A majority of us are currently drafting or will be drafting our fantasy teams very soon. The second group of WRs to go off draft boards are going to win championships this year. This group is filled with a mixture of talent, great situations and a few wildcards. If you are unable to get any of the top 10 WRs, don’t hit the panic button right away. There are quality WRs in this 11-20 range that can slide into the WR1 role for your fantasy team. The WR rankings below are based on our Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) for standard scoring leagues.
Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WR10, 26th Overall ADP)
Evans was one of the rookie sensations last year who burst onto the scene and ended up as WR11 in standard scoring leagues. He will be competing with Vincent Jackson for targets. The major red flag for Evans is that he will be catching passes from rookie QB Jameis Winston this season. With Evans going into his second season, he should be able to slide right into your fantasy team’s WR1 slot if you decide to take a RB early.
T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts (WR11, 22nd Overall ADP)
Hilton established himself as a WR1 for the Colts last year. The Colts muddied the wide receiver waters in Indianapolis this year by drafting rookie WR Phillip Dorsett and by bringing in veteran target machine Andre Johnson. However, the Colts did offer Hilton a long term deal and must see him as a long-term WR for their future. Andrew Luck now has a full supporting cast, but Hilton is definitely his guy.
DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans (WR12, 36th Overall ADP)
Hopkins will be trying to improve on his top 15 performance from last season. He produced last season even with the roller coaster quarterback play, and this season won’t resolve that roller coaster with either Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett under center. However, Andre Johnson’s departure and Arian Foster’s injury leave DeAndre Hopkins as Houston’s clear-cut best fantasy option on the Texans.
Brandin Cooks – New Orleans Saints (WR13, 33rd Overall ADP)
Cooks had his season cut short last year due to injury. With the departures of Kenny Stills and Jimmy Graham, the Saints’ receiving group looks totally different than last year. The improved running game and boom or bust style are his major red flags. So far this preseason, Cooks has showed that he is stepping up to be a reliable target for Drew Brees. He is my favorite receiver of this group.
Jordan Matthews – Philadelphia Eagles (WR14, 37th Overall ADP)
Matthews is set to be the focal point of Chip Kelly’s high-powered offense. He will be stepping into the Maclin roll from last season. Owners should expect similar production to Randall Cobb out of the slot. This fast-paced offense is set to score plenty of points which is always good for a fantasy receiver.
Emmanuel Sanders – Denver Broncos (WR15, 30th Overall ADP)
Sanders will try to repeat his big season last year. That won’t be easy with the arrival of new head coach Gary Kubiak and Peyton Manning heading towards the tail end of his career. Kubiak I know to be a little more conservative and prefers to tout a solid run game. That being said Sanders will be an every-down receiver lining up opposite Demaryius Thomas and will get his fair share of opportunities to be productive.
Andre Johnson – Indianapolis Colts (WR16, 41st Overall ADP)
Johnson moved during the offseason from the Texans to the Colts. For the first time in his career, Johnson has a great quarterback to throw him the ball. Johnson will be a reliable target for Luck, but look for a majority of the big plays to come from Hilton and Dorsett. This offense should be one of the better units in the league and could support multiple fantasy receivers.
Keenan Allen – San Diego Chargers (WR17, 53rd Overall ADP)
Allen had a great rookie season two years ago but struggled last year. All reports out of Chargers’ camp are that he is having a great camp and to expect a bounce back season from the young receiver. The Chargers locked up Philip Rivers, and the rapport with the two will continue to grow as Allen emerges as the primary receiver in the Chargers’ offense. Allen should see an increase in receptions and yards, but I wouldn’t expect him to be targeted any more or less in the red zone.
Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders (WR18, 45th Overall ADP)
Cooper is the only rookie to sneak into the top 20 this year. He has been impressive so far this preseason and is hoping to be the Raiders’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Randy Moss in 2005. Derek Carr lacked sufficient receiving options last season and Cooper will fill that void. Though Cooper is playing for the Raiders, he’ll be targeted often and have a huge opportunity to be Carr’s favorite target this season.
Brandon Marshall – New York Jets (WR19, 57th Overall ADP)
Marshall finds himself again on a new team. He seems to be meshing well in the Jets’ system. Marshall and Eric Decker will be the main targets for Jets’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. The offensive unit as a whole has not been impressive the last few years, but it definitely has put pieces in place, including Marshall, to improve it. Marshall is a great value in the mid-rounds of fantasy drafts and could find himself in the top tier by the end of the season.
Julian Edelman – New England Patriots (WR20, 43rd Overall ADP)
Edelman has been one of Brady’s most reliable receivers the last few seasons. Currently Edelman is dealing with an injury, but should easily transition back to being the main WR target for the Patriots. Be aware that his fantasy value might be affected while Tom Brady is suspended. The Patriots signed veteran WR Reggie Wayne this week, but he appears to be the backup plan in case Edelman is still dealing with his injury when the regular season starts. Reggie Wayne shouldn’t eat into Edelman’s production when healthy.
Notable Wide Receiver Injuries
There has been a multitude of injuries during the preseason, but these two affected the rankings and should be noted.