Football

2021 Fantasy Football PPR Wide Receiver Rankings

The 2021 rookie wide receiver draft class was one of the most loaded classes we have seen in a long time. There is a lot of talent that are hoping to make a name for themselves at the pro level. In this article, we’ll break down where some of the rookie wideouts stack up in fantasy value compared to the other wide receivers in the league. 

Tier 1: The Elite

  1. Davante Adams – Green Bay Packers
  2. Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills
  4. Deandre Hopkins – Arizona Cardinals

These 4 wide receivers are the best of the best in the league. All 4 are a big reason why each of their quarterbacks are also at the top of their position. Davante Adams takes the ultimate crown as the #1 fantasy receiver in PPR leagues. In standard leagues, Tyreek Hill would take the crown, but Adams edges out Hill as he should put up more receptions with similar yardage statistics as Rodgers has less options than Mahomes has. All 4 of these players are worth anywhere from a mid first round pick to a second round pick if you are fortunate enough.

Tier 2: Top-Tier

  1. Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons
  2. DK Metcalf – Seattle Seahawks
  3. Justin Jefferson – Minnesota Vikings
  4. Terry McLaurin – Washington Football Team
  5. Keenan Allen – Los Angeles Chargers
  6. AJ Brown – Tennessee Titans

The top-tier receivers feature several surprise additions after a remarkable year in 2020. Ridley took over as the #1 guy in Atlanta, DK Metcalf’s cheetah speed, Jefferson’s breakout rookie year, Terry McLaurin performing well with any quarterback under center, Keenan Allen helping Justin Herbert break rookie passing records and AJ Brown being an integral part of Ryan Tannehill’s career revival. All 6 receivers have well exceeded any expectations set for them and are looking to make the jump into the select few in the elite. Using an early round pick or even two to draft 2 in this group could guarantee you’ll have one of the best wideout combinations in your league. 

Tier 3: Good Core

  1. Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears
  2. CeeDee Lamb – Dallas Cowboys
  3. Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings
  4. Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  6. Kenny Golladay – New York Giants
  7. Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams
  8. DJ Moore – Carolina Panthers
  9. Amari Cooper – Dallas Cowboys
  10. Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams
  11. Julio Jones – Tennessee Titans
  12. Tyler Lockett – Seattle Seahawks

The good core consists of guys you should look at for a top-tier wide receiver #2 on your team or a low end #1 if needed. A couple players in this list could easily jump up or jump down depending on their quarterback situations. Specifically, Kupp and Woods with a better quarterback in Stafford could expect a surge, Lamb and Cooper could have better output with a healthy Dak Prescott, and Allen Robinson has played well with Mitch Trubisky, but the quarterback is a big question mark with the signing of Andy Dalton in the offseason and the first round selection used for Justin Fields. Quarterback play will be the biggest factor in the success of this group, it’d be safer drafting one of these wideouts as your #2 rather than as a #1. 

Tier 4: Solid #2’s

  1. Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals
  2. Chase Claypool – Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Ja’Marr Chase – Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Robby Anderson – Carolina Panthers
  5. Odell Beckham Jr. – Cleveland Browns
  6. Brandon Aiyuk – San Francisco 49ers
  7. Diontae Johnson – Pittsburgh Steelers
  8. Tee Higgins – Cincinnati Bengals

The solid #2’s features not 1, not 2, but 3 different wide receivers from the Cincinnati Bengals and 2 from the Pittsburgh Steelers, we mind as well rename this category for the AFC North. In PPR leagues, the veteran Boyd will be the #1 option for sophomore Joe Burrow this season. Boyd is a reliable option that will end up on top and help get Burrow’s career back on the right track after a devastating season-ending injury in his rookie campaign. The Steelers similar to the Bengals have 3 solid wide receivers all competing for the #1 spot on the team. On any given day, for both teams, each of the 3 wideouts could end up as the #1 for the week, but for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, Boyd and Claypool will have more appearances as the #1 guy more weeks than they aren’t. An early mid round pick could help get you a solid #2 player on your team.

Tier 5: Better Flex Options

  1. Corey Davis – New York Jets
  2. Russell Gage – Atlanta Falcons
  3. Will Fuller – Miami Dolphins
  4. Deebo Samuel – San Francisco 49ers
  5. Juju Smith-Shuster – Pittsburgh Steelers
  6. Antonio Brown – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  7. Jaylen Waddle – Miami Dolphins
  8. Brandin Cooks – Houston Texans
  9. Marquise Brown – Baltimore Ravens
  10. Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers

The better flex options are led by 2 wide receivers who many have much lower on this list, Corey Davis and Russell Gage. Davis has joined the Jets after a couple strong seasons with Tennessee and Gage steps up to the plate as the #2 option in Atlanta after the departure of Julio Jones to Tennessee to replace Corey Davis. Davis will bring veteran leadership to his role in the Jets offense for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. Russell Gage is flying under the radar on fantasy boards and will be one of the biggest steals in fantasy drafts, we recommend reaching up and drafting him a bit higher than some of the more established names as you don’t want to miss out on the #2 option on a pass-heavy offense.

Tier 6: Solid Backups

  1. Curtis Samuel – Washington Football Team
  2. DeVonta Smith – Philadelphia Eagles
  3. Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns
  4. Michael Pittman – Indianapolis Colts
  5. Marvin Jones – Jacksonville Jaguars
  6. Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys
  7. Jerry Jeudy – Denver Broncos
  8. Laviska Shenault Jr. – Jacksonville Jaguars
  9. Nelson Agholor – New England Patriots
  10. DeVante Parker – Miami Dolphins

When looking for a fill in for bye weeks, injuries, or have tough scheduling matchups for one of your starters, the solid backups are a mix of aging veterans and unproven youngsters. We should be more surprised about the performance of the veterans this year as they are in better situations to succeed with Agholor being the #1 option on a poor New England team, Parker not having to do it all for Miami, and Landry being a consistent performer at a backup level since joining Cleveland. 

Tier 7: Lower End Backups

  1. DJ Chark – Jacksonville Jaguars
  2. Gabriel Davis – Buffalo Bills
  3. Rashod Bateman – Baltimore Ravens
  4. Jakobi Meyers – New England Patriots
  5. Darnell Mooney – Chicago Bears
  6. Mecole Hardman – Kansas City Chiefs
  7. Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints
  8. Allen Lazard – Green Bay Packers
  9. Christian Kirk – Arizona Cardinals
  10. Elijah Moore – New York Jets

If missing out on one of the better backup options, there are still some options left that you can expect to see towards the last few rounds of your draft. It saddens us to see former pro bowler Michael Thomas to be in this section, but he is set to miss a significant portion of the season, but is still worth drafting for the potential he has for your fantasy playoffs. Another couple players who slipped down to this section are DJ Chark, Gabriel Davis and Christian Kirk with the additions of Marvin Jones, Emmanuel Sanders, and AJ Green on each of their teams respectively. 

Tier 8: Best of the Rest

  1. Jamison Crowder – New York Jets
  2. Terrace Marshall Jr. – Carolina Panthers
  3. Josh Palmer – Los Angeles Chargers
  4. John Brown – Las Vegas Raiders
  5. Jalen Reagor – Philadelphia Eagles
  6. Cole Beasley – Buffalo Bills
  7. Emmanuel Sanders – Buffalo Bills
  8. Henry Ruggs III – Las Vegas Raiders
  9. Parris Campbell – Indianapolis Colts
  10. Breshad Perriman – Detroit Lions
  11. Rondale Moore – Arizona Cardinals
  12. Darius Slayton – New York Giants
  13. Van Jefferson – Los Angeles Rams
  14. T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
  15. Sterling Shepard – New York Giants

If needing to fill another roster spot, we broke down the best of the rest that should be available at the end of your draft for a potential last round steal. Many of these players will be living on the waiver wire throughout the season as they have breakout performances. A couple names we expect to make some ground are Josh Palmer who has been impressive so far with Justin Herbert in training camp, Van Jefferson who has a quarterback with one of the best arms in the game in Matthew Stafford, and Breshad Perriman who looks to fill a much needed role after the departures of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. There are other receivers not named on this list that could end up being in the top 75, but heading into the season, these are the players we’d recommend looking out for to add to your roster.

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