Austin’s Official 2021 Wide Receiver Rankings

WRs

That’s right – it’s time to talk wide receivers. There’s a ton of value to be had, so let’s waste no time getting right into it.

  1. Tyreek Hill
Tyreek used to be one of the biggest Boom/Bust players in the league, but those days are over. His consistency last season was off the charts and there are no threats to his workload on the depth chart. It’s legitimately the Hill and Kelce show and that has been pretty darn successful. Hill is capable of winning you each and every week.

2. Davante Adams

Rodgers is back and obviously that’s great news for Adams and his fantasy owners. Legitimately has a chance at repeating as the WR1.

3. Stefon Diggs

Diggs blew everyone’s expectations out of the water in his first season in Buffalo. With a full year under his belt to get more comfortable in the offense and to build on that chemistry with Allen, Diggs should have no problem repeating last year’s level of production.

4. Calvin Ridley

Ridley has averaged over 100 receiving yards per game when Julio was out of action. Julio has now moved on to Tennessee and Ridley is going to be force-fed a ton of targets. There is a very realistic chance that Ridley finishes the season as the WR1.

5. DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins demands too much of a target share on a high-powered offense that looks to score a ton of points. One of the safest receivers you can own.

6. Keenan Allen

The Herbert-Allen connection was as strong as any in the league and that was with limited time together before Herbert was thrust into the starting role. A full season and offseason together can only strengthen that connection. The Chargers didn’t add anyone that can threaten Allen’s workload, so barring injury, he’s a lock to finish as a top 12 receiver.

7. Allen Robinson III

A-Rob has been a top-12 receiver with some very subpar quarterback play and is one of the safest receivers in the league. He will finally be playing with a competent quarterback, albeit a rookie, that has a big arm. Robinson is the first read and fantasy owners have been waiting to see what his potential could be with an above average QB. We may finally see it in 2021.

8. Robert Woods

My man, Bobby Trees, has not finished lower than the WR14 the past 3 seasons and is getting a major upgrade at the quarterback position. Not only that, their star running back is down for the year and they will be leaning more on the passing attack to get them over the hump on their quest for a Super Bowl. Woods is a tremendous value.

9. Amari Cooper

Cooper has somehow taken a hit in a lot of the experts’ rankings, but he’s moving up in mine. Dak is back and Cooper is his clear favorite target. Up through Dak’s injury in 2020, Cooper was the WR6. This Dallas team still has a long way to go on the defensive side of the ball, so the offense is going to have to throw at that same record-breaking pace they were on in 2020. Cooper is an absolute steal in drafts right now!

10. Justin Jefferson

If there’s someone being incredibly over-drafted right now, it’s Justin Jefferson. It was a historic rookie season indeed, but I’m pumping the brakes on Jefferson due to the Vikings overhauling their defense. Kirk Cousins was forced to throw the ball at a much higher rate last year than he had in his entire career because of that poor defense. That’s been addressed in a big way and the passing game is going to see regression. That said, Jefferson finished the last half of the season with a 29% target share, so he’s clearly the WR1 on the team and will still get numbers – I’m just not paying the high price where he sits right now.

11. A.J. Brown

Lots of hype around Brown, but I have to pump the brakes just a tad. The Titans are a run-first team and now have an extra (large) mouth to feed in the passing attack in Julio Jones. Julio will naturally demand a nice target share which will organically take away from Brown. Brown should still be the main beneficiary of touchdown targets, but yardage and receptions may take a hit.

12. D.K. Metcalf

Metcalf is another over-drafted player, in my opinion. The new offensive coordinator was brought in by Carrol to call the plays in his run-first scheme. Metcalf is still going to get his, but if you’re drafting him expecting top-7 level of production this year, you’re about to be really disappointed.

13. Robby Anderson

Anderson had the 10th most targets at the position last year with Teddy Bridgewater throwing him the ball! He’s being criminally overlooked right now. The disappointing thing was he only had 3 touchdowns last season, but that’s a bit of an outlier. Aside from his rookie season, Anderson averaged 6 TDs per season while in New York and now he is reuniting with his former QB. He was the WR11 for 75% of the season without seeing pay dirt. He’s my WR13 this year and will easily get there if he can get back to the 5-6 TD range.

14. Chris Godwin

There are some risks here, but Godwin is an extremely talented playmaker. If Father Time hasn’t caught up with Brady, Godwin will be in line for a very solid fantasy finish.

15. Terry McLaurin

McLaurin has been stuck in that Allen Robinson situation – putting up great numbers with less than desired quarterback play. Fitzpatrick comes to town and is a known gunslinger. McLaurin will see much more quality targets this year, but can he get his touchdown totals up? My fear for him as a high ceiling fantasy option is that he’s more of a T.Y. Hilton-type of player – big yardage and reception totals, but very little touchdown upside. Until I see that trend reverse, he stays in the WR15 range.

16. Mike Evans

There are 3 certainties in this world – death, taxes and Mike Evans is a 1,000 yard receiver. Hats off to Evans for restructuring his contract and taking a pay cut to keep his team together to run it back. It took a while before Brady realized Evans is really good at football, but once he did, there was no turning back.

17. Cooper Kupp

The Rams are upgrading at the QB position and have just lost their stud RB, Cam Akers, for the entirety of the 2021 season. That is going to force the passing game to see an uptick in volume and Kupp will continue to see his share of the workload.

18. Marvin Jones Jr.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Yes, Marvin Jones is my WR18. Wait, don’t leave! You might be thinking I’ve lost my mind, but hear me out. Marvin Jones may not be the sexiest of names to have on your roster, but the dude can ball. He was a top-10 WR in 2017 and has never finished lower than WR43 in years he has played in more than 13 games. He was WR18 last year on a terrible Detroit team and was hand-picked by the new Jacksonville staff to play a huge part in that offense. Jacksonville is going to be playing catch up more often than not and Jones will have a very accurate QB throwing him the ball. Chark and Shenault are not elite red zone targets, but Jones is. Do not be shocked to see another quiet top-20 finish for Jones. He is one of the best mid-to-late round WR targets in drafts.

19. Tyler Lockett

Lockett is as boom/bust as they come. With the philosophy flipping back to a run-first scheme, Lockett will very much still be fantasy relevant, but his inconsistency is still going to be an issue. Personally, I don’t want to be the one trying to decipher when I can and can’t play him and for those reasons, I’m out. Let someone else fall for the name value and deal with that headache.

20. Ceedee Lamb

CeeDee Lamb was great in his rookie campaign, even with Dak being shelved. That’s the reason why there’s no player that has been more hyped this offseason and Lamb’s ADP is going through the roof. As much as I love Lamb’s talent and fantasy outlook, I simply can’t draft him where he’s going right now. Definitely a top-24 WR, but I just don’t see the top-12 upside that everyone is hyping. Cooper has $100 Million reasons to still be the WR1 on this team.

21. D.J. Moore

Moore just can’t seem to find the end zone. Target share and yardage are nice, but upside is limited with his lack of touchdowns. At this point, I tend to sit on the side of the fence that I believe that’s what DJ Moore is. For those reasons, I can’t move him up my board but I’d be fine with him as my WR2 and THRILLED to have him as my WR3.

22. Kenny Golladay

Kenny G has taken his talents to New York and will be the clear WR1 for the team, but he’s essentially in the same spot as he was in Detroit. This is not a good football team, but his talent (and salary) will demand a 20+% target share.

23. Adam Thielen

It’s been a fantastic story for Thielen, but his time as an elite fantasy receiver is coming to an end. I’m pumping the brakes on Thielen, not only for 2021 but for the rest of his career. He saw his target share decrease from 29% to 18% over the course of 2020. That’s huge! Furthermore, the Vikings are looking to decrease their overall passing volume. The good thing is his ADP is reflecting the same sentiment, so you won’t be burned by him. Thielen as a WR3 for your roster is something I’m fine with.

24. Tee Higgins

Higgins looked incredible last season for the Bengals. Big body, smooth routes and great hands. He checks all the boxes and has put in a ton of work conditioning himself for the 2021 season. Unfortunately, Ja’Marr Chase will be on the field with him and that will limit the upside of Higgins.

25. Diontae Johnson

The Steelers receivers are all so talented and compliment each other very well. Reducing passing volume hurts, though, and that’s exactly what we’re going to see this season. Johnson represents the safest of the trio for me, though, and should be the main beneficiary of Big Ben’s short/intermediate pass attempts.