As we are rolling along this offseason, we are laying the groundwork for early best ball drafts, new dynasty startups and everything else under the fantasy sun as we gear up for the next NFL season. The league’s landscape is going to shift a lot through free agency and the NFL draft, but we are starting that early outlook at the ground floor with positional ranks.
These will move and be updated throughout the offseason (and I surely will have a lot more to say on players as we move on) so keep tabs on them through the spring as we digger in depth as rosters change and schedules are released. After wide receivers bounced back in 2020, we continued to see the depth at the position and the volume of contributors in that fantasy production continue to rise. With that, we are diving into the initial rankings for wide receivers.
Wide Receiver Rankings
1. Davante Adams: Adams turned in one of the best fantasy campaigns for a wideout on a per game basis. His 25.6 PPR points per game were the most for a wideout since Jerry Rice in 1995 (25.9) while Adams’s 17.4 standard points per game were the most for a wideout since Randy Moss in 2007 (17.9).
2. Tyreek Hill: Hill has been a WR1 on a per game basis in each of the past four seasons. Coming off his third season over that stretch as a top-5 scorer per game, Hill scored a career-high 17 touchdowns in 2020 while receiving a career-high 9.0 targets per game.
3. Stefon Diggs: A chameleon that has adapted to multiple NFL roles, quarterbacks, and schemes, Diggs’s first season in Buffalo could not have gone better as he led the league with 127 receptions and 1,535 receiving yards. Diggs was the only wide receiver to score double-digit PPR points in every game played this season while he caught at least six passes in every game but one.
4. DeAndre Hopkins: Hopkins reeled in 115 passes for 1,407 yards in his first season in Arizona. With just six touchdowns, only 12.5% of the PPR points Hopkins scored came via touchdown production, the lowest rate of all top-12 scoring wideouts. Hopkins has been a top-5 scoring wideout per game in each of the past four seasons and in five of the past six.
5. A.J. Brown: After a strong close to his rookie season, Brown played 14 games through injury as a hyper-efficient player once again. Brown was the WR6 in points per game (17.7) despite ranking 23rd among wideouts in targets per game (7.6) and 27th in receptions per game (5.0). The early stages are set this offseason for Brown to be given a chance for a significant target spike to match some of his peers with Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and Adam Humphries all leaving Tennessee.
6. D.K. Metcalf: Metcalf improved on his rookie season line (58-900-7) across the board in 2020 (83-1,303-10). He finished fifth in yards per team pass attempt (2.31 yards). While strong in bulk, Metcalf went the same route as Russell Wilson, turning in a monster first half of the season (43-788-8) through eight games and then cooled off a bit down the back half (40-515-2). Metcalf and Wilson are a perfect pair, so Seattle keeping Wilson is paramount.
7. Calvin Ridley: Ridley has gone from the WR28 to WR19 to WR4 in points per game over the start of his career as his targets (5.8-7.2-9.5), receptions (4.0-4.8-6.0), and yardage (51.3-66.6-91.6) have risen each year of his career. Ridley led the NFL in air yards per game (131.6). He averaged 17.3 points per game with Julio Jones out or forced from the game early as opposed to 20.6 per game with him active, but his target share rose from 20.6% up to 26.5% with Jones out or exiting early.
8. Justin Jefferson: Jefferson is coming off a historic rookie season. With 88-1,400-7, Jefferson had the most receiving yardage for a player in his first season since 1960 and the fifth most PPR points for any rookie wide receiver. Jefferson caught 23-of-34 targets (67.6%) of throws over 15 yards downfield, the highest rate for any player with over 25 such targets (league average was 43.8%).
9. Keenan Allen: With 100, 104, 97, and 102 receptions over his past four seasons, only Michael Thomas (418) and DeAndre Hopkins (430) have more catches than Allen over that span. Allen scored eight touchdowns (his most since his rookie season) while averaging 12.2 targets per game (28.6% of the team total) in his 11 full games played with Justin Herbert. The only red flag for Allen is that his yards per reception dropped to a career-low 9.9 in 2020 and have declined from the season prior in three straight seasons.
10. Michael Thomas: Saddled through an early-season ankle injury that was a problem all season long, Thomas had career-lows in receptions (5.7) and yardage (62.6) per game while he failed to catch a touchdown pass in the regular season. Thomas has never scored double-digit touchdowns in a season. Potentially due for a quarterback change, Thomas has actually thrived as a target hog in his sample without Drew Brees, including this past season with Taysom Hill under center. In 11 games the past two seasons with Brees out or forced from the game early, Thomas has secured 84-of-109 targets (32.2% of the team targets) for 1,010 yards, but just three touchdowns.
11. Allen Robinson: Robinson has been the WR13 and WR11 in points per game the past two seasons. After catching 14 touchdowns in 16 games in 2015, Robinson has caught 23 touchdowns over his past 62 games, but has over 150 targets in each of his past four full seasons played. If not franchise tagged by Chicago, Robinson may finally play with a legit quarterback for the first time in his career, but has proven to have a steady floor if he is tagged by the Bears.
12. Terry McLaurin: After a 58-919-7 rookie campaign, McLaurin turned in an 87-1,118-4 line in his second season. McLaurin was ninth among NFL wideouts in targets per game (8.9). We have yet to see his true ceiling through offensive climate and quarterback play as McLaurin’s touchdowns dipped in year two and his yards per reception (12.9) sagged from his rookie season (15.8). The touchdowns could remain fleeting unless his usage changes. Through two seasons, McLaurin has had to score seven of his 11 touchdowns from outside of the red zone with just two from inside of the 10-yard line. Playing as the clear top target for his first two seasons in Washington, we should anticipate them to add significant target competition for the first time.
13. Julio Jones: After playing 14 or more games in six straight seasons, an ongoing hamstring battle limited the 31-year-old Jones to just nine games in 2020. While Father Time is undefeated and Jones could be nearing his inevitable decline, he still averaged 15.1 yards per catch (his highest since 2017) and ranked as the WR6 in receiving yards per game (85.7).
14. Chris Godwin: In Godwin’s first season with Tom Brady, the 24-year-old averaged 5.4 receptions (WR22) and 70.0 yards per game (WR17) while finishing as the WR15 in points per game (15.9) by turning in seven touchdowns. Godwin had just two WR1 scoring weeks, but also had just three outside of the top-30 scorers.
15. Tee Higgins: Higgins was fourth among rookie wideouts in fantasy points last year while ranking third among first year wideouts in receptions (67) and yards (908) to go along with six touchdowns. Prior to Joe Burrow’s injury in Week 11, Higgins had 62 or more yards in six straight games while averaging 16.9 PPR points Weeks 3-10. Over that span, Higgins was the WR11 in overall fantasy scoring at the position.
16. Mike Evans: Evans turned in his seventh straight 1,000-yard season in 2020, catching 70 passes for 1,0006 yards. Evans had a career-high 13 touchdown receptions, but also set career-lows in targets (6.8), receptions (4.4) and yardage (62.9) per game as 31.4% of his fantasy output stemmed from touchdowns alone, his highest dependency in that department over his seven seasons.
17. Amari Cooper: Cooper continued to be a steady producer in Dallas, catching 92 passes for 1,114 yards and five touchdowns. Cooper was the WR8 through five weeks with Dak Prescott, but still managed to be the WR22 overall Weeks 6-17 without Prescott.
18. D.J. Moore: Moore’s 2020 season was a true Rorschach for fantasy gamers. Playing in the same number of games as 2019, Moore had exactly the same yardage (1,215 yards) and touchdowns (four) this past season as he did the year prior. But on 21 fewer receptions and 17 fewer targets, Moore had a role change that saw him dip from a reception and volume based option to a vertical target. His depth of target (13.7 yards) jumped from 11.7 yards the year prior as he averaged a career-high 18.1 yards per reception. With the volume loss, he fell from WR17 in points per game to WR28 this past season, but his yards per team target have risen each season in the league where he ranked eighth this past season (2.17 yards). One constant remained the lack of scoring chances. With 10 touchdowns through three seasons, Moore has just three touchdowns on end zone targets.
19. Cooper Kupp: In their 16 games played together this past season, Kupp actually out-targeted Robert Woods 134-to-131 with 96 catches for 1,052 yards on those targets compared to 90 receptions for 947 yards for Woods. But Kupp scored a career-low three touchdowns this season while Woods scored a career-high eight (six receiving) in creating the fantasy scoring difference between the two. This came with both players each seeing the same amount of end zone targets (four) on the season. I have no qualms with what you are drafting from Woods at sticker price because he has been so reliable, but Kupp is looking like the better initial draft value.
20. Robert Woods: All Woods does is continue to beat his ADP, doing so in every year of his career. Woods has closed a top-15 scorer overall in each of the past three seasons and a top-20 scorer per game in each of the past four. Woods has also added 157, 115, and 155 rushing yards the past three seasons with four touchdowns. Getting an upgrade with Matthew Stafford, Woods will look to improve on a career-low 10.4 yards per receptions last year.
21. Tyler Lockett: The position is deep and Lockett will surely be in a position to finish higher than this initial spot once again. Lockett was the WR8 in overall scoring and the WR12 in points per game (16.6) in 2020 as he set career-highs with 132 targets and 100 receptions while matching a career-best 10 touchdowns. While the overall totals were strong, Lockett came with a ton of volatility, having nine games outside of the top-40 at his position while scoring six of his 10 touchdowns in two games. Still the WR2 attached to Russell Wilson, that weekly upside is worth the squeeze as a WR2/WR3.
22. Will Fuller: Staying healthy and elevated to a lead-receiving role, we finally saw it all come together for Fuller. Well, until he was suspended the final five games (with another game still due to be served to start this season) for the use of PEDs. Prior to suspension, Fuller had career-highs with 4.8 receptions and 79.9 yards per game with a career-high eight touchdowns. He was the WR8 in overall scoring at that time and closed the year as the WR8 in points per game. Josh Hermsmeyer has shown that depth of target belongs more to the receiver than the quarterback, so I am willing to bet on Fuller once again receiving high-leverage fantasy looks again in 2021, but even if Tua Tagovailoa does take a step forward in his second season, expecting him to be equal to Deshaun Watson should not be anticipated and no matter how you slice that, Fuller is getting a downgrade in quarterback play. I would not treat him as the WR1 he was a year ago in Houston, but Fuller belongs in the WR2/WR3 range of high upside and high variance wideouts.
23. Diontae Johnson: Many will talk about the low yards per target (6.4) and the number of drops (14) Johnson had, but all he did was deliver weekly for fantasy due to the sheer opportunity he received each week. Johnson was fifth at the position in targets per game (9.6) and 11th in receptions per game (5.9) while being forced from two games early after just 19 and six snaps played. With the Steeler offense staying in place from a year ago, Johnson is the safest bet among their pass catchers.
24. Kenny Golladay: Golladay appeared in just five games in 2020 as he dealt with hamstring and quad injuries. He still managed to show his upside with 16.9 yards per reception and a career-high 10.6 yards per target, but with 4.0 receptions per game, Golladay has now averaged fewer than 5.0 receptions per game in each of his four seasons in the league. Joining the Giants, Golladay gets a quarterback downgrade, but Daniel Jones has ranked third and 13th in aggressive throws into tight windows over his two seasons in the NFL to keep Golladay as a high-variance WR2. Golladay also paced for 60-1,100-8 over the eight games he played with Jeff Driskel and David Blough in 2019.
25. CeeDee Lamb: Lamb reeled in 74 passes for 935 yards and five touchdowns as a 21-year-old rookie. It was the fifth-highest scoring season for a 21-year-old wideout in league history. Lamb did not fare as well as Cooper post-Prescott, however. After being the WR11 in scoring and the WR10 in targets (40) through five weeks, Lamb was the WR35 in scoring and the WR39 in targets after Prescott’s injury. Lamb ran 93.6% of his routes in the slot and while his game total splits with Prescott under center look solid, they were juiced a bit by the Dallas game script in those games. Lamb seen 7.8 targets per game, but his target share was just 16.5% over that stretch.
26. Courtland Sutton: Sutton was lost for the season just one game into 2020. He enters the final season of his rookie contract with some question marks, but still a lot of upside. In 2019, Sutton was fourth among all wideouts in yards per team passing attempt (2.21) and fifth in weighted opportunity while playing with three quarterbacks, but that play is still a potential thorn as Sutton has been the WR38 or lower in four of his five full games playing with Drew Lock.
27. Odell Beckham: Beckham’s fantasy output became even more shrouded last season after he played in just six full games prior to missing the remainder of the season with an ACL injury. Turning 29 years old in 2021, Beckham has not played a season since 2016 that has not been wrapped around some injury-narrative. On the field for the first six games, Beckham gave us a glimpse that he still has WR1 upside with a 38-point game versus the Cowboys, but his per game averages of 3.8 receptions for 53.2 yards would have been career-lows had they held up for a full season. We are now four years removed from Beckham truly paying off his draft cost, but 2021 will surely see him at the lowest cost point.
28. Chase Claypool: Claypool led all rookie wide receivers with 11 touchdowns in his first season, catching 62-of-109 targets for 873 yards and nine scores with an additional pair of touchdowns on the ground. Claypool will be an early favorite to be this season’s D.K. Metcalf, but there will need to be improvement from Ben Roethlisberger downfield as Claypool connected on just 10 of his 36 targets (27.8%) on throws over 15 yards downfield. JuJu Smith-Schuster returning also limits Claypool taking a huge step in targets.
29. Adam Thielen: We are nearly 30 wideouts in and we are still talking about players that are more than viable options, but good ones. Thielen was last season’s WR10, catching 74 passes for 925 yards and a career-high 14 touchdowns. That touchdown production did some masking overall that his 4.9 receptions and 61.7 yards per game were far from the 2017-2018 pace. His touchdowns alone accounted for 33.1% of Thielen’s fantasy production, the highest rate among the top-90 scoring wideouts in the league while his receptions per game were 28th and 29th. If the 31-year-old cannot sustain his touchdown output, then we could see a strong swing in his finish in 2021, but this passing game largely is still just for him and Justin Jefferson to share.
30. Deebo Samuel: Entering the season with a Jones Fracture that forced him to miss the first three weeks of the season, Samuel also suffered hamstring injuries at two different points of the season that limited him to just seven total games played and just five games on the field for 50% of the team snaps. However, in those five games, Samuel was first or second on the team in targets in four of them and saw 24.6% of the team’s targets while averaging 14.6 PPR points per game.
31. JuJu Smith-Schuster: After a down 42-552-3 line in 12 games in 2019, Smith-Schuster bounced back with 97 receptions in 2020 and was the WR24 in points per game (14.6). The downside is that he turned all those receptions into just 831 yards as he averaged a career-low 8.6 yards per catch and had a career-low depth of target at 6.0 yards. That was the Pittsburgh passing game in a nutshell in 2020. The 25-year-old (in November) wideout has scored at least seven touchdowns in three of his four seasons, but the 2018 season from Smith-Schuster is looking like an outlier on his full body of work in a similar fashion to 2014 Randall Cobb. With the Steelers, Smith-Schuster’s slot rate has gone from 58.0% to 61.6% to 66.3% all the way up to 84.9% last season.
32. Brandon Aiyuk: Not much went right for the 49ers in 2020, but Aiyuk was a bright spot, catching 60-of-96 targets for 748 yards and five touchdowns while adding 77 yards and two scores rushing. The only question for Aiyuk heading into year two is how much did he benefit from all the time both Deebo Samuel and George Kittle missed since we know this is a low-volume passing game at its core. Aiyuk played six games with Samuel and Kittle out (including Week 13 when Samuel played just one snap) and in those games, Aiyuk saw 10.5 targets per game (27.5%). In the four games both Samuel and Kittle played, Aiyuk saw 5.3 targets per game (15.2%).
33. Tyler Boyd: After 113 targets over his first two seasons, Boyd has at least 108 targets in each of the past three seasons. Although his yards per receptions and touchdowns have dropped from the previous season since his 2018 breakout, Boyd was a productive player prior to Joe Burrow’s injury. From Weeks 1-10, Boyd was the WR13 in overall scoring and was seventh among wideouts in receptions (60). From Week 11 on, Boyd averaged just 5.7 targets, 3.2 receptions, 36.0 yards and 7.9 PPR points per game.
34. Robby Anderson: In his first season with Carolina and reunited with Matt Rhule, Anderson reshaped his career while setting career-highs with 136 targets, 95 receptions, and 1,096 yards. Anderson went from strictly a lid lifter for his offense to intermediate volume producer with the Panthers. But Anderson only found the end zone just three times and had zero touchdowns on just eight end zone targets. He also cooled off as the season wore on. Anderson averaged 5.0 receptions for 49.3 yards per game over his final seven games after 6.7 catches for 83.6 yards per game prior.
35. Brandin Cooks: After his first disappointing NFL season in 2019 (42-583-2), Cooks bounced right back in his first season with the Texans, catching 81-of-119 targets for 1,150 yards and six touchdowns. Cooks became just the second player to have 1,000 yards receiving with four different teams. He has done so now with Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Deshaun Watson as part of that sample, so the Texans signal caller staying put would aid a repeat in 2021.
36. D.J. Chark: Not much went right for Chark in 2020. He missed three games to injury while seeing his receptions per game (4.1), yardage per game (54.3), catch rate (57.0%), and touchdowns (five) all decline from his 2019 breakout. Dating back to midseason of 2019, Chark has now been a top-30 scorer in six of his past 23 games played with just seven games over that span reaching 60 yards. On the positive end, Chark was fourth in the NFL in air yards per game (100.2) while the three players above him were all top-10 scoring fantasy wideouts. He also could be seeing the best quarterback play of his career to help channel the player we saw at the start of the 2019 season, but the addition of Marvin Jones – a player with a similar skill set- does not give a strong feeling around how this new regime may feel about Chark.
37. Jerry Jeudy: Jeudy received the second-most targets among all rookie wideouts last year (113) after Denver lost Courtland Sutton for the season immediately to start the season. Unfortunately, Jeudy ran cold in receiving many quality targets on that volume. His 58.2% catchable target rate was the second-lowest among all wideouts with 50-plus targets on the season behind A.J. Green. When he did have good looks, Jeudy also was second in the league in drops (12). But his 16.5 yards per reception showcased his big play ability, which led all rookies that caught more than 35 passes. That could take off if he reduces his own mistakes and sees an increase in target quality during his second season.
38. Curtis Samuel: Samuel was another contract-year riser in 2020. After a disappointing 2019 season where he was typecast as a vertical threat, Samuel turned in a 77-851-3 on 97 targets while playing a role near the line of scrimmage and utilizing his dual-usage ability showcased as a prospect entering the league. Tacking on 41 rushing attempts for 200 yards and two scores, Samuel’s 118 touches were bested by only Stefon Diggs among wideouts. Samuel closed 2020 as the WR27 in points per game (14.1). By signing with Washington, Samuel rejoins Ron Rivera and Scott Turner, who both attached to that 2019 season in which Samuel seemed miscast in overall usage, but his quarterback is much improved. Carolina passers in 2019 combined to connect on just 35-of-120 passes (29.2%) on throws over 15 yards downfield and subsequently were 9-of-38 (23.7%) targeting Samuel on those passes. In 2020, Fitzpatrick completed 58.1% of his passes over 15 yards downfield, which ranked fourth in the league. Blending Samuel’s usage over the past two seasons with a better downfield passer can keep Samuel as an elevating fantasy asset despite being limited as a touchdown commodity.
39. Jarvis Landry: We are still naming quality NFL players as we approach the WR40 mark. Landry has received at least 100 targets in each of his seven seasons in the NFL, but he has cleared 1,000 yards in just one of the past four seasons while his 4.8 receptions per game and three touchdowns in 2020 were career-lows. After three top-16 scoring seasons per game in Miami, Landry has been the WR27, WR22, and WR38 in points per game at the position over his three seasons with Cleveland.
40. Ja’Marr Chase: Our first 2021 rookie, Chase is anticipated to be the first wideout selected this April. After turning in a massive 84-1,780-20 season in 2019 at age-19 that saw him outproduce Justin Jefferson (who just had a historic rookie season), Chase sat out the 2020 season due to COVID concerns. While we would have liked to have seen Chase play outside of the 2019 LSU juggernaut, his physicality and 3.52 yards per route the last time we saw him on the field have him in place as the top wideout prospect.
41. Laviska Shenault: Shenault had a productive rookie campaign, catching 58-of-79 targets for 600 yards and five touchdowns while tacking on 91 yards on the ground. Shenault will get the Percy Harvin/Curtis Samuel parallels drawn to him with the Jaguars bringing in Urban Meyer as head coach, but he was going to be used as a dual-usage asset regardless of what system he was in. Shenault’s 1.55 yards per route run exceeded D.J. Chark (1.48) in 2020, but his 10.3 yards per catch and not having more than six touchdown receptions in a season dating back through college, leave us needing a lot more volume for Shenault to truly break out.
42. Marquise Brown: After a 46-584-7 rookie season on 71 targets, Brown improved across the board with 58-769-8 on 100 targets in 2020. His target share (25.8%) was seventh in the league while his share of air yards (38.1%) was third, but Brown was neutered by the overall nature of the Baltimore passing game. Brown cleared 60 yards receiving in just five games while his 6.3 targets per game ranked 49th at the position. Baltimore is unlikely to become pass heavy while we should anticipate them actively looking to add another significant target at the receiver position.
43. DeVante Parker: After a 72-1,202-9 breakout in 2019, Parker played through a hamstring-riddled season. Parker still turned in the same 4.5 receptions per game as he did the year prior while his catch rate rose to 61.2%, but saw his 16.7 yards per catch in 2019 drop to 12.6 yards per catch last year while he caught just four touchdowns. Outside of staying on the field, Parker was also extremely suited for Ryan Fitzpatrick’s playstyle. After catching 40-of-59 targets (67.8%) for 526 yards (13.2 Y/R) from Fitzpatrick, Parker and Tua Tagovailoa connected on just 23-of-44 targets (52.3%) for 267 yards (11.6 Y/R).
44. Michael Gallup: After 66-1,107-6 in 2019, Gallup took a step back in 2020, catching 59-of-105 targets for 843 yards and five touchdowns. Gallup did close the season on a positive note, with seven or more targets in six of his final nine games and a touchdown three of his final five games. There is a “buy the dip” opportunity for Gallup, but he does not have as much access to friendly, efficiency boosting targets like his wide receivers teammates, leaving him in the Marvin Jones-zone of big fantasy swings.
45. Corey Davis: After a slow start to his career, Davis set career-highs with 4.6 receptions for 70.3 yards per game in 2020 with high marks in touchdown receptions (five) and catch rate (70.7%). The free-agent-to-be was at his best playing next to another strong wideout and not asked to carry a passing game, so signing with the Jets is a mixed bag with no true alpha WR in place and quarterback situation that is up in the air. Even with the 2020 spike in production, Davis still had low points, posting fewer than 40 yards in six of his 14 games.
46. Jalen Reagor: Reagor’s rookie season was a struggle. The first-round wideout missed five games due to injury and when on the field, caught just 31-of-54 targets for 396 yards and one touchdown. Catching just one pass for 55 yards in his season debut Week 1, those 55 yards ended up as a season-high. With Jalen Hurts potentially taking over as the starter in 2021, the Eagles passing game could see an identity shift, while Reagor caught 12-of-21 targets for 174 yards from Hurts in their small sample together as rookies.
47. Darnell Mooney: Although he was the 24th wide receiver selected in last season’s draft, Mooney ended the season fifth among all rookies in receptions (61) and seventh in yardage (631 yards) to go along with four touchdowns.
48. John Brown: After losing Nelson Agholor, the Raiders swooped in an added John Brown to replace that vacancy. With the Bills acquiring Stefon Diggs and playing through multiple injuries in 2020, Brown’s 4.8 receptions and 70.7 yards per game in 2019 fell down to 3.7 catches and 50.9 yards per game. Brown will turn 31-years-old this April and has played a full 16 games in just one of his seven seasons to date, but has still shown upside to more than adequately fill the role that Agholor left behind and had success in a year ago when he can be on the field. Brown has still turned in WR3 or better scoring weeks in 16-of-24 games over the past two seasons.
49. Rashod Bateman: A former four-star recruit, Bateman arguably has the safest floor of this wide receiver class, if such a thing exists. He has outside and inside experience while he accounted for 47.4% of the Minnesota receptions and 45.7% of the yardage in his games played this past season after 37.0% of the yards and 28.3% of the receptions playing alongside Tyler Johnson in 2019 and 51-704-6 as a true freshman in 2018. His 3.69 yards per team pass attempt are third in this class, while his 3.77 yards per attempt in 2019 would have been second a year ago.
50. DeVonta Smith: The Heisman Trophy Winner turned in a massive 117-1,856-23 line in 2020, but his 2019 season with 68-1,256-14 playing alongside two top-15 draft selections says a lot as well. Size concerns from traditional ceiling producers at the position, but not ability.
51. Sterling Shepard: Shepard has averaged 5.7 and 5.5 receptions per game the past two seasons, but just 10.1 and 9.9 yards per reception on those grabs. After scoring eight times as a rookie in 2016, Shepard has not topped four touchdowns in any of the past four seasons.
52. Jamison Crowder: Crowder is just about a lock to finish higher than where he is here. He has finished as the WR36 (12.4 points) and WR25 (14.3 points) in two seasons with the Jets, catching 4.9 passes per game in each of those seasons. He has nine WR1 scoring weeks over that span, but also has been the WR44 or lower in 15 of his 28 games played.
53. Mike Williams: The prayer yards king, Williams has yet to clear 90 targets in an NFL season while his best moments for fantasy have come when Keenan Allen has been unable to play or forced from the game early.
54. Nelson Agholor: Signed as a one-year flyer, Agholor flashed with the Raiders a year ago, catching 48 passes for 896 yards and eight touchdowns. His 18.7 yards per catch were a career-high while he produced the fourth-most points in the league on throws over 15 yards downfield (108.3). The Patriots were tied for last in the league in completions over 15 yards downfield in 2020, but Cam Newton was fifth in the league with a 52.7% on those throws among all quarterbacks to have 50-plus attempts.
55. Marvin Jones: At age 30, Jones appeared in all 16 games for the first time since 2017, securing 76-of-115 targets for 978 yards and nine touchdowns. Jones showed there are still ceiling moments in his range of outcomes with four top-five scoring weeks, but also his volatility, having 11 other weeks as the WR35 or lower. At age 31, Jones is following Darrell Bevell to Jacksonville, where has a bit of an overlap to D.J. Chark in terms of skill set, but Jones does have nine receiving touchdowns in three of his past four seasons played.
56. Cole Beasley: The 32-year-old slotman has been the WR37 (12.3 points) and WR31 (13.8 points) in points per game over his two seasons with the Bills. Beasley led the NFL with 948 receiving yards from the slot in 2020.
57. Denzel Mims: The second-round pick missed seven games due to a hamstring injury, but when on the field led the Jets with a 14.6-yard depth of target and 71.4 air yards per game while catching 23-of-44 targets for 357 yards and zero scores.
58. Gabriel Davis: A producer when called upon, Davis caught 35-of-62 targets for 599 yards (17.1 Y/R) and seven touchdowns while leading all rookies in yards per catch. In 12 games played with John Brown active, Davis averaged just 2.9 targets per game with two or fewer receptions in nine of those games, but Davis ran a pass route on 289 of 298 team dropbacks in the seven games with Brown inactive. Davis will have to fight off another veteran wideout in Emmanuel Sanders to continue his rookie-season development.
59. Antonio Brown: Brown was the WR21 from Weeks 9-17 after joining the Bucs while ranking 25th in targets (62), 18th in receptions (45), and 27th in yardage (483) to go along with four touchdowns, all but securing he is playing somewhere in 2021.
60. Mecole Hardman: Hardman improved on his rookie line (26-538-6 on 41 targets) in the targets (62), receptions (41), and yardage (560) departments, but his explosive plays (20.7 yards per catch in 2019) dropped (13.7 in 2020) while he went from six to four touchdowns. Failing to show much as an actual nuanced wideout, Kansas City may be looking to add to the position in 2021.
61. Michael Pittman: In 13 games as a rookie, Pittman caught 40-of-61 targets for 503 yards and just one touchdown. Pittman could be asked to step up as the lead wideout for the Colts as early as this season, although the Colts will be going from Philip Rivers to Carson Wentz, which raises some concerns on getting equal quarterback play. The team is also bringing back veteran T.Y. Hilton and third-year wideout Parris Campbell will be back after missing all but one game in 2021. When we last saw Pittman on the field, he led the team with 5-90-0 on 10 targets in the postseason, but his selection comes with high variance between upside potential and being a completely ancillary component to his real team and fantasy rosters.
62. T.Y. Hilton: In his past three seasons without Andrew Luck, Hilton has finished as the WR38, WR35, and WR50 in points per game. In 2020, the 31-year-old managed 3.7 receptions for 50.8 yards per game. He did show some signs of life to end the season with 60 or more yards in five of his final seven games of the season a year ago, but given his career arc and another quarterback transition, Hilton is not someone that will make many of my 2021 rosters.
63. Parris Campbell: Campbell has appeared in just seven and two games over his first two seasons. After opening the season with a promising 6-71-0 game on nine targets, Campbell tore both his MCL and PCL just two snaps into Week 2.
64. Rondale Moore: The YAC machine of this class, Moore had a stellar 114-1,258-12 line receiving as an 18-year-old freshman to go along with 213 yards and two scores on the ground. Injuries limited Moore to just seven games his final two seasons at Purdue, but he enters this draft as the leader in receptions (8.9) and receiving yardage (95.8 yards) per game in this draft class over his collegiate career. A physical player for his size (5’9”, 180 pounds), we are still going to have to rely on an NFL team to get Moore volume and use him correctly.
65. Jaylen Waddle: Waddle is in a similar spot to Henry Ruggs a year ago. Playing in a crowded Alabama depth chart, he never had a true breakout collegiate season and was limited in opportunities, but his lack of production will not slow down a high investment from NFL teams. An explosive athlete, Waddle has significant experience as a return man (23.8 yards per kick return and 19.3 yards per punt return with three return scores) while he averaged 2.89 yards per team pass attempt in games active this season, 12th in this class of wideouts.
66. Henry Ruggs: The first wideout taken in last year’s draft despite a questionable production profile, the Raiders appeared lost on their ability to incorporate Ruggs into the offense as he secured just 26-of-43 targets for 452 yards and two touchdowns. As a rookie, Ruggs was fifth on the team in targets and third among wideouts, but given how the Raiders were able to utilize Nelson Agholor, the lights are still on for year two.
67. Emmanuel Sanders: After releasing John Brown, the Bills brought in Sanders on a 1-year, $6M deal to add their receiving corps. Last year with New Orleans, Sanders showed that he can still be productive, but it all came out of necessity when Michael Thomas was off of the field. In seven games with Thomas inactive, Sanders caught 40 passes for 511 yards and two scores on 22.9% of the team targets. In his seven other games with Thomas active, Sanders only managed a 21-215-3 line on 13.2% of the team targets. Sanders just turned 34-years-old March 17. The real question is Sanders going to halt the development and playing time of Gabriel Davis, who turned in a productive season.
68. Terrace Marshall: With Ja’Marr Chase sitting out 2020, Marshall maximized his absence by averaging 6.9 catches for 104.4 yards and 1.0 touchdowns per game for LSU this past season. A speed/size combo at 6’3”, Marshall was someone who used the abbreviated 2020 season to elevate his draft status.
69. Elijah Moore: Moore has one of the most decorated production resumes in this class, finishing with second-most receiving yards (1,193) and second-most receptions (86) in the nation in 2020. Moore accounted for 36.1% of the Mississippi receptions, which was second in this class, and 34.6% of the receiving yardage, which ranked sixth. A prototypical slot wideout, Moore had 61 catches for 888 yards from inside in 2020.
70. Kendrick Bourne: Bourne is coming off career-best with 49 receptions and 667 yards from a year ago. He is elevated as a full-time starter in New England, but also finds himself as an ancillary component in a low-leverage passing game.
71. DeSean Jackson: Jackson will turn 35-years-old this December, but provides a much needed role to the Rams passing game. Even with the acquisition of Matthew Stafford, the Rams had a ton of overlap in pass catchers that strictly operate near the line of scrimmage and on the intermediate levels. Jackson has not played a full season since 2014 and has appeared in just eight games over the previous two seasons, but he offers weekly upside as a bench fill in and Best Ball WR depth while he is active. Although he does come with injury baggage and is not expected to be a major factor in commanding a huge target share, Jackson’s addition does prevent a problem for the year-two breakout of Van Jefferson, who shares a positional overlap with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. As a rookie, Jefferson’s best moments came when Kupp was off of the field.
72. Christian Kirk: 2020 may have put an end to us chasing a pending breakout from Kirk after he totaled 48-621-6 in 14 games played. Kirk missed multiple games for the third straight season while his 3.4 receptions per game were his fewest in a season over his three years in the league. Kirk was able to match his touchdown total over his first two seasons and Arizona utilizes wideouts more per play to keep the lights on for Kirk, but he will be more of a dart throw than hopeful hit heading into 2021.
73. Darius Slayton: After 48 catches for 740 yards as a rookie, Slayton came back and caught 50 passes for 751 yards in 2020, but his anticipated touchdown regression impacted his bottom line as he found the end zone just three times after eight times in 2019. Averaging 15.4 and 15.0 yards per catch, the 24-year-old wideout had three or fewer catches in 12 of 16 games. The addition of Kenny Golladay is a huge blow for Slayton, who had a direct overlap in the targets that Golladay receives.
74. Van Jefferson: Jefferson was the 12th wideout selected last season as a second-round pick. He managed just 19-220-1 on 31 targets as a rookie, but with Josh Reynolds likely leaving via free agency, Jefferson will have an opportunity to build on the 6-46-1 playoff line he had, although the Rams may pursue another vertical element with Jefferson having so much overlap to both Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.
75. Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Valdes-Scantling led the NFL with 20.9 yards per reception in 2020, but only managed 33 total receptions in total, giving him 2.4, 1.6, and 2.1 per game over his three years in the league.
76. Scotty Miller: After a modest 13-200-1 line as a sixth round rookie in 2019, Miller took a step forward in year two, catching 33-of-53 targets for 501 yards and three touchdowns. Miller’s growth was stunted by the Bucs adding Antonio Brown in season. Prior to Brown joining the team, Miller had run a pass route on 68.5% of the team drop backs and then just 26.5% afterwards. Miller has averaged over 15.0 yards per catch in each of his first two seasons in the NFL, so if Brown does not return to Tampa Bay, another step forward in year three can open up for Miller.
77. Sammy Watkins: Watkins will only be 28-years-old for the 2021 season, but has been a continuous decline over the course of his in terms of production and staying on the field. Watkins has not played a full season since rookie year in 2014 while he is coming off 42.1 receiving yards per game, the second-lowest mark of his career. Watkins has not finished as a WR3 or better in PPR points per game in any of the past five seasons. Joining the Ravens, Watkins leaves behind attachment from the best passer in the NFL to a Baltimore team that has targeted their wide receivers at the lowest rate in the NFL the past seasons.
78. James Washington: Washington was the fourth wheel in 2020, catching 30-of-56 targets for 392 yards, but did score a career-high five touchdowns. With JuJu Smith-Schuster returning, Washington is stuck as a WR4 on his own team without a door opening via injury.
79. Preston Williams: Williams has played just eight games in each of his first two seasons in the NFL, suffering an ACL injury in 2019 and a foot injury a year ago. After 4.0 receptions for 53.5 yards per game as a rookie, Williams sagged to 2.3 receptions for 36.0 yards per game in 2020 while Miami is an easy bet to add playmakers this offseason.
80. Josh Reynolds: A fourth-round pick in 2017, Reynolds never was able to elevate to a primary target in the Rams offense over the course of his rookie contract, but is coming off his best season in the NFL in 2020. After 11, 29, and 21 receptions through his first three seasons, Reynolds posted a 52-618-2 line in 2020. Joining a Tennessee roster that has had exits from Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith, Reynolds can find targets if Tennessee does not add major competition in the draft.