With the start of the NFL season just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at our top fantasy wide receivers for 2017. A lot can change during the preseason, so be sure to check out our full WR rankings for the most up-to-date list.
1. Antonio Brown
Last season, Brown posted his lowest totals in targets (154), receptions (106) and yards (1,284) since 2012, but still topped wide receivers in fantasy points for the third consecutive season. Brown has shown no signs of slowing down, and adding Martavis Bryant back into the Steelers offense that includes so many other multi-dimensional players will make it impossible for opponents to double-team him. Brown is fantasy’s most consistently dominant wide receiver and he’ll be off the board early in the first round of your draft.
2. Odell Beckham Jr.
Despite posting career highs in targets (169) and catches (101), Beckham finished 2016 with his fewest touchdowns (10), and lowest fantasy points per game in his three-year career. While some would argue his 2016 campaign was a disappointment, he has now managed at least 91 receptions, 1,305 yards and 10 touchdowns during each of his first three pro seasons. The 24-year-old is just getting started and should benefit from New York’s offseason addition of Brandon Marshall and first-round pick Evan Engram due to a decrease of double and triple coverage schemes from opposing defenses. Clearly one of the top-three options at the position, Beckham is worth a pick early in the first round.
3. Julio Jones
Jones finished his 2016 season with 83 catches for 1,409 yards, but only found the end zone six times, missed two games due to injury, and played a decoy role in another. Jones still finished as the WR6 and he topped 11 standard fantasy points in nine of 14 games. While the depth chart is the same, the Falcons offense will get a new look with former OC Kyle Shanahan now in San Francisco. This could benefit Jones’ touchdown potential since the new OC Steve Sarkisian is planning to get Jones more than the nine red-zone targets he saw last season. As long as he stays on the field, Jones is almost a lock for 1,400 yards and can easily push for 100 catches. Despite the durability concerns, he’ll likely be one of the first three receivers taken on draft day.
4. Jordy Nelson
After missing all of 2015 with a torn ACL, Nelson finished 2016 as the overall WR2 in both standard and PPR leagues with 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Packers added TE Martellus Bennett and Randall Cobb could be more involved if he is able to stay healthy, so it is likely that Nelson won’t come close to the career-high 152 targets he had last season. The Packers drafted some running backs to help Ty Montgomery and their ground game, but they will remain a pass-heavy offense. Jordy’s age (32) is a slight concern, but with Aaron Rodgers under center, he’ll be a real threat for double-digit touchdowns, making him a clear WR1.
5. Mike Evans
Evans was dominant in his third season in the NFL, finishing his 2016 campaign with 96 catches for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s topped 1,000 yards every season in the league and scored 12 touchdowns in two of them. The only concern for Evans moving forward is target share with additions of wide receiver DeSean Jackson and dynamic rookie tight end O.J. Howard. He is going to get his looks, and it is safe to assume he will take advantage when he does. Evans is a clear top-five fantasy receiver with demonstrated top overall upside.
A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton, Michael Thomas, Amari Cooper, and Brandin Cooks round out our top 10 at the position. Check out our updated WR rankings for the full list.