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WR Rookie Rankings - Redraft and Dynasty


This year’s wide receiver class was not supposed to be anything special. A couple of elite guys and maybe a few good players who could become starters, but they were overshadowed by the running backs. After the draft though, I am excited to see how this class performs in 2018 and beyond. A lot of good landing spots turned decent receivers into players with a lot of upside.

Part three of my Rookie Rankings Series will detail both redraft and dynasty rankings for this year’s wide receiver class. Which WR will be able to offer the most value in 2018 and which player has the highest ceiling over the next several years?

To accompany the rankings, I offer a write up on a majority of the players and why you should or should not be looking to target them in your draft. In prior rookie rankings, I have included all undrafted free agents who have signed, but in these rankings, I only include a few of my favorites.

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Wide Receiver Rookie Rankings

Redraft Dynasty
WR1 Calvin Ridley ATL WR1 DJ Moore CAR
WR2 Michael Gallup DAL WR2 Antonio Callaway CLE
WR3 Christian Kirk ARI WR3 Calvin Ridley ATL
WR4 Anthony Miller CHI WR4 Michael Gallup DAL
WR5 Tre'quan Smith NO WR5 James Washington PIT
WR6 DJ Moore CAR WR6 Christian Kirk ARI
WR7 Keke Coutee HOU WR7 Anthony Miller CHI
WR8 Courtland Sutton DEN WR8 Courtland Sutton DEN
WR9 Dante Pettis SF WR9 Tre'quan Smith NO
WR10 James Washington PIT WR10 Keke Coutee HOU
WR11 Antonio Callaway CLE WR11 Auden Tate CIN
WR12 Equanimeous St. Brown GB WR12 Dante Pettis SF
WR13 Daurice Fountain IND WR13 Braxton Berrios NE
WR14 Kaleel Scott BAL WR14 DJ Chark JAX
WR15 DJ Chark JAX WR15 Equanimeous St. Brown GB
WR16 Jordan Lasley BAL WR16 Kaleel Scott BAL
WR17 Dylan Cantrell LAC WR17 Daurice Fountain IND
WR18 Ray-Ray Mccloud BUF WR18 Jordan Lasley BAL
WR19 Braxton Berrios NE WR19 Daesean Hamilton DEN
WR20 Marcell Ateman OAK WR20 Dylan Cantrell LAC
WR21 Auden Tate CIN WR21 J'mon Moore GB
WR22 Daesean Hamilton DEN WR22 Marcell Ateman OAK
WR23 J'Mon Moore GB WR23 Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB
WR24 Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR24 Ray-Ray Mccloud BUF
WR25 Deon Cain IND WR25 Allen Lazard JAX
WR26 Richie James SF WR26 John Franklin III SEA
WR27 Austin Proehl BUF WR27 Justin Watson TB
WR28 Justin Watson TB WR28 Cedrick Wilson DAL
WR29 Cedrick Wilson DAL WR29 Deon Cain IND
WR30 Russell Gage ATL WR30 Simmie Cobbs WSH
WR31 Javon Wims CHI WR31 Russell Gage ATL
WR32 Trey Quinn WSH WR32 Brandon Powell DET
WR33 Damion Ratley CLE WR33 Damion Ratley CLE
WR34 Allen Lazard JAX WR34 Trey Quinn WSH
WR35 Simmie Cobbs WSH WR35 Austin Proehl BUF
WR36 John Franklin III SEA WR36 Richie James SF
WR37 Brandon Powell DET WR37 Javon Wims CHI

 

Antonio Callaway, Cleveland Browns (RD11, DY2)

Let’s cover the elephant in the room right away. If you think that ranking for dynasty seems a little high, I am going to take a second to try and convince you. Callaway’s redraft rankings will be extremely low in year one because the Browns did an amazing job adding offensive talent this off-season and likely will not have a ton of targets to go around right away. Also add in the fact that Callaway didn’t play a snap during his junior year and he will have some rust to shake off in 2018. The Browns have given Callaway his final shot, so he will need to work his way into everyone’s good graces.

In dynasty however, he makes his way all the way to rookie WR2. Callaway may be the most talented receiver in this draft. Callaway is explosive and quick with ability to separate from defenders. When he gets into the open field, he will blow past others. The only thing that kept Callaway down during the draft process was his off-field issues. His talent is what you are buying into though. I would much rather risk a pick on Callaway in a dynasty rookie draft and have him flame out then not make the pick and have him turn into the player I think he can be. Depending on your league, you may or may not be able to get him cheap right now. He has not made it out of the second round of any rookie draft I have been in while others see him going into the third round. This ranking is based on his talent. I am well aware of all the off-field issues. If he figures those out though, he deserves this ranking.

DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers (RD6, DY1)

Moore was my top receiver heading into the draft, but his landing spot was one of the worst places I could have imagined. For redraft purposes, I’m fading Moore in 2018. I just don’t think Cam Newton is able to support this many weapons on offense. He will likely continue to feed Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield and Moore will also need to compete for targets with Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess.

In dynasty leagues though, I am going with the saying “talent wins out” and think Moore’s talent will eventually lead him to the top dynasty rookie WR in this class. I have been touting him as the top WR for a while, so I need to stay the course and hope Newton can make Moore relevant. If Funchess leaves and Olsen retires within a couple of years, Moore is back on track to first in line for targets. In 2015, Newton helped Ted Ginn Jr. to the WR25 season in standard leagues. Considering Moore is far more talented than Ginn, Newton should be able to help Moore owners out in the near future.

Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (RD1, DY3)

On the flip side of Moore, I was not interested in owning Ridley heading into rookie drafts this year. I just did not see a receiver that could play on the outside in the NFL and consistently beat the best corners in the league. Many owners still had him as their WR1 in this draft and I felt like that position in the draft would cause disappointment. This is why I tell owners that the landing spot for rookies means just as much as talent to me, because Ridley landed in the best spot possible. If the Falcons are wise (which they seem to be) they will play Ridley in the slot with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu on the outside. If Ridley gets to be a matchup nightmare in the slot all season, he is going to offer some tremendous value.

He slips a tad in dynasty rankings because I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons try to move him back outside (or keep him there) plus I have Moore and Callaway jumping him starting in 2019 and beyond. The good news in Atlanta is that Ridley can still be serviceable with a top WR playing on the other side of him. I am back on the Ridley value train if you get him at the right price.

Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (RD4, DY7)

This has been one of my favorite targets in rookie drafts this year. I think Miller has a chance to offer some amazing value this season. Even though he kills my love for Taylor Gabriel, I’ll give him a pass. Miller could start working out of the slot for the Bears and really benefit from being low priority list for opposing defenses to pay attention to. With Allen Robinson and Trey Burton in town now, plus Tarik Cohen being a threat out of the backfield, Miller could surprise some people early on if he can win the job and gel with Mitch Trubisky.

He does drop a few positions in dynasty though because of all the weapons in Chicago. Everyone is on an even plane with starting a new offense and learning to work with their new QB. There is a good chance Miller will be the third option on the offense moving forward if he cannot establish himself as a top option from the start. If Trubisky can form a connection with Burton and Robinson from the beginning, Miller will hold a little less value. I still like the landing spot and think Miller has the talent to excel. Can Trubisky excel along with him though?

Keke Coutee, Houston Texans (RD7, DY10)

There has been a lot made of D’Onta Foreman this off-season. Owners have been questioning whether or not he is worth adding, now that it seems the offense is trending up in Houston. While everyone is running to add the backfield in Houston, I am running to add all the receivers. After what we saw from Deshaun Watson in the first half of 2017 before his injury, the Texans will look to be a high scoring offense. Players like Coutee, who will probably play in the slot, and Will Fuller will be cheaper because of DeAndre Hopkins shadow over the offense as the best player. I am buying into the players that catch the ball in 2018 for the Texans.

In dynasty formats, I do drop him somewhat because while I believe they will be throwing the ball a lot in 2018, I don’t think they will keep that pace and I also don’t believe Bill O’Brien is the head coach after 2018 either. I am high on them in redraft but would be hesitant to buy into the offense as a whole, outside of Hopkins, until next off-season. Players like Coutee could explode onto the scene and then be lost in a coaching change since they are not one of the top players. The upside for this whole offense is there, just some caution from me.

DJ Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars (RD15, DY14)

I have spent a lot of time talking about players I like, so let’s toss in one I don’t like to switch it up a bit. This pick was a headscratcher for me. Chark is not the top of WR that fits in with the Jaguars style of play. The Jaguars will continue to run the ball and control the game with their defense for the foreseeable future. While I think there is some late round value to the receivers in Jacksonville, it’s hard to envision a world where any of them hold enough relevance to make it into your fantasy lineup every week. So that is the first problem.

The second issue is that Blake Bortles is still not a great QB. Yes, he did support Allen Robinson for one great year, but other than that it’s less than spectacular. Chark flew up the draft boards for one reason, his ability to stretch the field. He was the fastest WR at the combine and those things stand out. Bortles, however, does not have great downfield accuracy. Add to the fact they already have Keelan Cole to play this role, I just don’t see any relevance for Chark unless the Jaguars get a new QB. I am staying away from Chark in all formats based on his current team.

 

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