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Ask anyone who the top five wide receivers in the league are and you’ll get a spirited debate. It’s hard to argue against the consensus top three — Antonio Brown jersey, Odell Beckham jersey Jr jersey. and Julio Jones jersey jersey — but after that it gets tricky. DeAndre Hopkins jersey jersey is an incredible talent stuck without a reliable quarterback. Mike Evans jersey has had as good a start to his career as almost anyone. A.J. Green jersey jersey is an absolute game-changer when he’s healthy. And none of those six guys led the league in receiving yards last season. That title belonged to T.Y. Hilton jersey jersey.
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[Now’s the time to sign up for Fantasy Football! Join for free]Ranking receiver position units can be even more difficult. It’s a mix of individual skill, stats, age, health and consistency. But how much do you weigh each? There are so many outside factors — quarterback play, offensive system, play-calling, etc. — that have a major impact as well. One way to evaluate a receiving corps is to level the playing field: same quarterback, running back, tight end and line and the same play-calling. But this would significantly devalue players who fit a specific system well. So in order to establish a ranking, it must be a mix of both. Here’s how it went:
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Slot: ArDarius Stewart jersey
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Depth: Marquess Wilson jersey jersey, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall jersey, Chad Hansen
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This is among the most fluid depth charts in the NFL. The Jets got rid of their only proven receiver, Eric Decker jersey, to show their commitment to a complete and total rebuild. That move, though, has left their wide receiver corps lacking. Enunwa did show some ability as the de-facto No. 1 receiver last season, and Anderson surprised as a undrafted free agent. But Anderson was arrested this offseason and there’s very little depth here.
31. Los Angeles Rams jerseyOutside: Robert Woods jersey jersey jersey, Tavon Austin jersey jersey
Slot: Cooper Kupp jersey
Depth: Pharoh Cooper jersey, Josh Reynolds jersey
The Rams intend to play Austin on the outside, though he seems like a more natural fit for the slot. In Sean McVay’s first year in Los Angeles, he has a lot on his plate. Even with the additions of Woods and Kupp, building the receiving corps looks to be a long-term project.
30. Kansas City Chiefs jerseyView photosTyreek Hill jersey was a blur last season. Can he be an every-down receiver in 2017? (Getty)MoreOutside: Chris Conley jersey jersey, Tyreek Hill jersey
Slot: Albert Wilson jersey jersey
Depth: De’Anthony Thomas. Jehu Chesson
Given the Chiefs’ run-first system, this low ranking isn’t too much of a big deal. The Chiefs rarely put three wideouts on the field at once anyway. Hill really needs to prove he’s not just a flash in the pan. While his rookie year was sensational, only half of his 12 touchdowns came as a receiver.
29. San Francisco 49ers jerseyOutside: Pierre Gar?on, Marquise Goodwin jersey jersey
Slot: Jeremy Kerley jersey
Depth: Aaron Burbridge jersey, Bruce Ellington jersey, Aldrick Robinson, Trent Taylor
The 49ers actually have a host of recognizable names. Gar?on is one of the toughest wide receivers in the league, and being reunited with Kyle Shanahan should give this offense some life. The issue is the man opposite of him. Goodwin is yet to play in all 16 games in any season, and last year he caught just 29 of his 68 targets, an abysmal 42.6 percent catch rate.
28. Chicago Bears jerseyOutside: Cameron Meredith jersey jersey, Kevin White jersey jersey
Slot: Kendall Wright jersey jersey/Markus Wheaton jersey jersey/Victor Cruz jersey
Depth: Rueben Randle, Deonte Thompson jersey
The Bears should host a show named “Extreme Makeover: Slot Receiver Edition.” Wright and Cruz fell out of favor after long tenures in Tennessee and New York, respectively. Wheaton missed almost all of last year in Pittsburgh. All three guys signed short deals. Will any one of them prove he deserves a second chance?
27. Cleveland Browns jerseyOutside: Kenny Britt jersey jersey jersey, Corey Coleman jersey
Depth: Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis jersey
That Britt surpassed 1000 yards last year in the dreadful Rams offense is a miracle. He’s going to a similarly low-ceiling environment in Cleveland. He’ll be an important part both on and off the field helping teach Cleveland’s young wide receivers. The lack of depth here is concerning, though, as is the uncertainty at quarterback.
Read More26. Baltimore Ravens jerseyOutside: Mike Wallace jersey jersey, Breshad Perriman jersey jersey
Slot: Jeremy Maclin jersey jersey
Depth: Chris Matthews jersey, Chris Moore, Michael Campagnaro
At 30 years old, Wallace had an outstanding year in Baltimore after lost years in Miami and Minnesota. He still has speed to burn; he showed as much by recording 14.1 yards per reception, his best mark since 2011. The Ravens have to replace both Steve Smith jersey and Kamar Aiken jersey jersey, though, and that’s no small task. Expect a good year from former first-rounder Perriman and a bounce-back year cheap jersey for a fully healthy Maclin. If neither happens, Baltimore is in trouble.
25. Minnesota Vikings jerseyOutside: Stefon Diggs jersey jersey, Adam Thielen jersey jersey
Slot: Diggs/Jarius Wright jersey jersey
Depth: Laquon Treadwell jersey, Michael Floyd jersey jersey
Ideally, either Treadwell or Floyd would step up on the outside allowing Diggs to play in the slot, where he took a lot of his snaps last year. But Treadwell had a very disappointing rookie season, and Floyd keeps getting in trouble off the field. The latest fiasco: A four-game substance abuse suspension, supposedly for drinking tea. If either one of these guys plays to his potential, bump the Vikings up a few spots, because Diggs is a legit top receiver, and Thielen was quietly very good last year as well.
24. Detroit Lions jerseyOutside: Marvin Jones jersey Jr., Golden Tate jersey
Depth: Jared Abbrederis jersey, TJ Jones, Jace Billingsley, Kenny Golladay jersey, Keshawn Martin jersey
Through the first seven weeks, Jones Jr. was averaging nearly 90 yards per game and had reeled in four touchdowns. Over the next nine games, he averaged about 45 yards per game and didn’t score once. While Tate continues to be one of the most reliable and versatile weapons, the Lions need Jones Jr. to be more consistent. Better yet, they need a third guy to step up. Billingsley could be that guy, according to his teammates.
23. Buffalo Bills jerseyView photosA healthy Sammy Watkins jersey jersey is crucial if the Bills want to end their playoff draught. (Getty)MoreOutside: Sammy Watkins jersey jersey, Zay Jones jersey
Slot: Philly Brown jersey
Depth: Andre Holmes jersey jersey
Watkins is similar to Alshon Jeffery jersey jersey jersey in that if he’s healthy, he makes a wide receiver group way, way better, but he can’t stay healthy. The Bills made some important moves this offseason to help out Tyrod Taylor jersey jersey. Jones, the FBS all-time reception leader, can provide more size and physicality than his predecessors. Brown and Holmes can both help out as well.
22. Carolina Panthers jerseyOutside: Kelvin Benjamin jersey jersey, Devin Funchess jersey jersey
Slot: Curtis Samuel jersey
Depth: Charles Johnson jersey jersey jersey, Russell Shepard, Brenton Bersin jersey
This offseason the Panthers stepped up their efforts to surround Cam Newton jersey jersey with weapons. Samuel will be a versatile addition to the slot, and Christian McCaffrey jersey provides speed and agility out of the backfield. Replacing the speed element of Philly Brown jersey and Ted Ginn jersey Jr jersey. won’t be easy, though. Ginn Jr.’s his ability to take the top off was an important cog in this offense.
21. Philadelphia Eagles jerseyOutside: Alshon Jeffery jersey jersey jersey, Torrey Smith jersey
Slot: Jordan Matthews jersey
Depth: Nelson Agholor jersey, Paul Turner
If Jeffery can somehow stay healthy for an entire season, move the Eagles up as much as 10 spots on this list. He’s that good when he’s on. But the Eagles signed him to a one-year deal for a reason. He’s missed twelve games in the past two seasons, and he never looked quite right last year.
20. Houston Texans jerseyOutside: DeAndre Hopkins jersey jersey, Will Fuller
Slot: Braxton Miller jersey
Depth: Jaelen Strong jersey jersey
Hopkins is a terrific receiver, and that his team barely makes the top 20 speaks volumes about the players and system around him. Fuller started last season strong but fell off sharply, and it remains to be seen whether he can be an every-down player. The Texans simply have no proven pass-catchers outside of Hopkins. That’s why they fall so far.
19. Arizona Cardinals jerseyOutside: John Brown jersey jersey, JJ Nelson
Slot: Larry Fitzgerald jersey jersey
Depth: Jaron Brown jersey, Aaron Dobson jersey
Fitzgerald, who plays both slot and outside, continues to defy father time. But it’s the health and production of John Brown jersey jersey that is key this year. Last year he was diagnosed as a carrier of the sickle-cell trait and later dealt with hamstring issues. If he’s back to 2015 form, that’s a huge boost for this group.
18. Washington Redskins jerseyOutside: Terrelle Pryor jersey jersey, Josh Doctson jersey
Slot: Jamison Crowder jersey
Depth: Brian Quick jersey, Ryan Grant
Pryor spent the first three years of his career as a quarterback. In 2015, his first year in Cleveland, he barely played at any position. Then he caught 77 passes for over 1,000 yards in his first season as a wide receiver. That speaks volumes about how outstanding an athlete he is. It’s not hard to believe he’ll continue to grow leaps and bounds with one year of wide receiver under his belt.
17. Seattle Seahawks jerseyOutside: Doug Baldwin jersey, Jermaine Kearse jersey
Slot: Tyler Lockett jersey
Depth: Amara Darboh jersey, Tanner McEvoy
Only four players have had at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in both of the last two seasons: Odell Beckham jersey, Antonio Brown jersey, Brandin Cooks jersey jersey and Doug Baldwin jersey. That’s some pretty good company for Seattle’s top target, consistently one of the NFL’s most under-appreciated players.
16. Los Angeles Chargers jerseyOutside: Keenan Allen jersey, Mike Williams jersey
Slot: Travis Benjamin jersey
Depth: Dontrelle Inman jersey,, Tyrell Williams jersey
The Chargers have really solid depth, which is good. The issue here is that their far and away best receiver, Allen, is coming off back-to-back seasons that have ended with an injury. If Allen’s healthy and Mike Williams jersey doesn’t miss the season, as he might, per a recent report, Philip Rivers jersey has a really nice supporting cast around him.
15. New Orleans Saints jerseyView photosMichael Thomas jersey is the new No. 1 wide receiver in pass-happy New Orleans. (Getty)MoreOutside: Michael Thomas jersey, Ted Ginn jersey Jr jersey.
Slot: Willie Snead jersey jersey
Depth: Brandon Coleman jersey jersey, Tommylee Lewis
Thomas is one of two rookies ever to post at least 90 catches for at least 1100 yards and at least nine touchdowns. The other? Odell Beckham jersey Jr jersey.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars jerseyOutside: Allen Robinson jersey jersey, Marqise Lee jersey jersey
Slot: Allen Hurns jersey jersey
Depth: Rashad Greene jersey, Dede Westbrook jersey, Arrelious Benn jersey jersey
The issue for the Jaguars isn’t out wide. Robinson is one of the best at the position, and Hurns is a matchup nightmare in the slot. Add the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner (Westbrook) into that mix and you have three really solid players. Who delivers them the ball is the issue.
13. Indianapolis Colts jerseyOutside: T.Y. Hilton jersey jersey, Donte Moncrief jersey jersey
Slot: Phillip Dorsett jersey jersey
Depth: Kamar Aiken jersey jersey
Hilton is one of the most underrated players in the entire league. He’s had four straight 1,000-yard seasons, all with at least five touchdowns. He produces when Andrew Luck jersey jersey is in the lineup, and he produces when Luck isn’t in the lineup. He just produces. If only Moncrief and Dorsett could stay healthy …
12. Tennessee Titans jerseyOutside: Corey Davis jersey, Rishard Matthews jersey
Slot: Eric Decker jersey
Depth: Harry Douglas jersey, Tajae Sharp, Taywan Taylor jersey, Eric Weems jersey jersey
The Titans needed to upgrade their receiving corps, and they did just that. Davis has an NFL-ready body and was one of the most productive wideouts in FBS history. Decker is a great veteran presence in the slot. The Titans have a bunch of good pieces around a good backfield, good line and good tight end. That’s a formula for success.
11. Miami Dolphins jerseyOutside: DeVante Parker jersey jersey, Kenny Stills jersey jersey
Slot: Jarvis Landry jersey jersey
Depth: Leonte Carroo jersey
This ranking is based upon Parker realizing his potential and living up to it in his third year as a pro. He started to show that he could do just that over the second half of last season.
10. Dallas Cowboys jerseyOutside: Dez Bryant jersey jersey, Terrence Williams
Slot: Cole Beasley jersey jersey
Depth: Brice Butler jersey jersey, Lucky Whitehead jersey, Ryan Switzer jersey
The Cowboys went extremely run-heavy last season with Ezekiel Elliott jersey in the backfield, and they should run the ball a lot again this year. So the numbers are going to be down across the board for the receivers, but that shouldn’t impact their ranking too much. Bryant is a true No. 1, and Beasley has developed into one of the more effective slot men in the league.
9. Denver Broncos jerseyOutside: Demaryius Thomas jersey jersey, Emmanuel Sanders jersey jersey
Slot: Carlos Henderson jersey
Depth: Cody Latimer jersey jersey, Bennie Fowler jersey jersey, Jordan Taylor jersey
In the history of the NFL, three players have caught at least 90 passes five years in a row: Torry Holt jersey, Marvin Harrison jersey and Demaryius Thomas jersey jersey. The Broncos were one of four teams (Washington, New Orleans and Oakland were the others) to have two 1,000-yard wide receivers, which speaks volumes about Thomas and Sanders considering who was throwing them the ball.
8. Green Bay Packers jerseyOutside: Jordy Nelson jersey jersey, Davante Adams jersey jersey
Slot: Randall Cobb jersey jersey
Depth: Geronimo Allison, Jeff Janis jersey, Trevor Davis, Malachi Dupre, DeAngelo Yancey
Adams took the jump he needed to take last year, recording more receiving yards than in his first two years combined. But the Packers are always looking to upgrade the weapons available to Aaron Rodgers jersey jersey, as shown by the late-round selections of Yancey and Dupre, both big-bodied targets.
7. Atlanta Falcons jerseyView photosYes, Julio Jones jersey jersey caught this football. (Getty)MoreOutside: Julio Jones jersey jersey, Mohamed Sanu
Slot: Taylor Gabriel jersey jersey
Depth: Justin Hardy jersey jersey, Andre Roberts jersey jersey, Nick Williams jersey
Jones elevates this group to a top-10 ranking almost all by himself. Yes, having Matt Ryan jersey jersey throwing the ball helps, but Jones is an otherworldly talent. His ability to win any one-on-one matchup — with speed, with size, with strength — is unmatched.
6. Oakland Raiders jerseyOutside: Amari Cooper jersey, Michael Crabtree jersey
Slot: Seth Roberts jersey
Depth: Cordarrelle Patterson jersey jersey
Cooper and Crabtree make up the best under-30 tandem in the NFL, and they complement each other well. Cooper has the size, speed and skill to win matchups up and down the field. When things get close to the goal line, Crabtree (17 touchdowns in the last two years combined) produces at an outstanding level.
5. Cincinnati Bengals jerseyOutside: A.J. Green jersey jersey, Brandon LaFell jersey
Slot: Tyler Boyd jersey
Depth: John Ross jersey, Cody Core, Josh Malone jersey
When Green is healthy, you could argue this is the best receiving corps in the league. Regardless, the Bengals are a top-five team even with his uncertain health, especially after the additions of Ross and Malone. There are no excuses for Andy Dalton jersey jersey this season.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers jerseyOutside: Mike Evans jersey, DeSean Jackson jersey
Slot: Adam Humphries jersey
Depth: Chris Godwin jersey
Perhaps no group of wide receivers complements one another as well as the Bucs’ wideouts do. Evans, at 6-foot-5, is terrific in all aspects, but especially so making the tough catches in traffic. Jackson takes the top off defenses, and Humphris operates really well in small spaces.
3. New York Giants jerseyOutside: Odell Beckham jersey Jr jersey., Brandon Marshall jersey jersey
Slot: Sterling Shepard jersey
Depth: Roger Lewis jersey, Dwayne Harris jersey jersey
Yes, Marshall is 33, but his game has aged very well. He’s a big body and terrific possession receiver to put opposite of Beckham Jr. Marshall’s numbers won’t necessarily be outstanding, but the attention he draws will open up things for others.
View photosOdell Beckham jersey Jr jersey. is must-watch TV every Sunday. Is he part of the league’s best wide receiver group, though? (Getty)More2. New England Patriots jerseyOutside: Brandin Cooks jersey jersey, Chris Hogan jersey
Slot: Julian Edelman jersey jersey
Depth: Andrew Hawkins jersey jersey, Danny Amendola jersey jersey, Malcolm Mitchell jersey
Just when you thought the Patriots couldn’t get significantly better, they added Cooks, one of the best wide receivers in the game. This high ranking, of course, is due mainly to how well the receivers fit the Pats’ system. The Patriots have the perfect personnel to keep things running at an elite level.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers jerseyView photosAntonio Brown jersey puts on a show during and after the play. (Getty)MoreOutside: Antonio Brown jersey, Martavis Bryant jersey
Slot: Brown/Eli Rogers jersey
Depth: Sammie Coates jersey, Darrius Heyward-Bey jersey, JuJu Smith-Schuster jersey, Justin Hunter jersey
The Steelers have the best receiver in the league and the best depth in the league. Bryant’s return adds the big-play element the team didn’t have last year outside of Brown. There are so many good options on this roster — even preseason cuts will be very difficult.