SportsGuyRy’s 2018 Fantasy Football Rankings
Wide Receiver Edition (11-20):
*Photo provided by the Detroit Free Press*
As we continue on with our wide receiver rankings, you will find that there’s still a lot of talent left on the board past the top ten. Again, this is a very deep class and you will find that there are still going to be players that aren’t on this 11-20 list that you’d expect to be listed already. Some of this is personal preference and some of it is just the depth of the class. Either way, as we continue to jump into this fantasy receiver class, please let me know your feedback and what you disagree with. I love the feedback.
11. Josh Gordon – Cleveland Browns – #94 ranked WR to end 2017 with 35 points (7 per game)
*Photo provided by Jason Miller/Getty Images*
I’m still dreaming of the day where Josh Gordon was the model citizen. He didn’t know what marijuana was, never drank alcohol, he volunteered almost all his free time to at-risk youth and he played every game in his NFL career like he was back in 2013.
Unfortunately, that’s not reality. After what seems to be a four year break from football to get his life straightened out, he is looking to play in every game in the 2018 season for the first time since 2012. In that season, his rookie year, he had 50 receptions for 805 yards and 5 touchdowns. The year after that was Josh Gordon’s coming out party. After being suspended for the first two games due to drug related issues, he put up a whopping 1646 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He also added 88 rushing yards to that as well. He did all of this with below average quarterback play. There’s a reason the Browns took a chance on him in the supplemental draft even with his issues.
We all thought we had the next great receiver in our midst until he got in trouble with drugs again, and again, until he received an indefinite ban from the NFL. Through a lot of hard work on his part and support around him, he was reinstated into the NFL for 2017 until he decided he wasn’t ready and decided to check himself back into rehab to make sure he sure’d up everything as he knew this was his last chance. He did get right and participated in the last 5 games of the season, turning in 335 yards and a touchdown.
So Gordon is the ultimate wild card. Will he stay clean? That’s the biggest question that no one can answer. Will he return to that 2013 form? I’ve always been a big Josh Gordon fan and think he has all the tools to be a great player. I’m betting on him staying clean and being dominant with Baker Mayfield/Tyrod Taylor throwing him the ball. Prove me right Josh. If he does, 11 is way too low for him to be on this list.
12. Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions – #5 ranked WR to end 2017 with 155 points (9.7 per game)
*Photo provided by the Detroit Free Press*
I know what everyone is thinking right now. “Okay, sure. I can see the high potential of Josh Gordon getting him that high on the list but Marvin Jones? Over guys like Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Demaryius Thomas, etc.?” Well, yes, I do have Marvin Jones over the likes of those guys and do you know why?
Marvin Jones last year put up the 5th best fantasy season for a receiver in 2017, averaging 9.7 points per game. Those numbers equated to 1101 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. He averaged 18 yards per catch as the main deep threat on the Lions. He has a very competent QB in Matthew Stafford. He plays for a team that’s run game has yet to be proven worthy and a team that throws a ton to make great comebacks. And he’s the WR1 on the team. Golden Tate is the bigger name but Jones is the better player.
In the last three season, he has consistently got better in yards as he enters his prime years. He increased his touchdown production by more than doubling his previous two years combined last season. There’s a ton to love about Marvin Jones. Injuries haven’t been a major concern in his career, outside of the busted knee in 2014. And although I have him ranked 12 on my receiver list, the aforementioned guys like Evans, Thomas, Cooper, etc. will all go ahead of him in the draft, giving you great value in the 4-6 round range.
13. Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – #20 ranked WR to end 2017 with 123 points (8.2 per game)
*Photo provided by the Tampa Bay Times*
Even with a very uncertain and mediocre QB play on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I couldn’t push Mike Evans any lower on this list. Evans talent is, at times, elite. He’s big, strong and can run well for a player his size. He’s a matchup nightmare, towering over the corners covering him and he can leap high and catch that ball at its highest point. He gets a lion’s share of the targets for his team. He’s been relatively healthy in his career and has never NOT (double negatives are fun) surpassed 1000 receiving yards in a season in his career.
So why so low on a dominant player that always gets at least a 1000 yards. Let’s be clear here, this ranking for Evans is heavily influenced by the QB play rather than his talents. Jameis Winston, when he’s not grabbing Uber drivers crotches and stealing lobsters, is just as questionable of a decision maker on the field as well. He’s got talent but often times misses the right play or makes an errant throw. Due to the previously mentioned bad decision making off the field, he’s suspended to start the season, giving Ryan Fitzpatrick the start at QB for the first few games. He’s also not the best decision maker in the world on the field (model citizen off the field).
This mixed with a history of drops and a touchdown production that’s been a rollercoaster ride since he’s been in the league (12 – 3 – 12 – 5) is why I have him at 13. According to the touchdown trend, he should see an uptick in the touchdowns. If he turns to 2016 form, I’ll admit being wrong and having him too low on this list, but my concerns about his QB play has me putting him at 13.
14. Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs – #6 ranked WR to end 2017 with 151 points (10.1 per game)
*Photo provided by Chiefs Wire – USA Today*
Looking back at Tyreek Hill last year, I was quite surprised that he had 1183 yards and 7 touchdowns to put the 6th best receiver output in 2017. I do remember him being a bit of a boom or bust style player where some weeks he put up 30 fantasy points (week 13) and others have 2 fantasy points (week 8). I’ve never been a big fan of those type of players in the past (Desean Jackson comes to mind). So where does that leave us for 2018?
I can’t ignore the fact he has put up two quality seasons in a row and has been productive in this offense. However, there are a couple of concerns. Alex Smith is gone and we don’t know what we have in Patrick Mahomes. I’m high on Mahomes skills and talent but we will see how it translates on Sundays. They were able to add Sammy Watkins which is a huge upgrade across from him compared to Albert Wilson. Travis Kelce is still there and the emergence of Kareem Hunt means there’s a lot of mouths to feed in KC. I don’t see this as an awful thing for Hill as it may open up some more big plays for him but with a first time starting QB at the helm, there’s just a bit concern of his production.
If you’re drafting Hill, know what you’re getting with him and love the big games and don’t hate when the drought games happen. Know that is what you’re getting with him.
15. Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks – #11 ranked WR to end 2017 with 141 points (8.8 per game)
*Photo provided by TitleTown Sound Off*
Doug Baldwin is definitely a cool player. For all the work he does for the community, it’s very admirable. He wasn’t a highly touted player but worked hard to get to be a consistent top performer at the receiver position. Ranking #11 last year in the fantasy rankings, he was one of the few bright spots on that Seattle team last year. I typically cheer for these types of players.
Playing in 110 of the possible 112 games in his career, he’s been reliable. Although last year was a statistical down here for Baldwin, pulling in 991 yards for 8 touchdowns, those are still solid numbers. He still has the poor supporting cast around him, giving Russell Wilson his only legitimate target. I’m not sure if this means he’ll get more attention than he usually does with Graham being gone but his ability to work at the X, Z and slot allows him to move around to avoid some of the shadowing that happens.
What you do know is, since taking over as a full-time starter for the Seahawks 4 years ago, he’s averaged 1003 yards, 8 touchdowns on 78 receptions. He is reliable. You can draft with a clean conscience.
16. T. Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts – #24 ranked WR to end 2017 with 111 points (6.9 per game)
*Photo provided by Youtube*
This ranking of T.Y. Hilton is predicated on a healthy Andrew Luck, which it appears that he is. Hilton and Luck form a great duo that turns Hilton into another level of player. Since becoming a starter on the Colts in 2013, he’s put up crazy numbers with Luck, averaging 1250 receiving yards and about 6 touchdowns a year. Last year, without Luck, wasn’t awful either. 4 touchdowns with 966 yards with Brissett is not bad by any means.
He’s stayed healthy throughout his career so similar to how I view Mike Evans, I’m also taking a similar approach with Hilton meaning his value is predicated on his QB play. With Frank Reich bringing some of the magic that the Eagles had last year and a healthy Luck – this could be a “bounce back” year for Hilton.
17. Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders – #31 ranked WR to end 2017 with 101 points (7.2 per game)
*Photo provided by NBC Sports*
I have a vendetta against Amari Cooper. I drafted him high last year and he was a major disappointment. Luckily, I was able to trade him but still, it hurts when you draft a guy high and for him to flame out like Cooper did.
However, putting vendettas aside, Cooper should be in for a bounce back year this year for multiple reasons. The first being, he’s just got too much talent to not return to his 2015 and 2016 form. In those two years, he averaged 78 receptions for 1112 yards and 6 touchdowns. That’s a solid average for your first two years as a pro. The step back to 680 yards was not fun but his 7 touchdowns was a career high.
Derek Carr should also be in for a bounce back year which will help Coopers cause, as well as having fellow WR1B in Michael Crabtree gone, giving Cooper the clear WR1 targets he deserves. He’s healthy again which should help and a new, offensive minded coach at the helm. We’ll see if the bounce back year can happen at a discount in the draft.
18. Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos – #23 ranked WR to end 2017 with 115 points (7.2 per game)
*Photo provided by WTMJ.com*
Demaryius Thomas is a beast. The 6’3” 220lb receiver is strong, fast and is excellent at run after the catch. He’s also been very healthy for the last 6 years after spending the first two years of his career battling injuries. He had 5 straight 1000+ yard campaigns going into the 2017 season. As expected, he fell short of those numbers at 949 yards and 5 touchdowns due to awful quarterback play of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, a far cry from an even aging Peyton Manning.
However, there’s new blood in Denver in the man that brought the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship Game (albeit behind a great defense and awesome supporting cast), Case Keenum. I like Case and think he could really elevate not only Thomas but Emmanuel Sanders as well. The one thing that goes against Thomas is his lack of reliable hands. Always a man known for drops, he needs to sure that up if he wants to repeat the successes he had in this 2012 – 2015 years where he averaged 1447 yards and 10 touchdowns a year. He’s set up for a bounce back year and a return to the 1000+ yard club with more a more stable QB in 2018.
19. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals – #9 ranked WR to end 2017 with 144 points (9 per game)
*Photo provided by Sporting News*
Mr. Reliability. Larry Fitzgerald just never seems to age or decline in his production. At age 33, Larry put up yet, another great season for the Cardinals with 1156 yards and 6 touchdowns leading to a top ten finish in fantasy points by receiver. He did this with an aging Carson Palmer and without David Johnson keeping defenses honest. After putting up his 3rd straight 1000+ yard season and 100+ reception season, he’s primed to keep going with a oft injured but uber talented Sam Bradford at the helm or a polarizing rookie, Josh Rosen, who may beat out the aforementioned Bradford out of the starting job in the preseason. Either way, either player should be an upgrade at the QB spot. Not to mention, the return of David Johnson to bring more balance and skill at the RB position and a new head coach bringing new energy.
Of course there’s the concerns of him being 34 this season and another year to slow down and let father time catch up to him but I honestly feel this could be one of Larry’s best seasons since his early years.
20. Brandin Cooks – Los Angeles Rams – #8 ranked WR to end 2017 with 145 points (9.1 per game)
*Photo provided by Patriots Wire – USA Today*
I thought it was an interesting move by the Patriots to move Brandin Cooks over to the LA Rams this offseason. Cooks just came off of a pretty solid year where he turned in a top 8 finish in fantasy production with 1082 yards and 8 touchdowns. I understand money came into play here as he was up for a contract in which the Rams made him a very rich man, bringing in $80M with $50M of that guaranteed over 5 years.
In his career, Cooks has averaged just shy of 1000 yards per season and just shy of 7 touchdowns per season. Those are pretty solid numbers for a receiver who’s just entering his prime years of his career. He does most of this with big play ability both catching the long ball and making runs after the catch with his elusive ways. He’s remained relatively healthy throughout his career. The one thing I will say is he’s enjoyed much success so far in his career, playing behind arguably two of the top five best quarterbacks in NFL history. Will he fare so well with Jared Goff? I think so, not so much because of Goff, but because Sean McVay is a great offensive minded coach who will find ways to get the ball into the hands of his best receiver. He’s also got a great supporting cast of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp around him to free him up from constant double coverage and a phenomenal RB in Todd Gurley keeping defenses honest.
That wraps up my receivers 11-20. We still have some great receivers coming in the 21-30 article that will be posted here soon as well. With all the great talent at this position, you can see why I felt this is a deep class with guys like Alshon Jeffery, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson yet to be mentioned.
Thank you for reading!