Way Too Early 2021 WR Rankings: 1-20

All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons, Cropped

1-20| 21-40| 41-60

Well it feels like fantasy championships were just a week ago, but as the old adage goes, “there ain’t no rest for the wicked.” With 2020 and a whole lot of recency bias still ripe on my mind, I aim for these positional rankings to give you a premature preview of 2021, a season hopefully devoid of COVID complications among other things. 

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  1. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
  2. D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
  3. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
  5. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
  6. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
  7. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
  8. Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team
  9. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
  10. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
  11. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
  12. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
  13. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  14. Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
  15. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
  16. Ceedee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
  17. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
  18. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
  19. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
  20. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I know, it’s not a hot take, it’s not the contrarian pick, but Davante Adams has the perfect situation in Green Bay; his chemistry with Aaron Rodgers is unmatched. I don’t care about his age, I don’t care about who’s toting the rock for Green Bay next year, give me Davante Adams until the wheels fall off. He may have surpassed Randy Moss’s 2007 record season had he played a full 16 games. 

What amazes me about Stefon Diggs is that he sustained his incredible production with only 5 touchdowns prior to his 3-touchdown drubbing of New England in week 16. I know you’ve heard about the volume of receptions, but here’s a sobering stat about it. He’s had 6+ catches in all but ONE game in 2020. He’s a true alpha in Buffalo of what should be an exciting QB/WR tandem for years to come. 

Let this be known, if I knew Julio Jones was going to retire and Matt Ryan would stay, Calvin Ridley would jump up to the number two spot in my rankings, no questions asked. The Alabama product yielded 8 games with over 100 yards this year and had two multi-touchdown games. The Falcon’s offense is so incredibly potent that I can’t discount 2020’s WR4. The torch has officially been passed in Atlanta.

As for my young bucks, I know I try to hold a condition where I limit my pontification, but Terry McLaurin will most likely have somebody else distributing him the football in Washington; I don’t think that’s a huge leap by many means. My favorite comparison for McLaurin’s situation was that of DeAndre Hopkins before Houston brought Deshaun Watson to town. In his first four seasons, he hauled in 23 touchdowns, a number which he crushed in three seasons with Watson (31).

As for A.J. Brown, I’m continuously impressed with the talent of the Ole Miss wideout, but too often, his limited usage would give me pause. Not once did Brown have 10 targets in a game, not catches, TARGETS. I’m aware that he missed games, but 95 targets on the season would rank 40th overall and put him below 7 players’ reception totals. Luckily, Brown has seen considerable success in the touchdown department and ranks in the top 10. He can continually snuff out double-digit scores, especially with that big-play, 80-yard slant ability bolstered by both his strength and speed. 

Alright, I’m sure I’ll get an earful for Diontae Johnson ranking where he is, especially considering the fact that I have wrote positive pieces on him in the past. Here’s what I have to say on the subject of Johnson: he had one of the best target shares in the NFL this year, logging 140 targets while missing the better part of THREE games. In fact, he went north of 10 targets 10 times this season; absolutely eye-popping. He would have easily paced the league, potentially by double digits if he played suited up for a full 16. Speaking of pacing the league, let’s talk about Johnson’s case of the dropsies; while I know some receivers are more sure-handed than others, Johnson is due for some regression to the mean in this category as well. Lastly, the Steelers may move on from one of their talented pass catchers, likely JuJu Smith-Schuster, considerably opening up even more target share for Johnson to thrive. WR19 was the floor, not the peak for this target monster. 

Bobby Trees has finished as a top-12 wide receiver despite his lower expectations in the past two seasons. It’s time for us to give him more respect, but maybe the streak falls at the same time.

Look, if you want to buy a 13-touchdown season by a team’s number two wide receiver on a roster full of talented options, be my guest. Mike Evans defied all my expectations of a let down season and spat in my face with his incredible week 16 performance that likely won many a fantasy championship. The dropoff in the yards department is what will continue to scare me, despite his status as a red zone threat. Barring a disastrous week 17, Evans will just barely squeak by the 1,000 yard mark. Since 2018, when he finished third in the mark, Evans has finished 13th and is now currently sitting in 20th. He’ll likely need another incredible season in the touchdown department to buoy himself to high WR2 numbers.

Chris Cioffi

Chris "Chof" Cioffi is the Chief Editor at FGB. A 7-year fantasy veteran, Chof hails from Northeastern University, got a degree in mathematics, and will talk for hours about how Ronald Jones should have gotten more carries than Peyton Barber if the Buccaneers cared about advanced analytics at all in 2019. Repping all teams New England, he definitely embellishes his accent when talking about tha B’s, tha C’s, tha Pats, or the Sawx. When he’s not writing fantasy blogs, Chof is a southpaw pitcher, Club baseball hall of famer, and still is good for giving up a 400-foot homerun every year to some guy in his men’s league.

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