In this article, I breakdown my top 50 WRs for 2018 by tier. In each tier I give an overview of why the players are grouped the way they are and highlight some key players in each. I enjoy hearing feedback, thoughts, and ideas from my followers-feel free to send any my way on twitter: @Top2Matt.
There is little argument for the current tier 1 wide receivers. These three guys have dominated the fantasy world the past few seasons and have the ability to either form the foundation of your championship caliber team or be the piece that’s going to get you to that championship.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham Jr. is coming off an injury that broke the hearts (and roster compositions) of his owners in 2017. Prior to the injury, he finished as a top 7 receiver in the first 3 years of his career. In those seasons, he caught an average of 96 receptions per season for at least 1300 yards and combined for 35 touchdowns in his career. Beckham is the perfect combination of the big play potential that Brown has, with the career consistency that Brown possesses. The Giants appear committed to Eli for at least two more seasons and the addition of Barkley should keep defenses honest again the previously pass heavy Giants offense.
- DeAndre Hopkins
- Antonio Brown
There is a ton of dynamic play and potential in this group of wideouts. These guys are all young, with the elder of the group being Jones at 29 years old. They’re all the featured wideout on dynamic offenses (with the exception of Evans and the Tampa Bay offense). They make perfect 2nd round compliments to your first round picks.
In Weeks 11-17 of 2017, Allen showed me everything I need to see to take him before the rest of the tier 2 wide receivers. He caught 9 or more passes in 4 of those games, caught at least 100 yards in 5 of those games (3 games over 130 yards), and caught 5 touchdowns. He comes with risk, having sustained major injuries in both 2016 and 2017, but his injuries have no commonalities or trends which would suggest he deserves his “injury-prone” label. Entering the 6th year of his career, he’s still just 26 and it doesn’t appear Rivers or the Chargers’ offense is slowing down anytime soon.
- Julio Jones
Thomas is a PPR machine and, thanks to Alvin Kamara stealing the spotlight last season, he’s still flying under the radar in New Orleans. The 25 year old caught 92 of 121 targets in 2016 (76%) and 104 of 149 targets in 2017 (70%). He’s averaging 1,191 yards and 7 touchdowns per season. Thomas has Brees for at least two more seasons, making him one of the most dependable wideouts with one of the most dependable quarterbacks in the league.
- Davante Adams
- Mike Evans
These are the wideouts I’m really targeting in dynasty leagues this season. These are the guys I can mostly get in rounds 3 or later in start-up drafts. Some of these players, like Baldwin or Green are guys you can sell draft picks and/or younger players for to elevate your win-now roster.
- A.J. Green
- Tyreek Hill
Baldwin is one of the best values you can draft this season. He’s coming off back to back career-high seasons where he finished as WR13 (2017) and WR8 (2016). Baldwin accounted for 21% of Russell Wilson’s targets in 2017, the season where Wilson finished as QB1, and 22% of Wilson’s targets in 2016. With the departure of Richardson (80 targets) and Graham (95 targets) there’s 175 targets that will be vacated without any significant additions to Wilson’s receiving weapons. That gives the 29 year old wideout a significant opportunity to finish as a top 5 fantasy quarterback, and a near guarantee for him to finish as a WR1.
- Golden Tate
- T.Y. Hilton
If you’re cold on Cooper, I don’t blame you; but I haven’t given up on him. His 2017 season saw a significant drop in receptions (48) but he also saw a drop in targets, just 96 compared to 131 in 2016 and 130 in 2015. With a new coaching staff, led by Jon Gruden, the expectation is that Cooper gets back to the 130 target, or higher, range. In the seasons where he saw volume, he returned value: pulling in 1,070 yards in 205 and 1,149 yards in 2016; with a combined 11 touchdowns.
- Adam Thielen
- Jarvis Landry
- Brandin Cooks
- Allen Robinson
This is a small group, but consists of some high impact players with big upside. Thomas, Gordon, Jones Jr., and Jeffery have all flashed as some point in their career; but for different reasons. They all have the potential to act as great WR2s on your roster, and provide WR1 upside.
Thomas has finished as a WR2 of higher in each of the last 6 seasons, which is every season he’s started the majority of a season in the NFL. Thomas held his fantasy truthers afloat while wading through the murky quarterback waters that have drowned the Denver offense in recent seasons. Now, Thomas has Keenum-who’s consistency in his first starting role rose Thielen from his career high WR27 finish to WR8 in 2017. Thomas is due for a revitalization of fantasy value that makes him the ideal WR2/3 to have on your roster.
- Josh Gordon
- Marvin Jones Jr.
- Alshon Jeffery
This is when things start to get messy, but within this chaos is some serious value, and history tells us that it is in these rounds where we get the players that will win us those coveted fantasy championships. So, dig in deep, and start getting your “my guys”.
- Stefon Diggs
- DJ Moore
Smith-Schuster had a meteoric rise to fantasy relevance in his rookie campaign, making the 21 year old a very enticing fantasy asset. His WR18 finish, however, was boosted by his performance in Weeks 15-17. In those games, he caught 21 receptions for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those were the three weeks Brown missed in 2017, raising serious concerns as to Smith-Schuster’s ability to replicate those numbers. In addition to Brown, he’s going to have to fight for volume with James Washington, Le’Veon Bell, Vance McDonald, and Jesse James.
- Corey Davis
Gallup ranks towards the top of my rookie wideouts. I believe he will make the greatest impact in his first season; he’s in a position to be Prescott’s top target. Gallup has the opportunity to fill in for the 219 targets vacated by Bryant and Witten’s departures. Those 219 targets account for 44% of Prescott’s attempts in 2017. Gallup, however, has a ceiling that stops short of the upside of more dynamic players on high powered offenses like Moore and Ridley. That won’t stop him from quickly making a strong addition to your fantasy roster.
- Sammy Watkins
- Larry Fitzgerald
- Calvin Ridley
This tier digs into the mid rounds of your draft. The targets here make for prime contributors if you’re using a WR-zero strategy or if you’re looking for short term trade targets to fill in a roster with a shot at contending for a title.
- Julian Edelman
- Marquise Goodwin
I absolutely refuse to write off Nelson as a fantasy asset. Nelson, who finished as WR2 in 2016 when he pulled in 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. In the first 5 weeks of 2017, when Nelson had Rodgers throwing him the ball instead of Brett Hundley, Nelson had 19 receptions for 230 yards and 6 touchdowns. Nelson has since moved to Oakland, but stands to be a potent WR2, where he will draw weaker coverages than he ever has opposite of Cooper. Carr may be a downgrade from Rodgers, but he’s a significant upgrade from Hundley and I’m buying all of the Nelson shares I can find.
- Devin Funchess
- Cooper Kupp
Enunwa has been forgotten about after a 2017 preseason injury that deterred fantasy owners from holding onto him. Enunwa finished as WR42 in 2016, catching a total of 58 receptions for 857 yards and 4 touchdowns. Now Enunwa finds himself as the lead wideout on an offense with only Robby Anderson as a weapon. Anderson, although not yet announced, is still likely to miss some game time in relation to his off-field conduct issues. That leaves Enunwa as the top target to grow with Darnold, the heir apparent to lead the Jets franchise.
- Jamison Crowder
- Dez Bryant
- Emmanuel Sanders
- Michael Crabtree
- Christian Kirk
- Pierre Garcon
- Will Fuller
- Sterling Shepard
- Cameron Meredith
Sutton is almost purely an investment at this point, however, he has great potential to contribute in 2019. Sutton comes out of SMU as an extremely dynamic option who totaled 3,220 yards and 31 touchdowns in just 3 seasons. The Broncos are likely to move on from either Sanders (more likely) or Thomas to clear cap space after the 2018 season. The Broncos can save $8 million by cutting Thomas after the 2018 season or 10 million by cutting Sanders. Sutton, then will slide right into the WR2 role on a growing offense.
- Paul Richardson
I’m rounding out my top 50 with 3 wideouts who have serious upside but little to no NFL experience. They all have injury concerns and or competitive rosters that could jeopardize their volume. Still, they have WR2 or higher potential.
- Mike Williams
- John Ross
- Anthony Miller
Williams and Ross were top 10 draft picks with bigger names and bigger expectations than Miller. Miller, however, was dynamic in college at Memphis and his performance leading up to the draft, and into the preseason have drawn wide spread praise. Steve Smith compared Miller to himself pre-draft and Bears defensive backs haven’t stopped praising Miller for immediate coming out as a tough player to match-up against. Miller presents great upside and can be justified as a late 1st round or early 2nd round pick on rookie only drafts.