Welcome back to another installment into the 2017 Wide Receiver PPR Cheat Sheet. Here is my Top 12 Rankings with 2017 Projection and Outlook insight. The rest of the Top 65 is slowly being produced, but for now here is my Top 12 with projections and justification. Please feel free to like, share, and subscribe to my content as we here at fantasyisntfun aim to produce free fantasy football content for you every day. Keep in mind this is for point per catch formats – my standard scoring cheat sheets will be releasing soon!
1. Antonio Brown, PIT
2017 Projection: 104 receptions / 1372 yards / 11 touchdowns (317 points)
Outlook: The safest player in fantasy football returns to the same offense where he has been going nuts for years now. With trusted quarterback Ben Roethlisberger back in the fold and the dynamic Martavis Bryant back to draw some coverage, Brown is in store for yet another #1 overall finish at the position. Always a great player to build a team around.
2. Michael Thomas, NO
2017 Projection: 101 receptions / 1313 yards / 12 touchdowns (304 points)
Outlook: Curveball! Michael Thomas turned in one of the most prolific rookie years for a wide receiver in history, putting up almost 1200 yards and 9 touchdowns on 92 grabs. The departure of Brandin Cooks frees up a TON of targets in the New Orleans offense, and Thomas looks to capitalize on his departure by taking it to an extra level. With great hands and ability to create in the end zone, I expect Thomas to take yet another step as Drew Brees top weapon and cement himself as an elite wide receiver in the game today.
3. Jordy Nelson, GB
2017 Projection: 95 receptions / 1216 yards / 11 touchdowns (282 points)
Outlook: Another ho-hum year for Jordy Nelson, who is seemingly ageless. Nelson returned from a torn ACL that cost him all of 2015 to remain the same reliable weapon for MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers. With a few more years left in the tank and the trust of one of the best passers in the game, Nelson sits right behind Antonio Brown as the safest play in the game and is a sure-fire bet to post solid numbers every week despite the presence of other weapons in the Green Bay offense.
4. Amari Cooper, OAK
2017 Projection: 90 receptions / 1305 yards / 10 touchdowns (280 points)
Outlook: This is the year for the Oakland offense. It’s Derek Carr’s fourth year and Amari Cooper’s third year – a time-tested and proven recipe for fantasy success. I like the entire offense to take a huge step forward with the addition of Marshawn Lynch and the return of a dominant offensive line. This is the year that the former Top 10 pick puts it all together and justifies his high draft slot for the Raiders. Cooper left a TON of points on the field last season, and I expect him to shore up those mistakes and finish in the Top 5 in 2017.
5. Odell Beckham, NYG
2017 Projection: 90 receptions / 1260 yards / 10 touchdowns (276 points)
Outlook: The arrival of Brandon Marshall stands to both help and hurt Odell Beckham’s chances of fantasy success here in 2017. On one hand, he is a huge, dynamic target with great red zone chops, basically made for the jump ball. On the other hand, this can take a chunk of ODB’s production away, as he has a history of being a dynamic red zone target as well. I expect ODB’s stats to take a bit of a hit this year, but in an offense that throws the ball so much, I still expect him to get his. There will be shootouts that the Giants engage in this year, and Odell knows his way around the burnable secondaries of the NFC East.
6. A.J. Green, CIN
2017 Projection: 90 receptions / 1350 yards / 8 touchdowns (273 points)
Outlook: There really wasn’t a player as safe yet explosive as AJ Green was before the 2015 season started. After losing time to injury the last two seasons, it seems as if the public is sleeping on Green this year. Don’t be fooled: this guy is still an elite talent and firmly in his prime. The addition of Joe Mixon and John Ross to this offense will take a bit of the heat off of Green, and the trusty connection between him and Andy Dalton will prove effective yet again in all fantasy leagues this season. Draft early and target Green, who will single handedly win you a few weeks on his own.
7. T.Y. Hilton, IND
2017 Projection: 88 receptions / 1400 yards / 7 touchdowns (270 points)
Outlook: One of the most quietly consistent fantasy wide receivers returns in his prime to an offense that does a lot of damage through the air. Andrew Luck isn’t afraid to let it fly, and the sixth year of this connection should be yet another explosive display of offense. Once thought of as a one-trick pony, Hilton is truly a threat on every route he runs, and I expect him to lead the NFL in receiving yards. One of the best players in the NFL, quietly. Draft with confidence.
8. Mike Evans, TB
2017 Projection: 88 receptions / 1232 yards / 9 touchdowns (265 points)
Outlook: This offense tooled up with Desean Jackson, OJ Howard and Chris Godwin this offseason, and Evans stands to lose a bit of production due to these additions. Still Jameis Winston’s favorite target, Evans will still do plenty of damage from any point in the field, yet I don’t think he will be as good as he has been before. Still a lock for WR1 production as a guy who has grown to be more and more reliable in a division where it’s easy to throw the ball all around the field. He becomes a bargain if any of the other pieces on the offense miss any time. Evans will be a big part of Winston’s blow-up this year.
9. Allen Robinson, JAX
2017 Projection: 82 receptions / 1230 yards / 10 touchdowns (265 points)
Outlook: 2015 was a disaster for the entire Jacksonville franchise. Robinson, who was a consensus Top 10 pick at his position at this point last season, enters the 2017 season as the undisputed #1 wide receiver again in an offense that looks to rebound. A lot of that depends on Blake Bortles development, however. It is interesting to note that Robinson had excellent fantasy days during the final few weeks of last season in which Doug Marrone took over as head coach of the franchise. He returns this year to lead the Jaguars, and I expect a bounce back season for most players on the team. One of the more physically dominant players in the league, I expect a bounce back for Robinson at a very agreeable price.
10. Alshon Jeffery, PHI
2017 Projection: 86 receptions / 1247 yards / 9 touchdowns (264 points)
Outlook: One of the worst contract years in league history was had by once-elite Alshon Jeffery, and it was reflected in the meager 1-year deal he received from Philadelphia. However, reports out of Eagles practices show a rapport with quarterback Carson Wentz, who severely lacked a big time weapon on offense last year. Once again playing for a deal with the best quarterback he has ever played with, I expect Jeffery to take control of the #1 role at wide receiver in this offense and for the connection between him and Wentz to be pretty strong. We have seen what Jeffery can do in the past, and everything is in line for him to duplicate things if he can stay in shape and stay healthy. If those two things happen, Jeffery will be a value at most draft slots.
11. Dez Bryant, DAL
2017 Projection: 82 receptions / 1230 yards / 9 touchdowns (259 points)
Outlook: Bryant returns to an offense that features a great young quarterback in Dak Prescott and the offensive Rookie of the Year in Zeke Elliott. Still in his prime in his late twenties, Bryant offers huge upside as a receiver who can simply take over a game. With Jason Witten another year older and no real threat at the position other than Bryant, if he can stay healthy for the entire year, he is going to be a great player. A dominant force on a great young team, Bryant has a chance to outscore these projections. Health, as always, is the wild card.
12. Julio Jones, ATL
2017 Projection: 86 receptions / 1209 yards / 8 touchdowns (254 points)
Outlook: Another curveball! It’s not that I dislike Julio. I have had him on my teams many times and he is simply an animal. I just think there are plenty of great receivers in the NFL and that their situations are a bit better for fantasy purposes this year. I expect the Atlanta offense to regress as a whole, as they lost one of the sharpest offensive coordinators in the game in Kyle Shanahan, and bring in an unproven coach in Steve Sarkisian. I also think that Matt Ryan played way over his head last season and I expect him to come back down to what his usual career stats are, somewhere around 4000 yards and 28 touchdowns or so. Julio also had offseaosn foot surgery, which is a concern given his history. Julio can make me look like a complete idiot with these projections, or like a genius. The odds are he makes me look like an idiot, however I believe that there is so much talent at this position in today’s NFL that Julio, while still elite, falls back a little bit.
Stay tuned for the rest of the Top 20, plus the entire Top 65 WRs, coming later this week!