Fantasy Football 2017: Top 100 wide receivers, early-season favorites

Alex Butler
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) fist bumps receiver Julio Jones (11) with backup quarterback Matt Schaub alongside during warmups prior to playing the New England Patriots at Super Bowl LI on February 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. File photo by David Tulis/UPI
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) fist bumps receiver Julio Jones (11) with backup quarterback Matt Schaub alongside during warmups prior to playing the New England Patriots at Super Bowl LI on February 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. File photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 11 (UPI) -- It's finally here. Most of your mock drafting should be complete. You should be well read on the latest fantasy football magazines and have those sleepers buried in the back of your brain.

If you are one of the unlucky fantasy football players with a draft during the preseason, you still could be in for a scare from a fluke injury or suspension. But either way, you should pay close attention to rankings updates and camp battles to best arm your squad for glory.


Although last season seemed to be the year of the wide receiver in fantasy football circles, there are still plenty of strong pass-catching candidates worthy of going high in your draft. If you are the type of owner who wants to build your team around skilled wide outs, you're going to need to snatch these guys up early and also eye some depth in sleepers with high ceilings.

That is why we have ranked our top 100 wide receivers for your 2017 fantasy football draft kit. Feel free to also check out our Top 150 players overall this year in fantasy football.



For clarity, here are some of the best pass-catchers to look out for in five separate tiers, as well as some unheralded sleepers.


1. Julio Jones, 2. Antonio Brown, 3. Odell Beckham Jr., 4. A.J. Green

Only David Johnson and Le'Veon Bell are worthy of being selected before Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones in fantasy football drafts this year. That is, unless you are a wide-receiver-centric owner. Jones had a ridiculous 1,871 yards on 136 receptions in 2015. He responded with his second straight All-Pro campaign in 2016, snagging 83 receptions for 1,409 yards and six scores. Jones leads the league with 108.7 receiving yards per game over the last two seasons. He's due for another huge season this year catching passes for 2016 NFL MVP Matt Ryan. Jones faces just one pass defense this season that finished in the top 5 for fewest fantasy points allowed to receivers in 2016.

Odell Beckham Jr. heads into the 2017 season lining up with the best complementary wide receiver of his career, in New York Giants wide out Brandon Marshall. While some believe this could hamper Beckham's value, I believe it will definitely help the young superstar. Beckham played 16 games for the first time in his career last season, snagging a career-best 101 receptions for 1,367 yards and 10 scores. He is a lock for at least 10 scores this season and could get open for even more long balls with defensive backs also eying Marshall. There is still good case for OBJ as the No. 1 overall pick in your draft if you are keen on taking wide receivers in the first round.


Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green somehow does not get enough publicity. Green has maintained a quiet swagger throughout his six-year career. He has been to the Pro Bowl every season and remains unquestionably the Bengals' best offensive weapon. This season, the Bengals' running game is expected to get a jumpstart from second-round pick Joe Mixon. Burner John Ross will demand attention in the slot. Tight end Tyler Eifert is expected to be on the field at the start of the season. What is not to like about Green? If you are looking for safety at the start of your draft -- which you should be -- take Green. Green finished 36 yards short of his sixth-consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2016, playing in just 10 games due to injury. This year he will see from 120-150 targets in this offense. He has at least 10 scores and 1,200 receiving yards in every season in which he has been targeted at least 132 times.


6. Mike Evans, 7. Michael Thomas, 10. T.Y. Hilton


Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide out Mike Evans is another stud to build your team around. He should likely be taken in the second round in larger leagues as a second wide receiver or a complement to a top-tier running back. But Evans is in no way a complement to the Buccaneers' offense. He is Jameis Winston's favorite weapon. And this year's Buccaneers are absolutely loaded. Evans was a questionable early-round pick last season. Fantasy football team owners were worried after Evans followed up his stellar rookie season with just three scores in 2015. He rebounded in 2016, setting career highs with 96 receptions, 1,321 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Like Green, Evans has a burner complement in DeSean Jackson. He now also has some help down the seam in rookie O.J. Howard and established tight end Cameron Brate. Look for another big year for both Evans and Winston in this sizzling offense.

With Brandin Cooks out of the picture, Michael Thomas is Drew Brees' No. 1 option for the New Orleans Saints. That's always a good thing in fantasy football. The Saints' present talent had to be a factor in their willingness to shed Cooks to the New England Patriots. Thomas is the best they have. I don't expect a sophomore slump in this spot like Evans. Thomas had 121 targets last season and he only started 12 games. He finished the year with 1,137 yards and nine scores. At this time next year, we will be pondering Thomas as a possible first-round option.




11. Sammy Watkins, 12. Brandon Cooks, 13. Demaryius Thomas

Stop me if you've heard this before: Sammy Watkins is primed for a big season. But no, really. I just can't quit Sammy. The Bills' top option in the passing game appeared in just eight games last season, catching 28 passes for 430 yards and two scores. He now has complementary pass catchers in Anquan Boldin and Zay Jones. I don't expect Watkins to be leaned upon as much in this offense, which could be a good thing for his fantasy value. Expect Jones and Boldin to clear up some coverage for Watkins and quarterback Tyrod Taylor to elevate his game this year. I'm predicting eight scores and 1,200 yards for Watkins in 2017 if he plays in at least 14 games.


16. Terrelle Pryor, 18. Michael Crabtree, 20. Alshon Jeffery

Terrelle Pryor had to be Mr. Do Everything last season for the Cleveland Browns. Now he'll be Kirk Cousins' best option in the Washington Redskins' pass-heavy offense. Pryor will truly get a chance to show off his receiving ability in 2017 in this prolific offense. He should be the biggest benefactor of Cousins playing for his mega contract. Pryor has been impressive in training camp and looks the part of a No. 1 wide out. He should be looked at as a WR2 in your draft and is a great target if you decide to get running-back-heavy early on. I'm expecting career-highs in receiving yards and touchdowns here, putting Pryor at a possible nine receiving scores and over 1,200 yards.



29. Martavis Bryant, 33. Brandon Marshall, 41. John Brown, 48. DeVante Parker

1 Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons 5
2 Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers 9
3 Odell Beckham Jr. New York Giants 8
4 A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals 6
5 Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers 8
6 Mike Evans Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11
7 Michael Thomas New Orleans Saints 5
8 Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys 6
9 Amari Cooper Oakland Raiders 10
10 T.Y. Hilton Indianapolis Colts 11
11 Sammy Watkins Buffalo Bills 6
12 Brandin Cooks New England Patriots 9
13 Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos 5
14 DeAndre Hopkins Houston Texans 7
15 Doug Baldwin Seattle Seahawks 6
16 Terrelle Pryor Washington Redskins 5
17 Keenan Allen Los Angeles Chargers 9
18 Michael Crabtree Oakland Raiders 10
19 Allen Robinson Jacksonville Jaguars 8
20 Alshon Jeffery Philadelphia Eagles 10
21 Julian Edelman New England Patriots 9
22 Golden Tate Detroit Lions 7
23 Jarvis Landry Miami Dolphins 11
24 Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Cardinals 8
25 Davante Adams Green Bay Packers 8
26 Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos 5
27 Jamison Crowder Washington Redskins 5
28 Stefon Diggs Minnesota Vikings 9
29 Martavis Bryant Pittsburgh Steelers 9
30 Pierre Garcon San Francisco 49ers 11
31 Tyreek Hill Kansas City Chiefs 10
32 Willie Snead New Orleans Saints 5
33 Brandon Marshall New York Giants 8
34 DeSean Jackson Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11
35 Eric Decker Tennessee Titans 8
36 Kelvin Benjamin Carolina Panthers 11
37 Donte Moncrief Indianapolis Colts 11
38 Tyrell Williams Los Angeles Chargers 9
39 Mike Wallace Baltimore Ravens 10
40 Jeremy Maclin Baltimore Ravens 10
41 John Brown Arizona Cardinals 8
42 Kenny Britt Cleveland Browns 9
43 Corey Coleman Cleveland Browns 9
44 Adam Thielen Minnesota Vikings 9
45 Cameron Meredith Chicago Bears 9
46 Rishard Matthews Tennessee Titans 8
47 Corey Davis Tennessee Titans 8
48 DeVante Parker Miami Dolphins 11
49 Randall Cobb Green Bay Packers 8
50 Sterling Shepard New York Giants 8
51 Ted Ginn New Orleans Saints 5
52 Marvin Jones Detroit Lions 7
53 Josh Doctson Washington Redskins 5
54 Zay Jones Buffalo Bills 6
55 Robert Woods Los Angeles Rams 8
56 Kevin White Chicago Bears 9
57 John Ross Cincinnati Bengals 6
58 Kenny Stills Miami Dolphins 11
59 Jordan Matthews Philadelphia Eagles 10
60 Tyler Lockett Seattle Seahawks 6
61 Marqise Lee Jacksonville Jaguars 8
62 Breshad Perriman Baltimore Ravens 10
63 J.J. Nelson Arizona Cardinals 8
64 Tavon Austin Los Angeles Rams 8
65 Allen Hurns Jacksonville Jaguars 8
66 Taylor Gabriel Atlanta Falcons 5
67 Cole Beasley Dallas Cowboys 6
68 Anquan Boldin Buffalo Bills 6
69 Mike Williams Los Angeles Chargers 9
70 Robby Anderson New York Jets 11
71 Devin Funchess Carolina Panthers 11
72 Mohamed Sanu Atlanta Falcons 5
73 Braxton Miller Houston Texans 7
74 Malcolm Mitchell New England Patriots 9
75 Cooper Kupp Los Angeles Rams 8
76 Will Fuller Houston Texans 7
77 Curtis Samuel Carolina Panthers 11
78 Chris Hogan New England Patriots 9
79 Travis Benjamin Los Angeles Chargers 9
80 Paul Richardson Seattle Seahawks 6
81 Brandon LaFell Cincinnati Bengals 6
82 Michael Floyd Minnesota Vikings 9
83 Eli Rogers Pittsburgh Steelers 9
84 Kenny Golladay Detroit Lions 7
85 Nelson Agholor Philadelphia Eagles 10
86 Tyler Boyd Cincinnati Bengals 6
87 Laquon Treadwell Minnesota Vikings 9
88 Kendall Wright Chicago Bears 9
89 Terrance Williams Dallas Cowboys 6
90 Wendall Williams Houston Texans 7
91 Torrey Smith Philadelphia Eagles 10
92 JuJu Smith-Schuster Pittsburgh Steelers 9
93 Chris Conley Kansas City Chiefs 10
94 Phillip Dorsett Indianapolis Colts 11
95 Jaelen Strong Houston Texans 7
96 ArDarius Stewart New York Jets 11
97 Geronimo Allison Green Bay Packers 8
98 Marquise Goodwin San Francisco 49ers 11
99 Kamar Aiken Indianapolis Colts 11
100 Markus Wheaton Chicago Bears 9

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