Correctly identifying the top fantasy football WRs is more important than ever.
Because the gap between the position’s elite and the rest of the pack has widened over the past couple years.
Check out the average half-PPR points scored by the top 5 fantasy football WRs and WRs 13 through 36 over the past four years:
|Top 5 WRs||239.4||264.8||298.1||278.1|
|WRs 13 through 36||171.3||172.7||172.3||164.1|
Landing one or more of these top fantasy football WRs can supercharge your team. And while it often takes a first-round pick to secure one, finding one in Round 2 or 3 is possible.
Let’s break down the top fantasy football WRs in 2023 drafts.
The Draft War Room will rank the top fantasy football WRs based on YOUR league's rules.
Jefferson led all WRs in PPR, half-PPR, and non-PPR points last year.
It continued a historic stretch to begin his NFL career. Jefferson now ranks first all-time in catches (324) and receiving yards (4,825) through a player’s first three seasons.
He has also scored the most PPR points by a WR through three seasons.
Jefferson ranked seventh at his position in both PPR and half-PPR points as a rookie. He followed that up with a WR4 finish across scoring formats in his second season. And then the No. 1 finish last year.
Jefferson’s raw fantasy production has been awesome. So has the week-to-week consistency.
Last year, he finished outside the top 24 WRs in PPR points just five times. And he registered an incredible nine top-5 weeks. No other WR had more than six.
The scary part (if you’re not a Jefferson owner) is that he could score even more fantasy points in 2023. Because he actually underachieved in the TD department last year.
Check out where Jefferson ranked among WRs:
Jefferson’s eight TDs on 128 catches last year gave him a 6.3% TD rate. That’s well below the league-wide WR average of 7.5% over the last three seasons. And well below Jefferson’s 8.7% TD rate over his first two seasons.
An 8.7% TD rate last year would have given him 11 scores – and an even more dominant fantasy season.
Jefferson returns to the same offense (HC Kevin O’Connell) with the same QB (Kirk Cousins) this season.
The Vikings let WR Adam Thielen walk in free agency and then drafted his replacement in WR Jordan Addison in the first round. That shouldn’t have any impact on Jefferson’s massive target share.
Last year’s No. 1 fantasy WR will very likely be the first WR – and probably the first overall pick – in your 2023 fantasy football drafts. Deservedly so.
No Patrick Mahomes? No problem.
Hill’s first season with the Dolphins brought career highs in:
Hill ranked second to only Justin Jefferson in PPR points; third behind Jefferson and Davante Adams in half-PPR and non-PPR.
The volume was awesome. Hill’s 170 targets were third-most league wide. His 31.6% target share ranked second to Adams’ 32.6%.
The efficiency was awesome. Here’s where Hill ranked in key metrics among 80 WRs with 50+ targets last year:
The 3.20 yards per route was easily a career high for Hill. He also earned a personal best 92.2 Pro Football Focus receiving grade.
So there are no signs of this 29-year-old slowing down.
It’s lofty to expect Hill to be more productive in 2023 than last year. But it’s possible.
For starters, he should be more comfortable in his second season in HC Mike McDaniel's offense and with QB Tua Tagovailoa.
Speaking of Tagovailoa, he missed four games and most of a fifth last year. Hill’s volume and efficiency sunk without Tua.
|12 Healthy TUA GAMES||5 OTHER GAMES|
|Yards Per Target||10.2||9.6|
Tagovailoa’s health is the biggest risk on Hill’s fantasy profile. And even that risk was reduced when Miami upgraded their #2 QB with Mike White.
But if Tua stays healthy this season, Hill has the upside to lead all WRs in fantasy points.
3D Projections show you baseline, ceiling and floor outcomes for every player.
Chase opened his NFL career by scoring the second most PPR points by a rookie in league history.
He followed that up by scoring even more PPR points per game in Year 2. Only Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson were better on a per-game basis.
Chase’s 2022 campaign was stunted by a hip injury he initially suffered in Week 6. He actually played the following week but aggravated the issue and missed the next four games.
But Chase was dominant in the 12 games he played, averaging a huge 7.3 catches, 87.2 yards, and 0.75 TDs per game.
He also averaged a league-high 11.2 targets per game – way up from 7.5 as a rookie. Chase’s target share spiked from 23.1% in 2021 to 28.6% last year. That’s an excellent sign for his fantasy value going forward.
It’s worth noting that Chase’s usage changed considerably from 2021 to 2022.
As a rookie, he registered an average target depth of 12.6 yards. He caught 63.3% of those targets and averaged a monstrous 18.0 yards per catch.
Last year, that average target depth sunk to 9.0. Shorter targets helped Chase’s catch rate climb to 64.9%. But his yards per catch plummeted to 12.0.
That, of course, was all offset by the big increase in target volume.
It’s encouraging that we’ve already seen Chase dominate as both a deep threat and shorter-range target. He’s clearly already one of the top WRs in the game – and is still ascending at age 23.
Chase is back in the same offense in 2023 under HC Zac Taylor. That offense went super pass-heavy last year, finishing sixth in pass rate, first in situation-neutral pass rate, and second in pass rate over expected.
And, of course, Joe Burrow is back under center.
Add it all up and Chase looks like one of the safest picks in Round 1 of 2023 fantasy football drafts.
Kupp’s 2022 season ended with a nasty high-ankle sprain in Week 10 that required surgery.
But he was a fantasy machine before that. In fact, Kupp was just as dominant in eight healthy games last year as he was in 2021, when he led all WRs in fantasy points.
Check out the numbers:
|2021||8 games last year|
|Targets Per Game||11.2||11.6|
|Receptions Per Game||8.5||9.0|
|Yards Per Game||114.5||101.6|
|TDs Per Game||0.9||0.8|
|Yards Per Route||2.59||3.12|
|PPR Points Per Game||25.7||25.1|
Kupp’s 25.1 PPR points per game in those eight games were 3.6 more than any other WR.
That’s bigger than the gap from WR2 to WR6.
Kupp topped 100 yards in five of those first eight games and caught 7+ balls in seven of them. He didn’t finish worse than WR22 in any of the eight weeks and registered five top-5 finishes.
Dating back to the start of 2021, Kupp has tallied 100+ yards in 18 of his last 29 games (including playoffs). He has fallen short of 90 yards in just five of them.
And he has scored at least 16 PPR points in 28 of those 29 games.
Remarkable consistency at a typically inconsistent position.
Kupp’s November ankle injury was expected to sideline him for 6-8 weeks. In other words, it won’t be an issue in 2023, barring some sort of setback.
The bigger injury concern is with QB Matthew Stafford, whose 2022 ended with a concussion and spinal cord contusion. There were whispers that the latter injury might force Stafford to retire, but he’s back for at least 2023.
Still, we’re talking about a 35-year-old who’s dealt with spinal, head, elbow, toe, ankle, back, and thumb injuries over the past two years.
Brett Rypien and fourth-round rookie Stetson Bennett figure to duke it out for the backup QB job this summer. Neither guy would be great news for Kupp’s fantasy football value if Stafford misses time.
That’s the only real concern for Kupp heading into 2023, though. He’s back in HC Sean McVay’s offense. And with WR Allen Robinson’s departure this offseason, there’s even less target competition.
Kupp is a clear top-4 WR across fantasy scoring formats and still has the upside to lead his position in fantasy points.
See exactly where Cooper Kupp sits in our Fantasy Football WR Rankings.
If there were any questions about Lamb’s ability to handle No. 1 WR duties, he answered them emphatically last year.
The third-year wideout set career highs with:
All four of those marks ranked top-6 among WRs. Lamb finished sixth at his position across fantasy-scoring formats.
The biggest knock against Lamb heading into last season was that he had yet to register an alpha-level target share.
He drew 17.4% of Cowboys targets as a rookie and then 20.0% in 2021.
But with WR Amari Cooper out of the picture, Lamb hogged a whopping 28.9% of Dallas’ targets last year. Only seven WRs registered a higher mark. Only four tallied more total targets than Lamb.
He remained efficient on the elevated volume, hauling in 68.6% of those targets and averaging 12.7 yards per catch.
Lamb ranked 26th in yards per target and 10th in yards per route among 80 WRs with 50+ targets last year.
There will be some changes to Lamb’s surroundings in 2023.
OC Kellen Moore is out; OC Brian Schottenheimer in. HC Mike McCarthy is expected to take over play-calling duties.
McCarthy has talked this offseason about wanting to run more, but it’s worth noting that nine of his 13 Packers offenses ranked higher in pass attempts than rush attempts.
Plus, Dallas ranked just 22nd in pass rate last year. So don’t worry about a significant decline in pass volume this season.
In the pass-catching corps, the Cowboys lost TE Dalton Schultz -- who finished second on the team with 89 targets last year -- and added WR Brandin Cooks. Consider that a wash for Lamb’s target competition.
QB Dak Prescott is back, and Lamb is still ascending at age 24.
He’s a relatively safe fantasy bet worth considering in the back half of Round 1.
Diggs has been remarkably consistent since joining the Bills in 2020:
|year||catches||receiving yards||receiving tds|
Diggs’ 338 catches over the past three seasons are tied with Davante Adams for most in the league. He ranks fourth in total receiving yards over that span and fifth in TDs.
Only Adams, Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, and Justin Jefferson have averaged more PPR points per game than Diggs over the last three seasons.
He’s one of only four WRs – alongside Adams, Hill, and Jefferson – to finish as a top-7 WR in PPR points each of the last three seasons.
Diggs will turn 29 in November but has shown no signs of decline. In fact, his 89.0 Pro Football Focus receiving grade last year was the second best of his eight-year career. His 2.40 yards per route run was his third-best mark.
And our historical aging curves suggest that it’s not yet time to worry about Diggs hitting the wall.
Back with QB Josh Allen in what should remain a pass-happy offense, Diggs is a good bet for another top-7 fantasy finish in 2023.
St. Brown was a fantasy monster down the stretch in 2021.
Over the final six games of that rookie campaign, he averaged:
Only Cooper Kupp scored more PPR points than St. Brown during that stretch.
Despite missing one game and most of two others with an ankle injury and concussion last year, St. Brown racked up 106 catches, 1,161 yards, and 6 TDs.
That landed him 11th among WRs in PPR and half-PPR points per game.
But that’s selling St. Brown’s 2022 season short. If we omit those two games when he was limited, he jumps to seventh in PPR points per game and eighth in half-PPR.
St. Brown’s averages in those 14 healthy games:
His weekly ceiling wasn’t as high as the other WRs on this list. St. Brown finished as a top-5 WR just three times last year.
But he was steady, finishing no worse than WR37 in any of those 14 healthy games. He scored as a top-24 WR in nine of 14 healthy games.
That’s a product of his usage: St. Brown’s 6.3-yard average target depth was sixth lowest among 85 WRs with 50+ targets last season. Only nine of his 146 targets (6.2%) came 20+ yards downfield.
St. Brown returns to a similar situation in 2023. OC Ben Johnson and QB Jared Goff are back to pilot an offense that somewhat surprisingly ranked 19th in pass rate, 13th in pass rate over expected, and 10th in total pass attempts last year. This was not a run-centric offense.
Detroit made some changes at the skill positions this offseason:
But St. Brown will remain the engine of this passing game. And one of the best target bets in the NFL.
He’s a good bet for WR1 production again in 2023, with added value in PPR leagues.
PPR and Non-PPR rankings are NOT the same.
Don't draft from a generic cheat sheet.
Donning a new uniform for the first time in his pro career, Adams remained a fantasy force last year.
In his Raiders debut, he tallied:
The 180 targets were a career high. The yardage and TD totals were his second-best marks in nine NFL seasons.
Adams ranked top-7 among WRs in all four categories, including leading the league in receiving scores.
No surprise, then, that he finished third at his position in PPR points; second in half-PPR.
It marked his seventh straight season as a top-11 WR in PPR points per game.
|year||finish in ppr points per game|
Adams’ fantasy dominance continued despite a significant shift in usage. Over his final three seasons in Green Bay, he registered average target depths of 10.0, 8.9, and 9.6 yards.
He caught 71.2% of his targets and averaged 12.2 yards per catch.
Adams worked deeper in his first season with the Raiders, posting an aDOT of 11.8 yards. His catch rate sunk to 55.6%, but he set a career high with 15.2 yards per catch.
That’s significant with a new QB coming to town …
Adams will play with his third different QB in the last three seasons this year. After smoothly transitioning from Aaron Rodgers to former college teammate Derek Carr last year, Adams will catch passes from Jimmy Garoppolo in 2023.
Garoppolo sports strong career efficiency metrics: A 67.6% completion rate and 8.3 yards per attempt. But nearly all of that came in HC Kyle Shanahan’s QB-friendly offense.
Guys like Nick Mullens, C.J. Beathard, and most recently Brock Purdy have looked like high-end passers in that scheme.
Garoppolo at least has experience in Vegas’ offense. He spent his first three NFL seasons with HC Josh McDaniels in New England (although he totaled just 94 pass attempts over that time).
The concern is that Garoppolo has not been a particularly willing or effective downfield passer. Here’s where he has ranked in percentage of throws to travel 20+ yards over the last four seasons:
And here’s where Garoppolo has ranked in Pro Football Focus passing grade on those deep balls:
Perhaps McDaniels will adjust and deploy Adams as more of a short-range target in 2023. If he doesn’t, Adams’ fantasy production will likely suffer.
Adams has ultimately been too good for too long to worry too much about the QB change.
But the move to Garoppolo does have him a bit lower in our Fantasy Football WR Rankings than you might expect.
Brown’s Eagles debut brought career highs in:
His 11 TDs tied a career high.
Brown also played a full season for the first time since his 2019 rookie campaign. He missed two games in 2020 with a bone bruise in his knee and four in 2021 with hamstring and chest injuries.
In between, Brown needed surgeries on both knees early in the 2021 offseason.
But a healthy Brown has been a beast since he arrived in the NFL. He topped 1,000 yards as a rookie, finishing 32nd among WRs in PPR points per game.
He broke out with a seventh-place finish in PPR points per game in 2020. Brown sunk to 31st as he dealt with those injuries in 2021. But he scored a career-best 17.9 PPR points per game last year to rank seventh among WRs.
Brown ranks 14th among WRs in PPR points per game since he entered the league in 2019.
He’s been an efficiency king, ranking top-8 in yards per route run every season. His career 10.2 yards per target ranks second among 134 WRs with 100+ targets over the past four years.
Brown’s big 2022 came despite ranking “just” ninth among WRs in targets. He drew a strong 27.1% of Eagles targets. But Philadelphia finished 23rd in pass attempts.
That wasn’t necessarily by design. The Eagles ranked sixth in situation-neutral pass rate, which means they were throwing a bunch when their games were still in doubt.
But this team consistently played with big leads in their 14-3 season. As a result, Philly averaged just 12.8 pass attempts in the second halves of games (vs. 18.8 in first halves).
If the Eagles aren’t quite as dominant in 2023, their pass volume should climb. And that’d mean more targets for Brown.
We could even get a jump in efficiency in his second season in Philadelphia.
Add it all up and Brown looks like a clear top-10 fantasy football WR with upside to jump into the top five.
We just ran through the top fantasy football wide receivers.
But the best pick for YOUR fantasy team depends on myriad factors, including:
Sound like a lot to keep track of?
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