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NFL Draft

Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 40 Wide Receivers

  • The Draft Network
  • September 3, 2020
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Welcome back for year two of The Draft Network’s preseason fantasy football rankings. The following is some quick background on how these rankings were determined. 

More than 40 hours of research went into the ranking process. It started by coming up with custom stat projections for more than 200 NFL players. From there I adjusted the order you’ll see below based on upside, injury risk, likelihood of reaching the projected total, etc. It’s important to keep in mind that the rankings are not simply in descending order of projected fantasy points. Finally, I placed each WR into a tier.

All of my rankings reflect the order in which I would take players if I were drafting today in a 12-team PPR league with ESPN scoring and no bonuses. These rankings will be updated throughout the offseason, so be sure to check in with The Draft Network often to gain an edge on your league-mates.

If you have any specific questions or want to know more about what I think of certain players, hit me up on Twitter (@JaimeEisner). I’d be happy to chat with you! Also, tune in to the TDN Fantasy Podcast for in-depth audio breakdowns of these rankings and all the latest fantasy football news. 

For access to WR rankings 41-81 and stat projections, please click here and become a TDN Premium member.

Other rankings: QB | RB | TE


1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

2. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

4. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

The elite of the elite at the wide receiver position shouldn’t come as any surprise. These are the only four non-running backs I’d feel comfortable starting my team with as a first-round pick. 

Thomas’ stats will regress from the historic levels he produced in 2019, but he’s still the clear choice to be the first wide receiver off the board. Just be careful not to draft him too high. Adams is Aaron Rodgers’ top, some would say only, target and should continue to be peppered with volume and touchdown opportunities. Although he’s entering his age-31 season, Jones continues to produce at a high level in a throw-first offense with one of the better QBs in the NFL. Hill is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball and he’s the No. 1 WR for the best quarterback in football.


5. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

7. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions

9. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

Like most players ranked at the very top of tier two in my positional rankings, Godwin is caught somewhere in between elite and great. He broke out as a potential superstar last season and should build on that success this season as Tom Brady’s new favorite slot target. Hopkins is still an upper-echelon talent, but his situation has changed. He won’t get as many targets in Arizona as he did in Houston, so adjust your statistical evaluation accordingly. Evans is one of only two players in NFL history with six 1,000-yard seasons to start a career. He’ll be the first player to do it for a seventh consecutive season. 

Golladay’s talent really shined last season, particularly in the touchdown department, despite his starting QB missing the back-half of the season. A healthy Matthew Stafford means another big season lies ahead. Kupp might surprise some in this tier, but he’s a reception hog with a nose for the end zone. A 120-plus target season appears to be on the way for the Ram. 


10. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

11. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

12. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

13. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

14. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

15. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

16. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

17. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

18. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

19. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins

This is a huge tier full of upside, risk, and a couple of high-floor options. Smith-Schuster played like a superstar in 2018, but injuries to his starting QB and himself completely derailed his season. Cooper has been incredibly productive during his time in Dallas and should continue to be Dak Prescott’s go-to guy—Cooper should be healthier this season too. Thielen is now clearly the guy in Minnesota after the trade of Stefon Diggs. I also expect the Vikings to throw a little more following the departure of offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. 

Hilton remains one of the most underrated receivers in fantasy and should thrive as Philip Rivers’ new No. 1 option. Robinson has all the tools to be successful, except a trusted quarterback to get him the ball. That makes his value a bit more volatile than the other top options. Woods is as solid as they come, never leaves the field, and will continue to be a great high-floor WR2. Like Robinson, Allen is a WR1 talent with major questions at quarterback. It’s tough to know for sure how much the loss of Rivers will affect his stats.

Ridley was more productive in his second season and is poised to continue the trend of third-year breakout wide receivers. Lockett isn’t a WR1 in the traditional sense, but he plays that role for the Seahawks. He’s dynamic enough to make the most out of his targets. Parker finally lived up to his potential as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s top option in Miami. But how long will Fitzpatrick remain the starter?


20. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

21. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

These players deserve their own tier because of their upside. Both have the talent and past production to be top-10 WRs. However, they both come with their own set of risks. Beckham has an extensive injury history, but my bigger concern this season is the Browns leaning on a much more run-heavy approach under new head coach Kevin Stefanski. Moore should post similar totals compared to last season, I’m just not projecting any statistical progression like many are. He’s still good, he’s just getting passed by players returning from injury and/or on better offenses. 


22. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

23. Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins

24. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals

25. D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars

26. Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

27. Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions

28. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns

29. Jamison Crowder, New York Jets

30. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

31. Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

32. Golden Tate, New York Giants

You’ll notice in your research that there are approximately three billion WR3-caliber players this season. The size of this tier should give that away. Brown was remarkable with Ryan Tannehill last season, but expect some overall regression for the Titans’ passing offense in 2020. That means Brown will put up similar numbers compared to his rookie year. The same goes for McLaurin, who has the talent to carry a team if his quarterback isn’t actively hurting him. 

Chark had great numbers overall, but rostering him was a bit of a rollercoaster. I expect much of the same in 2020. Sutton is Denver’s No. 1 option, but the Broncos are still a run-first team with two new pass-catching weapons via the 2020 NFL Draft. He’ll be good, but temper expectations.  

Speaking of the draft, Boyd and Green get to catch passes from No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow. Boyd should continue to be his usual productive self, while Green just needs to stay healthy long enough to return WR2 value—Green is already dealing with an injury and dropped down to No. 30. Jones gets Stafford back and just needs to be healthy enough to take advantage. You’ll get borderline WR2 production from him when he’s on the field. 

Landry continues to soak up targets wherever he goes. His volume gives him a fairly safe floor, relative to his ranking. Crowder is Sam Darnold’s go-to slot receiver and will be peppered with targets once again in his second year in New York. Gallup’s predicted demise has been overblown. He was very reliable for Dallas last season, especially when Cooper was hobbled. CeeDee Lamb isn’t stealing his job as a rookie. Tate is underrated right now. He got plenty of targets when he returned from suspension last season and should continue to be Daniel Jones’ go-to guy in the slot. 


33. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

34. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

35. D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

This trio doesn’t have the upside of tier four, but doesn’t have the downside of tier six. Edelman’s value is a complete question mark playing a full season without Brady for the first time in his career as a starter. However, he’s the WR1 in New England and can be a safety blanket for Cam Newton. Diggs has some injury concerns, but his talent isn’t in question. However, the Bills are another run-first team that throws less than Minnesota did—and they have two other viable receiving options. Metcalf had a great rookie season but will struggle to match his target volume.


36. Will Fuller, Houston Texans

37. John Brown, Buffalo Bills 

38. Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders

39. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

40. Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

This tier could provide a potential league-winner but there are risks everywhere you look. Fuller is now the No. 1 pass-catcher for Deshaun Watson, but simply cannot stay healthy and will have to fight through more bracket coverage than he’s ever seen before. Brown’s target volume will drop with Diggs in town, capping his upside.

The recent big riser is Ruggs, who moves into the top 40 in light of the news that Tyrell Williams has a torn labrum. Although Williams will attempt to play through the injury, projecting more than a half-season seems optimistic. That means Ruggs could get 90 targets as a rookie.

There is some optimism that Samuel could be back in September, maybe even Week 1 or 2. That's great news and moves him up a few spots in my rankings. Cooks, if healthy, has been a steady WR2 in fantasy quite often and could become Watson’s new favorite wide receiver. However, he could also miss most of the season.

For access to WR rankings 41-80 and stat projections, please click here and become a TDN Premium member.

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