Who's the best WR in the NFL? We rank 'em!

Who's the best WR in the NFL? We rank 'em!

Where does DeAndre Hopkins rank?
Where does DeAndre Hopkins rank?
Image: Getty Images

In a seemingly never-ending debate, there appears to be a new king of the mountain each week for who the best wide receiver in the NFL is. Ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 different answers — some prefer size, some prefer route running, some prefer speed. It’s like asking me what my favorite kind of whiskey is — the answer is yes.

Let’s cut through some of the fluff and recency bias and put together a definitive list. Here are my totally locked-in-stone, unquestionable, irrefutable, top-10 wide receivers in the league right now. Don’t argue with me — you’ll probably make too much sense for my liking.

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1. Davante Adams

1. Davante Adams

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Nobody has more receiving touchdowns since 2016 than Adams with 54, and he’s eight ahead of second place. Paired with Aaron Rodgers, who is having an MVP-caliber season in his own right, Adams is flourishing and is on pace for the best outing of his career. He’s leading the league in receiving touchdowns, averaging 104.0 receiving yards per game, and is basically unguardable. He’s as consistent and dominant as they come.

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2. Tyreek Hill

2. Tyreek Hill

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Tyreek has a fair case to be made for the number one spot with his pure speed and route-running ability. If he gets behind the defense, he’s gone. Period. Since 2016, he is second behind the aforementioned Davante Adams in receiving touchdowns with 46, and is also tied with Adams for 14 touchdowns this season. His big-play ability is unparalleled, and it doesn’t hurt to be paired up with Patrick Mahomes. What he did a few weeks ago — putting up over 200 receiving yards in a single quarter — is a glimpse at his ceiling. 

Tyreek has a fair case to be made for the number one spot with his pure speed and route-running ability. If he gets behind the defense, he’s gone. Period. Since 2016, he is second behind the aforementioned Davante Adams in receiving touchdowns with 46, and is also tied with Adams for 14 touchdowns this season. His big-play ability is unparalleled, and it doesn’t hurt to be paired up with Patrick Mahomes. What he did a few weeks ago — putting up over 200 receiving yards in a single quarter — is a glimpse at his ceiling.

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3. DeAndre Hopkins

3. DeAndre Hopkins

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The Cardinals offense has been sputtering a bit as of late, but there is no denying the pure hands of Hopkins. Look at the “Hail Murray” from earlier this season, for example. His ability to high point, to make insane catches, his footwork, his body control… he’s absurd. He’s putting up terrific numbers, even though he switched teams in a pandemic year and had no preseason to gel with his quarterback. He only has five touchdowns headed into Week 15, but his 1,155 yards on 94 receptions certainly makes up for it.

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4. D.K. Metcalf

4. D.K. Metcalf

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You heard me. The second-year wide receiver has the most receiving yards of any wideout in the NFL this year. He’s a physical specimen. He can win with size, speed, or physicality. He has already put up 1,180 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, and has consistently torched defenses of any strength. At 6’4”, 229 pounds, he’s the Frankenstein monster of a receiver you would create in a lab, and he’s putting it all together in his sophomore campaign. He’s a monster, and his quarterback, Russell Wilson, loves him.

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5. Stefon Diggs

5. Stefon Diggs

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Diggs has lifted his game exponentially since being traded to the Buffalo Bills prior to this season. He gave Josh Allen the top-tier wide receiver he’d been missing, and Allen gave Diggs one of the strongest arms in the league. Diggs leads the NFL with 100 receptions, with 1,167 receiving yards — the second most of any WR — and five touchdowns. People have been waiting for Diggs to realize his potential, and the breakout this season has proven what he is capable of. Stop sleeping on him — he’s an elite receiver.

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6. Keenan Allen

6. Keenan Allen

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Allen is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL, and I will not stand for it. Truly a savant at route running, he has enamored himself to rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, and is eating up targets at a shockingly wonderful rate. He has had double-digit targets in six of the last seven games, including a 19 target game four weeks ago. Allen’s stats have been solid — 99 receptions (second most), 975 yards, and eight touchdowns — and his skills are undeniable. As he and Herbert continue to grow together, I expect the stats to follow.

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7. Julio Jones

7. Julio Jones

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Julio has been battling injuries this year, but when he’s been on the field, he has shown that he is still one of the top receivers in the game. He is the all time — ALL TIME — leader in receiving yards per game at 95.5. Calvin Johnson is second at 86.1. In nine games, he has 771 yards and three touchdowns. There’s no escaping the reality that Julio is 31 years old, and I hope we get to see him return to full health next year and continue his career dominance, because he’s just so, so fun to watch.

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8. Michael Thomas

8. Michael Thomas

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This season has been full of drama for the record-breaking wide receiver, who set the single-season reception record last year with 149. Slant Boy got in a fight with a teammate which saw him benched for a game, has battled through a couple nagging injuries, and has gone through quarterback change as well with injuries to Drew Brees. Regardless, Thomas has some of the best hands in the game, and he’s continuing to produce at a high level with Taysom Hill under center. Brees should be back next week, and Thomas will remind everyone just how good he is.

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9. Justin Jefferson

9. Justin Jefferson

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The rookie is damn good. I almost wanted to put him higher on the list, but I just want to see his success continue before anointing him as a top-5 guy. According to NFL Research, with three games to play, Jefferson is on pace to be high on the leaderboards for rookie wide receiver numbers. Seven more receptions will put him in the top-10, and he is already 8th all-time for rookie wide receivers with 1,078 yards (and will be 4th with only 116 more behind only Odell Beckham Jr., Randy Moss, and Anquan Boldin).

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10. Terry McLaurin

10. Terry McLaurin

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Terry has been dominating with scrubs at the quarterback position in his first two seasons, which is wildly impressive. He’s top-10 in receiving yards this season with the rotating quarterback cast of Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, and Dwayne Haskins. In only his second season, he is the clear-cut number one wide receiver on his team, and draws the top corner for every defense. When, not if, this team addresses the quarterback position this coming offseason, the stock will only continue to rise for this budding star.

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