Fanelli’s Fantasy Files: Wide Receiver Pro/Con Rankings

Fanelli’s Fantasy Files: Wide Receiver Pro/Con Rankings

by August 31, 2021 0 comments

The 2021 NFL season is just around the corner, and fantasy football drafts are picking up the pace by the hour. When looking at fantasy rankings, it is always good to know the upside and downside of each player. As fantasy players prepare for their fantasy drafts, I have provided my current top-36 at the wide receiver position with quick pros and cons for each player.

These rankings are base on PPR scoring. Good luck to everyone with their fantasy drafts.

Be sure to check out all of my fantasy football rankings!

WR1 – Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

2020 Stats: 13 Games Played | 25.6 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR1 Finish

PROS: He finished with almost 30 more fantasy points than the WR2 despite missing two games. Adams also finished only behind Alvin Kamara in total fantasy points for all flex players. He is Aaron Rodgers’ go-to receiver.

CONS: Adams hasn’t played a full 16 games since 2016. The Packers added Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers in the offseason. If Aaron Rodgers gets hurt, can Adams finish as a top-12 wide receiver with Jordan Love?

WR2 – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 21.9 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR2 Finish

PROS: He plays an explosive offense with Patrick Mahomes. Defenses can’t throw everything at stopping him because of Travis Kelce. He averaged over a touchdown per game last season.

CONS: An injury to Patrick Mahomes seriously hurts Hill’s value. He has dealt with his own injuries over the past two seasons. With an improved offensive line, the Chiefs might turn more to the running game this year.

WR3 – Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 20.5 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR3 Finish

PROS: Diggs finished third in the league with a 29.2 percent target share last season. He also led the league in catches and yards. The Bills didn’t do anything in the offseason to suggest they will run the ball more this year.

CONS: He only has one year of elite production. Josh Allen could regress this season. In the offseason, the Bills added Emmanuel Sanders to replace John Brown. Gabriel Davis projects to take a step forward this season.

WR4 – Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 18.8 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR5 Finish

PROS: Ridley could lead the league in targets this season with Julio Jones gone. He won’t see a consistent double team thanks to Kyle Pitts. The defense will be awful, creating plenty of shootouts for the Falcons.

CONS: Kyle Pitts could turn into a superstar and cut into Ridley’s targets. Matt Ryan has a history of inconsistent play. Defenses could decide to double Ridley all the time and make Pitts beat them.

WR5 – Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

2020 Stats: 14 Games Played | 17.5 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR12 Finish

PROS: Allen is a PPR machine, totaling 97 or more catches in each of the past four seasons while finishing top-12 every year. He is Justin Herbert’s favorite target, with a 26.8 percent target share last season.

CONS: He has dealt with injuries in his career. There is a chance Justin Herbert regresses this year. Mike Williams should have a bigger role this season, and the Chargers used a third-round pick on Josh Palmer.

WR6 – DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 18.0 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR4 Finish

PROS: Showed he still is an elite receiver last year in Arizona. He has a good quarterback throwing to him. Hopkins has finished as a top-four wide receiver for four straight seasons.

CONS: He had only six touchdowns last season, his lowest since 2016. The Cardinals added A.J. Green and Rondale Moore in the offseason, which will impact Hopkins’ 29.4 percent target share from last year.

WR7 – Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 17.1 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR6 Finish

PROS: Despite getting only six targets over the first two weeks of the season, Jefferson averaged 7.8 per game last year. The Vikings have the same offensive unit as last season, and Jefferson should have a similar role.

CONS: He had a historic rookie season, and regression is possible. The Vikings are a run-heavy offense. After improving defense in the offseason, the Vikings won’t have to pass as much this season.

WR8 – A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

2020 Stats: 14 Games Played | 17.2 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR14 Finish

PROS: With Derrick Henry in the backfield and Julio Jones opposite him, Brown rarely will see a double team. He has a 15.9 percent touchdown rate for his career, and it should improve this season with Julio opposite of him.

CONS: After adding Julio Jones, Brown will no longer have a shot at leading the league in targets. He dealt with injuries last season. The Titans will still be a run-first offense with Derrick Henry.

WR9 – D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 17.0 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR7 Finish

PROS: He is one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the NFL. With Tyler Lockett on the other side and Russell Wilson under center, Metcalf will rarely see double-team coverage.

CONS: The Seahawks turned into a run-heavy team in the second half of last season and could do so again this year. Seattle added weapons, which could impact Metcalf’s 24 percent target share from last season.

WR10 – Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 16.4 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR9 Finish

PROS: Regardless of who his quarterback is, Robinson has finished top-12 in both the past two seasons. He had a 25.4 percent target share last season, and it should stay the same or increase this year.

CONS: He has never been a big touchdown guy, totaling more than seven only once in his career (2016). Between David Montgomery and Justin Fields, the Bears may run the ball more, limiting Robinson’s upside.

WR11 – Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 15.3 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR12 Finish

PROS: Woods finished as a top-24 wide receiver in half of his games despite poor quarterback play. With Matthew Stafford under center, Woods will play with the best quarterback of his career.

CONS: The Rams have plenty of other weapons, including Cooper Kupp, Tutu Atwell, and others. Woods’ career-high in touchdowns is six, and he has only eight over the past two seasons.

WR12 – Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 14.9 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR20 Finish

PROS: He has been one of the better fantasy wide receivers since entering the league. With Ryan Fitzpatrick on the team, McLaurin will play with the best quarterback of his career.

CONS: Washington added several wide receivers this offseason, which should cut into his 25.5 percent target share from last season. McLaurin has only a 7.6 percent touchdown rate for his career.

WR13 – Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 13.9 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR26 Finish

PROS: With Matthew Stafford under center, Kupp will have a massive upgrade at quarterback. He has averaged 88.7 catches per season over the past three years over 16 games. His 2020 numbers were almost identical to his 2019 numbers.

CONS: He had a career-low three touchdowns last season, and the Rams added DeSean Jackson and TuTu Atwell in the offseason. Robert Woods is the clear No. 1 wide receiver on the team.

WR14 – CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 13.2 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR24 Finish

PROS: Lamb averaged 17.1 fantasy points per game last season with Dak Prescott. The Cowboys will be one of the top passing offenses in the NFL. He has been working as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver during camp.

CONS: Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup will limit Lamb’s upside. The Cowboys project a bounce-back season for Ezekiel Elliott. Dak Prescott is coming off a serious injury and currently dealing with a shoulder issue.

WR15 – Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 16.9 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR10 Finish

PROS: He has finished as a top-10 wide receiver in each of his past three healthy seasons. Justin Jefferson will draw the opponent’s top cornerback, opening better matchups for Thielen.

CONS: Thielen had a career-high 18.2 percent touchdown rate last season that is likely to regress. The Vikings improved the defense in the offseason, which should mean fewer shootouts and fewer targets for Thielen.

WR16 – Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 14.8 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR15 Finish

PROS: Cooper averaged 21.3 fantasy points per game in the four games with a healthy Dak Prescott under center. Despite the quarterback disaster, Cooper finished as a top-24 wide receiver in half of his games last year.

CONS: He is coming off offseason ankle surgery and just recently turned to the field. CeeDee Lamb is a threat to Cooper’s No. 1 role. The Cowboys have several other weapons, which could limit Cooper’s upside.

WR17 – Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 14.8 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR21 Finish

PROS: In the games Johnson played over 50 percent of the snaps, he averaged 17.7 fantasy points per game last season, which would have finished as the WR6. Despite injuries, he led the team in targets and receiving yards.

CONS: He struggled with injuries last season. The Steelers re-signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and added Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth in the draft. Johnson also struggled with drops last season.

WR18 – Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans

2020 Stats: 9 Games Played | 16.2 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR52 Finish

PROS: Jones is one of the best wide receivers of all time. With A.J. Brown on the other side and Derrick Henry in the backfield, defenses will struggle to double team Julio on every play.

CONS: Unlike in Atlanta, the Titans will be a run-first offense. Julio has struggled to stay healthy, including missing seven games last season.

WR19 – D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 14.1 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR25 Finish

PROS: Moore has back-to-back seasons with over 1,100 receiving yards despite inconsistent quarterback play. He got targeted more downfield last season, averaging 18.1 yards per catch.

CONS: On top of getting back a healthy Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers added Dan Arnold and Terrace Marshall in the offseason. Moore’s targets dropped by 12.6 percent from 2019 to last season.

WR20 – Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

2020 Stats: N/A

PROS: He was one of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. Two years ago, with Joe Burrow under center at LSU, Chase had one the best seasons in college football history.

CONS: Joe Burrow is coming off a serious knee injury and might not be 100 percent early to start the year. Chase has struggled with drops in the preseason. Reports are he could lose snaps early in the season.

WR21 – JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 14.6 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR16 Finish

PROS: JuJu has averaged 147 targets per year in his past two healthy seasons. He led the team in catches and touchdowns in 2020. The Steelers made re-signing JuJu a priority as he is a favorite target of Ben Roethlisberger.

CONS: He had a very low aDOT at 5.8 yards. JuJu also had only three targets inside the five-yard line, a role Chase Claypool and the tight ends have taken over. He averaged only 0.37 fantasy points per route run.

WR22 – Kenny Golladay, New York Giants

2020 Stats: 5 Games Played | 13.2 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR102 Finish

PROS: In the five games he played last season, Golladay finished as a top-24 wide receiver in four of them. Defenses won’t be able to double team him with Saquon Barkley on the field.

CONS: Golladay dealt with injuries last season and in camp this year. He has only one season with over five touchdowns and never has averaged over 75 catches in a season. The downgrade at quarterback is a concern.

WR23 – Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 15.5 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR11 Finish

PROS: He is Tom Brady’s No. 1 wide receiver and go-to weapon in the red zone. Last season, Evans had an 18 percent target share and a 22 percent red zone target share, including eight targets inside the five-yard line.

CONS: Evans is very frustrating week to week. He had eight games as a top-24 wide receiver but only finished as a WR3 (25-36) in two of the other eight games. The Buccaneers have two other elite wide receivers.

WR24 – Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020 Stats: 12 Games Played | 15.9 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR31 Finish

PROS: Godwin finished as a top-24 wide receiver in over half his games last season. His targets and fantasy points per game remained almost the same even after the team added Antonio Brown.

CONS: The Buccaneers re-signed Antonio Brown after placing the franchise tag on Godwin. O.J. Howard will return this season and could cut into Godwin’s target share. Godwin dealt with injuries last season.

WR25 – Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers

2020 Stats: 12 Games Played | 15.4 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR35 Finish

PROS: Aiyuk is the clear No. 1 wide receiver, and the team lacks depth at the position. Last season, he finished as a top-12 wide receiver in a third of his games. He had double-digit red zone and deep targets.

CONS: His fantasy production was very different when George Kittle was on the field. With Kittle, Aiyuk averaged 12.9 fantasy points per game compared to 18.3 fantasy points per game without Kittle.

WR26 – Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 12.2 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR28 Finish

PROS: In his final four games with a healthy Joe Burrow, Higgins averaged 18.6 fantasy points per game. The Bengals were one of the top passing teams last season and should again this year thanks to their awful defense.

CONS: The Bengals still have Tyler Boyd and added Ja’Marr Chase. If Joe Mixon can stay healthy, the Bengals will cut back on the number of pass plays from last season. Joe Burrow is coming off a serious knee injury.

WR27 – DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

2020 Stats: N/A

PROS: He is the Eagles’ clear No. 1 wide receiver, even as a rookie. Smith’s route running ability should allow him to make an impact early in the season and earn a high target share.

CONS: Smith has dealt with injuries during camp, and his slimmer frame is a concern for some. The Eagles have Dallas Goedert, who could lead the team in targets. There are questions about Jalen Hurts’ passing ability.

WR28 – Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 15.5 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR17 Finish

PROS: Cooks could have the highest target share in the league after the Texans didn’t re-sign Will Fuller. In the four games without Fuller last season, Cooks averaged 10.3 targets and 25.1 fantasy points per game.

CONS: Deshaun Watson will likely miss the season with his off the field issues. Defenses can double team Cooks on every snap as the Texans lack other proven weapons.

WR29 – Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 16.6 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR8 Finish

PROS: Lockett can win you your week by himself sometimes. The Seahawks lack proven wide receivers behind Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Hopefully, the Seahawks let Russell Wilson cook the entire season.

CONS: Last season, Lockett scored 46.5 percent of his fantasy points in three games. While he can win you your week, he can also get you under 10 fantasy points. Will the Seahawks let Russell Wilson cook?

WR30 – Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 12.8 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR29 Finish

PROS: Despite Joe Burrow missing six games with the knee injury, Boyd finished as a top-36 wide receiver in 60 percent of his games. Even with mostly playing in the slot, Boyd had double-digit red zone and deep targets.

CONS: Boyd lacks a lot of upside. The Bengals added Ja’Marr Chase. If Joe Mixon can stay healthy, the Bengals will cut back on the number of pass plays from last season. Joe Burrow is coming off a serious knee injury.

WR31 – Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 9.8 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR45 Finish

PROS: He has been the talk of Broncos training camp. Courtland Sutton is coming off a serious knee injury. With Teddy Bridgewater under center, Jeudy will be his favorite target in the middle of the field.

CONS: Jeudy struggled with drops last season. The Broncos have plenty of weapons, limiting his target share upside. Teddy Bridgewater has only a 3.4 percent touchdown rate in his career.

WR32 – Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 14.0 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR19 Finish

PROS: Despite having only three touchdowns, Anderson had a career-high in catches, targets, yards, and fantasy points per game. Curtis Samuel is now in Washington, opening up more targets for Anderson.

CONS: Will Anderson repeat what he did last season, or was it a one-year wonder? Did the Panthers upgrade at quarterback with Sam Darnold? Has Anderson taken over as the No. 1 wide receiver?

WR33 – Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

2020 Stats: 16 Games Played | 13.4 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR22 Finish

PROS: Claypool finished as a top-36 wide receiver in 56 percent of his games despite finishing third on the team in targets. He led the team in deep targets with 31. Ben Roethlisberger should be healthy this season.

CONS: He scored 20 percent of his fantasy points from last season in one game. Claypool had four of his 11 total touchdowns in that game as well. In the other 15 games, Claypool averaged 11.5 fantasy points per game.

WR34 – Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

2020 Stats: 14 Games Played | 11.2 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR46 Finish

PROS: He could turn into the Jaguars’ No. 1 wide receiver this season, especially with Chark missing time during camp. The injury to Travis Etienne opens up more rushing attempts and screen targets for Shenault.

CONS: During the preseason, the offense has been inconsistent at times. Shenault had only a 15.2 percent target share last season, and the Jaguars added Marvin Jones this offseason.

WR35 – Curtis Samuel, Washington Football Team

2020 Stats: 15 Games Played | 14.1 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR23 Finish

PROS: Samuel’s rushing ability gives him a weekly floor and provides upside. He had a career year last season and now reunites with Scott Turner. He finished as a top-36 wide receiver in 60 percent of his games last year.

CONS: He has dealt with a groin injury this offseason. Washington also added Dyami Brown and Adam Humphries to pair with Terry McLaurin and Samuel, limiting his target share upside.

WR36 – Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

2020 Stats: 7 Games Played | 12.4 Fantasy Points Per Game | WR89 Finish

PROS: Talent-wise, OBJ is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. The Brown have a dominant running game, which keeps defenses from consistently double-teaming OBJ. He remains the Browns’ No. 1 wide receiver.

CONS: OBJ is coming off a torn ACL. The Browns have a talented younger set of wide receivers. He plays on a run-heavy offense and has averaged career-low in fantasy points per game in back-to-back seasons.


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