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McFarland: 2020 fantasy football wide receiver rankings tiers

Ranking players by position is an important part of fantasy football preparation, but grouping them into tiers is crucial to identifying the value you might be leaving in the draft room. If you're on the clock and looking at several quarterbacks in the same tier, it could make sense to wait a round — someone equally as good will probably be available with your next pick.

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Tiers can also help group players with similar expectations, whether that means grouping the reliable vets or the risky young players with upside. Either way, we don't want to pay more than the next drafter for a similar player. After going through my running back tiers  and tight end tiers, here are my wide receiver tiers for 2020.

TIER 1 – WR1: ELITE TALENT IN A FUNNEL OFFENSE

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Thomas enters his age-27 season coming off one of the most monstrous target seasons in the last five years (180). His target shares have climbed every year (19%, 26%, 28% and 31%), and he operates in a scheme designed to create mismatches in the intermediate passing game. Thomas has racked up 1,238 receiving yards — most in the NFL — with a linebacker or safety in primary coverage over the past two seasons. His utilization in the deep-passing game and end-zone targets (20%, 18%, 36% and 21%) are a tad light compared to his peers, but his volume in an elite offense is too overwhelming to nitpick.

Adams missed four games in 2019 due to a toe injury. Excluding those games, he averaged 28% of the team targets and was on pace for a whopping 165 looks. Adams doesn't get some of the schematic looks that Thomas does, but he has earned 41% (17), 24% (11), 30% (17) and 32% (8) of the end-zone targets over the past four seasons from number 12. The 27-year-old receiver is a hard out for most defenses due to his aptitude versus both man and zone coverage. Adams is one of only 12 wideouts to eclipse two yards per route run versus man and zone.

TIER 2 – WR1: ELITE TALENT AND GOOD UTILIZATION

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