The idea behind tiers is to provide an outline and plan of attack. Knowing the tier drop-offs will help you either ride the wave of a certain positional run during your drafts, or get well out ahead of the wave. All rankings will be updated throughout the offseason on the Home page (under the Rankings tab). Cheers, my pals.

 

 

Tier 1: Special, Elite, Game-Breaking, Whatever-Your-Favorite-Adjectives-Might-Be, Every Week WR1’s.

1. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
2. Davante Adams, GB
3. Odell Beckham Jr., CLE
4. Michael Thomas, NO
5. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT
6. Tyreek Hill, KC
7. Julio Jones, ATL
8. Mike Evans, TB

     No explanations needed, but here we go: Michael Thomas is entering the 2019 season with his new, record-setting, five-year, $100 million dollar deal. Easy money in New Orleans, even with Drew Brees slowing down. The Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill has escaped all punishment, and returns to a league-best offense with young stud Patrick Mahomes under center. Hill is coming off a 137-target season where he averaged 17.0 yards per reception (fourth best). Mikes Evans‘ targets since entering the league in 2014: 122, 148, 173, 136, 138. The Buccaneers hired offensive-minded passing-game ace Bruce Arians this offseason.

 

 

 

 

Tier 2: WR1’s You Can Feel Good About, And It’s All About Feeling Good.

9. T.Y. Hilton, IND
10. Keenan Allen, LAC
11. Antonio Brown, OAK
12. Amari Cooper, DAL
13. Julian Edelman, NE
14. Stefon Diggs, MIN
15. Adam Thielen, MIN
16. Brandin Cooks, LA

 

     Antonio Brown may or may not be able to feel his feet, and he certainly hates his helmet, but he still remains one of the more talented pass-catchers in football. Oakland is a step back personnel-wise from Pittsburgh, but you should believe in the talent/volume combination, despite the off-field question marks. This ranking assumes he’s on the field to accept the anticipated volume, of course.

     Amari Cooper is angling for a new deal in Dallas. He turned 76 targets into 53 receptions and six scores while looking reborn in the Cowboys offense. Julian Edelman always factored heavily into the Patriots pass attack and now he will be relied upon more so in a post-Rob Gronkowski world in Foxboro. It might be safe to tick him down a few slots in light of some recent news in the New England wide receiver room (see below).

     The Minnesota duo is arguably the best in the league as far as pairings go, and the entire Vikings offense looks set to take a step forward again this year. Brandin Cooks may be underrated at this point, given the situations he’s found himself in throughout his career. Maybe underappreciated is a better word. He’s good, either way.

 

Tier 3: Mostly WR2’s Ready to Make the WR1 leap (Read: You Want to Draft Many of These Guys).

17. Kenny Golladay, DET
18. Tyler Boyd, CIN
19. Calvin Ridley, ATL
20. Robert Woods, LAR
21. Tyler Lockett, SEA
22. Chris Godwin, TB
23. Cooper Kupp, LAR
24. Christian Kirk, ARI
25. D.J. Moore, CAR
26. CURTIS sAMUEL, car
27. ROBBY ANDERSON, NYJ

     This is my favorite tier in all of fantasy football, regardless of position. Snagging a running back or two early should be doable and of no concern, knowing you have this group waiting for you a few turns later. Tyler Boyd, coming off 2018’s breakout season and new money in 2019, figures to be involved even more with the early absence of A.J. Green (ankle).

     Calvin Ridley is an elite handcuff, running opposite Julio Jones. His standalone value is obvious too, compiling 96 targets and 10 touchdowns his rookie season, all with room to grow — scary. Christian Kirk, a Breakout Finder favorite, is strapped in and ready for his own breakout this season. The Rams and Panthers duos present some of the more “easy to figure out” players in all drafts. Curtis Samuel‘s ADP should not be multiple rounds different versus his highly-touted teammate.

Tier 4: WR2’s (Or Worse), But Enough Splash Weeks to Make Things Exciting.

28. Alshon Jeffery, PHI
29. Mike Williams, LAC
30. Jarvis Landry, CLE
31. Allen Robinson, CHI
32. Will Fuller, HOU
33. Sammy Watkins, KC
34. Sterling Shepard, NYG
35. Dede Westbrook, JAX
36. Corey Davis, TEN
37. Keke Coutee, HOU
38. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI

 

     The question marks slowly start to pop up toward the bottom of this group. Alshon Jeffery remains the WR1 in Philadelphia’s potent offense, and may look to tick up closer to 2017’s 120-target mark. Big Mike Williams is a little polarizing; natural regression should be coming in 2019 off his 10-score season, with the Chargers returning red zone menace Hunter Henry. Yet, his talent and overall role remain more than tantalizing.

     The Cleveland Browns are a legit-exciting team entering the season and their offense looks primed to explode. One may see Jarvis Landry‘s piece of the pie grow smaller, but playing opposite Beckham could easily open up a whole new world and simply add to the consistency. Allen Robinson feels like an afterthought, which is a mistake. Despite Mitchell Trubisky‘s reported camp struggles, #neverforget what Robinson accomplished with Blake Bortles under center.

     Speaking of the Jaguars, Dede Westbrook could be looking at a voluminous season as he attempts to insert himself as the de facto WR1 and Nick Foles‘ go-to guy. He hit 101 targets in 2018, a number that he could add to.

 

Tier 5: WR3’s (Or Worse) With Interesting Upside That May Otherwise Be Buried On Bad Teams and Deep Depth Charts (There’s One Obvious Exception Here; An Asterisk, If You Will).

 

 

39. A.J. Green, CIN
40. Marvin Jones, DET
41. DeSean Jackson, PHI
42. Courtland Sutton, DEN
43. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB
44. Donte Moncrief, PIT
45. Jamison Crowder, NYJ
46. Parris Campbell, IND
47. Michael Gallup, DAL
48. Josh Gordon, NE
49. DAESEAN HAMILTON, DEN
50. John Brown, BUF
51. James Washington, PIT
52. Dante Pettis, SF
53. Tyrell Williams, OAK
54. Marquise Brown, BAL
55. Geronimo Allison, GB
56. Mecole Hardman, KC
57. N’Keal Harry, NE

     A.J. Green started the offseason looking like a screaming value. An early camp injury will sideline him into the season and up to three to four weeks or so. (Adjust him up or down as you see fit, as we get post-surgery updates.) He’s your asterisk. I’m banking on Marquez Valdes-Scantling locking down WR2 duties opposite Adams; 6-4, 206 with 4.37 wheels is enough to have me pushing my chips in with confidence. The word out of Steelers camp is that this is Donte Moncrief‘s year (finally) to catch the footballs that don’t go JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s way.

     It’s likely a year too early for Parris Campbell, especially if Andrew Luck isn’t 100% and the Colts start lying again, but his talent/athleticism/draft capital combination is all too notable to ignore, even during his rookie season. DaeSean Hamilton is more talented and with a higher ceiling than his ranking would suggest. Being tied to Joe Flacco is a risky proposition. Dante Pettis has had one of the more up-and-down camps. His coach is intent on pushing him, and while the WR1 title and workload is there for the taking, there are other players making waves this offseason in San Francisco.

     Super Bowl champion Josh Gordon is #officially back. I’ll always roll the dice on Gordon. You can’t tell me otherwise. The Mecole Hardman buzz died down when the Hill news broke. No matter. He’s still a speedster in one of the league’s more high-volume offenses. Another rookie, N’Keal Harry, enters a notoriously-tough system for rookies to grasp in New England. His floor still appears rather safe given the new-look pass-catching group for the Patriots this season (although the Gordon news does have some ripple effects).

 

Tier 6: A Few Good Rookie Bets and a Couple Other Sneaky Plays Worth Highlighting.

 

 

58. Albert Wilson, MIA
59. DeVante Parker, MIA
60. Anthony Miller, CHI
61. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN
62. D.K. Metcalf, SEA
63. Deebo Samuel, SF
64. Miles Boykin, BAL
65. Kenny Stills, MIA
66. Marquise Goodwin, SF
67. Devin Funchess, IND
68. D.J. Chark, JAX
69. Trey Quinn, WAS
70. Golden Tate, NYG
71. Adam Humphries, TEN

 

     D.K. Metcalf has been all the buzz at Seahawks camp, despite all the three-cone jokes. He’s always been a size/speed specimen, and early highlight reel grabs have put the timeline on its head; his early rapport with Russell Wilson is coming along nicely. Deebo Samuel has put the pressure on the aforementioned Pettis. Samuel was one of the easier projections in the draft. His well-rounded profile has made the transition smooth, and the reps have followed as such.

     Another one of the Breakout Finder poster boys, Miles Boykin, has made his own headlines. Boykin has taken advantage of Marquise Brown‘s absence and less than 100% health to put his mark on the offseason. He could make a push for legitimate playing time and even leapfrog his fellow rookie teammate and first-round selection.

     Trey Quinn looks set to gobble up most of the volume in Washington in what is shaping up to be an underwhelming unit as a whole. Golden Tate is lost for the first four games of the season but then looks to return and battle Sterling Shepard for whatever we want to call “WR1 snaps” in New York this year.

Tier 7: Additional Rookie Bets Worth Highlighting (And Other WR4’s).

72. Mohamed Sanu, ATL
73. Zay Jones, BUF
74. A.J. Brown, TEN
75. David Moore, SEA
76. Tre’Quan Smith, NO
77. Quincy Enunwa, NYJ
78. Ted Ginn, NO
79. Preston Williams, MIA
80. Jalen Hurd, SF
81. Taylor Gabriel, CHI
82. Cole Beasley, BUF
83. Nelson Agholor, PHI
84. Randall Cobb, DAL
85. Willie Snead, BAL
86. Paul Richardson, WAS
87. Danny Amendola, DET
88. Josh Doctson, WAS
89. Terry McLaurin, WAS
90. Hunter Renfrow, OAK

     Preston Williams has always had talent, but off-field issues and some poor test results caused his ultimate slide in the draft. Opening eyes and reminding folks once more only one game into the preseason, the arrow is pointing up once again, even in a bad Miami offense.

     Jalen Hurd is another early-preseason winner, coming off a two-score game. At 6-5, 226-pounds, Hurd made it look easy, bullying his way into the end zone for one score and skying over a defensive back for the second. The staff has already circled Hurd’s name as someone they want to move around the formation. The former SEC standout runner wisely made the move to wide receiver, but the versatility remains.

     Although I prefer Quinn in the Redskins offense, it’s hard to ignore Terry McLaurin‘s athletic upside. He also caught balls from rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins during their time at Ohio State, so there’s a good base to that connection as things currently stand. Hunter Renfrow might be my favorite player in the National Football League, and a sneaky bet to rack up close to 60 targets in Oakland revamped offense.

 

 

 

 

Tier 8: Gravitating Toward Headlines, Telling Yourself a Story, and Hoping for the Best.

91. Maurice Harris, NE
92. Andy Isabella, ARI
93. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, PHI
94. Rashard Higgins, CLE
95. J.J. Nelson, OAK
96. Jakobi Meyers, NE
97. Deon Cain, IND
98. Justin Watson, TB
99. Travis Benjamin, LAC
100. Marqise Lee, JAX
101. Demarcus Robinson, KC
102. Cody Latimer, NYG

     Maurice Harris and Jakobi Meyers are fighting for what looks like WR2 duties in New England. Nate wrote about Meyers, and why we should be paying attention, here. Andy Isabella hasn’t had a noteworthy camp (not bad, just not noteworthy). I love his prospects under a dynasty microscope but just don’t think we’ll see a rookie impact given the bodies in front of him.

     Rashard Higgins benefits from a month-long Antonio Callaway suspension. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was an efficient touchdown threat in college, and should get plenty of opportunities in Philadelphia once he pushes and shoves his way through the depth chart (or catches some positive-injury variance).

     By all accounts, J.J. Nelson has had a good camp in Napa Valley. The speedster is attempting to hold off Renfrow, the previously discussed all-world rookie phenom. Demarcus Robinson figured to play a bigger role at one point, assuming Hill’s missed time. Now, he looks like insurance for Sammy Watkins, who has been known to be banged up from time to time.

Tier 9: Throwing Darts.

103. Robert Foster, NUF
104. Dionte Johnson, PIT
105. Kelvin Harmon, WAS
106. John Ross, CIN
107. Michael Crabtree, ARI
108. Chris Hogan, CAR
109. KeeSean Johnson, ARI
110. Trent Taylor, SF
111. Phillip Dorsett, NE
112. Chad Beebe, MIN
113. Equanimeous St. Brown, GB
114. Josh Reynolds, LAR
115. Demaryius Thomas, NE
116. Breshad Perriman, BAL
117. Antonio Callaway, CLE
118. Keelan Cole, JAX
119. Cordarrelle Patterson, CHI
120. Jake Kumerow, GB
121. Chris Moore, BAL
122. Chris Conley, JAX
123. Tavon Austin, DAL
124. Ryan Switzer, PIT
125. Jaron Brown, SEA

     KeeSean Johnson looked to be a thing before Michael Crabtree arrived. Crabtree likely isn’t much of a thing himself, and probably floats around in WR4 territory at best. Equanimeous St. Brown was a favorite during his particular draft class but just hasn’t managed to carve out much of a role in Green Bay to this point.

     Keelan Cole looked to also be happening at one point, but the wheels fell off shortly thereafter. Much of the same story lines for these other guys, too. Personal favorites in this group might be Dionte Johnson (Pittsburgh’s front office can flat-out draft wide receivers) and Jake Kumerow (he has good hair).

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