Fantasy WR Rankings Week 1: Who to start, sit at wide receiver in fantasy football


The top-tier at wide receiver will be solidly cemented into your lineups every week regardless of matchups. At a position where you're playing at least two guys every week, there's no real reason any of the top 24-odd wideouts would be on your bench. Like all positions, wide receivers are affected by their matchups, trends, and injury concerns. However, as indicated by our Week 1 fantasy WR rankings, it's the deepest position in all of fantasy football. We have nearly 90 players ranked in our initial weekly list. For all you deep=league players, that even accounts for WR6s and some WR7s. For those kinds of leagues, it's especially difficult to make a decision on who to start at wide receiver.

Obviously, there are many teams with uncertainty about how their target share will play out, but we've produced our rankings with all the latest news and trends we can gather in the preseason. As the year unfolds, there will be guys who plummet down the list, while someone among the WR4s always emerges in the top 20. It's the nature of fantasy football, especially as pass-catchers go.

Quarterback | Running backTight end | D/ST | Kicker

As these are our standard rankings, it's obviously important to identify which wideouts are more valuable across each format (hopefully you did that before you drafted). Splash-play guys like Tyreek Hill (vs. Browns) especially benefit from standard formats. He's our No. 1 WR in standard while he falls to No. 4 in PPR this week.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Notable risers in Week 1 include Brandon Aiyuk (@ Lions) and Adam Thielen (@ Bengals). All 49ers see boosts this week given their matchups with Detroit (including Jimmy G and 49ers defense). Thielen and Justin Jefferson both sit in the top 10 as they travel to Cincinnati to play what figures to be a poor Bengals defense.

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Heading deeper down the list, Antonio Brown (vs. Cowboys) and DeVonta Smith (@ Falcons) might have been borderline WR3s on draft day, but they look like solid starts this week thanks to great matchups. Though two other WRs in Tampa are inside our top 10, there will be plenty of targets to go around. It won't be totally shocking to see three top-24 WRs out of that offense this week. Smith has dealt with some injury concerns, but he's the No. 1 WR in an offense facing the Falcons -- a team that has been a lot of fun to start your players against in recent years.

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You might be confused as to why DK Metcalf (@ Colts) and Stefon Diggs (vs. Steelers) sit at 11 and 12 respectively, but it all has to do with the matchups. While Indianapolis doesn't possess a premier lockdown corner, their defense is disruptive, and we've seen what can happen to Russell Wilson behind a struggling Seahawks offensive line. So, it isn't that Metcalf will be shut down, but there are other factors in place. Diggs is in a similar spot. The Steelers have a well-known track record of getting to the quarterback -- and seemingly doing it with ease. Yes, he had a nice game against them last year, but it is worth noting he's dealing with a minor knee injury heading in 2021. Still, neither Diggs nor Metcalf is even remotely close to seeing your bench.

Kenny Golladay (vs. Broncos) takes a drastic dive to slot 42 with his hamstring injury concerns. He's seldom practiced, so he and Daniel Jones will have to build rapport on the fly. Can we expect them to be sharp in Week 1?

Check out our full list and analysis to make the right calls at WR, setting yourself up for 1-0 start in fantasy football.

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We'll be updating these WR rankings as needed throughout the week, so check back for the latest changes and analysis.

Fantasy WR Rankings Week 1: Who to start at wide receiver

Rankings based on standard,  non-PPR scoring

Individual analysis will be added early next week and updated throughout the week to reflect any changes to the rankings.

Rank Player
1 Tyreek Hill, KC vs. CLE
2 Davante Adams, GB vs. NO
3 DeAndre Hopkins, ARI @ TEN
4 Calvin Ridley, ATL vs. PHI
5 Justin Jefferson, MIN @ CIN
6 A.J. Brown, TEN vs. ARI
7 Mike Evans, TB vs. DAL. Simply put, the Buccaneers are playing an awful Dallas defense. They gave up the second-most fantasy points to WRs a season ago, despite their opponents only passing 32.1 times a game against them (second fewest). They were often in big deficits, so teams began just running the ball. Evans and co. should eat in Week 1.
8 Chris Godwin, TB vs. DAL. See Mike Evans.
9 Brandon Aiyuk, SF @ DET. The Lions gave up the third-most fantasy points to wideouts last season, and they did very little to improve their standing in that area. If healthy, Aiyuk should torch them as the No. 1 WR in the 49er's offense.
10 Adam Thielen, MIN @ CIN. Thielen is more valuable in standard leagues, as he's often fairly touchdown-dependent, but he faces off against a bad Bengals secondary. With all eyes on Justin Jefferson, he could make a run at a WR1 spot this week. We ranked him accordingly.
11 DK Metcalf, SEA @ IND. Metcalf is viewed as a top-five wide receiver in standard leagues, but he faces a tough matchup in Week 1. Indianapolis has carried a strong defense over the last few seasons, and Metcalf will likely be priority No. 1. He's still a top-12 play, so you obviously aren't even thinking about benching him. 
12 Stefon Diggs, BUF vs. PIT. Before there's outrage about Diggs' Week 1 ranking, remember Pittsburgh possesses a top defense with few weaknesses at all three levels. Whether the pass-rush makes life hard for Josh Allen, or the stud secondary of Pittsburgh is double-teaming Diggs, it makes it tough to rank him inside the top-five this week. He did have a great outing against them a year ago (10-130-1), but it's fair to assume Mike Tomlin's unit will be ready to go this time around. Still, he's Stefon Diggs after all, so don't think about benching him. 
13 Keenan Allen, LAC @ WAS
14 D.J. Moore, CAR vs. NYJ. Moore finished as the WR17 in standard leagues last season, so a high-end WR2 Week 1 standing would be no surprise. The Jets were a middle-of-the-road team in fantasy points given up to WRs last season, but an improved offense should mean more pass attempts for opponents. While there is target competition in Carolina, Moore is the most talented guy in the WR room and looks to build early chemistry with Sam Darnold.
15 Cooper Kupp, LAR vs. CHI. Chicago's secondary was solid last year (sixth-best defense in FPPG allowed to WRs), but the Rams look to be one of the top passing games in the NFL with Matthew Stafford taking over the quarterback position. With Cam Akers lost for the season with a torn Achilles', Sean McVay is chomping at the bit to show the power of his new passing game. Kupp and Woods have a chance to be WR1s, and they should get a quick start right out of the gate.
16 Terry McLaurin, WAS vs. LAC
17 Robert Woods, LAR vs. CHI. See Cooper Kupp.
18 CeeDee Lamb, DAL @ TB. The Cowboys' offense has a lot of fantasy value, but Week 1 is a tough matchup with some mild health concerns from Dak Prescott and La'el Collins. Zack Martin has already been ruled out of the game with COVID-19 protocols. The offense may struggle, but Lamb doesn't drop too far in the rankings, as he's bound to have his moments. The same sentiment is true for all Cowboys' offensive players.
19 Julio Jones, TEN vs. ARI. It's weird seeing Julio not inside to top 10, but he'll be an efficient WR with massive weeks. Arizona was middle of the pack against wide receivers last year, but with the sudden retirement of Malcolm Butler, the Cardinals will have to pick their poison between Jones and A.J. Brown. For the first time in his career, he may not be the bona fide No. 1 WR in an offense, but he'll get his fair share of targets.
20 Deebo Samuel, SF @ DET. See Brandon Aiyuk.
21 Amari Cooper, DAL @ TB. See Ceedee Lamb.
22 Tyler Lockett, SEA @ IND
23 Odell Beckham Jr., CLE @ KC. A shootout could ensue in Kansas City, meaning more targets for OBJ. We've seen what he looks like at this best, but in standard leagues especially, he could be due for a huge bounce back after an ACL tear a season ago. He remains the No. 1 WR in Cleveland and has every opportunity to make a splash this week. 
24 Allen Robinson, CHI @ LAR. Allen Robinson is another guy who faces a tough matchup this week (LAR allowed the fewest FPPG allowed to WRs last year). He arguably has the toughest matchup among all WRs this week, as Jalen Ramsey awaits him in LA. In his last two games against the Rams, he's combined for 10 targets, eight catches, 85 yards, and zero touchdowns. For those keeping track, that's 8.3 fantasy points per game in PPR and 4.3 FPPG in standard. If there was any stud WR to bench in Week 1, he's a candidate. Still, you're probably not in a position to do that, so just hope he gets a touchdown. He could be ranked much lower, but it's tough to justify ranking a player of his caliber much worse.
25 DJ Chark, Jaguars, JAX @ HOU. It's a crapshoot to project who will be the No. 1 WR in the Jags' Trevor Lawrence-led offense, but to start off Week 1, Chark gets the nod. We've seen Chark produce a solid pro-bowl season in 2019, and Houston's defense should be absolutely atrocious. Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones will obviously have something to say about that, but would anyone be surprised if all three had nice outings?
26 Robby Anderson, CAR vs. NYJ. There should be plenty to go around for Carolina against a bad New York Jets defense. We'll see quickly who Sam Darnold is most comfortable with at WR. After all, Anderson and Darnold played together in New York -- the chemistry is already there.
27 Antonio Brown, TB vs. DAL. Brown was one of the best bargains in fantasy drafts this offseason. Late in the season, he began settling more and more into the Tampa Bay offense, and with a full offseason with Tom Brady, he may start to emerge as a stud fantasy wideout once again. He is the third Bucs receiver ranked inside the top 27 for a reason. If hasn't been said enough -- Dallas' defense stinks.
28 DeVonta Smith, PHI @ ATL. Smith starts off his rookie season with the best matchup possible. A season ago, Atlanta gave up the most FPPG (27.9 in standard leagues) to WRs. We've seen Smith dominate every time he's been in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him do it in the NFL.
29 Tee Higgins, CIN vs MIN. Higgins was seemingly written off as the Bengals' No. 1 WR when they decided to draft Ja'Marr Chase, but don't be so quick in your assumptions. Higgins was impressive last year, and Chase hasn't played in a real football game in over a year and a half. Against a young Vikings secondary, there's certainly a good chance Higgins has a great week. Burrow may struggle to begin the year, but the targets have to go somewhere, right?
30 Diontae Johnson, PIT @ BUF. Johnson is most attractive in PPR leagues, but we ranked him as the top Steeler WR in Week 1. Chase Claypool will likely be shadowed by Tre'Davious White, and Johnson has seemingly passed up JuJu Smith-Schuster in the Steelers' pecking order. Johnson will be the easy go-to target if the Steelers' offense struggles.
31 Courtland Sutton, DEN @ NYG. Teddy Bridgewater supported three top-25 fantasy WRs last year, and Sutton hopes to benefit from better QB play. While Bridgewater doesn't make his money deep down the field, we can expect more accurate targets and red-zone targets for Sutton. The Giants were quietly a good defense last year, as they ranked inside the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to WRs. For that reason, we see Sutton as a WR3 this week.
32 Ja'Marr Chase, CIN vs. MIN. See Tee Higgins.
33 Chase Claypool, PIT @ BUF. See Diontae Johnson.
34 Marquez Callaway, NO vs GB. Callaway has been thrust into the starting lineup and takes over for Michael Thomas at X-receiver. He looked impressive in the preseason, but he'll face a daunting matchup with Jaire Alexander in Week 1. Perhaps he can have WR2 weeks in the future, but this one probably won't be it.
35 Michael Pittman Jr., IND vs. SEA. Pittman looks to take hold of the Colts' No. 1 WR job in the absence of T.Y. Hilton (neck). He profiles as an outside X-receiver and he has very little adequate target competition. Seattle's defense can no longer be confused as the Legion of Boom, as they were the 10th-worst defense against WRs last year. The opportunity should be there for Pittman, but it all depends on how Carson Wentz looks coming off injuries and COVID-19 situations.
36 JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT @ BUF See Diontae Johnson.
37 Brandin Cooks, HOU vs JAX. Cooks has put up 1,000 yards receiving with four different NFL teams -- a truly underrated accomplishment. Yes, his QBs were Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Deshaun Watson, and Jared Goff, but he's shown he can be productive regardless. While the Texans' offense should be bad, he will likely dominate the target competition. He faces a Jaguars squad that gave up the 12th-most fantasy points to WRs a season ago,despite  offenses opting to run the ball more often than not (Jacksonville had the sixth-fewest passing attempts against it.)
38 Laviska Shenault Jr., JAX @ HOU See DJ Chark.
39 Corey Davis, NYJ @ CAR. Davis looked like Zach Wilson's No. 1 WR in the preseason, and he'll often be covered by rookie cornerback, Jaycee Horn. Of course, Horn could be a stud right out of the gate, but a matchup with a rookie in their first NFL action always looks juicy.
40 Marvin Jones, JAX @ HOU See DJ Chark.
41 Tyler Boyd, CIN vs. MIN
42 Kenny Golladay, NYG vs. DEN
43 Marquise Brown, BAL @ LV
44 Jalen Reagor, PHI @ ATL
45 Jakobi Meyers, NE vs. MIA
46 DeVante Parker, MIA @ NE
47 Mike Williams, LAC @ WAS
48 Jerry Jeudy, DEN @ NYG
49 Russell Gage, ATL vs. PHI
50 Bryan Edwards, LV vs. BAL
51 Randall Cobb, GB vs. NO
52 Jarvis Landry, CLE @ KC
53 Rondale Moore, ARI @ TEN
54 Jaylen Waddle, MIA @ NE
55 Michael Gallup, DAL @ TB
56 Allen Lazard, GB vs. NO
57 Christian Kirk, ARZ @ TEN
58 Henry Ruggs III, LV vs. BAL
59 Darius Slayton, NYG vs. DEN
60 Gabriel Davis, BUF vs. PIT
61 Tyrell Williams, DET vs. SF
62 Sammy Watkins, BAL @ LV
63 Darnell Mooney, CHI @ LAR
64 Cole Beasley, BUF vs. PIT
65 Elijah Moore, NYJ @ CAR
66 Quez Watkins, PHI @ ATL
67 Denzel Mims, NYJ @ CAR
68 Mecole Hardman, KC vs. CLE
69 A.J. Green, ARI @ TEN
70 Dyami Brown, WAS vs. LAC
71 Hunter Renfrow, LV vs. BAL
72 Emmanuel Sanders, BUF vs. PIT
73 Nelson Agholor, NE vs MIA
74 Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB vs. NO
75 Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET vs. SF
76 Lil'Jordan Humphrey, NO vs. GB
77 Rashard Higgins, CLE @ KC
78 KJ Hamler, DEN @ NYG
79 Demarcus Robinson, KC vs. CLE
80 Kendrick Bourne, NE vs. MIA
81 Parris Campbell, IND vs. SEA
82 Terrace Marshall Jr., CAR vs. NYJ
83 DeSean Jackson, LAR vs. CHI
84 Kadarius Toney, NYG vs. DEN
85 Van Jefferson, LAR vs. CHI
86 Josh Reynolds, TEN vs. ARI
87 Sterling Shepard, NYG vs. DEN
88 Tim Patrick, DEN @ NYG
89 D'Wayne Eskridge, SEA @ IND
90 Josh Palmer, LAC @ WAS