Well, it is time to rank the best, so many things matter about some of these elite players, such as QB health, attitudes, but anyway these are the best of the best right here. My early draft saw 7 Wide Receivers go in the first round. Wasn’t expecting that many, but I see why. Talk about a talented group of receivers with some just flat-out ELITE. In parenthesis denotes the players bye week.
(8) = Bye week
1. Antonio Brown, PIT (8)
Jerry Rice once had back to back seasons where he combined for 3,347 receiving yards. Over the last two seasons, Brown has 3,532 and he is still just 28 years old. With the rate of injury for top-end running backs, don’t hesitate to select a durable, once in a generation superstar with the first overall pick in your draft.
2. Julio Jones, ATL (11) (Smart Qb, Great WR++)
With Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. being so positively dominant, most people don’t realize Jones led the NFL in receptions (136 second best all-time) and receiving yards (1,871). He is still just 27 years old and bound for a jump in touchdowns considering how flukey-low his TD-rate was in 2015. We believe he is a much safer pick than even the top running backs.
3. Odell Beckham, NYG (8) (athleticism to finest, Redzone)
Over his first 26 career starts, Beckham has 25 touchdown catches and is averaging over 100 yards per game. Granted, that is a smaller sample size, but is far and away the best rate in NFL history, and 25 yards per game beyond even Jerry Rice! Add in that OBJ is still just 23 years old and you have to imagine he will only continue to improve.
4. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (9) (He just gets it done)
Although Brown, Beckham and Jones are on another planet, He somehow hauled in 1,521 yards for 11 touchdowns with Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallet, TJ Yates and Brandon Weeden throwing to him. Replacing those guys with Brock Osweiler should go a long way, and Hopkins has yet to hit his prime so he could very well jump into the other-world tier this season.
5. A.J. Green, CIN (9)
In eras past, 6,100 receiving yards and 45 touchdowns in five seasons would assure you a spot at the top of the wide receiver pyramid, but today’s ball game is a different story. Andy Dalton throwing him passes, we will never quite know how he stacks up against the likes of the elite tier of players. Green is a solid pick, as he is as durable as they come.
6. Dez Bryant, DAL (7) (Breakout Season, Redzone Beast)
If he can stay healthy, he would be higher on the list than this. There may not be a better red zone receiver in football, Another large factor is that Romo might not be able to stay healthy enough to boost Bryant’s stats. There are some question marks, but he could be the best wide receiver in the NFL. NO DOUBT!
7. Allen Robinson, JAC (5) (BEAST MODE THIS YEAR, Keeper)
Perhaps only Antonio Brown was more consistent last season among wide receivers, and at 22 years old, many expect Robinson to take another step forward, You will see a different Jacksonville team this year, who may not be playing from behind as much, but they still have to score points to win games. Thinking he repeats if not better than last season.
8. Keenan Allen, SD (11) (Little risky but the number don’t lie)
The Chargers’ young wide receiver is being drafted way too late thus far. Yes, Allen was shut down for the season with an injury so there are lingering concerns, but this is a 24-year-old who was on pace for 134 receptions before the injury. You cannot afford to pass on that type of upside at this stage in the draft.
9. Jordy Nelson, GB (4) (Does everything, Injury ?, Great QB)
We have seen so many great athletes come storming back from a torn ACL that we seem to take for granted how difficult this recovery process is. Reports suggest Nelson is back to full form, but at 31 years old. Nelson has been an exceptional asset whenever he has been healthy. Could be a little risky, but the upside is there if he stays healthy.
10. Alshon Jeffery, CHI (9)
With Jeffrey having missed so much time last season, it is tough to remember that he is still young enough that we probably haven’t seen the best of him. If he can add to his 1,400 yard, 89 reception season from a few years back, Jeffrey would be in the same category as DeAndre Hopkins. How will Cutler do this season ??
11. Mike Evans, TB (6)
The third-year breakout is a real thing, and as odd as it seems that a player who began his career with 2,257 yards and 15 touchdowns in 29 starts could breakout, it is not only possible, but probable when you consider that his quarterback is due for significant improvement as well. Evans is a fantastic red zone target and should see a major boost in his TD rate this season.
12. Brandon Marshall, NYJ (11)
If you take out 2014, Marshall’s 1500 yard, 109 reception season from last year looks right in place with the previous few years in his career line. The fact that he had one tough injury riddled season seems to have made most people into skeptics regarding Marshall. Last season was no fluke, it was 2014 that was the exception. Draft Marshall with confidence if he falls to you.
13. Brandin Cooks, NO (5) (Young, Dynasty type Player, Great QB)
It is difficult to remember that the third-year wideout is still just 22 years old. With Drew Brees throwing passes, he may have the strongest case for breakout player of the year. Keep in mind that he closed the season with 100+ yards and a touchdown in three of his final five games. He is a reception hog too, and could surpass 110 for you in PPR leagues.
14. Amari Cooper, OAK (10) (Dynasty, Keeper, Better QB)
While his rookie year was impressive, he only managed to haul in 55% of the passes thrown his direction. Now, part of that is likely due to having a young QB throwing. But much more experienced this season. He is great on the deep ball, but because you only get so many of those per season, that will change this season ,as he develops his all-around game. Plus receptions will go up.
15. T.Y. Hilton, IND (10)
No, Hilton is not your prototypical overpowering red zone threat, but he always seems to get the job done when it comes to fantasy football. T.Y. is the favorite target for one of the best QB’s in the Game today. He is durable and reliable so you could certainly do worse than drafting him. Going to have a monster season !! Luck bounce back year.
16. Sammy Watkins, BUF (10) (Still Young, Dynamic, Injury issues?)
Yes, there are further injury concerns with the 23-year-old, but take a minute to admire the fact that Watkins led the NFL with 11.0 yards per target. There is so much upside with Watkins that you must give him strong consideration this year. Also stronger QB will help his fantasy game.
17. Randall Cobb, GB (4) (reception magnet)
It certainly doesn’t feel like it, because Cobb has five full seasons already behind him, but he is the same age as Kelvin Benjamin. Cobb could still improve quite a bit, and that’s saying a lot for a guy that already has a season with 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns on his resume. Jordy Nelson’s return should help Cobb jump right back into that third tier of fantasy receivers.
18. Jarvis Landry, MIA (8) (Strong Upside and Young)
The 23-year-old quietly had a masterful 2015 season. He compiled 110 receptions and over 1,150 receiving yards. The best part, is that what he did was remarkably consistent, posting under 10 fantasy points just three times all season in PPR leagues. His touchdown rate is bound to improve so he could leap into the top 12 receivers by year-end.
19. Julian Edelman, NE (9) (Brady Factor, Reception value++)
Nothing against the man’s talent or the Patriots’ system, but Edelman just isn’t on the same level as the wideouts being drafted around him. He has never been able to stay healthy, is now 30 years old and hasn’t put up a 150 point fantasy season in his career, so there is no reason to think he will produce one for you now.
20. Demaryius Thomas, DEN (11)
His 105 receptions were higher than his previous three season’s average with the good Peyton at the helm, and his receiving yards were pretty darn good. It isn’t easy to believe, but whoever ends up as the starting QB he will tons of weapons to get the ball to. And Thomas is one of the best. Denver’s great defense might slow him down some.
21. Golden Tate, DET (10) (Will throw the ball all day)
Becoming the clear-cut No. 1 receiver on any team has major benefits, but when your quarterback owns two of the top ten seasons all-time for passing yards, you get a special kind of boost. We get it, , This late in the draft you’d better be thinking hard about adding that upside to your roster. Detroit will be PASS HEAVY!
22. Jeremy Maclin, KC (5)
We are talking about a player who had more fantasy points per game last season than Mike Evans, Demaryius Thomas, T.Y. Hilton and Randall Cobb, so don’t be so concerned that you are afraid to pay value price for him. The question is “Can he do it again.”
23. Jordan Matthews, PHI (4) (Great Upside, Been falling in Drafts)
Whenever a young receiver finishes the season with 327 yards on 27 receptions in three games, you’d better pay attention. Matthews is just about to turn 24, yet somehow outscored Hilton, Evans and Cobb last season. If he takes another step forward, this will be one of the best values in the draft.
24. Donte Moncrief, IND (10)
Here, we have the perfect case of hype-fatigue. He now enters his third year, and is still just 22 years old, so he has learned the game ,and is ready to make that fantasy jump. The fact is, he is a superior talent to T.Y. Hilton and with Andrew Luck, could become a superb receiver. Go get him, but just watch and see how Dorsett does in the preseason.
25. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (9)
We all remember the way he began the season. He is not getting a lot of respect this year. I believe he has one more good season in him. Hope he is not the odd man out in a very good WR core. He will surprise, still lots of talent.
Here they are! It’s still early to see how some battles end up for different teams. Also, who may become the new focus with a new offense, or a new coach. These ranking were done as of Aug.19th, so a lot can change yet, but like I said if you want one of the elite’s you better take them early.
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