The 2018 fantasy football season almost is here, so it’s time to start preparing for your drafts.
As is the case every season, wideouts will be among the most-debated names on draft boards. Forecasting whether a receiver will repeat his previous successes or disappointment after a breakout campaign is quite difficult. And, of course, there’s the hard — but fun — task of identifying sleepers.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 30 fantasy wideouts for the 2018 fantasy football season:
1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye Week: 7)
At 30 years old, Brown shows no signs of slowing down. Still the most electric and productive receiver in the NFL when healthy, he’s a no-brainer as the No. 1 fantasy wideout.
2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (Bye Week: 10)
Hopkins finished last season as the No. 1 wideout in standard formats, and should be elite again this season. If Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson returns to his rookie form, Hopkins could surpass Brown as the premier fantasy receiver by season’s end.
3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (Bye Week: 8)
Jones’ lack of production in the red zone is concerning (he only had three touchdown’s last season). But he catches too many balls and puts up too many yards to be considered anything other than a top-five fantasy receiver.
4. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (Bye Week: 9)
Beckham’s season was cut short last season by a gruesome leg injury. He looks great in training camp, though, and should reclaim his spot as one of the best all-around fantasy receivers in the NFL.
5. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (Bye Week: 7)
We’re really high on Adams. With Jordy Nelson now in Oakland, Adams becomes Aaron Rodgers’ No. 1 receiver, and he has the talent to justify it. The fact Rodgers loves to spread the ball could lead to some relatively disappointing games, but the highs ultimately will outweigh the lows.
6. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Bye Week: 6)
Drew Brees’ favorite receiver should have another huge season in 2018. Terrific on a week-to-week basis, you basically can lock Thomas in for 6-7 catches and 80 yards for every game.
7. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (Bye Week: 8)
When healthy, Allen is among the most prolific receivers in the game, capable of putting up gargantuan point totals when the Chargers offense is clicking. Let’s just hope he finally plays a full season.
8. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (Bye Week: 9)
The presence of Andy Dalton, as well as the overall ineptitude of the Bengals, causes many to sleep on Green. But with consistent wideouts so hard to come by, this veteran still should be among the first wideouts drafted.
9. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (Bye Week: 10)
Thielen didn’t put up huge TD numbers last season, but the arrival of QB Kirk Cousins should be just what the doctor ordered. Expect legitimate WR1 numbers on a weekly basis.
10. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (Bye Week: 9)
If Andrew Luck returns to his pre-injury form, Hilton could be the steal of the draft, assuming he still is available in Rounds 3-4. He’s the No. 1 option in the Colts offense, and is a fine choice as your premier receiver.
11. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bye Week: 5)
This one’s tricky. Evans had just five touchdowns last season, but much of that can be attributed to Jameis Winston’s inconsistent play and injury problems. And those concerns will be there at the start of the season, as Winston will serve a three-game suspension. Evans could be dynamite, but he also could be a major disappointment.
12. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 12)
Luke Kuechly and Kawann Short lead a Panthers’ defense that terrorized the quarterback last season by racking up 50 sacks, but struggled to force turnovers (21 total). Carolina didn’t change much on this side of the ball, so they likely will remain a middle-tier defensive unit.
13. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (Bye Week: 7)
Russell Wilson’s favorite target once again should see plenty of targets in the red zone. He’s not overwhelming in the yardage department, but he still should put up enough numbers to be a borderline WR1.
14. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (Bye Week: 10)
Diggs will fight with Thielen for targets, but still should get plenty of action with Cousins under center. Just don’t reach for him.
15. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (Bye Week: 10)
Thomas never has lived up to his seemingly huge potential, though part of that can be attributed to Denver’s QB shuffle post-Peyton Manning. If he develops a strong rapport with Case Keenum, Thomas should be a solid WR2.
16. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (Bye Week: 9)
Fitzgerald has caught at least 107 passes in each of the last three seasons and, until he proves otherwise, we expect that production to continue. Sam Bradford doesn’t possess the greatest deep ball, but that’s not really Fitzgerald’s game, anyway.
17. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (Bye Week: 7)
Cooper was a major disappointment last season, but we expect a reasonable rebound. Expect Derek Carr to look Cooper’s way early and often.
18. Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams (Bye Week: 12)
Cooks was somewhat of a disappointment last season with the New England Patriots, but we believe the Rams’ offense suits him perfectly. Los Angeles loves to go for the big play, and Cooks is among the best in the NFL at taking the top off the defense.
19. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns (Bye Week: 11)
Probably the biggest wild card at the position, Gordon is capable of putting up the best receiver numbers in the game, despite being on the Browns. He’s also capable of getting suspended and missing half the season, too. Proceed at your own risk.
20. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (Bye Week: 5)
Robinson missed last season with a torn ACL, and now finds himself on a new team. He should be Mitchell Trubisky’s favorite target, and we expect enough production to warrant WR2 starts on a weekly basis.
21. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (Bye Week: 6)
A PPR stud, Tate also is a strong option in standard leagues. He doesn’t have the big-play upside of his teammate Marvin Jones Jr., but Tate still is a favorite target of Matthew Stafford, and should put up great numbers.
22. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns (Bye Week: 11)
It wouldn’t shock us one bit if Tyrod Taylor develops a great chemistry with Landry and the two put up great numbers at their respective positions. It also wouldn’t surprise us if both succumb to Browns disease and do nothing.
23. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye Week: 9)
There’s a chance Jeffery won’t be ready for the season opener, but if he is, he could be a steal in the late rounds. His days as a top-10 wideout probably are over, but you can do much, much worse for a WR2.
24. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye Week: 7)
Brown obviously is the No. 1 wideout in Pittsburgh’s offense, but that didn’t stop Smith-Schuster from putting up big numbers of his own last season. Don’t go crazy and draft him too high, but if he’s there in the mid-to-late rounds, snatch him up.
25. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (Bye Week: 4)
Were big fans of Funchess when he’s healthy. Cam Newton looks his way a ton, and should help Funchess put up WR2 — and occasional WR1 — numbers throughout the season.
26. Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers (Bye Week: 11)
Admittedly, we’re higher on Goodwin than most. He looked great in QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s five starts for the 49ers, and we expect the two to continue their strong connection next season. Goodwin is a great sleeper pick.
27. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (Bye Week: 10)
This one comes down to Keenum. If the former Vikings quarterback is comfortable and plays well, Sanders could have a great season, and even could put up better numbers than anyone else on Denver’s offense. That’s a big “if,” though.
28. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (Bye Week: 12)
We think Cooks will the better fantasy wideout in the Rams’ offense, but don’t sleep on Woods. His 781 yards and five TDs last season are nothing to snuff at.
29. Chris Hogan, New England Patriots (Bye Week: 11)
If he stays healthy, Hogan should be the top wideout in Tom Brady’s offense, especially with Julian Edelman serving a four-game suspension to begin the season and coming off a torn ACL. Still, this is a Patriots wideout we’re talking about, so bust potential is there on a weekly basis.
30. Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions (Bye Week: 6)
When Stafford looks his way, Jones can put up WR1 numbers. Too often, though, he finds himself invisible in the Lions’ occasionally inept attack.
Thumbnail photo via Jim Matthews/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via USA TODAY NETWORK Images
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