Welcome to Wide Receiver Week here at NerdBall! From studs to starters, breakout potential to potential breakdowns, these are the top-60 wide receivers of the 2021 NFL season.
There’s some reshuffling atop the wide receivers with uncertainty brewing in Green Bay. There’s a lot of value to be had at the position this year so don’t worry if you miss on the top tier names. Most of the wide receivers going as WR2s or even WR3s have legit WR1 upside.
Top 60 Wide Receivers for 2021 Fantasy Football
|Rank||Player||Team||vs NerdBall||vs FF Calc|
|1||Stefon Diggs||BUF||↑ 1||↑ 2|
|2||Tyreek Hill||KC||↓ 1||↓ 1|
|3||Calvin Ridley||ATL||↑ 2||↑ 2|
|4||Davante Adams||GB||↓ 1||↓ 2|
|5||Keenan Allen||LAC||↑ 3||↑ 5|
|6||DeAndre Hopkins||ARI||↓ 2||↓ 2|
|7||Allen Robinson II||CHI||↑ 2||↑ 5|
|8||Justin Jefferson||MIN||↓ 1||↓ 1|
|9||A.J. Brown||TEN||↓ 3||↓ 1|
|10||Terry McLaurin||WAS||↑ 3||↑ 1|
|11||D.K. Metcalf||SEA||↓ 1||↓ 5|
|12||Robert Woods||LAR||↑ 2||↑ 6|
|13||Amari Cooper||DAL||↓ 2||↑ 3|
|14||Julio Jones||ATL||↑ 1||0|
|15||Mike Evans||TB||↓ 3||0|
|16||Ja'Marr Chase||CIN||↑ 3||↑ 10|
|17||CeeDee Lamb||DAL||↓ 1||↓ 4|
|18||D.J. Moore||CAR||↓ 1||↑ 7|
|19||Diontae Johnson||PIT||↑ 4||↑ 3|
|20||Courtland Sutton||DEN||↑ 6||↑ 12|
|21||Robby Anderson||CAR||↑ 3||↑ 13|
|22||D.J. Chark Jr.||JAX||0||↑ 9|
|23||Kenny Golladay||NYG||↓ 3||↓ 2|
|24||Chase Claypool||PIT||↑ 1||↑ 5|
|25||Corey Davis||NYJ||↑ 8||↑ 25|
|26||Cooper Kupp||LAR||↑ 4||↓ 6|
|27||Jerry Jeudy||DEN||↑ 8||↑ 10|
|28||Tyler Lockett||SEA||↑ 3||↓ 5|
|29||Will Fuller V||MIA||↓ 2||↑ 9|
|30||Chris Godwin||TB||↓ 12||↓ 13|
|31||Brandin Cooks||HOU||↑ 6||↑ 9|
|32||Deebo Samuel||SF||↑ 2||↑ 3|
|33||Odell Beckham Jr.||CLE||↓ 5||↓ 9|
|34||JuJu Smith-Schuster||PIT||↓ 2||↓ 1|
|35||Antonio Brown||TB||↑ 7||↑ 7|
|36||DeVonta Smith||PHI||0||↓ 6|
|37||Brandon Aiyuk||SF||↓ 16||↓ 10|
|38||Adam Thielen||MIN||↓ 9||↓ 19|
|39||Tee Higgins||CIN||↑ 1||↓ 9|
|40||Tyler Boyd||CIN||↑ 7||↓ 4|
|41||Henry Ruggs III||LV||↑ 5||↑ 7|
|42||Curtis Samuel||WAS||↓ 1||↑ 2|
|43||Mike Williams||LAC||↑ 2||↑ 4|
|44||Darnell Mooney||CHI||↑||↑ 10|
|45||Michael Pittman Jr.||IND||↓ 1||↓ 6|
|46||Michael Gallup||DAL||↓ 3||↑ 7|
|47||Jarvis Landry||CLE||↓ 8||↓ 6|
|48||Tre'Quan Smith||NO||0||↑ 11|
|49||Russell Gage||ATL||—||↑ 8|
|50||DeVante Parker||MIA||—||↓ 1|
|51||Laviska Shenault Jr.||JAX||—||↓ 6|
|52||Marvin Jones Jr.||JAX||—||↑ 6|
|54||Rashod Bateman||BAL||—||↑ 7|
|55||T.Y. Hilton||IND||—||↓ 3|
|56||John Brown||LV||—||↑ 9|
|57||Elijah Moore||NYJ||—||↓ 1|
|58||Jaylen Waddle||MIA||—||↓ 15|
|60||Michael Thomas||NO||—||↓ 51|
I’ve pulled out five receivers where my rankings are currently different to the fantasy consensus found at FF Calculator, and have done more of a deep dive to explain why I’ve ranked them where I have.
Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (My rank WR12, Consensus WR18)
Here are Robert Wood’s .5PPR finishes over the last three years: WR10 in 2018, WR17 in 2019, and WR13 last year. All with Jared Goff throwing him the football. Now Woods has Matthew Stafford tossing him the pigskin—a clear and obvious upgrade—as well as 143 available targets to work with with Josh Reynolds and Gerald Everett leaving in free agency. I’m confidently drafting Woods as a WR1 this year.
Corey Davis, New York Jets (My rank WR25, Consensus WR50)
We all do understand that Corey Davis was signed to be the Jets’ No. 1 pass catcher, right? I know it may seem like a lot of mouths to feed in New York, but honestly, it’s really just three: Davis, Elijah Moore, and Denzel Mims. Most every offense has three receivers to feed and they do it successfully. Playing second fiddle to A.J. Brown last year, Davis finished WR31 in .5PPR on just 92 targets. I fully expect Davis to see upward of 120 targets this year and that volume alone makes him an easy Flex play.
Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (My rank WR30, Consensus WR17)
Chris Godwin feels like the odd man out in this Buccaneers offense to me. Mike Evans has solidified himself as Tom Brady’s go-to red zone target (t-5th in NFL last year). Brady advocated hard for the Bucs to sign Antonio Brown off the street and then peppered him with targets as soon as he arrived. And let’s not overlook the signing of Giovani Bernard (not that we’ve been doing that here on the site) who finally gives Brady what he loves most in the world: a pass catcher out of the backfield. Godwin saw his 20% target share to start last year (through the four games he played) drop from Week 9 onward due to the arrival of Brown. Brown and Evans tied with 21% target share from Week 9 onward while Godwin saw 18%.
I’ll admit I may be a tad too low on Godwin, but I certainly am not drafting him as anything higher than WR25 this year.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (My rank WR38, Consensus WR19)
I’ve written plenty on why I’m not touching Adam Thielen this year so I’ll be brief here. It all comes down to touchdowns. Thielen was a TD machine last year, catching 14. However, those touchdowns accounted for 38.7% of his total fantasy points, the highest TDd among WRs last year. Thielen’s reliance on touchdowns paints him as a boom-or-bust player for 2021, not a reliable WR2 you can trust. If you draft Thielen in the first six rounds of your fantasy drafts, you will be disappointed.
Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears (My rank WR44, Consensus WR54)
With the Bears trading wide receiver Anthony Miller to the Houston Texans this weekend, the door is wide open now for Darnell Mooney to solidify himself as the Bears’ No. 2 receiver next to Allen Robinson. Oh, and Darnell Mooney is really good and the Bears know it.
As a rookie last year, Mooney had 631 yards receiving which was a fraction of his total air yards—1,121. The Bears were targeting Mooney down the field for big home run plays, as evidenced by his 11.4 aDOT (average depth of target). But with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles at the helm, much of those throws were wildly off target. Go watch the tape.
With Justin Fields certain to start the majority of games this year, Mooney has a chance to seemingly come out of nowhere to become a fantasy star in 2021.