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Jahnke: 2021 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings & Tiers

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) celebrates after a touchdown during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

There has never been more depth at the wide receiver position in the NFL. It’s impossible to name the top five or 10 wide receivers today without disrespecting worthy players.

The NFL has become enough of a passing league that some teams can maintain three fantasy-relevant wide receivers. Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers rostered three wide receivers who put up over 200 fantasy points last season, and neither team had the benefit of above-average quarterback play. Teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could achieve this in 2021.

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There has been an influx of young talent at the position in recent years — 26 teams have drafted at least one wide receiver in the first four rounds over the last two drafts. This means nearly every team has at least one wide receiver with high upside heading into the season. With so many talented players, it’s important to know when to draft each receiver based on expected usage, volume and upside. 

The following are my top 109 wide receivers, broken into tiers to best prepare for fantasy drafts of all shapes and sizes. Average draft position (ADP) is taken from 12-team Best Ball 10s over the last week. Only players who were selected in at least half of those drafts have an ADP listed.

Last Updated: Sept. 1, 2021

Tier 1

Rank Name Team ADP
1 Davante Adams Packers 7.6
2 Tyreek Hill Chiefs 10.1
3 Stefon Diggs Bills 13.9

We can’t typically just look at last year’s fantasy results and use them directly for the following season. The top tier of wide receivers is an exception.

These three all finished with 328 or more fantasy points, while no other receiver had more than 291. They are all supported by elite quarterback play, as each of their teammates finished among the top five in PFF pass grade.

Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs were the only receivers with more than 10 targets per game last season. Tyreek Hill wasn’t as prolific in targets (8.7), but he’s the best deep threat at wide receiver over the last five seasons. Hill leads the league in deep receptions (61), yards (2,439) and touchdowns (28) in that time.

All three receivers retain their head coach, offensive coordinator and majority of their offensive teammates. They should continue their dominance into 2021 by all indications. The only problem is that there are plenty of other great wide receivers in the league, preventing any of these players from being worthy of an early first-round pick. All three should be taken either late in the first round or early in the second, as long as they are paired with a running back with the other early pick.

Tier 2


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