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The pass-happy NFL was not as receiver-friendly in 2017 as it was the year before.

Running the ball made a comeback this past season, as did spreading the ball around to many different pass catchers instead of zoning in one guy all the time. 24 wide receivers broke the 1,000-yard barrier in 2016, compared to only 13 in 2017. Guys like Mike Wallace, Kenny Britt, Terrelle Pryor and DeSean Jackson went from 1,000-yard years to falling off the fantasy map completely.

Wide receivers are still as important as ever in fantasy football, though. You are not going to win a title in a standard fantasy league without two to four receivers that have solid seasons. Here are the wide receiver rankings in standard fantasy football leagues heading into the 2018 season.

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Wide Receivers in Standard Leagues

Position Tier Position Rank Overall Rank Player Name
1 1 4 Antonio Brown
1 2 6 DeAndre Hopkins
1 3 8 Odell Beckham Jr.
2 4 12 Davante Adams
2 5 13 Mike Evans
2 6 14 Julio Jones
2 7 16 Michael Thomas
2 8 17 A.J. Green
2 9 19 Keenan Allen
2 10 21 Doug Baldwin
3 11 24 Adam Thielen
3 12 26 Tyreek Hill
3 13 31 T.Y. Hilton
3 14 33 Demaryius Thomas
3 15 34 Allen Robinson
3 16 35 Stefon Diggs
4 17 37 Amari Cooper
4 18 39 Larry Fitzgerald
4 19 40 Alshon Jeffery
4 20 42 Josh Gordon
4 21 44 Golden Tate
4 22 47 Juju Smith-Schuster
5 23 51 Jarvis Landry
5 24 52 Marvin Jones
5 25 59 Brandin Cooks
5 26 63 Julian Edelman
5 27 64 Pierre Garcon
6 28 71 Will Fuller
6 29 73 Devin Funchess
6 30 74 Robert Woods
6 31 78 Michael Crabtree
6 32 79 Jamison Crowder
6 33 80 Sammy Watkins
6 34 81 Emmanuel Sanders
6 35 82 Robby Anderson
6 36 83 Marquise Goodwin
6 37 84 Corey Davis
6 38 87 Chris Hogan
6 39 88 Cooper Kupp
6 40 91 Kelvin Benjamin
7 41 96 Dez Bryant
7 42 101 Nelson Agholor
7 43 102 Sterling Shepard
7 44 103 Devante Parker
7 45 109 Jordy Nelson
7 46 111 Randall Cobb
7 47 112 Marqise Lee
7 48 115 Rishard Matthews
7 49 119 Kenny Stills
8 50 127 Josh Doctson
8 51 128 Calvin Ridley
8 52 130 Cameron Meredith
8 53 131 Martavis Bryant
8 54 132 DeSean Jackson
8 55 133 Allen Hurns
8 56 137 D.J. Moore
9 57 152 Mike Williams
9 58 154 Ted Ginn
9 59 155 Mohamed Sanu
9 60 157 Paul Richardson
9 61 160 Dede Westbrook
9 62 161 Kenny Golladay
9 63 164 Mike Wallace
9 64 165 Tyler Lockett
9 65 170 John Brown
9 66 171 Keelan Cole
9 67 172 Anthony Miller
9 68 177 Tyrell Williams
9 69 181 Jordan Matthews
9 70 183 Chris Godwin
9 71 188 Corey Coleman
10 72 191 Albert Wilson
10 73 195 Donte Moncrief
10 74 196 Christian Kirk
10 75 198 Courtland Sutton
10 76 199 Cole Beasley
10 77 201 Jermaine Kearse
10 78 202 Zay Jones
10 79 205 Brandon Coleman
10 80 206 Willie Snead
10 81 208 Terrelle Pryor
10 82 209 Terrance Williams
10 83 214 J.J. Nelson
10 84 216 Trent Taylor
10 85 217 Danny Amendola
10 86 218 Amara Darboh
10 87 221 Michael Gallup
11 88 222 Geronimo Allison
11 89 223 Taylor Gabriel
11 90 224 Torrey Smith
11 91 226 John Ross
11 92 227 Brandon Marshall
11 93 228 James Washington
11 94 230 Kevin White
11 95 231 Brice Butler
12 96 234 Eric Decker
12 97 238 Taywan Taylor
12 98 242 Ryan Grant
12 99 246 Kendall Wright
12 100 251 Josh Reynolds
12 101 252 Malcolm Mitchell
12 102 254 Brandon LaFell
12 103 258 Travis Benjamin
12 104 264 Mack Hollins
12 105 265 Jaron Brown
13 106 280 Dante Pettis
13 107 284 Chester Rogers
13 108 285 Jeremy Maclin
13 109 288 Phillip Dorsett
13 110 296 Cordarrelle Patterson
13 111 300 Adam Humphries
13 112 302 Chester Rogers
13 113 308 Chris Conley
13 114 309 Braxton Miller
13 115 318 Markus Wheaton
13 116 319 Tajae Sharpe
13 117 322 Andre Holmes
13 118 324 Dante Pettis
13 119 327 Antonio Callaway

Tier 1

Fantasy football players worship the ground Antonio Brown walks on. He has made more money for fantasy players than insider trading has made for unscrupulous investors. All Brown has done the past five seasons is rack up 582 receptions for 7848 yards, both tops among receivers during that timeframe. He will be 30 at season’s start and has suffered a couple injuries the past two years, but he is showing zero signs of slowing down heading into the 2018 campaign and has to be ranked numero uno.

Hopkins proved last season that it did not matter whether Deshaun Watson, Tom Savage or T.J. Yates was throwing him the ball. Hopkins led the NFL with 13 touchdown receptions and was targeted a league-high 176 times. This was a major improvement from the year before where he struggled mightily because of the below-average passers he was stuck with and failed to reach the 1,000-yard plateau. He has missed one game in five seasons and is probably a better get in dynasty leagues than the aforementioned Brown since he is five years younger. If Watson stays healthy for the whole season, Hopkins could have 115 catches for 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns this season and stake his claim as No. 1 at the position.

We all wish Beckham would spend more time making highlight-of-the-year caliber catches and less time showing up on TMZ Sports due to something he said or did. The man averaged 96 receptions for 1,374 yards and 12 touchdowns over the first three years of his career. Even though his past year was ruined by a season-ending injury, Beckham should bounce back and be one of the best receivers in fantasy as long as (A) he stays away from injuries, (B) he stays away from microphones when he is having a foot-in-mouth kind of day, and (C) he stays away from situations that could get him benched or suspended.     

Tier 2

Atlanta’s top target, Julio Jones, finished second among wideouts with 1,444 receiving yards in 2017, so you would think fantasy owners would have been happy with his production. Not so fast, Matthew Berry Jr.! Jones only had four 100-yard games and three touchdowns, and his numbers were inflated by an otherworldly 253-yard, two-TD game that salvaged a mediocre campaign. When fantasy owners need him most over the final five games of the season, Jones failed to score a touchdown. In fact, Jones has only averaged five touchdowns per season since 2013, so he is no Cris Carter. Matt Ryan’s favorite pass collector will rack up plenty of receptions and yards again this year, but he is a step below the upper echelon.

You always know two things about Cincinnati every year – that Marvin Jones will be the head coach and A.J. Green will be the best player on the team. In seven seasons, Green has topped the 1,000 mark six times, and the only time he failed was the year he tore his hamstring, and up to that point he had 964 yards in 10 contests. Green is the model of consistency and should provide fantasy players 80 receptions for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns or numbers not far off. The only way you can go wrong with him is if you expect 110 catches and 1,800 yards.

Mike Evans and the entire Tampa Bay offense had a down year last season. Fantasy owners had to be disappointed with all of the Bucs key offensive players, including Evans, who had the worst year of his career despite still posting 71 receptions for 1,001 yards and five scores. This end zone acrobat is young, healthy, has Jameis Winston tossing to him and should have a chip on his shoulder the size of Brock Lesnar. A return to glory with a line of 90-1,400-13 is more expected than unreasonable.

Jordy Nelson is an Oakland Raider, Randall Cobb is not the same player he was four years ago, and Davante Adams is a multimillionaire and the No. 1 receiver of Aaron Rodgers. There are other receivers more valuable in PPR leagues, but Adams is shaping up to be a top-10 WR in standard leagues. He snagged 22 touchdown tosses over the past two seasons and should finally break the 1,000-yard barrier after flirting with it in recent seasons. Having a healthy Rodgers passing his way and not having Nelson around to steal the spotlight and targets should boost Adams towards having his best season yet.

There has never been a question about Keenan Allen’s skills. The question has been about his durability. He managed to stay healthy in 2017, but what are the chances he can pull it off two years in a row? He had never played in all 16 games in any of his prior seasons before this past one. When Allen is on the field, quarterback Philip Rivers eyes him down more often than kindergarten kids watch cartoons (159 targets in 2017, fifth among WR). You would think someone who gets targeted so often would score more touchdowns, however. 22 touchdowns in 481 career targets is not the best ratio.

Tier 3

With Seattle rebuilding and tight end Jimmy Graham now in Green Bay, Baldwin might be targeted more than ever by quarterback Russell Wilson. Hill had finally gotten on the same wavelength as Alex Smith when it came to connecting on long passes, so the jury is out on how his chemistry with Patrick Mahomes will be, although Mahomes has a much stronger arm than Smith does. Fitzgerald's swan-song season will be dependent on his new quarterbacks getting him the ball with longtime battery mate Carson Palmer retired. Thielen and Diggs have all the game-breaking ability in the world and now have Kirk Cousins throwing to them, so all they need to do is stay healthy and consistent and both could be a Tier-2 guys real soon.

Poor T.Y. Hilton. The man’s fantasy value yo-yoed on a weekly basis because of Indianapolis’ inconsistent quarterback play due to Andrew Luck missing the entire season due to his balky shoulder. One week he would have 125 yards, then the next two weeks he would have 70 yards combined. Fantasy owners have to be worrisome of Hilton because Luck is still not throwing a football yet, and Hilton’s fantasy worth is directly tied to Luck’s right arm. They should also remember, though, that Hilton led the league in receiving yards in 2016 when Luck was 100 percent. If Luck is the starting signal caller, Hilton’s is a top-five fantasy wideout.

Demaryius Thomas’ fantasy value has been stunted by the abdominal quarterback play Denver has suffered with since Peyton Manning retired.  Thomas had to do cartwheels and splits to get to some of the poor passes thrown his way the past two years. Did you see how well Thielen and Diggs fared with Case Keenum throwing to them last season in Minnesota? Yeah, me too. Keenum is an upgrade over what Thomas has had at QB lately, so Thomas having a 90-catch, 1,280-yard comeback campaign with double-digit touchdowns is not out of the question, and unlike the next fellow on the list, he always shows up on Sundays (zero games missed the past six seasons).

Tate is a steady veteran who is slightly less valuable in standard leagues than PPR leagues. Allen Robinson's comeback from a torn ACL will be intriguing to watch as he was a top-10 WR early in his career, even with Blake Bortles throwing to him. Gordon and Landry could have 1,300-yard years or could be fantasy flops. The longer Tyrod Taylor is under center in Cleveland, the worse off for their fantasy values. When Baker Mayfield takes over the offense, both wideouts will be fantasy forces -- as long as Gordon does not allow outside forces to ruin his football career again.

Tier 4

Cooper has to cut down on the drops as much as Roseanne Barr has to cut down on the tweets. New Oakland head honcho Jon Gruden sounds like he will do everything in his power to make David Carr and upper-echelon quarterback and center the passing attack around Cooper, so if he goes from being Jose Offerman to Ozzie Smith when it comes to catching passes, the sky is the limit. The Fitzgerald farewell tour should produce another 1,000-yard year with double-digit touchdowns as long as Father Time does not tackle him before he reaches those plateaus. Gordon has shown he can bless fantasy owners with a 1,600-yard season. He did it back in 2013. He has also shown, though, that he is one bad night away from being banned from the league, so proceed with caution if you think about acquiring him.

Tier 5

Landry has averaged 100 receptions and 1,000 yards per season over the first four years of his career, and that was with average-at-best quarterbacks. While more valuable in PPR leagues, he is becoming more worthy in standard leagues after hauling in a career-high nine touchdowns last season. Jones’ yardage totals have improved during every year, so do not be shocked if he gets up to 1,200 yards in 2018. Edelman was slapped with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL drug policy, so his stock drops if his appeal falls flat.

Tier 6

Crabtree could have 1,000 yards or 500 yards this season with Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Just ask Mike Wallace’s fantasy owners how his past two years went on that team. Watkins finally stayed relatively healthy last season and cashed in for multimillions. His risk-reward ratio swings widely both ways due to his checkered injury past. Hogan is primed to be Tom Brady’s go-to wideout if Edelman’s suspension holds up now that Brandin Cooks was traded to the Los Angeles Rams. Hogan had five touchdowns in a four-game span early last season before he was injured.

Tier 7 

Dez Bryant still remains unsigned as of the writing of this article, so he could go up a tier or two depending on what team he inks a deal with and what situation he is placed in. Nelson is intriguing because he will have a humongous chip on his shoulder to prove Green Bay wrong for letting him go. Given his relatively cheap draft day cost, he is a vet worth taking a chance on.

 

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.