Dynasty: Bang for Your Buck: 2018 Wide Receiver Tiers

By Alex McCarthy
Alex McCarthy A simple rankings list can be helpful when trying to get an idea of where a player generally rates among his position, but often the difference between Player 1 and Player 2 is a lot bigger than the difference between Player 2 and Player 3. This is where tiered rankings come into play. Tiers are groups of players who are considered to be of similar value (in this case in my personal opinion), and the breaks between tiers represent a significant drop in value. For wide receivers I’ve separated the top thirty-five players into six tiers (my full rankings are also available under my profile), within which I’ve also identified the most over- and undervalued players according to ADP (Average Draft Position, per DynastyLeagueFootball.com), ECR (Expert Consensus Rank, per FantasyPros.com), and my own anecdotal experience.

Tier 1

DeAndre Hopkins
Odell Beckham, Jr.

Best Value: Neither player is going to come cheap, but these days you’re more likely to find an owner worried about Eli Manning than you are someone willing to part with Nuk and his superstar rookie QB. Be on the lookout if someone could be willing to move Beckham for anything less than the king’s ransom he’s worth.

Worst Value: Any player can be a bad value if the trade is lopsided enough, but neither guy in this tier is ever likely to make you regret trading for him.

Tier 2

Antonio Brown
Mike Evans
Keenan Allen
Michael Thomas
A.J. Green

Best Value: I slot Keenan Allen solidly in the middle of my second tier as WR5 despite his ECR of 8 and ADP of 7, as I believe his elite route-running will make him a true WR1 for the next five years or more. Even after a surge in price that followed his late-season explosion, I still feel that Allen is undervalued in dynasty.

Worst Value: Mike Evans, while undoubtedly valuable, is a Tier 2 asset with a Tier 1 price. Both his ECR and ADP are in line with my rank (WR4), but most trade calculators have little value separating Evans from the members of Tier 1, while I believe that Beckham and Hopkins are a different class of player. Swap Evans for either in a heartbeat, even if you have to throw in something on top.

Tier 3

DaVante Adams
Tyreek Hill
Julio Jones
Brandin Cooks
T.Y. Hilton
Jarvis Landry

Best Value: DaVante Adams won the equivalent of the wide receiver lottery when he signed a long-term deal with the Packers this offseason, tying him to GOAT-contender Aaron Rodgers for the next four years through his effective prime. Adams developed into an elite redzone threat last season and could potentially grow into Jordy Nelson’s old role, making him the player with the most long-term upside in this tier (and consequently the best value).

Worst Value: Julio Jones is an otherwise elite receiver whose age, injury history, and inconsistency relegate him to a third tier asset; however, he has an ECR and ADP of WR6 and should be avoided completely at this price.

Tier 4

Allen Robinson
Corey Davis
Amari Cooper
Adam Thielen
Stefon Diggs
Alshon Jeffery
Doug Baldwin
Sammy Watkins

Best Value: Allen Robinson is a perfect example of a long-term dynasty play- he’s got the pedigree, the measurables, the history of production, and his primary red flag (quarterback play/offensive distribution) is one that seems likely to improve with time. Though he may receive the franchise tag this season, the Jaguars likely cannot afford to keep him long term- and when he does enter the free agent market he should be the most coveted player at his position. This will translate to big money, which translates to big opportunity in the form of targets, which translates to big fantasy points for a player who has shown the ability of ARob. With his current ADP (WR14) and ECR (WR17) relatively low, he is an ideal value target for a team who is rebuilding on a budget and can afford to wait on a potentially elite asset.

Worst Value: Despite serious red flags that indicate Amari Cooper might never become a true WR1 (his drops are particularly worrying), both experts and laymen alike have been loathe to lower his value this offseason. His ADP (WR8) and his ECR (WR10) are similar to those of receivers in Tiers 2 and 3, which means he shouldn’t even be considered unless he is available for far below market value.

Tier 5

Devin Funchess
Cooper Kupp
Josh Gordon
JuJu Smith-Schuster
Marvin Jones

Best Value: It’s not often that you can find a twenty-three year old, second-round pedigree player who is the top WR option on an explosive offense and acquire them without having to spend big- but that’s exactly what you can do with Devin Funchess. He played well despite injury as de facto WR1 following the departure of Kelvin Benjamin, and will be out to prove something in the final year of his rookie deal (meaning he could potentially have even greater value in free agency next season). At his current ADP (WR26) and ECR (WR29), he’s a steal.

Worst Value: While I’m a big fan of JuJu Smith-Schuster as a prospect, his hype has driven his ADP (WR20) and ECR (WR22) a bit too high for my liking. He’ll never unseat Antonio Brown as the Steelers WR1 or take receptions from LeVeon Bell no matter how talented he may be, and once Ben Roethlisberger leaves I question if the third option in the Pittsburgh offense will be able to produce. I also believe JuJu will have similar numbers next year to those he had this year, and the lack of growth will cause his value to dip. My advise if you really like his talent and want to roster him would be to wait a year to make your move.

Tier 6

Nelson Agholor
Robert Woods
Golden Tate
Michael Crabtree
Jamison Crowder
Calvin Ridley
Courtland Sutton
Josh Doctson
Demaryius Thomas

Best Value: With an ADP of WR27 and an ECR of WR45, Nelson Agholor is a young receiver who overcame early-career mental issues to end up in an excellent situation in Philadelphia. He should be tied to superstar QB Carson Wentz for the foreseeable future, and while Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery will keep him in WR2/3 territory for now, Agholor showed serious flashes this season and could eventually grow into the true WR1 role. I’m snapping him up at market value anywhere I can find him.

Worst Value: Demaryius Thomas was once an elite talent, but his best years are far behind him, he may not have many years left period, and he doesn’t even know who will be throwing to him next year yet. While he could be a solid WR3 on a team in a contending window for a year or two, that hardly justifies his ECR of WR26.