Inhale Sports original article | By: Kyle Radimer
The fantasy football season is readily approaching! Inhale Sports will be updating consistently up to your draft with rankings and major news around the league. Be sure to follow the Inhale Fantasy Football Instagram account if you don’t want to miss an article.
How Our Rankings Work
Up next are the wide receiver rankings for the upcoming fantasy season. These rankings go by a traditional 12-team, PPR (points per reception) league setting. As described in the quarterback rankings article, these rankings will employ a floor and ceiling prediction along with a traditional numerical ranking. This will reveal which players are more risky and which are safer with a higher floor. This provides some extra information to determine who to select when you’re on the clock. For more information on how the floor and ceiling predictions work, head over to our quarterback rankings in the fantasy category of our site.
There may also be asterisks next to certain players’ names that mean there are factors which may impact their production, namely injury and suspension. When these asterisks appear on this ranking and future rankings, I will explain why they are there. They may impact where the player falls in the ranking.
How Wide Receiver Rankings Differ From Other Positions
Receivers are similar to running backs in the sense that most are not clearly their team’s top receiver. There are some that are clear-cut top receivers, and you will find many of them towards the top of my rankings. There are others that may be vying for that role, and will likely have distinct floors and ceilings. On the other hand, many are stuck on a murky depth chart where they may have a smaller role than “wide receiver one”. There is value to be found with these players as well.
Some receivers may have very consistent weekly floors, setting themselves apart from more boom/bust receivers. Others may have room for their role to grow, giving them immense upside. Once you make it past the first bunch of receivers, these are who you should be looking for.
There is greater strategy with selecting receivers than other positions, which I will discuss at the end of the article. More than any other position, you will have to weigh floor and upside when you’re on the clock. For now though, we’re on to the wide receiver rankings.
Wide Receiver Rankings
- Cooper Kupp | Ceiling: HWR1 | Floor: HWR1
- Justin Jefferson | Ceiling: HWR1 | Floor: HWR1
- Ja’Marr Chase | Ceiling: HWR1 | Floor: MWR1
- Davante Adams | Ceiling: HWR1 | Floor: MWR1
- Stefon Diggs | Ceiling: HWR1 | Floor: MWR1
- Deebo Samuel | Ceiling: HWR1 | Floor: LWR1
- CeeDee Lamb | Ceiling: HWR1 | Floor: LWR1
- Tyreek Hill | Ceiling: HWR1 | Floor: HWR2
- Keenan Allen | Ceiling: MWR1 | Floor: LWR1
- D.J. Moore | Ceiling: MWR1 | Floor: HWR2
- Tee Higgins | Ceiling: MWR1 | Floor: HWR2
- Mike Evans | Ceiling: MWR1 | Floor: MWR2
- Michael Pittman Jr. | Ceiling: MWR1 | Floor: MWR2
- Diontae Johnson | Ceiling: MWR1 | Floor: MWR2
- Brandin Cooks | Ceiling: LWR1 | Floor: LWR2
- Mike Williams | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: LWR2
- Amari Cooper | Ceiling: LWR1 | Floor: HWR3
- Terry McLaurin | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: HWR3
- Jaylen Waddle | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: HWR3
- D.K. Metcalf | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: HWR3
- Adam Thielen | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: HWR3
- Michael Thomas* | Ceiling: MWR1 | Floor: MWR3
- DeAndre Hopkins* | Ceiling: HWR1 | Floor: HWR2
- Chris Godwin* | Ceiling: MWR1 | Floor: LWR2
- A.J. Brown | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: MWR3
- Allen Robinson | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: MWR3
- Darnell Mooney | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: HWR3
- Jerry Jeudy | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: LWR3
- Courtland Sutton | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: LWR3
- DeVonta Smith | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: MWR3
- Allen Lazard | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: LWR3
- Rashod Bateman | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: HWR4
- JuJu Smith-Schuster | Ceiling: HWR2 |Floor: MWR4
- Amon-Ra St. Brown | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: MWR4
- Tyler Lockett | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: MWR4
- Gabriel Davis | Ceiling: HWR2 | Floor: LWR4
- Marquise Brown* | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: MWR4
- Robert Woods | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: MWR4
- Elijah Moore | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: MWR4
- Chase Claypool | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: MWR4
- Christian Kirk | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: MWR4
- Brandon Aiyuk | Ceiling: LWR2 | Floor: HWR4
- Hunter Renfrow | Ceiling: LWR2 | Floor: HWR4
- Jakobi Meyers | Ceiling: HWR3 | Floor: HWR4
- Tyler Boyd | Ceiling: HWR3 | Floor: HWR4
- Kadarius Toney | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: HWR5
- Drake London | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: HWR5
- Treylon Burks | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: HWR5
- Julio Jones | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: HWR5
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: MWR5
- Russell Gage | Ceiling: HWR3 | Floor: MWR4
- Rondale Moore* | Ceiling: LWR2 | Floor: HWR5
- Jarvis Landry | Ceiling: LWR2 | Floor: HWR5
- Jalen Tolbert | Ceiling: LWR2 | Floor: HWR5
- DeVante Parker | Ceiling: LWR2 | Floor: LWR4
- Skyy Moore | Ceiling: MWR2 | Floor: LWR5
- Kenny Golladay | Ceiling: LWR2 | Floor: LWR5
- Garrett Wilson | Ceiling: LWR2 | Floor: LWR5
- Chris Olave | Ceiling: HWR3 | Floor: LWR5
- Parris Campbell | Ceiling: LWR2 | Floor: LWR5
The Top Receivers
Cooper Kupp had the best fantasy WR season of all time last year. He returns to this season with the same quarterback and the same role. Even if his production dropped 20% last year, he still would have easily been the WR1 overall. Though regression should be expected since that immense level of production is unsustainable, he should be the top receiver taken this fantasy season without a doubt. Justin Jefferson is a relatively close second. He finished his first two NFL seasons as the 6th and 4th ranked receiver in the league, and he hasn’t missed a game. He should only be getting better, so a top 5 receiver finish is almost a given, assuming he stays healthy.
Chase, Adams, and Diggs are also firmly top 5 fantasy receiver selections. Chase lit the league up last season, and he should do much of the same this year. Adams enters a new team with his college quarterback Derek Carr throwing him the ball. I expect him to sustain his great production and I think a fall-off is highly unlikely. Diggs is a highly proven receiver who has finished as the WR3 and WR7 in Buffalo. He’s about as solid of an option as they come.
I was close to putting Deebo Samuel in the “other high-end options” tier, after a rather questionable offseason. He had a lengthy contract discussion and concerns about his “wide back” role. However, with him recently signing a three year extension, and saying he embraces his role, my concerns have been alleviated. I fully expect him to be a quality option again this season, and with a similar role to last year, he easily has WR1 overall upside.
Other High-End Options
Ceedee Lamb is easily the Cowboy’s best receiving option going into the year after Amari Cooper went to Cleveland. Lamb has finished as the WR22 and WR19 his first two years in the league. I expect him to push into the high-end tier of receivers this year with the large amount of volume he will receive.
Unlike Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill’s move to the Dolphins scares me. He has always been an elite boom/bust receiver, but I fear he may be more bust than boom in Miami. He certainly could churn out elite numbers, but with Jaylen Waddle already having an established connection with Tua Tagovailoa, who is obviously a worse quarterback than Mahomes, I will be playing it safe with Hill and letting others take him.
Keenan Allen’s game is remarkably consistent. He has finished as a top-12 receiver in each of the last 5 seasons, minus 2020, when he finished as the WR14 overall but missed a couple games. Though on the older side of his career, I’m more than willing to take him high regardless. He gets loads of targets in a good offense with Justin Herbert at QB. Yet another WR1 season should be in store.
D.J. Moore and Tee Higgins are deserving of a place in the WR1 tier as well. Both are extremely promising younger receivers. Moore is looking set for a career year, finally having a competent quarterback throwing him the ball. He has consistently been a WR2 since entering the league, but he should push for borderline WR1 this season. Higgins was a borderline WR1 last season with some room to grow, even with Chase ahead of him. He should have another great year.
The Top WR2 Tier
I had Evans as a clear WR1 before Julio Jones signed and news came out that Godwin may be back early in the season. Now, there are some serious question marks. He will still have a productive year, as he is a consistently solid receiver. However, his upside is capped.
Below Evans, I love receivers 13-17. Pittman in particular is one of my favorite receiver targets this season. Matt Ryan has consistently produced quality receivers and Pittman is only getting better after a WR17 overall finish last season. A WR1 finish isn’t just possible for Pittman; I would say it is likely. Cooks is another great pick to make. He is consistently at least a WR2. Plus, he had three great weeks to end last season with Davis Mills at QB, scoring 22.3 FPPG in his last three full games. Though I don’t expect him to deliver that well over the course of this season, he should get plenty of targets and score many points. Amari Cooper is another good option, who should produce great numbers once Watson is back. I expect him to be a borderline WR1 with Watson at QB.
McLaurin, Waddle, and Metcalf I don’t particularly like. They each have significant question marks. McLaurin has never finished a season above WR20 overall, and I don’t expect Carson Wentz to improve his production a whole lot. Waddle had a great year last season, but has now been bumped down the depth chart with the arrival of Tyreek Hill, which very well may hurt his almost 24% target share. Metcalf has a quarterback issue. The Seahawks QB depth chart is very cloudy, and I don’t think any of their quarterbacks are very good.
The Lower WR2 Tier
I really like the rest of the WR2s in my rankings. And even better, you will almost surely be able to grab one as your WR3. Particularly Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins, who people are very low on for obvious reasons. I’ll get to them after Adam Thielen.
Thielen is another incredibly consistent receiver, though he comes with injury concerns. He has missed 11 games over the last three years in total. However, when healthy, he has been incredibly productive. In fact, he has been a top 10 receiver in each of the past five seasons in the games he played. Thielen played weeks 1-12 last year in full (he was limited two other weeks and missed the rest). Through week 12, he was the WR7 overall, so he can clearly still play.
Michael Thomas is an interesting case, having barely played over the last two seasons. Prior to that, he finished as a top 10 receiver in four years straight, his first four in the league. I am more than willing to take the “risk” on him reestablishing himself as my WR3. He has had a strange last two years, but he is still in prime receiver age. I would fully expect him to finish as at least a WR3. And on top of that, there is clear WR1 potential if he still has gas left in the tank. You can draft him at his floor with huge upside.
Hopkins is another receiver that I am higher on than consensus. He is unquestionably a WR1 when he plays, so if you think you can survive the first 6 weeks without him, he is worth taking. Once he enters your lineup, you could have a huge advantage with two top-12 receivers.
The WR3 Tier
I would prefer getting Chris Godwin as a WR3. There appears to be a good chance he is back for week 1, so there’s reason to rank him above where I did. His WR24 ranking could push higher as injury news comes out. When in the lineup, he is a great WR2.
DO NOT DRAFT A.J. Brown this year. Very few players ever touch my do not draft list, and he is one of them. Despite him being a talented receiver, I don’t believe he even has a shot at WR1 numbers. Although, you will have to draft him as such if you want him on your team. DeVonta Smith finished as the WR29 last season with just 104 targets as the Eagles’ clear top option. There is no guarantee Brown even becomes the top option in this offense. And if he does, 110 targets may be his cap, which is barely WR2 territory.
Receivers 26-30 all have decent upside with relatively safe floors. I don’t have big issues with any of them, but I don’t see myself taking guys from this tier very often. Allen Robinson looks primed for a bounce-back year after a horrible 2021 season, but he comes with some risk. Mooney should get plenty of targets, but won’t be better than a low-end WR2 barring a huge improvement from Justin Fields. The Broncos receivers worry me because it is difficult to tell who will produce and who won’t. One of the two very well may bust, although I think there is a chance both produce modestly.
From 31-36, I have faith in Lazard and Bateman to produce. Both should easily top their depth charts, although both are fairly unproven. There is a decent chance they bust, but if they hit, they may hit big.
The WR4 Tier (Safety Tier)
I call this tier the safety tier because that is what you should be looking for here. There are a few late-round receivers with extremely safe weekly floors, producing right around 10 points every week. They are who I look for as my WR4 because having someone you can confidently plug and play through injury and bye is ideal.
Receivers 37-41 generally do not fall into this “safe” category, because they each come with high risk. Brown, Moore, and Kirk may come with a higher chance of busting than hitting. I don’t trust Brown after Hopkins’ suspension is finished. I would consider going for Woods and Claypool though. Woods could be set for a solid year in Tennessee as their potential WR1. Claypool is a proven receiver but has a change at QB that may hurt him.
Aiyuk and Renfrow fall into the “safe” category for me, although they will likely be gone by this point in drafts. They don’t have enough upside for me to make them WR3s, but I think there’s a great chance they are solid producers this year.
Meyers and Boyd are my ideal WR4s, and there’s a good chance you can get one of them here. I have picked up Jakobi Meyers each of the last two seasons, and let me tell you how underrated consistent production is in fantasy football. Him and Boyd both have extremely safe weekly floors. Meyers scored 7.5+ points in 15 out of 17 games last year, and 9+ in 12. Boyd, though a bit more variable, scored 6+ in 13 of 16, but 12+ in 8. These are guys that you can be confident won’t lose you weeks. Target them as WR4s, or even WR5s if you feel confident you can wait and still pick one up.
The WR5 Tier (Upside Tier)
With your WR5, you should be going for the highest upside possible. Don’t even worry about the floor. This pick will only matter if the receiver becomes startable. If he doesn’t, he will likely be first to go from your team for a waiver pickup.
The players I think have the highest upside are already built into my rankings. Toney, London, Burks, and Julio all have immense talent and should be in great situations. Yet, they each come with major question marks. Toney and Julio both have play time concerns, while London and Burks haven’t played a snap in the NFL yet. However, the upside is there for these receivers to hit big, so they are my primary WR5 targets.
Another two with good potential are Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Skyy Moore. Either one may carve out a large role with the Chiefs, which could provide great production. I think Valdez-Scantling is more likely to do well, but keep an eye on both as the season starts up.
The rest of the players on the list are pretty much dart throws. Rondale Moore intrigues me, especially with Hopkins out to start the year. I think he has a good chance to carve out a role all season long and could hit big if he becomes a top Cardinals target. Landry, Tolbert, and Golladay I also see some potential in. They each easily have a droppable floor, but there’s a chance they can do well.
Keep an eye out for the last three players in my ranking as the season starts up. I don’t recommend drafting them, but if any start the season hot, pick them up immediately.
Early Season Waiver Options
- Isaiah McKenzie
- Curtis Samuel
- Nico Collins
- Randall Cobb
- Van Jefferson
- Donovan Peoples-Jones
For various reasons, I think these players have a shot at success early in the year. McKenzie seems to be the favorite to lock up the Bills slot receiver role. Samuel may be in for a bounce back year, as he has produced well in the past. Collins and Peoples-Jones could have breakout beginnings to the year if they lock up roles and play well. Cobb and Jefferson have questionable roles on their team, but value may be able to be squeezed out of them this year.
It is a good idea to have some players you are looking out for on the waiver wire to start the year. I don’t necessarily expect any of these players to pan out, hence their “unranked” titles. However, it would not at all surprise me if one or two of them lock up solid roles and start the year off great. If you witness that happening, grab them before someone else in your league does.
There are more factors to take into account with receivers than any other position, so their floors and ceilings appear more variable. This also means that each analysts’ ranking may look largely different from others. I may value a certain factor greater or lesser than someone else, particularly with injury and suspension. There is no right way to rank players, but understanding their varying risk is integral to deciding who to select.
Even more so than in prior rankings, the risk that comes with a certain player must be heavily considered. Some receivers may have very low floors due to little prior production or complicated team roles. In these instances, it is necessary to weigh the uncertainty and decide whether it is worth it for you to take that player or opt for a safer option.
I came up with the idea of making my WR4 my “safe” option to account for this risk. You need your top two receivers to pan out, or you’re already in trouble. Then, even if your WR3 and WR5 flop (or are injured/suspended to start the year), you still have a safe weekly option on your bench. If you play waivers right, your receiving group should be looking good through potential busts.
Receiver depth charts are prone to change as the season approaches, and our rankings will adjust accordingly. Be on the lookout for further Inhale Sports Fantasy articles to stay ahead of the competition.
For more fantasy football articles and positional rankings, head to the “fantasy” category on our site here.