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After much debate, we here at Triple Coverage Sports have determined that there should be at least 3 wide receivers in the top 5 of ANY draft, and as many as 7 in the top 10. Here’s a guide to which receivers to pick in your draft, and which ones are too good to pass over.
The days of dominating running backs in the NFL are OVER. Aside from AP and Todd Gurley, there are no sure things left at the position. Wide receivers are now taking over as the elite fantasy talents, and I’m here to tell you which pass-catchers you need to pick as early as first overall.
- Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown isn’t just the top fantasy WR, he’s also top fantasy player available at any position. He scored 243 fantasy points in 2015 (the most among any non-QB) and has dominated on the fantasy gridiron the past 2 seasons, scoring 10-or-more fantasy points in 24 of his last 32 games.
- Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones led all Fantasy WRs in 2015 in both targets, with 204, and receiving yards, with 1,871. Expect Julio’s numbers to remain at this high level, and even the Falcons’ offence, led by Matty Ice and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, to have a bounce back year with more consistent receiving threats behind a stable offensive line.
- Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
Beckham did not succumb to the sophomore slump in 2015, as all he did was improve on his already mind-boggling numbers as a rookie, finishing fifth among all WRs in fantasy points. In his last 24 games, OBJ has produced at nearly a touchdown-per-game pace, to go along with an average of 110 yards.
- Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Bryant’s 2015 season can be considered a fluke, as he only appeared in nine games due to a foot injury, and even when he played he was rarely 100%. Fantasy owners can bank on Dez to remerge as a top fantasy receiver and produce at a similar pace to his 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, where he averaged 13 touchdowns-per-game to go along with over 1,300 receiving yards.
- DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Hopkins became an elite fantasy WR in 2015, as he ranked third among pass-catchers in targets (190), receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,521). Those impressive numbers came with atrocious signal-callers, so with an upgrade at QB in Brock Osweiler, Hopkins consistent numbers should continue.
On the Brink:
- AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Green had a slight down year in 2015, and that’s saying something as he still scored the 8th most fantasy points of any WR (179). Despite that, the Bengals’ offense actually still had a great year and reached that next level, as other target’s emerged alongside QB Andy Dalton. All things considered, AJ’s numbers should further improve with the departures of secondary WRs such as Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
- Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Nelson missed the entire 2015 NFL season after tearing his ACL in the preseason, and Green Bay’s offence suffered a significant drop in production as a result. Expect Rodgers, Nelson and company to rekindle that old magic and settle back into 2014 form, where Jordy finished third among fantasy WRs in points with 229.9.
- Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Robinson had one helluva breakout season in 2015, when the sophomore WENT OFF with 1,400 yards and a league leading 14 touchdowns (tying Brandon Marshall and Doug Baldwin). He became Blake Bortles’ favourite target, who also had a breakout season of his own. However, it is uncertain if the Jags offence can continue that same level of success they saw last season. Regardless, A-Rob will remain a fantasy asset and top WR this season.
- Brandon Marshall, New York Jets
Marshall has been a model of consistency over the past half-decade, leading the league in end zone targets during the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 seasons. He had one of the best years of his career in 2015, scoring a league-leading 14 touchdowns in his first year with the Jets. The resigning of QB Ryan FitzMagic should only solidify him as a reliable fantasy asset.
- Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
Despite missing 4 games to various injuries throughout the season, Watkins still had one of the best season out of any WR in the league, ranking sixth in fantasy points out of any WR in the league, with 1,047 yards and 9 touchdowns. If Sammy is able to start the season healthy, following offseason foot surgery, he and rising star Tyrod Taylor should combine for a consistent offensive season.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
Gordon is the ultimate wildcard, as there is no certainty as to whether or not he will actually play, but if the NFL does reinstate him in week 5, his past numbers suggest he will remerge as a fantasy asset. The wide out has appeared in only 5 games in a season in the past two seasons, all due to suspensions. In 2013, he dominated opposing secondaries on his way to 1,646 yards and 9 touchdowns in just 14 games. If Gordon is able to stay clean (stop hanging out with Johnny Football), he could make a big return and regain his elite status.
Honourable Mentions: Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers; Julian Edelman, New England Patriots; Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears