Fantasy Football Rankings: How Do the Wide Receivers Stack Up?
This position makes or breaks your fantasy football success — and we are here to help.
The wide receiver position is a mess, so many players that can put up great numbers and many players who could easily under-perform this year. We are here to make some sense of the crowded position, that way you have a leg up in your drafts this coming summer.
Let’s start off with our honorable mentions before getting into our top ten fantasy football rankings on wide receivers.
Alshon Jeffery/Brandin Cooks/Demaryius Thomas
Alshon Jeffery was hurt for much of last season and was not able to show much when he was healthy. However, he is still one of the most dangerous downfield threats in the league and will be asked to shoulder the load offensively this season.
Brandin Cooks was a huge bust last season. It is hard to invest a first or second round pick on someone who disappointed so many owners last year, but we may have just been wrong on when his breakout season would be. The Saints also seem to be shifting there offensive scheme around, possibly running the ball more often than previous years.
Someone has to get Thomas the ball, and those are very limited options. The ranking has nothing to do with his talent, as we saw him put up huge numbers the last three seasons, but more about who is throwing him the ball. Mark Sanchez or Paxton Lynch does not scream a huge fantasy output for one of the league’s best wide receivers.
With that, lets take a look at our projected top ten wide receivers for the 2016-2017 fantasy football season.
WR Fantasy Football Rankings
The reigning MVP Cam Newton will have an NFL caliber receiver to throw to this season, which is going to make Benjamin a highly sought out player in drafts this year.
He missed the whole 2015 season with injury, but looks to be heading into 2016 fully recovered, We saw flashes of what he could do in his rookie season, making some of the hardest catches of the year, so look for him to build on his strong play this season as well.
2014 season stats: 73 receptions, 1,003 yards, 9 touchdowns, 154 fantasy points
Allen was on his way to an excellent 2015 campaign, before suffering an injury that held him out of competition the rest of the year. He had 90 fantasy points through week 8, and if he continued that level of production he would have had a better fantasy season than A.J. Green.
Allen is always a player that finds his way in the end of the second round in deeper leagues, but mainly gets drafted in the third rounds of most drafts. This year may be more of the same in that regard, so it is best to call Allen’s name if you have a draft pick in the tail end of the second round.
If we were ranking PPR format, Allen would easily be in the top five, as many times we see Allen haul in over ten catches with ease.
2015 season stats (Through week 8) 67 catches, 725 yards, 4 touchdowns, 90 fantasy points
Yet another wide receiver coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season.
2015 was a very weird year for this position with so many injuries, but Jordy Nelson will assume his normal top ten ranking as long as Aaron Rodgers is under center in Green Bay.
Last season, particularly in the playoffs, it was clear that Rodgers had very little options to throw to as we saw him forcing some questionable decisions. Nelson gives Rodgers a true number one target and can give fantasy owners a true stud at wide receiver as well.
2014 season stats: 98 catches, 1,519 yards, 13 touchdowns, 230 fantasy points
Foot injuries are scary for wide receivers, especially ones that are as dynamic as Dez Bryant’s.
It seems like the whole Dallas Cowboys’ offense revolves around key players coming back from injuries — which doesn’t seem too efficient. With the recent loss to Tony Romo, Bryant will definitely be effected. However, Romo’s replacement has had a strong preseason so far and could ignite a huge season for the two.
If Bryant is playing like his former self, he will be the same player that was warranting high second round selections just a summer ago.
However, it is just hard to gauge which player we will see this upcoming season.
2015 season stats: 31 catches, 401 yards, 3 touchdowns, 54 fantasy points
Out of the top five receivers last season, only one had less than 96 catches.
It was Allen Robinson, who had 80 catches last season, but still amassed 1400 receiving yards in 2015. That’s 17.5 yards per catch.
Read that again, 17.5 yards per catch for the Jaguars last season.
Every single catch he makes has the chance for a huge gain, and the Jacksonville Jaguars should only improve this season. Blake Bortles seems to be coming into his own as a quarterback and if he can limit his interceptions this season, that could mean much more opportunities for Robinson to shine offensively.
Last season’s breakout should be a sign of more things to come, rather than just a fluke, as it seems like his offensive numbers can be sustainable in the 2016 season.
2016 season stats: 80 catches, 1400 yards, 14 touchdowns, 217 fantasy points
Green has been the model of consistency throughout his time in Cincinnati and 2016 should be no different.
For the last several years, Green has been penciled in to put up around 85 catches, near 1300 yards and ten-plus touchdowns every year. This could be a better year for the steady performer though, or it could be the year Green sees a little bit of a dip in numbers.
No one really knows what the Bengals offensive scheme will look like this year and Green seems to be the only real target at the wide receiver position. This could mean more targets, but defenses will be able to zone in on him with much more ease. Out of all the top five receivers, Green has the most questionable outcome for the 2016 season, but he has given us no reason to doubt him going into fantasy drafts this summer.
2015 season stats: 86 catches, 1297 yards, 10 touchdowns, 179 fantasy points
Deandre Hopkins is who people should have been drafting in the late second to early third rounds last summer if they were looking to make the playoffs. Instead, some people drafted Alshon Jeffery. That may be a personal story, but I know many people faced the same dilemma last season and many owners were disappointed in their choices as Hopkins scorched the league last year.
After averaging 13.2 points per game last season, Hopkins is looking to improve on his 2015 campaign. Now it looks like Hopkins will have a more competent game manager under center in Brock Osweiler, although that remains to be seen if he is an improvement over Brian Hoyer.
The Texans offense should be more dynamic, with another offseason addition in Lamar Miller and draft pick Will Fuller. It will be hard for defensive coordinators to solely focus in on Hopkins this season. Even if defensive coordinators target Hopkins, they did not stop him from successfully destroying opponents secondary.
2015 season stats: 111 catches, 1521 yards, 11 touchdowns, 211 fantasy points
Odell Beckham Jr.
If you get one of the next three guys in the first round, you will be ecstatic. Ranking these players is useless, as these wide receivers very well may be selected in the top five picks of all drafts this year.
Let’s talk about what you are getting with OBJ though, in case you decide to select him: A very skilled player that has very high peaks and very low valleys.
He produced five or fewer points in four games last season, which is typically not something you want to see from a first round draft pick. When you look at some of his higher producing games though, you see why Giants fans are calling OBJ “Black Jesus.” 100 yards or more in 8 games last season, posting over 20 fantasy points in five games last year and scoring 13 touchdowns in the process.
Although you never know which Odell Beckham you are getting, you do not want to be on the other end when he is putting up his gaudy numbers.
2015 season stats: 96 catches, 1450 yards, 13 touchdowns, 216 fantasy points
Julio Jones set the league on fire the first three weeks of the year, catching 440 yards and four touchdowns to start off the 2015 season.
His production did not tail off either, as he caught over 1,800 yards last year. If he caught zero touchdowns last year, Jones still would have finished sixth among all wide receivers. He led the league in receiving yards, in the same league where Antonio Brown exists and is terrorizing defenses.
The Falcons have not been the most exciting team to watch in recent years, but as the team improves around Jones, it should only help him produce. Jones now seems like the only target down south now, with Roddy White seemingly falling off the face of the earth last season. The Atlanta Falcons will need him to produce at the heights that he did last season if they want to find success.
Jones actually has room to improve on last season, as he only saw the endzone eight times and half of his touchdowns came in those first three weeks — as mentioned. If Jones can improve on finding the endzone, fantasy owners will be rejoicing the whole season.
2015 season stats: 136 catches, 1871 yards, 8 touchdowns, 231 fantasy points
This may be the first year in a while that a wide receiver will be the first player coming off draft boards. With injury concerns to Le’Veon Bell, age concerns to Adrian Peterson and offensive line concerns for Todd Gurley, Brown sounds like the safest bet at the number one selection.
Brown was steady in production last year, making fantasy owners happy with over 19 points in seven games throughout the 2015 season. Brown is being force-fed in a high octane offense that shows no signs of slowing down as long as Ben Roethlisberger is under center in Pittsburgh.
Brown averaged 15.2 points per game last year, led the league in fantasy points as far as non-quarterbacks are concerned and shows absolutely no signs of declining anytime soon. Brown very well may be the best offensive player in the NFL.
Don’t be surprised to hear his naming going number one in all drafts this summer.
2015 season stats: 136 catches, 1834 yards, 10 touchdowns, 243 fantasy points