2016 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings
Wide Receivers have now become the cream of the crop. Once the position to think about after your running backs were secured, the NFL has turned into a pass happy league. This now has made most of the first round littered with wide receivers. These rankings are also based on PPR leagues, because that’s what I like, and I think more and more most leagues are going that way. The following are the top 25 wide receivers for 2016 with their 2015 stats.
You can follow us on Twitter, Steve @fantasygeek37 and Ryan @fightingchance. Also please like Fighting Chance Fantasy on Facebook here. If you like this content and want to be notified of future posts, you can click on “Notify Me of New Posts by Email” below.
1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
136 catches, 1,834 yards, 10 touchdowns
Not even the loss of Ben Roethlisberger could stop Brown from having a career high in catches and yards. He has now increased both of those numbers for three straight seasons. Does the loss of Martavis Bryant for the season mean even more targets for Brown? I mean maybe not by a huge number but it has to mean a few more balls will go his way. There are a number of candidates for the number one receiver spot, but I have the most confidence that Brown will repeat his performance, and perhaps score another couple of touchdowns.
2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
111 catches, 1,521 yards, 11 touchdowns
I love Hopkins! He has been my boy for a couple of years now, so to see him take the next step to fantasy superstardom was a lot of fun for me. Despite no good quarterback play, no second receiver to take any defensive heat off of him, and a lack of a capable running game, Hopkins STILL torched defenses almost every week. The hope is that the Texans solved their quarterback problem with free agent Brock Osweiler, and for the first time in Hopkins career he will have a qualified guy throwing him the ball. The Texans continue to draft young wide receivers trying to find someone else to be reliable at wide receiver. They also brought in free agent Lamar Miller to try to fix the run game, and hopefully all of these factors will get some of the double teams off of Hopkins. All you have to do is throw it near this guy and he catches it, and I believe he can still get better.
3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
136 catches, 1,871 yards, 8 touchdowns
My only knock with Julio Jones is he continues to not be an elite touchdown scorer. You can’t knock the catches or the yards, and he is the biggest star in the Falcons offense. For some reason though, the touchdowns seem to go elsewhere. Eight is a fine number, but when you have other guys scoring in the double digits, it keeps me from putting him at the top spot. He also has dealt with a few injuries in his five year career, but I am nitpicking I really don’t think I have to say anything else do I? The guy is freaking awesome, plain and simple, and a fantastic first round pick.
4. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
80 catches, 1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns
Yes, I am in love with Allen Robinson. In case you haven’t noticed, I have high hopes for the Jaguar offense this season. Robinson broke out in a huge way last season, and I honestly think he can come close to duplicating last year’s stats. Defenses can’t double team him with the other weapons that Jacksonville has, and the guy has a nose for the endzone and also is the beneficiary of many big plays. Some are going to shy away and think that Robinson is due for a big regression, but I’m diving back in the pool with both feet and I likely will own him in a lot of leagues this season.
Allen Robinson fantasy football ceiling should be raised - Yardbarker https://t.co/g2xzSjSrlq
— Jaguars aggbot (@Jaguars_Newz) August 12, 2016
5. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
96 catches, 1,450 yards, 13 touchdowns
I HATE THIS MAN! Beckham is far and away my least favorite player in the NFL, I don’t know that there is a close second. The way he acts on the football field is everything that is wrong with the modern day athlete. I often hope someone plants him in the ground, pulls his pants down, and humiliates him so he learns to be humble. All of that being said, I can’t take away that he is a fantastic receiver, even though I think he is aided by sticky gloves. He is the number one receiver on a passing offense, and has a very accurate thrower of the deep ball at quarterback with Eli Manning. If he can stay healthy he will no doubt be among the best at the position and should score double digit touchdowns again in 2016.
6. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
31 catches, 401 yards, 3 touchdowns (9 games)
A foot injury cost Dez Bryant on the sidelines for a number of weeks last season, and even when he was able to return, he was far from the same guy. He looked tentative, and at times like he didn’t want to be out there. He is a bit of a diva to say the least, so I think not having a competent quarterback out there also fed into that. Bryant should be 100% to start 2016, as should Tony Romo. The previous three seasons before the injury Bryant had no less than 88 catches, 1,233 yards and 12 touchdowns. Look for a huge bounceback for Dez in 2016.
7. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
86 catches, 1,297 yards, 10 touchdowns
AJ Green has had a tremendously consistent career. Despite missing three games one season, he still has had racked up 1,000 yards in each of his five seasons in the league. Any time that he has played 16 games he has had at least ten touchdowns. The Bengals brought in Brandon LaFell, and also drafted Tyler Boyd in an attempt to draw some of the double and triple teams off of Green. He is incredibly physically gifted, and has masterful hands. The Bengals throw the ball a good amount, and Green should have at least 90 catches with his eyes closed. He is a solid choice as a number one receiver on your fantasy roster.
8. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
84 catches, 1,138 yards, 9 touchdowns
Cooks took a huge step forward in 2016 as he had three 100 yard games in his last five, and four overall. He is never going to win a height competition at 5’10”, but the dude is crazy fast and can get behind the defense before they even realize it. He had nine touchdowns last season, and I expect that to go up even more. I don’t see him being a 100 catch receiver, but I do think he has a chance to lead the NFL in yards per catch. The Saints are going to rely VERY heavily on the passing game, and Cooks is going to be their top target. I expect a great season out of him and look for him to be a low end WR1.
9. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
54 catches, 807 yards, 4 touchdowns (9 games)
For the second time in his four year career, Jeffery dealt with an injury problem. Is that enough to have you concerned? Maybe a little, but it isn’t enough to keep me from picking him. At 6’3” Jeffery is a great guy to throw a jump ball to, and he and Jay Cutler have a good trust going. When he is healthy, Jeffery can take over a game, and he can practically lead you to a weekly win at any time. The return of last year’s rookie Kevin White should help him get free of some double teams and allow him to get some one-on-ones. Jeffery isn’t an elite fantasy receiver, but he still is a strong option to be your number one receiver.
10. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets
109 catches, 1,502 yards, 14 touchdowns
He might be a colossal pain in the ass, but there is no arguing that Brandon Marshall is one hell of a receiver. He isn’t a young pup at 32 years old, but he still has plenty of good football left in him. Last year was his sixth 100 catch season of his career. He also had ten 100 yard games, and 14 touchdowns. Now that he has Ryan Fitzpatrick back as his quarterback we can again assume that Marshall is going to have another great year. He might not reach the heights that he did in 2015, but I believe that he will get very close and be the Jets number one receiver.
11. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
105 catches, 1,304 yards, 6 touchdowns
Thomas certainly didn’t seem to be the same receiver last year, despite posting his second straight 100 catch season. His touchdown total was cut in half, and the team certainly seemed to change their focus to a more run-first approach. To further complicate matters further, the Broncos will have a new quarterback this season and I’m not sure that either choice is very enticing. To start 2016, the Super Bowl Champion Broncos will either be starting Mark Sanchez or rookie Paxton Lynch. The good news is that either guy should rely heavily on Thomas as the most reliable receiver on the team. I still think there is a strong chance that he will have 100 receptions and seven to nine touchdowns.
12. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
61 catches, 692 yards, 7 touchdowns (9 games)
Edelman missed the last seven games of the season with a fairly serious foot injury, and he is still working his way back after offseason surgery. He was on his way to another fantastic season, especially in PPR formats. Edelman is a great candidate for 100 catches this season, even if he doesn’t score as many touchdowns as the higher tiered guys. Some might be scared away that the Pats will have Jimmy Garrapolo at quarterback for the first four games, but honestly I think that can help. Backup quarterbacks love sure handed possession receivers, and Edelman fits that bill perfectly. He is a very low WR1 or fantastic WR2.
13. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
98 catches, 1,519 yards, 13 touchdowns (in 2014, missed all of 2015 with knee injury)
Nelson followed up his breakout 2013 with an even better 2014, cementing himself among the elite fantasy receivers in the NFL. Last season, the worst possible thing happened when he tore his ACL. The good news for Nelson was he did it before the season even started and he is a year removed from the surgery. He has had no setbacks, and has already said that he is ready to play. I see absolutely no reason that he won’t go back to being one of the best and if he’s not a low end WR1, he’s among the very best to have as your second receiver.
14. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
72 catches, 1,070 yards, 6 touchdowns
The most hyped rookie receiver in 2015, Cooper had what I would call a very successful rookie season. He had five 100 yard games, and nine games with five catches or more. His production did slow down the stretch, but he was also nursing a foot injury. Another year in the system and another year with quarterback Derek Carr should only help Cooper take the next step. He’s not the tallest receiver, but he runs excellent routes and has good hands. I fully expect a nice jump in production from Cooper in 2016 and for him to be in the top 15 of fantasy wide receivers.
— NESN (@NESN) August 11, 2016
15. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
74 catches, 1,206 yards, 3 touchdowns
After a breakout rookie season, Evans had a solid second campaign, but he clearly wasn’t the same guy. He didn’t have the same drive to be a dominant receiver, and he caught a severe case of the dropsies in 2015. Quarterback Jameis Winston is entering his second season in the league and should be more consistent. At 6’5” and 231 pounds, Evans is a brick shithouse, but runs like a guy 25 pounds lighter. I really like him to get back to double digit touchdowns and a solid foundation as your WR2.
16. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
73 catches, 1,008 yards, 9 touchdowns (in 2014, missed all of 2015 with knee injury)
Benjamin missed the entire 2015 season when he tore his ACL before the preseason ever got started. The Panther offense was lethal, but it was largely due to Cam Newton and a defense that often set them up to succeed. No receiver really stood out in 2015 for the Panthers, so Benjamin has the chance to step right back in this season as the lead dog. I expect him to get back to his rookie form as he has had just about a year to heal up and should be just fine heading into this year.
17. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs
87 catches, 1,088 yards, 8 touchdowns
Even in a very conservative offense that doesn’t take many chances down the field, Maclin still had a very good 2015. He suffered a high ankle sprain late in the season, but that won’t be a factor this season. Maclin makes the most of every reception, and his speed gives him the ability to take any of them all the way. He is the lone big play receiver on the team. Hell, he’s probably the only one you have even heard of! The chemistry with Alex Smith should be even that much better in 2016 and I think his stats from last season are likely the floor for his expectations this season. I expect him to be even better.
18. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
69 catches, 1,124 yards, 5 touchdowns
You wouldn’t expect one of the better receivers in the NFL to be 5’9” and 180 pounds, but Hilton is both of those things. His blazing speed and agility give him the ability to run away from defenders both over the middle and down the field. He is not a high quantity reception guy, and I doubt he ever has a 100 catch season. However, when he does catch the ball it is usually 15-20 yards down the field. His numbers last season look unimpressive, but if you think of how much time Andrew Luck missed, it makes perfect sense. Luck is back, and so is his cannon arm. Look for Hilton to get back around 85 catches, 1,200 yards, and perhaps approach 10 touchdowns.
19. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
60 catches, 1,047 yards, 9 touchdowns
Watkins dealt with an ankle injury in the middle of the season, and he didn’t quite take the next step we all were hoping for in 2016. He had offseason foot surgery which has kept his timetable for return in doubt. However, so far it appears that Watkins will be ready for Week 1, even if he doesn’t have much time on the field during the preseason. Watkins is clearly the number one receiver on the Bills, but they are much more of a run first team. Watkins has a chance to top out at 80 catches, 1,100 yards and perhaps ten touchdowns.
20. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
67 catches, 725 yards, 4 touchdowns (8 games)
Allen was on his way to a huge bounceback season in 2015 before a lacerated kidney ended his year. Allen and Philip Rivers certainly seem to be on the same page, and Allen definitely has his work ethic back. He should be motivated after signing a four year extension in the offseason. The Chargers brought in Travis Benjamin and still have Danny Woodhead catching balls out of the backfield, but Allen is their top receiver and should have very solid WR2 value in 2016.
21. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
109 catches, 1,215 yards, 9 touchdowns
I’m a little torn on what I think of Fitzgerald for the upcoming season. I certainly did not see the resurgence of last year coming, and part of me thought he was done last year, should one good season make me feel differently going forward? Then the other part of me looks at the offense around him, and how it is predicated on the passing game. It should be a little less pass heavy if David Johnson is able to live up to his potential, but at the same time this team is so good when it throws the ball. He is the oldest receiver on the team, but he also really knows how to avoid defenses. I think that Fitzgerald has become more of the possession receiver on the team, while the young pups are more the deep strikers. Fitzgerald will have more value in PPR leagues, but I definitely see a regression from last season.
22. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
110 catches, 1,157 yards, 4 touchdowns
In two years Landry has established himself among the best possession receivers in the NFL. He isn’t going to set the world on fire with touchdowns, as he only has nine scores in his two seasons. However, in PPR leagues, Landry has very good value. Nine times last season Landry had seven catches or more, even with an average quarterback. DeVante Parker is going to be the on the edge, exciting receiver on the team, but Landry is the one that Tannehill will be looking for when he needs a big catch. I don’t expect Landry to repeat his 110 catches from last season, but I wouldn’t be shocked for him to rack up 90-95 catches and at least 1,000 yards.
23. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
85 catches, 997 yards, 8 touchdowns
Matthews has been a receiver that I have liked throughout his career, but he did shake my confidence some last season when he couldn’t stop dropping balls. Despite that, he still had a very solid season, and even though he is no longer in Chip Kelly’s run and gun offense he remains the best receiver on the team. There is some serious uncertainty at quarterback in Philly this season, and that certainly can have a serious effect on Matthews value. A bone bruise will also likely cost him most, if not all of the preseason. As long as Bradford can continue to be as average as he was last season, Matthews should still hold a low end WR2 standing.
24. Eric Decker, New York Jets
80 catches, 1,027 yards, 12 touchdowns
There’s not a ton to say about Decker. He’s a professional receiver with good hands. No longer can we say that he was a product of being on the Broncos with Peyton Manning. I think that Decker stands to gain the most from the return of Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’s a fantastic number two to Brandon Marshall, and defenses can’t afford to double team him. I see no reason why Decker won’t repeat last season’s success and be a very good WR2 again in 2016.
25. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
64 catches, 733 yards, 6 touchdowns
Moncrief doubled his catches and his touchdowns in 2015, and now he comes into this season with the number two role basically his. With Andrew Luck back healthy, there’s no reason why Moncrief can’t increase his production again and possibly become an 80 catch, 1,000 yard receiver. He is one of the players in 2016 whose role looks to take a major jump this year. He has the chance to be a low end WR2 or at worst a nice WR3.