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RotoViz WR Tiers: Behind the Scenes

I recently endeavoured to update my player tiers across all positions. Having done so only a month ago, I assumed few changes would be needed. I was wrong. Camps have yet to open, and things are still very fluid.

It’s a good opportunity to go over my current tiers, and hopefully more instructively, examine where they differ from the rest of the RotoViz rankers.

This will piece give you a behind-the-scenes peek at the tiers that power our 2018 Draft Dashboard.

I’ll examine each tier, look at the outliers and controversial names, then ask the question: what are the other guys seeing that I may be missing?

Here are the full tiers from all our rankers.

4Antonio BrownPITWR11111111
5DeAndre HopkinsHOUWR11111111
10Odell Beckham JrNYGWR11111111
13Michael ThomasNOWR1.92222122
17Julio JonesATLWR1.41221121
18Keenan AllenLACWR1.42112121
19AJ GreenCINWR1.92222122
20Mike EvansTBWR22222222
23Davante AdamsGBWR1.92222122
26TY HiltonINDWR2.72332333
28Brandin CooksLARWR3.13443332
29Adam ThielenMINWR2.42332223
33Jordy NelsonOAKWR5.36664555
34Tyreek HillKCWR2.93333233
35Doug BaldwinSEAWR2.32332222
38Alshon JefferyPHIWR3.43443334
39Amari CooperOAKWR2.72442232
40Stefon DiggsMINWR2.32332222
41Josh GordonCLEWR3.63444334
44Jarvis LandryCLEWR33333333
46Allen RobinsonCHIWR32442333
49Larry FitzgeraldARIWR2.73323233
53Golden TateDETWR3.34333343
54Demaryius ThomasDENWR3.33443333
56Michael CrabtreeBALWR4.46444454
59Sammy WatkinsKCWR3.73453434
63Chris HoganNEWR4.14454444
64Emmanuel SandersDENWR4.14544444
65Corey DavisTENWR4.34554444
69Kelvin BenjaminBUFWR4.75544555
71Pierre GarconSFWR4.75554554
79Martavis BryantPITWR5.96664766
81Devante ParkerMIAWR5.45674655
83Cooper KuppLARWR4.75544555
84Robert WoodsLARWR4.34544445
85Marvin JonesDETWR3.74443443
86Sterling ShepardNYGWR4.94554556
87Juju Smith-SchusterPITWR3.43433434
95Devin FunchessCARWR44444444
98Jamison CrowderWASWR4.64544555
101Marquise GoodwinSFWR4.34444455
103DeSean JacksonTBWR4.75554554
104Will FullerHOUWR3.63444334
105Randall CobbGBWR5.36654646
110Corey ColemanCLEWR5.76665656
114Terrelle PryorNYJWR6.46775767
116Ted GinnNOWR5.96665666
118Donte MoncriefJAXWR6.36775766
121Robby AndersonNYJWR44444444
132Kenny GolladayDETWR5.35654665
133Rishard MatthewsTENWR4.44544455
136Allen HurnsDALWR4.44445455
142Mike WallacePHIWR5.96665666
145Josh DoctsonWASWR5.76665656
147Nelson AgholorPHIWR4.64554554
151Mohamed SanuATLWR5.76665665
153Danny AmendolaMIAWR66666666
154Marqise LeeJAXWR4.14444445
189Brandon MarshallNYGWR6.77776767
191Kenny BrittNEWR6.77776767
193Eric DeckerTENWR6.97776777
197Jeremy MaclinBALWR6.97776777
199Jordan MatthewsNEWR5.76665665
201Willie SneadNOWR66666666
203Tyrell WilliamsLACWR5.76665656
207John BrownBALWR66666666
209Tyler LockettSEAWR5.34665655
211Kevin WhiteCHIWR6.17666666
213Cole BeasleyDALWR6.66776767
214Kenny StillsMIAWR4.64544555
215Zay JonesBUFWR6.45776767
216Torrey SmithCARWR6.46775767
218Taylor GabrielCHIWR66666666
219Jermaine KearseNYJWR66665676
220Kendall WrightMINWR6.77776767
221Breshad PerrimanBALWR77777777
225JJ NelsonARIWR66665676
226Terrance WilliamsDALWR77777777
231Chris ConleyKCWR6.97776777
232Paul RichardsonWASWR54664555
234Brandon LaFellCINWR77777777
236Tavon AustinLARWR6.97776777
239Seth RobertsOAKWR77777777
240Curtis SamuelCARWR6.46776757
242John RossCINWR6.46776757
247Eli RogersPITWR6.36667676
248Tyler BoydCINWR66666666
250Markus WheatonCHIWR77777777
251Laquon TreadwellMINWR77777777
252Albert WilsonMIAWR5.96665666
256Travis BenjaminLACWR6.77776767
257Adam HumphriesTBWR77777777
258Braxton MillerHOUWR77777777
259Ardarius StewartNYJWR77777777
262Jaron BrownSEAWR6.16666676
263Brandon ColemanNOWR77777777
265Malcolm MitchellNEWR6.16666676
267Andre HolmesBUFWR77777777
268Chris GodwinTBWR65775756
270Jaelen StrongJAXWR77777777
273Charone PeakeNYJWR77777777
276Kasen WilliamsCLEWR77777777
278Geronimo AllisonGBWR6.97776777
279Mike WilliamsLACWR6.15776747
281Deonte ThompsonDALWR77777777
282Kamar AikenINDWR77777777
283Brice ButlerARIWR6.97776777
284Taywan TaylorTENWR6.46775767
286Chester RogersINDWR6.66776767
287Rod StreaterBUFWR77777777
289Dede WestbrookJAXWR5.75665666

Tier 1

Antonio Brown

DeAndre Hopkins

Odell Beckham Jr.

Julio Jones

Keenan Allen

Brown, Hopkins, and Beckham are the only consensus Tier 1 (T1) WRs among our seven rankers. I’m higher on Jones and Allen than several of our rankers and believe they both have the potential to finish as the overall WR1 if things break right.

The most notable name here is Allen. Three rankers, including editor-in-chief Shawn Seigele and managing editor Blair Andrews, have Allen in T2, which makes me nervous.

But I think people are sleeping on Allen a little in the middle of the second. He was the overall WR3 last year, ranked fourth in expected points, and scored only 26 fewer PPR points than Brown over the full 17 weeks.

Though not truly elite when it comes to air yards, Allen ranked in the top 10 or better in a number of 2017 metrics, including the more-predictive weighted opportunity rating (WOPR).1

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 2.11.36 PM


What Am I Missing?

2017 was a career year for Allen, and it may be his ceiling. He also may face more competition than expected via the return of sophomore Mike Williams. Also, if the Chargers are better than their 7.5-win total that Vegas has given them, they may be more run heavy than they’ve been in years past.

Here are the current tiers from our seven rankers.

Tier 2

A.J. Green

Mike Evans

Davante Adams

Brandin Cooks

Doug Baldwin

Amari Cooper

Stefon Diggs

Here we start to see some dissent among the rankers, as Evans is the only consensus second-tier WR.

The biggest discrepancies come from Cooks and Cooper. I’m the only one with Cooks in T2. I recently explained why I think he’s shaping up as a great fourth-round value, and I think he has a similar range of outcomes to the rest of this group.

The most polarizing name is Cooper, who is tiered as high as two (by myself, Rahim, Lapinski, and Andrews) and as low as T4 (by Dutton and Caban). Looking at his career stats, it’s easy to see why.


What am I Missing?

Does Cooper really have the potential to finish among guys like Adams and Evans? His highest ever finish is WR14, he hasn’t shown a nose for the endzone, and his QB leaves plenty to be desired. This is an aggressive ranking in T2, but with Michael Crabtree gone, I’m willing to knowingly take on some risk with such a talented player.

Tier 3

T.Y. Hilton

Adam Thielen

Tyreek Hill

Jarvis Landry

Allen Robinson

Larry Fitzgerald

Marvin Jones

Golden Tate

Demaryius Thomas

The only consensus T3 WR is Landry, and I thought hard about bumping him down to T4. I’ll leave him here, but with so many mouths to feed in Cleveland, I’m not touching him at his price. However, it’s certainly reasonable that he could finish among this group.

The biggest disagreement among the rankers stems from former super stud, Robinson. I’ve begun work on an article on him, and I admit that I’m not too sure what to do with the Bears’ No. 1 in 2018.

Yes, he’s a potential league winner in the fourth round, but he also has plenty of red flags, including QB play and the fact that he’s a WR on a new team.

What am I Missing?

I’m not comfortable with having Hilton in this tier, and we see rankers Lapinski and Andrews putting him in T2, which seems reasonable. I’ll leave him at T3 until we get some clarity on Andrew Luck, but I have been starting to draft more Hilton in recent weeks.

The last full season he played with Luck under center, Hilton was the overall WR5.

Tier 4

Josh Gordon

Michael Crabtree

Sammy Watkins

Pierre Garcon

Emmanuel Sanders

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Devin Funchess

Chris Hogan

Corey Davis

DeSean Jackson

Will Fuller

Robby Anderson

Nelson Agholor

Julian Edelman

Alshon Jeffery 

There are only two consensus players in the fourth tier — Anderson and Funchess. The former is somewhat of a surprise considering his murky suspension status, but I’m encouraged to see the rest of RotoViz is as high on Anderson as I am.

We have two players generating significant controversy in this tier — Watkins and Crabtree. The Chiefs No. 1 is ranked as high as T3 (by Seigele, Lapinski, and Andrews) and as low as T5 (by Dutton). I’m inclined to bump him up a spot as well, though there are obvious volume concerns on a loaded offense.

Meanwhile, 2016’s WR10, Crabtree, is in either the fourth, fifth, or sixth tier, depending on who you ask. I have him in the fourth, but the truth is, I have zero shares at his price, and there are plenty of reasons to be concerned in a low-volume offense with a poor QB. However, Crabtree has been awfully consistent, finishing in the weekly top 36 about 67 percent of the time, so it shouldn’t surprise to see him end up among this group.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 3.57.49 PM

What Am I Missing?

I might be missing out on a potential league winner by having Gordon ranked so low. Among this group, he and Fitzgerald have the most realistic chance of finishing as a WR1. Uncertainty abounds in Cleveland, which is causing me to shy away. That may be a mistake.

Tier 5

Jordy Nelson

Kelvin Benjamin

Devante Parker

Cooper Kupp

Robert Woods

Jamison Crowder

Marquise Goodwin

Kenny Golladay

Rishard Matthews

Allen Hurns

Mohamed Sanu

Marqise Lee

Jordan Matthews

Tyler Lockett

Kenny Stills

Cameron Meredith

DJ Moore

Michael Gallup

Paul Richardson

Donte Moncrief

Dez Bryant

Hogan and Sanders are two guys I bumped up to T4 when updating my tiers this week. The New England WR is quickly ascending draft boards and could be an incredible value, considering Edelman’s suspension, injury, and age.


newplot (11)

There is only one concensus T5 player among our rankers – Dez Bryant. He should land on an NFL team this summer, and when he does, he’s a good bet to return value at this price.

The two most contentious players in this tier are Meredith and Parker. While Seigele, Andrews, and I have concerns about Meredith’s injury and place in the Saints pecking order, others like Lapinski are bullish on a return to his 800-yard form.

Meanwhile, some still hold out hope for a breakout for Parker, while Neil Dutton thinks he’s more fit for the T7 scrap pile.

What am I Missing?

I’m the only ranker who has Lee in T5, with everyone else pegging him as the No. 1 option in Jacksonville and putting him in T4. I believe Donte Moncrief is a solid bet to lead the team in receiving, although this situation bears a closer look.

I’m also higher on Matthews than most, with the majority rankers placing him in T6. That may be a little too aggressive on my part, as the Patriots will spread it around and Matthews is unlikely to get a valuable workload.

Tier 6

Calvin Ridley

Martavis Bryant

Sterling Shepard

Randall Cobb

Corey Coleman

Ted Ginn

Mike Wallace

Josh Doctson

Danny Amendola

Willie Snead

Tyrell Williams

John Brown

Kevin White

Taylor Gabriel

Jermaine Kearse

J.J. Nelson

Eli Rogers

Tyler Boyd

Albert Wilson

Jaron Brown

Malcolm Mitchell

Chris Godwin

Dede Westbrook

Quincy Enunwa

Keelan Cole

Courtland Sutton

Christian Kirk

Anthony Miller

D.J. Chark

Dante Pettis

I bumped Golladay up a tier, despite some real concerns. However, he is just one injury away from being a fantasy factor in 2018.

We don’t find much consensus at this point in the draft, although all our rankers agree on the placement of Gabriel, Chark, Boyd, Brown, and Amendola.

A few interesting names to note here are Cobb and Shepard, both of whom have been slotted into T4 by some of our rankers. The duo may be an undervalued one to focus on.

What Am I Missing?

I’m fine passing on Shepard, but it may be time to re-examine my position on Richardson and Cobb. Aaron Rodgers’ No. 2 WR probably shouldn’t be ranked so low, and Seigele and Lapinski both put him in T4.

I also wonder if I may be missing out by having Tyrell Williams and Corey Coleman lower than most. It’s not hard to picture either one being a factor in 2017.

  1. Josh Hermsmeyer, the creator of WOPR, recently opined that WOPR is the most predictive metric for WRs.  (back)
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