2018 saw eight wide receivers catch 100 passes, with Keenan Allen nearly joining them with 97. Wide receiver is always a deep position, but it’s hard to recall a time when so many produced at such a high level. Let’s take a look at some way too early PPR rankings for 2019.
10. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals – A toe injury sidelined Green for three weeks in 2018 and eventually ended his season in week 12. Green avoided the injury bug in 2017 after missing six games in 2016. Based on that pattern a full season is in the cards? Zac Taylor (former Rams QB coach) was brought in as head coach and will assume play-calling duties. Many assume Taylor will install a west coast offense which suits Andy Dalton’s skill set. Assuming Green stays healthy, expect a top-10 season from him.
9. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers – Juju was flat out phenomenal last year. 166 targets while bringing in 111 receptions for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns helped JuJu win fantasy owners’ hearts in 2018. Expect that to continue and with the possible departure of Antonio Brown, Smith-Schuster could see even more targets.
8. Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants – Many would consider OBJ’s 2018 a down year but let’s put that to rest. Even with the Giants offensive struggles early on, Odell finished with 1,000 plus receiving yards in 12 games and scored over 15 PPR points in seven of those contests. Hard to imagine this offense can be any worse in season two under Pat Shurmur. Odell will slide into the second round of drafts where you should be happy to draft him.
7. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans flew under the radar last season and put together an awesome season. Even in a season that saw the Bucs swap quarterbacks as quickly as clothing, Evans had a career high in receiving yards with 1,524. With Bruce Arians taking over as head coach, we can expect a high-flying Tampa passing attack once again. Evans finished with eight touchdowns in 2018, expect that number to increase this season.
6. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs – Anyone who has owned Hill knows about his week-winning ways. Hill has everything owners want for fantasy purposes: game-breaking ability, a great quarterback and a high-powered offense. The issue with Hill is he’s the most “boom or bust” receiver in the top 10. Inconsistencies aside, Hill will still finish in the top-10 with a shot to finish top-three.
5. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints – Thomas began 2018 on a torrid pace which had people wondering if he’d be the number one receiver taken in 2019. While I’m not ready to go there, Thomas is a lock for finishing top 5. Drew Brees is back for another season and his nine receiving touchdowns in 2018 seem a bit low. A double-digit touchdown season isn’t a stretch at all.
4. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (?) – Brown sits at fourth in my rankings but that is provided he remains a Steeler in 2019. If Brown ends up with any other team it’s a bump down for him. While AB didn’t lead his team in receptions or yards in 2018 (both led by JuJu), he did lead them in touchdowns with 15. Brown’s efficiency took a dip this season also, but if he’s in Pittsburgh and playing, he’ll be great as usual.
3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – Save the “Julio doesn’t score touchdowns” jokes people. Julio led the league in receiving yards with 1,677 and scored eight touchdowns in his last nine games. Double-digit touchdowns are a lock for Julio in 2019. Dirk Koetter returns as offensive coordinator for the Falcons and the offense should continue to produce at a high level for fantasy.
2. Deandre Hopkins, Houston Texans – Hopkins was masterful in 2018. 163 targets went Nuk’s way and he didn’t commit a single drop. Hopkins set a career high in receiving yards and catches last season and there’s no reason to think he won’t top that in 2019. Finishing number one overall in 2019 wouldn’t be a shock to anyone.
1. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers – Davante Adams was the model of consistency in 2018. In 16 games, Adams’s lowest PPR point total in a week was 16. That’s insane. The craziest part is there is room for more. Many would say Aaron Rodgers (4,442 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions) had a “down year” by the standards he’s set. Rodgers is still at the top of his game and there’s no doubt will improve on his 2018. Matt Lafleur is taking over as a first-time head coach, but any change to the coaching staff needs to be viewed as an improvement and it’s truly scary to think what Adams can accomplish in 2019.