Top-12 Free-Agent Wide Receivers (2021 Fantasy Football)
It’s a new year, and with it comes a new class of free agents. Last week, we broke down the top-12 free-agent running backs, and today, we’re jumping into receivers. There are quite a few excellent options who will be hitting the open market, and just like free-agent running backs, where these receivers land will have a significant impact on the fantasy landscape for years to come.
Here are my top-12 free agent wide receivers of 2021:
1. Allen Robinson
Coming off a 102/1,250/6 performance, A-Rob is set to hit the free-agent market, and given the severe dysfunction of the Bears’ franchise, it’s unlikely the Pro-Bowl wideout hangs around the Windy City. He’s proven to be one of the best in the game since entering the league, especially since he’s found success with the likes of Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky. Robinson should be the most highly-coveted free-agent wideout of 2021.
2. Kenny Golladay
Kenny G posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019 and led the league in touchdown receptions (11) in 2019. The Lions’ wideout appeared poised for a breakout this past season, but recurring injuries derailed what could have been a promising campaign. He’s set to become a free agent in 2021, and Golladay’s services should be highly sought after this offseason.
3. JuJu Smith-Schuster
Will he re-sign with Pittsburgh in the offseason? That’s the million-dollar question for the Steelers’ young receiver, who’s coming off another strong season. Smith-Schuster started the season slow, but he finished on a high note. Across four seasons with the Steelers, Smith-Schuster has averaged a 77/931/6 receiving line, hampered by a 2019 campaign in which he played just 12 games. Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool emerged as legitimate options this season, so it’s possible Smith-Schuster will look for a more prominent role with another team in 2021.
4. Chris Godwin
After a breakout 2019, Godwin underwhelmed in 2020, though he still put up some quality numbers, scoring seven times and averaging 70 receiving yards across 12 games. He’ll turn 25 this year, and Godwin should have plenty of good years in front of him. Will he choose to remain with the Bucs and Tom Brady or catch passes elsewhere?
5. Corey Davis
2017’s No. 5 overall pick has failed to live up to his impressive draft pedigree, and many in the fantasy community wrote him off after a forgettable 2019. Davis responded with a 65/984/5 receiving line that saw him set career highs in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns while matching a career high in receptions. Inconsistency was still part of his game this year, but the talent is undeniable. He could be a sneakily-savvy addition for a receiver-needy team in the offseason… Green Bay, perhaps?
6. Will Fuller
The Notre Dame product is a big play waiting to happen, and he showed how dominant he could be in 2020, racking up career highs in receptions (53), receiving yards (879), and receiving touchdowns (8). Despite the encouraging performance, Fuller missed five more games, this time due to violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Fuller has the talent to be No. 1 on this list, but instead, I’ve ranked him below Corey Davis. That may be a bit dramatic, but in both real-life football and fantasy, availability is important. Fuller has now appeared in just 53 of a possible 80 games across his five years in the league, and I don’t trust him not to miss more time in 2021.
7. Antonio Brown
This is another player whose availability, among other things, is a huge concern. Brown’s actions and some of the things he’s been accused of over the last two years have been deplorable, but if we’re talking strictly football, he’s still one of the best in the game. Apparently stabilized in Tampa Bay, Brown displayed just how good he can still be when on the field. I love the upside, but his floor is that of a guy who could be slapped with a suspension or simply quit on his team. Availability is a major concern, but the talent level keeps him firmly at No. 7. If Chris Godwin decides to head out of town in free agency, could Brown re-sign with the Bucs and carve out an even larger role in the offense?
8. Marvin Jones
With Kenny Golladay out for most of the season, Jones posted career highs in targets and receptions while racking up the second-highest career receiving yards total and his fourth season with at least nine touchdowns. Jones has been a consistent source of big plays and touchdowns in five yards with Detroit, and he’ll likely be due a big pay day in the offseason.
9. Curtis Samuel
What to think of Samuel after his breakout 2020 campaign? The versatile wideout went 77/851/3 through the air and added 200 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. Aside from a decline in touchdowns, Samuel’s numbers were career highs across the board. He’s got the ability to lineup all over the formation and out of the backfield, and those abilities should earn him a new contract in 2021.
10. T.Y. Hilton
Hilton’s 2020 season seemed like a bust through the first half of the campaign, but he came alive to close the year, going 27/435/5 from Weeks 12-17. Hilton has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in five of his nine NFL seasons, leading the league in that category once, and earning four Pro-Bowl appearances. He’s just 31 and should have some juice left in the tank wherever he signs this offseason.
11. Rashard Higgins
Higgins didn’t provide consistent production throughout the season, though he flashed his upside in Week 7 with a 6/110 performance and again from Weeks 13-15 when he went 16/239/2. Underutilized in a run-first offense, Higgins’ true potential hasn’t been unlocked yet. He could be a legitimate option if a new team will give him the opportunity.
12. A.J. Green
Green’s name on this list is a little strange, especially since he’s way down at No. 12, but Green’s ability to produce moving forward is concerning. After missing the entire 2019 season, he didn’t look like himself this season, but he did stay on the field for all 16 games. While he may have lost a step following extensive injuries and nine NFL seasons, Green could still emerge as a serviceable receiver if he lands in the right situation.
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