While running backs are generally the first few players off the board in standard leagues, top-tier wide receivers can be a huge value if you have one of the later first-round picks in a snake draft. This offers you the opportunity to double up on pass-catching machines and can be a big boost to your roster overall. With draft dates being set and draft orders being selected, you probably know where you stand. The guys below could still be there late in the first round or early in the second. As we’ve noted before, the rankings below are based on CBSSports.com’s projection system for standard leagues only. PPR, particularly for receivers, is a whole different ball game, and you can find those CBSSports.com rankings here. Let’s begin.
1) Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown is far and away the number-one receiver option in both styles of leagues. Last year, he posted 101 receptions for 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns, totaling 201 standard points, and you can tell the PPR value was high there as well. This season, CBSSports.com expects Brown to top even that ridiculously high number of fantasy points, making him not only the top receiver, but likely a top-five pick in most drafts.
CBSSports.com Projection- 203 Fantasy Points (12.7 FPPG) 108 receptions, 1,538 yards and 10 TDs
2) DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
As much as we sang the praises of Antonio Brown above, can you guess who actually put up more fantasy points last season? Yep, that would be Hopkins, who did so despite having Deshaun Watson for only seven games and playing the other nine with the motley crew of Tom Savage and T.J. Yates. He posted 205 fantasy points last season, which is why this year’s projection seems surprisingly low. My guess would be that the projection system is expecting Will Fuller, Bruce Ellington and others to siphon away some of Hopkins’ targets.
CBSSports.com Projection- 166 Fantasy Points (10.4 FPPG) 88 receptions, 1,246 yards and 9 TDs
3) Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones and the Falcons are currently at odds over his contract situation, which means he’s missing training camp time. However, I wouldn’t expect that to affect his performance much once the season rolls around. If anything, he could be healthier, having not played in preseason games. Jones ranked fourth among receivers last year in CBSSports.com’s scoring system with 155 total fantasy points, and the projections are higher for this year.
CBSSports.com Projection- 162 Fantasy Points (10.1 FPPG) 97 receptions, 1,387 yards and 5 TDs
4) Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Charges
Finally fully healthy last year, Allen put up monster numbers for L.A. He finished with 102 receptions for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns, while being targeted 159 (!) times. That kind of heavy target load shouldn’t decrease much, as the Mike Williams is still unproven and Travis Benjamin is simply average. The projection system is pegging him to finish with right around the same numbers from last season.
CBSSports.com Projection- 161 Fantasy Points (10 FPPG) 104 receptions, 1,353 yards and 6 TDs
5) Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Adams became the Packers’ number-one option last season, racking up 74 catches on 117 targets for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s all without Aaron Rodgers for over half the season. This year, with a healthy Rodgers, and Adams being the go-to guy among his weapons, you should expect a solid season from the fifth-year receiver.
CBSSports.com Projection- 152 Fantasy Points (9.5 FPPG) 87 receptions, 1,017 yards and 10 TDs
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6) T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Hilton’s numbers dropped significantly last season without Andrew Luck, but that’s understandable. With Luck reportedly returning to full health, and Hilton the only truly proven option in the receiving corps, the projection system is calling for a resurgence.
CBSSports.com Projection- 149 Fantasy Points (9.3 FPPG) 79 receptions, 1,139 yards and 7 TDs
7) Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas posted higher totals in both the receptions (104) and yardage (1,245) department in his sophomore season in 2017, though his TD numbers dropped a bit with Alvin Kamara siphoning away red-zone opportunities. Still, Thomas is a top option at the wide receiver spot, and the projections have him falling almost in line with last year’s numbers.
CBSSports.com Projection- 148 Fantasy Points (9.2 FPPG) 102 receptions 1,199 yards and 6 TDs
8) Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
OBJ’s injury derailed his season in 2017, and caused fantasy owners frustration in the process. When healthy, he’s a dominant and explosive option capable of putting up a big day any given week. With rookie running back Saquon Barkley in the fold, defenses have someone else to worry about and won’t be able to focus as much attention on Beckham, leading to potentially more explosive plays. In the final year of his rookie deal, you know he’ll want to show out to prove he deserves a big-money extension.
CBSSports.com Projections- 148 Fantasy Points (9.2 FPPG) 103 receptions, 1,167 yards and 7 TDs
9) A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Green had a typically solid season in 2017, despite a bad year overall for the Bengals. He hauled in 75 receptions for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns, in spite of brutal play from the rest of the offense and a largely ineffective Andy Dalton. Cincy brought in some offensive-line help this offseason which should theoretically give Dalton more time and allow him to be more accurate when targeting Green. Either way, Green has proven capable of putting up big numbers.
CBSSports.com Projections- 146 Fantasy Points (9.1 FPPG) 95 receptions for 1,229 yards and 6 TDs
10) Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
Diggs’ most memorable moment last season was the Minnesota Miracle to beat the New Orleans Saints and allow the Vikings to advance to the NFC Championship Game. That overshadowed a regular season in which he put up a career-high in touchdowns (8) despite 20 fewer receptions and 17 fewer targets. He has a new QB in Kirk Cousins to develop chemistry with, but the projections are high on Diggs, having him round out the top 10.
CBSSports.com Projections- 144 Fantasy Points, (9 FPPG) 86 receptions, 1,057 yards and 8 TDs