Combining fantasy football tiers and rankings into one entity is an incredibly valuable move for those preparing for their 2020 fantasy football draft. Not only do you have a “cheat sheet” off which to draft from, but you can pay attention to groupings, or “tiers” of players that you deem having similar value.
Targeting these wide receiver tiers instead of simply specific players (although there’s nothing wrong with having favorites within each tier) greatly enhances your ability to plan out your roster as your fantasy draft is in progress.
How To Use Fantasy Football Tiers
When drafting using fantasy football tiers, you want to pay attention to how close a tier is to ending. For example, if you are torn between taking a wide receiver or a running back, how many are left in the highest remaining tier? If there are three wide receivers left in the highest of the remaining fantasy football tiers but only one running back, then it would likely be smart to take the running back. In that scenario, it’s much more likely that you’re able to draft one of the wide receivers with your following pick.
Generally, you want to try and take one of the last players in a particular fantasy football tier rather than one of the first players in a particular tier. This is especially important if you are going by more of a value-based drafting strategy over a position-based drafting strategy such as Zero RB.
Of course, this knowledge must be combined with an average draft position (ADP). If you are deciding between two positions with a similar number of players left in a tier, then try and deduce which of the players are most likely to make it back to your following selection.
2020 Fantasy Football Tiers: Running Backs
Fantasy Wide Receiver Tier 1 –The “League Of His Own” Tier
This tier includes a player who is the Christian McCaffrey of wide receivers – a player who gives you such an advantage at a position, that everyone else will be playing major catchup. He is worth consideration anytime after McCaffrey is off the board, and is a steal outside of the top-5 selections.
1. Michael Thomas: Has led the league in receptions the past two seasons and scored 100 more fantasy points than the WR2. 120 receptions is likely outside of any other player’s reasonable outcomes – it might be Thomas’s floor (health allowing – he’s played 47 of a possible 48 games in his career). Doesn’t hurt that if Brees were to go down again, gunslinger Jameis Winston (who supported two top-4 receivers in fantasy PPG last year) would be throwing to him.
Fantasy Wide Receiver Tier 2 – Weekly WR1 Advantages
This wide receiver tier will likely give you a weekly advantage at your WR1 spot. They are the top options on the best passing offenses in the league. They are solid picks anywhere from the late first through the second rounds.
2. Davante Adams: Missed time with a nagging foot injury, but was 2nd in the NFL in targets per game. Rodgers targets him relentlessly, and they notoriously added nothing in the passing game this offseason. Still was the WR23 despite missing a quarter of the season. Likely the only one who could give Thomas a run for his money in terms of targets for the 2020 season.
3. Tyreek Hill: Similar to Adams, missed a quarter of the season. Will not be the target hog that Adams is, but as Patrick Mahomes’s top WR and deep threat, he is in one of the most enviable positions in football. In 2018, had an 87/1,479/12 line (overall WR3) on 137 targets (11th in the league). 80/1,400/10 should be his baseline (health allowing) as he enters his age-26 season.
4. Julio Jones: Will be playing this season at age-31 which is concerning, but all-time greats at wide receiver can be the exception to the “peak age” rule. Has averaged 158 targets and 100 catches the past three seasons, and the volume should be there again as their pass-catching corps is the thinnest it’s ever been.
5. Chris Godwin: 2019’s WR2 on 120 targets (17th in the NFL) despite missing two games is historic efficiency that could be hard to repeat. As an elite prospect in an offense projected to be elite, that shouldn’t matter. Still only 24, you should be happy if he falls to you in the late 2nd round as your WR1 to pair with an elite RB.
6. DeAndre Hopkins: Last year’s relatively anemic 11.2 yards per catch is a far cry from his career number of 13.6. Was used as a low-aDOT chain-mover more than the sideline wizard that he is. Finished as the WR10 and is now on a new team with similar offensive line issues to the 2019 Texans. Solid floor, but he will likely only be as good as Kyler Murray is.
Fantasy Wide Receiver Tier 3 – Low-End WR1s
This tier of wide receivers is coming off the board in the 3rd round and are major values anytime after that. They either do not have the upside or are less likely to hit the highest range of their outcomes than the above tiers – either due to lacking a major target ceiling or not being on an elite offense. They can serve as WR1s to a team that started with an elite RB, but they serve better as elite WR2s or even Zero RB WR3s.
7. D.J. Moore: One of the few players below the 2nd tier that has 150+ targets within his likely range of outcomes. An elite prospect who checks all of the boxes, Moore was the WR8 in terms of fantasy points per game in 2020 – with Kyle Allen throwing him passes. Teddy Bridgewater kept Michael Thomas producing at an elite level, and Moore left Samuel in the dust in terms of establishing who the alpha WR should be.
8. Mike Evans: List of players who have started their career with six straight 1,000-yard seasons: Randy Moss and Mike Evans. Was the WR4 in fantasy points per game before going down with an injury, and will be playing this season at age 27. No reason why he can’t outscore Chris Godwin.
9. Kenny Golladay: Last year’s WR9 led the NFL in receiving touchdowns while seeing only 116 targets (21st in the NFL) and playing half of the season without Matthew Stafford. The Lions were quietly elite in the passing game with Stafford at the helm in 2019, and Golladay is already a proven prolific touchdown scorer.
10. Allen Robinson: Is a few days younger than Mike Evans and saw 154 targets last year en route to the WR7 overall finish. Unfortunately, they were from Mitch Trubisky. That may change in 2020 with Nick Foles likely to make many starts for the Bears. Foles has shown the ability to keep passing offenses more than afloat.
11. A.J. Brown: Only player to have 1,000+ yards on under 90 targets… and did it as a rookie. An elite prospect who might be the next NFL superstar wideout, the only question for him is a low-volume passing offense in Tennessee. If he can approach 125 targets, look out.
12. JuJu Smith-Schuster: It’s more common than you think for young stud wideouts to have a lost year due to poor QB play or injury, like DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson in 2016. Let’s not forget JuJu is historically young and productive and was the WR8 on a whopping 166 targets last time Ben Roethlisberger was healthy. Diontae Johnson and James Washington will not threaten his borderline WR1 status, and they may actually help take defense attention away.
13. Amari Cooper: A bit boom-or-bust (had one game between 6.8 and 13.8 fantasy points), but still the 1A on one of the best passing offenses in the league. Might have a lower ceiling than you think: Besides his anomaly 2017 season (48 catches for 680 yards), has had between 72-82 catches, 1,005-1,189 yards, and 5-8 touchdowns. Still only 26 years old.
Fantasy Wide Receiver Tier 4 – High-End WR2s
This wide receiver tier is best-suited to be WR2s on a team with a high-end RB1 and at least one WR1. They will make very good WR3s on a modified Zero-RB team, but are either unproven WR1s or have too many question marks surrounding their offense or touchdown upside to become solid WR1s at this juncture.
14. Cooper Kupp: Was the WR25 his rookie year, the WR15 in PPG his injury-shortened sophomore year, the overall WR4 last year… and is being drafted as the WR15. A likely screaming value due to some (likely undue) concerns over the Rams offense and recency bias (1 game over 65 yards over his final 8 in 2019).
15. Calvin Ridley: Being behind Julio Jones on the totem pole is likely a good thing for Ridley, as he won’t be the primary focus of opposing coverage. Will still get a large target share on a passing offense that passed the most times in the entire league in 2019. Was a WR1 late in the season and is an excellent target for 2020 fantasy drafts.
16. Odell Beckham: If I told you at this time last year that Odell Beckham would have 133 targets in 16 games (12th in the NFL) and finish as the WR25, you would have said I was crazy. Alas, here we are – Odell will turn 28 this year and will be a part of one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league. You’re entirely betting on past production with this pick – not a terrible bet for one of the most prolific wideouts of the past six years.
17. Robert Woods: We wrote extensively about why Woods is undervalued here. He’s a starter on a Sean McVay offense, and you’re nearly guaranteed 85-1,150-6 as long as he’s healthy. Let’s not forget he also averages about 1 fantasy PPG in rushing production. There are even more targets up for grabs in the Rams offense sans Brandin Cooks.
Fantasy Wide Receiver Tier 5 – High Ceiling/Low Floor WR2s
This tier of fantasy wide receivers may start coming off the board in the late 4th, and are almost must-haves in the 6th round or later. These should be the WR4s on teams that are drafting Zero RB but might be able to serve as WR2s to teams strong in other areas. They are either relatively unproven options on poor offenses, share too many targets on run-heavy offenses, or are likely at the tail-end of their prime in new situations.
18. D.J. Chark: Last year’s “out of nowhere” breakout looked like the real deal, finishing as the WR18. Can a full season with Minshew bring out another level of Chark? Will he see more than 118 targets? Clearly the 1A in the passing game, a third-year leap could be in the works with Jay Gruden running the offense.
19. Terry McLaurin: A player who was just about as “out of nowhere” as Chark, he managed to put up a 58/919/7 line on a putrid offense. No reason why he cannot lead this tier in targets and if the offense manages to even be average, he will easily outperform his ADP. Targeting sophomore wideouts who had great rookie years is rarely a bad idea.
20. Courtland Sutton: A great prospect who had an excellent sophomore line of 72/1,112/6 with Joe Flacco and Drew Lock throwing him the ball. He’s the 1A, but the only concern with Sutton is the sheer amount of mouths to feed (Jeudy, Hamler, Fant, Lindsay/Gordon) in the passing game. Can Drew Lock make the most out of his weapons?
21. Adam Thielen: Was a top 8 receiver in 2017 and 2018, and averaged 15.4 PPG (borderline WR1 numbers) the first 7 games of 2019. No Stefon Diggs to share targets with, although they drafted Justin Jefferson. Can he flirt with an efficient 150 targets, or is he an aging (will be 30 when the season starts) commodity in a run-first offense? His current price is not unreasonable.
22. Tyler Lockett: Last year was the first year he eclipsed 71 targets, and turned it into his first 1,000 yard season. But can we count on a 28-year-old (in September) 182-lb wideout to exceed last year’s 82/1,057/8 line on 110 targets? With Seattle still likely committed to the run and D.K. Metcalf ready to be the team’s top wideout, you shouldn’t count on an increase in production.
23. D.K. Metcalf: Profiles as an alpha 1A in the passing game much more than Lockett. Likely a lower target ceiling than other players in his tier, but the sky is the limit for him efficiency-wise after a special rookie year.
24. Keenan Allen: The biggest question mark out of this group. Will Taylor/Herbert target Keenan in the way Rivers did? He doesn’t score many touchdowns (averages less than 6 per year since his rookie season), and volume is where he made his money.
Fantasy Wide Receiver Tier 6 – Upside WR3s
This group of fantasy receivers all have it within their reasonable range of outcomes to finish as top-20 receivers but also have weekly bust potential. Their volatility makes them too unreliable for weekly WR2 production, but are worthwhile WR3s on teams with two great running backs and are the last WR4s you would want on a Zero RB team.
25. Stefon Diggs: A low-end WR2 last year who saw WR3/4 volume averaged an otherworldly 12 yards per target. The only question for him is volume and his new team. Can Josh Allen make the next step as a passer? Can he eclipse 120 targets? You’re drafting him for the outside chance that they use him as their version of Antonio Brown as the focal point of the offense at all three levels of the field.
26. Marquise Brown: A low-volume, electric rookie season has many people seeing Brown as a rich man’s DeSean Jackson. As the dominant wide receiver and deep threat on a Lamar Jackson-run offense, you should be excited to draft him.
27. DeVante Parker: Most of his dominance came when Preston Williams was out, but nothing wrong with getting last year’s WR11 at a WR27 price.
28. Jarvis Landry: Has finished as a top-13 WR in 4 of the last 5 years. He’s already practicing, so the hip shouldn’t be much of a worry. Can he match last year’s 138 targets?
29. Michael Gallup: Last year’s WR24 actually out-targeted Amari Cooper on a per-game basis. Another example of a sophomore wide receiver breakout. Will likely see 120+ targets on a top-tier passing offense.
30. Will Fuller: If you could guarantee 16 games out of Will Fuller as the 1A on a Deshaun Watson-lead offense, he would be a top-end WR2. Has only played 42 out of a possible 64 career games, but the training camp hype is there:
Will Fuller’s goal this year? Play in all 16 games.
“Will’s going to ball out,” Deshaun Watson said. “Will’s going to be one of the best receivers in the league. He came back a lot stronger, a lot faster.” https://t.co/UYbYmtSet4
— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) August 19, 2020
31. T.Y. Hilton: Will turn 31 this year, which is outside the peak age for wide receivers. You’re banking entirely on past production with him, as he’s on a slow and run-heavy offense with Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell chomping at the bit.
32. A.J. Green: Has averaged under 8 games played per season since 2015, is 32 years old, and has already tweaked his hamstring in training camp. You’re counting on a top-pick QB (Burrow) revitalizing an old vet, a la 2011 Steve Smith or 2012 Reggie Wayne. Boyd will likely lead this team and targets, while John Ross and Tee Higgins loom.
33. Christian Kirk: One of the few sophomore WRs to bust in 2018, but was never healthy and probably needs a true number 1 (like Hopkins) to take defense attention away from him. But can still potentially see 110 targets on a very good offense.
34. Deebo Samuel: Would probably be ranked near McLaurin and Metcalf, but his foot injury likely means multiple missed games. Also, the track record for the effectiveness of players rushing back from Jones fractures is spotty at best.
35. Diontae Johnson: Had a truly remarkable rookie year, considering he came into the year fighting for the 3rd wide receiver spot and was the WR40 catching passes from Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges. If the Steelers pass anywhere near the rate they did in 2018, he could end up becoming a weekly WR2.
36. Brandin Cooks: Still younger than Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp (will turn 27 in September), and had four straight 1,000-yard seasons before a disastrous WR62 finish in 2019. Poor play had more to do with Goff and the offensive line and is now solidly a starter for a DeAndre Hopkins-less Texans team. One more concussion could mean the end, however.
Fantasy Wide Receiver Tier 7 – Boom/Bust and Low-Ceiling/Mid Floor WR3/4s
This wide receiver tier is the worst wideouts you would like in your starting lineup, but can provide weekly booms during bye-weeks or if injuries hit. These should be the WR6/7s on Zero RB teams, and ideally, you want 4 wideouts before you take any of these players. You can contemplate selecting them starting in the 8th round.
37. Marvin Jones: Will never be a high-volume guy, but is still one of the better deep ball/jump ball specialists who could be a cheap 65/950/7 guy. A great arbitrage play on Kenny Golladay if you want a part of a sneaky-great Lions offense.
38. Mike Williams: The only player besides A.J. Brown to have less than 91 targets with 1,000 yards. We simply don’t know if Taylor/Herbert will target Keenan at the rate Rivers did, and Williams could be a major beneficiary from the QB change. Due for positive regression after scoring just two touchdowns last year.
39. Julian Edelman: Was the WR16 on a whopping 153 targets, and is unlikely to see that volume again with Newton at QB and N’Keal Harry looming.
40. Mecole Hardman: Almost like a “handcuff” pick as the likely WR3 on the best passing offense. Hardman offers game-breaking upside but a non-existent floor:
Including playoffs, #Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman played 13 games last season in which both Tyreek Hill & Sammy Watkins were active.
He drew 18 combined targets in those 13 games. pic.twitter.com/g0NFue5LRE
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) June 20, 2020
41. Darius Slayton: A fantastic rookie year from an unbelievable athlete, his main concern comes from having to share too much of the pie with Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley.
42. CeeDee Lamb: Arguably the best WR in the 2020 draft will have some boom weeks and will see single-coverage nearly every snap behind Cooper and Gallup. Dallas is arguably the best place in the league to be a team’s WR3, target-wise.
43. N’Keal Harry: An admittedly disastrous rookie year mars what was a promising prospect, but wouldn’t be the first talented WR to breakout after a tough first year. Many reasons to draft him at his current ADP.
44. Preston Williams: Produced at a similar pace to DeVante Parker before his ACL tear, and is already running with the first team in camp.
45. Jamison Crowder: Will never be an exciting fantasy pick, but could flirt with 140+ targets with just Breshad Perriman to compete with as rookie Denzel Mims nurses a hamstring injury.
46. Anthony Miller: Allen Robinson wouldn’t be the only beneficiary to Nick Foles securing the starting job. Averaged 4.6 catches for 62 yards on 7.5 targets from Weeks 5-15 last year, and no more Taylor Gabriel to siphon targets.
Fantasy Wide Receiver Tier 7 – WR5 Dart Throws
This tier of wideouts is usually available in the 12th round and later. They should be among the last wide receivers on your roster, and will likely be the first players you drop. However, they are worth hanging onto throughout training camp to see how they play out.
47. Jalen Reagor: A fantastic prospect, he originally projected for a low-volume role in a great offense. However, is already running with the first-team offense as Alshon Jeffery remains on the PUP and is an injury away from being Carson Wentz’s top wideout.
48. Henry Ruggs: The Raiders added a bunch of weapons this year, but made Ruggs the first wideout off the board in the draft. Don’t be surprised if he flirts with 90-100 total touches.
49. Parris Campbell: Had a lost rookie year but is only competing with an old T.Y. Hilton and a rookie Michael Pittman for targets. A very good prospect with high draft capital who outproduced Terry McLaurin in college, Campbell is already turning heads in camp:
Even after just two days, I can see that Rivers understands the value of Campbell's skill set in this offense. Parris should eat well.
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) August 18, 2020
50. Allen Lazard: It seems like many moons ago that Aaron Rodgers supported multiple fantasy-relevant wide receivers, but Lazard was a productive college player who is 6’4″/227 lbs and is only 24 years old. He was also Rodgers’ most efficient target last season.
51. Sammy Watkins: It’s tough to believe that after his 9/198/3 Week 1 explosion, Watkins did not eclipse 64 yards or score another touchdown the rest of the regular season – even after Tyreek Hill missed significant time.
52. Jerry Jeudy: Is unsurprisingly tearing up training camp but might be fighting for 90 targets as he competes with multiple other weapons for looks. Remain as talented as rookie WRs get.
53. Sterling Shepard: Is only 26, and averaged 14 fantasy points per game last year. Can he do it with Engram, Tate, Slayton, and Barkley healthy?
54. Brandon Aiyuk: You could argue N’Keal Harry is a better prospect but Aiyuk may be forced into San Francisco’s WR1 role following Deebo Samuel’s injury.
Fantasy Wide Receiver Tier 8 – WR6 Waiver Wire Options
These players will either go in the final rounds of your fantasy draft or will be the top remaining free agent WRs. Keep an eye on them, but don’t count on any significant production as long as the status quo is even remotely maintained.
55. Breshad Perriman: Jameis Winston turned him from a frog into a princess (17 catches, 349 yards, and 4 TDs over the final 3 games of 2019). Can he actually be consistent with meaningful production? Not likely, but will get a chance to find out as an every-down wideout on the Jets.
56. James Washington: The cheaper version of Diontae Johnson is running out of chances, but should be on the field plenty as Pittsburgh runs their 3WR set often. Not a good sign that Johnson outproduced him even with Rudolph – Washington’s college quarterback – starting most of the season.
57. John Brown: Last year will likely go down as his career-best season, but is better suited for a WR2 role anyway. Volume will likely plunge as Diggs becomes the focal point of a very limited passing game.
58. Golden Tate: This 32-year-old showed he can still ball when given the opportunity (14 fantasy PPG) but could be last on the totem pole for a very crowded receiving corps in New York.
59. Curtis Samuel: We thought he could be the 1B to D.J. Moore’s 1A last year. Could he do it this year? Maybe. But remember, Robby Anderson is there to share the few deep shots Bridgewater will take.
60. Justin Jefferson: Will be the WR2 on a Kirk Cousins-led team, but even Stefon Diggs barely managed 6 targets per game in that role with Thielen out. Volume could be difficult to come by as a rookie.