Every NFL team will use at least two, if not three, wide receivers in each game and as such, logging a top-8 performance against a secondary is already a feat since that defense likely faced about 50 starting wideouts in a season. This is a very impressive feat and turning in the top performance is truly elite.
The top-8 fantasy performances against each defense were arrayed and each wide receivers were recorded for how often their fantasy points were in the top-8, the top-4 and highest allowed versus that specific defense last season.
Adding up those numbers yields a “better than average” (BTA) score since they are better than the average wideout that faced a defense. It also weights the performances since a No. 1 also counts as a top-4 and a top-8.
Better than average: QB | RB | TE
Bottom line: This is about how well a receiver did against a defense relative to all the others in his position did when they faced them. This is a true measurement of how effective wideouts are when the schedule influences are removed.
The interesting part of this is that Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams were two of the top-3 in this metric and yet left for a team with a downgrade at quarterback. Jaylen Waddle proved to be a force as a rookie, but now he has Hill cutting into expectations.
Tyler Lockett also fared well here but also experiences a downgrade at quarterback. Given the sheer volume of wideouts that face NFL defenses, the top wideouts here are truly elite. But many of these receivers have different situations this year with other receivers added to their team (Waddle, Hunter Renfrow, Amon-Ra St. Brown) and several have moved to new teams (Hill, Adams, A.J. Brown, Marquise Brown, Amari Cooper).
Only Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel provided most of their games as top-8 performances versus defenses.
Of the five wideouts that managed more than one top performance allowed by an NFL defense, only Kupp still has the same situation. Hill and Adams moved on, and Lockett and Samuel will have new quarterbacks this year.