Never-Too-Early 2019 Wide Receiver Rankings
Below you'll find my second stab at 2019 rankings for the wide receiver position.
The rankings are based on half-PPR scoring systems. I’ve included 2018 regular season points per game and two-year points per game (where applicable). I’ve also included the difference (DIFF) between my rank and the player’s current average draft position (ADP) of 12-team half-PPR best ball drafts at DRAFT. A positive number means that I'm relatively high on the player while a negative number means—you guessed it—that I'm relatively low on the player.
Below the rankings you'll find some discussion about a few players that jump out as particularly good or poor values heading into the spring.
|Rank||Player||Team||2018 PPG||2-YR PPG||DIFF|
- T.Y. Hilton finished as the No. 14 WR despite missing two games, and would have finished in the top 10 had he played a full season. He barely practiced once he suffered an ankle injury in Week 15, but still managed to catch 23 passes for 429 yards and a touchdown in his final five games, including the postseason. Since 2016, he has averaged 5.7 catches for 92 yards and 0.41 touchdowns in 29 games with Andrew Luck under center.
- I was skeptical about how Amari Cooper would fare after a midseason trade to the Cowboys, but the team got him very involved immediately and he responded with top tier production. In 11 games with Dallas, he averaged 6.0 catches for 81.5 yards and 0.64 touchdowns (a 96-1304-10.2 pace) on 8.5 targets per game. I think we need to treat him as a bona fide fantasy WR1 heading into the 2019 season.
- In 13 games (including the playoffs), Julian Edelman played at a 102-catch, 1232-yard, 7.4-touchdown pace. Rob Gronkowski is fading and may retire, which will leave Edelman as the primary weapon in the passing game, if he isn’t already.
- If DeSean Jackson moves on, Chris Godwin should return great value on his current sixth round ADP. He finished strong in 2017, posting 3-98 on six targets against the Panthers in Week 16 and 7-111-1 on 12 targets against the Saints in Week 17. In the five games as a rookie where he played at least 50% of the snaps, he averaged 4.2 catches for 73 yards and 0.20 touchdowns on 7.2 targets per game. In 2018, he finished the season as the No. 25 receiver despite the fact that he played more than 70% of the snaps in just six games, five of which came with Jackson mostly sidelined from Week 13 to Week 17. If Godwin is playing starter’s snaps, he should break out in 2019.
- Through Week 10 (before his knee injury), Marvin Jones was the No. 26 receiver, and that was mostly prior to the Golden Tate trade. Early drafters have pegged Kenny Golladay as the WR1 for the Lions, but there’s a decent chance that Jones lead this receiving corps in fantasy points. In 25 games over the past two seasons, Jones is averaging 3.9 catches for 64 yards and 0.56 touchdowns. The biggest threat to Jones’s production is probably Matt Patricia’s insistence on establishing the run. Jones looks like a steal in the early eighth round.
- I’m very interested to see where my top free agent receiver—Golden Tate—lands when the dust settles. Tate was the No. 18 receiver in half-PPR formats prior to his trade to the Eagles, so he just needs to find a good fit.
- Free agent receivers tend to disappoint after joining a new team, and I'm not confident that Antonio Brown will be able to maintain his ridiculous production as he joins the Raiders. He'll experience a downgrade at quarterback from Ben Roethlisberger to Derek Carr, and HC Jon Gruden did a poor job utilizing Amari Cooper, who went on to have a great stretch with the Cowboys after he got out of Oakland.
- Brown's departure solidifies JuJu Smith-Schuster as a fantasy WR1 and James Washington should see a big bump in playing time and targets, though the team could look to free agency or the draft for another starter.