers. Rather, it will likely be Tyrod Taylor in Week 1 and rookie Justin Herbert coming in at some point in the future. The uncertainty at quarterback is what lowers Allen's value.
19. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Kupp played like an excellent slot receiver and PPR player in 2019. He had 94 receptions for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had five games with more than 100 yards. He and Jared Goff clearly work well together, as he is not only a top check-down option, but also a red-zone target. Kupp should continue to help fantasy owners in 2020.
20. Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
Sutton had more than 1,000 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2019. It was certainly an improvement on his rookie year, and it shows that he is certainly capable of being in the WR1 mix for fantasy. However, the addition of Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler in the draft keeps Sutton from being ranked higher for 2020.
The players in this tier are just low WR2/high WR3s. These are players who can easily fill a second wide receiver slot, but they are known to have great games and then games where they post a 3/30/0 stat line. Injury concerns also keep some guys in this tier, rather than a tier above. T.Y. Hilton, as an example, is only 30 but can't seem to stay on the field over the past two seasons. If he can stay healthy, he's clearly higher than a WR3.
21. DJ Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
22. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
23. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
24. Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team
25. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
26. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
27. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
28. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
29. Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
30. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
31. Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
The first rookies appear in this tier, as it often is hard (but not impossible) for one to have immediate success in the NFL. CeeDee Lamb may start behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, but he certainly can make his presence known. Jerry Jeudy has a clearer path to playing time, with just Courtland Sutton ahead of him on the depth chart, but without a true preseason, rookies may have a more difficult time finding chemistry with their new quarterback.
32. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
33. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
34. Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
35. Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions
36. Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins
37. Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
38. Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
39. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
40. Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans
41. Darius Slayton, New York Giants
42. Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
(Jerry Jeudy photo by Gabriel Christus, courtesy of denverbroncos.com)
Players in this tier are those that will be drafted to be a bench player or maybe a third receiver on a fantasy team. Deebo Samuel was in position to be ranked much higher, but he suffered a foot injury in June that required surgery. The injury is one that is not easy to recover from quickly, especially for a wide receiver. He will likely miss some time this season, and because of that is in a lower tier.
43. Will Fuller V, Houston Texans
44. Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
45. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
46. John Brown, Buffalo Bills
47. Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
48. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
49. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
50. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
51. Golden Tate, New York Giants
52. Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears
53. Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans Saints
This tier contains a fair amount of rookies. Jalen Reagor has the potential to become a reliable fantasy option given the veterans currently ahead of him — Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson — both have trouble staying on the field. Henry Ruggs III was a popular pick in dynasty leagues more than redraft formats, but if he does manage to start in the slot, he might be a popular option in PPR leagues. Brandon Aiyuk will have an opportunity depending on how much time Deebo Samuel has to miss. This is the "potential" tier.
54. Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles
55. Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders
56. Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers
57. Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
58. Breshad Perriman, New York Jets
59. Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
60. N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots
61. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
62. Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
63. Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts
(Jalen Reagor photo by Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles, courtesy of philadelphiaeagles.com)
While the players in the last tier have "potential," this tier is made up of those that have played and are either at the end of their career (Larry Fitzgerald) or have shown us that there may not be a lot of upside. Players like Kenny Stills, for example, are guys that just haven't developed into the players that fantasy owners hoped for.
64. Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
65. Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts
66. Antonio Brown, Free Agent
67. Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers
68. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
69. Kenny Stills, Houston Texans
70. Tyrell Williams, Las Vegas Raiders
71. Denzel Mims, New York Jets
72. Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders
73. Randall Cobb, Houston Texans
Most fantasy owners are done drafting their team before they reach the players in this tier. However, some of these wide receivers may end up becoming fantasy relevant. Andy Isabella is someone that is not high on the depth chart currently but has a path to fantasy relevance. Players like these are the ones that fantasy owners keep an eye on and often pick up as the season progresses.
74. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
75. Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams
76. James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers
77. John Ross III, Cincinnati Bengals
78. Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers
79. Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills
80. Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
81. Mohamed Sanu Sr., New England Patriots
82. Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals
The last tier is composed of players who are late-round, dart-throw picks or guys to consider in deeper formats. If there are 16 teams in your league or you have to start five receivers, these are players to look at as they might have potential. Depending on injuries and how well they perform, they may have value... or they may find their way to the waiver wire after a few weeks.
83. Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions
84. Chris Conley, Jacksonville Jaguars
85. Javon Wims, Chicago Bears
86. Myles Boykin, Baltimore Ravens
87. Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers
88. Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans
89. Antonio Gandy-Golden, Washington Football Team
90. Jalen Hurd, San Francisco 49ers
91. Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints
92. Steven Sims Jr., Washington Football Team
93. Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons
94. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
95. Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts