Next up on position rankings are wide receivers.
For this ranking, I took a look at every team’s top 4 receivers with the following priority: 40% #1, 35% #2, 25% #3 with a quick look at the 4th.
From 1 to 32, here are the league’s best wide receiver groups:
1. Tampa Bay 98 rating
Mike Evans is quietly a top 5 wide receiver in the NFL. He has everything you need for a WR1: great size, speed, hands at tackle breaking ability with very solid route running. On the other side, Chris Godwin is easily the best number 2 receiver in the NFL, finishing second in yards per game across the entire league. This Tampa situation reminds me of the Antonio Brown- Juju Smith-Schuster. The important thing here is to realize Chris Godwin is not a top 5 receiver, as he benefits from having an elite teammate opposite to him, similar to Juju. The third receiver position is still up for grabs, but with these top 2, it doesn’t matter. Tampa #1.
2. Arizona 95 rating
The biggest offseason move of the year sent DeAndre Hopkins to an already above average receiving core in Arizona. Christian Kirk has shown a lot of promise in his first few years as a starting wide receiver. In the slot is hall of famer Larry Fitzgerald who last year still had one of the best True catch rates in the league.
3. Kansas City 94 rating
Easily the fastest starting 4 in the league, Tyreek Hill is arguably a top 5 WR this year. Sammy Watkins still has a bit to prove with his hands but he’s easily a top 10 no. 2 guy. Mecole Hardman and DeMarcus Robinson have tons of speed and talent to take the pressure off Hill. Mahomes quarterbacking this team makes them that much more unstoppable
4. New Orleans 93 rating
Michael Thomas was statistically by far the best receiver in the NFL last season. He’s number 1 if not a very very close 2nd to Julio. He has the best hands in the NFL with one of the best route running. Emmanuel Sanders has proven his whole career he is a top tier no. 2 receiver and TreQuan Smith has shown a lot of potential, having the 2nd highest true catch rate in the NFC, behind only fellow Saint Michael Thomas.
5. Atlanta 92 rating
Julio Jones has as much pure ability as anyone we’ve seen in the past half decade. He is easily a top 2 WR and can dominate at many parts of the game. Calvin Ridley has got a lot of credit over the past two seasons and though he may be benefiting from a talented offense, he still has proven he’s an above average no. 2 guy. After Ridley, the Falcons really fall off, with (so far) 1st round bust Laquon Treadwell as the only other notable player on the roster.
6. Dallas 90 rating
With so much potential to be a top 3 group, I had to lower them because of the drop problems their top 2 WR had last season. Both Cooper and Gallup had a bottom-tier drop rate despite having incredible seasons otherwise. I like Cee Dee Lamb, as I think he can easily beat out Gallup for the #2 spot by mid season. Expect another great offensive perform ance for Dallas this season.
7. Cincinnati 89 rating
Cincinnati has an incredibly talented receiver group, headlined by the return of 3x 2nd team All pro AJ Green. Green has, rather quietly, been one of the best receivers of the decade. Tyler Boyd has impressed in Green’s absence and should enjoy another great season back as the number 2 guy. Tee Higgins was picked up in the 2nd round to battle with former first rounder John Ross, who has disappointed since coming into the league. Both players have a world of talent.
8. LA Chargers 89 rating
There’s no doubting the ability of Keenan Allen. He’s been the most consistent receiver in the league since his injury season putting up somewhere between 97-104 catches, 1196-1393 yards, and exactly 6 TD every year. Mike Williams behind him has shown a lot to get excited about, but struggled last season with drops; expect a decline in stats this season as the quarterback situation is up in the air. Their 3rd receiver spot is completely undecided as rookie Joe Reed and vet Darius Jennings, both return specialists, are the favourites to take it.
9. Detroit 88 rating
Marvin Jones has been a high caliber number 2 receiver his entire career. Golladay is finally starting to separate himself as one of the best young wideouts in the league, expect massive production from him if Stafford stays healthy. Danny Amendola struggled with drops last season, but he will be a sure bet for 60+ targets if he can stay healthy.
10. Cleveland 88 rating
Arguably a little low for the Browns, the entire team of Cleveland has been difficult to analyze. Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry could be one of the most talented duos in the NFL, and Rashard Higgins is widely considered an underrated player. However, all three have struggled in the past couple seasons: Beckham with hands, Landry with route running and Higgins with availability. Don’t be surprised if players like Damion Ratley or Taywan Taylor get some targets.
11. Houston 87 rating
It may be hard to believe Houston dropped only 4 ratings from last year after losing one of the best wideouts in the league to Arizona but I’d argue the Texans are just as good. They brought in Brandin Cooks, coming off a very good 2019 campaign, and Randall Cobb to an already solid core featuring playmakers Will Fuller and Kenny Stills. I could see a lot of passing yards for Deshaun Watson this season with these weapons.
12. Carolina 87 rating
In my opinion, DJ Moore is the most underrated WR in the league (other than the guy I talk about at number 14) . He has proven he can get open, make the catch (one of the better catch% in the league) and, the main part of his game, he can make a play after the catch. Moore is a smaller player with great speed and impressive route running. Him, paired with proven veterans Curtis Samuel and Robby Anderson, if they can stay healthy, can sneakily be a top 5 receiving core this season.
13. Buffalo 86 rating
Buffalo hasn’t made any giant moves the last few seasons in the offseason, but 2020 was an exception. Trading for star and elite route runner in Stefon Diggs, the Bills add to a group that really wasn’t that bad in 2019. John Brown and Cole Beasley have been consistent players and will enjoy playing behind a true number 1.
14. LA Rams 86 rating
Robert Woods is somehow still one of the most underrated players in the league. He’s proven year after year he has the hands, route running and tackle breaking ability to be a true number 1. Now it’s his chance to show it, as he and Cooper Kupp will likely get plenty more targets now that Cooks has left for Houston. Josh Reynolds is a young player with plenty of talent who will likely be playing on the outside. Expect a massive comeback season for Goff.
15. Seattle 84 rating
Russell Wilson has made everyone on this team better for years now and the receiving core is no different. Metcalf has the size and speed to be elite, but has struggled with his hands as shown last season. Despite this, he went off to have one of the best seasons for a rookie. Tyler Lockett has impressed since becoming the number 1 but there appears to be something missing from his game. Seattle has a chance to make a real deep playoff run behind this quietly loaded offense.
16. Pittsburgh 84 rating
Juju Smith-Schuster was disappointing before he went down with an injury last season, partly due to playing with the worst quarterback in the league. Expect a major increase in production this year. James Washington has everything he needs to be a great number 2 guy as he has improved every season. Diontae Johnson was a fan favourite last year as one of the better rookie wide receivers.
17. Denver 83 rating
One of the tougher teams to rank, Denver drafted two wideouts, both of whom will likely start, to what was a worryingly shallow position for them. If Jeudy and Hamler produce like their draft spots imply, Denver, led by up and coming superstar Courtland Sutton, can be one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL (they’ll need it in that division).
18. Indianapolis 83 rating
TY Hilton is still a quality number 1 receiver and, despite a bad season, can definitely bounce back to his dominant form he’s taken in previous years. Michael Pittman Jr. will have a lot of expectations as the clear number 2 guy while Zach Pascal, coming off a great rookie season, should satisfy as the number 3 guy.
19. NY Jets 83 rating
This may be seen as high for the Jets, who lost Robby Anderson in free agency, but New York quietly has a very good pair of wideouts. Breshad Perriman is 6’2 with excellent speed and an 84% true catch rate. Jamison Crowder, who is much slower and smaller, had one of the league's best true catch rates in the league last season. Rookie Denzel Mims and former first rounder Josh Doctson should also get a lot of opportunities to make a name for themselves.
20. Green Bay 82 rating
Davante Adams, a top 10 wide receiver, cannot do it on his own. Devin Funchess was a huge bring in, before he opted out for the season due to COVID-19. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard, despite solid numbers by default, were horrible in 2019. They both struggled with drops, getting open and breaking tackles. The Packers, though, obviously still have faith in them. Maybe they can play Jordan Love at WR.
21. Miami 82 rating
Very similar to Green Bay, Miami has a proven above average starting WR with nobody behind him. Devante Parker has been impressive lately. But with both Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opting out, this team is going to have to rely on depth players to step up. Luckily for Miami, they have two very talented young players in Preston Williams and Isaiah Ford ready to play.
22. Jacksonville 82 rating
I wanted to raise the Jaguars higher, but I was convinced otherwise. DJ Chark has a lot of potential as the number 1 option. He has talent behind him with rookie Laviska Shenault, proven veterans Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley, along with potential young star in Keelan Cole. If this unit can stay healthy, they can surprise in 2020.
23. Minnesota 80 rating
Adam Thielen is coming off a big injury and I’m not sure how he will perform, especially considering how weak this team is behind him. Justin Jefferson was a completely necessary pick, as wideout remains a weakness for this otherwise talented team. Currently, Tajae Sharpe is listed as the #3, but don’t be surprised if fan favourite Chad Beebe sneaks his way into the starting lineup. Behind Thielen, this young group has a long way to go before they are established as anywhere near elite as they were with Stefon Diggs.
24. Tennessee 79 rating
AJ Brown was spectacular last season, and was my pick for rookie of the year. He has amazing big play potential with reliable hands. Behind him, Corey Davis still hasn’t proved himself worthy of the top 10 pick. Adam Humphries has been solid enough to keep the Titans above the bottom 8 in this ranking.
25. Chicago 79 rating
Apart from Allen Robinson, this Bears group seems to have 1 thing in common: drop problems. As you’ve probably noticed, I value catching ability more than any other aspect when judging a receiver, therefore Chicago gets a low rating on this list. Ted Ginn had the worst drop rate in the league last season of the 100 receivers I looked at. Anthony Miller, who showed promise during his rookie season, had a poor drop rate of over 7% last season. The only thing Patterson can’t do is catch the damn football. If the team can continue to develop their mechanics, the group can be very solid.
26. NY Giants 79 rating
The Giants have three number 2 receivers. It's a complete toss up to see who’ll lead the group in targets. I personally like Darius Slayton in any kind of jump ball contest but Tate has been consistent. Shepherd is definitely the least likely to lead the team in anything but he should be a serviceable WR3, if, of course, along with the other two, he can stay healthy. The major problem with this group is their ability to stay healthy.
27. Philadelphia 78 rating
In terms of talent, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are a top 10 duo. The problem comes with their injury concerns. Both players were hurt last season and the lack of depth showed for Philly. The receiving core was maybe the worst in the NFL last season. They made a lot of improvements knowing there is not a chance both Jackson and Jeffery play the whole season. Marquise Goodwin was brought in but shortly after opted out from the season. Reagaor was a first round pick that personally, I can’t see making an immediate impact. As it is for most the teams around this spot, there is a lot of potential. Fully healthy and fully opted-in, the Eagles have a top 15 receiving core.
28. Baltimore 78 rating
Another very young core, Baltimore was projected as my worst receiving core last season, and it was pretty accurate. Hollywood Brown has the talent to be a deep threat, Tyreek Hill like player. However, he is not there yet and he is one of the lower class number one receivers in the league. I think Miles Boykin has the potential to be an excellent number 2 guy. Willie Snead really isn’t getting much better. Ravens are a run first team for a reason.
29. Las Vegas 78 rating
Raiders in their new city have a really underrated offense with a good quarterback, top 10 running back, tight end and offensive line. However, I won’t argue the Raiders receiving core sucks. Henry Ruggs III was maybe the 3rd best receiver in the draft, and won’t return the Raiders to the top 5 days with Cooper and Crabtree. Tyrell Williams has struggled with dropped passes while Hunter Renfrow showed good promise last season. Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones were both brought in to hopefully add an extra punch. Sounds like more dropped passes to me.
30. New England 77 rating
Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry and Mohamad Sanu appear to be a very solid trio. They are all recognizable names, but in reality, none of them are very good. Both Sanu and Edelman have over 5% drop rate with Sanu at a disturbing 7.9%. N’Keal Harry has a lot of potential but so far hasn’t proven a single thing. They picked up Marqise Lee, but he opted out of the season. This receiving group does not have much talent but they can produce when healthy.
31. San Francisco 77 rating
Before Deebo Samuel’s injury, I had the 49ers ranked 29th, after: 30th, after Benjamin
opts out: 31st. This is an overrated receiving core: Deebo Samuel had a massive 11.1% drop rate last season (3rd worst of the 96 receivers looked at). He was only my 7th ranked rookie WR last season behind Brown, Metcalf, McLaurin and Slayton, Johnson and Hardman. Kendrick Bourne had a 8.9% drop rate (6th worst). 49ers fans are really hoping Brandon Aiyuk can live up to his first round selection to save this team’s offense. Don’t worry 49er fans, your tight end group makes up for your receivers.
32. Washington 75 rating
I’m a huge fan of Terry McLaurin, and it really hurts me to put his wide receiver group so low. McLaurin had a 5.6% drop rate, which is pretty high compared to the average WR, but pretty low compared to the rest of the rookies. However, after McLaurin, Washington doesn’t have much. They have Trey Quinn and last year’s 6th round rookie at number 2 and 3 receivers. They struggle with depth as their entire core is very unproven and inexperienced. There is potential for this young group, but as of right now they’re dead last.