Dynasty fantasy football rankings involve recency effect to a degree, but it’s a matter of appraising value within a player’s career arc. When is the best time to have that player on your roster, and when are they better trade targets? Who can you buy low and sell high? When it comes to wide receivers, the position is as important as ever — let’s dive into my 2021 dynasty WR rankings and evaluate the most desirable wide receiver assets.
2021 Dynasty Wide Receiver Rankings | 6-10
10) Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
It came down to Thomas vs. Mike Evans for this last spot in the dynasty WR rankings. Thomas obviously wasn’t himself this year. His high ankle sprain not only forced Thomas to miss time but even upon his return, this consistent playmaker just wasn’t the same in 2020. Then, we saw Thomas get a goose egg in the Saints playoff game and get a postseason surgery on his ankle.
The injury really shouldn’t be a concern anymore, but his situation in New Orleans is really worrisome.
There have been rumors that Thomas has wanted out of New Orleans, but it makes little financial sense for the Saints to trade their best receiver. Yet, this team is in salary cap hell and needs to get rid of many top players. There could be dark times ahead. Most worrisome, though, is that Thomas won’t have Drew Brees feeding him the football.
Will Taysom Hill or whoever else takes over for Brees as the Saints’ quarterback have anything close to the chemistry that Thomas and Brees had? Of course not.
9) CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
Lamb will turn 22 years old in April. Only Justin Jefferson is younger from this group. His numbers don’t approach the others on this list, but what if Dak Prescott had been behind center for Dallas all year? Remember the passing numbers Prescott was putting up before his injury?
And the year before that, Dallas’ offense averaged more yards per play than any other in the league. Lamb is fluid and explosive. He has rare ball skills as well as great after-the-catch acumen. Buy now while you still can; he’ll be moving up the dynasty wide receiver rankings in 2021, in all likelihood.
8) DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
Hopkins turns 29 years old in June and is the oldest wide receiver listed here. Diggs is the only player on this list that ended the 2020 season with more receiving yards than Hopkins, who averaged just under 88 receiving yards per game in his first year in Arizona.
Hopkins only found the end zone six times last year, but his play style doesn’t indicate that scoring touchdowns should be a problem for him. He has double-digit scores in three of the past six seasons. Look for Arizona to add another prominent pass catcher this offseason, though. There were some questions if Hopkins would be the target hog for the Cardinals that he was in Houston, but only Diggs was targeted more often in 2020.
7) Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Diggs’ 147 receptions led the NFL by a wide margin in 2020. That was his first season in Buffalo and should be a sign of things to come as he and Josh Allen continue lighting up opposing defenses.
Diggs is an elite route runner that is extremely effective at every level. The Buffalo WR averaged 12.1 yards per catch and led the league in receiving yards — his dynasty ranking has never been higher. Diggs is 27 years old and that is a slight concern, but he is playing at an extremely high level (including in the playoffs) and is in a great situation now in Buffalo.
6) Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Jefferson finished his rookie season with 1,400 receiving yards after not being used as a full-time player in the first two games of the season. That is insane production for any wideout, let alone one adjusting to the NFL without the benefit of a normal training camp or any preseason action.
With all respect to Adam Thielen, Jefferson is already Minnesota’s number one receiver, and that discrepancy will only grow going forward. Jefferson also happens to be the youngest receiver on this list, and his 15.9 yards per catch leads everyone mentioned here.
2021 Dynasty Wide Receiver Rankings | 1-5
5) Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
Ridley exploded last year with only four players in the league accounting for more receiving yards. He is set to explode again in 2021 and might just top this list a year from now. The reason? Well, Ridley is a great player who is ascending on his own accord and is one of the league’s best route runners. But, as importantly, the Falcons hired Arthur Smith as their new head coach.
Smith is an offensive mastermind, and the Falcons’ passing game was already quite strong before Smith arrived. Smith’s arrival benefits everyone on this side of the ball — including a running back to be named later — but Ridley’s age makes him the greatest benefactor without question. Also, Atlanta very well could draft their quarterback of the future with the fourth overall pick, which bodes well for Ridley’s long-term success.
4) D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
Has the NFL ever seen someone like Metcalf? He stands out even to someone that has never watched football.
Metcalf’s production dropped off down the stretch, as did Seattle’s entire passing game — in the middle of the season, Metcalf may have been even higher in the 2021 dynasty wide receiver rankings. Yet, this physical freak has a great situation with Russell Wilson as a deep-ball specialist that is quickly becoming a well-rounded target. Metcalf averaged 15.7 yards per catch in his second NFL season.
3) A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
Brown looks like a young Julio Jones. But like Jones, he has battled injuries (and played through them).
Brown’s 2020 numbers aren’t quite on par with some of the others on this list, and it is a concern that Tennessee has lost Arthur Smith to coordinate their exceptional offense. However, Brown just passes the eyeball and film test, and there might not be a better receiver in football after the catch. He will be a superstar and may top the dynasty WR rankings before we know it.
2) Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill is the scariest non-quarterback to defensive coordinators in the entire NFL — and it really isn’t even close. No one moves on a football field like Hill, and Andy Reid is a master at getting the ball into the hands of his two elite playmakers.
Having Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback isn’t such a bad thing, either. Hill also gets carries throughout the year with regularity and has six career rushing touchdowns. The Kansas City speed demon scored 15 receiving touchdowns this year, which brings his total over the last three years to 44 even though he has missed five games in that stretch. Hill scores touchdowns. He’s nasty.
You could see him become the alpha for dynasty wide receiver rankings at some point in 2021.
1) Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Only Stefon Diggs caught more passes than Adams this year, and Adams missed two games. He also averaged over 98 yards per game, which was best in the NFL by far. Oh, Adams also caught 18 touchdowns. This is Aaron Rodgers’ guy, and folks, Rodgers isn’t going anywhere.
In December, Adams turned 28 years old, which makes him the second-oldest player on this list, and the Packers would be wise to add another wide receiver this offseason. But by no means is Adams slowing down whatsoever, and he excels in the nuances of the position like no one else in the NFL right now. Adams isn’t going away anytime soon. Adams is numero uno in the dynasty WR rankings.
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