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FANTASY FOOTBALL: Top 75 PPR wideouts for 2021, in advance of the NFL preseason kickoff

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Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley (eight games of 100-plus receiving yards last year) figures to be a solid bet for 95 catches, 150-plus targets, 1,300 yards receiving and double-digit TDs this season.

TOP 75 PPR WIDE RECEIVERS

  1. Davante Adams, Packers
  2. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
  3. Calvin Ridley, Falcons
  4. Stefon Diggs, Bills
  5. DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals
  6. Keenan Allen, Chargers
  7. Justin Jefferson, Vikings
  8. DK Metcalf, Seahawks
  9. A.J. Brown, Titans
  10. Diontae Johnson, Steelers
  11. Mike Evans, Buccaneers
  12. Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team
  13. Allen Robinson, Bears
  14. Adam Thielen, Vikings
  15. Julio Jones, Titans
  16. Robert Woods, Rams
  17. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers
  18. Robby Anderson, Panthers
  19. Cooper Kupp, Rams
  20. Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers
  21. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys
  22. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
  23. Kenny Golladay, Giants
  24. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers
  25. DJ Moore, Panthers
  26. Tee Higgins, Bengals
  27. Odell Beckham Jr., Browns
  28. Chase Claypool, Steelers
  29. Amari Cooper, Cowboys
  30. Marvin Jones, Jaguars
  31. Marquise Brown, Ravens
  32. Jarvis Landry, Browns
  33. Brandin Cooks, Texans
  34. Jerry Jeudy, Broncos
  35. Tyler Boyd, Bengals
  36. Cole Beasley, Bills
  37. Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals
  38. Courtland Sutton, Broncos
  39. DJ Chark, Jaguars
  40. Curtis Samuel, Washington Football Team
  41. Michael Thomas, Saints (preseason surgery leaves ranking in limbo)
  42. Corey Davis, Jets
  43. DeVante Parker, Dolphins
  44. Breshad Perriman, Lions
  45. Michael Pittman Jr., Colts
  46. Jamison Crowder, Jets
  47. Jalen Reagor, Eagles
  48. Nelson Agholor, Patriots
  49. Deebo Samuel, 49ers
  50. Mecole Hardman, Chiefs
  51. Russell Gage, Falcons
  52. Will Fuller, Dolphins (five-game suspension to start the season)
  53. Antonio Brown, Buccaneers
  54. Devonta Smith, Eagles
  55. Darnell Mooney, Bears
  56. Jakobi Meyers, Patriots
  57. Mike Williams, Chargers
  58. Laviska Shenault, Jaguars
  59. Rashod Bateman, Ravens
  60. Van Jefferson, Rams
  61. A.J. Green, Cardinals
  62. Tyrell Williams, Lions
  63. Randall Cobb, Packers
  64. Michael Gallup, Cowboys
  65. Allen Lazard, Packers
  66. Tre’Quan Smith, Saints
  67. Sammy Watkins, Ravens
  68. Darius Slayton, Giants
  69. John Brown, Raiders
  70. Tim Patrick, Broncos
  71. Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins
  72. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions
  73. Emmanuel Sanders, Bills
  74. Parris Campbell, Colts
  75. Denzel Mims, Jets
  76. T.Y. Hilton Colts
  77. Rondale Moore, Cardinals
  78. Sterling Shepard, Giants
  79. Jalen Guyton, Chargers
  80. Christian Kirk, Cardinals

RANKINGS RATIONALE

a) Last year, Davante Adams was the only NFL receiver to post top-4 finishes in catches (115), targets (149), receiving yards (1,374) and touchdowns (18).

Throw in the hype surrounding his Last Dance pact with quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the eve of Packers training camp … and Adams should be able to match his 2020 production in at least two categories.

As for what happens after the Adams ranking? Well, this could go a number of ways:

b) Tyreek Hill’s three-year mark of 37 touchdowns has no peer among active wideouts, including Adams (36).

What’s more, charting his final 11 games last season, Hill notched five efforts of eight-plus catches, five instances of 100-plus receiving yards, nine outings of double-digit targets and 12 total touchdowns.

So, what makes Hill a dicey proposition to eclipse Adams this season, assuming full health to both stars?

**Hill might never reach 95 catches in a given campaign.

**Hill has produced a consistent catch-to-target rate of 64-65 percent over the last three seasons. That’s the good news. Comparatively, though, Adams operated at a 77-percent clip last year.

DRAFT-PREP MATERIALS

QB-STARTER RANKINGS
TOP 60 PPR TAILBACKS
TOP 75 PPR WIDE RECEIVERS
TOP 35 PPR TIGHT ENDS
TOP 125 PPR PLAYMAKERS
THE ANNUAL PPR SPECTACULAR
MOCK DRAFT SIMULATION: #4 SLOT
MOCK DRAFT SIMULATION: #11 SLOT

c) With Julio Jones traded to the Titans, Calvin Ridley (eight games of 100 yards receiving in 2020) figures to be a good bet for 95-plus catches, 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns this season, while vaulting to the Falcons’ No. 1 wideout slot.

The only thing hindering this belief: Ridley must show marked improvement from last year’s catch-to-target rate of 63 percent.

Why is that? A healthy Ridley should collect at least 160 targets in the Falcons’ progressive passing attack.

d) Heading into his age-29 season, I know the Keenan Allen Train To Fantasy Fitness won’t run forever.

At the same time, it’s too early to forecast a numbers decline, as we approach Year 2 of the Justin Herbert project … and celebrate Allen’s sterling four-year averages of 101 catches, 148 targets, 1,195 receiving yards and 6.5 touchdowns.

From Weeks 2 to 16 last season (all Herbert starts), Allen enjoyed a run of seven games of nine-plus catches, 10 efforts of double-digit targets, four outings of 100-plus yards and eight total touchdowns.

The best thing about Allen’s No. 6 ranking? He’ll still be on the board early in Round 3, surpassing the value of a running back ranked in the 15-18 range.

e) Adam Thielen could be the most schizophrenic fantasy asset of draft season, in terms of gauging the WILD swings with Average Draft Position.

Why is that?

For starters, fantasygoers will have to play a confounding game of, ‘Which is the real outlier?‘ — Thielen’s career-best tally of 14 touchdowns last year … or that his catches and targets were woefully short of 2018 trends.

For me, the projectable truth typically falls somewhere in the middle. Heading into his age-31 campaign, Thielen has the viability of 90-plus catches and 130 targets … but no reasonable person should expect a repeat of 14 scores.

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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