WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

 

It's that time of year again! Fantasy Football live drafts are about to be in full swing. Check out NFL Fantasy Football Expert Draft Scout, Lance Goodman and special guests, as they break down the 2019 Wide Receiver Rankings.

Lance Goodman

August 2019

#GoNFLEx

2019 PRESEASON RANKINGS 

1. DeAdre Hopkins, HOU
2. Julio Jones, ATL
3. Michael Thomas, NO
4.  Davante Adams, GB
5. Odell Beckham Jr., CLE
6. Tyreek Hill, KC
7. Adam Theilen, MIN
8. Juju Smith Schuster, PIT
9. Mike Evans, TB
10. Keenan Allen, LAC
11. Stefon Diggs, MIN
12. Antonio Brown, OAK
13. A.J. Green, CIN* (+)
14. Julian Edelman, NE
15. Amari Cooper, DAL
16. Alshon Jeffery, PHI
17. Cooks, Kupp, Woods, LAR
18. Kenny Golladay, DET
19. Calvin Ridley, ATL
20. Allen Robinson, CHI
21. Tyler Lockett, SEA
22. Chris Godwin, TB
23. Robbie Anderson, NYJ
24. Tyler Boyd, CIN
25. Mike Williams, LAC
26. Jarvis Landry, CLE
27. Sammy Watkins, KC
28. T.Y. Hilton, IND
29. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN
30. Sterling Shepard, NYG
31. Will Fuller, HOU (+)
32. Marvin Jones Jr, DET
33. Corey Davis, TEN
34. Marquez Valdes Scantling, GB
35. Quincy Enunwa, NYJ
36. Courtland Sutton, DEN
37. N'keal Harry, NE
38. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
39. D.J. Moore, CAR
40. Josh Gordon, NE
41. Robert Edwards, BUF
42. Anthony Miller , CHI
43. Marquise Goodwin, SF
44. Christain Kirk, ARI
45. Tyrell Williams, OAK
46. DeVante Parker, MIA
47. Dante Pettis, SF
48. D.K. Metcalf, SEA
49. Michael Gallup, DAL
50. Golden Tate, NYG

2019 OUTLOOK

Top 10

 

DeAndre Hopkins of the Texans, Julio Jones of the Falcons and Michael Thomas of the Saints come in as my top 3 prospects this season. In the majority of fantasy drafts, I expect for them to be the first three WRs taken off the board and unless something goes catastrophically wrong, you can almost be assured that 100 catches, 1,300 yards and 10+ TDs are well within reach. Based on what we've seen over the last three season, Thomas has the highest ceiling for receptions, Jones for yards and Hopkins for TDs. At #4 I have Davante Adams of the Packers. After years of earning his stripes as a second or third option in Green Bay, he put together a masterful season in 2018 and solidified his spot as an elite fantasy performer. Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs rounds out my Top 5 Wide Receivers in this class. In terms of stature, he's not the physical specimen that the Receivers ranked ahead of him are but he is the fastest and most elusive of this group. His open field speed and big play ability have led to the most Touchdowns of 40+ yards since he burst onto the scene back in 2016. We all know and are familiar with the name Odell Beckham Jr. but it's been a while since we've gotten a whole season of him performing at an elite level. Coming into this season he's motivated, has a new Quarterback and most importantly, a clean bill of health, which should allow him to get back on track. Even though he's on a new team, Antonio Brown is still an elite talent at the position and his new Quarterback Derek Carr is good enough to get him the ball when he's open, so I don't have any concerns about production. My concerns are about Brown's attitude and temperament, which can boil over at any time over the course of a season, especially if the Raiders are losing. Minnesota Wide Out Adam Theilen quietly snuck onto the fantasy radar back in 2016 and has since turned into one of the most secure and reliable fantasy WR options after back to back career years in 2017 & 18'. He's likely reached his ceiling of potential but should be able perform at this high level for the next few years. I like Juju Smith Schuster a lot and can see why people are so high on him but as I write this article, he's a guy who I'll have lower on my board when I update my rankings. Yes, he's the primary option in the Steelers passing game now and has shown excellent progress since joining the league two years ago. He also has a very good Quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. But I'm not sure that he can repeat last year's elite numbers, especially since he'll be the focal point of defensive game plans. T.Y. Hilton of the Colts rounds out my Top 10. He's never been a big touchdown scorer and isn't known as a PPR stud either but he's an electrifying play maker especially with Quarterback Andrew Luck in the lineup. As good as Hilton has been, there's still some upside.

 

#11-20

 

To begin my next tier of Receivers is Stefon Diggs of the Vikings, who is every bit as good as teammate Adam Theilen who is ranked a few spots ahead of him. He's one of the best route runners in the league and has improved his numbers every year since his rookie season. At #12 it's another proven commodity in Keenan Allen of the Chargers. He's another great route runner who has excellent hands and plays at a high level. If he can repeat his numbers from last year and increase his Touchdown total, he'll rank inside the Top 10. Next is Mike Evans of the Buccaneers. There aren't any questions about his talent or abilities, as they rival the top talents in the league, with the exception of vertical speed but he makes up for that, with his exceptional leaping prowess. The only red flag is, he's just coming off a great statistical season and if you look at history, he's followed that up in the past with a down year. A.J. Green of the Bengals is another elite caliber talent who is usually a consensus Top 10 performer but has really struggled with injuries over the last few years, causing owners to think and second guess on a guy who is normally a no brainier pick. Last year it was either hit or miss with Amari Cooper in Dallas. He came over in a mid-season trade, so working with Dak Prescott in the off-season should help, along with his knowledge and familiarity with the Playbook. Even though he was inconsistent, his numbers will add up over a 16 game season. Philadelphia Wide Out Alshon Jeffery is one of my sleeper and value picks this year. He came into last season hobbled which was a setback in terms of being ready from day 1. The Eagles offense was also all over the place with 3 Quarterback changes during the season. But when starting Quarterback Carson Wentz is at the helm, Jeffery's numbers are much more consistent as their chemistry is very under rated. As long as the Rams have Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp in the fold, it'll be hard to just say, this one guy out of the group is going to have the best year. Last season, the injury to Kupp made the target and production share 50/50 between Woods and Cooks, so I don't know how that breaks down with a healthy Kupp back on the field. The one thing that I do know, is that this is a very productive group and all Receivers hold relevant value. Next up is Kenny Golladay of the Lions. Last year he became the teams go to guy by default but this year, he enters Training Camp as "the guy" for Detroit's passing game. Detroit likely won't be as pass heavy as we've seen in the past but with Golden Tate no longer on the team, he's expected to see a lot of targets. At #19 is Julian Edelman of the Patriots. He's one of the top slot Wide Receivers in the league and has a long proven track record of history and production with Quarterback Tom Brady, who will be targeting Edelman a lot this year. Rounding out my Top 20 is Allen Robinson of the Bears. After an ACL injury in 2017, Robinson's first year in Chicago was a success from the stand point of, he played in just about every game and didn't suffer any setbacks. He now also has a full off season of work with Quarterback Mitchell Tribusky, which should improve their on the field chemistry. Robinson is physically gifted and if he can get consistent targets, there's a lot of upside to like here.

 

#21-32

 

Seattle Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett starts off my third tier of prospects. Based on the offensive system that he's in, he's definitely not attractive for PPR formats in terms of reception volume but in standard formats he's a legit WR2. If he can duplicate last year's success, 1,000 yards and 8-10 TDs would make him a great value pick. Robbie Anderson of the New York Jets is next on the board. As the teams big play threat in the passing game, he has the potential to be another great value pick. He's slight in frame, so he struggles with consistency and nagging injuries from time to time but overall, he's in position to be a valuable asset on your fantasy team. At #23 it's Tyler Boyd of the Cincinnati Bengals. His draft stock may end up being a little higher depending on the injury status of Stud and teammate A.J. Green whose recovering from a bad ankle sprain. Either way, Boyd has excellent value and serves as an elite WR2, especially if he got better as an individual player in the office season. Next is a player who’s on the bubble in Jarvis Landry of the Browns. He had established himself as must have in PPR formats during his time in Miami, peaking with a career year back in 2017. He then signed as a free agent with Cleveland last season, and had his worst statistical season as a Pro. So I'm not sure how confident owners should be in his weekly production, now that the Browns have an elite WR1 in Odell Beckham Jr. and the emergence of young Tight End David Njoku. Calvin Ridley of the Falcons is next on my board. I'm pretty sure when I update my rankings, he'll move ahead of Landry. Ridley had a strong rookie season in 2018 with 11 tugs and should be in line for more targets in a pass friendly offense now that veteran Receiver Mohammed Sanu is out of the way. If Chiefs Wide Out Sammy Watkins can stay healthy, there's a lot to like about his situation. He's in a wide open offensive system that features Pro Bowlers Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, who demand so much attention, leaving Watkins in position to flourish in one on one match ups. Chris Godwin is another player who is in excellent position to make some good things happen if he can build on his career year last season in Tampa Bay. Elite Receiver Mike Evans demands a lot of attention, so Godwin should see a consistent dose of weekly targets, especially since DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries are no longer with the team. Now here's where it starts to get sticky with a lot of unknown variables and question marks. This is also the part of my rankings in which you can expect to see the most movement over the next 2-3 weeks as my draft board becomes final. We'll start with Will Fuller in Houston. When healthy, he's been very consistent and a big time performer, scoring a touchdown in most games. His vertical speed makes him extremely dangerous in the Texans offense but injuries are a major concern. The Broncos have an intriguing set of pass catchers in veteran Emmanuel Sanders and sophomore Courtland Sutton. Sanders was having a great year last season prior to tearing his Achilles and appears to be closing in on 100%. Sutton showed a lot of promise last season as rookie, despite some ups and downs. Joe Flacco is an upgrade this season at Quarterback and both Sanders and Sutton are expected to see the majority of targets, I'm just not sure how high the ceiling is for either, if Denver continues to be a run balanced offense. Next is DeSean Jackson of the Eagles. Even though he's getting older, he still has enough too end speed to get behind defenses and should serve as the vertical threat in Philly's passing attack. Marvin Jones Jr. of the Lions was a Top 10 Fantasy prospect for me last season after catching for over 1,100 yards in 2016. Jones and Quarterback Matt Stafford seemed to have good chemistry especially in the red zone where Jones could use his athleticism to make plays. However, a nagging ankle injury and change in offensive philosophy caused his numbers to fall off last year. If he's fully healthy, I like his mid-late round value and potential resurgence this year. To round out this tier are a set of Packers Wide Receivers. Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdez Scantling both will have plenty of opportunities to see targets from Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, especially with the attention on receiving stand out Davante Adams.

 

#33-50

 

My final tier of Wide Receivers will be a mix of high end WR2 prospects and players who don't have elite or even 2nd tier talent but will serve as the main or primary targets for their respective teams passing game. And just like the real NFL Draft, this is where you can really solidify your roster by making sure you have quality players who can be an asset to your team even if it's for a few games. Both Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller have value in Chicago working opposite Allen Robinson. Both players are smaller in stature and work mostly from the slot. This will be Head Coach Matt Nagy and both players second year with the team, so it'll be interesting to see how they are used. Michael Gallup will work on the other side of Amari Cooper in Dallas. He had some bright spots last season as a rookie but the opportunities were limited. This season, he's expected to be more involved in the game plan but Dallas is still a team that wants to establish the run, which will limit consistent weekly targets. I also think the addition of Randall Cobb coming over from Green Bay will potentially cut into his targets. Arizona Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald already has a gold jacket awaiting him in Canton when he retires but at this point in his career, he's just adding to his totals. I don't see him as a dominant WR1 anymore but he still has great hands, runs crisp routes and knows how to get open. It'll be interesting to see his role in the Cards new look offense. Christian Kirk is the other Receiver in this offense and with only 1 year of experience and a new offensive scheme, we don't have too much to go on, except he'll be on the field and see a pretty consistent amount of targets. In Seattle, D.K. Metcalf is ready to showcase his skills if he can secure the starting job. He killed the 2019 combine and has the physical tools to be a legit play maker for the Hawks offense. He's still raw and has to learn the ropes but he'll have plenty of opportunities to make plays from the jump. Another player to watch is David Moore, who is entering his third season and is expected to build on a solid 2018, in which he reeled in 5 TD passes. I'm not sure if it is or ever will be a pecking order in San Francisco, with Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis as the primary targets for the 49ers passing game. Trent Taylor and rookie Jaylon Hurd could also see meaningful time. Goodwin was supposed to be "the guy" and had much more value coming into last years’ fantasy Draft after coming up just short of 1,000 receiving yards back in 2017 but last season was a complete whiff. In New York, Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate will be the focus of the Giants passing game at the Wide Receiver position. Shepard has been consistent in his first three years but it hasn't been enough to merit big time fantasy consideration but I will say this. He's averaged right around 60 catches for 700 yards thus far and with Odell Beckham Jr. gone, he could see a nice increase in catches and yards. As for Tate he's going to miss the first 4 games of the season due to suspension and when he returns, he'll have to establish his niche in the offense. I think the upside for both players is that New York could be playing from behind often, which will lead to a lot of passing. Both Corey Davis in Tennessee and DeVante Parker in Miami have been huge disappointments up to this point. Both have had moments that make fantasy owners want to believe but in the long run, it never pays off. They are still listed as the go to guys in each teams respective passing games but it hasn't meant much over the last 3 years. Parker has really struggled with injuries, so if he can remain on the field, there's still hope there. As for Davis, the fact that he more than doubled his numbers from his rookie season back in 2017 is encouraging. D.J. Moore is set to be the lead Receiver in Carolina and I'm not sure what that means, considering that Quarterback Cam Newton is not the most accurate passer and likes to spread the ball around. He's also undersized at 5'11'' compared to today's elite pass catchers. When you look at Buffalo, Baltimore, Jacksonville and Washington, there's nothing that really stands out about any of their group of Wide Receivers and I see these players most likely starting the season on the waiver wire. Zay Jones and Robert Foster are the starters in Buffalo with unproven Quarterback Josh Allen. Seth Roberts and Willie Snead are a joke right now in Baltimore, with Lamar Jackson at the helm. In Jacksonville, Marquise Lee and Dede Westbrook are pegged as starters for a presumed run heavy offense and we have no idea how new Quarterback Nick Foles will look. And in Washington, Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson don't even know who they'll be receiving passes from at this point with a bunch of unproven signal callers competing for the starting job.

-2018 Final Preseason Ranks

-2018 Final WR Rankings Recap