With the 2018 fantasy football season still months away, the extremely savy (or excited) owners will now start looking at who will be the best players to fill out their rosters. One of the key positions for any fantasy football roster is wide receiver. Because of this I have set out to create a list of the top 30 players at the wide receiver position. Hopefully this list can help you get a feel for who are the best fantasy wide receivers out there as of right now.
1. Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown is still the consensus number one wide receiver in fantasy football. Last season, he led the entire league with 1,533 yards and 109.5 yards per game and also scored a whopping nine touchdowns. This led to him also leading all wide receivers with a 93.7 grade on Pro Football Focus. With Brown’s continual dominance, combined with the fact that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be returning to Pittsburgh in 2018, he looks to yet again be the best receiver in fantasy.
2. DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans
The only player to score more points than Antonio Brown? Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins led all wide receivers with 213.8 points in 2017. This capped a career year where he caught 96 passes for 1,378 yards and a league-leading 13 touchdowns. Next season could be even better for Hopkins, with star quarterback Deshaun Watson returning from an ACL injury. Hopkins did extremely well with Watson, even garnering 224 yards in a touchdown in Week 8 against Seattle. Hopkins could end up being even better in 2018 than he was last season, especially considering the Texans have the easiest strength of schedule in all of football according to ESPN.
3. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones is continually one of the best receivers in football, placing him in the top 10 draft pick discussion every season. Last season was no exception, with him garnering 88 catches for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns. These marks led to him receiving the third best rank of any wide receiver on Pro Football Focus. Although Julio did carry some injury concerns earlier in his career, he has now gone four straight seasons with 14 games played or above. In addition, the Falcons offense, led by veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, appear primed for another productive season with Julio as the main beneficiary.
4. Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints
Michael Thomas could very well move higher up this list by the end of the season, that is just how talented he is. You may be surprised to read this, but Michael Thomas actually ranked second among all wide receivers last season with a 93.0 grade on Pro Football Focus. Perks like these typically accommodate Thomas’ role as the number one wide receiver on a potent Saints offense. With quarterback Drew Brees still at the helm, Thomas is an elite fantasy wide receiver who you can count on every week to put up good numbers. Also, expect his five touchdowns to move up this past season as his rapport with Brees increases and reliance on the run game decreases.
5. Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants
Odell Beckham Jr. has now been captivating NFL audiences for four seasons. It just seems like it was yesterday when he caught that insane one-hander against the Dallas Cowboys and launched himself into the national spotlight. But now he is one of the premier players in the league and is an established veteran on the New York Giants. The only problem with Beckham is that his future availability on the field is starting to become an issue. His off the field antics and his recent ankle injury have made many concerned as to whether he will be a player you can rely on. Despite this, whenever Odell steps onto the field, he is still a top five fantasy wide receiver and an extremely dangerous player.
6. Davante Adams – Green Bay Packers
Adams is one of the best receivers in football, and will look to become even better in 2017. Davante Adams caught 149 passes for 1,882 yards and 22 touchdowns the past two seasons and has only missed three games. This tremendous performance forced the Packers hand, and led to them getting rid longtime star wide receiver Jordy Nelson. This is especially good for Adams, who is now going to be the apple of Aaron Rodgers’ eye. Being the prime target of the best quarterback in football could lead to Adams becoming a top five fantasy wide receiver, so get him while he’s cheep.
7. Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans is also about to enter his fourth year in the pros, and has made himself one of the best wide receivers in all of football. Standing at a monstrous 6’5″, 231 pounds, Evans has repeatedly used his size to jump over opposing defensive backs to get touchdowns and other impressive catches. Despite his ascent to the football elites, Evans came crashing down in 2018. He had a career low 1,001 yards, and his five touchdowns were a far cry from his 12 touchdowns in 2016. Don’t expect Evans to be this way for too long, he will bounce back in 2018 and once again rank among the elites at the wide receiver position.
8. A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green has yet again placed himself among the elites at wide receiver, but age and a declining quarterback have pushed him down draft boards. In July, Green will be on the wrong side of 30 and will also still be paired with Andy Dalton, who’s already mediocre performance has started to slip off even more. Despite all of this, Green still caught 75 passes for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. Expect these numbers to increase in 2018 due to the Bengals strength of schedule being the third easiest in football.
9. T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
T.Y. Hilton had arguably the worst season of his entire career in 2017, only catching 57 catches for 966 yards and four touchdowns. This happened the same year that franchise quarterback Andrew Luck missed the entire season with shoulder issues. Now that Luck is back, Hilton will look to build off his 2016 season where he led the entire league 1,448 receiving yards. Expect Hilton to bounce back to his earlier self. Last season was an outlier, not the standard.
10. Keenan Allen – San Diego Chargers
Keenan Allen had the best season of his entire career last season, catching a whopping 102 passes for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns. This was the first season that Allen played more than 14 games since 2014. But despite his recent good health, injuries have been a red-flag for Allen’s entire career and will continue to be in 2018. But if he is able to stay healthy, Allen will be a top ten receiver in fantasy football. You can also expect those six touchdowns from last year to move up because tight end Hunter Henry recently suffered a torn ACL.
11. Stefon Diggs – Minnesota Vikings
Stefon Diggs is primed to launch himself into the fantasy elites at the wide receiver position in 2018. Last season, Diggs had the best season of his young career, catching 64 passes for 849 yards and eight touchdowns. He was also ranked eighth among all wide receivers with his 85.4 grade on Pro Football Focus. This marvelous season was capped off by his tremendous catch (above) against the Saints in playoffs, one that sent Drew Brees and the rest of New Orleans packing. With new quarterback Kirk Cousins about to step in, the Vikings offense as a whole looks to take a major step forward next season. Diggs is still early into his career, and could very well rank higher on this list when the season ends.
12. Josh Gordon – Cleveland Browns
Josh Gordon had been repeatedly suspended because of off the field drug abuse, but last season finally played his first football since 2014. During his return, he would garner 335 yards and one touchdown over five games, which doesn’t sound like much, but is still quite a lot when you consider the starting quarterback was DeShone Kizer. Also taking into account that Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards his last full season in the pros, he is well-worth the risk of drafting this season. For all we know, Gordon completely bounces back and leads all receivers at the end of 2018.
13. Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
Demaryius Thomas is another player on this list who has continually placed himself among the best at wide receiver. This year is no exception, as the new addition of Case Keenum looks to be exactly what the Denver Broncos offense needs to get back on track in 2018. After seasons with horrific quarterbacks like Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, Thomas looks to finally get back to normal with Keenum at the helm. Expect Thomas to do far better than his 949 yard and five touchdown season, both of which were his worst marks since 2011. Furthermore, the Broncos had one of the hardest schedules in football last season, so them having the 25th easiest schedule in 2018 can only help Thomas.
14. JuJu Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers
JuJu Smith Schuster jumped onto the scene in 2017, catching 58 passes for 917 yards and seven touchdowns despite only starting seven games! This outstanding season places Smith-Schuster in a position to become a top ten wide receiver in 2018. The only reason I don’t place him there right now is because Antonio Brown is still the lead act in Pittsbugh, and looks to cap Smith-Schuster’s value in the future. Despite this, Martavis Bryant did leave the Steelers this offseason, which now allows for JuJu to have an expanded role on the offense. With the incredible season that he had last year, don’t be surprised if JuJu becomes one of the best receivers in football.
15. Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs
Many had concerns prior to 2017 that Tyreek Hill couldn’t be a reliable source of fantasy points, just a boom-or-bust option that would occasionally blow up the scoreboards. But he disproved this notion in 2018, when he caught 75 passes for 1,183 yards and seven touchdowns. And while he was far better last year, he is still not a truly consistent source of fantasy production. Although this inconsistency pushes Hill down draft boards, it is worth noting he is one of the most explosive players in the NFL. Another thing to note is that the Chiefs acquired Sammy Watkins over the offseason, which I think will actually help Hill because defenses will now have to focus on another receiver next season. An explosive player like Hill can oftentimes win or lose you fantasy matchups.
16. Brandin Cooks – Los Angeles Rams
After being traded to the Patriots last offseason, Brandin Cooks will once again be starting with a new squad in 2018. But this move may have been for the better, as Cooks will now be the lead receiver on the Los Angeles Rams. Although few offenses are an upgrade from the New England Patriots, the Rams did lead the league in points scored last season with 478. Because of this potential upgrade, you could see Cooks doing even better than his 1,082 yard, seven touchdown season in 2017. Cooks has always put up 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns every season since 2015. Don’t expect that to change.
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17. Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks
Baldwin took a step back in 2017, only catching 75 passes for 991 yards and eight touchdowns. The main reason for this regression is the fact that defenses were able to key-in on Baldwin as there no other offensive weapons Russell Wilson could focus on besides Jimmy Graham. This problem only looks to get worse as Graham was signed by the Packers, so expect Baldwin to have similar or worse production than in 2017. The main reason he is still ranked this high is because any player who is the prime target of Russell Wilson and has Baldwin’s talent still deserves lots of attention.
18. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals
Every time you think Larry Fitzergald is too old, will fall off, and descend into fantasy irrelevance, he always puts up another great season to place himself among the best wide receivers in football. 2017 is no different, with his 85.3 grade ranking ninth on Pro Football Focus. Fitzgerald has consistently caught over 100 passes for 1,000 yards and six touchdowns, numbers that make him a borderline WR1 and amazing WR2. Despite the obvious talent that Fitzgerald has, it is worth noting he will be entering his age 35 season, so some calculated risk taking is needed. Furthermore, Josh Rosen is an unproven quarterback who could end up hurting Larry Fitzgerald’s fantasy value if he doesn’t produce.
19. Golden Tate – Detroit Lions
Golden Tate continued his outstanding tenure in Detroit with another 1,000 yard, five touchdown season. This efficiency led to him getting the seventh best grade of any wide receiver on Pro Football Focus. Tate can very well expect to have another season just like this in 2018, with all the major offensive pieces still in place for the Lions. Despite the limited amount of touchdowns putting a cap on his value, the large number of catches and yards that Tate repeatedly gets will place him among the elites in PPR. And although Tate will be entering his aged 30 season, don’t expect too much regression from the slot receiver who continues to put up big numbers.
20. Alshon Jeffery – Philadelphia Eagles
Alshon Jeffery decided to move on from the Chicago Bears and would later sign with the Eagles in 2017. Jeffery put up an efficient first season in Philadelphia as the primary target of quarterbacks Carson Wentz and later Nick Foles. He caught 57 passes for 789 yards and nine touchdowns and also had an 81.0 grade that ranked 22nd among all wide receivers on Pro Football Focus. What was particularly exciting about his first season as an Eagle, despite the Super Bowl victory, was the fact that he was able to stay healthy the entire season, the first time has has been able to do so since 2014. Sadly, he is still recovering from a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder this offseason, so make sure to keep his injury history into account before drafting him.
21. Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears
The Bears had some of the worst wide receivers in football last season, so they were extremely relieved to sign Allen Robinson this offseason. Despite last season’s major injury, Robinson is still an extremely talented wide receiver who has the talent to become an elite player. In 2015, Robinson garnered 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns, leading to him getting selected to the Pro Bowl. Ever since then, Robinson has attempted to regain this 2015 form and has failed to do so. The inability to regain his prior dominance, coupled with the fact he’ll be joining a run-first offense run by one of the worst quarterbacks in football, Robinson’s upside is extremely limited. Despite all of this, he is still extremely talented and the primary target on the Bears, giving him mid-round consideration.
22. Michael Crabtree – Baltimore Ravens
After being a major producer in multiple seasons for the Raiders, Crabtree (along with the entire offense) had a major regression in 2017. He had only 618 yards for eight touchdowns, which isn’t awful, but certainly is not what he had been producing for the past few seasons. But now that Crabtree has left the Oakland for the Baltimore Ravens, he will look to put himself back into the early round conversation. Now that he is on the Ravens, he should be the primary target of Joe Flacco, and will no longer play second fiddle to Amari Cooper. Another major bonus for Crabtree is that he has now gone four straight seasons without a major injury, so his injury concerns are now far back in the rear-view mirror. Look for Crabtree to bounce back in a big way in 2018.
23. Will Fuller V – Houston Texans
Nobody was hurt more by the season-ending ACL injury to Deshaun Watson than Texans wide receiver Will Fuller. For comprison, Fuller had 279 yards and seven touchdowns during his four games with Watson. After his injury, he had a miserable 144 yards and no touchdowns over six games. With Watson returning in 2018, Fuller will once again look to launch himself into the fantasy elites and be a major source of touchdowns for fantasy owners. He could end up being a major steal during the middle rounds of the draft. The Houston Texans also have the easiest schedule in football, which certainly won’t hurt Fuller’s chances of becoming a fantasy stud.
24. Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings
Adam Thielen put up a career-year in 2017, catching 91 passes for 1,276 yards and four touchdowns. This production placed him among the elites at wide receiver and has led to many ranking him inside or near the top ten for 2018. I am personally not as much of a believer in Thielen, mainly because I see his newfound success being directly tied to his personal chemistry with Case Keenum. He had been in the league for four seasons and had never seen the type of success that he’d experienced with Keenum. Now that Cousins is the starting quarterback for Minnesota, I expect Thielen’s production to decline. I also see his lack of touchdowns alarming from a fantasy perspective. I would advise you to not reach as high as everyone else will for Thielen, he may disappoint.
25. Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns
26. Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers
Devin Funchess had hype surrounding him ever since he got drafted by the Panthers, with many scouts predicting that the former Michigan tight end would become a major red zone threat for Cam Newton. This never materialized until last season, where the departure of Kelvin Benjamin and a gruesome foot injury suffered by Greg Olsen opened the door for Funchess to finally realize his potential. In 2017 Funchess was able to get a whopping 111 targets, 63 of which were caught for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. Although this season was impressive, Funchess’ production will probably decline in 2018. Returning players like Greg Olsen and incoming rookies like D.J. Moore will look to steal targets from Funchess. Expect a similar season to last year from Funchess, with maybe a small dip in fantasy points.
27. Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders
Amari Cooper took a major step back in 2017, catching a meager 48 passes for 680 yards and seven touchdowns, all of which were career-lows. The Alabama product was drafted fourth overall for a reason, and looks to bounce back in 2018 so he can once again be an elite wide receiver. He very well could, as main competitor Michael Crabtree is now on the Ravens and the Raiders strength of schedule is third-easiest in all of football. Although newcomers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant will certainly compete for targets, you can trust in Cooper’s talent to garner him most of the looks and get him back to his original form.
28. DeVante Parker – Miami Dolphins
The first round pick out of Louisville felt the impact of Ryan Tannehill suffering a season-ending knee injury, only garnering 670 yards and one touchdown. In a season that looked to be a major step forward for Parker, he ended up having the worst season of his young career. I would argue most of this can be attributed to Jay Cutler being the quarterback all season, which I personally think would decimate the value of any wide receiver. But 2018 looks to finally be the year Parker breaks out and becomes a good fantasy wide receiver. Ryan Tannehill will be healthy and his main competitor for targets, Jarvis Landry, is now on the Cleveland Browns. DeVante Parker could end up being picked for a bargain price in your draft.
29. Emmanuel Sanders – Denver Broncos
Sanders had one of the worst seasons of his entire career last year, only garnering 555 yards and two touchdowns, which were his lowest marks since 2011 and 2012. This can mainly be attributed to the horrific quarterback situation in Denver, which has now hopefully been fixed with the addition of Case Keenum. After he worked wonders in Minnesota, Keenum looks to make some more magic for the Broncos and help bring receivers like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders back into fantasy relevance. If he can do so, Sanders will still be of limited value because he typically doesn’t score a lot of touchdowns, but would still a really solid WR2.
30. Julian Edelman – New England Patriots
Julian Edelman looked to yet again be one of the premier players on a high-powered Patriots offense, but sadly had his season ended before it even began after he suffered an ACL tear. Coming into his aged 32 season, Edelman still hasn’t been able to play a full season in his entire eight-year career. This extensive injury history, coupled with his age, paints a very precarious picture for 2018. Although when healthy he is an elite PPR wide receiver, Julian Edelman is starting to become too risky to trust in fantasy.
Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans
Pierre Garcon – San Francisco 49ers
Kelvin Benjamin – Buffalo Bills
Calvin Ridley (Rookie) – Atlanta Falcons
Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs
Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams
Marquise Goodwin – San Francisco 49ers
Marvin Jones Jr. – Detroit Lions
Marqise Lee – Jacksonville Jaguars
Dez Bryant – Free Agent
Jordy Nelson – Oakland Raiders
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