By RahimAli Merchant
I hope you’re still following along with me on this quest to draft the ultimate team in fantasy football. First, it was the quarterbacks, NFL Fantasy: Top 15 QBs + Sleepers, and then it was the running backs, NFL Fantasy: Top 20 RBs + Sleepers, but now it’s time to see which wide receivers will be impactful for you in fantasy football. Let’s keep in mind that this is for PPR format leagues, so some players may be higher than they should be.
This list isn’t anywhere close to the one of the running backs have, and the value of the position is much more than we thought. This is more dependent on the quarterbacks than the running backs are because you want to typically have the QB/WR duo to get extra points. At least that’s what I like to do. Now let me share with you the top 20 wide receivers in fantasy football to help you make the right decision.
- Antonio Brown, Steelers
- Julio Jones, Falcons
- Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
- DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
- Michael Thomas, Saints
- Davante Adams, Packers
- A.J. Green, Bengals
- Keenan Allen, Chargers
- Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
- Stefon Diggs, Vikings
- Adam Thielen, Vikings
- Mike Evans, Buccaneers
- T.Y. Hilton, Colts
- Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
- Marvin Jones, Lions
- Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos
- Alshon Jeffery, Eagles
- Brandin Cook, Rams
- Jarvis Laundry, Browns
- Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
Brown, Jones, Beckham, and Hopkins are the four players you want to jump on early in the draft, if not the first round. Brown has set the standard for what a wide receiver who deserves to go No. 1 overall is like, especially in a PPR league. He has finished top three in scoring in each for the past five seasons and with the offense that is one of the most consistent in the NFL. It would be nice to have Bell and Brown on the same team, but let’s stay in reality.
Jones may not give you the touchdowns you want, but you know you’ll get the yards, and with yards comes catches. But hey, that’s what we really want right? Regardless of whether or not Jones receives the touchdowns, he is still one of the best receivers, plus we do expect to see him get more than three scores all season like, for real, come on Falcons!
Beckham Jr. is returning from an ankle injury that cost him most of 2017 and eyeing a new contract with the Giants. Regardless of the rumors, we expect Beckham to play his heart out and continue right where he left off. With the new head coach and offensive weapons around him, Beckham will have a lot of the pressure taken off him, which will allow him to come back to great plays.
Hopkins is excited to have his quarterback back and healthy. Although it never mattered who the QB was, Watson and Hopkins have built a great connection. Hopkins finished No. 1 in WR scoring last year with Watson missing half the season. We can expect the two of them to continue where they left off.
Thomas, Allen, Adams, and Green are four receivers that benefit significantly from their quarterback play. Although they aren’t the only primary pieces of the team, we can ensure that they will continue to be the top options.
Thomas had a terrific rookie season and followed it up with another great year. He and Alvin Kamara will take a lot of pressure off of quarterback Drew Brees. We should see much of the same from Thomas as we saw the first two seasons.
Allen is finally back to good health, which is an excellent sign for the Chargers and their future. Allen is the leader of the young receiving core in L.A., and he will look to continue to add another 100 + catches this season.
Adams has emerged as the new favorite target for quarterback Aaron Rodgers with the departure of Jordy Nelson. Adams has silently had double-digit touchdowns each of the past two seasons, and we should see a much larger performance from him this year in any format.
Green is a valuable receiver in any format as he is the clear top receiver. Green may have struggled in 2017, but the entire Bengals offense struggled with him. Green has also been a receptions receiver with lots of yards, which makes him a great addition to your team. especially if he and the Bengals can turn their offense around.
Baldwin and Evans will have a lot of pressure on them this season. For Baldwin, it’s about taking advantage of more targets and continuing where he left off last season. With the departures of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, Baldwin will have to work with Wilson and the young core of running backs to prevent themselves from losing because we know the “Legion of Boom” is no more.
Evans will have to rebound from another lousy year in fantasy football. It may be tough to want to take Evans when you know Winston will serve a three-game suspension to start the year, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is more than capable of leading the Buccaneers offense. Evans is poised for a solid year in fantasy, and we hope to see him get to the double-digit touchdowns again.
The Vikings duo of Diggs and Thielen will look to continue their ways to the top of the league. Last year it was Diggs with the yards and touchdowns, while Thielen was also there for the yards, especially on third downs. With RB Dalvin Cook returning from injury and upgrade at QB with Kirk Cousins, we should see the both of them continue to shine. They are both must-adds in any format of fantasy.
T. Y. Hilton is one of the most under-rated and under-appreciated receivers in the league. That’s probably because he’s had to deal with subpar quarterbacks and teammates. With a healthy Andrew Luck expected to return to the Colts, there is no saying what the duo can do together. Hilton has proven himself worthy without Luck, so don’t let him get passed because of who throws him the ball.
Hill is one of the smaller receivers in the NFL, and he has been able to use his size to his advantage to gain huge numbers. This year we could expect the same effort. With a new quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and the addition of Sammy Watkins, Hill may find it a bit difficult to be the top option, but don’t forget this is a PPR formatted list and Hill loves the screen passes.
Marvin Jones has quickly become one of Stafford’s favorite targets, and as Stafford looks to achieve 5,000 yards passing, we could see Jones grab 100 + catches with 1500 + yards. Of course, he isn’t the only receiver that gets the receptions, but Jones could have fewer receptions and more yards and touchdowns on any given Sunday. We do hope to see Kenny Golladay insert himself into the lineup more as he stays healthy, but don’t look for Jones to slow down his own production.
Thomas and Sanders are hoping for better performances this season then they have in years past. I mean let’s face it since Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos haven’t had a quarterback who could throw the ball consistently to either one of them. Sanders is a reception for yards guy and Thomas is more of the long ball guy. Hopefully, with the minor upgrade at QB with Case Keenum, they can both be relevant again in fantasy leagues especially PPR because I really like Sanders.
Jeffrey has the luxury of having two different quarterbacks capable of throwing him the ball. He is, however, coming back from surgery on his rotator-cuff which could make him drop in most drafts. The fact that he is the top receiver on the Eagles is a plus, but the way they run their offense is from the inside out, so expect more from the younger backs, receivers, and tight ends. Although, I’d take my chances with Jeffrey and touchdowns.
Landry has gotten himself a big contract and is now a top option in Cleveland. Well at least of them, as the Browns have done a complete change to significant pieces on the offense. Landry will team with Josh Gordon (more on him later), and rookies Nick Chubb and Baker Mayfield. So it’s no telling what Landry or the Browns new offense will do, but looking at what he’s done over the past seasons, he should be good to get 1000 + yards and at least eight touchdowns.
Cooks will be joining his third team in as many seasons, and it may be tough for him to fit into an offense that already has receivers quarterback Jared Goff can trust and emerge as his favorites. The Rams offense is mostly run through it’s running back, Todd Gurley, which helps open up the passing game. With Cooks speed, he could have the most yards on the team, which is a positive for those of us who can scoop him up.
Let’s not forget the importance of all receivers, and though these guys are the top 20, we still have several sleepers. Here are the five sleepers to watch for this season.
- Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster, Steelers
- Corey Davis, Titans
- Josh Gordon, Browns
- Allen Robinson, Bears
- Pierre Garcon, 49ers
Smith-Schuster showed us all what he has as a rookie playing alongside Antonio Brown. He is set to have an even more successful second year with the Steelers. In fact, the Steelers are so confident that they traded Martavis Bryant to the Raiders. Smith-Schuster has already started making a name as one of the top receivers in the NFL, and we should see him gain over 1000+ yards this season.
Davis got little to no playing time last season due to suffering from a hamstring injury, which didn’t allow him to be on the field much. As a rookie he shined bright against the super heavyweight, New England Patriots. We know that if he can stay healthy, he and Derrick Henry will be a force to be reckoned with. Don’t let Davis be passed up.
Gordon was finally able to return to the NFL after all the years of being suspended due to the substance abuse policy, but he’s back and ready to help the Browns go 16-0. Okay, not really, but maybe he could be the missing piece to our lineup that can help you be 16-0. Just imagine what Landry and Gordon are going to do together on the field.
Robinson’s issues of staying healthy has plagued him in recent seasons. In Chicago, he will be looking for a new, fresh start. The bigger question is how well he will play with Bears QB Mitch Truiskby. I am a firm believer in Robinson’s comeback with a new team, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing him get points for PPR, if not the touchdowns, but then again, that’s what Taylor Gabriel is for.
Garcon has to be excited about the situation he’s returning to after missing the final half of the season. That half was the half Jimmy G got the chance to show what he can do. Just imagine what Garcon can do alone. Okay, I might be hyping him up a bit too much, but he already knows the offensive scheme better than anyone on the team, and all the acquisitions and picks they made to the offense can only help his status.
Have you figured out what wide receiver you want to draft yet? It’s okay, me neither! At least I still have some time before I decide that. I will be giving you a list of tight ends to think about as well. I promise we are almost there and I won’t tell you to who to draft your team anymore after that. But maybe you do listen, and we can both win our leagues.
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