More way-too-early 2021 fantasy football rankings:
- Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings
- Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings
- Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings
For now, here are our early fantasy football wide receiver rankings for 2021 season:
Not only did Adams miss two games in 2020, but he has missed multiple games in three of his past four seasons. Even so, the seven-year veteran led the NFL in receiving touchdowns (18) and yards per game (98.1) and also set a career high in receptions (115). With double-digit touchdowns in four of five seasons, Adams has a total of 58 scores in 71 games over that span. With Aaron Rodgers still playing at an MVP level, Adams is the clear choice to be drafted as fantasy's WR1 (as long as Rodgers is under center for the Packers) in 2021.
2. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Few players at any position have as much upside as Hill to erupt for a massive performance in any given week. Setting a career high in touchdowns (17), Hill had 87 receptions for 1,276 yards and 13 carries for 123 yards in 2020.
3. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
In his first season in Arizona, Hopkins tied a career high in receptions (115) and his 1,407 receiving yards were the third most of his career while Stefon Diggs (166) was the only receiver with more targets than Hopkins (160). While his six touchdowns were a four-year low, Hopkins still finished as a top-five fantasy receiver in half-PPR formats.
4. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Things could not have gone better for Diggs in his first season with the Bills. Buffalo's starters played fewer snaps than usual in Week 17, as Diggs played a season-low 48% of the team's offensive snaps. Even so, that Week 17 performance (7/76) was the only game over the final five weeks where Diggs had fewer than 128 receiving yards. A top-three performer across all scoring formats, Diggs led the league in targets (166), receptions (127) and yards (1,535) in 2020.
Ridley closed the season the same way he started it (with 100-plus yards in four of five games). Along with Davante Adams (six) and Stefon Diggs (three), Ridley was one of three receivers to finish as a top-two weekly fantasy receiver at least three times in 2020. Ridley finished last season with 90 catches on 143 targets for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns and should be a top-six fantasy wide receiver in 2021.
Brown missed a couple of games, but he followed up a strong rookie campaign (52/1,052/8) with career highs across the board -- 70 catches, 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns on 106 targets. Despite playing in a run-first offense, Brown has averaged 17.4 Y/R and scored a touchdown on 15.6% of his receptions through his first two NFL seasons.
The vacated targets left by Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith and Adam Humphries won't be entirely soaked up by free-agent additions Josh Reynolds and Marcus Johnson and the Day 3 receivers they drafted. In other words, Brown could see a significant bump in targets/share.
7. D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
The sky is the limit for Metcalf, who is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign (83/1,303/10). Through Week 9, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing offense were unstoppable and Metcalf had more than 90 yards in seven of his first eight games. Through Week 9, only Tyreek Hill had scored more fantasy points than Metcalf.
The only concern for Metcalf (and Wilson) is the Seahawks' desire to establish the run. Over the final eight regular-season games, Metcalf exceeded 61 yards in only two games. As great as Metcalf was in the first half of the season, he was tied with (now WFT receiver) Curtis Samuel as the WR25 from Weeks 10-17.
8. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Jefferson exceeded all expectations in his inaugural season with 88 catches for a rookie-record 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns. Not only did the former LSU Tiger have seven 100-yard games, but he had double-digit targets in five of his final six games after doing so in only two of his first 10 games. Going forward, Jefferson should be the 1(a) to Adam Thielen's 1(b) in Minnesota's passing offense.
9. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Allen missed a couple of games and was limited in others, but he finished with 100 catches for the third time in four seasons despite playing with a rookie quarterback. Although just shy of the 1,000-yard mark and averaging a career-low 9.92 Y/R, Allen tied his career high (set as a rookie in 2013) with eight touchdowns. Along with Davante Adams and Diontae Johnson, Allen was just one of three receivers to get double-digit targets in 10 games in 2020.
10. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
It was an injury-plagued 2020 season for Thomas, who failed to score in seven regular-season appearances. While Thomas played in the four Taysom Hill starts and had a pair of 100-yard games, both against the Falcons, the most-likely scenario for the 2021 Saints is that Jameis Winston takes over as the team's starter.
Before 2020, Thomas had improved every season -- 1,137 yards (2016), 1,245 (2017), 1,405 (2018) and 1,725 (2019). In his last full season (2019), he led the NFL in both receptions (149) and yards (1,725).
11. Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team
While the team's quarterback play hasn't done him many favors, McLaurin managed to set career highs with 87 catches and 1,118 yards in his second season. While his Y/R dipped to 12.9 from 15.8, he set career highs in YPG (74.5) and catch rate (64.9%). Even though WFT didn't draft a QB in April, signing Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency boosts McLaurin's outlook and puts him squarely in the WR1 (top 12) mix.
12. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
Preventing Robinson from reaching free agency, the Bears used their franchise tag on Robinson. It's disappointing for fantasy managers that had hoped for an upgraded situation for the 27-year-old receiver, but Robinson has a total of 200 receptions and a minimum of 1,147 yards over his past two seasons in Chicago. In other words, A-Rob is a safe bet to perform as a WR1 despite his situation.
13. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Although he set a career low in yards per game (62.9), Evans exceeded the 1,000-yard mark -- now seven consecutive seasons to begin his career -- and set a career high with 13 scores. The Bucs have franchise tagged Chris Godwin and re-signed Antonio Brown, which could lead to more week-to-week consistency for all of the team's receivers.
14. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Missing four games in the first half of the season, Godwin finished a disappointing 2020 campaign with 65/840/7 as he averaged 25.2 fewer yards per game than in 2019. An assortment of injuries and the presence of Antonio Brown (7.75 targets per game) interfered with Godwin's consistency last season. Godwin ranked third in targets (55) over the final eight games behind Evans (63) and Brown (62).
Jones missed nearly half of the season, but he finished with at least 94 yards in five of his nine games played in 2020. Averaging 85.7 YPG last year, Jones was still on a full-season pace of 1,371 yards. Before last season, he had a minimum of 1,394 yards in six consecutive seasons.
16. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
Moore averaged only 6.9 targets per game through his first 10 games, but that number jumped to 9.8 per game over his final five games. In addition, three of his four 100-yard games occurred over that final five-game stretch. Even though his 55.9% catch rate was a career low, the 23-year-old receiver's ADOT (13.2), Y/R (18.1) and receiving yards (1,193) were all career highs.
17. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
It was a disappointing season for Woods and the Rams offense in general. Woods tied a career high in receptions (90), but his receiving yardage (936) and yards from scrimmage (1,091) were three-year lows. Replacing Jared Goff with Matthew Stafford generates some optimism for all of the skill-position players.
18. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Thielen averaged only 61.7 YPG, but he scored 14 touchdowns in 2020. Only three receivers were targeted more often in the red zone than Thielen (19).
Cooper finished 2020 with a career-high 92 receptions for 1,114 yards and five touchdowns. It was his third consecutive 1,000-yard season and fifth of his career. In 41 games as a member of the Cowboys, Cooper has averaged 73.9 yards per game.
With a healthy Dak Prescott, Lamb began his NFL career with two 100-yard games and a minimum of 59 yards in each of his first five games. During that five-game span, Lamb scored the 11th-most fantasy points (Amari Cooper was 12th) and only five other receivers had more receiving yards (433). Based on his skill set, Lamb should eventually emerge as the 1(a) for the Cowboys to Cooper's 1(b) ... potentially as early as 2021.
Continue reading our 2021 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings (Top 60)