The NFL is undoubtedly a passing league, and nowadays, every team seems to have at least two or three wide receivers who can make plays. Unfortunately, not all wide receivers are created equal; some are capable of doing things on the field that other receivers simply can’t.
Here is a look at the 20 best wide receivers heading into the 2020 NFL season.
20. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
It should be obvious to everyone watching by now that Lockett is more than just a deep threat. After a career-high 82 catches for 1,057 receiving yards in 2019, he’s a bonafide No. 1 receiver and a vital part of Seattle's offense.
Granted, his speed is still his best trait, especially with a quarterback like Russell Wilson, who can buy time for his receivers to get downfield. But over the past couple of years, Lockett has developed into a well-rounded receiving threat, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him have another career year in 2020.
19. Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
Gallup showed promise as a rookie in 2018 and took things to another level in 2019, amassing 1,107 yards on a modest 66 catches. Over the first two seasons of his career, Gallup is averaging over 16 yards per catch, which is no small feat.
In a way, Gallup is still in Amari Cooper’s shadow in Dallas. But all of the attention Cooper gets helps create opportunities for Gallup. He took advantage of those opportunities last year and there’s no reason to think he won’t do so again in 2020.
18. Robert Woods, Rams
In a way, it’s tough to judge where Woods ranks because he’s just one piece on a Rams offense that’s been one of the most potent in the NFL the last few years. On the other hand, he’s amassed over 2,300 yards over the past two seasons and is coming off a 90-catch campaign in 2019.
Despite just two receiving touchdowns last season, Woods has become the most reliable aspect of the Rams' offense. Even on a list of the best wide receivers in the NFL, Woods is one of the safest bets to rack up 1,000 receiving yards in 2020.
17. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
Robinson might be the most underrated player on this list. The Bears receiver just gets open. The problem is, he's never played with a good quarterback. Seriously.
Robinson has played with Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky as his two main quarterbacks. And we're not just talking about the NFL, either. At Penn State, Robinson had epic draft bust Christian Hackenburg.
But despite all the poor quarterback play, Robinson is still one of the best receivers in the league. In 2019, the pass-catcher had the second-best season of his career, hauling in seven touchdown catches and nearly 1,200 yards receiving. He should be even better this year with Nick Foles under center.
16. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
Rookie wide receivers rarely hit the ground running the way Brown did. It’s not every year that a first-year player eclipses 1,000 receiving yards, but Brown did just that. Making it all the more impressive is that he did it on a team that focused on running the ball. On top of that, the Titans made a change at quarterback in the middle of the season. He was also near the top of the league in yards per catch, averaging over 20 yards per reception.
Brown has raised expectations for his sophomore season. But there’s still plenty of room to improve after catching just 52 passes in 2019. Plus, with Ryan Tannehill — one of the highest-paid players in the NFL — staying in Tennessee, Brown knows he’ll have a good rapport with his quarterback, which should help him avoid the feared sophomore slump.
15. Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
This might seem unfair to some other receivers, but we’ll give Smith-Schuster a pass on the 2019 season. He missed four games due to injury and he was playing with downright terrible quarterbacks nearly all year. He was also making the transition from being the understudy to Antonio Brown to being the main attraction, which wasn’t easy under the circumstances.
Smith-Schuster will get to hit the reset button in 2020 and we think he’ll fare much better. Getting Ben Roethlisberger back should be a big boost for him. Remember, he’s just two years removed from catching 111 passes for 1,426 yards.
14. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
Moore has had a fast journey to prominence during his first two seasons in the NFL. With the Panthers being so bad the second half of the season, it was easy to overlook Moore. But you can’t ignore 1,175 receiving yards on 87 catches. Keep in mind that was with subpar quarterback play for most of the season.
With great speed and pass-catching skills, the ceiling is high for Moore moving forward. He might be one of the best pure athletes in the NFL right now. With more experience and competent quarterback play, Moore could be a top-10 receiver by the end of 2020.
13. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
With 30 catches in 10 games, 2019 just wasn’t Thielen’s year. However, one injury-plagued season doesn’t override everything he did over the previous three seasons, including a career-high 113 catches for 1,373 yards in 2018.
With Stefon Diggs traded, Thielen is surely Minnesota’s No. 1 receiver heading into 2020. With his superb route-running skills, Thielen should be able to have a bounce-back season in 2020 if he’s able to stay healthy.
12. Kennan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
It was easy to forget Allen after a couple of injury-plagued seasons in 2015 and 2016. But he’s back on the radar after three straight Pro Bowl seasons. Over the last three campaigns, Allen has averaged 101 catches and 1,263 yards per year. There aren’t many receivers who can say they’ve posted comparable numbers over the last three seasons.
Of course, with Philip Rivers leaving the Chargers, the 2020 season will present a new challenge for Allen. But at age 28, he remains in his prime and shouldn’t have a problem maintaining a high level of play.
11. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
You can’t sit out a whole season due to injury and not see your stock fall. It doesn’t help that Green missed significant time in 2018 and is on the wrong side of 30. On the other hand, the last time we saw him on an NFL field, he was still a difference-maker who was easily his team’s most impactful player.
After getting franchise tagged, Green will be back with the Bengals in 2020, with Joe Burrow at quarterback. If Burrow doesn’t succeed, it’ll be hard tor Green to put up impressive numbers. But if Green is healthy, he should be a huge help to Burrow during his rookie season.
10. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
It’s a little insane that Diggs hasn’t been selected to a Pro Bowl in his first five seasons. He’s tallied over 1,000 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons, and that’s while splitting catches with Adam Thielen, who’s not far behind him on our list of the NFL’s top receivers. His 17.9 yards per catch last season and the occasional damage he does as a runner also helps him stand out.
However, there has to be some question about Diggs being able to keep up his production with Josh Allen as his new quarterback in Buffalo. Rather than sharing the spotlight with Thielen, he’ll be the undisputed No. 1 receiver for the Bills, so 2020 will be new territory for Diggs.
9. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
There are players who have fast times in the 40-yard dash and then there are players who look fast on the field. Hill is undoubtedly the latter. He can take the top off any defense, which makes him an integral part of Kansas City’s offense, even on plays when the ball isn’t thrown his way.
Hill isn't a model citizen by any means. However, Hill is also a menace on the field with the kind of speed that has cornerbacks running his circles trying to keep up with him. He’s still in his prime, so don’t expect Hill to lose a step anytime soon.
8. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
Cooper will turn 26 over the summer, which makes it almost impossible to believe that he’s already been in the NFL for five years and has gone over 1,000 yards receiving in four seasons. After getting settled in Dallas during the second half of the 2018 season, Cooper had his best season in 2019, notching 1,189 receiving yards while averaging over 15 yards per catch.
After signing an extension with the Cowboys, his future is set and it should be smooth sailing for Cooper from here on out. Barring someone other than Dak Prescott playing quarterback for the Cowboys in 2020, it’s bound to be another big year for Cooper.
7. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
In theory, Beckham should be No. 1 on this list, no questions asked. We’ve all seen his highlight reel and the amazing catches he makes that virtually no other receiver in the league can make. But the production just hasn’t matched the talent for three straight seasons, in part due to injuries.
Now that he’s a little more comfortable working with Baker Mayfield, there should be some optimism about Beckham once again playing up to his potential. However, that’s not exactly a certainty, which is why his stock has tumbled a little despite being a top receiver.
6. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
Did the Texans seriously trade this guy? He makes some of the most ridiculous plays in football. It’s true that his numbers dipped a little in 2019 from the past couple of seasons. But part of that is Houston having other quality receivers, who by the way, get open because teams are focused on Hopkins.
That being said, his stock takes a slight hit because he’s now working with a young quarterback in Kyler Murray who hasn’t yet established himself as a bonafide star. Plus, there’s at least a slight chance the Texans know something about Hopkins that the rest of us don’t. Otherwise, he’s arguably a top-3 receiver.
5. Davante Adams, Packers
After three straight Pro Bowl selections, it’s clear that Adams is one of the elite receivers in the NFL and will likely be one for the foreseeable future. He didn’t quite match what he did in 2018, but he also missed four games due to injury and was far from 100% in a few others. Nevertheless, Adams still caught 83 passes for close to 1,000 yards. He also had 298 yards and two touchdowns over his two playoff games.
If he can stay healthy in 2020, Adams has as much of a chance as anyone else to lead the NFL in receiving. He still has Aaron Rodgers throwing passes to him and is by far Green Bay’s best receiver, making Adams poised for another pick season.
4. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In his third NFL season, Godwin was one of the biggest breakout stars in the league. In 14 games, he collected 86 catches for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns, out-performing teammate Mike Evans and giving Tampa Bay the best-receiving duo in football.
In fairness, Evans attracts a lot of attention, allowing Godwin and his brilliant speed to make plays down the field. With Tom Brady coming to Tampa Bay, he’ll love having a receiver like Godwin at his disposal, which should lead to another big year from the 24-year-old.
3. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Missing a few games due to injury last season prevented Evans from matching the career year he had in 2018. Nevertheless, he was still a force to be reckoned with despite having Godwin take away some of the catches he would usually get. His 67 catches in 2019 were actually a career-low for Evans. But with an average of over 17 yards per catch, he still had 1,157 receiving yards.
Like Godwin, he’ll have a new quarterback throwing passes to him in 2020. But Brady shouldn’t have a problem getting the ball within the catch radius of the 6-foot-5 Evans, so there’s every reason for the Bucs to expect another big season from their franchise receiver.
2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones is on the other side of 30, but you wouldn’t know it by watching him last season. Even on a bad team that struggled to win games most of the season, Jones caught 99 balls, falling just shy of 1,400 receiving yards. He also averaged just under 93 receiving yards per game, a stat he’s led in three of the last five seasons.
Going into his 10th NFL season, it seems reasonable to expect some kind of drop-off from Jones at some point. But there are no signs of that happening yet. He and Matt Ryan continue to form one of the most potent quarterback-wide receiver tandems in football.
1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
A wide receiver may never win an MVP, but in 2019, Thomas came about as close as any pass-catcher might get. He was sensational and at times impossible to defending, racking up an NFL record 149 catches to go along with 1,725 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Thomas is very much in his prime, so if opposing defenses couldn’t stop him last year, it’s unlikely they’ll suddenly have the answers in 2020. Plus, he’ll have one more season with Drew Brees at quarterback, which will help Thomas maintain his standing as the league’s best wide receiver.
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