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The NFL is officially back in our lives and this season should be nothing short of spectacular. Over the Next few weeks I will be releasing Top 10 lists for each position from a season long fantasy league perspective. I will also add DFS commentary wherever applicable. As a general rule, I like to take stands against the general consensus Top 10’s around the industry because the NFL is the most unpredictable sport and rarely do the preseason projections match the final results. If I am bullish on a particular player I have no problem reaching for that guy over the consensus ADP’s to get the guys I want. I plan to update these articles leading up to opening day as there will be injuries, guys holding out, and role changes throughout the preseason that impact the rankings.
Top 10 Wide Receivers
1. Julio Jones – If you have been listening to my NFL content so far, you know how bullish I am on the Falcons offense this season. The fact that they play their first 9 games and 13 of 16 games on turf this year bodes really well for this Offense. They also added “new” OC Dirk Koetter who Head Coach of the Bucs last season. Koetter was the OC for this same group in 2014 when they went to the Conference Finals and Matt Ryan threw for 4700 yards. Julio was in his second season in 2014 and was sharing targets with Roddy White. Julio was still targeted 170 times for 1600 yards and 6 TDs. We all saw how explosive that Bucs offense was last year, regardless of who was under center. If Julio stays healthy this has the potential to be his best statistical season.
2. Davante Adams – You really can’t miss with either of the top 3 options, ranking them is really splitting hairs. I will put Adams at #2 because he has less talent surrounding him then Hopkins and the better QB. Adams has been the model of consistency and is Rodgers favorite target. If he stays healthy 100+ catches and 10+ TD’s is a lock. The Packers are another team with a bad defense that should help boost the fantasy scoring of its offense.
3. DeAndre Hopkins – The Houston Texans offense promises to be explosive this year and NUK should be in for another MVP type season. The main reason I ranked him below the top 2 is I think he has the most talent at WR surrounding him which could lower his ceiling just a bit. I expect 100+ catches and 10+ TD’s from Hopkins and love the strategy of pairing him with Watson on season long rosters.
4. Tyreek Hill – Hill has major upside, as one of the fastest and most elusive play makers in the NFL. The departure of Kareem Hunt will probably increase his target, carry, and TD totals this season. Andy Reid is an offensive Guru and will find creative ways to get his most explosive player the ball in space. He had the most fantasy points per game last season and this offense should only get better with more experience. There is some risk of a game or two suspension, but that risk is built into my rankings.
5. Michael Thomas – Having Thomas at five really shows the depth of elite WR’s in the league this year. Nobody would be surprised if he ended the season as the WR #1. However, the Saints want to run the ball first and Kamara is their top priority on offense which is what puts him beneath the top 4 options. He led the league in receptions last season and that was on 20-30 less targets then most of our top WR’s. He is probably due for some TD progression this season as well.
6. JuJu Smith-Schuster – The numbers he put up as the #2 WR on the Steelers are just insane. He finishes 6th in receptions with 111 for 1,426 yards and 7 TDs. With Antonio Brown no longer in this offense those numbers have no where to go but up. I think he gets up over 10 TDs and the catches and yards should come in around the same. Being the top dog will draw some tougher match ups then he had last season as well as potential double teams so I don’t think he just blows last seasons numbers out of the water, but the Touch Downs should certainly improve pushing him towards the top of the charts.
7. Antonio Brown – This is where the list starts to get a little risky. AB’s on field history speaks for itself. Similar to Davante Adams he is by the far the top priority in his new offense. Will the departure from the prolific Steelers offense drag down his production? Or, is AB an all time great receiver who will thrive in any environment. I believe in Derek Carr’s ability as a QB, but I am not as confident in his offensive line and OC. On top of all that, AB seems to have really gone off the reservation mentally, his recent headlines do not instill confidence that his head is fully in the game. I also have concerns about his motivations especially if the Raiders season starts to turn into a disappointment. Ultimately I am not looking for many shares of AB, but he does have the ability to be a WR #1 if everything goes right.
8. Odell Beckham Jr – You can basically copy and paste the paragraph above for AB in ODB’s spot. The main difference is Odell is surrounded by talent, meaning if all things go right he does not have the same ceiling as AB. On the positive side, I expect the Browns to compete and that should keep ODB motivated and focused. He might be the most talented WR pound for pound. He put up massive numbers when healthy in NY with a noodle armed QB and some of the worst offensive line play in all of the NFL. If everything goes right for Odell I could see him finishing as high as WR #4.
9. Mike Evans – Evans has never had an NFL season with less then 1000 receiving yards and is the favorite target of Jameis Winston. The Bucs unloaded two key receivers from last season (Jackson, Humphries). That should lead Evans back to a double digit TD’s year with his standard 1000+ yards. This team is poised to be trailing a whole lot this year with a terrible defense. That should lead to solid production for Evans as the top dog on the offense.
10. Keenan Allen – 2019 has the potential to be a career best for Allen. This is an experienced offense that will put up points. The upside comes from the departure of the Gazelle (T. Williams) who was a touch down vulture, and more so from the potential for Melvin Gordon to miss games and possibly the season with his holdout. 100+ catches and 1000+ yards feels very likely, the range of outcomes on his TD total is the question mark. He has a range of 5-15 possible TD’s. He does have an ugly end of season schedule though, so if you end up with shares, I love the idea of trying to shop him before the trade deadline.
Brandon Cook/Robert Woods (Concerns about Gurley have me bullish on the Rams pass game. It is just which one do you take)
Kenny Golladay – Supremely talented, terrible team
Julian Edelman (Gronk Retires.. Great!, Josh Gordan reinstated… Not Great)
Amari Cooper – Seems to always under achieve
Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen – Another which guy do you pick situation.
Later Rounds WR’s of Interest