Several wide receivers become breakout stars last season and established themselves as household names with fantasy football owners everywhere.
Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins were among the receivers to fall in this category, and they project to have excellent 2016 seasons as well.
Here are our top 20 wide receiver rankings for the upcoming fantasy football season.
1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye Week: 8)
2015 stats: 136 receptions, 1,834 yards, 10 TDs
Brown tied for the league lead in receptions and ranked second in receiving yards. He’s the most consistent receiver in the league and should be strongly considered as a No. 1 overall pick in most fantasy drafts.
2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (Bye Week: 9)
2015 stats: 111 receptions, 1,521 yards, 11 TDs
Hopkins had a breakout season with career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He’s a legit superstar and should benefit from the improvements the Texans made at quarterback and running back over the offseason.
3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (Bye Week: 11)
2015 stats: 136 receptions, 1,871 yards, 8 TDs
Jones tied for the league lead in receptions and led everyone with 204 targets and 1,871 yards. His eight touchdowns were a bit disappointing for someone of his stature, but he’s a near lock for 100-plus yards every week because Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan looks for Jones quite often.
4. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (Bye Week: 8)
2015 stats: 96 receptions, 1,450 yards, 13 TDs
Beckham set career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns in 2015, establishing himself as one of the game’s premier players.
5. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (Bye Week: 9)
2015 stats: 86 receptions, 1,297 yards, 10 TDs
Green was a bit inconsistent last season, but he made up for it with a few monster games. He’s a good bet for double-digit touchdowns again.
6. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (Bye Week: 7)
2015 stats: 31 receptions, 401 yards, 3 TDs
Injuries limited Bryant to nine games last season, and Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo being out most of the year didn’t help, either. If both Romo and Bryant are healthy, each should have very productive fantasy seasons. Unfortunately for Bryant, his value plummets if Romo misses significant time again because the Cowboys’ backup QB situation is a mess.
7. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (Bye Week: 5)
2015 stats: 80 receptions, 1,400 yards, 14 TDs
Robinson burst on the scene as a legit No. 1 receiver for the Jaguars and tied for the league lead with 14 touchdowns. Blake Bortles’ continued improvement as Jacksonville’s starting quarterback should help Robinson remain highly productive for fantasy owners.
8. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (Bye Week: 4)
2015 stats: Missed entire season with ACL injury
Major knee surgery sidelined Nelson for the entire 2015 campaign, but assuming he’s healthy for 2016, he should return to being one of the league’s best receivers. It also helps he has arguably the league’s best QB in Aaron Rodgers throwing to him.
9. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (Bye Week: 11)
2015 stats: 109 receptions, 1,502 yards, 14 TDs
A league-leading 14 touchdowns doesn’t seem sustainable for Marshall, especially if the Jets rely a little more on the running game after signing Matt Forte as a free agent. Marshall still has the potential to be a No. 1 fantasy wideout, though.
10. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears (Bye Week: 9)
2015 stats: 54 receptions, 807 yards, 4 TDs
Jeffery missed seven games because of injuries last season, but he’s unquestionably Jay Cutler’s top target in the Bears’ offense. Jeffery’s ability to make incredible catches in traffic is astounding, and he’s a great red-zone target at 6-foot-3, 218 pounds.
11. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bye Week: 6)
2015 stats: 74 receptions, 1,206 yards, 3 TDs
Evans is a physical beast and a fantastic receiver for up-and-coming Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, but his three touchdowns from last season (nine fewer than his 2014 total) is a genuine concern. Evans must find the end zone more often to be a legit No. 1 fantasy receiver.
12. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (Bye Week: 5)
2015 stats: 84 receptions, 1,138 yards, 9 TDs
A slow start to the season was tough for fantasy owners, but Cooks finished strongly with nine touchdowns — six more than he had in 2014 — and 84 receptions. Drew Brees’ top receiver always should be a coveted fantasy target.
13. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (Bye Week: 9)
2015 stats: 61 receptions, 692 yards, 7 TDs
An injury suffered Tuesday at training camp might be an issue, but few receivers are better in PPR leagues than Edelman. His touchdown total rarely is impressive, though.
14. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (Bye Week: 10)
2015 stats: 72 receptions, 1,070 yards, 6 TD
Cooper was the best rookie wideout last season, and his fantasy value is trending up in a much-improved Raiders offense featuring rising star quarterback David Carr. Expect Cooper to improve his receptions, yards and touchdown totals from 2015.
15. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers (Bye Week: 11)
2015 stats: 67 receptions, 724 yards, 4 TDs
Allen was limited to just eight games last season, but his half-season totals were quite impressive. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw for the second-most yards in the league last season, and you can expect a lot of his 2016 yardage to go Allen’s way. Allen has replaced Antonio Gates as the top receiving threat in the San Diego offense.
16. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (Bye Week: 11)
2015 stats: 76 receptions, 1,135 yards, 6 TDs
Sanders is the possession/slot receiver in the Broncos’ offense and shouldn’t be hurt as much as deep threat Demaryius Thomas from a decrease in quarterback play.
17. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (Bye Week: 10)
2015 stats: 69 receptions, 1,124 yards, 5 TDs
Hilton’s numbers didn’t decrease too much despite Colts quarterback Andrew Luck missing most of the season. A healthy Luck should make Hilton a pretty good bet for 80-plus receptions and eight or more touchdowns.
18. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (Bye Week: 11)
2015 stats: 105 receptions, 1,304 yards, 6 TDs
Losing quarterbacks Brock Osweiler and Peyton Manning is tough for Thomas, who had just six touchdowns last season.
19. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (Bye Week: 10)
2015 stats: 60 receptions, 1,047 yards, 9 TDs
Injuries always are a concern with Watkins, but he’s usually quite productive when he’s actually on the field. His nine touchdowns last season were pretty impressive.
20. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (Bye Week: 4)
2015 stats: 79 receptions, 829 yards, 6 TDs
Cobb is a good WR2 in PPR leagues, and he should benefit from Nelson’s return to the Packers’ offense because of the attention opposing defenses will give the slot receiver.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images