Top 50 PPR Wide Receivers
By Guest Writer Jack Concannon:
Wide receivers sometimes seem impossible to draft. There are so many receivers out there picking the right ones for your team can be a daunting task. Making the right picks has to be done or else you’re probably going to be in the losers’ bracket come playoff time. This list should help all owners in PPR leagues choose the right wide receivers and roll his or her way into the playoffs.
For those unfamiliar, points per reception scoring (PPR for short) is a fantasy scoring system that rewards owners not only for yardage and touchdowns but also for receptions. This extra point per reception should change everyone’s strategy as it gives receivers who rack up catches with relatively low yardage like Julian Edelman and Kendall Wright a bit of an advantage over guys who catch the ball less.
Unlike the running backs list I am only going to discuss the top twenty-five players individually. With all of that out of the way here are the top fifty wide receivers for PPR leagues this season.
Tier 1- A Man Among Boys
1. Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions
Calvin Johnson is the most prolific fantasy wide receiver in the league. Last year he missed time with various injuries and still managed to come in fourth out of all fantasy receivers in PPR. Megatron is simply the best wide receiver in the league and the best fantasy wide receiver in the league. Don’t let the new additions of Eric Ebron and Golden Tate scare you. He is definitely worth a mid first round pick.
Tier 2- The Elite (Note That If Browns Receiver Josh Gordon is not suspended he would be in the #2 slot)
2. Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons
3. Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos
4. Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers
5. AJ Green Cincinnati Bengals
6. Brandon Marshall Chicago Bears
7. Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys
These six guys are likely to be second round picks come draft day and they are all worth the cost. Consistency is hard to come by for wide receivers in fantasy and these guys, for the most part, are going to give it to you. In the five games Julio Jones played last year he led the league in practically every receiving category. He is the featured weapon in the Falcons’ offense this year and should have a monster season if he stays healthy. Demaryius Thomas is Peyton Manning’s favorite target in Denver and that offense is primed for another great season. He’s definitely worth a second round pick. Antonio Brown was second in the NFL last year with 110 catches and was third in fantasy points for PPR leagues. Brown will be an even bigger part of the Steelers’ offensive plans for this year considering that both Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery left during free agency. This is a criminally under rated guy who is being under drafted in PPR leagues. The Bengals’ offense flows through AJ Green and he should have another top five season this year. He is one of the most trust-worthy receivers in fantasy year after year. Brandon Marshall is still Jay Cutler’s favorite target; especially in the red zone (twelve touchdowns to Alshon Jeffery’s seven). Alshon Jeffery might be young and exciting but Marshall is still the go to receiver in Chicago. Dez Bryant’s relative inconsistency last year (six games with four or less receptions) slides him down to the seventh spot. He could easily surpass this ranking next year in points but none of these other elite guys had the inconsistency Dez had.
Tier 3- Low End WR1s
8. Pierre Garcon Washington Redskins
9. Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers
10. Andre Johnson Houston Texans
11. Julian Edelman New England Patriots
12. Alshon Jeffery Chicago Bears
13. Randall Cobb Green Bay Packers
14. DeSean Jackson Washington Redskins
These seven players are all solid WR1 options and excellent WR2 options. Pierre Garcon led the NFL in targets and receptions last season and is a great play in PPR leagues. Jordy Nelson was extremely productive last year when Aaron Rodgers was healthy and is primed for another big year as long as slot man Randall Cobb doesn’t steal too many of his potential targets. Andre Johnson was second in the NFL in targets last year and although his contract disputes are a bit of a distraction for him it should be another big year for Andre Johnson. In the final six weeks of last season Player A had 31 catches on 60 targets for 588 yards and 3 touchdowns. Player B had 53 catches on 73 targets for 556 yards for 4 touchdowns. Player A is Calvin Johnson and Player B is Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. He was obviously hot at the end of last year but his full season stats were impressive as well. He had the fourth most receptions in football and ended the year as the fourteenth best wide receiver in fantasy. Expect for him to build off of that this year. Alshon Jeffery had a huge year last year but the scary thing about him is that he put up most of his stats when Josh McCown was playing. With McCown under center using PPR scoring Alshon Jeffery averaged 20.7 points per game but with Cutler under center with PPR he averaged only 15.9. Another concerning stat is that Jeffery had a fluky amount of his production in week 5 and week 13. He had roughly 33% of his yards for the season in those two games. Unlikely that happens again next year and that will hurt his seasonal stats greatly. Green Bay Packers slot receiver Randall Cobb is back from his injury last year and is poised for a big year. Aaron Rodgers loves throwing to Cobb and he’s definitely worth a high fourth round pick. DeSean Jackson was a deep threat in Philly and he should have the same role with Washington. RG3 recruited this guy hard over the offseason and he’s too good of an athlete to not get the ball. Garcon will eat into his production though.
Tier 4- Quality WR2 Options
15. Keenan Allen San Diego Chargers
16. Vincent Jackson Tampa Bay Buccaneers
17. Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Cardinals
18. Michael Crabtree San Francisco 49ers
19. Victor Cruz New York Giants
20. Jeremy Maclin Philadelphia Eagles
21. Wes Welker Denver Broncos
22. Reggie Wayne Indianapolis Colts
These guys are all going to be fourth or fifth round picks and are all solid WR2 options. Keenan Allen had a great rookie year in San Diego and has big upside going into this year. Vincent Jackson and Larry Fitzgerald are both good players but their days as WR1 options are over. The arrival of Mike Evans in Tampa is going to hurt Jackson’s value more than most people think and Fitzgerald was somewhat disappointing last year. Michael Crabtree was solid but inconsistent after his return from injury last year. San Francisco isn’t a great fantasy offense for wide receivers because Jim Harbaugh loves to spread the ball around but even still Crabtree has a lot of potential. Victor Cruz was a big disappointment last year between injuries and relatively low numbers he was not the WR1 people had to spend a high pick on in drafts. There is cause for optimism with Hakeem Nicks gone and a new running back with no experience in the Giants system being their starter and possibly hampering their run game. It could be a big bounce back year for Cruz. Jeremy Maclin is the new main target in Philly after DeSean Jackson’s move to DC and that is great for his fantasy value. Maclin isn’t the vertical threat that Jackson is but Maclin’s ability to run short routes could turn him into a PPR machine. Wes Welker is no longer the PPR monster he once was and his injury history makes him a risky play. He’s thirty-three years old now and the acquisition of the younger, faster Emmanuel Sanders could eat into his value. He’s still a good pickup in the fifth or sixth round but he’s going to go higher in many leagues off of his name alone. Don’t fall into that trap. Reggie Wayne got hurt last year, he’s thirty-five, and now has to compete with Hakeem Nicks for targets. Nicks and TY Hilton are younger and faster and Wayne’s time is coming to end. With all of that negativity out of the way Andrew Luck does love getting Wanye the football and he retains some value for this season.
Tier 5- Young Guys With Big Potential
23. Golden Tate Detroit Lions
24. Percy Harvin Seattle Seahawks
25. Torrey Smith Baltimore Ravens
These three young guys are all have huge upside. Matthew Stafford has never really had a good second wide receiver before. That changed this offseason when Detroit went out and got Golden Tate as a free agent. Tate is going to have a huge year this year. He’s definitely being under drafted. Percy Harvin will be the number one receiver in Seattle this year. Seattle’s offense isn’t great for individual receivers and Harvin is a bit overrated by most fantasy analysts but he’s so dynamic that Pete Carroll is going to have to try and get him the ball. Torrey Smith proved himself as an athletic pass catcher last year and has the potential to build off of last season if the Ravens’ offense improves. The thing with these young players is they can have big upside but there is always a fair amount of downside as well. TY Harvin and Tate might not get the targets they need to be big time players but there is enough upside with both of those players to be okay with taking that risk.
That concludes my analysis of wide receivers for PPR leagues. Read on for the rest of the top fifty and check out my running back PPR rankings right here on fanspeak.com.
Tier 6- Boom or Bust
26. TY Hilton Indianapolis Colts
27. Cordarrele Patterson Minnesota Vikings
28. Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos
29. Mike Wallace Miami Dolphins
30. Michael Floyd Arizona Cardinals
Tier 7- Potential Stars, Likely Bench Players
31. Roddy White Atlanta Falcons
32. Danny Amendola New England Patriots
33. Anquan Boldin San Francisco 49ers
34. Eric Decker New York Jets
35. Marques Coleston New Orleans Saints
36. Terrance Williams Dallas Cowboys
37. Kendall Wright Tennessee Titans
38. Sammy Watkins Buffalo Bills
39. Riley Cooper Philadelphia Eagles
Tier 8- Sleepers
40. Mike Evans Tampa Bay Buccaneers
41. Cecil Shorts Jacksonville Jaguars
42. Steve Smith Baltimore Ravens
43. Hakeem Nicks Indianapolis Colts
44. DeAndre Hopkins Houston Texans
45. Greg Jennings Minnesota Vikings
46. Aaron Dobson New England Patriots
47. Marquise Lee Jacksonville Jaguars
48. Kelvin Benjamin Carolina Panthers
49. Brandin Cooks New Orleans Saints
50. James Jones Oakland Raiders