Fantasy Football WR Tiers 2021: Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill are staples in the top tier

Fantasy football WR tiers are useful resources to use when navigating drafts and can help you optimize your drafting strategy.

While we meticulously comb through and critique individual player rankings, approaching positions with a tier-based approach could be the better way to go for fantasy football when it comes to the actual draft. Using tiers in fantasy football for position groups like WRs, there could be substantial value to be found rather than only chasing the big names.

Why use WR “tiers” rather than rankings for fantasy football?

We would all love to live in a perfect world where we take our top-ranked player at every selection, but that’s just not realistic during the draft. Name recognition plays a massive role in how we perceive talent and upside. But odds are they are not the only player with a similar fantasy outlook.

If you knew four players were projected to all finish with identical fantasy seasons but were going nearly a round apart in ADP, you would always choose the latter player who is the better value. That is what tier-based drafting is all about — looking for players at a value. In this case, we are looking at WRs and using tiers to find the better pick in fantasy football drafts at their given value.

Each position has a different point where there’s a considerable drop-off in talent and opportunity. Understanding which round that drop-off comes depends on scoring settings and the flow of each draft. Therefore, always remain fluid as your draft shifts from one position run to the next.

Fantasy Football WR Tiers | Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs headline top tiers

Note: The rankings used for these tiers are from the consensus rankings created by Senior Fantasy Analyst Eric Moody and Fantasy Analyst Tommy Garrett with 0.5 PPR scoring in mind and will fluctuate as we get closer to the season. Please check back regularly for any changes.

Tier 1: Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley, DeAndre Hopkins

Did you know that Davante Adams has finished as a WR2+ in 78% of his 41 active games since 2018? He’s averaged 22 PPR fantasy points per game over that time frame and caught a career-high 77.2% of his targets in 2020.

Since 2017, Tyreek Hill has averaged 8 targets, 106 receiving air yards, and 19 PPR fantasy points per game. He has the fourth-most receiving air yards (6,145) among receivers over that cohort. Last year, Hill finished with 87 receptions, 1,276 receiving yards, and 15 receiving touchdowns.

Stefon Diggs averaged 10.5 targets, 8 receptions, 96 receiving yards, 107 receiving air yards, and 20.5 PPR fantasy ppg. The veteran receiver caught a career-high 75.6% of his targets in 2020.

In 2020, Calvin Ridley averaged 19 PPR points and finished as a WR2 or better in 60% of his 15 active games. He caught 90 of 143 targets for 1,374 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. Without Julio Jones in the lineup, Ridley saw a 30% target share, averaging 11 targets and nearly 20 fantasy points per game.

DeAndre Hopkins finished his first season with the Cardinals with 160 targets, 1,407 receiving yards, and 6 touchdowns. He finished as a WR1 in 50% of 16 games, averaging 18 PPR fantasy points. He also tied for the seventh-most red-zone targets (18).

Tier 2: Justin Jefferson, DK Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Keenan Allen, Allen Robinson, Terry McLaurin

Justin Jefferson caught 88 of 125 targets for 1,400 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns during his rookie season. He had the seventh-most receptions and the most receiving yards for a rookie, according to Pro Football Reference.

DK Metcalf finished as the WR7 in PPR formats in 2020. He caught 83 of 129 targets for 1,303 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. He led all receivers in receptions of 20+ yards and had 100+ receiving yards and/or scored a touchdown in 10 of 16 games.

A.J. Brown finished as a WR1 in 43% of his 14 active games last year. He’s averaged 7.6 targets, 5 receptions, 76.6 receiving yards, and 18 PPR points per game. Brown exceeded his targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown totals from 2019, despite playing in two fewer games.

Keenan Allen has been consistent over the last four seasons for the Chargers. He exceeded 97 receptions in each and averaged over 1,100 receiving yards. Allen has averaged 17 PPR fantasy points per game in 62 active games since 2017.

Allen Robinson has racked up back-to-back seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards for the Bears over the last two seasons. He’s averaged 9.5 targets, 6.2 receptions, 75 receiving yards, and 16.2 PPR fantasy ppg.

Fantasy Football WR Tiers 2021: Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill are staples in the top tier
Fantasy Football WR Tiers 2021: Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill are staples in the top tier

WR Tiers 3 and 4

Many of these receivers in these two tiers are on the WR2 radar but will provide you with some WR1 performances this season.

Tier 3

CeeDee Lamb, Robert Woods, Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Diontae Johnson, Tyler Lockett

CeeDee Lamb stockpiled 433 yards in his first five games with Dak Prescott before the quarterback’s season-ending injury. Lamb finished his first NFL season with 74 receptions, 935 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns. He also had the second-most receiving yards and receptions of 20+ yards among all rookie receivers last season.

Robert Woods has averaged 8.5 targets and 16 PPR points over the last three seasons. This trend should continue this season for the veteran receiver in Los Angeles. Woods’ ceiling is even higher in 2021 due to the addition of Matthew Stafford at quarterback.

Julio Jones averaged 10.5 targets, 6.8 receptions, and 99 receiving yards per game opposite Ridley in Atlanta prior to the 2020 season. Now with the Titans, the veteran receiver will pair with A.J. Brown on the boundary. The young receiver will command a great deal of defensive attention in Tennessee, which is good news for Jones in 2021.

Tier 4

Cooper Kupp, Tee Higgins, Adam Thielen, Ja’Marr Chase, Brandon Aiyuk, Odell Beckham Jr., Chase Claypool, Kenny Golladay, Robby Anderson, JuJu Smith-Schuster

Anderson caught 95 of 136 targets for 1,096 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns last year with the Panthers. He had a career year and is now reunited with former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. Anderson projects for around 140 targets, 87 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards, and 6 touchdowns.

Ja’Marr Chase joins a Bengals team with 195 available targets. We have him projected for around 130 targets, 75 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards, and 6 touchdowns. His reunion with Joe Burrow will be exciting to watch. Chase opted out of the 2020 season to concentrate on his NFL career. He set SEC records during the 2019 campaign with 84 receptions and 1,780 receiving yards at LSU.

WR Tiers | 5-10

How do the rest of the WR tier groups shake out?

Tier 5

Courtland Sutton, Tyler Boyd, Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, Brandin Cooks, Deebo Samuel, Antonio Brown, Curtis Samuel, D.J. Chark, Will Fuller, Mike Williams, Michael Gallup, Jaylen Waddle, Laviska Shenault

Tier 6

Corey Davis, Jarvis Landry, Marvin Jones, DeVante Parker, Darnell Mooney, Elijah Moore, Russell Gage, Rondale Moore, Michael Pittman, Emmanuel Sanders, Mecole Hardman, Marquise Brown, Sterling Shepard, Tre’Quan Smith, Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor

Tier 7

Randall Cobb, Cole Beasley, Michael Thomas, D.J. Moore, T.Y. Hilton, Henry Ruggs, Christian Kirk, Terrace Marshall, Tyrell Williams, Marquez Callaway, John Brown, Gabriel Davis, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Breshad Perriman, Bryan Edwards, Jalen Reagor, Keelan Cole, Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder

Tier 8

DeSean Jackson, Van Jefferson, Darius Slayton, Nico Collins, Sammy Watkins, Byron Pringle, Rashod Bateman, Allen Lazard, A.J. Green, Deonte Harris, Demarcus Robinson, Olamide Zaccheaus, Tyron Johnson, Quintez Cephus, D’Wayne Eskridge, James Washington, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Rashard Higgins, Hunter Renfrow, Josh Reynolds, K.J. Hamler, Tim Patrick, Auden Tate

Tier 9

Jalen Guyton, Adam Humphries, Collin Johnson, Zach Pascal, Chris Conley, Keke Coutee, Kadarius Toney, Kendrick Bourne, Quez Watkins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cordarrelle Patterson, Dyami Brown, Tutu Atwell, Travis Fulgham, Amari Rodgers, Scotty Miller, Denzel Mims, N’Keal Harry, Damiere Byrd, Isaiah McKenzie, Josh Palmer, Anthony Miller, Preston Williams, Freddie Swain, Willie Snead, Lynn Bowden, Andy Isabella

Tier 10

Tyler Johnson, Tylan Wallace, Albert Wilson, David Moore, Cam Sims, Miles Boykin, Anthony Schwartz, Richie James, Greg Ward, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Juwan Johnson, Mohamed Sanu, Marquise Goodwin, Dez Fitzpatrick, Devin Duvernay, Cornell Powell, Dede Westbrook, Frank Darby, Jalen Hurd, Cedrick Wilson, Antonio Callaway, John Ross, Marcus Kemp, Noah Brown

Eric is a Senior Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association). You can read more of his work here and follow Eric on Twitter @EricNMoody.

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