Early Top 10 WR Rankings
Aaron Medvidofsky provides his early top 10 TE rankings.
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Wide receivers are enjoying a huge upswing in fantasy value due to their perceived reliability in comparison to running backs. While in previous years you may have been able to sleep on the position, I expect a good chunk of the top 10 to be drafted in the first round.
If you’re spending that kind of draft capital, it’s important that you get the pick right. To help with that here’s my top 10 wide receivers for the upcoming season.
Antonio Brown (PIT)
Brown’s place at the top of the 2016 rankings shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. He is firmly entrenched as the best receiver in the NFL due to his elite route running, quickness, ball skills and overall work ethic.
Those traits would be enough to make Brown the No. 1 overall but to top it all off the Steelers have one of the easiest opposing schedules for wide receivers this year. Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record could very well be in danger this year.
Julio Jones (ATL)
Jones posted a ridiculous 136/1,871/8 stat line last year, and it was far from a fluke. Kyle Shanahan clearly made it a point to get the ball into his hands as frequently as possible, and I have no reason to believe that will change. Jones has the talent and opportunity to replicate his 2015 production and should even increase his touchdown total if Ryan improves on one of his worst seasons in that category.
Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)
Beckham built on his record-setting rookie year with another elite performance in 2015. He is a freak athlete, and I only expect his production to trend upwards as he continues to develop a rapport with Manning. The addition of Sterling Shepard in the slot should only serve to reduce attention on Beckham, which will allow him to increase his receptions and yardage totals over last year.
A.J. Green (CIN)
If it’s possible for a top 10 wide receiver to be undervalued, I believe that’s the case with Green. Barring injury, Green is a lock for 1,000+ yards which is a mark he has surpassed in each of his first five seasons.
Beyond a safe floor, Green offers immense upside this season with the roster changes in Cincinnati. The departure of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones leaves a void of 152 targets, some of which will surely be headed Green’s way.
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)
Despite playing on a below average offense, Hopkins turned in a fantastic season in 2015. While I don’t expect Hopkins to reach his 192 target pace from last year, he is in position to make large strides in efficiency with more consistent QB play and less attention from opposing defenses. Even with the Texans becoming a more run-focused team Hopkins should finish the season with a similar stat line to last year.
Alshon Jeffery (CHI)
Jeffery is a huge bounce back candidate after an injury riddles campaign in 2015. When healthy he is a top five talent and Cutler has shown that he isn’t afraid to pepper his top receivers with targets. I believe this is the year that Jeffery separates himself as a truly elite wide receiver which would make him one of the best values of the first two rounds.
Allen Robinson (JAC)
Many expected Robinson to be a solid fantasy option, but it’s safe to say his 80/1,400/14 stat line exceeded expectations last year. The only barrier I see to Robinson building on last year’s campaign is the ascension of the Jaguars’ team as a whole.
They have made strides both on defense in the draft and through the addition of Chris Ivory in free agency. I see this translating to a reduction in TDs, but his yardage shouldn’t take a hit due to a more balanced and efficient offense.
Dez Bryant (DAL)
If Bryant is fully recovered from his foot injury and Romo still has a functional clavicle I expect big things for 2016. The aforementioned “ifs” are the only thing keeping Bryant this far down in the top 10.
A return to form would make Bryant almost a lock for 1,200 yards and double digit TDs. Expect some movement in the rankings for Bryant based on what happens in the coming months.
Mike Evans (TB)
Evans is a prime candidate to make a big jump in his third NFL season. Last season we saw a reduction in his touchdown totals, but it’s hard to believe the big bodied receiver will have much trouble amending that this year.
In 2016 I expect to see improved chemistry with Winston to go along with the already massive target share he enjoys in Tampa Bay. If Evans reduces his drop rate and reaches his true potential, he has top five upside this year.
Jordy Nelson (GB)
Everyone knew Nelson was a top talent, but that point was driven home by the Packers’ offensive struggles last year. The only question mark this season is how he will come back from tearing his ACL.
Nelson’s elite ability keeps him in the top 10, but I want to see him in action before I’m ready to put him back among the elite. Those willing to take a chance could reap huge rewards if he returns to form this year.
Please be sure to check out Aaron’s other early top 10 rankings: