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2017 Draft Tiers -- WR (PPR)

By Matt Schauf 11:08pm EDT 8/24/17

Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension altered Antonio Brown’s ADP, but it hasn’t changed the top of the WR board for fantasy football drafts. We’ve had some other things to do that.

I’m not talking huge player movements, but an ill-timed injury here and there along with some lingering question marks has created splits where we might not have seen them back in the spring when we were working out the projections.

The resulting tiers could help you even more than a straight rankings set in your draft, helping you realize when you should jump on a player and when it’s OK to wait on a similar option likely to be around at the next turn.

Here’s where we see those tier breaks among PPR wideouts this summer. (You can find the non-PPR edition here.)

Antonio Brown, Steelers

Still the position’s – and all of fantasy’s? -- best mix of safety and upside.

Julio Jones, Falcons

Beckham’s ankle sprain against the Browns in the 2nd preseason game has created a bit of separation between him and Jones, who have been cuddling behind Brown in consensus WR rankings all year.

Odell Beckham, Giants

The Giants don’t seem to believe the ankle will be a big deal, though, so it certainly doesn’t knock Beckham out of the middle of Round 1.

A.J. Green, Bengals
Mike Evans, Buccaneers
Jordy Nelson, Packers

Green led all WRs in fantasy points per game last year. Evans led all WRs in total fantasy points through Week 12 (before a slower finish). Nelson finished 2nd only to Brown in total PPR points in his 2016 return from an ACL tear. So all 3 of these guys have showed just how high their ceilings reach.

Michael Thomas, Saints
Dez Bryant, Cowboys
Amari Cooper, Raiders

We’ve seen that Bryant can score as many TDs as anyone else at the position. We don’t yet know how high the ceilings go for Thomas and Cooper. But we’re anxious to find out. Hilton would probably join this crew if not for Andrew Luck's iffy shoulder.

Brandin Cooks, Patriots
Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
T.Y. Hilton, Colts
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

Hopkins finished top 5 across fantasy formats in 2015 with poor QB play, so all he really needs is better than Brock Osweiler. His displayed ceiling boosts him from the group that follows to this crew of players with proven fantasy WR1 potential.

Golden Tate, Lions
Michael Crabtree, Raiders
Keenan Allen, Chargers
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

Call this tier safe, underrated, target hogs … whatever you want. But it’d be a good idea to supply your team with at least 1 of these 4 receivers. You could even grab a pair in consecutive rounds – or go really crazy and secure 3 in a row (if Fitzgerald falls). Consider this crew a Round 4-5 safety night if you’re deciding between a RB and a WR in an earlier round.

Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
Alshon Jeffery, Eagles

Talent? Check. Situation? We’ll see. Jeffery’s with a new team and a 2nd-year QB who could be on the verge of stardom … or a bit overrated. Baldwin has an obvious connection with Russell Wilson, but Seattle’s low-volume pass offense adds risk. And this will be his 1st season playing with a healthy Jimmy Graham.

Stefon Diggs, Vikings
Jarvis Landry, Dolphins
Allen Robinson, Jaguars

Here’s a trio of volume plays in otherwise questionable situations for their fantasy values. If any of the 3 offenses goes more pass-happy than we project, the involved WR here could see a value spike.

Terrelle Pryor, Washington
Davante Adams, Packers
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos
Martavis Bryant, Steelers
Willie Snead, Saints
Sammy Watkins, Rams

Watkins sat well above this tier before his trade to the Rams. Pryor, Hill and Bryant are the high-ceiling plays in this group. They become more attractive if you’ve laid a solid roster base (especially with your 1st 2 WR picks).

Jamison Crowder, Washington
Jeremy Maclin, Ravens
Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers
Pierre Garcon, 49ers

Crowder, Maclin and Garcon are boring, steady and all 3 capable of climbing into clear WR2 territory in PPR leagues. Benjamin's a bit more of a wild card mixed in here: high ceiling if Cam Newton's on like 2015; low floor if 2017 resembles last season.

Brandon Marshall, Giants
DeVante Parker, Dolphins

Kenny Britt, Browns
Mike Wallace, Ravens
Eric Decker, Titans

Don’t expect consistent starter production from this crew, but all are capable of at least WR3 performance throughout the season – with upside beyond that.

Jordan Matthews, Bills
DeSean Jackson, Buccaneers
Donte Moncrief, Colts
Tyrell Williams, Chargers
Chris Hogan, Patriots

Matthews is the volume guy here, with each of the other 3 presenting more enticing TD upside. Hogan leaps up the rankings if Julian Edelman's right ACL proves to be torn. He could ultimately score as a WR3.

Corey Coleman, Browns
Cameron Meredith, Bears
Marvin Jones, Lions
Corey Davis, Titans
John Brown, Cardinals
Randall Cobb, Packers
Ted Ginn Jr., Saints

A healthy Brown would spring up beyond this tier, but we haven't seen that guy for a long time now. Davis missed pre-draft workouts following ankle surgery, and he has had some trouble staying on the field this summer. The durability risk knocks him down, but the upside remains intriguing. Ginn + Drew Brees = high weekly ceiling.

Mohamed Sanu, Falcons
Adam Thielen, Vikings
Rishard Matthews, Titans
Kevin White, Bears
Zay Jones, Bills

It’s the “why not?” tier. Thielen has a number of fans out there among fantasy folks, but inflated passing volume in the 2nd half of last year for the Vikings skewed the picture. It’s not a great situation, especially if Laquon Treadwell or Michael Floyd is ready to contribute anything. (Neither has given that look in the preseason.) Sanu and Matthews are boring and don’t come with wonderfully high ceilings, but they just make sense at some point. White has continued to generate whatever the opposite of buzz is, but he also continues to look like the starter opposite Cameron Meredith. So he’ll at least be involved. Jones figures to battle Jordan Matthews for the team target lead in Buffalo.

Remaining upside targets
Robby Anderson, Jets
Devin Funchess, Panthers
Nelson Agholor, Eagles
Josh Doctson, Washington
Marqise Lee, Jaguars
Chris Conley, Chiefs
Tyler Boyd, Bengals
Kenny Golladay, Lions
Paul Richardson, Seahawks

These are some of the later-round lottery-ticket types we like.

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