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Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings (Tiers 4-9) - Best Ball Leagues

Rashod Bateman - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Some of you have been building rosters in the best-ball format since the initial weeks of the offseason.  Participation in this popular format has also intensified as we have continued our progression toward Week 1. Enthusiasm for these leagues remains enormous for multiple reasons, which includes the ability to complete all forms of roster management immediately upon the conclusion of each draft.

However, this also ensures the likelihood of being impacted by injuries and other production-inhibiting developments that cannot be offset by roster moves during the season. That aspect of the best-ball format should be integrated into your decision-making process during each draft. It should also incentivize you to develop a flexible plan that addresses any existing nuances in each league while adapting a fluid approach toward determining each selection.

The team @RotoBaller continues to deliver an enormous collection of resources that are designed to help you construct your rosters in this format, including our non-stop arsenal of news, analysis, and tiered rankings. We also provide breakdowns of our rankings after each update, and this article will focus on wide receivers in tiers 4-9. You can also find a full breakdown of Tiers 1-3 here.

 

Wide Receiver Best-Ball Rankings

Position
Rank
Position
Tier
Player
Name
Overall
Rank
Overall
Tier
1 1 Cooper Kupp 5 1
2 1 Justin Jefferson 7 1
3 1 Ja'Marr Chase 8 1
4 2 Davante Adams 11 2
5 2 Deebo Samuel 12 2
6 2 Stefon Diggs 13 2
7 2 Tyreek Hill 15 2
8 2 A.J. Brown 19 2
9 2 CeeDee Lamb 20 3
10 3 Mike Evans 23 3
11 3 Keenan Allen 27 3
12 3 Tee Higgins 28 3
13 3 Jaylen Waddle 29 4
14 3 Amari Cooper 32 4
15 3 Terry McLaurin 36 4
16 3 Diontae Johnson 39 4
17 3 D.K. Metcalf 41 4
18 3 Michael Pittman Jr. 44 4
19 4 Allen Robinson II 47 4
20 4 DJ Moore 48 4
21 4 Mike Williams 49 4
22 4 Courtland Sutton 50 5
23 4 Chris Godwin 52 5
24 4 Marquise Brown 54 5
25 4 Darnell Mooney 56 5
26 4 Jerry Jeudy 57 5
27 4 Brandin Cooks 60 6
28 4 Adam Thielen 61 6
29 5 JuJu Smith-Schuster 66 6
30 5 DeAndre Hopkins 69 6
31 5 Gabriel Davis 70 6
32 5 DeVonta Smith 73 6
33 5 Elijah Moore 77 7
34 5 Tyler Lockett 81 7
35 5 Rashod Bateman 82 7
36 5 Amon-Ra St. Brown 83 7
37 6 Treylon Burks 88 8
38 6 Michael Thomas 89 8
39 6 Brandon Aiyuk 90 8
40 6 Drake London 91 8
41 6 Hunter Renfrow 98 8
42 6 Russell Gage 100 9
43 6 Garrett Wilson 101 9
44 6 Allen Lazard 104 9
45 7 Michael Gallup 105 9
46 7 Chris Olave 108 9
47 7 Skyy Moore 109 9
48 7 Chase Claypool 112 10
49 7 Christian Kirk 113 10
50 7 Kadarius Toney 114 10
51 7 Robert Woods 116 10
52 8 Jarvis Landry 126 10
53 8 D.J. Chark Jr. 131 10
54 8 Mecole Hardman 134 10
55 8 Corey Davis 136 11
56 8 Jameson Williams 138 11
57 8 Christian Watson 140 11
58 8 Kenny Golladay 142 11
59 8 Jahan Dotson 144 11
60 8 Kendrick Bourne 146 11
61 8 Tyler Boyd 148 12
62 8 Marquez Valdes-Scantling 151 12
63 8 DeVante Parker 153 12
64 8 Tim Patrick 156 12
65 8 Donovan Peoples-Jones 157 12
66 9 George Pickens 164 13
67 9 Jakobi Meyers 166 13
68 9 Van Jefferson 170 13
69 9 Joshua Palmer 171 13
70 9 Rondale Moore 172 13
72 9 Robbie Anderson 176 13
73 9 Alec Pierce 177 13
74 10 Curtis Samuel 186 14
75 10 Jamison Crowder 189 14
76 10 Cedrick Wilson Jr. 191 14
77 10 Odell Beckham Jr. 193 14
78 10 Braxton Berrios 194 14
79 10 K.J. Osborn 195 14
80 10 Velus Jones Jr. 196 14
81 10 David Bell 197 14
82 10 Sterling Shepard 204 15
83 10 Nico Collins 205 15
84 10 Laviska Shenault Jr. 207 15
85 10 A.J. Green 211 15
86 10 Marvin Jones Jr. 212 15
87 10 Jalen Tolbert 214 15
88 10 Nick Westbrook-Ikhine 216 15
89 10 Byron Pringle 219 15
90 10 James Washington 222 16
91 10 Sammy Watkins 223 16
92 10 Marquez Callaway 226 16
93 11 Bryan Edwards 232 16
94 11 KJ Hamler 233 16
95 11 Justyn Ross 235 16
96 11 Isaiah McKenzie 238 16
97 11 Wan'Dale Robinson 241 16
98 11 Josh Gordon 246 16
99 11 Nelson Agholor 248 17
100 11 Romeo Doubs 254 17
101 12 Cole Beasley 255 17
102 12 Will Fuller 256 17
103 12 Quintez Cephus 257 17
104 12 Tyquan Thornton 259 17
105 12 Darius Slayton 262 18
106 12 Dee Eskridge 263 18
107 12 Julio Jones 267 18
108 12 Parris Campbell 269 18
109 12 T.Y. Hilton 270 18
110 12 Kyle Philips 271 18
111 12 Zay Jones 273 18
112 12 Josh Reynolds 274 18
113 12 Terrace Marshall Jr. 276 18
114 12 Jamal Agnew 277 18
115 12 Jauan Jennings 278 18
116 12 Calvin Austin III 281 18
117 12 Quez Watkins 287 18
118 12 Emmanuel Sanders 293 18
119 12 Dyami Brown 294 18
120 12 Olamide Zaccheaus 297 18
121 13 Randall Cobb 301 19
122 13 Devin Duvernay 304 19
123 13 Laquon Treadwell 311 19
124 13 Anthony Schwartz 312 20
125 13 Ihmir Smith-Marsette 313 20
126 13 Tutu Atwell 314 20
127 13 Rashard Higgins 315 20
128 13 Demarcus Robinson 316 20
129 13 Tyler Johnson 317 20
130 13 Khalil Shakir 318 20
131 13 Danny Gray 319 20
132 13 Zach Pascal 320 20
133 13 Jalen Reagor 321 20
134 13 Juwan Johnson 322 20
135 13 N'Keal Harry 323 20
136 13 Tre'Quan Smith 324 20
137 13 Scotty Miller 344 20
138 13 Amari Rodgers 346 20

 

Tier 4 - Wide Receiver Rankings

Allen Robinson, D.J. Moore, Mike WilliamsCourtland Sutton, Chris Godwin,  Marquise BrownDarnell MooneyJerry Jeudy, Brandin Cooks, Adam Thielen

Robinson’s ADP was stationed in Round 9 (102/WR39) before he signed a three-year contract with the Rams in March. Now, the prospects of a career awakening have propelled his draft position to Round 5 (52/WR22), as Robinson is primed to operate in an aerial attack that ranked fifth (273.1 yards per game) during 2021. 

His runway toward WR2 responsibilities was cleared when Los Angeles dispatched Robert Woods to Tennessee. This has presented Robinson with an opportunity to thrive in Sean McVay’s offense while delivering low-end RB2 output to fantasy managers.

Robinson’s numbers will not match the results that he attained during 2019-2020 (152.5 targets/9.5 per game/26.3% share), (100 receptions (6.3 per game), (1,198.5 receiving yards/74.9 per game).

However, Robinson should exceed his 2021 usage (66 targets/5.5 per game/19.2% share), and production (38 receptions/3.2 per game), (410 receiving yards/34.2 per game) by a substantial margin after being disentangled from the obstructions that he encountered during his final year in Matt Nagy’s offense.

Moore has contended with deficient play at quarterback during his four seasons with the Panthers. However, his favorable blend of size, speed, and athleticism has combined with his integral role in Carolina’s aerial attack to keep him productive despite this ongoing obstacle.

Moore is fourth among all wide receivers in yardage since 2019 according to StatMuse, while trailing only Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, and Stefon Diggs. He is also fifth with 416 targets (8.9 per game), 10th in receptions (246/5.2 per game)), and has finished at WR16, WR25, and WR18 during that three-year span.

2019-2021 Targets 
Keenan Allen 453
Cooper Kupp 449
Davante Adams 445
Stefon Diggs 424
D.J. Moore 416
Diontae Johnson 405
Tyreek Hill 383
DeAndre Hopkins 374
Allen Robinson 371
D.K. Metcalf 358

 

2019-2021 Rec Yards   Yards/Gm
Cooper Kupp 4,082 85
Davante Adams 3,924 93.4
Stefon Diggs 3,890 81
D.J. Moore 3,525 75
Tyreek Hill 3,375 76.7
Keenan Allen 3,329 72.4
Tyler Lockett 3,286 68.5
Chris Godwin 3,276 81.9
Mike Evans 3,198 71.1
D.K. Metcalf 3,170 64.7

The Panthers selected Matt Corral in Round 3 of April’s NFL Draft (94th overall), but neither Corral nor Sam Darnold can supply the elixir that would allow Moore to elude further inadequacies under center.

This fueled the sustained pursuit of Baker Mayfield by Carolina General Manager Scott Fitterer and Matt Rhule. Mayfield’s effectiveness will depend on his ability to learn Ben McAdoo’s offense, but Moore has repeatedly proven that he can function as a WR2 despite challenging conditions.

Williams had finished outside the top 30 in scoring from 2017-2020, but he soared to WR12 in 2021. He also delivered the most productive season of his career, while eviscerating his previous career-highs in targets (129/8.1 per game), receptions (76/4.8 per game), and receiving yards (1,146/71.6 per game).

His yardage total placed him 11th overall and was assembled through a career-best four games with 100+ - after Williams had reached that total just four times from 2017-2020.

He also finished 15th in targets, 12th in air yards (1,497), 11th in yards per reception (15.1), 14th in yards before catch (731), and ninth in touchdowns (9). Los Angeles secured Williams with a three-year contract in March and he is now cemented as one of Justin Herbert’s top two options in the Chargers’ potent attack.

His season could easily contain highly productive outings that are interspersed with underwhelming results. However, that scenario will be less impactful in the best-ball format.

Denver’s transition from last year’s quarterback tandem of Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock to Russell Wilson provides Sutton with a path toward sizable production. Sutton assembled promising results during his initial matchups in 2021 as he averaged 2.3 yards per route run and attained a percentage of 24.1% targets per route run from Weeks 2-7. He also led the league in air yards (897), while averaging 9.2 targets, and 87.5 yards per game.

Courtland Sutton Targ/Gm TPRR% YPRR Air Yards AY %
Weeks 2-7 9.2 24.1 2.3 897 46.91

 

Courtland Sutton Targ/Gm TPRR% YPRR Air Yards AY %
Weeks 8-18 4 13.9 0.83 542 28.33

Unfortunately, those numbers plummeted significantly after Jerry Jeudy reemerged from his six-game absence (ankle). Sutton only averaged 0.83 yards per route run/4.0 targets/21.9 yards per game, while his targets per route run (13.9%), and air yards (542) also plunged.

Sutton’s opportunities to thrive as a downfield weapon will increase significantly with Wilson guiding Denver's aerial attack. However, Sutton’s prospects for justifying his Round 4 ADP remain dependent on Wilson’s allocation of targets to the Broncos’ talented collection of weapons.

Godwin was third overall with a career-high 98 receptions (7.0 per game) from Weeks 1-15, and was also fifth in receiving yards (1,103/78.8 per game) during that sequence, before a significant knee injury (torn ACL/sprained MCL) abruptly ended his season.

He was also ninth with a career-best 127 targets (9.1 per game), was averaging 2.11 yards per route run, and had attained a percentage of 24.3% targets per route run before his absence. He still finished fourth in red zone targets (25) from Weeks 1-18, was fifth among all wide receivers in yards after catch (559), and was sixth with an average of 78.8 yards per game.

The three-year contract extension Godwin signed in March has assured that he will return for a third season with Tom Brady. When he will reemerge is still uncertain, due to his ongoing recovery from surgery, but he will regain an integral role in the Buccaneers’ attack whenever he does resurface. However, Godwin will likely remain sidelined when the regular season begins. This will require your patience before he can become a resource on your roster.

Brown’s numbers surged significantly in his third season even though he operated without Lamar Jackson in five matchups during the year. Brown was also unavailable during Week 11 (thigh) but those hurdles did not prevent him from eclipsing 1,000 yards (1,008/63 per game), finishing ninth in targets (146/9.1 per game), and seventh in air yards (1,622). He was also 12th overall in receptions (91/5.7 per game) while sustaining his steady rise in scoring since 2019 (WR46/WR36/WR22).

It appeared that Brown would resume his role as Baltimore’s WR1, but an unexpected trade has forged a reunion between Brown and former college teammate Kyler Murray in Arizona. The suspension of DeAndre Hopkins, and Christian Kirk’s departure have combined to provide Brown with an opportunity to capture a sizable percentage of targets that will be allocated among Arizona’s receiving weaponry. Kliff Kingsbury should also be incentivized to keep Brown involved in the Cardinals’ aerial efforts, which elevates Brown among your most enticing options in Round 4 of your drafts.

Mooney ascended to the top of Chicago’s depth chart during 2021, while supplanting Robinson as the Bears’ most targeted weapon. Robinson’s departure for Los Angeles has cemented Mooney as the primary option for Justin Fields, which will allow Mooney to capitalize on the chemistry that he has already built with the second-year signal-caller.

Mooney led Chicago in virtually all major receiving categories last season while vaulting to 11th overall in target share (26.7%). He also finished inside the top 20 in receiving yards (1,055/62.1 per game), air yards (1,480), share of air yards (34.9%), and yards before catch (674).

His prospects of surpassing WR3 production are dependent on Fields’ ability to improve upon last year’s inefficiency after he finished second in bad throw percentage and 32nd in completion percentage (58.9%). Mooney will also be operating in an offense that will be transitioning under a first-year head coach (Matt Eberflus), and new coordinator Luke Getsy.

One of the more intriguing topics during this offseason surrounds the potential target distribution that will develop as Wilson launches passes to Jeudy and Sutton. The potential for Sutton to flourish as a vertical weapon with Wilson spearheading Denver’s offense was examined earlier.

However, Jeudy could ultimately emerge as the team’s most productive receiver. That would finally reward the Broncos for their decision to seize him with the 15th overall pick in 2020.

Jeudy’s alarming catch rate (46.0%) and propensity for drops (12) overshadowed his accumulation of air yards (1,541) during 2020, while a protracted ankle injury and inadequate play from Bridgewater and Lock suppressed his numbers in 2021.

The infusion of Wilson into the equation will eliminate the deficient play that has repeatedly hampered the Broncos’ attack. It will also provide Jeudy with an opportunity to capitalize on his ability to gain separation while delivering high-end WR3 production for fantasy managers.

Cooks continues to assemble numbers that should alleviate concerns surrounding his continued ability to function as a WR2. He has now eclipsed 114 targets and 1,030 yards during six of his last seven seasons while averaging 122 targets (7.4 per game), and 1,130 yards (67.6 per game) during that span.

That includes his career-high 134 targets (8.4 per game/26.9% share) with Houston during 2021, while Cooks also assembled 1,037 yards (64.8 per game) in his role as the Texans’ primary receiving weapon. He was also sixth in receptions of 40+ (5), seventh with a 39.1% share of air yards, and also attained a percentage of 25.8% targets per route run.

Cooks signed a two-year contract extension in April and will return as Houston’s unequivocal WR1. He remains entrenched atop a depth chart that contains Nico Collins, Chris Conley, and Phillip Dorsett, which has opened a cavernous path toward replicating last season’s favorable numbers. That provides motivation to target him in Round 5 of your drafts.

Thielen was leading all wide receivers in snap count percentage (95.2%) and was tied for the league lead with 10 touchdowns from Weeks 1-12. He was also tied for 10th in red zone targets (12) before an ankle issue relegated him to just 29 snaps during Minnesota’s final six matchups.

His limited availability did not preclude him from finishing sixth in touchdowns (10), while he also collected 25% of the Vikings’ pass attempts inside the 10 (8). Thielen also assembled the highest touchdown rate versus press coverage according to PFF and is now third with 24 touchdowns since 2020.

2019-2021 TDs 
Davante Adams 29
Mike Evans 27
Adam Thielen 24
Tyreek Hill 24
D.K. Metcalf 22
Cooper Kupp 19
Stefon Diggs 18
Tyler Lockett 18
Justin Jefferson 17
A.J. Brown 16

Matching his recent propensity to locate the end zone will be an arduous task for Thielen. However, he should retain his role as the Vikings’ WR2 for at least one more season, while K.J. Osborn lurks below him on the Vikings’ depth chart. That supplies your incentive for targeting him at his Round 7 ADP in current drafts (75/WR32).

 

Tier 5 - Wide Receiver Rankings

JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeAndre Hopkins, Gabriel DavisDeVonta Smith, Elijah MooreTyler Lockett, Rashod Bateman, Amon-Ra St. Brown 
Smith-Schuster signed a one-year contract with Pittsburgh in March of 2021, but a season-ending shoulder injury limited him to five games during his final year as a Steeler. He was third on the team in target share from Weeks 1-4 (16.0%) behind Diontae Johnson (31.5%), and Chase Claypool (22.3%), while he also averaged 5.6 targets/3.8 receptions/32.3 yards per game and 0.92 yards per route run during those contests.

He has resurfaced with Kansas City after signing another one-year deal and should capture a sizable role within the Chiefs’ reconstructed passing attack. Travis Kelce will function as the team's primary receiving weapon, while Patrick Mahomes will distribute the remaining targets between Smith-Schuster and other options within KC’s revamped collection of receivers (Marquez Valdes-Scantling/ Skyy Moore/Mecole Hardman). The nebulous nature of Kansas City’s transformed receiving arsenal should compel you to avoid selecting him before his current ADP (65/WR27).

Protracted injuries (hamstring/MCL) limited Hopkins to a career-low 10 games during 2021. That was a factor in the universal decline of his numbers (64 targets/42 receptions/572 receiving yards) which were easily the lowest of his career.

However, the diminished results cannot be solely attributed to his absence, as his per-game averages in targets (6.4), receptions (4.2), and receiving yards (57.2) were well below his averages from 2015-2020 (10.5 targets/6.6 receptions/85.1 yards).

Year Targ/Gm Rec/Gm Yards/Gm
2015 12 6.9 95.1
2016 9.4 4.9 59.6
2017 11.6 6.4 91.9
2018 10.2 7.2 98.3
2019 10 6.9 77.7
2020 10 7.2 87.9
2021 6.4 4.2 57.2

Hopkins was primed to operate as Arizona’s WR1 atop a depth chart that also contained 33-year-old A.J. Green, Rondale Moore, and Antoine Wesley, but his outlook was altered when the Cardinals jettisoned their first-round pick in exchange for Marquise Brown. His stock has plunged even further (ADP 98/WR39), following his six-game suspension (performance-enhancing substances), and it is reasonable to doubt that the 30-year-old Hopkins can regain WR1 status.

Davis entered Week 14 with a 37.2% snap share and per-game averages of 2.4 targets/1.5 receptions/27.5 yards per game from Weeks 2-13. However, his snap share soared to 87.9% from Weeks 14-18, while he also averaged 8.0 targets/4.0 receptions/51.8 yards per game.

He also finished eighth in red zone targets (8), 14th in air yards (431), and 17th with a 34.6% share of air yards. Davis also erupted for astronomical numbers during Buffalo’s divisional-round matchup in Kansas City, while stockpiling 201 yards and four touchdowns.

Davis is being selected in Round 5 of current best-ball drafts, and his eventual numbers should justify that investment. Former Jet Jamison Crowder was added during the offseason, but Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley have been extracted from Buffalo’s depth chart. That should elevate Davis into a sizable role for the Bills while positioning him to deliver WR2 output to fantasy managers.

Smith registered encouraging numbers from Weeks 1-5, as he was pacing all rookies in targets (40/8.0 per game/23.0% share) while collecting 8+ in three of those matchups. Smith also averaged 5.0 receptions and 62.8 yards per game, rose to seventh overall with a 42.2% share of air yards, and was 12th in air yards (524).

Philadelphia’s transition to a run-oriented attack in Week 8 quashed Smith’s prospects of sustaining those numbers, as his averages plunged to 5.1 targets/3.2 receptions/51 yards per game from Weeks 8-18. The Eagles should decrease their reliance on the ground game, with newly acquired A.J. Brown now residing atop Philadelphia’s depth chart. Brown will commandeer the largest share of targets, although his presence will draw the attention of opposing defenders. That could expand Smith's opportunities to gain separation, and he is currently a viable option at his Round 8 ADP.

New York’s general manager Joe Douglas constructed an exceptional draft, which included his selection of Garrett Wilson with the 10th overall pick. Wilson possesses a promising blend of skills, but his arrival should not circumvent Moore’s favorable career trajectory.

Moore delivered a glimpse of his ability to operate effectively at the NFL level while finishing at WR4 from Weeks 11-13. He also captured a 33% target share and commandeered a league-high 51.8% share of air yards during those matchups, while averaging 2.75 yards per route run and attaining a percentage of 32.3% in targets per route run. Moore also finished third in targets (31/10.3 per game) and air yards (352) before being affixed to the sideline from Weeks 14-18 (quad).

Moore has the talent to fulfill burgeoning expectations that have developed during his NFL tenure. Whether that transpires this year will be contingent upon Zach Wilson’s ability to locate Moore accurately and consistently. That will require significant improvement by the second-year signal-caller

Lockett has finished at WR16 or higher during each of his last four seasons while averaging 116.3 targets (7.3 per game), 1,095 yards (68.5 per game), and 8.7 touchdowns since 2019. That includes his numbers last season when he established a new career-high in yardage (1,175/73.4 per game) while finishing ninth in snap count percentage (87.0), 11th in air yards (1,567), and 10th with a 38.6% share of air yards.

However, Lockett is not eliciting the level of interest that would normally be reserved for a player with his track record of production, as he is the 45th receiver to be selected in current drafts (ADP 117).

The indifference toward drafting Lockett is a reaction to his impending challenge of operating with Drew Lock or Geno Smith under center, along with the diminished output that will ensue. Lockett will also turn 30 in September, and you should avoid selecting him before Round 10 of your drafts - unless Seattle infuses superior talent under center.

Bateman’s rookie season was impacted by a groin injury that sidelined him until Week 6. The 15.7% target share that he attained from Weeks 6-18 placed him a distant third behind Marquise Brown (27.3%), and Mark Andrews (26.6%) within Baltimore’s receiving arsenal. Bateman also trailed both teammates in targets per route run (17%), (Andrews 26.4%/Brown 23.2%), while averaging 5.7 targets/3.8 receptions/42.9 yards per game during that sequence.

Injuries decimated Baltimore’s backfield during 2021, and it is unlikely that the Ravens will emulate last season’s ranking of 21st in pass play percentage (56.4%). The expected expansion of their ground-oriented approach could result in a pass play percentage that resembles 2020 (45.0%) – when Baltimore finished dead last.

However, Brown’s departure has released 146 targets for redistribution. Bateman should capture a significant percentage of those opportunities while functioning as the Ravens’ WR1. That supplies your rationale for seizing him at his current ADP (61/WR26).

The disparity between St. Brown’s underwhelming usage and output from Weeks 1-12 and his enormous statistical surge from Weeks 13-18 has been widely discussed. He was limited to a 15.8% target share and averaged 4.7 targets/3.5 receptions/35.2 receiving yards per game during Detroit’s first 11 matchups.

However, his target share improved (33.5%), while he averaged 11.2 targets/8.5 receptions/93.3 yards per game. St. Brown also skyrocketed from WR62 to WR2 during that sequence, while finishing among the top three in targets (67), receptions (51), and receiving yards (560). He also averaged 2.77 yards per route run, while his targets per route run rose to 33.2%.

D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson combined for 129 snaps and nine missed games during those matchups, and their presence will impede St. Brown from replicating his late-season production. However, he has demonstrated the ability to perform proficiently and should retain an integral role in Detroit’s aerial attack - even after Jameson Williams resurfaces during the season.

 

Tier 6 - Wide Receiver Rankings

Treylon Burks, Michael Thomas, Brandon Aiyuk, Drake London, Hunter RenfrowRussell Gage, Garrett WilsonAllen Lazard

The 6’3”, 225- pound Burks accumulated 146 receptions (5.1 per game), and assembled 2,399 yards (75 per game) as a three-year starter at Arkansas, including the 66 catches and 1,104 yards that he accrued during 2021.

Opinions regarding Burks remain mixed within the fantasy community despite his collegiate production, but the Titans were undeterred in their willingness to invest heavily in the newcomer. Tennessee dispatched Brown to Philadelphia in exchange for the 18th overall pick, then seized Burks with the newly acquired selection.

That appeared to launch Burks atop the team’s depth chart, but he has been unavailable during a significant portion of Tennessee’s organized activities. The Titans should eventually deploy Burks in an assortment of formations as both a rusher and receiver. However, inconsistent weekly point totals can be expected, due to his impending learning curve, and his involvement in an offense that retains an ongoing commitment to the run.

Fantasy managers were willing to invest an early sixth-round selection on Thomas earlier in the offseason (61/WR25), but his ADP has steadily declined as his prolonged absence continues (96/WR38).

Thomas has not registered an offensive snap since Week 14 of 2020, when he was relegated to just seven games, 55 targets, and 438 yards, during that abbreviated season. The outstanding numbers that he assembled during 2019 (185 targets/11.6 we game), (149 receptions/9.3 per game), and 1,725 yards/107.8 per game) have become increasingly irrelevant as Thomas is now 29, and the New Orleans offense has been altered significantly since he was collecting passes from Drew Brees.

He has also been placed on the active/PUP (physically unable to perform) list, and any decision to draft him contains risk until there is greater clarity regarding his return.

Anyone who selected Aiyuk near his Round 6 ADP in 2021 was forced to endure his agonizing lack of usage from Weeks 1-7. Aiyuk was not targeted in Week 1 and averaged a microscopic 8.7% target share, 1.8 receptions, and 19.2 yards per game during San Francisco’s first six matchups.

However, he operated with a 22.2% snap share from Weeks 8-18, while averaging 4.3 receptions and 66.4 yards per game. Aiyuk expanded role also propelled him to ninth overall in yardage (730), while he tied for third with 15 receptions of 20+ yards. He will join Deebo Samuel and George Kittle as the most targeted weapons in the 49ers’ aerial attack and should exceed the expectations of his ADP (112/WR43).

London’s collegiate career began at USC in 2019, as he joined a roster that included Michael Pittman and Amon-Ra St. Brown. He accumulated 2,153 yards (97.9 per game), 160 receptions (7.3 per game), and 15 touchdowns during his three seasons as a Trojan.

That includes the numbers that he manufactured during eight games in 2021 (1,084 yards/135.5 per game), (88 receptions/11 per game), (7 touchdowns), before being sidelined by a fractured ankle.

The shortened season did not prevent the 6-5, 210-pound London from emerging as the only FBS wide receiver to exceed 15 contested catches and accumulate 15+ avoided tackles according to PFF. He can now use his size and physicality while operating as Atlanta’s unchallenged WR1. The Falcons’ situation at quarterback is hardly ideal, which will suppress his ceiling this season.

Renfrow’s numbers soared beyond expectations during 2021, as he vaulted to WR10, finished ninth in receptions (103/6.1 per game), and eclipsed both 100 targets (128/7.5 per game)) and 1,000 yards (1,038/61.1 per game) for the first time in his career.

Renfrow also finished ninth overall in touchdowns (9), and his ascension was fueled by his usage and output from Weeks 9-14: (55 targets/9.2 per game/24.8% share), 48 receptions/8.0 per game), (226 yards after catch).

Davante Adams will commandeer the largest target share, while Darren Waller will reemerge after being limited to 62 snaps from Weeks 13-18. However, 33 wide receivers are being selected before Renfrow, which makes him worthy of consideration at his ADP (84/WR34).

Gage entered the final year of his rookie contract in 2021, and the former sixth-round selection led Atlanta’s wide receivers in targets (94/6.7 per game/21.5% share), receptions (66/4.7 per game) and yardage (770/55 per game). He also averaged 6.75 targets, 4.6 receptions, and 51.9 yards per game during his final two seasons with the Falcons.

Year Targets  Targ/Gm Rec Rec/Gm Yards Yards/Gm TD
2018 10 0.7 6 0.4 63 4.2 0
2019 74 4.6 49 3.1 446 27.9 1
2020 109 6.8 72 4.5 786 49.1 4
2021 94 6.7 66 4.7 770 55 4

Gage will resurface in Tampa Bay after the Buccaneers secured him with a three-year contract. He should operate as the team’s WR3 behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin whenever Godwin reemerges from his recovery (torn ACL). However, Gage will function as Tom Brady’s WR2 while Godwin remains unavailable. This positions him to deliver high-end WR3 production while outperforming his Round 9 ADP (90/WR36).

Wilson captured 143 receptions (4.5 per game), produced 2,213 receiving yards (69.2 per game), and generated 23 touchdowns during his three seasons at Ohio State. That includes the 70 receptions/1,058/12 touchdowns that he assembled during 2021. Wilson was the second wide receiver to be selected during April’s NFL Draft, and he will now infuse his explosiveness and athleticism into New York’s aerial attack.

He has not entered an environment that contains an automatic path atop the depth chart, as the rapidly emerging Moore and former first-round selection Corey Davis will also confiscate respectable target shares. Wilson’s prospects for becoming a viable resource for fantasy managers will also be contingent upon Zach Wilson’s ability to improve his efficiency during his second season.

Lazard established new career highs in targets (60/4 per game), receptions (40/2.7 per game), receiving yards (513/34.2 per game), and offensive snaps (716) in 2021, while also generating a career-best eight touchdowns.

The exodus of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling has presented Lazard with an opportunity to function as Aaron Rodgers’ most targeted weapon during his fifth season. That should provide a significant rise in his scoring, after Lazard finished at WR47 last season, and failed to exceed WR67 from 2018-2020.

Lazard should secure a healthy percentage of the 224 targets that were vacated through the departures of Adams and Valdes-Scantling. Randall Cobb is unlikely to emerge as a factor, which leaves rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs and the unreliable Sammy Watkins as Lazard’s primary competitors for targets. It also presents you with a tangible option in Round 9 of your drafts (99/WR40).

 

Tiers 7-8 - Wide Receiver Rankings

Michael GallupChris Olave, Skyy Moore, Chase Claypool, Christian KirkKadarius Toney, Robert Woods, Jarvis Landry, D.J. Chark, Mecole Hardman, Corey Davis, Jameson Williams, Christian WatsonKenny Golladay, Jahan Dotson, Kendrick Bourne, Tyler Boyd, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, DeVante ParkerTim Patrick, Donovan Peoples-Jones,

The wide receivers that comprise these tiers are contained between WR45-WR65 in our latest rankings. Various factors could develop during the upcoming weeks that would fuel a rise in the ranking for any of these players.



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