Predicting the Top 10 WR's in Fantasy Football
10. CeeDee Lamb Cowboys
I'm not sure if I'm just buying into the offseason hype train, but I think CeeDee Lamb is going to be an absolute menace this season. As seen in "Hard Knocks", Amari Cooper has been helping him with his route running, and I expect him to take the reigns as the Cowboys number one receiver in his second NFL season. With Dak Prescott returning, I expect Dallas to be in a lot more meaningful games with way more downfield throws. If Mike McCarthy doesn't limit Lamb's ability, he has legitimate top five receiver potential. He can run any route and make defenders miss. He's also capable of going up and grabbing a jump ball/ contested catch. Lamb is still super young, but I think he will be the next great 88 for America's Team.
9. Terry McLaurin WFT
There are some players in the NFL that define consistency: Russell Wilson, Nick Chubb, Allen Robinson, and we are getting to the point where Terry McLaurin should be on this list. While this is only his third year in the NFL, it seems like he's been a "pro" since he was at Ohio State. He might not talk a lot or be the flashiest player, but he will gain separation and catch every ball thrown his way. This season, McLaurin has Curtis Samuel next to him, a legitimate run game, an up and coming tight end, and Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him the rock. I would consider reaching on McLaurin as early as the ladder half of round two. I am confident he will be a top ten receiver this season and will absolutely tear up the NFC East. There isn't a corner in this division who can hang with him. Scary Terry is going to be in opposing defensive coordinator's nightmares all season long.
8. Stefon Diggs Bills
Last year, Stefon Diggs had his breakout season. Everybody knew he was better than how he was being used in Minnesota, but I don't think anybody realized just how much he is capable of. While he was better than the number seven receiver in NFL last season, I don't think he will have top five numbers this year. Defenses will be paying a lot more attention to him this year and I expect Emmanuel Sanders to take some targets away from him. While Diggs' production may drop off, I still expect him to catch everything that is thrown in his direction and absolutely destroy defensive backs. His ranking isn't a shot, it's actually a nod of respect. AFC East defensive coordinators spent all offseason trying to figure out how to limit him. He will still be and play like Stefon Diggs, he just won't have the ball in his hands as many times as he did in 2020.
7. Justin Jefferson Vikings
Anybody who has ever read my articles know how big of a man crush I have on Justin Jefferson. He was my number one receiver coming out of the 2020 NFL draft and he was my favorite player coming out of the draft last year. That fandom only grew once he got to the NFL. The crazy part about his historic rookie season is that he barely even played his first two games. He understands the game. He understands leverage and what the defensive back is trying to do at all times. His routes are smooth and everything he does is clean. Gaining separation is second nature to him and watching him play is genuinely fun. Fantasy football should be fun and Justin Jefferson is a great receiver to have leading your fantasy teams.
6. Calvin Ridley Falcons
People have been saying that Calvin Ridley is going to be the best receiver in the NFL in 2021. I think that may be a tad bit of an exaggeration, but I do see stardom coming his way. Ridley's ability to change directions in the middle of his route is ridiculous. As soon as his defender flips his hips, Ridley makes him do it again and again. It's as if the defender is walking a tight rope and Ridley is trying to make him fall off. Defensive backs have no shot guarding him one on one. With the departure of Julio Jones, Ridley is the alpha in the receiver room. Russell Gage is the Falcons number two wide receiver this year, which is a guy who could have a breakout season as well. I'm super excited to see what Arthur Smith's offense looks like with Ridley, Gage, Kyle Pitts, and Hayden Hurst in 2021.
5. DK Metcalf Seahawks
Oh my goodness is DK Metcalf good. He is sensational. He just gets better every single game and he falls into this "zone". There's a terminator type of attitude to his game. He is willing to do anything to kill a defense and rip them to shreds. It is the "Mamba Mentality". The crazy part is, he's going to be even better this season. With Shane Waldron at offensive coordinator, the Seahawks will be running a west coast offense similar to the Rams. That means a lot more bootlegs and double moves for Mr. Metcalf. I could see Tyler Lockett taking a step back this season just because of how good Metcalf will be. Metcalf may put up record numbers this year as he solidifies himself as a top five receiver in the NFL in 2021.
4. AJ Brown Titans
We don't have as many "AJ Brown"-esque receivers in the NFL anymore. Most receivers now-a-days are route running specialists or speed demons. Brown is physical, powerful and invites contact. He is capable of gaining separation, but he doesn't always need to. His ability to make contested grabs is at the top of the league and with Julio Jones on the other side of him, I don't expect nearly as many double teams. Jones can help Brown in every aspect of his game and turn him into the top three receiver that I think he is. Jones might just be the key that unlocks all of AJ Brown's potential. I do think he will be hurt by the departure of Arthur Smith, but the third year is usually when players take the step from good to great. I don't expect anything short of greatness coming out of AJ Brown this season.
3. Tyreek Hill Chiefs
There is no player in the NFL that I hate going against more than Tyreek Hill. It's because he'll have at least three 30 point games this season and it always happens on the biggest stage at the most crucial time. With the departure of Sammy Watkins this offseason, Hill is going to take on an even bigger role in Andy Reid's offense. He's the most explosive player in the NFL, he can make plays happen both 50 yards downfield and behind the line of scrimmage. Teams need to bracket him at all times which is why I have him at number three. With that being said, Hill is always going to have his moments. Hill could be having a bad game, but one play can flip it all around. Tyreek Hill will have at least five 50+ yard touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes and Hill are a match made in heaven and their success will continue in 2021
2. Davante Adams Packers
These top two receivers are interchangeable, but Davante Adams is going to have another monster season. While he might not put up the same numbers he had in 2020, I still don't see any defensive back stopping him this season. The only reason I have him at number two is because of the additions of Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers. While they may not take a ton of targets away from Adams, he won't be the number one read for as many plays in the Packers offense this season. Adams is still going to have his games and be as consistent as they come. Thinking about Aaron Rodgers' connection with Adams gets me fired up for this season, and I see the Packers picking up where they left off come September.
1. Deandre Hopkins Cardinals
This may be a bold take, but I expect Deandre Hopkins to have the best season of his career in 2021. With the loss of Kenyan Drake, the Cardinals won't be running the ball as much in the red zone, and Hopkins is going to get a lot more goal line opportunities. Rondale Moore, the Cardinals big offensive addition, provides a lot more speed to this offense. He is a lethal downfield threat which means opposing safeties will have to stay in the middle of the field and can't bracket D-Hop as much. I expect Kyler Murray to take a major leap in year three and progress from an accuracy standpoint. Whether or not the Cardinals become contenders in the NFC, I know Hopkins is going to ball out. Hopkins should be the first receiver off the board in your fantasy drafts.