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Best Ball Strategy

Updated Best-Ball WR Tiers

by John Daigle
Updated On: July 27, 2020, 4:48 pm ET

Tier Five

 

DeSean Jackson (WR49) -- Exploded for 8/154/2 in his lone game with Carson Wentz.

Henry Ruggs (WR50) -- Ruggs (40/746/7) played second-fiddle to both Devonta Smith (68/1,256/14) and Jerry Jeudy (77/1,163/10) in their final year together at Alabama but burns an elite 40-time (4.27) that caters to Derek Carr’s propensity to check down in the flats.

Preston Williams (WR51) -- Williams' rookie season was not without its flaws — his 53.3 percent catch rate ranked 74th among 79 wideouts with 50-plus targets — but the big-bodied (6'4/211) sophomore projects to open the year in three-wide sets alongside DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson as one of the offseason’s biggest (luckiest?) risers.

Jerry Jeudy (WR52) -- Averaged 86 receiving yards per game in back-to-back seasons despite playing with Henry Ruggs, Devonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle at Alabama. With on-tape proof of his ability to dominate both inside and along the perimeter, Jeudy (6'0"/192) should avoid getting shoehorned into a singular role alongside Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler. The sudden insurgence of mouths to feed in Denver is still a knock against the rookie’s short-term ceiling.

Justin Jefferson (WR53) -- Proven upside in any role since he ran 19 percent of his routes from the slot in 2018 (54/875/6) before seeing an increase to 78 percent during the Tigers’ National Championship run (111/1,540/18) last year. Minnesota’s negligible depth chart cements Jefferson as an every-down wideout from day one.

N'Keal Harry (WR54) -- Averaged an underwhelming 4.1 yards per target in a disappointing rookie year with Tom Brady, but the veteran's departure to Tampa Bay opens the door for Harry to see extended run, for better or worse, in what will be a clear ‘prove it’ season. A post-draft “winner” since the team failed to add any wide receivers to the room, opting for two tight ends (Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keane) on Day 2.

Antonio Brown (WR55) -- You don't train with Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, and Dwayne Haskins over the summer only to stay a free agent.

Emmanuel Sanders (WR56) -- 11/137/2 in his first two games with San Francisco before battling a rib injury over the team’s last 11 contests. Mustered 50 receiving yards only twice in that stretch.

Breshad Perriman (WR57) -- 27 in September, Perriman flashed on extended opportunity with 5/104.8/1.3 per game in Tampa Bay's last four bouts — his second consecutive December breakout. A lid-lifting flier with only No. 59 overall pick Denzel Mims competing for similar targets from Sam Darnold.

Curtis Samuel (WR58) -- If used in a similar fashion, Samuel's 5.9 yards per target from last year should seamlessly mesh with Teddy Bridgewater's horizontal preference. The Panthers’ sieve of a secondary will also keep the team's offensive play-calling on its toes, creating weekly opportunity for Samuel (and all others) as an intriguing late-round stack option.

Sammy Watkins (WR59) -- 37.8 fantasy points in Kansas City's season opener nearly matched his output (48.7) over the remaining 13 games. Four consecutive seasons with fewer than 700 receiving yards.

Brandon Aiyuk (WR60) -- The Niners traded up to nab Aiyuk No. 25 overall after he averaged a slippery 11.1 yards after the catch at Arizona State. Ultimately offers more assistance in his own offense than fantasy lineups in year one.

Golden Tate (WR61) -- Tate's team-high 18.6 percent target share without Sterling Shepard plummeted to 10.7 percent in the six games the two shared the field.

Parris Campbell (WR62) -- Campbell's 4.31 40-time and 94th-percentile SPARQ athleticism were halted from flashing in his rookie year due to a nagging hamstring, sports hernia, broken hand, and broken foot. The second-year pro's shallow 8.2 average depth of target undeniably meshes with Philip Rivers' shaky arm strength.

Allen Lazard (WR63) -- Lazard projects to open the season as Green Bay's No. 2 after he closed the year with 35/477/3 from Week 6 on. One of the offseason’s biggest winners after the team refused to add a single drop of talent at his position.

Hunter Renfrow (WR64) -- Las Vegas' fifth-round slot wideout buoyed an increased 25.7 routes per game into 35/490/4 from Week 8 on. Quietly finished with an elite mark in yards per route run (2.09, 11th-overall) among wideouts.

Josh Reynolds (WR65) -- Reynolds’ offensive snaps in 10 games sans Cooper Kupp/Brandin Cooks the past two seasons: 84%, 88%, 98%, 97%, 100%, 99%, 51%, 96%, 95%, 94%.

Denzel Mims (WR66) -- The only player in college football to score at least eight receiving touchdowns in each of the last three seasons, Mims’ domination on fly routes at the collegiate level — 29 percent of his receiving yards came on the ‘go’ route, per Pro Football Focus — project him as an alpha wideout among a room without any. With the second-most contested catches (20) in FBS play last year, Mims translates as someone who could lead his class in raw production as a rookie on a median number of targets.

Michael Pittman (WR67) -- Pittman (6’4/223), who only dropped five of his 254 career targets in OC Graham Harrell’s Air Raid attack, is expected to draw the weaker corner on game days as the Colts’ starting ‘X’ receiver across from T.Y. Hilton. Comped to former first-team All-Pro Vincent Jackson by coach Frank Reich.

 

Tier Six

 

Robby Anderson (WR68) -- Tantalizing flashes throughout, but at the end of the day the 26-year-old has yet to piece together anything more than a four-game stretch at any point in his career. Questionable fit with Teddy Bridgewater.

Dede Westbrook (WR69) -- Poor 6.5 yards per target from last year expected to carry over with Gardner Minshew handed the starting role. Could also lose primary slot duties to No. 42 overall pick Laviska Shenault.

Randall Cobb (WR70) -- The incumbent winner if either Will Fuller or Brandin Cooks remain unable to stay on the field.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR71) -- 37 in August, Fitzgerald's fantasy points per game have progressively decreased in each of the past three seasons (9.5 > 7.3 > 6.4).

James Washington (WR72) -- The unequivocal over-the-top threat among Pittsburgh's bundle of wideouts, Washington averaged a team-high 84.4 air yards per game and 15.8 average depth of target in his sophomore emergence.

Steven Sims (WR73) -- 7 > 11 > 10 > 8 targets over Washington's last four games. Washington enters 2020 with the seventh-most available targets (134) missing from last season's production.

Laviska Shenault (WR74) -- Shades of Cordarrelle Patterson if the big-bodied rookie (6'1"/227) can stay healthy. Shenault’s explosiveness underneath — per Pro Football Focus, only 25% of his targets at Colorado traveled beyond 10 yards of the line of scrimmage — is something Jacksonville’s offense lacked altogether last season.

Mohamed Sanu (WR75) -- Exploded for 10/81/1 on 14 targets (and 100% of the snaps) in his second game with New England before severely spraining his ankle the following week. 31 in August and concerningly recovering from offseason surgery on said ankle, Sanu remains a proven veteran who at the very least warrants a late-round flier now that Cam Newton has officially signed.

Andy Isabella (WR76) -- Hanging his hat on the most impressive 88-yard catch-and-go of the 2019 season. Will compete with Hakeem Butler for a starting role in Arizona's four-wide Air Raid scheme.

Alshon Jeffery (WR77) -- 5/49/1 in his lone start across from DeSean Jackson, but heading into his age-30 season following an ominous Lisfranc foot procedure. Projected to outright lose his starting role to No. 21 overall pick Jalen Reagor.

Tee Higgins (WR78) -- Blessed with arm length (33 1/8") in the 96th-percentile, Pro Football Focus charted Higgins (6'4/216) tracking down 15-of-23 deep targets for 565 yards in his final year at Clemson. Early beat writer speculation pins Higgins as a starter over John Ross in Cincinnati’s three-wide sets.

Devin Funchess (WR79) -- A one-year, $2.5 million flier doesn’t typically indicate a locked-in role, but Green Bay’s decision to gloss over wide receivers during the draft is a plus for 25-year-old Funchess.

Corey Davis (WR80) -- Declined across the board (43/601/2) in his third year, but would be the de facto No. 1 if A.J. Brown were to miss any time.

Antonio Gandy-Golden (WR81) -- Notched back-to-back seasons of 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in two highly productive years after Liberty joined FBS competition. Antonio Gibson’s undefined role as a hybrid RB/WR pits AGG in immediate competition with Kelvin Harmon for the team’s No. 2 perimeter threat.

Cole Beasley (WR82) -- Beasley's 7.1 targets per game in his first season with the Bills will inarguably get scaled back with Stefon Diggs suddenly around.

John Ross (WR83) -- 96.7 air yards per game as Cincinnati's only downfield threat in September before missing half the year with a broken collarbone. Ross' 4.22 40-speed is still tantalizing as a buy-low attribute syncing with Joe Burrow's arm.

Chase Claypool (WR84) -- Steelers OC Randy Fichtner confirmed Claypool (6’4/238) would play out wide, where he leveraged his size and straight-line speed (4.42) to bring in 16 catches 20-plus yards downfield in his breakout senior season at Notre Dame.