Depending on the format of your fantasy football league, you may need to stock up on wide receivers. Often, standard formats have two running backs but three wide receivers. A WR also can be used in a flex spot, which in PPR formats, is usually the way to go to get the most points from the position. Wide receiver is usually a fairly deep position, but it also is often a gamble to guess which player will get the most targets on their team.
These three players are at the top of their game – and the top of the wide receiver rankings. They are nearly a sure bet to go over 1,000 yards and put together double-digit touchdowns. As the tiers drop, so do the touchdowns. Quarterbacks have receivers that they trust and those are who they get the ball to as often as possible. That's why you see these three guys heading up this list.
1. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
At 27 years old, Hopkins is the top receiver heading into 2019. Obviously, plenty might disagree, but he is absolutely in the top tier. He consistently has 1,000-yard seasons and has recorded at least 11 TD catches in three of the past four seasons. He's proven he can catch the ball regardless of who is throwing to him. He's on a team with a great quarterback and a not-as-great running game. The stars are aligning for another elite WR1 season for Nuk.
2. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Some may argue that with Aaron Rodgers, Adams should be No. 1. It's a fair argument, and he's obviously in the top tier for that reason. Rodgers wants to get Adams the ball; Adams has success when he gets the ball. He had 169 targets last year (second in the league) and he caught 111 of them for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns. The TD total is what vaults him into this top tier and that should continue in 2019.
3. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas got his deal in July to make him the highest-paid wide receiver in the league (for now). He's played three seasons and has improved upon his receiving numbers each year. With nine touchdowns in both 2018 and his rookie year, he may reach double digits this year. He had a little more than 1,400 yards with 125 receptions last year and is a great fantasy WR1.
The wide receivers in Tier 2 are excellent options that will easily fill the No. 1 WR slot on your fantasy roster. These players just have something holding them back from being in the top tier, whether that be a new team, age, or quarterback. These players are solid WR1s and should be drafted in the very early rounds on draft day.
4. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill is not suspended, and therefore immediately slides in as a WR1 for fantasy purposes. He reunites with Patrick Mahomes, and the pair should continue to light up the field. Hill had 12 touchdowns last year and 1,479 receiving yards. He's fast and Mahomes trusts him; he'll get plenty of opportunities this year. Hill did suffer a thigh injury in practice, but it was simply a bruise. He'll be fine for the start of the season.
5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones is 30 years old, but he still is a top wide receiver. The only concern for fantasy owners is a lingering foot injury that seems to have plagued him not only last season but into this summer. It's something to keep an eye on, but assuming he's healthy, Jones should be good for another 100-plus catches. In 2017, his touchdowns seemed to disappear, but he bounced back with eight last season.
6. Odell Beckham, Jr., Cleveland Browns
ODB has moved on from the Giants. He's in Cleveland with Baker Mayfield and seems to be content for now. He's 26 and while plenty of drama has followed him around, he should be able to connect with Mayfield and play the role he's wanted to play on a team that can get him the ball. Beckham's best season with the Giants was 2015 (1,450 receiving yards, 13 TDs). He likely won't quite get to those numbers again with the other options in Cleveland, but it's certainly something to strive for.
7. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown is gone, and it's officially the JuJu Smith-Schuster show in Pittsburgh. He had more than 1,400 receiving yards and seven touchdowns alongside Brown last season. This is his chance to exceed that. Ben Roethlisberger still is flinging the ball around with ease, and Smith-Schuster has the talent to be an elite wide receiver. It will be a test to see how he does now that defenses will have to focus on him, but he should be drafted as a WR1.
The wide receivers in this tier are the grouping of low WR1/high WR2. This group is interchangeable, in that some of the low WR1s may finish as WR2s and the WR2s may find their way into the WR1 category. These are players that have had great seasons, but have dealt with changing teams or injuries, which take the out of the first two tiers.
8. Antonio Brown, Oakland Raiders
Brown is currently suffering from frostbite as a result of cryotherapy on his feet. He had the treatment in Europe, and clearly there was an issue with the way this was done. He's only expected to miss about three weeks, so he should be okay for the start of the season. However, this does mean that Brown will not be able to get valuable reps in with Derek Carr or any preseason action. His talent leaves him in the WR1 discussion.
9. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After Evans got hurt at the end of July, the Bucs and fantasy owners were a little bit scared. However, it was determined that the “injury” was simply cramps and he's fine. Evans will be paired once again with Jameis Winston after putting up a career high in total yards. His touchdown totals were down in 2018, but he's still a WR1.
10. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Touchdowns have consistently been an issue for Allen. He had eight in his 2013 rookie season. Since then, he hasn't had more than six. In the past two seasons, he's had about 100 receptions in each. He had about 200 fewer receiving yards in 2018 but fantasy owners should expect about 1,300 yards and six touchdowns — enough to be valued as a low WR1 on a week-to-week basis.
11. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Thielen was putting together an incredible yardage streak in 2018: eight games in a row with 100 or more. He faltered in Week 9, but saved that week with a touchdown catch. The second half of his season paled in comparison to how he started, but fantasy owners were spoiled. Odds are he's not going to have a season like that again. However, the potential is there, and he is a threat in the red zone (nine TDs in 2018).
12. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Hilton admitted he was playing through a high ankle sprain at the end of last season. However, in the last seven games of the regular season, he had four games with 100-plus yards. His playoff performance wasn't as solid, so the ankle was an issue then. He's had plenty of time to rest the ankle and should be healthy for Week 1. He only had six touchdowns last year (his career high is seven), so without the big yardage, he slips into WR2 territory.
13. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
In six games in Oakland last year, Cooper had one touchdown. In nine games in Dallas, he had six. Something clicked for him with the Cowboys, whether it was the team, the environment, or the quarterback. Either way, he returns to Dallas for 2019 to play out the season with hopes of getting a new contract. At 25 years old, he should be able to connect with Dak Prescott and have a solid fantasy year.
14. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
Diggs had career highs in receiving yards (1,021), receptions (102), and touchdowns (9) in 2018. Even with Adam Thielen in the picture, both wide receivers have fantasy value. Some weeks Diggs will have a better game; some weeks it will be Thielen. However, with Dalvin Cook injured, the team needed to lean on their passing attack. This year, Cook is healthy, but both receivers will remain on the WR1/WR2 cusp.
This tier rounds out the rest of the WR2s. These players (all of the Los Angeles Rams starting wide receivers plus three more) are those that will get you solid fantasy points over the course of the season. These players are likely to have some off games which will be a disappointment, but by the end of the year (assuming health), all should put up respectable point totals.
15. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
In PPR formats, Edelman is a solid WR2. He doesn't usually catch many touchdowns (six in 2018 with a career high of seven). However, he makes up for it in receptions. Last year, he had 98 that went for a little more than 1,100 yards. Volume is what makes him so valuable. The Patriots are going to pass the ball, and as Tom Brady gets older, he's going to look for his trusty slot receiver.
16. Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams
Cooks is the highest-ranked Rams receiver, but this passing attack is strong enough to support all three as WR2s. Cooks had 1,204 receiving yards last year and five touchdowns. That is a low touchdown number for him, but a career high in receiving yards. In 2019, he should continue to dominate as one of Jared Goff's favorite receivers. The other two receivers will take away targets, but Cooks should still get plenty of looks.
17. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
Woods came to life last year after failing to thrive in Buffalo for four years. After putting together a breakthrough season in 2017 (in fewer games played compared to '16), Woods shattered those numbers last season with 1,219 yards and six touchdowns. Woods had slightly more receiving yards than Brandin Cooks and that pattern should continue in 2019. Both receivers should get plenty of chances.
18. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
Golladay missed Week 17 with a chest injury and he apparently still had that issue in May, but no one is worried about him heading into 2019. With five touchdowns and 1,000-plus yards, he isn't quite Calvin Johnson yet, but he's making a name for himself in the Lions offense. Golladay is still young – he's 25 and this is only his third season in the league – and he is making strides each year. He's a solid WR2 in 2019.
19. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The reports from the coaches paint Godwin's 2019 season in a very positive light. They have made mention of getting him 100 catches (he had 59 in 2018) and comparing him to Larry Fitzgerald (in terms of the role he could play). It seems that Godwin will play in both the slot and the outside, both of which he's done before. The team is looking to get him the ball, which means good things for fantasy owners.
20. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Kupp appeared ready for a breakout season in 2018 until he tore his ACL in Week 10. He already had more touchdowns (six) than he did in 2017. He manned the slot and caught plenty of short balls. He had 40 receptions through eight games. While Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are going to have higher yardage games, Kupp has more value in PPR formats. He is more likely to see short passes, but he certainly still has opportunities to get in the end zone.
The Tier 5 wide receivers are those who barely make the cut as WR2s but are the safest in the WR3 group. These players may have some injury concerns (Green) or competition concerns. They are players that are certainly going to have weeks where they finish with WR1 numbers, but they are also going to have weeks where they don't give you double-digit fantasy points.
21. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
22. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
23. DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers
24. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
25. Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
26. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
27. Robby Anderson, New York Jets
This group of players has talent. These are WR3s and will be drafted to be starters in many fantasy football leagues. Landry is a PPR asset, even with Odell Beckham Jr. on the team. Kirk is someone that has received a lot of buzz and may break out this year in Arizona. Or, he may be one of those players like Westbrook that everyone thinks is on the verge of breaking out but never does.
28. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
29. Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
30. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
31. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
32. Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
33. Will Fuller, Houston Texans
34. Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers
35. Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
The wide receivers in Tier 7 are the end of the WR3 group. Most of these players are the second and third wide receivers on their teams. They may have more opportunities if someone ahead of them on the depth chart goes down, but it's hard to draft someone with that in mind. Some of these players have been in the league long enough to know that the breakout season just isn't coming and this is about where they will be ranked.
36. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
37. Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions
38. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
39. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
40. Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers
41. Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears
42. Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
43. Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers
44. Keke Coutee, Houston Texans
Tier 8 has some potentially great players. D-Jax has supposedly looked great working with Carson Wentz. John Brown has made a name for himself in Buffalo already. James Washington should be the No. 2 to JuJu Smith-Schuster's No. 1, and the No. 2 in Pittsburgh is a great spot to be. Rookie Parris Campbell is one of the favorites from the 2019 draft class to make a fantasy impact this year. This is a group with potential — but also risk.
45. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
46. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
47. John Brown, Buffalo Bills
48. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
49. Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
50. Donte Moncrief, Pittsburgh Steelers
51. James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers
52. Devin Funchess, Indianapolis Colts
53. Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts
54. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons
As you get to Tier 9, these are players that are going to be drafted in most fantasy leagues, but not until the later rounds. You'll see some rookies in here, and some of these guys may have a great season. Metcalf is already looking good in Seattle, but it is hard to tell until they actually play in a game. Tate should be ranked higher, but he is facing a four-game suspension. Some of these players may end up as solid WR3s by the middle of the season.
55. Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders
56. Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints
57. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
58. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
59. N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots
60. Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
61. Golden Tate, New York Giants
62. David Moore, Seattle Seahawks
63. Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins
64. Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars
65. Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys
66. Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals
(Photo by Rod Mar, courtesy of www.seahawks.com)
By Tier 10, the pickings are getting slim. These are guys that fantasy owners have heard of, but players that have been passed over in earlier rounds of the draft – for good reason. All of these guys will likely have one good game, but that game will be when they are on most people's benches.
67. Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns
68. Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
69. John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals
70. Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers
71. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
72. Robert Foster, Buffalo Bills
73. DaeSean Hamilton, Denver Broncos
74. Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills
In Tier 11, the wide receivers are late-round dart throws. These are players that a fantasy owner thinks might be good this year. Or, they may have drafted Ginn in his heyday and think he still has it in the tank this year. These players are not likely to become a starting WR in most formats, but they might be able to fill in for a week or two as needed.
75. Trey Quinn, Washington Redskins
76. Miles Boykin, Baltimore Ravens
77. Ted Ginn Jr., New Orleans Saints
78. Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets
79. Willie Snead, Baltimore Ravens
80. Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
81. Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans
82. Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders
The last tier is made up of guys that are only being drafted in very deep leagues. These are the leagues that start four or more wide receivers (or have 20 teams) and the fantasy owners need to find guys to plug into their roster with the hope of getting a few points in any given week.
83. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
84. Albert Wilson, Miami Dolphins
85. Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills
86. Antonio Callaway, Cleveland Browns
87. D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
88. Phillip Dorsett, New England Patriots
89. Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins
90. Keesean Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
— Tiers compiled 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.