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2018 Fantasy Football Rankings Analysis - Wide Receivers (Half-PPR)

The last few years has seen a fall from grace for the wide receiver position in fantasy football formats. Due to the changes in offensive structures of teams (more of them spreading the ball around), the list of top wide receivers has become smaller and smaller.

However, that does not mean that there are still no elite performers in fantasy football circles. In fact, top level wide receivers still possess the same game-winning production ability that they always have due to their large target shares and reception totals.

Our preseason rankings at RotoBaller will continue to shift as free agents sign with new teams and rookies get drafted, but for now here is my tiered breakdown for wide receivers in Half-PPR fantasy leagues heading into the 2018 campaign. Check out our running back rankings for Half-PPR right here.

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Wide Receiver Half-PPR Rankings

Position Tier Position Rank Overall Rank Player Name
1 1 3 Antonio Brown
1 2 5 DeAndre Hopkins
1 3 7 Odell Beckham Jr.
2 4 11 Mike Evans
2 5 12 Julio Jones
2 6 13 Michael Thomas
2 7 14 A.J. Green
2 8 15 Davante Adams
2 9 17 Keenan Allen
3 10 20 Doug Baldwin
3 11 23 Adam Thielen
3 12 27 Tyreek Hill
3 13 30 T.Y. Hilton
3 14 33 Demaryius Thomas
4 15 34 Stefon Diggs
4 16 36 Larry Fitzgerald
4 17 37 Allen Robinson
4 18 38 Amari Cooper
4 19 40 Alshon Jeffery
4 20 41 Golden Tate
4 21 42 Jarvis Landry
4 22 45 Josh Gordon
4 23 46 Juju Smith-Schuster
5 24 49 Marvin Jones
5 25 58 Julian Edelman
5 26 60 Brandin Cooks
5 27 61 Pierre Garcon
5 28 72 Robert Woods
5 29 73 Devin Funchess
5 30 74 Will Fuller
5 31 78 Michael Crabtree
5 32 79 Emmanuel Sanders
5 33 80 Jamison Crowder
5 34 81 Corey Davis
5 35 82 Sammy Watkins
5 36 83 Robby Anderson
5 37 84 Marquise Goodwin
5 38 85 Cooper Kupp
5 39 86 Chris Hogan
6 40 89 Kelvin Benjamin
6 41 93 Dez Bryant
6 42 95 Nelson Agholor
6 43 99 Sterling Shepard
6 44 104 Devante Parker
6 45 109 Jordy Nelson
6 46 110 Randall Cobb
6 47 113 Marqise Lee
6 48 117 Rishard Matthews
6 49 119 Kenny Stills
7 50 128 Calvin Ridley
7 51 129 Cameron Meredith
7 52 130 Allen Hurns
7 53 131 Josh Doctson
7 54 134 Martavis Bryant
7 55 135 DeSean Jackson
7 56 141 D.J. Moore
8 57 151 Mike Williams
8 58 153 Mohamed Sanu
8 59 154 Ted Ginn
8 60 158 Paul Richardson
8 61 160 Dede Westbrook
8 62 164 Tyler Lockett
8 63 166 Kenny Golladay
8 64 167 Mike Wallace
8 65 169 Anthony Miller
8 66 172 John Brown
8 67 175 Jordan Matthews
8 68 176 Tyrell Williams
8 69 179 Keelan Cole
8 70 184 Chris Godwin
8 71 186 Michael Gallup
9 72 187 Albert Wilson
9 73 192 Corey Coleman
9 74 197 Donte Moncrief
9 75 199 Cole Beasley
9 76 200 Jermaine Kearse
9 77 203 Courtland Sutton
9 78 204 Christian Kirk
9 79 205 Zay Jones
10 80 206 Brandon Coleman
10 81 208 Willie Snead
10 82 216 Terrelle Pryor
10 83 220 Amara Darboh
10 84 221 Terrance Williams
10 85 223 Danny Amendola
10 86 225 Trent Taylor
10 87 228 J.J. Nelson
11 88 230 Bruce Ellington
11 89 232 Geronimo Allison
11 90 234 Torrey Smith
11 91 235 John Ross
11 92 237 Eric Decker
11 93 238 Taylor Gabriel
11 94 240 Brice Butler
11 95 242 Kevin White
11 96 243 Brandon Marshall
11 97 252 Taywan Taylor
12 98 253 Kendall Wright
12 99 255 James Washington
12 100 256 Ryan Grant
12 101 260 Josh Reynolds
12 102 263 Malcolm Mitchell
12 103 267 Brandon LaFell
12 104 269 Travis Benjamin
12 105 273 Jeremy Maclin
12 106 275 Mack Hollins
12 107 277 Jaron Brown
13 108 289 Curtis Samuel
13 109 292 Tavon Austin
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

Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr.

Since 2013, Antonio Brown has been the best wide receiver in the NFL. With over 100 receptions in every year for the past five seasons and near-double digit or double-digit touchdown numbers, Brown is truly one of the elites at his position and makes a strong case to be the top wide receiver taken off the board in 2018. However, due to the potential upside of Hopkins with a Watson comeback, Brown is not so much the clear cut number one as he is the 1a to Hopkins' 1b; nevertheless, you should feel safe choosing a wide receiver in his prime who has had insane yardage, reception, and touchdown totals in recent years.

Your number one wide receiver from a season ago, DeAndre Hopkins is coming off of a 96 catch, 1,378 yard, 13 touchdown season with the Texans. Hopkins reclaimed his status as one of the league's elite receivers after a dismal 2016 campaign that saw Brock Osweiler single-handedly ruin the team's offense. Apart from 2016, Hopkins has been a top fantasy producer for the majority of his career, and there is nothing that suggests otherwise for 2018. Hopkins will be reunited with breakout quarterback Deshaun Watson and speedy receiver Will Fuller yet will remain the focus of the team's offense, making him a lock for 90+ receptions as well as similar yard totals and touchdown numbers. If Watson can perform at the level he did last season for an entire 16 games, we could see even better stats from his top receiver, making DeAndre Hopkins a lock for a top selection in half-ppr formats.

Despite only playing in four games in 2017, Odell Beckham Jr. still had 25 receptions, 302 yards, and three touchdowns. This came after three years of over 90 receptions, 1,300 yards, and at least ten touchdowns, making Beckham an elite talent at the position. The young wide receiver is expecting a massive contract extension, but doubters will be quick to point out that there are other weapons in the team's offense now that could limit Beckham's production, with running back Saquon Barkley, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, and tight end Evan Engram. Even though Barkley is an elite talent, this is still Beckham's offense, making him a top fantasy asset in half-ppr leagues who should see the same totals he always has when he takes the field in 2018.

Tier 2

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

Since being drafted in 2014, wide receiver Mike Evans has had four 1,000 yard seasons. In his rookie year, Evans had twelve touchdowns - this dipped to three in 2015. Then, in 2016, Evans broke out with 96 receptions, over 1,300 yards, and 12 touchdowns once again. With the Buccaneers regressing in 2017, Evans' touchdown numbers fell back to five. However, the team is expected to have a better season with improvements on both sides of the ball, and with quarterback Jameis Winston expected to take a step forward in his fourth season, it is expected that Mike Evans will see high reception, yardage, and touchdown totals once again, making him a top-ten fantasy option at the position.

Despite having a "down year" by fantasy standards that came with the overall regression of the Falcons offense, Julio Jones still eclipsed 1,400 receiving yards while only scoring three touchdowns. Expect the touchdown numbers to revert to the mean of between six-eight in 2018, making Jones a solid backend WR1 in fantasy football due to his natural talent and ability to have monstrous games every season. Jones doesn't carry the elite fantasy upside of the players mentioned in front of him, but still is a game-winning talent worthy of consideration with your first wide receiver pick.

The breakout wide receiver from the 2016 NFL draft, Michael Thomas has had 92 and 104 receptions in his two years in the league. This has translated to over 2,300 combined receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Thomas only had five touchdowns last season, as the Saints had one of the toughest running-games in the league. Nevertheless, expect a positive regression for Thomas's touchdown numbers with similar reception and yardage totals, making him a machine in half-ppr leagues.

A.J. Green has been a model of consistency since entering the league, only failing to cross the 1,000 yard mark on one occasion (2016, where Green was injured after only playing ten games and racking up 964 yards). Green is a lock for 1,000 yards, between 75-95 receptions, and the upper level of single digits in touchdowns. However, the Bengals as a whole have an offense that should limit his elite fantasy upside, making him a solid WR1 instead of the top-3 talent that he clearly is in the NFL today.

Although Davante Adams has yet to cross the 1,000 yard threshold, he has spent his first four seasons playing alongside wide receiver Jordy Nelson and slot threat Randall Cobb. Now that Nelson has moved on to the Oakland Raiders, Adams should take over the role of the number one wide receiver in one of the most potent air-attacks in the game, headlined by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Adams should finally break the 1,000 yard barrier and carries the most touchdown upside of any top-tier receiver, making him a solid play in half-ppr formats (although his standard value should be higher).

Keenan Allen finally played a full season last year, amassing 102 receptions for almost 1,400 yards and six touchdowns in the process. The speedy wide receiver has suffered several injuries in his career, yet he has been an absolute force on the fantasy gridiron when healthy. Although this seems a tad high for Allen given the other talents at the position, if he is able to repeat last season and stay healthy, he will continue to be mentioned in the elite tier of wide receivers in the league.

Tier 3

Doug Baldwin, Adam Thielen, Tyreek Hill, T.Y. Hilton, Demaryius Thomas

After a breakout season in 2015, Doug Baldwin has become quarterback Russell Wilson's favorite target. Now, with the Seahawks offense devoid of true playmakers outside of the former undrafted wide receiver, Baldwin should be peppered with targets each week regardless of the game script. However, there is a chance that the team's offense does not perform up to expectations making Baldwin a WR1 that carries more risk than the majority of the wide receivers on this list. However, if the Seahawks are able to have a solid season, we should see Baldwin continue to post good numbers each week.

A player who broke out in a major way last year, Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was a bona-fide WR1 with weekly upside working out of the slot. With an upgrade at quarterback, it seems like the sky is the limit for Thielen this year despite the probability that a large portion of the team's targets will be distributed to fellow wide receiver Stefon Diggs, running back Dalvin Cook, and tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Tyreek Hill has been a consistent fantasy threat and gets to work with gunslinging quarterback Pat Mahomes this year. However, fantasy owners should be wary of his high asking price, with free agent signing Sammy Watkins, running back Kareem Hunt, and Travis Kelce all poised to see a significant chunk of the team's targets.

Entering 2018, T.Y. Hilton's fantasy value will be once again tied to the health of quarterback Andrew Luck. If he is healthy, Hilton will be able to produce WR2/1 numbers all season long. However, if Luck is not healthy once again, Hilton's value takes a major dive.

Demaryius Thomas has seen dips in targets and receiving yards in each of the last three years, but he finally has a semi-decent quarterback to work with. If he can put it together, Thomas is a lock to see 1,000+ yards and at least six touchdowns in what should be a good season for the veteran receiver.

Tier 4

Stefon Diggs, Larry Fitzgerald, Allen Robinson, Amari Cooper, Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate, Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, Juju Smith-Schuster

Despite playing alongside Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs still has the chance to capture a significant percentage of the team's targets and become the number one receiver; however his health and the plethora of weapons on the Vikings give him a tricky path to elite fantasy upside.

Larry Fitzgerald seems to never get old, as he was a WR1 a year ago and is a lock for around 100 receptions year-in and year-out; the presence of David Johnson should help take attention away from the veteran receiver.

Allen Robinson signed a large contract with a new team in the offseason, making him the Bears number one receiver on an ascending offense. If he is able to recapture his 2015 form, we could see another 1,000 yard double-digit touchdown season from the former Jaguars receiver.

Golden Tate and Jarvis Landry are as reliable as they come in half-ppr formats; despite Landry's new destination in Cleveland, both should be guaranteed high reception totals and therefore should have high weekly floors regardless of their matchup. Look to target these two players in the mid-rounds.

Tier 5

Marvin Jones, Brandin Cooks, Pierre Garcon, Robert Woods, Devin Funchess, Will Fuller, Michael Crabtree, Emmanuel Sanders, Jamison Crowder, Corey Davis, Sammy Watkins, Robby Anderson, Marquise Goodwin, Cooper Kupp, Chris Hogan

This tier is filled with value plays and shows just how deep the wide receiver position is this year. You can get bona fide number one wide receivers like Michael Crabtree and Pierre Garcon or upside plays such as Sammy Watkins and Chris Hogan - all for the easy price of a later mid-round selection.

One player to watch out for is second year pro Corey Davis. After disappointing in 2017 as a rookie, the former number five overall NFL Draft selection should be the team's number one wide receiver in an offense that is due for some positive regression. Davis could be the breakout candidate of the year if all things go the right way, making him a solid pick in the later middle rounds.

One offense to potentially shy away from is the Rams. With three proven talents in Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods, and a quarterback that likes to spread the ball, it will be difficult for any of the three to separate themselves from one another, likely resulting in success for the team as a whole but a mitigation of each player's fantasy upside. Be wary of selecting any of these pass-catchers; the most palatable would be Cooper Kupp, who will provide nice WR3 value that you can bank on due to his role out of the slot.

Tier 6

Kelvin Benjamin, Dez Bryant, Nelson Agholor, Sterling Shepard, Devante Parker, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Marqise Lee, Rishard Matthews, Kenny Stills

As we get to the later rounds of the NFL Draft, there is still surprising value at the position that warrants taking a look at. Randall Cobb, after two down years, will be able to work alongside a healthy Aaron Rodgers as the number two wide receiver on the team. Although they did acquire tight end Jimmy Graham, Cobb should still be a lock for around 100 targets and may well get his redzone looks, making him a solid WR3 to consider as we get to the double digit rounds.

Another interesting player to look at is Kenny Stills - most of the attention will go to Devante Parker in draft circles this August, yet Stills had 105 targets last year and is ninth in touchdowns among wide receivers in the last twos seasons. With the departure of Jarvis Landry, look for Stills to get more involved and potentially creep into the WR2 range this season.

One more note: don't be afraid of drafting slot receivers. Agholor, Shepard, Lee: all three should get their fair share of targets and touchdowns and could be reliable players on your fantasy roster for the entire season due to their situations and the offenses that they work in. Target these players in the later rounds for the most value at your pick.

Tier 7

Calvin Ridley, Allen Hurns, Josh Doctson, Martavis Bryant, DeSean Jackson, Ted Ginn, D.J. Moore

The best name out of the bunch to target is Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson. Entering his third professional season, the former first round pick should be the number one receiver (and potentially even receiving threat, if tight end Jordan Reed is unable to stay healthy) on a team known for producing good fantasy stats for its players. Doctson is a good sleeper pick who could be a WR2 if things go his way this year.

Don't look for rookie production as a late round drafter; instead, keep your eyes on Moore and Ridley on waivers and how they perform in preseason/during the early weeks of the season. Neither is the top option on their team's passing attack, so investing a pick into them has minimal upside out of the gates.


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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