As we continue to put together our base of operations in preparation for the 2020 season, we’re getting out rankings and tiers for dynasty formats. We’ve already covered the quarterbacks, running backs, and tight ends so far. If looking to go back and find our 2020 early season ranks and rookie class ranks prior to the NFL draft, you can find those in the main rankings hub. You can also find a look at long-running production and fantasy trends for the wide receiver position here.

Those early season ranks already have initial thoughts and nuggets on players regarding their 2020 outlooks, so I’m not going to double down on the same approach here. I encourage you to go check those out if you want to see my thoughts on a player heading into this upcoming season. Since there are so many wide receivers here, the tier writeups will be shorter than the other positions. 

Just for housekeeping purposes, some real quick methodology here that I am rolling over from the opening set of tiers and ranks. If you’re new to how I do tiers, they are not like most. I make my dynasty tiers based on a blend of age, fantasy performance, career arc, team situation, and fantasy archetype. There is a large overlap to actual player rankings, but there can be some discord where the tiers don’t specifically follow the rankings.

The purpose of tiers not being a carbon copy of player rankings is to spot a potential arbitrage situation and shop in different buckets based on how I want to build my team. Sometimes I may want a veteran starter based on where my current roster is, other times I may want to chase more youth and upside. The other reason for doing this is that while player ranks can change, the tiers largely do not. 

*Player Age = Age on 9/1/2020

Tier One

 WR1. Michael Thomas (Age: 27.5)
2. DeAndre Hopkins (28.2)
3. Davante Adams (27.7)

The top three wideouts are absolute target hogs that are versatile in every area while having high touchdown equity. Michael Thomas has finished a season no lower than WR7 in points per game in any of his first four seasons and alleviated some of our post-Drew Brees concerns by posting a 42-553-1 line in five games without Brees this season… DeAndre Hopkins has finished as the WR2, WR2, and WR5 in points per game over the past three seasons. Even trading Deshaun Watson for Kyler Murray, Hopkins still has the best quarterback among the top fantasy wideouts outside of Tyreek Hill…Davante Adams was the WR6 in points per game despite a “down” year that was limited from an early-season injury. Adams posted 75-917-7 over his final 10 games including the postseason on 33.1% of the team targets.

Tier Two

4. Tyreek Hill (26.5)
7. Odell Beckham (27.8)
10. Mike Evans (27.0)

All of these wideouts have multiple top-five scoring seasons in points per game while they are still in the apex age of production for proven performers. Tyreek Hill has been the WR35, WR3, and WR12 in points per game over the past three seasons. He carries some baggage but also attachment to the best quarterback in the league… A cocktail of changing teams, not playing up to par, playing through injuries and facing a rogues gallery of top corners made Odell Beckham one of the biggest disappointments in 2019. But in a down year, he still ranked as the WR12 in targets (133), the WR4 in end zone targets (13), the WR12 in expected points, and the WR8 in weighted opportunity rating… Mike Evans joined Randy Moss as the only wideouts in NFL history to clear 1K yards in each of their first six seasons. Evans is in a pass-heavy offense and has put up his career numbers so far playing with Josh McCown, Mike Glennon, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jameis Winston. 

Tier Three

5. Chris Godwin (24.5)
6. JuJu Smith-Schuster (23.8)
9. D.J. Moore (23.4)
12. A.J. Brown (23.2)

The precocious quartet of WR1 options. Given their age and production already, even with a down season, all can retain value. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a testament to that already. Chris Godwin has improved across the board in every category in each of his first three seasons. Playing in a slot role that has churned fantasy points at all of Bruce Arians’s stops, he may have to deal with a quarterback change in 2020…D.J. Moore had 87-1,175-4 in his second season. Only early-career bugaboo is lack of scoring opportunities with 10 total end zone targets through two seasons. He could also have a new quarterback in 2020, but it would almost certainly be an upgrade… We didn’t get any true answers on if Smith-Schuster can handle the attention of being a feature wideout given the collapse of the Steelers offense last and his injures… A.J. Brown was just the 18th rookie wideout to hit 1,000 yards in first season since the 1970 merger, which has some pretty strong company. But a 5-64-0 line on 10 targets over three postseason games is a reminder that you’re also betting in the identity of the Titans offense.

Tier Four

9. Amari Cooper (26.2)
11. Calvin Ridley (25.7)
14. Stefon Diggs (26.8)
15. Kenny Golladay (26.8)
16. Cooper Kupp (27.2)
17. Allen Robinson (27.4)
18. Keenan Allen (28.3)
20. Tyler Lockett (27.9)

Wideouts that have cleared their early twenties and given us strong fantasy output. Everyone here is capable of multiple WR1 seasons still, but not as young as the tier above and hasn’t yet shown the overall seasonal ceiling as the front two tiers.

Amari Cooper has gone over 1,000 yards in four of his first five seasons. Cooper is averaging 5.3 catches for 76.5 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game (16.2 PPR PPG) since joining the Cowboys…Calvin Ridley has been the WR22 and WR27 in overall scoring in his first two seasons. He averaged 17.8 PPR points per game after Mohamed Sanu was traded last season while Atlanta is losing another 97 targets in Austin Hooper and potentially another 70 targets from their team total if and when Devonta Freeman is released… Stefon Diggs is one of the most universally dynamic wideouts, being used in multiple roles and offenses so far and still delivering in each one. Playing with Josh Allen adds some potential for combustion, but Diggs played with four different starting quarterbacks in Minnesota. … both Kenny Golladay and Cooper Kupp are older than you’d anticipate since they were small school prospects, but each had 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019… Allen Robinson bounced back in 2019 with his first 1,000-yard season since 2015… Tyler Lockett averaged a career-high 5.1 receptions per game… Only Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins have more receptions than Keenan Allen among wideouts over the past three years. Allen will deal with his first season without Philip Rivers while he hasn’t scored more than six touchdowns in a season since his rookie year.

Tier Five

23. Julio Jones (31.6)

We still have a handful of viable veteran wideouts, but there’s no wide receiver with Julio Jones’s intersection of age, ceiling and expected opportunity for the immediate season — which is why he gets his own tier to himself. There’s nothing he can do this season to increase his dynasty value moving forward. He just had 99 catches for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns and fell over a round in current startup ADP compared to his closing ADP last September. But Jones hasn’t slowed down as of yet, posting at least 1,300 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons. He’s the primary veteran trade target for contending teams while he’s past the selling point of getting 100 cents on the dollar for the majority of teams that missed their window with him. 

Tier Six

13. Courtland Sutton (24.9)
19. D.K. Metcalf (22.7)
21. CeeDee Lamb (21.4)
22. Jerry Jeudy (21.4)
25. Michael Gallup (24.4)
26. Deebo Samuel (24.6)
27. Marquise Brown (23.2)
30. D.J. Chark (23.9)
31. Terry McLaurin (25.0)
32. Justin Jefferson (21.2)
35. Henry Ruggs (21.6)

Year 1-3 wide receivers that have the ceiling potential to deliver long-standing fantasy seasons at a high level, but also a touch of volatility. I already covered the top-four rookie wideouts expected to be first-round picks in this year’s draft…Courtland Sutton broke out (72-1,112-6) while playing with three quarterbacks, but was the WR38 or lower in four of his five games playing with Drew Lock…D.K. Metcalf matched or bested Tyler Lockett in targets in 10-of-18 games while leading the league in end zone targets (18) during the regular season…D.J. Chark also broke out (73-1,008-8) in year two, but was the WR40 in overall scoring Week 6-17… Terry McLaurin had 58-919-7 while scoring as the WR30 in points per game as a rookie. Five of his seven touchdowns came from Case Keenum. Dwayne Haskins is still a potential thorn while Washington should add receiving help this offseason… Marquise Brown had 46-584-7 while playing with a screw in his foot year one. Attachment to an offense that uses their wide receivers the least…Deebo Samuel led all wideouts in rushing yardage (159 yards with three touchdowns), he just needs more overall volume from the passing offense, averaging 5.9 targets per game over his final 12 games.

Tier Seven

24. Tyler Boyd (25.8)
28. Jarvis Landry (27.8)
29. Robert Woods (28.4)
33. Christian Kirk (23.8)
41. Sterling Shepard (27.6)
56. Anthony Miller (25.9)
58. Jamison Crowder (27.2)
61. Dede Westbrook (26.8)

Our primary slot wideouts still short of the age cliff for production. Tyler Boyd has been the WR19 and WR27 in points per game the past two seasons… Jarvis Landry has averaged at least 5.0 receptions per game in each of his first six NFL seasons… Robert Woods has been the WR13 and WR8 in expected points over the past two seasons… Christian Kirk didn’t quite break out in year two as hoped, but his receptions per game jumped to 5.2 in 2019…Jamison Crowder led the Jets with 122 targets while Robby Anderson could be leaving town and Sam Darnold could enter the season healthy.

Tier Eight

36. Adam Thielen (30.0)
40. T.Y. Hilton (30.8)
42. John Brown (30.4)
43. A.J. Green (32.1)
54. Julian Edelman (34.3)

The 30-plus lead wideout group.Adam Thielen gets a bump back to lead wideout status after the trade of Stefon Diggs, but Thielen also has had 69-866-9 over his past 18 games played… T.Y. Hilton’s two worst fantasy seasons have come without Andrew Luck, but a  pairing with Philip Rivers will be a significant upgrade over Jacoby Brissett while he should dominate the team target opportunities… A.J. Green has never finished lower than WR17 in points per game in any of the seasons he’s played, but Green has missed 29 games since the 2015 season… Julian Edelman has been the WR6, WR11, and WR5 in targets per game over his past three seasons, but age and the loss of Tom Brady make him a fleeting fantasy asset.

Tier Nine

34. Mike Williams (25.9)
37. DeVante Parker (27.6)
38. Robby Anderson (27.3)
39. Tee Higgins (21.6)
48. Will Fuller (26.4)
49. Curtis Samuel (24.1)
55. James Washington (24.4)

The vertical, deep-ball wideouts that are still in the apex range for production. Mike Williams is going from negative touchdown regression to the positive end of the spectrum. His targets, receptions, and yards all took a step forward last season, but will have to deal with the pending quarterback change… DeVante Parker turned in the rare fifth-year breakout in 2019 and showed actually WR1 upside… Robby Anderson has given us pockets of strong fantasy production while playing with pedestrian quarterback play. Hopefully, he lands in a spot with an established one…This where I see Tee Higgins being used out of the box in the NFL, as a downfield and red zone target.

Tier Ten

45. Mecole Hardman (22.5)
46. Diontae Johnson (24.2)
50. Darius Slayton (23.6)
53. Preston Williams (23.4)
65. Hunter Renfrow (24.7)
69. Steven Sims (23.4)

These are the rookie wideouts that gave us pockets of production in their first NFL season that we’re looking to take another step forward in year two. With no wideouts here being attached to first-round draft capital, we still need to see who from this group can avoid being this season’s Dante Pettis. 

Tier 11

44. Brandin Cooks (26.9)
63. Sammy Watkins (27.2)
64. Corey Davis (25.6)

No. Mans. Land. None of these guys really fit a particular bucket except for together. We all want to believe they are buy lows, but things are sketchy. Brandin Cooks is the one player here with extended fantasy success after having five straight 1,000-yard seasons to start his career prior to last season’s evaporated role and continued concussion concerns… Sammy Watkins hasn’t reached 700 yards in a season since 2015 and just had arguably his best opportunity for production a year ago… Corey Davis owners are holding on for a DeVante Parker-esque breakout, which is hard to latch onto after falling behind A.J. Brown in year three.

Tier 12

51. Denzel Mims (22.9)
52. Jalen Reagor (21.7)
59. Brandon Aiyuk (22.5)
60. Laviska Shenault (21.9)
62. Tyler Johnson (22.0)
66. Bryan Edwards (21.8)
70. Gabriel Davis (21.4)
71. Michael Pittman (22.9)
73. K.J. Hamler (21.1)
74. Devin Duvernay (23.0)
77. Chase Claypool (22.2)
91. Antonio Gibson (22.2)
92. Antonio Gandy-Golden (22.4)
93. Donovan Peoples-Jones (21.5)
94. Isaiah Hodgins (21.9)
113. Joe Reed (N/A)
114. Quez Watkins (N/A)
115. Lynn Bowden (22.9)
116. Quintez Cephus (22.4)

The non-elite tier of wide receiver prospects from this upcoming draft class. Draft capital investment will shake up some of the order, but we’ve covered all of these rookie wideouts pre-draft in the rookie rankings. I placed this tier higher than the next tier because in startups that include rookies, you’ll be enticed often to try the next new thing over hoping the trail of breadcrumbs in the next group leads you to a breakout.

Tier 13

47. N’Keal Harry (22.7)
67. Miles Boykin (23.9)
68. Parris Campbell (23.1)
72. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (23.7)
78. Andy Isabella (23.8)
83. Jalen Hurd (24.6)
84. Auden Tate (23.6)
85. Dante Pettis (24.9)
86. Tre’Quan Smith (24.7)
87. Allen Lazard (24.7)
96. DaeSean Hamilton (25.5)
97. Hakeem Butler (24.5)
99. Josh Reynolds (25.5)
100. Keke Coutee (23.6)
106. Scott Miller (23.1)
110. Jakobi Meyers (23.8)
117. Russell Gage (24.6)
118. Olamide Zaccheaus (23.1)
119. Justin Watson (25.4)

This tier is made up of young wideouts still playing on their first contract, but have yet to get out of the starting blocks. It’s a group that we’re still holding out hope for in terms of a first contract breakout while they continue to simmer on rosters. As D.J. Chark showed last season, we want to give our young wideouts a touch of breathing room on that first contract even if they don’t produce right away, but every year that passes the window closes just a bit more. Third-year players here have shown a flicker of fantasy potential already, but haven’t gotten that spark to ignite. The most appealing player in this group is N’Keal Harry. Harry didn’t take the field until Week 11 of his rookie season and managed just 12 catches on 24 targets for 105 yards (8.8 Y/R) with two scores while active. An unknown quarterback situation clouds his breakout potential, but the only true threat on the depth chart currently is a 34-year-old receiver.

Tier 14

57. Marvin Jones (30.5)
80. Alshon Jeffery (30.5)
81. Golden Tate (32.1)
88. DeSean Jackson (33.8)
89. Emmanuel Sanders (33.5)
90. Cole Beasley (31.3)
107. Randall Cobb (30.0)
108. Mohamed Sanu (31.0)
109. Larry Fitzgerald (37.0)

Our tier of golden oldies. These wideouts past the age cliff of 30 entering 2020 can still be fantasy relevant short term and provide some roster glue on contending teams. 

Tier 15

75. Kenny Stills (28.4)
76. Breshad Perriman (27.0)
79. John Ross (25.8)
82. Tyrell Williams (28.6)
95. Devin Funchess (26.3)
98. Chris Conley (27.9)
101. Nelson Agholor (27.3)
102. Demarcus Robinson (25.9)
103. Zach Pascal (25.7)
104. Adam Humphries (27.2)
105. Duke Williams (27.3)
111. Kendrick Bourne (25.1)
112. Albert Wilson (28.1)
120. Keelan Cole (27.4)

Bringing our wide receiver journey to a close, this final grouping are guys who have yet to hit the point of no return on the age spectrum, but also have never found their footing as consistent fantasy contributors over the front portion of their careers.