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Welcome back RotoBallers, as today we take a look at wide receiver rankings for standard leagues. Last week we took a look at how running back rankings break down into tiers when preparing for your upcoming draft. This edition will take that same concept and apply it to the more consistent position of recent years in wide receivers.

As with the running back piece, the goal of this tool is to act as a companion to the actual positional rankings you’ll see on RotoBaller. The purpose of the tiers is to group certain players of similar value together so that you have a sense on when/where to draft them.Much like their running back counterpart, players are grouped together for a variety of reasons. Whether its similar injury concerns or role in the offense, each tier balances talent with draft value. Use that as part of your fantasy draft prep and you should be in better shape for the upcoming season.

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2016 Fantasy Football Rankings Analysis: Wide Receiver (WR)

Tier 1 – Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. Antonio Brown, PIT
  2. Odell Beckham, Jr., NYG
  3. Julio Jones, ATL

In reality I could justifiably get cute here and put Antonio Brown in a tier all by himself but I’ll spare you the overexposure to my love affair with AB. The short version on Brown’s 2016 outlook is that he represents a changing of the guard atop fantasy draft boards. He’s the consensus number one overall player heading into the upcoming season and with good reason. Between the shakiness at running back and Brown’s unparalleled consistency, it’s hard to argue that he’s not deserving of the top spot. Even if you prefer the likes of Todd Gurley or Adrian Peterson to start your draft, Antonio is still locked in as the top WR regardless of your strategy.

Both Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones further the new era of fantasy football with wide receivers outranking most running backs in the first round. Although they might be a small step below Antonio Brown, the fact remains that they’re undoubtedly two of the best receivers in the NFL and their fantasy prowess reflects that. No well versed fantasy analyst should be telling you that you “must” take a certain position early in your draft but there’s absolutely a strong case to be made for this top tier of wide receivers to go within the first three picks.

 

Tier 2 – Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
  2. A.J. Green, CIN
  3. Dez Bryant, DAL

There’s a case to be made that if it weren’t for the combination of Dez Bryant and Tony Romo’s injury woes last season that Dez would be sitting pretty atop this second tier of wide receivers. Instead, DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green have leapfrogged him heading into 2016. That’s not to say that the difference between these three guys is all that great, though. Most rankers (as well as ADP) have Hopkins as a first round pick but you can justifiably take either Dez or Green in the same ballpark. All three have big time play-making ability and are going to hoard targets from their respective quarterbacks.

The potential knock on Hopkins is that he has the weakest quarterback situation of the bunch but I actually think that stance tends to get blown out of proportion. Can Brock Osweiller really be any worse than Brian Hoyer? Besides, as I hinted at earlier, Dez Bryant is one Tony Romo collarbone fracture away from another lost fantasy season. That’s all a long way of telling you that all three of these guys are studs. Any discrepancies between them basically come down to personal preference and a bit of nitpicking.

 

Tier 3 – Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. Brandon Marshall, NYJ
  2. Jordy Nelson, GB
  3. Alshon Jeffery, CHI
  4. Allen Robinson, JAX

Other than me being lower than the consensus on Allen Robinson, this tier shouldn’t really come as a huge surprise to anyone. Brandon Marshall is getting his quarterback back in Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jordy Nelson should be fully healthy for the start of the season, Alshon Jeffery won’t have a nagging hamstring injury heading into September, and Allen Robinson should continue to improve his rapport with Blake Bortles. All four players have great situations that should net them stat lines worthy of being a WR1 in fantasy for 2016.

Admittedly, I struggled with the exact order to put this group of receivers in. I might be starting to sound like a broken record in saying that this comes down to personal preference but just because it sounds familiar doesn’t mean it’s any less true. Look, there’s still a long ways to go to know the full extent of Jordy Nelson’s recovery and you’re going to hear a ton of analysis regarding Jacksonville’s projected improvements. Any way you slice it, these four WRs are stellar candidates to build your team around in the second round.

 

Tier 4 – Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. Demaryius Thomas, DEN
  2. Sammy Watkins, BUF
  3. Keenan Allen, SD
  4. Brandin Cooks, NO
  5. Mike Evans, TB
  6. Amari Cooper, OAK

Now we’re starting to get into some boom-or-bust players at the position. With the possible exception of Brandin Cooks, this group carries a considerable amount of risk come draft day.

Demaryius Thomas has the biggest question mark under center while Sammy Watkins is dealing with the most significant injury this offseason. Throw in a disappointing 2015 campaign from Mike Evans, a roller coaster rookie season out of Amari Cooper, and a sophomore slump from Keenan Allen that still has us scratching our heads and you’re dealing with a “which risk are you willing to take” situation. Even Cooks, the “safest” of the bunch, had a slow start to 2016. The point here is that not every tier has an easy path to fantasy stardom and this is the group where you’re going to start seeing some warts. Would anyone really be surprised if any of these six ended up cracking the top five at the position? Take the one you’re most comfortable with in the back half of round three and hope he ends up being the breakout of the bunch.

 

Tier 5 – Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. Kelvin Benjamin, CAR
  2. Randall Cobb, GB
  3. T.Y. Hilton, IND
  4. Julian Edelman, NE
  5. Golden Tate, DET

At the risk of repeating myself once again, this is another group that has concerns in their respective situations. Whether its Kelvin Benjamin’s ACL or Julian Edelman missing Tom Brady for four games, there’s no shortage of red flags here. Luckily, all five of these players have a relatively high floor.

The aforementioned Benjamin is the clear-cut top receiving option on a team with the leagues top fantasy quarterback in Cam Newton. Randall Cobb has always shined better as the number two receiver in his offense rather than a number one. T.Y. Hilton, although the one that makes me the most nervous, should benefit from a bounce back year from quarterback Andrew Luck. Despite not having Brady to start the year, Edelman is still a reception machine whose value only increases in PPR formats. Lastly, Golden Tate is now the number one receiver in the wake of Calvin Johnson’s retirement. In short, you’re looking at a tier of wide receivers who likely won’t end up being top-10 at year’s end but they can most certainly pad your fantasy stats as your WR2.

 

Tier 6 – Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. Doug Baldwin, SEA
  2. Jarvis Landry, MIA
  3. Jeremy Maclin, KC
  4. Jordan Matthews, PHI
  5. Eric Decker, NYJ
  6. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN
  7. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
  8. John Brown, ARI
  9. Michael Floyd, ARI

I’m sure plenty of you are wondering why Doug Baldwin comes in so low within these wide receiver tiers and it boils down to one mind-blowing statistic. Baldwin finished 2016 with 14 touchdowns and 1,069 yards, a great year by any standard you want to use. In his previous four seasons combined, however, Baldwin had 15 touchdowns total, never exceeding five in any given year. Suffice it to say, there is an extremely good chance that Baldwin will regress in the upcoming season and that expected regression is baked into his ranking. Sure, he’ll likely end up as a decent WR2 but expecting him to repeat as WR7 or even a top-12 fantasy wide receiver is way off-base.

If you’ll excuse that semi-transgression of bashing Doug Baldwin we can return to our regularly scheduled ranking tiers program. This is a large group that is somewhat volume dependent given their team situations. Whether it’s Jeremy Maclin being in a predominantly run-heavy offense or all three Arizona wide receivers fighting for targets, there’s some shakiness to depending on this group as anything more than a low-end WR2. That being said, just because expectations need to be lowered on draft day doesn’t mean they can’t exceed them over the course of the season. Just don’t overpay for anyone in this particular group and you’ll be in good shape with any of them on your roster.

 

Tier 7 – Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. Michael Crabtree, OAK
  2. DeSean Jackson, WAS
  3. Donte Moncrief, IND
  4. Kevin White, CHI
  5. Allen Hurns, JAX
  6. DeVante Parker, MIA

The most accurate way to describe this particular grouping would be to say that they’re all a lesser version of the boom-or-bust tiers you’ve already come across. You shouldn’t need me to tell you about how DeSean Jackson’s big play ability is both a blessing and a curse or that Kevin White is essentially entering his rookie season after an injury ridden 2015. Those are the kinds of things you’ll have to worry about when selecting anyone in this particular group. These are all solid options to have on your bench come bye weeks but you won’t want to rely on any of them on a consistent basis. There’s going to be flashes of brilliance in roughly half of their games played it’ll just be impossible to figure out when exactly those games are coming.

 

Tier 8 – Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. Tyler Lockett, SEA
  2. Dorial Green-Beckham, TEN
  3. Travis Benjamin, SD
  4. Marvin Jones, DET
  5. Corey Coleman, CLE
  6. Laquon Treadwell, MIN

We’re now firmly into the “flier” territory. This is the part of your draft where you’re throwing at a dartboard hoping to hit a bull’s-eye. All of these players have considerable upside but need a few things to go their way in order to end up being fantasy relevant.

First you have two sophomores in Tyler Lockett and Dorial Green-Beckham who need to see an expanded role in their respective offenses in order to find their way into your starting lineup. Next you have two veterans heading to new teams who can immediately benefit from a change of scenery in Travis Benjamin and Marvin Jones. Benjamin broke onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere in Cleveland last year and has a much more consistent quarterback situation with Philip Rivers now throwing to him. Marvin Jones, on the other hand, could be heading from one mediocre situation to another by going from Andy Dalton’s number two to Matthew Stafford’s. Lastly, two rookies round out this tier in Corey Coleman and Laquon Treadwell. Given the fact that the Browns are absolutely desperate for a number one wide receiver, Coleman has the edge over Treadwell in that regard.

Like I said, each of these players need a few things to break their way in order to achieve fantasy relevance so don’t expect too much out of them barring some luck.

 

Tier 9 – Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

  1. Stefon Diggs, MIN
  2. Steve Smith, BAL
  3. Markus Wheaton, PIT
  4. Torrey Smith, SF
  5. Sterling Shepard, NYG
  6. Josh Doctson, WAS
  7. Michael Thomas, NO
  8. Mohamed Sanu, ATL

Rounding out our wide receiver tiers is a last grouping of late round dart throws. These wideouts are just a small step below their tier eight predecessors but do still hold some upside. Luckily, you should know what these players are fairly early into the season. Whether it’s Sammy Coates outplaying Markus Wheaton to solidify the number two spot in Pittsburgh or Victor Cruz returning to form once fully healthy to do the same to Sterling Shepard, it’ll be easy for you to cut bait with what should be the final receiver on your roster.

 

Wide Receiver Rankings - Standard Scoring

Staff
Rank
Overall
Rank
Tier Player
Name
Frankie Nathan Nick Bill
1 1 1 Antonio Brown 1 3 1 1
2 2 1 Odell Beckham Jr. 2 2 3 2
3 4 1 Julio Jones 3 5 5 4
4 6 2 DeAndre Hopkins 8 6 10 5
5 9 2 A.J. Green 10 7 14 10
6 11 2 Dez Bryant 13 8 11 9
7 15 2 Allen Robinson 22 9 13 14
8 18 3 Jordy Nelson 17 20 17 16
9 19 3 Alshon Jeffery 20 19 18 18
10 20 3 Mike Evans 28 17 21 20
11 22 3 Brandon Marshall 16 28 22 21
12 24 3 Keenan Allen 26 24 28 25
13 26 3 Demaryius Thomas 24 21 40 26
14 27 3 Brandin Cooks 27 22 30 27
15 28 3 Amari Cooper 29 18 35 24
16 29 4 Sammy Watkins 25 39 31 35
17 30 4 T.Y. Hilton 32 27 33 33
18 36 4 Randall Cobb 31 30 37 39
19 37 4 Julian Edelman 41 29 39 32
20 38 4 Kelvin Benjamin 30 61 36 38
21 41 5 Jeremy Maclin 51 32 47 44
22 43 5 Golden Tate 42 37 51 46
23 45 5 Jarvis Landry 50 36 53 50
24 46 5 Doug Baldwin 49 47 50 51
25 50 6 Jordan Matthews 56 34 60 56
26 52 6 Eric Decker 57 33 46 53
27 55 6 Michael Floyd 66 41 55 60
28 56 6 Emmanuel Sanders 58 45 62 61
29 62 6 Larry Fitzgerald 59 46 63 64
30 64 6 Devante Parker 76 49 66 63
31 65 6 John Brown 60 43 74 67
32 66 6 Allen Hurns 75 50 67 68
33 68 6 Donte Moncrief 73 44 79 72
34 75 8 DeSean Jackson 72 65 80 73
35 79 8 Michael Crabtree 71 80 81 78
36 80 8 Tyler Lockett 87 66 91 86
37 84 8 Kevin White 74 89 83 83
38 87 9 Marvin Jones 96 69 87 87
39 91 9 Dorial Green-Beckham 88 78 93 92
40 93 9 Corey Coleman 97 81 98 102
41 98 10 Laquon Treadwell 98 84 114 112
42 106 10 Stefon Diggs 101 83 122 110
43 107 11 Torrey Smith 108 93 103 107
44 108 10 Steve Smith 102 106 99
45 109 11 Travis Benjamin 95 104 128 118
46 110 10 Markus Wheaton 107 94 105 109
47 111 11 Tavon Austin 129 103 113 115
48 113 11 Willie Snead 133 109 110 104
49 115 11 Sterling Shepard 109 122 129 126
50 118 11 Vincent Jackson 118 101 123 108
51 119 12 Devin Funchess 128 95 106 146
52 120 12 Josh Doctson 112 121 131 133
53 125 12 Michael Thomas 114 145 100 145
54 138 13 Mohamed Sanu 113 115 111 149
55 139 13 Kendall Wright 119 147 104 137
56 141 13 Breshad Perriman 141 133 137 129
57 146 14 Kamar Aiken 154 130 108 162
58 147 14 Terrance Williams 157 138 119 153
59 151 14 Nelson Agholor 166 137 107 148
60 153 14 Rishard Matthews 160 150 140 158
61 157 14 Phillip Dorsett 191 131 117 155
62 159 14 Ted Ginn 153 151 127 163
63 160 14 Pierre Garcon 159 149 126 156
64 165 15 Will Fuller 171 155 162 184
65 172 15 Sammie Coates 147 157 130 192
66 174 15 Rueben Randle 196 154 167 175
67 175 15 Mike Wallace 169 188 135 173
68 178 16 Jeff Janis 161 174 164 182
69 180 16 Tyler Boyd 170 156 144 191
70 185 16 Victor Cruz 148 143 229
71 195 17 Chris Hogan 195 158 155 194
72 196 17 Josh Gordon 177 265 131 178
73 197 17 Davante Adams 192 176 172 202
74 198 17 Anquan Boldin 197 266 148 174
75 202 18 Danny Amendola 231 197 186 206
76 203 18 Steve Johnson 184 267 168 172
77 208 19 Kenny Britt 232 262 128 208
78 216 19 Jaelen Strong 208 212 177 216
79 217 20 Brandon LaFell 217 210 208 212
80 222 20 Brandon Coleman 193 259 183 221
81 223 20 Jamison Crowder 211 238 200 264
82 224 20 Justin Hardy 132 226 235 271
83 231 20 Robert Woods 307 159 210 210
84 235 21 Jermaine Kearse 303 196 191 198
85 238 21 DeAndre Smelter 304 215 169 227
86 241 22 Eddie Royal 234 261 214 228
87 243 22 Brian Quick 218 239 226 259
88 244 22 Seth Roberts 236 230 211 270
89 246 23 Nate Washington 302 247 194 225
90 247 23 Pharoh Cooper 308 260 193 224
91 250 23 Leonte Carroo 312 225 223 260
92 253 23 Ty Montgomery 235 224 271 257
93 269 24 Cole Beasley 309 275 219 273
94 273 25 Philly Brown 320 270 224 248
95 277 25 Braxton Miller 315 273 230 267
96 280 26 Marqise Lee 321 276 236 277
97 290 27 Cody Latimer 322 298 240 279
98 291 27 Chris Conley 328 278 245 292
99 295 27 Albert Wilson 329 277 262 291
100 296 27 Cecil Shorts 323 299 249 289
101 298 27 Kenny Stills 332 288 232 311
102 307 28 Marques Colston 305 327 274
103 312 28 Brian Hartline 327 346 251

 

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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.