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2023 Fantasy WR Rankings

Nicholas Berault
Written by Nicholas Berault
May 8, 2023
2023 Fantasy WR Rankings

No position has gotten more of a PR boost in fantasy sports over the last decade than wide receivers. As the game has evolved from standard scoring to half- and full point-per-reception (PPR) formats being the default, the NFL has shifted to high-volume passing offenses across the league.

These changes have resulted in the trendy draft strategy called 'Zero-RB,' which prioritizes selecting elite pass-catchers at wide receiver and even tight end before taking a running back. After stockpiling at the positions where receptions are most important, the strategy dictates that pass-catching running backs, who aren’t considered top-tier but have a higher floor week-to-week, are the logical picks in the middle rounds.

While all fantasy strategies must adapt over time to changes in NFL rules and shifts in league-wide offensive trends, it is still essential to find top talent at the skill positions throughout the draft. With wide receivers in the spotlight for this piece, we’ll dig into how to assess this position group for the 2023 fantasy season.

# Player Name Team
1 Justin Jefferson Minnesota Vikings
2 Cooper Kupp Los Angeles Rams
3 Ja’Marr Chase Cincinnati Bengals
4 Tyreek Hill Miami Dolphins
5 Ja'Marr Chase Cincinnati Bengals
6 A.J. Brown Philadelphia Eagles
7 CeeDee Lamb Dallas Cowboys
8 Amon-Ra St. Brown Detroit Lions
9 Davante Adams Las Vegas Raiders
10 Jaylen Waddle Miami Dolphins
11 Garrett Wilson New York Jets
12 DeAndre Hopkins Arizona Cardinals
13 Tee Higgins Cincinnati Bengals
14 Chris Olave New Orleans Saints
15 DJ Moore Carolina Panthers
16 Keenan Allen Los Angeles Chargers
17 Amari Cooper Cleveland Browns
18 DK Metcalf Seattle Seahawks
19 Chris Godwin Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20 Brandon Aiyuk San Francisco 49ers
21 Terry McLaurin Washington Commanders
22 Christian Watson Green Bay Packers
23 Mike Evans Tampa Bay Buccaneers
24 Deebo Samuel San Francisco 49ers
25 Mike Williams Los Angeles Chargers
26 George Pickens Pittsburgh Steelers
27 Quentin Johnston Los Angeles Chargers
28 Jonathan Mingo Carolina Panthers
29 DeVonta Smith Philadelphia Eagles
30 Tyler Lockett Seattle Seahawks
31 Christian Kirk Jacksonville Jaguars
32 Michael Pittman Jr. Indianapolis Colts
33 Jahan Dotson Washington Commanders
34 Marquise Brown Arizona Cardinals
35 Jordan Addison Minnesota Vikings
36 Calvin Ridley Jacksonville Jaguars
37 Drake London Atlanta Falcons
38 Treylon Burks Tennessee Titans
39 Jaxon Smith-Njigba Seattle Seahawks
40 Jerry Jeudy Denver Broncos
41 Allen Lazard New York Jets
42 Darnell Mooney Chicago Bears
43 Marvin Mims Denver Broncos
44 JuJu Smith-Schuster Free Agent
45 Rashee Rice Kansas City Chiefs
46 Rashod Bateman Baltimore Ravens
47 Courtland Sutton Denver Broncos
48 Gabe Davis Buffalo Bills
49 Kadarius Toney Kansas City Chiefs
50 Diontae Johnson Pittsburgh Steelers
51 Jakobi Meyers Free Agent
52 Josh Downs Indianapolis Colts
53 Jalin Hyatt New York Giants
54 Donovan Peoples-Jones Cleveland Browns
55 Wan’Dale Robinson New York Giants
56 Nico Collins Houston Texans
57 Adam Thielen Minnesota Vikings
58 Mack Hollins Free Agent
59 Tim Patrick Denver Broncos
60 Zay Flowers Baltimore Ravens

2022 Recap

Three wide receivers finished in the top ten fantasy performers of 2022, with Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson leading the way. The AP Offensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-Pro became the sixth player in NFL history to haul in 120+ catches and over 1,800 receiving yards, a stat line good enough for the sixth-most fantasy points last year and just four points behind Austin Ekeler for the best performance from a non-QB.

Cooper Kupp, who preceded Jefferson on that illustrious list of best pass-catching seasons in 2021, was on pace to beat Jefferson for the highest weekly average at the position (22.4 points) until a season-ending injury in Week 10.

Miami’s Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle were one of two sets of teammates to finish in the top ten of wide receiver fantasy points last season. Hill (WR2) and Waddle (WR8) were joined by Philadelphia Eagles’ duo AJ Brown (WR6) and DeVonta Smith (WR9), while both their teams became top-ten passing offenses in the NFL in 2022.

Devante Adams, Stefon Diggs, and CeeDee Lamb validated their draft positions with top-five finishes among receivers. At the same time, players like Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR7) and Amari Cooper (WR10) outperformed their 2022 average draft positions (ADP) with stronger-than-expected seasons.

Top Fantasy WRs Heading into 2023

The one player who unexpectedly finished just outside the top ten receivers in 2022 but returns as an elite option this season is Cincinnati Bengal Ja’Marr Chase. The 2021 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year missed five games due to injury after struggling to post consistent numbers in the first month of the season, and still ended the year as WR11 thanks to five weeks as a top-five receiver. He saw 134 targets in 12 games, more than he got in 17 starts as a rookie, and we expect a healthy Chase to provide WR1 upside every week.

Jefferson has seen the Vikings’ WR room make some changes around him since last season ended. The departure of Adam Thielen in free agency leaves a void in this Minnesota offense, one that 23rd-overall draft pick Jordan Addison hopes to fill. Thielen averaged 121 targets per season in his last five full years as a Viking.

The Eagles’ duo of Brown and Smith will run it back with quarterback Jalen Hurts after nearly winning the Super Bowl in 2022, and Hurts returns on a new contract that solidifies the core of this unit through the 2024 season at minimum. As for the other high-performing receiver tandem last season, Hill and Waddle, questions remain about quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s status for the season that could jeopardize the ceiling on Miami’s 2023 result.

Another player worth mentioning as a potential top pass-catcher is the Jets' Garrett Wilson. The AP Offensive Rookie of the Year a season ago got a sizeable upgrade at the quarterback position in his offense. He could quickly climb into the top-ten wide receiver conversation in 2023 after 83 catches and 1,103 yards as a rookie, with Zach Wilson and Mike White throwing him the football.

Assessing the 2023 Rookie Class

Ninety-eight wide receivers have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 2000. Of that group, 21 have occurred since 2020, and these young players have been producing immediately. Wilson was the lone rookie receiver to surpass 200 PPR points last year after three players did so in the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Four were selected one after the other from picks 20-23 in this year’s Draft. TCU’s Quentin Johnston, picked 21st by the Chargers, and USC’s Addison, who went to the Vikings at 23, join teams with top-five passing offenses in 2022. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Ohio State product first off the board among wide receivers, was picked 20th by Seattle. The Seahawks ranked 11th in passing offense a season ago on the shoulders of a resurgent Geno Smith and already have a receiving corps that includes Tyler Lockett (WR13) and DK Metcalf (WR16), which could help free up their rookie addition in coverage.

The last first-round receiver this year was BC’s Zay Flowers. The speedy target will pair with Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews in Baltimore, along with the recently signed Odell Beckham Jr., to give Lamar Jackson abundant riches in the passing game. The Ravens threw for just over 3,000 yards in 2022, while Jackson spent significant time away from the field, the fifth-fewest total of any team.

Players Who Could Face Setbacks

Nothing will put a damper on a team’s offense like losing a quarterback. Tampa Bay, Green Bay, and Las Vegas all saw their signal-callers depart this offseason, and the situation they’ve left behind is uncertain.

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, both top-20 wide receivers in 2021 and 2022, move on to life after Tom Brady this season. The Bucs have two quarterbacks on the roster currently: Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. We’ll let that sentence speak for itself.

Aaron Rodgers leaves Green Bay after 223 starts for the Packers, and Christian Watson is now a wild card at the position. The silver lining for Watson is that he doesn't have to compete with Allen Lazard or Randall Cobb for targets. Both players joined Rodgers in New York through free agency.

Finally, Davante Adams, who finished as a top-three receiver each of the last three years, will now catch passes from Jimmy Garoppolo after the franchise parted ways with all-time leading passer Derek Carr. It would be impressive if he could continue his current run with a third different quarterback in three seasons.

Check back on this article as training camps and mock drafts ramp up later in the summer. We'll keep you updated on the latest news, injuries, and players to monitor before you're on the clock in a 2023 fantasy draft.

Fantasy Football WR FAQ

Drafting the right group of wide receivers can be tricky. After all, there's only one football to go around. Things like snap count and target share can be tough to predict.

To help you draft the right wideouts for your fantasy squad, we've compiled the following Q&A section.

What should I look for when drafting a wide receiver in fantasy football?

Talent and opportunity: Look for players who are talented and have the opportunity to be heavily involved in their team's passing game. These players are more likely to produce consistent fantasy points throughout the season.

Quarterback play: The quality of the quarterback throwing to a wide receiver can greatly affect their fantasy value. Look for receivers who have a strong connection with their quarterback and are part of a pass-heavy offense.

Consistency: Look for receivers who have a track record of producing consistent fantasy points week in and week out. Avoid players who are boom-or-bust and have a high variance in their performances.

Strength of schedule: Consider a player's strength of schedule when making your draft selections. A receiver with a favorable schedule can have an easier path to consistent fantasy production.

Injury history: It's important to consider a player's injury history when drafting a wide receiver. Injuries can significantly impact a player's fantasy value and availability throughout the season. Look for players who have a track record of staying healthy and avoiding significant injuries.

Are there any sleeper wide receivers that I should consider picking up off waivers or late in the draft?

Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts: Pittman could step into a significant role in the Colts' passing game. He showed flashes of potential last season and could be a breakout candidate in his third year.

Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions: Jones may not be the flashiest name, but he has been a consistent producer throughout his career and could have a big role in the Lions' offense with Jared Goff at quarterback.

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants: Shepard has been a solid fantasy option in the past, but injuries have limited his production. However, with a revamped Giants offense and potential improvements from quarterback Daniel Jones, Shepard could be a valuable late-round pick.

Elijah Moore, Cleveland Browns: The former Ole Miss Rebel could be a significant contributor in the Browns' offense this season. He has a chance to emerge as a top target for quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears: Mooney showed flashes of potential last season and could take a big step forward in his third year. With Justin Fields continuing to emerge as an NFL QB, Mooney could be a reliable option as a late-round pick or waiver wire pickup.

Should I pick a WR early in my fantasy draft?

Whether or not to pick a wide receiver early in your fantasy football draft depends on your individual draft strategy and the specific players available.

Wide receivers tend to have a higher floor and a lower ceiling than running backs, meaning they are generally more consistent but score fewer fantasy points overall. This means that it can be a viable strategy to draft one or two top-tier running backs early in the draft, and then target wide receivers later on.

However, if there is a top-tier wide receiver available who you believe will be a consistent, high-scoring fantasy producer, it can make sense to select them early in the draft. The key is to strike a balance between securing a strong foundation of reliable, high-scoring players, while also filling out your roster with depth and potential breakout candidates.

Ultimately, the best strategy will depend on your league's scoring system, draft order, and the players available at each pick. It's important to be flexible and adjust your strategy based on how the draft is unfolding in real-time.

Why isn't it a good idea to draft wideouts from the same team in fantasy football?

The main concern is that if you draft multiple wide receivers from the same team, their production can become too closely tied to the performance of their quarterback and the overall success of the team. If the quarterback has a bad game or the team struggles, all of your wide receivers could suffer and have a low fantasy output in a given week.

In contrast, if you draft wide receivers from different teams, you can spread out your risk and increase your chances of having at least one productive player each week, even if one of your teams has a bad game.

Another concern is that multiple wide receivers on the same team can compete for targets and production. While some teams have multiple high-scoring fantasy wideouts, in most cases, the presence of multiple talented receivers on the same team can result in inconsistent production and unpredictable fantasy performances.

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