With RazzBowl drafts winding down, I’m now safe to divulge the rest of of my 2021 fantasy football rankings. Maybe safe isn’t the right word—I now have time to divulge the rest of my rankings because I’m not spending 18 hours a day staring at a draft board like a fantasy crack fiend. Now I’m only spending 14 hours a day drafting Best Ball Mania teams over at Underdog Fantasy (<<<use our referral link and get a $25 credit with your first deposit). I know, my plugging knows no shame. Anyway, here’s my top 25 wide receivers for 2021 fantasy football:
Click here to see all 2021 Fantasy Football Rankings.
*Note: These rankings are geared toward half PPR scoring. Projections provided in this season’s rankings are NOT my own, they come from Rudy Gamble’s World Renowned 2021 Fantasy Football Projections. These preseason projections are available free of charge, while Rudy’s in season weekly projection subscription is currently available until August 15th at an early bird discounted price of only $17.99 for the entire season! These are the same weekly projections which have won Rudy Gamble the FantasyPros designation of “Best Bold Ranker” for the years 2017-2019 (and likely 2020!).
Tier 2 (cont’d)
11. CeeDee Lamb – It’s easy to forget the natural connection Dak and Lamb had out of the gates in 2021, since Dak’s leg got snapped like a twig under my Aunt Mildred in week 5. So here’s a little refresher: through his first five career games Lamb posted 29 catches for 443 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not too shabby for a rookie coming out of a soft COVID-stunted training camp! Could Lamb be the top fantasy receiver in 2021? Does Donkey Teeth eat paint chips? (yes)
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 86 Receptions, 1,225 Receiving Yards, 6 Total Touchdowns
12. Allen Robinson – Big question here in Chicago is how long will the Red Rocket be allowed to hump the legs of opposing defenses. But let’s face it, ARob has already succeeded with a cast of misfits behind center, including Blake Bortles, Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles and Gwyneth Paltrow. *checks notes* Not sure about Bortles, but those other three are definitely accurate. Point is, Robinson should get the job done no matter who plays quarterback for Da Bears in 2021.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 110 Receptions, 1,401 Receiving Yards, 6 Total Touchdowns
13. Chris Godwin – I expected a firmer erection from The Godwiener last year when I ranked him my #3 wide receiver. But he did battle some injuries and Mike Evans had possibly the greatest receiving touchdown vulture season in history. I expect things to normalize in 2021 with Godwin claiming his rightful throne as Brady’s #1, but the sheer number of receiving weapons in Tampa has me a little more reserved with this ranking compared to last year.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 88 Receptions, 1,316 Receiving Yards, 6 Total Touchdowns
14. Julio Jones – It feels strange ranking Julio outside WR1 territory for the first time since WW2. Do I feel confident that he’ll finish outside the top 10? Not at all. He’s one year removed from six consecutive 1,300 yard seasons and entering into a Titans offense that runs like a well Oiler’d machine. But the fact is, at his age, coming off an injury plagued season, he’s now a higher risk asset. Julio’s wide range of possible outcomes keeps him just outside WR1 territory for me.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 71 Receptions, 1,045 Receiving Yards, 6 Total Touchdowns
15. Diontae Johnson – I screamed it from the mountain tops last year: Diontae Johnson is better than Juju Smith-Schuster. People called me crazy. People called me ugly. People called me a no good stinkin’ donkey. Now who’s laughing? Still you? Darn. If Big Ben were in his prime, I have little doubt that Diontae would be capable of putting up an Antonio Brown type season. Alas, Ben is but a shell of his old self, making Johnson a flaccid WR1, but still a stiff WR2.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 89 Receptions, 1,002 Receiving Yards, 5 Total Touchdowns
16. Kenny Golladay – Coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, we were all hyped for WR1 Golladay in 2020. Unfortunately it was a lost season and now the shine has worn off the big man heading into his 28 year old season in a new uniform. It’s fair to wonder whether he’ll succeed out of the gates in his new home as receivers have a tendency to struggle in their first year in new systems. But Diggs had little issue last year in Buffalo and Golladay is by far the most talented receiver Daniel Jones has every had at his disposal. I’m cautiously optimistic for a monster bounce back album from Kenny G, and drafting him all over the place in the 6th round.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 72 Receptions, 1,120 Receiving Yards, 6 Total Touchdowns
17. Mike Evans – Hold up, don’t nail me to the cross just yet! Evans did catch 13 touchdowns last year, but we know touchdowns can be a bit fluky. He only posted four 100-yard receiving games and Chris Godwin was banged up a large portion of the season. Now Antonio Brown will also be there after a full offseason to work with his best buddy Tommy; assuming he can keep his head screwed on. Just saying, let’s temper expectations a little with Big Mike.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 78 Receptions, 1,173 Receiving Yards, 9 Total Touchdowns
18. Odell Beckham Jr. – Please don’t poop on me for this ranking. I’m not into that kind of stuff. There’s no guarantee he’s healthy this year—not sure he’s been fully healthy since 2016—but we know he wasn’t really healthy in 2018 or 2019 and still totaled over 1,000 yards each of those seasons. We saw flashes of the old Odell last year prior to the knee injury. I honestly think if he plays even 14 games this ranking is near OBJ’s floor, and the ceiling is still WR1. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. He’s a great 6th round upside gamble if you wait on WR.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 67 Receptions, 898 Receiving Yards, 8 Total Touchdowns
19. D.J. Moore – Is Sam Darnold an upgrade over Teddy Two Gloves in Carolina? Hard to say for sure, but I’m going to guess he is. More importantly, Curtis Samuel is now out of the picture. As a 2020 D.J. Moore owner, I can attest to how frustrating his lack of usage was at times last year. I expect that changes for the better in 2021 and there’s a chance Moore creeps his way up into WR1 territory. Don’t forget, he came into the league young and is still just 24 years old.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 81 Receptions, 1,240 Receiving Yards, 6 Total Touchdowns
20. Amari Cooper – I think I still have deep rooted trauma from drafting the Raiders version of Amari Pooper—I mean Cooper. But it’s undeniable that he and Dak have great chemistry. Still, he’s going off the board as the #15 wide receiver in recent drafts and by my count he’s never posted WR1 fantasy numbers across a full season. So why pay for what’s likely near his ceiling?
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 81 Receptions, 1,170 Receiving Yards, 7 Total Touchdowns
21. Adam Thielen – Last year I told you to draft Thielen and then trade him midseason before his typical late season fade. I was half right! In baseball I’d be the best hitter ever. Obviously Thielen never slowed in the second half, putting up a career year with 14 touchdowns. But there were some warning signs, namely Cousins looking to rookie Justin Jefferson waaaay more often than Thielen down the stretch. As mentioned in the Evans blurb, touchdowns aren’t predictable from year to year and he could easily fall back down to 5 or 6 scores in 2021. Of course he could also score 14 times once more and make me look silly . . . again.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 76 Receptions, 1,026 Receiving Yards, 7 Total Touchdowns
22. Robert Woods – I think I had Bobby Trees ranked around #16 in one iteration of these rankings. Then I got to tinkering and smoking trees and somehow he landed down here. Hmmm, maybe I should revisit this ranking process. Really, I’m pretty excited about the Rams offense with Stafford at the helm, but I suppose there could be some acclimation period for the veteran QB in a new system. The real question for me is which Rams’ receiver(s) does Stafford have eyes for? It could be Woods, could be Kupp, or maybe even second year man Van Jefferson.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 88 Receptions, 1,077 Receiving Yards, 5 Total Touchdowns
23. Ja’Marr Chase – Is Ja’Marr Chase a generational talent? People smarter than me seem to think so. And I’m not just talking about the homeless guy who loiters outside the liquor store down the block. I’m talking about folks who analyze college football film for a living. But even so, the mythical Calvin Johnson only caught 48 passes for 756 yards and 4 touchdowns in this rookie season. So let’s just pump the brakes on the Ja’Marr Chase #1 overall fantasy receiver in 2021 nonsense.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 78 Receptions, 1,024 Receiving Yards, 6 Total Touchdowns
24. Cooper Kupp – As someone who ranked Kupp way too high last year and looked like a dummy, I have to say I’m very concerned about what 2021 will bring for Jared Goff’s ex-boyfriend. A huge part of his fantasy value, in my eyes, was dependent on the chemistry between he and Goff. It’s possible that Stafford comes in and immediately develops that same chemistry, but it’s also possible that Stafford keys in on Woods and Jefferson with Kupp becoming somewhat of an afterthought. I’m avoiding for now.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 89 Receptions, 1,107 Receiving Yards, 6 Total Touchdowns
25. Chase Claypool – Big Ben talked up Claypool in the preseason and it wasn’t just fluff. The kid is an absolute force and if Roethlisberger can get him the ball—and stop wasting his time with JuJu—then a monster season could be in store. There’s no other receivers (other than maybe Jerry Jeudy) who can be drafted in the 6th/7th round with the kind of upside Claypool brings to the table.
Rudy’s 2021 Projection: 63 Receptions, 862 Receiving Yards, 7 Total Touchdowns