The Ballers are getting you prepped for the upcoming fantasy season and kicked off August with the unveiling of their Top-10 WR Rankings on Tuesday’s podcast.
Before jumping into the list, there were a couple of things Andy encouraged new listeners and astute fantasy owners to keep in mind:
- These rankings are based on the Ballers “statting out” players. In other words, the projections give us real numbers to back up the rankings, not just preferences for players.
- When talking about any top-10 list, we are splitting hairs at the top. All of these players are great.
- They are in the top-10 for a reason. If anyone brought up something negative, it’s only trying to give other side of the coin.
- Good offenses matter. Opportunity matters. Change of situation and teammates matter. (See OBJ & AB)
- For fantasy, no matter how dominant they are, WRs are dependent on QB play. (See Hopkins 2016)
- Predicting TDs is hard and they can be volatile year-to-year (See Mike Evans)
1. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
Andy – 1 | Jason – 2 | Mike – 3
Current ADP: 1.06 / WR1
2018: Consistency Rank #2 — Season Finish WR2
16 games — 115/1572/11 on 163 targets
Hopkins is arguably the best WR in the game and is on one of the best offenses in the league hitched up with an elite fantasy QB in Deshaun Watson. He has a perfect 99 Madden rating if that is worth something. If he finishes outside the top-3 it’s because teammates Will Fuller and Keke Coutee slightly take away some of his targets. Nuk has led the league in target share the last two seasons at over 30 percent.
2. Davante Adams, GB
Andy – 4 | Jason – 1 | Mike – 1
Current ADP: 1.08 / WR2
2018: Consistency Rank #1 — Season Finish WR3
15 games — 111/1386/13 on 169 targets
According to Matt Harmon, “no player has improved more over the course of Reception Perception’s history than Davante Adams. Period. It’s not even close”. He was unstoppable last year with zero bust games. With the emergence of Marques Valdez-Scantling and a healthy Geronimo Allison, that target total could possibly dip in 2019. The 1,386 receiving yards were well above his previous career-high (997) but he’s the front runner to lead the league in TDs as Aaron Rodgers‘ main man.
3. Julio Jones, ATL
Andy – 2 | Jason – 3 | Mike – 2
Current ADP: 1.10 / WR3
2o18: Consistency Rank Tied-4th — Season Finish WR5
16 games — 113/1677/8 on 170 targets
Julio has been a consistent, top-end WR1 over the last five years albeit without monster TD totals. He led all WRs with 44 percent “great games” according to the Ballers metrics. He’s also led the league in Air Yards two of the last three seasons and is the current odds-on favorite to lead the league in receiving yardage. This could be the season he brings it all together in terms of receptions, yards, and TDs. Being in the high-scoring NFC South against the Saints, Panthers, and Bucs also gives him a boost.
4. Odell Beckham Jr., CLE
Andy – 3 | Jason – 6 | Mike – 4
Current ADP: 2.01 / WR5
Consistency Rank #6 — Season Finish WR16
12 games — 77/1052/6 on 124 targets — 5/19/0 rushing — 2/2 for 106/2TD passing
Beckham finds himself on a new team after being traded in the off-season from the Giants. He has had the injury bug over the last few seasons which has tainted his top-end fantasy lines but remember his average stat line for first 3 seasons in New York: 96/1374/11. Baker Mayfield is a budding star and had the 2nd most “deep yards” in the league (behind only Patrick Mahomes) despite not being the starter right away. Baker also was a red-zone wonder, a space that ODB excels.
5. Tyreek Hill, KC
Andy – 5 | Jason – 4 | Mike – 6
Current ADP: 2.02 / WR6
2018: Consistency Rank Tied-15th — Season Finish WR1
16 games — 87/1479/12 on 137 targets — 22/151/1 rushing — 1 return TD
After a long-drawn-out legal process, Hill appears to be in the clear after being the WR1 in 0.5-point scoring in 2018. He had the most 20+ yard receptions in the league (27) as a big play always waiting to happen alongside Patrick Mahomes. He is a bit more volatile as a fantasy starter but his boom games will win you a week. His efficiency numbers are off the charts but they are somewhat repeatable in the NFL’s best offense.
6. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT
Andy – 6 | Jason – 5 | Mike – 5
Current ADP: 2.04 / WR7
Consistency Rank #9 — Season Finish WR9
16 games — 111/1426/7 on 166 targets
Jason felt he was still a bit too low on Juju who is among the most productive young WRs in league history. He led the league in YAC and placed 2nd in red zone receptions. Much of his total was boosted by a league-high 689 pass attempts. Big Ben’s 16-game career pace before 2018 was only 525 attempts so perhaps we’ve seen the top-end of Smith-Schuster’s target total. Regardless, he has room to improve in the TD column and is still just 23 years young.
7. Michael Thomas, NO
Andy – 8 | Jason – 7 | Mike – 7
Current ADP: 1.10 / WR4
Consistency Rank #Tied-15th — Season Finish WR6
16 games — 125/1405/9 on 147 targets
Money Thomas just got paid and rightfully so as he’s been a top-7 fantasy WR in each of his first three seasons. He led the league in receptions, catch rate, and contested rate in 2018. He was however less consistent than desired as Drew Brees and the offense slowed down towards the end of the year. He sometimes doesn’t “feel” like a locked and loaded WR1 in fantasy but the production is to hard to ignore. He is a red-zone target vacuum and should continue to see near 150 targets as the alpha in New Orleans.
8. T.Y. Hilton, IND
Andy – 7 | Jason – 13 | Mike – 8
Current ADP: 3.01 / WR10
2018: Consistency Rank #10 — Season Finish WR14
14 games — 76/1270/6 on 120 targets
If there’s one WR in the top-10 that the Ballers felt some pause about it’s Hilton. He has had some yo-yo fantasy finishes all based on Andrew Luck‘s health. According to Andy, he’s averaged 80/1,300/7 with Luck and 60/982/4 without him in his career. He makes his due in fantasy on massive yardage totals as he’s never been more than a six or seven TD kind of guy. His ranking needs to be monitored based on Luck’s health but he presents a screaming value as a WR1 in the 3rd round of drafts.
9. Mike Evans, TB
Andy – 11 | Jason – 9 | Mike – 10
Current ADP: 2.09/ WR9
2018: Consistency Rank #11 — Season Finish WR8
16 games — 86/1524/8 on 138 targets
Evans often feels like a forgotten man among the fantasy WR elites as he is in the tier below the previously mentioned. He ranked 2nd in Air Yards behind only Julio Jones in 2018, a valuable statistic given the fact new head coach Bruce Arians loves to drive the ball down the field and Jameis Winston led the league in Passing Yard Air Percentage last year. He does carry some risk as his TD numbers have been up-and-down in the past and his fortunes are tied to the enigmatic Winston week-to-week.
10. Antonio Brown, OAK
Andy – 12 | Jason – 8 | Mike – 11
Current ADP: 2.08/ WR8
2018: Consistency Rank #3 — Season Finish WR4
15 games — 104/1297/15 on 168 targets
Mr. Freeze himself checks in at number 10 after having a run of dominant fantasy finishes. Since 2013, here is where is he landed: WR6, WR1, WR1, WR3, WR2, WR4. Wow. The change of scenery to Oakland is a bit concerning given the fact Derek Carr does not throw deep passes on a consistent basis. The 15 TDs don’t seem repeatable in an offense but he will be hyper-targeted. Carr has supported multiple top-15 WRs in the past (see Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree) so perhaps AB is being drafted near his floor.
Don’t forget about the UDK and check out this Ultimate Draft Kit App Review.