The talent of wide receivers in the NFL has sky rocketed in recent years and it feels like most teams have at least one and maybe even two elite wide receivers. In order to function at full speed an offense must have a wide receiver that can work the field and serve as both a safety blanket and as a big play threat. Let’s take a look at who the best of the best will be in 2021. On this list will be the ten wide receivers who I think will play at the highest level, in no particular order.
DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
No one does it quite like nuke. Hopkins can work at all levels on the field and makes even the least catchable balls look like an easy snag. I expect his production to go down a little bit with the addition of A.J. Green but he is still the WR1 in the desert. We are watching a future HOF receiver in Phoenix right now and he just might still be in his prime.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/102 receptions/1,257 receiving yards/12.3 YPC/9 receiving touchdowns
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Julio is going to remind us all just how dominant he is this season. Of course he must stay healthy first and foremost but this is a new look offense that is ready to feed the elite receivers. Julio Jones will be sharing catches with Calvin Ridley but nonetheless he should have a good year.
Projected Stat Line: 13 games played/68 receptions/1,139 receiving yards/16.8 YPC/8 receiving touchdowns
Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
I see Ja’Marr Chase stepping in and picking up right where he left off. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase had one of the best connections in college football history back in 2019 and that chemistry doesn’t just disappear. The Bengals are becoming a pass first offense and Chase will be the premier weapon in this scheme.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/74 receptions/1,226 receiving yards/16.6 YPC/10 receiving touchdowns
D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
Metcalf is one of the biggest and strongest position players in the league and he just ran at an olympic sprinting qualifier. Rarely do we see someone as big and athletic as Metcalf and we almost never see someone as capable of harnessing these physical tools. I expect big things from D.K. this season.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/94 receptions/1,476 receiving yards/15.7 YPC/10 receiving touchdowns
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Not many people run routes as well as Keenan. He is reliable, consistent, and has very strong hands. With Justin Herbert developing and getting even better, Allen should benefit from the young stud’s progression. This is a pass first Chargers offense and Allen is the premier guy.
Projected Stat Line: 15 games played/102 receptions/1,265 receiving yards/12.4 YPC/7 receiving touchdowns
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
A healthy Michael Thomas is a game wrecker. He is an extremely crafty route runner, who plays with overwhelming strength, and some of the most reliable hands in the game. With Jameis Winston, Sean is going to open the offense up more and give Thomas more room to roam. We saw what Mike Evans and Chris Godwin did with Winston under center and there is only one big threat in New Orleans. Expect a big bounce back for MT.
Projected State Line: 17 games played/133 receptions/1,622 receiving yards/12.2 YPC/10 receiving touchdowns
Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
Cooper is undoubtedly one of the best route runners in the league. He creates great seperation and with Dak back he is in line for a big season. Cooper will be sharing the spotlight with CeeDee Lamb but he should still be the WR1. I expect a higher target rate rather than a higher YPC rate with Cooper.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/94 receptions/1,288 receiving yards/13.7 YPC/ 6 receiving touchdowns
DaVante Adams, Green Bay Packers
I think Adams will be stellar with or without Rodgers. Much like Michael Thomas with Teddy Bridgewater when Drew Brees was injured, I think DaVante Adams is good because he is a stud and not because his quarterback is elite. He is big, strong, and is a great down the field play maker. With or without Rodgers I think we see an incredible stat sheet from DaVante.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/111 receptions/1,409 receiving yards/12.7 YPC/13 receiving touchdowns
Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
There is a difference between really hard to cover and un-coverable. I think Diggs along with Hopkins, Mike Thomas, DaVante Adams, and Julio Jones are the only guys who are un-coverable. Stefon is arguably the best route runner in the league and is just an extremely gritty player. The poise in Diggs is very hard to find and I think we only saw the potential of the Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs connection last year.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/117 receptions/1,515 receiving yards/12.9 YPC/9 receiving touchdowns
Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Boy, Jefferson was a joy to watch last year. He is an incredible route runner who plays with a high motor and a high football IQ. Justin didn’t even start his first few games and put up 1,400 receiving yards. If he can continue to get better than the sky is the limit. His production is outstanding considering the Vikings run a run first offense. Big things coming for his sophomore season.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/103 receptions/1,514 receiving yards/14.7 YPC/10 receiving touchdowns
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears