Fantasy football tiers: Wide Receivers


The wide receiver position has become deep ... very deep. In fact, a lot of fantasy fans have decided to go with back to back running backs in the first two rounds, because getting a solid pair of wideouts in the third and fourth rounds is a virtual lock in leagues with traditional starting lineup requirements. As a result, it's vital to know which wide receivers have similar value (called tiers) going into drafts.

For those still unclear, tiers sort players based on their projected level of production and ADP (average draft position). Using tiers assists fantasy owners in knowing where there's a potential decline in value among a position group, thus allowing owners to make a more educated decision on whether or not to draft a position based on who's been picked and who's still on the board. Tiers are useful for all sorts of drafts, and you can adjust them as needed to suit your league and scoring system.

Here are my own personal wide receiver tiers, which I will be updating (as needed) right up until the start of the regular season:

Tier One - Cream Of The Crop


DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Notes: I struggled with this tier, because you can make an easy argument that almost everyone in the second tier also belongs here. I went with Hopkins, the obvious choice, after he's finished as the top PPR wideout for two straight seasons. He could be drafted as high as a top-five overall pick in PPR leagues. Adams is coming off a career season that saw he posts personal highs almost across the board. He also has one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers, throwing him the ball.

Tier Two - Elite And Almost Elite


Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

Notes: Jones ranks third in targets, sixth in catches and first in receiving yards among wideouts over the last three years. Thomas, who leads all wideouts in catches since 2016, will remain the top option in the pass attack in New Orleans for Drew Brees. Hill, who will not face NFL discipline for off-the-field issues, ranked third in PPR points at the position in 2018. OBJ, an absolute fantasy monster in New York, won't see any sort of decline in value in Cleveland. That Browns offense should be fun to watch. Smith-Schuster becomes the top option in Pittsburgh in Antonio Brown's absence. He should be a targets machine for Ben Roethlisberger, which makes him an attractive No. 1 wideout.

Tier Three - Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good


Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Antonio Brown, Oakland Raiders
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings

Notes: These guys aren't at the elite level, but that shouldn't "curb your enthusiasm" when it comes to drafting them. In fact, these are the wideouts who will serve as No. 1s for the countless fantasy fans who draft running backs first. Evans will be fun to watch with new head coach Bruce Arians at the helm. Allen ranks seventh in targets and sixth in catches among wideouts since 2017. Cooper was far more productive after being dealt to the Cowboys, and now he'll have an entire offseason and camp to continue to grow his rapport with Dak Prescott. Thielen opened last season with eight straight 100-yard games and remains a borderline No. 1 wideout despite a slow finish. Hilton averaged over 90 yards a game as the top option for Andrew Luck a season ago and will be a high No. 2 fantasy wideout. Diggs posted 100 catches a season ago and has low-end No. 1 wide receiver value in all fantasy drafts. Brown's stock did take a hit when he was dealt to the Raiders, and now there's concern about his helmet (???) ... not to mention his overall attitude. Buyer beware ... and watch Hard Knocks!

Tier Four - Catch-er As Catch Can


Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions

Notes: Edelman and Golladay project to lead their respective teams in targets this season, making them attractive No. 2 wideouts and maybe No. 3s for owners in smaller leagues who pass on running backs in the earlier stanzas. I love Godwin, who shouldn't be short on targets in Arians' offense. He could push Evans for the targets leader in Tampa Bay. Woods and Cooks combined for 247 targets a season ago in the Rams pass attack, which helped both of them finish in the top 15 among wideouts.

Tier Five - Potential Wideout Steals


Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
Cooper Kupp, Los Angles Rams
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

Notes: Lockett had a slight breakout with 10 scores a season ago, but now he's the unquestioned top wideout in Seattle with Doug Baldwin out of the mix. Green has WR1 upside, but he'll miss the start of the season due to an injured ankle and has become a bigger risk due to durability issues. Kupp has 80-plus catch potential for the Rams and fantasy fans alike, but he's coming off ACL surgery and needs to look good in camp to move up rank lists. You should be seeing a lot Moore of D.J. in the Panthers pass attack in 2019. He's one of my favorite breakout players. Boyd might be behind Green in the pecking order, but he should still see plenty of chances in the Bengals new offensive attack under coach Zac Taylor. Landry loses some lust with OBJ in the mix, but he should also see less defensive attention. Ridley scored 10 touchdowns as a rookie, and there's a good chance he'll see more volume in 2019.

Tier Six - Veteran Wideouts And More


Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
Josh Gordon, New England Patriots
Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Robby Anderson, New York Jets
Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions

Notes: This tier includes three veterans who have had fantasy success in the past, including Gordon, Jeffery, Fitzgerald and Jones. They're all potentially good values as No. 3 or 4 wideouts in PPR leagues. Gordon is a volatile No. 3 option, but he's worth a look in Round 7 or 8. The tier also has potential breakout players in Williams, Davis and Anderson, who should all be among their team leaders in targets. The Chargers receiver has the most upside of every wideout in the tier, especially in an offense that should allow him an even bigger role during the upcoming NFL season.

Tier Seven - Youth Gone Wild


Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
Will Fuller, Houston Texans

Notes: The writing might be on the wall for a number of these talented, young wideouts. Westbrook and Kirk are seeing their draft stock rise in the preseason. The former should lead the Jaguars in targets in 2019. Samuel and Shepard saw an increase in value, in part, due to the departure of a veteran on their respetive teams in the offseason. Samuel has been the talk of Panthers training camp too, so his value is on the rise. Sanders has made a strong return from an Achilles ailment, and Watkins is a worthwhile middle rounder in an explosive Chiefs pass attack. Fuller would be ranked higher, but his proneness to injuries at the NFL level makes him a risk-reward selection.

Tier Eight - Veterans And Late Targets


Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers
James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
Keke Coutee, Houston Texans
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
Devin Funchess, Indianapolis Colts
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
John Brown, Buffalo Bills
Donte Moncrief, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons

Notes: Pettis hasn't had a great training camp, but he's still a worthwhile middle to late rounder in San Francisco. Moncrief appears to have secured the No. 2 wideout spot in Pittsburgh, but Washington has a ton of statistical upside on a roster loaded with available targets compared to 2018. Jackson could be a nice best-ball option, while Gallup should push for sleeper value as the No. 2 wideout in Dallas. Funchess could be a red-zone maven, though there are a lot of mouths to feed in Indianapolis. Crowder could lead the Jets in targets, and Sam Darnold liked to throw to his slot receivers as a rookie. Brown could lead the Bills wideouts in targets, and he fits with the big arm of Josh Allen.

Tier Nine - Late-Round Dart Throws


Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets
Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears
Golden Tate, New York Giants
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers
Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins

Notes: Miller is a worthy dart throw as the potential No. 2 wideout in Chicago. Tate would be ranked much higher, but he's been suspended for the first four games of the season. Hamilton was a solid sleeper earlier in the offseason, but the quick return of Sanders from a torn Achilles has halted his rise up rank lists.Any wideout catching passes from Aaron Rodgers is worth a roll of the dice, so MVS and Allison are both worth a late flier. Stills is also a very worthwhile target as the main man in Miami.

Tier 10 - A Whole Lotta Rookies


Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts
Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns
DaeSean Hamilton, Denver Broncos
Paul Richardson, Washington Redskins
Ted Ginn, New Orleans Saints
Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills
DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
Robert Foster, Buffalo Bills
Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals

Notes: This tier has four rookies wideouts, all of whom have a chance at a decent target share with their respective teams. Beasley has had a good preseason and has some late-round value in deeper PPR leagues. Isabella is a playmaker out of the slot and could wind up being a late-round dart throw.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for the latest fantasy football news and analysis!