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2018 Fantasy Football Rankings Analysis - Wide Receiver (PPR)

RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings for PPR leagues are updated and live! Click here to check out the rankings and get a leg up on the rest of your leaguemates with some early research.

Being part of a league with a point per reception (or "PPR") scoring format changes how fantasy owners approach the wide receiver position. With receptions providing a form of safety blanket, certain fantasy wideouts become more stable in terms of fantasy production while others become more volatile. For this article, I will be taking a look at Rotoballer's wide receiver rankings for PPR leagues and providing some quick reactions with analysis to boot.


PPR Wide Receiver Rankings

Position Tier Position Rank Overall Rank Player Name
1 1 4 Antonio Brown
1 2 5 DeAndre Hopkins
1 3 6 Odell Beckham Jr.
2 4 11 Julio Jones
2 5 12 Michael Thomas
2 6 13 Keenan Allen
2 7 14 A.J. Green
2 8 15 Mike Evans
2 9 16 Davante Adams
2 10 18 Adam Thielen
3 11 20 Doug Baldwin
3 12 23 Tyreek Hill
3 13 28 Larry Fitzgerald
3 14 29 T.Y. Hilton
3 15 31 Demaryius Thomas
3 16 32 Jarvis Landry
3 17 33 Stefon Diggs
4 18 34 Golden Tate
4 19 35 Allen Robinson
4 20 37 Amari Cooper
4 21 42 Alshon Jeffery
4 22 43 Josh Gordon
4 23 44 Juju Smith-Schuster
4 24 48 Marvin Jones
4 25 49 Julian Edelman
5 26 54 Pierre Garcon
5 27 57 Brandin Cooks
5 28 66 Jamison Crowder
5 29 68 Emmanuel Sanders
5 30 70 Robert Woods
6 31 71 Devin Funchess
6 32 72 Michael Crabtree
6 33 74 Will Fuller
6 34 76 Corey Davis
6 35 82 Cooper Kupp
6 36 83 Sammy Watkins
6 37 84 Robby Anderson
6 38 85 Chris Hogan
6 39 86 Marquise Goodwin
6 40 87 Nelson Agholor
6 41 88 Kelvin Benjamin
6 42 90 Dez Bryant
7 43 93 Sterling Shepard
7 44 97 Devante Parker
7 45 100 Jordy Nelson
7 46 104 Randall Cobb
7 47 107 Marqise Lee
8 48 115 Kenny Stills
8 49 117 Rishard Matthews
8 50 123 Allen Hurns
8 51 130 Josh Doctson
8 52 131 Martavis Bryant
8 53 132 Calvin Ridley
9 54 133 DeSean Jackson
9 55 135 D.J. Moore
9 56 136 Ted Ginn
9 57 139 Cameron Meredith
9 58 151 Mohamed Sanu
10 59 155 Anthony Miller
10 60 157 Paul Richardson
10 61 159 Mike Williams
10 62 165 Tyler Lockett
10 63 166 Mike Wallace
10 64 167 Dede Westbrook
10 65 170 Tyrell Williams
10 66 172 Michael Gallup
11 67 176 John Brown
11 68 177 Kenny Golladay
11 69 181 Keelan Cole
11 70 185 Jordan Matthews
11 71 188 Albert Wilson
11 72 189 Cole Beasley
11 73 190 Chris Godwin
11 74 192 Corey Coleman
11 75 198 Donte Moncrief
11 76 201 Willie Snead
11 77 204 Zay Jones
11 78 206 Ryan Grant
11 79 207 Terrance Williams
11 80 209 Christian Kirk
12 81 211 Jermaine Kearse
12 82 212 Trent Taylor
12 83 213 Amara Darboh
12 84 214 Brandon LaFell
12 85 220 Courtland Sutton
12 86 221 Taywan Taylor
12 87 223 Brice Butler
12 88 224 Geronimo Allison
12 89 226 Danny Amendola
12 90 227 Travis Benjamin
12 91 228 Eric Decker
12 92 231 Kendall Wright
12 93 232 Terrelle Pryor
12 94 234 Brandon Marshall
12 95 238 Malcolm Mitchell
12 96 240 Brandon Coleman
12 97 241 Bruce Ellington
12 98 242 James Washington
13 99 244 Josh Reynolds
13 100 245 Jaron Brown
13 101 250 John Ross
13 102 251 Torrey Smith
13 103 260 J.J. Nelson
13 104 265 Chester Rogers
13 105 270 Kevin White
14 106 275 Taylor Gabriel
14 107 299 Curtis Samuel
14 108 305 Tavon Austin

Tier 1

Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr.

As perhaps the most distinguishable tier one of all the position groups, the cream of this years crop of fantasy wide receivers have little noteworthy competition around them and are virtual locks to finish as top-five wideouts barring injury.

Antonio Brown might have been sidelined for the final two weeks of 2017 due to an injured calf, but he still managed to reach 300 PPR fantasy points for a sixth consecutive season. When you draft Brown, you draft a player who has had 100 yards or a touchdown in 33 of 50 contests (counting playoff games) over his last three seasons. His overall durability and consistency are what make him our number one fantasy wideout.

Despite having to suffer through Tom Savage to open 2017, Deandre Hopkins finished as last year’s WR-2 and led the league in targets with 164. If quarterback Deshaun Watson can continue to progress from his ACL injury last season, Hopkins's upside could certainly rival or surpass Antonio Brown.

Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to be back to full health after  a broken ankle derailed his season just five weeks into 2017. Although it can argued that he has more pass catchers vying for targets a-la Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, the addition of Saquon Barkley should force defenses to lighten their coverage on Beckham a bit. With a catch rate of 55-percent inside the 10-yard line, taking Beckham with a late first round pick gives fantasy owners a potential touchdown machine week-in and week-out.

Tier 2

Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Keenan Allen, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, Davante Adams, Adam Thielen

The seven players that find themselves in tier two have plenty of room for their ranks to change come September. With the exceptions of wide receivers A.J. Green and Adam Thielen, all five of the tier two wideouts have ADPs in round two of fantasy drafts. Falcons wideout Julio Jones might have soured on fantasy owners due to his boom or bust games, but he did still manage to finish as the seventh best wide receiver in 2017 and led the league with 3.08 yards per route run.

That being said, it's hard not to get excited for Keenan Allen and Michael Thomas, who caught 71 and 92 passes respectively en route to finishing as top-six wideouts last season. Thomas truly balled out in his sophomore season, finishing seventh in targets (139), third in receptions (104) and sixth in receiving yards (1,245). Allen played in all 16 games for the first time as a pro and generated his own career highs in targets (147), receptions (102) and receiving yards (1,393). If he plays a full season again, Allen could easily push to be a tier one wideout.

The Bengals offense was a mess last season, including boasting one of the league’s worst offensive lines. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor should put more of his own stamp on the playbook in 2018 and the team made big improvements this offseason to the offensive line, giving A.J. Green a chance to bounce back strong.

Mike Evans was held to five touchdowns in 2017 and only eclipsed that mark once in the past three seasons, which is particularly alarming when you consider that he was second in the league with 20 red-zone targets. Quarterback Jameis Winston will have to take leaps and bounds with his pass deliveries to Evans while Evans himself will need to avoid those pesky concentration drops to avoid being a touchdown dependent wide receiver next season. Davante Adams finds himself in a much similar situation, though he should benefit immensely from stronger quarterback play and has shown his overall reliability after hauling in 74 of his 108 targets for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Offseason turnover in Minnesota is one thing that will work against Adam Thielen, as the move to John DiFilippo at offensive coordinator and offseason addition of Kirk Cousins means more down-field throws than what the team had in 2017. He won't finish with 143 targets again, but he should still be a solid fantasy producer nonetheless.

Tier 3

Doug Baldwin, Tyreek Hill, Larry Fitzgerald, T.Y. Hilton, Demaryius Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Stefon Diggs

If any fantasy wide receiver is equivalent to an old jalopy that continues to run and get you where you need to go, Doug Baldwin fits that mold. Over the past three years, Baldwin has been as steady a producer at wide receiver as you can ask for. He has placed inside the top 10 in receiving yards (3,188), receptions (247) and receiving touchdowns (29) during that span and clearly is Russell Wilson’s go-to-guy.

Tyreek Hill is among the most efficient wide receivers in the game, as his 11.3 yards per target in 2017 ranked first in the league among those with 70 or more targets. However, owners would be remiss to ignore that it will take a lot for Patrick Mahomes to follow suit with Alex Smith's MVP-caliber season and the offseason addition of Sammy Watkins could take away some targets.

Larry Fitzgerald and T.Y. Hilton's finishes in 2018 will be highly contingent on quarterback play. The quarterback position arguably upgraded in Arizona with Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen, but no one really knows what the offense is going to look like under head coach Steve Wilks. Hilton’s 57 catch, 966 yard, and four touchdown season was good to finish as the overall WR-26 finish in PPR leagues, but the return of Andrew Luck would easily allow him to break that ceiling.

The hope for Demaryius Thomas is that the addition of quarterback Case Keenum can help to return him somewhat to his 11-touchdown form from 2014, but Keenum is certainly no Peyton Manning. Still, it should be safe for fantasy owners to welcome Thomas back into their WR2 spot and expect slightly improved numbers to last season.

Multiple reliable fantasy wide receivers have experienced changes of scenery this offseason. Cleveland Browns wideout Jarvis Landry has long been renowned as a PPR monster, having hauled in 400 catches through his first four seasons in the NFL (the most in NFL history across four seasons). Unfortunately for Landry's fantasy value, he joins an intriguing receiving corps with Josh Gordon and former first-round pick Corey Coleman. A Baker Mayfield-led offense certainly offers more upside than one with Tyrod Taylor, but fantasy owners shouldn't expect the same safety blanket for receptions that Landry once was.

Entering into a contract year, Stefon Diggs should be encouraged to make a stronger splash in 2018 with the tenth easiest schedule for wide receivers. Now that Kirk Cousins' is in town and brings with him a greater propensity to throw down field, all signs point to Diggs finishing higher than WR-19.

Tier 4

Golden Tate, Allen Robinson, Amari Cooper, Alshon Jeffery, Josh Gordon, Juju Smith-Schuster, Marvin Jones, Julian Edelman

Tier four represents the first marked drop-off in overall talent for PPR wide receivers, but fantasy owners should still be able to find solid production from this group.

Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are coming off the board very close together in drafts (ADP sixth and seventh round respectively). Tate's role in the offense is safe, as he's now seen at least 120 targets in each of the last four seasons. Jones offers the highest upside entering his third season with quarterback Matthew Stafford, as he finished with the sixth-most targets, the third-most yards, and third-most touchdowns on deep passes.

Allen Robinson and Amari Cooper will be expected to headline their respective offenses, but the key question will be how pronounced their roles will be. Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will have all new faces around him for 2018, and Robinson is clearly the best of the bunch. 120 targets is certainly in the realm of possibility, but he will have to prove that he his fully healed from his ACL injury. If the Raiders offense will truly run through the fourth-year receiver, Cooper could emerge as the passing game’s focal point and reward owners who took him in the late fourth round of drafts.

Despite his abysmal 47.5-percent catch rate, Alshon Jeffery will develop chemistry with quarterback Carson Wentz should grow as time goes on. Owners should be cognizant of his injury-riddled past, as he has missed 11 games in the past three years with a lot of soft tissue injuries.

With so many mouths to feed in Cleveland, it's hard to imagine Josh Gordon being a truly dominant fantasy weapon despite looking to be in the best shape of his life. With Tyrod Taylor at quarterback and a running back group that screams a ball control offense, Gordon's fourth round price will be too steep for many.

You can't draft a wide receiver who ranked 55th in targets per game in the top-six rounds of your fantasy draft. Unfortunately, Juju Smith-Schuster is priced at his upside in the fifth round and owners should work past the hype to remember the Steelers offense runs through its two dominant playmakers. Julian Edelman's price should fall as well given his four-game suspension and he is coming off of a torn ACL last preseason, though that is not to say he can't return and produce.

Tier 5

Pierre Garcon, Brandin Cooks, Jamison Crowder, Emmanuel Sanders, Robert Woods

Owners who can snag Pierre Garcon while perceptions about him are at an all-time low (ADP in the eighth round) should do so expecting a top-shelf WR3. Garcon was one of the unluckiest receivers in the league last year, somehow scoring no touchdowns despite seeing 65 targets in eight games. With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo under center, all signs point to Garcon’s touchdown-less streak snapping no more than two or three games into next season.

After a somewhat disappointing season with New England, Brandin Cooks was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for first and sixth-round picks. He remained boom-or-bust in the Patriots' crowded receiver corps last season, but still posted 65 receptions, 1,082 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns while averaging a career-high 16.6 yards per catch. However, his ceiling in 2018 will be heavily limited due to him having to fight for targets with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, not to mention the downgrade at quarterback. Woods himself will have to deal with a capped ceiling for targets with the way their defense improved. He will likely be on the WR3/WR4 border most weeks and offers little upside with all the playmakers in that offense.

Two big question marks who sound good on paper are Jamison Crowder and Emmanuel Sanders. Crowder's role in the slot is especially conducive to fantasy production, as he averaged 3.2 yards of separation in 2017 and will be Alex Smith's favorite target. Add into the equation that Washington has the best schedule for fantasy wide receivers and Crowder becomes a name to watch. Unfortunately for Sanders, his yards per target has declined each of the last three seasons, bottoming out at 6.0 yards in 2017. Upgraded quarterback play could help, though not enough to drastically bump up his average of 7.7 targets per game.

Tier 6

Devin Funchess, Michael Crabtree, Will Fuller, Corey Davis, Cooper Kupp, Sammy Watkins, Robby Anderson, Chris Hogan, Marquise Goodwin, Nelson Agholor, Kelvin Benjamin, Dez Bryant

The body of wide receivers in tier six all have reasons to believe in them, but many have at least one major concern that will give owners cause to pause. Despite added competition from rookie D.J. Moore, Devin Funchess remains the top red zone threat at the wide receiver spot for Carolina, considering his 56-percent red zone catch rate that skyrockets to 87-percent inside the 10-yard line. Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree will become the top option on his team considering the lack of a true No. 1 wideout on the roster before his arrival, with Crabtree still being a threat for double-digit touchdowns in 2018 despite the Ravens having a greater propensity to run the football than most teams.

Corey Davis will benefit from the Titans hiring Matt LaFleur as their offensive coordinator after watching him work under Sean McVay in Los Angeles with the Rams. LaFleur will likely move Davis all over the field, including in the slot (where he dominated in college), split out wide in a role similar to Sammy Watkins, and in more of possession role like they used Robert Woods.

Speaking of Watkins, his fantasy football cycle seemed to start and end the same way over the past several seasons with his hype reaching its height just before the start of the regular season. Even in an offense that didn’t feature him, Watkins racked up healthy numbers in yards per route run and on deep targets with the Rams and should help in the development of a young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes. His current ADP of the eighth round compared to Tyreek Hill’s third round price might not be consummate to their ability to produce fantasy points by the end of 2018.

For PPR formats, Marquise Goodwin is truly flying under the radar. His rapport with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and his volume on both deep targets and overall targets per route run help him stand out as a value given his tenth round ADP. On the other hand, expecting someone like Nelson Agholor who ranked 50th in targets per game among wide receivers last year and carries an eleventh round draft price would to finish as a top-35 wide receiver is a huge mistake.

Tier 7

Sterling Shepard, Devante Parker, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Marqise Lee

Sterling Shepard is a high upside selection that owners should look for in PPR formats. Considering the work that head coach Pat Shurmur did for Adam Thielen's career in Minnesota while working him out of the slot, expect Shepard to return solid value given 80-percent of his snaps came from that spot over the last two years. Devante Parker is a similar high upside option late in drafts, who had at least five targets per game last season and averaged 68.2 yards and 0.3 touchdowns in those contests. Now without Jarvis Landry on the team, lofty 120-target expectations aren't completely out of the realm of possibility.

With Jordy Nelson experiencing a significant downgrade in quarterback play after his move to Oakland, it appears he could be slated for fantasy irrelevance. It's hard to trust a player who will have to compete with Amari Cooper and Martavis Bryant week-in and week-out for anything more than WR4 numbers. His former teammate Randall Cobb, on the other hand, is generating serious buzz as a fantasy sleeper. He has the best rapport with Aaron Rodgers of all the Packers wideouts and could end up leading the team in total targets. That is a huge value with a tenth round draft pick.

While Marqise Lee isn't a flashy name, he did manage to finish with the 21st-most targets per route run (91 targets) and has clear rapport with quarterback Blake Bortles. There are certainly worse players that owners can take with a thirteenth round pick.

Tier 8

Kenny Stills, Rishard Matthews, Allen Hurns, Josh Doctson, Martavis Bryant, Calvin Ridley

Kenny Stills signed a long-term contract with the Dolphins and he was their most efficient big-play threat in 2017, finishing with the fifth-most targets, ninth-most yards, and fifth-most touchdowns on deep routes. Devante Parker and Danny Amendola are two workload concerns, it wouldn't be crazy to suggest reaching one or two rounds ahead to nab Stills in the twelfth or eleventh round of drafts. Unlike Stills, Rishard Matthews is much more of a solid floor play considering how long he has played with quarterback Marcus Mariota and that he has hauled in 61-percent of his passes for 14.5 and 15.0 yards per reception in his last two seasons.

On a Cowboys squad devoid of wide receiver depth, Allen Hurns is slated to be at the top of the depth chart. It might not stay that way for long with rookie Michael Gallup in the picture, but any wideout who could be slated for five to eight targets could turn out better than most expect. Another No. 1 wide receiver that owners may not think of is Josh Doctson, who will benefit from his first fully healthy offseason in his career. With drafters keying in on Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson, Doctson could provide WR3 value from the fourteenth round if all things break right.

The Raiders didn’t have a big-play threat like Martavis Bryant in 2017 and his addition could certainly help to stretch the field while Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson work underneath. While he didn’t play a major role in the Steelers offense, Bryant could help to re-surge an ailing Oakland team screaming for an offensive identity.

Calvin Ridley should end up behind only Julio Jones on the depth chart come September. Although Ridley is an explosive route runner and smooth separator with 4.43 speed, he dropped 20 passes in three college seasons and lacks the physicality to bully defensive backs at the line of scrimmage. If quarterback Matt Ryan can return to 2016 form, Ridley could make a huge impact in PPR formats and return significant value for a twelfth round pick in fantasy.

Tier 9

DeSean Jackson, D.J. Moore, Ted Ginn, Cameron Meredith, Mohamed Sanu

As fliers go, our tier nine wideouts are a diverse bunch. As big-play threats, DeSean Jackson and Ted Ginn will need to get more in sync with their quarterbacks to catapult into fantasy relevance. Jackson in particular seemed to not be on the same page with quarterback Jameis Winston, as the two were just a touch off on connecting for multiple 40-plus yard touchdowns. Cameron Meredith and Mohamed Sanu are certainly not their team's first receiving option, with both unlikely to struggle to be weekly contributors.

We have yet to witness a crop of rookie wideouts perform quite like the 2014 draft class, which included Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, and Kelvin Benjamin to name a few. Carolina's D.J. Moore is perhaps in the best situation to succeed early, as he joins a Panthers core waiting for a player to truly break through. Moore shredded the Combine with 97th-percentile SPARQ results, including 4.42 straight-line speed and an explosive 11-foot broad jump. If his draft pedigree quickly translates to NFL action, it wouldn't be shocking to see Moore put up high end WR3 numbers in 2018. He is currently going in the thirteenth round of fantasy drafts.

Tier 10

Anthony Miller, Paul Richardson, Mike Williams, Tyler Lockett, Mike Wallace, Dede Westbrook, Tyrell Williams, Michael Gallup

Paul Richardson is a big-bodied wide receiver that just landed a lucrative multi-year contract with the Redskins, even though injuries and a lack of volume seemingly capped his ceiling in Seattle. If he can be healthy, Richardson might prove to be the missing piece that can take the Redskins offense to the next level. The returning sophomore Mike Williams could also be a key cog for the Chargers, as he caught 51.9 percent of his deep targets during his final college season. With Hunter Henry gone for the 2018 season with an ACL injury, Williams will need to step up and could produce as a fantasy asset.

With Richardson gone, the Tyler Lockett breakout season seems more likely than ever. Despite Brandon Marshall joining forces with the Seahawks, Lockett is the only pass-catcher besides Doug Baldwin left on the roster who has built a rapport with Russell Wilson. Other late-round flier rookie receivers to keep an eye on this offseason are Chicago's Anthony Miller and Dallas's Michael Gallup, who could contribute early in their respective offenses and are going in the fourteenth round of drafts. Both wide receivers will benefit from the sixth and fifth-best schedules for fantasy wideouts respectively.

Tier 11

John Brown, Kenny Golladay, Keelan Cole, Jordan Matthews, Albert Wilson, Cole Beasley, Chris Godwin, Corey Coleman, Donte Moncrief, Willie Snead, Zay Jones, Ryan Grant, Terrance Williams, Christian Kirk

Tier 11 and onward represent deep sleepers who will be easy to draft given their late round prices, but have virtually none of the tangible upside. Fantasy owners who need depth at wide receiver may be tempted to add one of these players, in which case a couple of names to watch out for are Tampa Bay's Chris Godwin, Buffalo's Zay Jones, and New York Jets wideout Terrelle Pryor.

Updated Tiered Rankings and Analysis

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.

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