With Underdog Best Ball drafts quickly approaching, it becomes crucial to finalize your rankings before heading into the draft room.
Curating the rankings using Underdog ADP, expert tier rankings, personal tier rankings, and boom/bust potential, I break down some wide receivers that will have a significant impact on your Underdog squad.
2023 Hello Rookie Staff Rankings
|12||Amon-Ra St. Brown||Lions||9|
Top Rated WRs
1. Justin Jefferson
Minnesota Vikings | Underdog ADP: 1.1 (WR1)
The future Hall-of-Famer has cemented his spot as the top receiving option in the NFL and fantasy football. With 100+ receptions and 8+ TDs over the past two seasons, Justin Jefferson has just tapped into that other-worldly potential.
With Adam Thielen now in Carolina, I expect his 191 slot snaps to skyrocket into the 300 territory, making him a candidate for a 2,000-yard receiving season with the extra game the NFL has added.
With the offense in Minnesota still catered to Jefferson, he should have no problem finishing as the WR1 yet again this season. If you hold the 1.01 pick in an Underdog draft, don’t force it on CMC, Ekeler, or a QB, as Jefferson can single-handedly secure victories for your squad.
2. Ja’Marr Chase
Cincinnati Bengals | Underdog ADP: 2.1 (WR2)
Although we drop off a tier from Justin Jefferson, fellow LSU wideout Ja’Marr Chase is easily the second-most valuable player in Best Ball coming into this season. Not yet eclipsing the 100 reception mark in his two seasons with Cincinnati, Chase has had no shortage of making his mark in the red zone.
At just 23 years old, Ja’Marr has showcased remarkable downfield playmaking skills and versatility within Zac Taylor’s offense. His ability to thrive in various roles and positions is reminiscent of Jefferson as they battle for that WR1 title yet again.
It’s worth noting that over the past two years, he ranks second only to Davante Adams in receiving touchdowns while missing 5 games in 2022. The prospect of Chase’s continued development is undoubtedly an intimidating one.
3. Cooper Kupp
Los Angeles Rams | Underdog ADP: 4.5 (WR4)
When discussing Kupp’s 2023 outlook, it’s difficult to dismiss the situation the Rams are in. After trading away virtually every future draft pick, they find themselves lacking some star power from that Super Bowl squad a few years ago and an injured QB who seems to be in his final season or two.
As for Aaron Donald, the Rams could look to ship him off to a contender for assets if the season turns south before the trade deadline. With Cooper Kupp, we know that the 1,000 yards and 10 TDs will come.
The performance of a healthy Matt Stafford, as opposed to a backup quarterback, could play a significant role in determining whether Cooper Kupp can replicate his breakout 2021 season, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark once again.
While Cooper has the ability to finish as the WR1 in fantasy PPG for a 3rd consecutive season, the uncertainty around the Rams’ direction and Matthew Stafford’s health might be a risk if selecting the wideout in the middle of the 1st round.
However, based on boom potential, Kupp could turn into the top Underdog performer once again due to the 150+ targets he is bound to see.
4. Tyreek Hill
Miami Dolphins | Underdog ADP: 4.3 (WR3)
Hammer the Miami Dolphins. Tua Tagovailoa is 21-13 as a starter and has shown the capabilities of an elite QB when healthy for Mike McDaniel and company. While health remains the #1 concern for the Miami offense as it revolves around Tua, Tyreek Hill might go down as the best speedster in NFL history, therefore making him QB-proof.
We can’t deny Hill’s successful tenure with Mahomes and Kansas City, but is he better off with McDaniel and the ‘Fins? Last season, Tyreek was 1st in target rate and 2nd in target share at his position. With Reid and Kansas City, he never came close to those numbers.
With only 11 red zone targets last season, I’d expect McDaniel and Tua to feed the untouchable Tyreek more in that area, as he could be the difference-maker in close AFC East matchups.
As for fantasy football, Tyreek always seems to stay on the field throughout the season and produce some electric 2+ TD games (8 over the last 3 seasons).
5. Jaylen Waddle
Miami Dolphins | Underdog ADP: 15.7 (WR11)
Hammer the Miami Dolphins. My sleeper to finish inside the top 5 at WR, Jaylen Waddle, has shown all the traits to become the next great NFL WR. Finishing top 15 in fantasy PPG his first two seasons, the Alabama wideout outperformed his “expected fantasy PPG” by a large margin, especially in 2022.
Even if balls aren’t coming his way and it looks like a rough week, Tua will throw him a 5-yard pass that turns into a 40-yard TD. His big-play ability and elite playmaking with Tua throwing the rock make him an easy pick for a breakout.
Only targeted 10+ times in three games last season; expect those numbers to rise due to the absence of Mike Gesicki and the lack of depth behind Hill and himself.
My bold take is that both Miami WRs finish inside the top 5 this season. Don’t shy away from selecting both if you are close to the turn picks 1.10, 1.11, or 1.12.
Rookie WRs to Draft
Minnesota Vikings | Underdog ADP: 71.7 (WR37)
Sitting at 59th on my personal board, Underdog seems to be underestimating the impact Addison could have in his rookie season. With some of the best boom potential past the WR30 slot on Best Ball, it is within the realm of possibility for Jordan to replicate a season similar to that of Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson.
With Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen’s offseason departures, where do those red zone targets and 3rd down targets go? Sure, Jefferson could add to his workload, making him a sure-fire WR1. However, T.J. Hockenson can only do so much out of the tight end position.
While Addison may have to bulk up for a more productive career, I’m projecting a WR30 or better season, which means selecting him past 70th is a low-risk, high-reward move.
Seattle Seahawks | Underdog ADP: 63.0 (WR32)
Addison is in a better situation, but JSN has the skill set to become a future top-10 fantasy wideout. Competing for targets with Lockett and Metcalf might hinder production earlier in the season, I could see a breakout post-bye week for JSN out of the slot.
With Seattle mirroring Miami as a sleeper team heading into 2023, they will need to be efficient in the red zone in order to beat out San Francisco for the division.
Based on Njigba’s route movements and exceptional hands, there is a strong possibility that he could have a 7-10 touchdown season, which would propel the rookie into the ranks of the top 25 wide receivers for the season.
WR Draft Strategy
Unlike running back, I would suggest drafting one of the top 10 WRs to begin your Underdog Best Ball draft day. Whether you are a Garrett Wilson fan or Jaylen Waddle fan, I don’t see an avenue this season where you win a league without selecting one of those top-10 guys.
After completing a few mock drafts and currently participating in a Best Ball draft, my favorite early selection tends to be Jaylen Waddle at the 2.01-2.06 mark. Following the selection of a high-caliber running back or wide receiver in the first round, it becomes crucial to acquire another player with top 5 upside, such as Waddle.
As we dive into the middle-rounds, here are a few names I’d suggest to select prior to their ADP, beating your league-mates to these potential breakout pass-catchers.
Jacksonville Jaguars | Underdog ADP: 48.6 (WR27)
Kirk ranks 39th on my personal board. After finishing as a top-15 wideout last season, do we really believe that the addition of Calvin Ridley will affect Kirk that significantly? Calvin hasn’t played a football game since the early parts of the 2021 season, and reports have told us that he’s still getting acclimated to a full football regiment.
Ranking 3rd in slot snaps in 2022 and 5th in red zone targets, it’s tough to see those numbers drop off due to a second WR addition that hasn’t seen the field in a few years.
With Pederson and Lawrence already implementing Kirk’s game into their scheme, I can’t see the reasoning behind a WR27 rank from Underdog. In the easiest division in football with a top-tier QB by his side, Kirk as your WR2 or WR3 presents a league-winning situation.
San Francisco 49ers | Underdog ADP: 51.7 (WR28)
One of the most physically gifted players in the league, Brandon Aiyuk finally broke out for the first time last season with over 1,000 yards and 8 TDs. Although Deebo Samuel was banged up and has a subpar season, it’s tough to see Aiyuk’s value and production drop due to Shanahan’s renewed trust in the 25-year-old.
With untapped potential in the red zone (only 13 targets last season), look for a more involved Aiyuk in both the passing and rushing game inside the 20.
While McCaffrey and Kittle continue to hold significant value in that area, it is worth noting that Shanahan, known for his innovation on the offensive side of the ball, may run WR-specific plays to get Aiyuk and Samuel more red zone production.
Given who is available at the WR28 mark, this is a low-risk, high-upside place to take the 9ers star.
Washington Commanders | Underdog ADP: 172.2 (WR75)
It’s Samuel’s final season on his 3-year contract with the Washington Commanders. Not making a significant impact in his current stint with the Commanders, this is the most crucial season of his professional career, and there’s good news on the way.
Eric Bienemy will be heading this offense with an extremely talented array of playmakers but not a top-tier QB to make downfield plays. My prediction is that Bienemy uses Samuel as a specialist in this offense between motions, slot work, and back-field work to trick defenses.
While Terry McLaurin serves as the WR1 on the roster, Curtis will become an all-around playmaker. Ranking 8th last season in slot snaps for a WR, it’s tough to see a downgrade for the 7th-year Ohio State wideout.
Even if Samuel is traded mid-season due to his contract, he’s still one of the best WR3s in the NFL simply due to the upside as a slot playmaker. Later in your Underdog draft, take a shot on his talent to be unlocked by his new offensive play caller.
Arizona Cardinals | Underdog ADP: 59.7 (WR30)
Outside of James Conner, there is literally no one else on the Arizona roster that will make noise in fantasy until Kyler Murray rejoins the starting lineup. While there might be a few treacherous weeks of Hollywood Brown’s production early on in the season, the second half of the year could see a huge uptick with the return of Murray.
If drafting top-tier WRs early, such as Jefferson, Waddle, Kupp, Olave, St. Brown, etc, it might be worth the risk to take a swing on Hollywood as he can become the WR2 that puts up 20 PPG later this season.
Similar to JSN, sometimes you should be willing to take a risk on a player that is due to break out during the 2nd part of a season to balance out your roster.