Ranking The NFL’s Best WRs (2020 Fantasy Football)
We’re now under 70 days from the start of the NFL season, which means that football is right around the corner.
In celebration of how close football is to returning, I’m continuing a four-part series highlighting the best players at each major skill position in the NFL heading into the 2020 season. After revealing the top-35 QBs in the NFL and the top-40 RBs, it’s time to highlight the top-40 wide receivers!
I compiled and formatted this list based on several different traits and characteristics that culminates in a Madden-style rating. These traits include:
- Contested Catch Ability
- RAC Ability
- Deep Ball Tracking
After assigning a numeric grade for each individual player in every category, I sort them all to result in the list below; keep in mind that these are based on these players’ NFL ability and not specifically fantasy football, though I do provide fantasy outlooks for each player. Will you agree with my list? Probably not – but that’s all part of the fun.
And so here, for your reading pleasure, is my list of the top 40 wide receivers in the NFL:
Johnson is a smooth route-runner and is excellent in the open field. He’s going to become a household name in the NFL sooner than later.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: The Steelers offense is going to be much improved over what they displayed last season. Big Ben should be looking Johnson’s way regularly and he could be in line for a big season. He’s currently sitting at WR45 in ADP and that’s an absolute steal.
Hilton has been one of the better wide receivers in the entire league during his NFL career, but he’s struggled to stay on the field the past couple of seasons. He’s coming up on the end of his career and he’s beginning to show signs of a decline.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Hilton’s an incredibly risky pick at his ADP right now. He needs to stay healthy this season to return that value and he now has Michael Pittman to take away targets. Rivers could lock onto Pittman, which is the type of receiver he’s been known to target heavily in the past, which would leave a smaller target percentage for Hilton. He has the talent, but a lot has to go Hilton’s way this season for him to be a true force for fantasy football. In my opinion, Hilton’s nothing more than a low-end WR3.
Fitzgerald just continues to be productive even into his mid-30’s. He’s one of the greatest and consistent receivers of all time and he still gets the job done.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Unfortunately for Fitzgerald, the addition of DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals quashes his fantasy outlook for 2020. Fitzgerald will still be involved in the offense, but is nothing more than a WR4/WR5 this season.
Slayton emerged last season and showed great chemistry with rookie QB, Daniel Jones. He’s a threat to beat defenders deep downfield, but yet still has a ton of untapped potential.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Drafting Slayton in 2020 is a bit of a gamble. He was terrific last season, but the rest of the receiving options on the Giants were never fully healthy all at the same time. The Giants are still going to air the ball out a ton this season, but Slayton’s going to have to see one or two other receivers miss significant time for him to see the target totals necessary.
— New York Giants (@Giants) October 27, 2019
Brown has been one of my favorite receivers in the NFL for quite a while. He has blazing speed, is an underrated route-runner, and has the ability to make big time plays downfield.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Brown was fantastic last season, but he’s going to see a bit of regression this year with the addition of Stefon Diggs to the offense. Diggs is going to command targets, which limits Brown’s overall ceiling. He’s nothing more than a WR3/FLEX option this season that has the potential to win you a week with one or two big plays.
Samuel was one of my favorite wide receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft and he burst onto the scene in a big way his rookie season. Samuel’s a nightmare to bring down in the open field and will only continue to progress as he gets more NFL experience.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Unfortunately, Samuel recently suffered an injury that puts his availability for the beginning of the NFL season in jeopardy. He now has more competition at the position for targets too with Brandon Aiyuk and Trent Taylor back in the fold. Samuel’s a WR4 with upside right now, in my opinion.
There may be only one or two other receivers in the NFL that are as explosive or quick as Brown. He’s a nightmare for DBs to guard and he showed us his talent and ability on several occasions last season.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Unfortunately, Brown doesn’t exactly play in the best offense to maximize his skills for fantasy football. He has the talent to be a top-24 WR, but the Ravens simply do not pass the ball enough for him to return value. He’s a boom/bust play that’s best plugged in as a WR3/FLEX option on a weekly basis.
The @Ravens are going Hollywood!
Lamar Jackson to Marquise Brown for the 47-yard TD! #BALvsMIA
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app
— NFL (@NFL) September 8, 2019
McLaurin burst onto the scene last season and established himself as one of the more talented WRs in the entire NFL right away. He has blazing speed, he’s an established route-runner, and he has incredible hands. As long as the offense can stay somewhat efficient, McLaurin should be a very good WR in the NFL for a very long time.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: McLaurin was a revelation last season for people who drafted him in the last round or scooped him up off of waiver wires in week one. While he does have more competition for targets in 2020, he’s the main option in this passing attack and is a guarantee to see over 120 targets. He’s a value right now at his current ADP and would be a fantastic addition to your fantasy roster as a WR2/WR3.
Jackson has not been able to stay healthy. We all know that. However, when he’s on the field, he’s still one of the better wide receivers in the NFL. Even at 33 years old, he still has incredible top-end speed and he single-handedly forces defenses to adjust their game plans.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: With Alshon Jeffery projected to start the season on the PUP list, Jackson is a screaming steal at his current ADP. We’ve seen what Jackson can do when he’s fully healthy in this offense and right now, Jackson is the smartest selection you can make in the late rounds of your draft. He can be plugged in immediately as a WR2/WR3 into your lineup and he’ll still have value as long as he stays healthy.
Chark was relatively unknown when he entered the NFL in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but he burst onto the scene in 2019 in a big way. He’s a deep threat downfield, but is an overall well-rounded receiver. He still has a ton of room to grow and the Jaguars are going to be able to build around him long-term.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Chark and Gardner Minshew have shown that they have great chemistry together. Chark has a little bit more competition for targets this season than last year, but he’s still going to be a productive fantasy football option. He’s in the range of a WR2 this season for me with upside.
Williams is a big-bodied receiver that thrives in downfield, contested situations. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and is able to highpoint the football like few others in the NFL. He still has a lot of room to develop to be considered one of the better receivers in the league, but he has the skillset to get there.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: While Williams is an extremely talented wide receiver, this offense simply isn’t going to have enough targets to go around to make Williams fantasy relevant this year. He’ll have some big performances, but predicting which games those are going to be is going to be a nightmare. He’s a player that I recommend letting someone else in your league draft.
Jones has dealt with injuries the past couple of seasons, but he’s still one of the more talented wide receivers downfield. He’s a nightmare for opposing DBs to try to guard while the ball’s in the air and he has incredible concentration to bring in the difficult catch.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Jones finished last season as a top-30 WR and he’s currently being drafted as the WR39 in ADP Consensus. Jones is a solid candidate to outperform his ADP this season and he’s super cheap in drafts right now. He’s someone who would be a perfect WR3/FLEX option for your fantasy football roster.
HOLY MARVIN JONES😮
What a catch!!#DETvsOAK
— PFF (@PFF) November 3, 2019
Brown took the NFL by storm last season and was insanely efficient, averaging over 20 yards per reception. While that’s likely going to take a step backwards, he’s still one of the best up-and-coming wide receivers in the entire league.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Brown’s not going to be able to repeat his unsustainable efficiency in 2020, but he could see his target totals go up. Ryan Tannehill trusts him and he’s likely to be a fringe WR1 all season long. I’m absolutely comfortable taking Brown at his current ADP as my WR2.
It’s been a while since we’ve last seen Green on a football field, but he’s still one of the more talented wide receivers in the NFL. If he comes back in full form and can stay healthy all season, he’ll make my ranking of him here look very foolish.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Green doesn’t have the upside that he had in previous seasons with all the new additions to this offense, but he should still provide fantasy value in 2020. He’s someone who I’m comfortable deploying as a WR3 on my roster with the potential that he delivers some huge performances here or there.
Gallup is a big play waiting to happen. He’s grown into a very good wide receiver for the Cowboys, but yet still has a lot of room to grow and develop. The arrow is pointing up for the young receiver.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: CeeDee Lamb‘s presence in Dallas hurts Gallup’s overall ceiling, but he’s still going to have games this season where he’s very fantasy relevant. While I think Lamb and Gallup cancel out each other’s true potential, they’re both solid WR3/FLEX options in 2020.
Boyd was not very effective his first two seasons in the NFL, but he has grown into a very well-rounded NFL receiver. He’s a great route-runner, has great receiving ability, and should put up big numbers this season with Joe Burrow at QB.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Boyd has plenty of competition for targets this season, but this offense is going to be among the league’s best. There should be plenty of scoring opportunities for Boyd and he’s a steal at his current ADP. He’s a fantastic WR2/WR3 option for your roster.
NFL teams doubted Metcalf’s ability in the NFL Draft and he made them pay his rookie season. Metcalf is already among the league’s best receivers downfield and very few DBs can match up with his size and speed.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Metcalf saw 17 targets in the red zone last season, but only brought in 29% of those for receptions. If that number comes even up to 50% this season, Metcalf is in line for a huge season. He’s going to have plenty of scoring opportunities and he should be the focal point of this Seahawks offense. Metcalf has a legitimate chance of finishing as a WR1 this season.
DK Metcalf made the game-sealing catch and waved off Eagles fans 👋
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 6, 2020
Moore has quietly become one of the finer receivers the NFL has to offer. He’s a savvy route-runner, is able to create after the catch, and has underrated speed.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Moore’s essentially a lock for seeing over 130 targets again in 2020. While he might not put up high TD totals in this offense, he’s going to be a PPR machine this season. As long as Moore can stay healthy, he’ll return value on his current ADP.
Lockett may be one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He’s a fantastic wide receiver, but fails to get the recognition that he deserves year after year.
2020 Fantasy Forecast:Lockett’s most likely going to play second-fiddle to Metcalf this season, but there are still going to be plenty of targets to go his way. Lockett’s going to hover around WR2 territory all season long, but has the talent and rapport with Russell Wilson to finish even higher than that.
Parker was essentially on his way out of the NFL just a year ago, but he has resurrected his career and finally shown us the top-end talent that made him so enticing coming out of college.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Parker’s an extremely talented wide receiver that has developed chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick. As long as Parker’s 2019 season wasn’t a fluke, which I don’t believe it was, he’ll be in the borderline WR1 conversation all season long.
Ranking Kupp here seems wrong, but there are simply too many other talented options above him. Kupp’s a fantastic slot receiver for today’s NFL and has proven that he can produce when he sees enough opportunity.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Kupp was insanely productive through the first half of 2019, but he wasn’t putting up anywhere close to the same type of numbers through the back half of last year. From Weeks 1-8, Kupp was the WR2 in all of fantasy football. However, from Weeks 9-17, Kupp was the WR31. His snaps decreased as the offense changed and he simply wasn’t as productive. All indications are that the Rams offense is going to be the same as it was at the end of last year, which means Kupp is being insanely over-drafted this year. He’ll have his big games here or there, but you may end up being disappointed that you drafted Kupp in 2020 at his current draft spot.
Sutton has emerged as one of the best contested-catch receivers in the entire NFL. Some of his highlight reel grabs are jaw-dropping and he’s rounding into an extremely complete wide receiver. It would not shock me to see Sutton enter the top-10 of this list next year.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Sutton has all the talent in the world to be a top-12 fantasy wide receiver, but there are some legitimate obstacles in his way that could prevent that from happening. This offense may not throw the ball enough to return that type of target volume and he has legitimate competition for targets now with Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. Sutton’s a solid WR2 for your fantasy roster that comes with potential top-12 upside if everything goes his way.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) March 8, 2020
Allen has been one of the most consistent and productive receivers over the past several seasons. He’s a sure-handed receiver and one of the better route-runners the NFL has to offer.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Unfortunately, Allen’s fantasy outlook is pretty bleak this season. The Chargers are changing offensive philosophies and the passing volume simply isn’t going to be there for Allen. In my opinion, Allen’s nothing more than a low-end WR2/WR3 in 2020, which means he’s being over-drafted at this point.
Thielen struggled to stay on the field last season, but when he’s healthy, he’s one of the more sure-handed receivers in the game. He excels in release off the line of scrimmage and he understands how to leverage positioning through his routes so well.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: With Diggs being traded to the Buffalo Bills, Thielen has an incredible opportunity in front of him right now. While Justin Jefferson will take away some targets, Thielen’s in line for a huge season. As long as he can stay healthy, he’ll be a borderline WR1 all year.
If you want a player who can go up and secure the catch downfield, Golladay’s probably the wide receiver that you’d call. He’s a big body, but moves extremely well for his size. He’s going to be a dominant receiver in the NFL for a long time.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Golladay was a top-tier fantasy option all last season even without Matthew Stafford at QB. With Stafford now healthy, Golladay should be in the WR1 conversation for fantasy football all year and has the skillset and potential to single-handedly win you a week.
Ridley has quietly established himself as one of the better wide receivers in the NFL. He’s a smooth route-runner with excellent hands and he’s done nothing but produce his first couple of seasons. I believe we’re on the verge of seeing Ridley truly break out this season.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: There may not be more of a value in all of fantasy football ADP right now than Ridley. He’s connected to one of the best offenses in the NFL and he’s essentially a lock to see over 115 targets if he plays all 16 games. At his current ADP, Ridley’s a home run selection.
Both of Calvin Ridley's TDs against the Bengals in Week 4 were really fun pic.twitter.com/UwogoGmWaS
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) May 4, 2019
Diggs has always played second-fiddle to Adam Thielen in Minnesota, but he’s now going to get the opportunity to be “the guy” in Buffalo. He’s an incredible route-runner with sticky hands and is a nightmare for opposing DBs to try and guard.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Diggs didn’t exactly land in the best offense for fantasy football purposes. This is a team that’s built through the run game and solid defense, which doesn’t lead to an insane amount of passing volume. Diggs should be the leader on this team from a targets perspective, but it may not lead to being anything more than a consistent WR2. John Brown and Cole Beasley are still going to remain involved and they’ll effectively limit Diggs’ overall ceiling.
Landry has been one of the most under-appreciated WRs throughout his NFL career. He excels at creating separation and rarely drops passes. He’s a savvy route-runner and should be talked about more with the best of the best.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Landry should assume the Stefon Diggs role in this Kevin Stefanski offense now in Cleveland. There’s not going to be exorbitant amount of targets to go around, but OBJ and Landry will see plenty to be relevant for fantasy football. Every single year, Landry has outperformed his ADP and I expect him to do it yet again this season. He’s a fine WR2 option for your roster every single week.
If we want to discuss underrated WRs in the NFL, Woods has to be the first person we discuss. He’s done nothing but produce everywhere he’s been in his career and he’s one the most well-rounded receivers the league has to offer.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Over the back half of 2019, Woods was a WR1 and gave you some huge performances. This offense doesn’t appear set to change from what was working for them at the end of last season, which indicates that Woods is in line for another huge season. Calvin Ridley may be the best overall value in redraft AP right now, but Woods is a close second.
Smith-Schuster played well his rookie season, but he broke out in a big way his second year in the NFL and asserted himself in the conversation for one of the best up-and-coming receivers in the NFL. While he saw a dip in production last year, he’s still one of the better wideouts in the game and should bounce-back this year.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Smith-Schuster hurt a lot of people last season with his performance combined with the price you had to pay to get him in drafts. However, Big Ben is back behind center this season, which is crucial for the offense’s success a whole. While I don’t believe Juju has top-5 fantasy potential this season, he should be in the conversation for a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 all year long.
JuJu Smith Schuster 76-yard TD from Mason Rudolph pic.twitter.com/Q6wmP0PXVm
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 22, 2019
Godwin caught my eye his rookie season and he showed early on that he could become one of the top receiving options if he continued to progress. He got the opportunity last season and proved that he belongs in the conversation with some of the other guys at the top of this list.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Godwin was the steal of the draft last season and was one of the key components to many people winning fantasy championships. With Tom Brady behind center now, Godwin shouldn’t see any drop-off in targets at all and should become Brady’s favorite target very quickly. Godwin has top-5 potential again this season and is one of the safer picks in the entire draft this year.
Cooper has been one of the best route-runners in the NFL since the day that he stepped onto the field as a rookie. He’s incredibly polished, and while he has the tendency to disappear at times, he’s still one of the most well-rounded receivers in the league.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Cooper’s been a frustrating player to roll out in fantasy lineups over the past few seasons due to his tendency to simply disappear some weeks. This season, he now has to compete with Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb for targets, which isn’t going to help alleviate those concerns from fantasy players minds. Cooper certainly has the talent to take over and single-handedly deliver you a victory any given week, but his inconsistencies are likely to extend over into this season. Cooper’s a risky pick at his current ADP.
Evans has done nothing but produce since he entered the NFL and he has yet to have a season under 1,000 receiving yards. He’s a nightmare for DBs to guard with his size and he may just be the best contested-catch specialist in the league.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Evans could see a slight step backwards with Tom Brady behind center now, but he’s still going to be incredibly productive. Brady can still air the ball out downfield and those targets are incredibly valuable for Evans’ fantasy production. Brady’s going to learn to trust Evans early on and he’ll see plenty of targets this year. Evans should be a consistent WR2 option all season long with upside.
Robinson is dynamic off the line of scrimmage in his release, he has outstanding receiving ability, and he excels in creating separation consistently throughout his routes. Robinson absolutely deserves to be in this range and he could even move up the list by this time next year.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: There are very few players who we can claim could finish as the No. 1 overall fantasy WR this season. Robinson is one of those players with his skillset and the offense that he’s in. If Nick Foles is the starting QB, this offense is going to be able to move the ball more effectively than they did last season, which means even more scoring opportunities and targets for the receiving options. Anthony Miller is Robinson’s only real threat for targets in this offense and Robinson was incredibly productive last season with Mitchell Trubisky throwing him the ball. Robinson saw 154 targets and 98 receptions in 2019 and there’s a possibility we see that number go up this year. Don’t miss out on drafting Robinson, especially when you factor in his ADP right now.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) May 3, 2020
He’s struggled to stay healthy the past couple of seasons, but there’s absolutely no denying the talent and ability of OBJ. He has arguably the best hands in the entire league and he’s a nightmare for opposing DBs to cover with his route-running acumen.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: OBJ is moving into the Adam Thielen role in Kevin Stefanksi’s offense and should be the target leader in this offense. As long as he can stay healthy, OBJ has the potential to finish the season as a high-end WR1. However, there are legitimate concerns regarding OBJ’s health and whether or not he’s going to be to able to stay on the field for all 16 games. The benefit this season, versus in previous years, is that those concerns are baked into Beckham’s ADP. He’s a solid WR2 addition for your roster with WR1 upside.
Anything negative said about Hopkins is simply nit-picking at this point of his career. He’s a stud and the gap between him and No. 1 on this countdown is very slim.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Hopkins will have a change of scenery in 2020, but that doesn’t mean that we should expect a significant drop-off in production. Hopkins may not see the overall target totals that he has in years past, but he’s still connected to a dynamic offense and will see plenty of scoring opportunities. Hopkins is a locked-in WR1 this season yet again.
There’s no one more explosive in the NFL than Hill. While he’s blazing fast, he’s also a very well-rounded route-runner and has great hands to go along with it.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: As long as Hill is connected to the Chiefs offense and Patrick Mahomes, he belongs in the top-5 fantasy WR discussion. Hill comes with a safe floor, but also has the talent and skillset to single-handedly win you a matchup. You can draft Hill again confidently in 2020.
Adams had a rough start to his career, but he’s quickly developed into one of the most impossible receivers to guard in the NFL. He’s a dynamic route-runner with excellent release off the line of scrimmage and absolutely deserves to be talked about as a top-3 WR.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Adams may lead the league in targets when this season is all said and done. There are very few other imposing weapons on Green Bay and Rodgers trust Adams. He’s a lock for 160-plus targets if he can stay healthy and 10 touchdowns isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Adams finished the season as the No. 1 fantasy WR.
Davante Adams has a non-zero chance to have a target total that starts with a 2 next seasonpic.twitter.com/aaYgP298Bn
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) June 29, 2020
The difference between No. 1 and No. 2 on this countdown is a coin toss. Take your pick as to who you believe is the best WR in the NFL and I don’t think you can go wrong. Thomas just obliterated the single-season receptions record and there’s no reason to doubt that he’ll finish with a ridiculously high total again this season. He’s incredibly strong at the catch point and is a bully off the line of scrimmage.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: Michael Thomas just put up the best season for a WR of all time and there’s very little reason to doubt that he could put up another dominant performance in 2020. Even when Drew Brees went down, MT was still dominant with Teddy Bridgewater. Thomas is clearly the WR1 in drafts this season and it’s not even close. If you want to build your fantasy team around Thomas, you’re not going to find any complaints here…
Julio is one of the greatest receivers of all time and he’s been nothing but incredibly productive during his NFL career. Since 2014, he has never finished with less than 1,394 receiving yards in any season. This is despite playing only 14 games in some seasons or battling through injuries in other years.
2020 Fantasy Forecast: It’s hard to find someone who’s been as outstanding as Julio Jones over the past few years. Jones has finished as the WR5 or higher each of the past three seasons and he seems like a lock to repeat that type of performance again in 2020. This offense is going to air it out and Jones has yet to show any sign that he’s losing a step at this point of his career. Feel confident in drafting Jones again as a top-5 option in 2020.