2017 Dynasty Football RankingsDynasty Football

2017 Consensus Dynasty Wide Receiver Rankings, Nos. 1-49

Earlier this year we unveiled our consensus dynasty quarterback and running back rankings as part of our 2017 dynasty football rankings, which will ultimately conclude with a pre-draft #Dynasty250, then rookie rankings and an updated 250 once the rookies are drafted.

Today we unveil our consensus wide receiver rankings, which we’ll examine by tier. These rankings are designed for 0.5 PPR formats.

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Tier 1: They Good

Rank Name High Low AVG Rank 2017 Season Age
1 Mike Evans 1 2 1.5 24.1
2 Odell Beckham 1 3 2.0 24.9
3 Julio Jones 1 4 3.0 28.6
4 Amari Cooper 3 4 3.5 23.2
5 Antonio Brown 5 6 5.3 29.2
  • Mike Evans’ numbers have steadily progressed each year and his skill set is a perfect fit with Jameis Winston.  Tampa was middle of the pack in passing attempts (16th) in 2016, so Evans’ league-leading 175 targets can still rise into the 190 to 200 range as Winston continues to develop.  We could see the Bucs duo put up huge numbers over the next few years as both enter their peak seasons.
  • Evans’ upside perhaps unfairly relegates Odell Beckham to the number two spot. Beckham is as proven as any young veteran can be having posted 90 catches, 1300 yards, with 10+ TDs in each of his first three NFL seasons. Evans may be slightly more likely to post multiple Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss type-seasons over the next few years, but OBJ is “1B.”
  • The only thing keeping Julio Jones from the top spot is age and the question of whether his best seasons may be behind him.  He should continue to put up monster numbers, but given the choice of having Evans or OBJ’s age 24 – 27 seasons or Jones heading into his decline phase, we’ll take the young superstars.
  • Amari Cooper (or “Julio Jones 2.0”) has as much upside as the top two names on this list and is also the youngest player in this tier.  He needs to take a step forward in volume (eight targets per game vs. 11 and 10.5 for Evans and OBJ respectively) before he can threaten for the top spot.
  • We don’t need to tell you how good Antonio Brown has been, but in dynasty leagues it doesn’t pay to live in the past.  Assuming Big Ben’s retirement talk doesn’t become an annual question, Brown will continue to lead a prolific passing offense and be a top tier option for several more seasons.

Tier 2: Aging Stars,  Emerging Stars and Distressed Assets

Rank Name High Low Average 2017 Season Age
6 A.J. Green 6 8 6.8 29.1
7 Michael Thomas 7 10 8.5 23.1
8 DeAndre Hopkins 5 14 9.3 25.3
9 T.Y. Hilton 7 14 10.0 27.8
10 Brandin Cooks 9 12 10.3 24.0
11 Dez Bryant 8 13 11.0 28.9
12 Sammy Watkins 6 15 11.0 24.2
13 Allen Robinson 9 17 11.5 24.1
14 Keenan Allen 13 14 13.5 25.4
  • In a nightmare season, DeAndre Hopkins still managed to flirt with 1,000 yards and remained Houston’s go-to playmaker. We’ll give him a Brock Mulligan based on the track record, despite an alarmingly low 51 percent catch rate.
  • We expect more WR1 production from A.J. Green and Dez Bryant, both Hall-of-Fame caliber players, but but they’ll be a year away from hitting that big “3-0” when the season starts, so this may be your last chance to sell them for a windfall of young assets.
  • By almost any metric, Michael Thomas was bona fide as a rookie. His 76% catch rate was more commonly found among (talented) slot receivers running short routes, like Cole Beasley. He was a top five to ten ranked player by DVOA (football outsiders) and Pro Football Focus grades. Only non-elite draft pedigree, talented teammates and perhaps an aging (star) quarterback give us pause.
  • New shiny toys have threatened his volume in Indy, but Old Reliable (actually quite young), T.Y. Hilton came through with a dominant, efficient season. There’s a lot of “sizists” out there discounting him due to his 5’9” stature, but Hilton plays with a fantasy friendly quarterback and is as reliable as it gets by both production and durability.
  • Brandin Cooks has emerged as a dominant best-ball player who frustrates his owners with his high-variance play. Cooks won’t turn 24 until September and may not have peaked yet.
  • Expecting an Allen Robinson bounce back isn’t just blind faith, though the 2016 numbers offer little support. He does have pedigree, size, and we can’t just forget that 2015 happened. A healthier Blake Bortles should help Robinson get back to being a WR1.
  • Watkins and Allen have both struggled with durability, but offer tantalizing upside (Watkins) and an undeniable rapport with the quarterback (Allen).

Tier 3 – Imagine if Davante Adams didn’t drop all of those touchdowns

Rank Name High Low Average 2017 Season Age
15 Davante Adams 11 23 16.0 24.7
16 Stefon Diggs 16 18 17.0 23.8
17 Jarvis Landry 15 25 19.8 24.8
18 Donte Moncrief 18 22 20.0 24.1
19 Demaryius Thomas 13 23 20.3 29.7
20 Kelvin Benjamin 16 25 20.5 26.6
21 Doug Baldwin 16 27 21.0 29.0
  • Davante Adams leads this tier after a true “post-hype” breakout season. Due in part to finishing fifth in the NFL in red zone targets (25), he wound up as the seventh best WR in Standard Scoring and ninth in PPR. 2017 will be a contract year for Adams and if he makes the best of it, he should land himself an extension with Rodgers and the Packers.
  • Stefon Diggs is the youngest of this group and has flashed star potential. The offense is still figuring out what they want to and can be, which includes deciding on Adrian Peterson’s future. With Teddy Bridgewater is rumored to be out all of 2017, Diggs will again work with Bradford.  The upside is a full season of his first half of the 2016 season (771 yards on 61 receptions in eight games). Diggs faded in the second half (193 yards on 23 receptions in five games).
  • Jarvis Landry finished another strong season as the main target man in the Dolphins offense.  His targets went down as the offense ran through the explosive Jay Ajayi, however he still managed a career high 12.1 yards per reception.  Even with a third-year breakout from teammate DeVante Parker possible, Landry will remain a consistent possession receiver for years to come.
  • Donte Moncreif was supposed to be THE guy this year.  Just google “Donte Moncrief Sleeper” and you will find plenty of hype about 2016 being his year, some of which even went so far as to say he would provide more value than T.Y. Hilton.  Unfortunately for those of us that bought hard on that prediction, it failed to materialize.  Shoulder and hamstring injuries hampered Moncrief for most of the year but he still managed seven touchdowns in limited time.  The yardage wasn’t there all season as he failed to eclipse 65 yards in any game, but he does play with our consensus number one dynasty quarterback, which helps protect his dynasty floor.  It will be interesting to see him over a full season as he could easily be one of the top red zone wide receivers in the NFL with his size.
  • One thing is for sure, Demaryius Thomas will have a better quarterback next season than he had this past year.  Whether it’s a free agent, trade, or a more mature version of their current core, DT will look to bounce back on his worst season since 2011.  He posted a five-year low in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, yet still managed to finish in the top 20 in both standard and PPR scoring.  The one stat that stands out is just four red zone touchdowns on 23 targets.  Eight players had over 20 red zone targets this season and they averaged 7 red zone touchdowns.  DT had four.
  • In Dynasty startups this offseason, Kelvin Benjamin had an ADP of WR18.  He finished 20th in standard scoring and 27th in PPR.  Greg Olsen remained the target man in the offense, but Ted Ginn (95 targets) is an unrestricted free agent, the Panthers have an option on Jonathan Stewart, and Olsen is entering his age-32 season.  It is possible for the Panthers to lean on Benjamin more in the coming years, but his upside will always be capped until the Panthers decide to pass more.  It’s been 10 years since the Panthers have been in the top half of the league in pass attempts per game.
  • While the touchdowns were cut in half from ’15 to this past season, Doug Baldwin still managed to have a career high in receptions (94) and yards (1,128) as the Seattle passing offense opened up.  Russell Wilson has now increased his passing yards in four straight seasons.  These are all good signs for Baldwin and he should be a high floor option at minimum thanks to his elite efficiency. His age should be noted, but he still makes a trustworthy asset as Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson have yet to prove if they are anything more than occasional big play guys.

Tier 4: Time to sell Jordy? 

Rank Name High Low Average 2017 Season Age
22 Corey Coleman 19 31 23.3 23.2
23 Sterling Shepard 21 29 24.3 24.6
24 Alshon Jeffery 17 35 24.5 27.6
25 Terrelle Pryor 23 28 25.0 28.2
26 DeVante Parker 16 42 26.3 24.6
27 Will Fuller 18 32 26.3 23.4
28 Jordy Nelson 27 29 28.0 32.3
29 Jordan Matthews 26 37 29.8 25.2
  • The first receiver selected in last year’s draft leads a tier filled with breakout candidates.  Corey Coleman demonstrated big play ability (17.4 YPC at Baylor, 25 YPC in first two games), but the Browns didn’t have a quarterback who could take advantage.  It’s uncertain whether Cleveland finds a consistent QB, so there could be lead time before the breakout happens.
  • Sterling Shepard should develop into the perfect sidekick to Odell Beckham.  He doesn’t have Beckham’s big play ability, but the Giants offense should have enough volume to support both receivers.  Shepard should settle in as a solid real life number two receiver and is a relatively safe WR3 for fantasy (as far as prospects go). If you’re looking for upside, we’d look elsewhere.
  • Jeffrey wasn’t great when healthy in 2016, but deserves a mulligan due to the Bears dysfunctional season.  It’s unlikely he is back in Chicago, so he should land in a better offense and get back to being a 1,000 yard 10+ touchdown threat.
  • Considering the degree of difficulty of Pryor’s 1,000 yard season it’s exciting to imagine how he would perform with a better supporting cast.  He should get that opportunity in 2017; clearly we believe his breakout is real given his size and speed.
  • Parker is the prototypical 3rd year breakout WR.  He has all everything you look for in a number one wide receiver including size (6 3, 210) and speed (4.45 40 yard dash). Parker has a wide range of outcomes due to volume questions in a run-oriented offense in which Jarvis Landry still gets the most looks.
  • Will Fuller’s pre-draft reputation was as a one dimensional deep threat.  His 51% catch percentage would support that theory, but he has time to develop into a complete receiver.  Like Coleman, he may be another year or two away from working with a quarterback who can take advantage of his big play ability.
  • Jordy Nelson had a great comeback season and quickly reclaimed the number one spot in Green Bay’s offense.  Due to his age (32 in 2017) and the emergence of DaVante Adams he could see his role reduced going forward.  Now may be the time to reload with a younger, less proven option.
  • Jordan Matthews looked ready to emerge as the top WR in Philly, so 2016 was a disappointment.  The volume was there (8.3 targets per game); with Carson Wentz getting more comfortable in his second season Matthews still has the potential to emerge as a solid number two fantasy wide receiver.

Tier 5: Can Martavis Bryant stay on the field, please? 

Rank Name High Low Average 2017 Season Age
30 Martavis Bryant 18 37 30.0 25.7
31 Randall Cobb 25 34 30.0 27.1
32 Jamison Crowder 27 42 32.0 24.2
33 Tyreek Hill 27 39 32.8 23.5
34 Kevin White 30 43 34.3 25.2
35 Emmanuel Sanders 34 36 35.0 30.5
36 Michael Crabtree 33 39 35.5 30.0
37 Golden Tate 32 46 38.0 29.1
38 Josh Doctson 32 44 38.3 24.8
39 Julian Edelman 31 45 38.5 31.3
  • Martavis Bryant has been great when he has been on the field; unfortunately he has missed 27 games in three seasons due to self inflicted wounds (or suspensions, more specifically), which makes him a tough dynasty rank.  If he can play a full season he has top 15 upside and could become the lead wide receiver in Pittsburgh as Antonio Brown hits his 30s.
  • Cobb has fallen off since his big year in 2014.  Only 27 years old, he should regain a larger share of the offense as Jordy Nelson nears the end of his career.  We believe the Packers offense can support a third relevant fantasy wide receiver.
  • You probably weren’t expecting Jamison Crowder to be the highest ranked Washington wide receiver.  His size (5’8” 180) limits his upside, but with both Garcon and Jackson entering free agency, Crowder could emerge as a high volume slot option who threatens 100 catches annually.
  • Tyreek Hill isn’t a conventional WR so he carries the risk of becoming purely a gadget player.  The upside is Percy Harvin from his Minnesota days.  Harvin was 25th, 22nd and 7th in WR scoring from 2009 to 2011 and had a great half season in 2012 before getting hurt and vanishing into oblivion.  If Hill is able to carve out a similar role in KC he could be a top 20 option who scores in a variety of ways.
  • The 2nd WR selected in the 2015 draft, Kevin White enters a make-or-break year in his 3rd season.  Assuming his leg injuries haven’t robbed him of his 4.35 speed he has a great chance to be the lead receiver in Chicago.  We wouldn’t make a point of acquiring him, but he could make an impact if everything goes right. Draft pedigree matters, even three years later.
  • Emmanuel Sanders was able to continue his 1,000 yard streak and has a consistent role earning between 137 and 141 targets each of the last three years.  We don’t believe there is much upside so unless Denver gets a big upgrade at QB (Romo maybe?) the streak won’t last much longer.
  • After disappointing in San Francisco under the weight of high expectations, Michael Crabtree moved across the bay and lead Oakland in targets, receptions and touchdowns in both 2015 and 2016.  That likely won’t continue in 2017, so we’re selling high on Crabtree.
  • Anyone who expected Golden Tate to breakout with the retirement of Calvin Johnson was moderately disappointed, but he should continue to be a solid, high floor option for another year or two. We’d be satisfied with him as a third wide receiver on a win-now team.
  • Pre-draft many thought Doctson was the most NFL ready receiver among his fellow rookies, but the Achilles injury turned it into a lost season.  Washington’s passing offense supported three fantasy relevant wide receivers and two tight ends, so the opportunity is there if he can get healthy for 2017. Again, Jackson and Garcon are free agents.
  • Like Wes Welker before him, once Edelman loses a step the end could come quickly and without warning.  I’d jump on a deal for a solid younger option, but you may have to hold on and hope he can manage another 90 catch 1,000 yard season.

Tier 6: Laquon Treadwell had HOW many yards last year?  

Rank Name High Low Average 2017 Season Age
40 Tyler Boyd 33 48 41.3 22.8
41 Marvin Jones 33 48 41.5 27.5
42 Willie Snead 37 47 42.3 24.9
43 Tyrell Williams 37 49 42.8 25.6
44 Tyler Lockett 40 47 43.3 25.0
45 Laquon Treadwell 40 50 44.8 22.2
46 Rishard Matthews 38 56 46.3 27.9
47 Eric Decker 42 52 48.0 30.5
48 Desean Jackson 38 54 48.5 30.8
49 Breshad Perriman 45 52 48.5 24.0
  • This tier features two players heading into their sophomore season: Tyler Boyd and Laquon Treadwell.  Treadwell remains a work in progress and much of his ranking is based on his draft profile.  Totaling a whopping one catch for 15 yards in 2016, he easily has the lowest floor of this tier.
  • Meanwhile Tyler Boyd might have the highest upside after a rookie year that saw him grab 54 receptions on 81 targets.  Brandon LaFell saw 107 targets in Cincy and is now an unrestricted free agent.  It is quite possible the Bengals want to hold on to the veteran as he would likely be affordable, but Boyd still has a shot to be a very nice second fiddle to A.J. Green, with potential for more down the line.
  • This tier also includes three players who were sophomores last year, and we have them ranked in the opposite order of how they were drafted.  Tyrell Williams (undrafted in 2015) leads the pack after a season which he was shoved into the spotlight after injuries to many key players on the Chargers offense.  Williams rose to the occasion finishing WR13 in standard and WR18 in PPR.  Even with Keenan Allen set to return and take back the bulk of the targets, Williams has easily surpassed Travis Benjamin as this team’s WR2 going into 2017.
  • Tyler Lockett (3rd round in 2015) again showcased his big play ability for the Seahawks but had a regression in touchdowns, yards, and receptions.  Much of this can be attributed to the re-emergence of Jimmy Graham and the heavy use of Lockett as a return man.  The potential for improvement is still there but after two full seasons we can be certain the ceiling is certainly not as high as some had hoped.
  • Breshad Perriman arguably has a higher ceiling and a clearer path to playing time.  After missing all of 2015, Perriman saw limited action with the Ravens but managed 500 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Steve Smith is retired, Dennis Pitta will be 32, Mike Wallace will be 31, and Perriman has clearly passed Kamar Aiken on the depth chart.  The upside potential is there, but the lack of commitment by the Ravens (just one start) keep his floor low as well.
  • Marvin Jones came out guns blazing leading all wide receivers in scoring after three weeks, but in weeks 4-17 was WR62. Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense are solid, but unless Jones can improve on catching the ball (team worst 53.4 catch %), he is limited to big plays which can be streaky.  If Anquan Boldin does not return, we expect Eric Ebron and Golden Tate to see more red zone and 3rd down targets before Marvin does.
  • Willie Snead has had some very good games, but Michael Thomas’ emergence has sunk Snead’s dynasty stock. An exclusive rights free agent, many predict the Saints will keep him.  While it’s nice to remain with Drew Brees, he would need an injury to Brandin Cooks or Michael Thomas to burst into the upper tiers of wide receivers, and even that would be temporary.  It doesn’t help that he’s the oldest of the Saints’ trio.
  • Rishard Matthews had a nice year with the Titans: 65 receptions, 945 yards, and 9 touchdowns.  While it was easily the best of his career, he will be 28 going into next season and the Titans are expected to make a move for a playmaker wide receiver.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that they will likely move on from unrestricted free agent Kendall Wright and Matthews, a nice route runner, should remain a dependable possession receiver with decent red zone ability. If the Titans don’t add a wide receiver Matthews has far more upside than most 28 year olds lacking in pedigree and could come at a relative discount.
  • Eric Decker was Mr. Consistent for four consecutive years, providing solid returns for those that drafted him, seemingly always at a value.  Then, in 2016, he not only tore his rotator cuff, but also had hip surgery in October.  His season was cut short after three games and time is not on his side.  In 2017 he very well may pass Brandon Marshall as the top target for the Jets (even if Marshall sticks around), however his upside is limited by the quarterback situation, health, and age.  In all, Decker is an acceptable WR3 if you can get him at an injury discount.
  • DeSean Jackson is an unrestricted free agent and while Jason Cole reports three teams are interested in DeSean, the names of those teams is not known as of this writing.  The team that makes the most sense and has been linked to Jackson is his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles.  He has big play upside and was consistent this year, but as age cuts into his speed, we may see him fall off a cliff in terms of production.  Unlike other recent players who aged nicely such as Steve Smith, Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin, Jackson does not have the size to overcome a drop in quickness, and its coming.  When that happens exactly is anyone’s guess.

Write-ups by Tom Trudeau (@TomTrudeau), Chris Flannery (@cflanders29) and Matt Mesisca

The Author

Tom Trudeau

Tom Trudeau

2 Comments

  1. […] 2017 Fantasy Football Rankings: TheDynastyGuru.com ranks the top 50 wide receivers for dynasty/keeper leagues. […]

  2. robbyrobdu
    February 18, 2017 at 9:27 pm — Reply

    Matthews is criminally under ranked, as he had been his entire career not getting a shot. He got his shot, did VERY well, and his game is not predicated on speed…so he far from Age mattering.

    Just snagged him for a mid 3rd and late 4th in a 16 team 40 man Dynasty…where he was the 21st ranked WR last year…have a hard time believing with Mariota improving that Matthews falls this far…..

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