Brown, Hopkins, Thomas lead UPI’s top 100 fantasy football wide receivers

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Aug. 28 (UPI) — Perennial Pro Bowler Antonio Brown leads UPI’s top 100 fantasy football wide receivers of 2018.

Behind Brown, the crew looks formidable and familiar. DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. round out the top five.

After the first few running backs come off of the board in your draft, you might want to pull the trigger on an elite pass catcher who can consistently put up numbers and might appear in more games than their rushing counterparts.

If you miss out on the top tier guys, fear not, check out our top 100 options at the position for the 2018 season.

SCROLL DOWN FOR TOP 100

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

HALL OF FAME

1. Antonio Brown

Only one wide receiver deserves to be in this tier: Antonio Brown. The Pittsburgh Steelers star is entering his ninth pro season and has been named an All-Pro for four consecutive seasons. Brown led the league with 1,533 receiving yards in 2017. He also pulled in more than 100 receptions for the fifth consecutive season. Brown is a very appealing option toward the middle of the first round as he is as safe as they get.

ALL-PRO

2. DeAndre Hopkins, 3. Michael Thomas, 4. Julio Jones, 5. Odell Beckham Jr.

Michael Thomas has pushed his way to the top of the elite fantasy football wide receiver pool. Drew Brees‘ favorite target pulled in a career-best 104 catches for 1,245 yards and five scores in 16 games last season. He should get around 150 targets once again this season and I expect his touchdown numbers to increase. Thomas is my No. 3 wide receiver this season, in front of some impressive names.

Brown, Hopkins, Thomas lead UPI’s top 100 fantasy football wide receivers Fantasy Football 2018 Top 100 wide receiver rankings
Atlanta Falcons‘ Julio Jones (11) warms up prior to an NFC divisional playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 13 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI

Odell Beckham Jr. got PAID this offseason and he could reward the New York Giants with a big-time season. Based on pure talent, you could make an argument that no wide receiver has more of it than OBJ. Beckham posted very consistent numbers through the first three seasons of his career, before his injury-shortened 2017 campaign. With the addition of Saquon Barkley and the possibility of a more balanced attack, I expect Beckham to return to form and secure at least 150 targets, produce double digit touchdowns and accumulate at least 1,300 yards.

SCROLL DOWN FOR TOP 100

PRO-BOWL

6. A.J. Green. 7. Davante Adams, 8. Doug Baldwin

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has always been Andy Dalton‘s favorite target and this year will be no different. The Bengals have an improved offensive line and several other talented offensive options, in addition to the seven-time Pro Bowl pass catcher. I expect the Bengals offense to return to form in 2018, aided by the return of Tyler Eifert and solid play from Joe Mixon. Green had 1,078 yards and eight scores on 75 receptions in 16 games last season. He should produce like a high-end WR1 and be a consistent part of your lineup every week in 2018.

There is no question who the No. 1 wide receiver is for the Green Bay Packers: Davante Adams. Last year, Adams has back-to-back seasons with double-digit scores and he should do the same in 2018 while catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. Adams’ name should now be among the elite pass catchers in the game. Consider him a second round option in your draft.

JUST NAPPING [EARLY TO MID-ROUND SLEEPERS]

11. Amari Cooper, 16. Josh Gordon, 22. Marquise Goodwin, 23. Michael Crabtree

I expect Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper to rebound in a big way in 2018, making him a steal at his current average draft position. After posting back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns to start his career, Cooper slipped to 680 receiving yards in 14 games during his 2018 season. Raiders coach Jon Gruden has said he wants Cooper to be the focal point for the offense this season. Look for a huge target number from Cooper, my No. 11 option at the position.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is back and has more upside than many of the options around his average draft position. I expect Gordon to lead the Browns in yards and touchdowns in a return to form, while catching passes from an upgraded stable of quarterbacks. While Gordon might start the season as a WR2, he should improve on that status in short time.

Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree is now with the Baltimore Ravens. While I don’t expect him to be the ‘touchdown-maker’ he was with the Raiders, I do expect him to get the most targets amongst pass catchers in Baltimore. Crabtree should be a trusted red-zone option, while coming off of three consecutive seasons with at least eight receiving scores. He is also durable. While Crabtree doesn’t have the upside of Gordon, he is still worth a late round pick, especially if you started your draft running back heavy.

DRIFTING OFF [MID TO LATE-ROUND TARGETS]

45. Chris Godwin, 47. D.J. Moore, 48. Danny Amendola

Top 100 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers, Bye Week 7

2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans, Bye Week 10

3. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints, Bye Week 6

4. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons, Bye Week 8

5. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants, Bye Week 9

6. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals, Bye Week 9

7. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers, Bye Week 7

8. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks, Bye Week 7

9. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bye Week 5

10. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers, Bye Week 8

11. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders, Bye Week 7

12. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts, Bye Week 9

13. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings, Bye Week 10

14. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs, Bye Week 12

15. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos, Bye Week 10

16. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns, Bye Week 11

17. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings, Bye Week 10

18. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers, Bye Week 7

19. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals, Bye Week 9

20. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns, Bye Week 11

21. Chris Hogan, New England Patriots, Bye Week 11

22. Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers, Bye Week 11

23. Michael Crabtree, Baltimore Ravens, Bye Week 10

24. Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions, Bye Week 6

25. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears, Bye Week 5

26. Will Fuller, Houston Texans, Bye Week 10

27. Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams, Bye Week 12

28. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions, Bye Week 6

29. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos, Bye Week 10

30. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titants, Bye Week 8

31. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams, Bye Week 12

32. Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs, Bye Week 12

33. Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins, Bye Week 4

34. Kelvin Benjamin, Buffalo Bills, Bye Week 11

35. Robby Anderson, New York Jets, Bye Week 11

36. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams, Bye Week 12

37. Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins, Bye Week 11

38. Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles, Bye Week 9

39. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots, Bye Week 11

40. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers, Bye Week 7

41. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers, Bye Week 4

42. Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers, Bye Week 8

43. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons, Bye Week 8

44. Pierre Garcon, San Francisco 49ers, Bye Week 11

45. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bye Week 5

46. Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars, Bye Week 9

47. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers, Bye Week 4

48. Danny Amendola, Miami Dolphins, Bye Week 11

49. Jordy Nelson, Oakland Raiders, Bye Week 7

50. Allen Hurns, Dallas Cowboys, Bye Week 8

51. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions, Bye Week 6

52. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles, Bye Week 9

53. Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys, Bye Week 8

54. Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins, Bye Week 4

55. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants, Bye Week 9

56. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks, Bye Week 7

57. John Brown, Baltimore Ravens, Bye Week 10

58. Martavis Bryant, Oakland Raiders, Bye Week 7

59. Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans, Bye Week 8

60. Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers, Bye Week 8

61. Anthony Miller, Chicago Bills, Bye Week 5

62. Brandon Marshall, Seattle Seahawks, Bye Week 7

63. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons, Bye Week 8

64. Cameron Meredith, New Orleans Saints, Bye Week 6

65. Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers, Bye Week 7

66. Cordarrelle Patterson, New England Patriots, Bye Week 11

67. Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars, Bye Week 9

68. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bye Week 5

69. John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals, Bye Week 9

70. Taywan Taylor, Tennessee Titans, Bye Week 8

71. Donte Monrief, Jacksonville Jaguars, Bye Week 9

72. Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals, Bye Week 9

73. Ted Ginn, New Orleans Saints, Bye Week 6

74. Mike Wallace, Philadelphia Eagles, Bye Week 9

75. Albert Wilson, Miami Dolphins, Bye Week 11

76. Philip Dorsett, New England Patriots Bye Week 11

77. Ryan Grant, Indianapolis Colts, Bye Week 9

78. Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys, Bye Week 8

79. James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers, Bye Week 7

80. Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets, Bye Week 11

81. Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets, Bye Week 11

82. Corey Coleman, Buffalo Bills, Bye Week 11

83. Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers, Bye Week 11

84. Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys, Bye Week 8

85. Willie Snead, Baltimore Ravens, Bye Week 10

86. Dez Bryant, Free Agent, Bye Week N/A

87. Antonio Callaway, Cleveland Browns, Bye Week 11

88. Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears, Bye Week 5

89. Terrell Pryor, New York Jets, Bye Week 11

90. Jaron Brown, Seattle Seahawks, Bye Week 7

91. Mack Hollins, Philadelphia Eagles, Bye Week 9

92. Chester Rogers, Indianapolis Colts, Bye Week 9

93. Torrey Smith, Carolina Panthers, Bye Week 4

94. Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers, Bye Week 4

95. J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals, Bye Week 9

96. Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills, Bye Week 11

97. Travis Benjamin, Los Angeles Chargers, Bye Week 8

98. Kevin White, Chicago Bears, Bye Week 5

99. Kendall Wright, Minnesota Vikings, Bye Week 10

100. Chad Williams, Arizona Cardinals, Bye Week 9





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