The 2023 Wide Receiver Rankings: Fantasy Football Deep Dive

Wide Receiver Rankings. Fantasy Football draft season is upon us! Get the best analysis from the Desai Guys! Wide Receiver Rankings

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Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Who’s Ranked #1?

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

  • Is there much to say here?
  • Jefferson has separated himself in a short time as the best wide receiver in the NFL
    • He has the most receiving yards in his first three seasons in the league with 4,825
    • He also has the most receptions in his first three seasons in the league with 324
  • He plays in an offense that likes to air it out, so these numbers are going to sustain through this coming season at least
  • Kirk Cousins is in a contract year, so you’d expect him to try to put up gaudy numbers through the air, which benefits Jefferson as well
  • Upgrading from Adam Thielen to the rookie Jordan Addison will overall help Jefferson’s production more than hurt it

Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Sleepers

Syndication: The Record
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

Darius Slayton, New York Giants

  • The biggest thing that Slayton has going for him in the Giants offense is that he stays healthy
    • Over the course of four seasons in the NFL, he’s only missed seven games.
  • Now we’ve talked about this offense not exactly lighting it up through the air, but Slayton is easily the most dependable option on this roster.
  • Also, considering that his average draft position (ADP) at the receiver position is around 75 then you can get this guy for free!
    • That’s a great flier option for a starting wide receiver for your fantasy squad.
  • The hope is that Daniel Jones can take another step forward under Brian Daboll and he will throw the ball more often than tucking and running with it
    • The Giants threw the ball 520 times last season, which was the 8th fewest pass attempts in the league.
  • Slayton finished as the 52nd-ranked wide receiver, but going in as the starter now should speak volumes for a production increase for the New York Giants on offense

Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Ridley may get overlooked due to people just straight-up forgetting about him or being worried about him missing nearly two seasons. 
  • All signs out of training camp and mini-camp have been that he is firing on all cylinders
  • He was the fifth-best WR in 2020 and is more versatile than Christian Kirk
    • Don’t share the same volume concerns as I do with Kirk with Ridley

Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Busts

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars

  • There are so many mouths to feed on this offense now
  • We’re also assuming Trevor Lawrence will continue his upward development.  
  • Best case scenario is this turns into one of the top offenses in the league
  • Worst case scenario is that Lawrence takes a step back, gets hurt behind a questionable offensive line, or someone’s production suffers (leaning toward Kirk) 
    • In the last seven games of the season, he only scored 15 fantasy points or more once and that was 15.9

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • This team is going to be a lot different than previous years under Tom Brady and it makes you think twice before taking a Bucs receiver this year
  • It’s going to be a mighty dropoff going from Brady and an air-it-out attack under Bruce Arians/Byron Leftwich to Baker Mayfield and a defensive-minded head coach in Todd Bowles
  • Mike Evans is going to risk being less targeted as well, but his big body will help get him open to move the chains when needed, so he’s more trustworthy
  • Godwin is a dynamic threat, but the opportunities will come few and far between to make him a viable starting receiver in fantasy leagues
  • While he’s still worth drafting, Godwin will not be reliable in the starting lineup with a new-look offense that may not pass enough for fantasy managers

Wide Receiver Fantasy Hot Takes

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Washington Commanders
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

No Packers receiver will have more than six touchdowns or 1,000 yards

  • Allen Lazard was the leading receiver in terms of yards with 788 and now he’s a member of the New York Jets
  • Christian Watson was the leading receiver in terms of touchdowns with seven and he apparently has lost the starting job
  • Let’s not forget that Jordan Love has not been lighting things up with Aaron Rodgers now in New York
    • If they couldn’t make this offense perform well fantasy-wise with a good quarterback like Rodgers, how can they make it work with a quarterback who looks like a total bust so far?
      • Three touchdowns, three interceptions, and less than a 60% completion rate in 2021

Amari Cooper will finish as a top-5 fantasy wide receiver

  • In the three seasons that DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson played together, Hopkins finished as a top-5 receiver all three times
    • This includes a first-place finish in 2018, the first year Watson was the starter in Houston
  • Cooper, last season, had the second most receiving yards in his career and set a career-high in receiving touchdowns and targets
  • Let’s push past the season that Watson had last year and clearly take that as rust for not playing for practically two seasons
  • The offense has tied themselves to Watson now, so you can expect them to air it out more than usual under head coach Kevin Stefanski
    • Cleveland was very much down the middle in runs vs. plays as they called 540 passes and called 532 rushes last season
  • The Watson-Cooper connection will be called a lot on Browns broadcasts next season and you’d be smart to roster one or both of those players this coming season.