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Fantasy Football

2021 Fantasy Football Consensus Wide Receiver Rankings & Cheat Sheet (Updated Daily)

Staff Writer

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With the NFL shifting to a more pass-heavy approach in the last decade, fantasy football has also adapted. More teams continue to implement three-receiver sets as their base formation. With this adaptation, more wide receivers have grown flex viable, and added even more depth to the wide receiver rankings. However, this change has also flattened wide receiver scoring to a degree. While more receivers put up productive seasons, fewer receivers tally elite WR1 seasons of the past. Despite being a deeper position overall, the elite assets are more scarce than ever. 

For example, the period between 2017 and 2020 had an average of 18.25 receivers hit 1,000 yards receiving. Meanwhile, 2014-2016 had an average of 22 receivers hit that same mark. While it may not look like much, it pushes the true alpha receivers that much further above the rest. Ahead of 2021, Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill stand out as the two receivers deserving specific attention at the back half of the first round. Diggs led the NFL in every major receiving category, while Hill averaged 11.2 targets per game over his last 10 games. 

Behind this tandem, most receivers come with questions. Davante Adams could play without Aaron Rodgers. A.J. Brown recently saw Julio Jones introduced into an already run-first offense. DeAndre Hopkins faces target competition from Christian Kirk, A.J. Green and Rondale Moore. With elevated scarcity at wide receiver, grabbing a top-two receiver affords a competitive advantage. 

After this group, receivers 3 through about 25 offer marginal differences in projection. With far fewer elite running backs, forgoing an early receiver for an elite running back offers a strong blend of security and upside. With two or three running backs secured in the early rounds, circling back to the receiver position in the mid-rounds makes sense. 

In this mid-round range, targeting receivers on elite or emerging offenses offers the most upside. Last year, for example, Diggs came off the board at WR21,  just ahead of D.J. Chark at WR22. While Buffalo added explosive weapons to Josh Allen, Jacksonville trotted out Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon and Jake Luton. At the end of the year, Diggs recorded more than double Chark’s yardage. This year receivers from the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals can be acquired at a similar cost with proven or emerging offensive environments. 

After hitting receivers multiple times in the mid-rounds, rosters ideally hold five or six receivers when entering the double digit rounds. From here, additional receivers should feature a blend of safety and upside. Last year breakout receivers like CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, and Robby Anderson could be drafted at WR39 or later. Every year a number of these studs will emerge. Generally, they play on unsettled teams with solid offensive environments. 

At the same time, mid- or late-round receivers can offer a lower bust rate than players at other positions. For that reason, drafting one or two receivers in the safer mold can help offset pressure during bye weeks. Last yea, players like Tyler Boyd and Jarvis Landry averaged 12.8 and 12.5 points per game as the WR34 and WR35 in drafts. 

While the individual player selections will depend on the particular league, this strategy guide should give a strong blueprint for upcoming drafts. For the wide receiver position specifically, targeting mid-round receivers and late-round breakout candidates on elite offenses provides the best chance for winning seasonal leagues.

The table below represents the collective efforts of Awesemo’s fantasy football brain trust to provide you the best fantasy football TE rankings available. To read more about our analysts and see consensus rankings for all players and positions go here: Top 200 Fantasy Football Consensus Rankings.

To create a printable cheat sheet of only WR rankings click on the PDF icon below. For more comprehensive cheat sheets including all players/positions follow this link: Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet Hub.

Legend

Avg – average rank of all Awesemo analysts

ADP Rank – positional rank by ADP

Auction – average auction value between Alex Baker and Steve Buzzard

High – highest rank among all Awesemo analysts (a good measure of upside)

Certain columns are not available on vertical mobile view.  Flip your phone to horizontal view for the best experience.

Half PPR

PPR

Standard (No PPR)


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