Wide receivers are the most plentiful position given that offenses use two or three on most every play. And value exists further out than it does on running backs as the only other position that requires more than one fantasy starter. That all said, a Top-10 wide receiver makes a difference, producing far better stats and consistent results each week.
Top-10 Repeatability: Quarterbacks
Top-10 Repeatability: Running Backs
Top-10 Repeatability: Tight Ends
Fantasy drafters naturally raid the previous Top-10 in the first couple of rounds and there’s even a “Zero RB” strategy where teams load up on wideouts and later collect whatever running backs that are still left. In the end, it’s all about picking the right players. But wide receivers are attracting more attention than ever both in the fantasy world and the actual NFL that coughs up huge sums for elite receivers. Sometimes huge sums for less than elite receivers lately.
Check out just how volatile the Top-10 has been for the last five seasons.
It’s surprising enough that only Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs repeated their Top-10 performance of 2020 the next year. Consider that the Top-10 of 2019 had only Cooper Kupp as a repeat in the Top-10 of 2021. And he fell to No. 26 in 2020 between those seasons.
DeAndre Hopkins was the only wideout on a four-year streak of Top-10’s before being injured in 2021. It’s not unusual for any receiver to eventually have a down year thanks to injury and Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Keenan Allen, and Hopkins incurred just that. Michael Thomas, and Julio Jones fell off the map in 2020.
Of the 29 players that recorded at least one Top-10 season, 16 of them (55%) have just the one (at least so far). Receivers tend to take longer to develop than most positions and for many years, the rule of thumb was that breakouts would typically happen in Year 3. Not so much anymore. Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase both reached the Top-10 as rookies.
Half of the Top-10 of 2021 were not in the league in 2018. College produces more and better receivers and that’s carried over to the NFL. The previous Top-10 has tended to remain at least Top-20 the following year, but it is easy to see just how those elite performances last more than two years in a row.