Advertisement

2024 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tiered look at the wide receiver draft landscape

We’re working our way through the Shuffle Up series for the new fantasy football draft season. The dollar values you'll see below are unscientific in nature but reflect how I see the clusters of talent at the wide receiver position. Use these tiers however you like.

We've already put the tight ends and quarterbacks through the car wash. Today we work on the wideouts. Running backs will come later in the week.

Have some disagreements? Good, that’s why we have a game. I welcome your reasoned disagreement over at X: @scott_pianowski.

This is a critical position for me because most of my roster builds are going to be dominated by early-round receivers. I prefer an Anchor RB (sometimes called Hero RB) build, where the idea is to get one significant runner you trust in an early round and otherwise focus on other positions. But for me, that non-RB focus is almost always going to be driven by the receiver chase.

The simple concept is this: I want a roster of wide receivers who start themselves.

I do not want to play the guessing game on which WR in the 40-60 range is going to have a playable WR15 type of week. Obviously, I will pick some bench receivers too, with the hope that some of them will emerge into credible weekly plays. But when we're talking about finding talent on the waiver wire, you're less likely to grab an impactful wideout than a key player at any other position.

I know, Puka Nacua happened last year. That's a major exception, not some new rule.

  • $45 CeeDee Lamb

  • $43 Tyreek Hill

  • $43 Ja'Marr Chase

  • $41 Justin Jefferson

  • $41 Amon-Ra St. Brown

  • $39 A.J. Brown

  • $37 Puka Nacua

  • $37 Garrett Wilson

Lamb's game climbed a level during an absurd closing kick last year; over his final 11 games, he posted a 101-1, 274-11 line, with touchdowns in nine of his starts. Generally speaking, early-summer holdout talk rarely amounts to missed time in-season; Le'Veon Bell is the one notable exception in recent years. I'll continue to rank Lamb aggressively and target him aggressively.

Even after Kirk Cousins got hurt last year, head coach Kevin O'Connell found a way to dial up splashy plays. And Jefferson was plenty productive down the stretch, posting a 30-476-2 return over his final four games despite Minnesota's motley crew of quarterbacks. Maybe it's Sam Darnold for part of the year, maybe it's J.J. McCarthy for most of it; we don't know yet. But I'm going to trust Jefferson and O'Connell until they give me a reason not to.

Boom-or-bust is a way of life for most NFL receivers, so it's reassuring when you can roster someone like St. Brown, a consistency king. Brown racked up 164 targets last year with a median of nine per week, and he only dropped down to six targets once. The Lions largely brought the band back together on offense, keeping OC Ben Johnson and extending quarterback Jared Goff. The Sun God is one of the safest players to park your ADP investment.

  • $33 Mike Evans

  • $32 Deebo Samuel

  • $30 Brandon Aiyuk

  • $28 Marvin Harrison Jr.

  • $28 Chris Olave

  • $25 Davante Adams

  • $25 DK Metcalf

  • $23 DeVonta Smith

  • $23 Amari Cooper

  • $22 Nico Collins

  • $22 Drake London

  • $22 Jaylen Waddle

Samuel has only made it past 95 targets once, a combination of injuries popping up and the shape of the 49ers offense. Samuel will supplement his scoring with regular rushing work, though his rushing volume has dropped in the last two seasons. He's usually drafted around the target monsters, but he needs to be an efficiency master to make back his ADP. I admire him more as a real-life player than I do a fantasy prospect.

Adams was put on this earth to score touchdowns, but it takes a strong stomach to use an early pick on him considering the weakness of the Raiders quarterback room. Adams only had five touchdowns in his final 14 games last year, and now steps into his age-32 season.

Collins versus Diggs is an interesting debate in the fantasy community, but I'll comfortably side with the player who's six years younger and already has game reps with the offense. The Collins genie is out of the bottle for good.

Like his teammate Kyle Pitts, Drake London has been allergic to the end zone through two years — just six spikes in 33 games. But I'm comfortable blaming most of that on the departed Arthur Smith and a lackluster group of Atlanta quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins and new OC Zac Robinson (from the Sean McVay tree) can take a sad song and make it better.

  • $22 DJ Moore

  • $22 Cooper Kupp

  • $20 Tee Higgins

  • $19 Michael Pittman

  • $18 George Pickens

  • $17 Stefon Diggs

  • $17 Zay Flowers

  • $16 Tank Dell

  • $16 Jayden Reed

  • $16 Christian Kirk

  • $16 Terry McLaurin

  • $15 Chris Godwin

  • $14 Malik Nabers

  • $14 Calvin Ridley

  • $13 Keenan Allen

  • $13 Rashee Rice

My admiration for McLaurin hasn't always paid off in fantasy, but I'm forever going to blame the quarterbacks he's been tied to. Consider the QBs McLaurin has caught touchdowns from: Taylor Heinicke, Case Keenum, Sam Howell, Dwayne Haskins, the last gasp of Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, Jacoby Brissett, Carson Wentz. Heck, if Brissett had played all of 2023, I bet McLaurin's fantasy value would rise 5-8 slots. Jayden Daniels is a quirky prospect, but there's definitely a ceiling there, and McLaurin could be in line for his best fantasy season.

Godwin's never had the touchdown upside of running mate Mike Evans, but the Buccaneers plan to use Godwin back in the slot this year, which will give him more layup targets from Baker Mayfield. Even if we accept that Godwin's never likely to have a double-digit touchdown season, there's no reason he can't get back to the 5-7 range that he was hitting regularly in the middle of his career. A league winner, no, but perhaps an underrated fantasy target.

I'm probably lower on Nabers than the market, holding onto skepticism that Daniel Jones can push a receiver into a star season right away. The Giants haven't managed a single 800-yard receiver during the five-year Jones era.

  • $12 Hollywood Brown

  • $12 DeAndre Hopkins

  • $12 Diontae Johnson

  • $12 Christian Watson

  • $12 Jordan Addison

  • $12 Courtland Sutton

  • $11 Tyler Lockett

  • $10 Rome Odunze

  • $10 Jaxon Smith-Njigba

  • $10 Ladd McConkey

  • $9 Jameson Williams

  • $8 Xavier Worthy

  • $8 Brian Thomas

  • $8 Mike Williams

  • $8 Brandin Cooks

  • $7 Jakobi Meyers

  • $6 Rashid Shaheed

  • $6 Keon Coleman

  • $6 Khalil Shakir

McConkey played in a run-first environment at Georgia so the switch to the NFL won't be a major adjustment; we know Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman want to run like crazy with the Chargers. But someone has to lead this roster in targets, and McConkey has a plausible case for 100-plus opportunities right out of the box. The depth chart ahead of McConkey is modest enough: unexciting veteran Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston, who was a washout rookie last year.

It's not always easy to trust efficiency stats from a part-time player, but note Shakir made 13.6 yards per target in his limited opportunity last year. Surely that opportunity is now headed up; he's the only wide receiver on the Buffalo roster who's caught a pass from Josh Allen. Shakir is a perfect depth target for the second part of your draft.

If distance scoring is your thing, Shaheed is your type of player. He's scored nine pro touchdowns and they've all been distance specials, covering 76, 68, 58, 53, 45, 44, 39, 34 and 19 yards. Derek Carr's play likely caps Shaheed's upside, and it's hard to see Shaheed getting more than 85 targets. But I won't mind starting Shaheed here and there during bye-week season, and he's a fun pick for the best-ball managers.

  • $5 Romeo Doubs

  • $5 Jerry Jeudy

  • $5 Jahan Dotson

  • $4 Gabe Davis

  • $4 Curtis Samuel

  • $4 Josh Downs

  • $3 Joshua Palmer

  • $3 Adam Thielen

  • $3 Dontayvion Wicks

  • $2 Adonai Mitchell

  • $2 Quentin Johnston

  • $2 Marvin Mims

  • $2 Darnell Mooney

  • $2 Rashod Bateman

  • $2 Demarcus Robinson

  • $2 Darius Slayton

  • $1 Michael Wilson

  • $1 Xavier Legette

  • $1 Jermaine Burton

  • $1 DeMario Douglas

  • $1 Ja'Lynn Polk

  • $1 Wan'Dale Robinson

  • $1 Elijah Moore

  • $1 Ricky Pearsall

  • $1 Troy Franklin

  • $1 Roman Wilson

  • $1 Jalin Hyatt

  • $1 Javon Baker

  • $1 Malachi Corley

It's possible Wicks is far too low on this list; the Green Bay gridlock forces me to be conservative, but Wicks might have the chops to eventually be this team's alpha receiver. He has the physical profile to win on contested catches and in tight spaces, but he's not going to run away from defenders with any regularity. A good stash-and-see type of pick; his current Yahoo ADP is 133.