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Fantasy football rankings: Wide receivers in Week 1

As the season approaches, we begin the season by ranking the best wide receivers by matchups and opportunity for Week 1.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After going through the 2016 ranking the running backs, I’ve moved to wide receivers. It’s safe to say that I’m glad to get away from the overwhelming conundrum that is the running back position. The wide receiver position has a lot more certainty, and a lot more viable players.

You really can’t go wrong with a lot of these players, and a lot of them will be separated by mere fractions on a week-to-week basis. That said, you still have to play the matchups and take into consideration their respective workloads.

Here is how Week 1 appears to be shaking out.

Week 1 WR rankings

Rank Player Team Opponent Notes
Rank Player Team Opponent Notes
1 Antonio Brown PIT @CLE The #1 overall WR gets the Browns defense in Week 1.
2 Julio Jones ATL @CHI CHI's front 7 is solid, but their secondary is susceptible. Julio will eat.
3 A.J. Green CIN BAL 32/32/604/6 line against BAL in last five games.
4 Doug Baldwin SEA @GB GB held him in check last year, but he's SEA's WR1 in a potential shootout.
5 Amari Cooper OAK @TEN TEN doesn't have a CB that can keep up with Amari's route-running.
6 Larry Fitzgerald ARI @DET DET's defense is porous and Fitz always starts off seasons very strong.
7 Jordy Nelson GB SEA SEA a tough matchup, but he scored 2 TDs vs. them last season. Will get RZ looks.
8 Odell Beckham NYG @DAL Would be higher if not for lingering ankle injury.
9 Brandin Cooks NE KC NE will move him around to avoid Peters. Should get plenty of deep targets vs. vulnerable 2nd CBs.
10 Kelvin Benjamin CAR @SF SF doesn't have anyone that can match up with Benjamin, who looked reborn in preseason.
11 Stefon Diggs MIN NO Burgeoning star gets a poor NO defense to start. Fireworks should ensue.
12 Dez Bryant DAL NYG Dez looks back to his prime, but he totaled 18 yards in 2 games vs NYG last season. 18 TOTAL YARDS.
13 Demaryius Thomas DEN LAC Assuming groin is healthy, should be a fringe WR1 every week regardless of matchup.
14 Michael Thomas NO @MIN Away from home and with Rhodes shadowing him, expectations for Thomas should be tempered.
15 Michael Crabtree OAK @TEN Went over 100 yards vs. TEN last season and should get more RZ looks than Cooper.
16 Martavis Bryant PIT @CLE Couldn't ask for a better matchup to resume his career. We'll see if he's rusty, but it might not matter.
17 Golden Tate DET ARI ARI struggled to cover smaller, quicker WRs last season. Tate profiles well in this game.
18 Terrell Pryor Sr. WAS PHI Hopefully preseasons struggles were just an aberration. PHI a tough unit to throw on.
19 Allen Robinson JAX @HOU QB situation a mess, but should get a bevy of opportunities against decent but not great HOU secondary.
20 Pierre Garcon SF CAR CAR secondary not as good as perceived and Garcon is a target monster.
21 Rishard Matthews TEN OAK With Decker/Davis possibly hobbled, Matthews should start hot against bad OAK secondary.
22 Chris Hogan NE KC Likely to avoid Peters completely and soak up MOF targets from Brady.
23 Davante Adams GB SEA Despite great SEA defense, Adams put up 4/104/1 vs. them last year. Still Rodgers' #2 option.
24 DeAndre Hopkins HOU JAX Will Savage be able to get him the ball vs. two stud CBs? I'm worried.
25 Alshon Jeffery PHI @WAS I'll reserve my bias, but Jeffery has a tough matchup vs. Norman. Should still get 8-10 targets.
26 Emmanuel Sanders DEN LAC Matchup is underratedly tough, but could be go-to guy if Demaryius is slowed by groin injury.
27 Tyreek Hill KC @NE Andy Reid will scheme him touches, but he couldn't catch a pass in preseason. Worrying for a WR.
28 Keenan Allen LAC @DEN Allen returns from injury to the buzzsaw that is the DEN CBs. Targets will save him from a terrible game.
29 John Brown ARI @DET In a dome against a bad DET secondary, this game is tailor-made for Brown (if healthy of course).
30 T.Y. Hilton IND @LAR I don't even feel comfortable ranking him this high. His QB is Scott Tolzien.
31 Jamison Crowder WAS PHI Wouldn't surprise if he has a better PPR game than Pryor, but PHI a tough matchup for all WAS WRs/TEs.
32 Adam Thielen MIN NO New MIN slot guy gets a prime matchup to show his 2016 breakout was real.
33 Corey Coleman CLE PIT Him and Kizer showed a connection in preseason, and it should carry over against middling PIT secondary.
34 Zay Jones BUF NYJ Jordan Matthews is still not fully cleared. Someone has to catch passes in BUF.
35 Sammy Watkins LAR IND Layup matchup, but I don't trust the Rams offense/QB to get him the ball deep downfield.
36 Eric Decker TEN OAK Ankle injury limited practice/games and could cause slow start vs. OAK.
37 Mike Wallace BAL @CIN Assuming Flacco is behind center, he'll rely on the WR he played with msot last season.
38 Kendall Wright CHI ATL Not much upside in a Mike Glennon-led offense, but he's the favorite for targets/catches as slot WR.
39 Tyrell Williams LAC @DEN I like Tyrell as much as the next guy, but this is a brutal way to start the season.
40 Kenny Britt CLE PIT Target hog candidacy took a hit with Coleman emergence/WR additions. Still starting WR against meh CBs.
41 Cole Beasley DAL NYG If you're looking for a strictly-floor PPR play, Beasley is your guy.
42 Brandon Marshall NYG @DAL Coming off a shoulder injury, has barely played with Manning, is 33 years old. Don't expect too much.
43 Jeremy Maclin BAL @CIN Truly believe he'll be Flaccos' go-to guy this season, but he's yet to play with him. It'll take time.
44 Marvin Jones Jr. DET ARI Will see a lot of Patrick Peterson. Game sets up more for Tate and RBs.
45 Robby Anderson NYJ @BUF Showed a connection with Josh McCown in preseason, but color me skeptical that it carries over.
46 Donte Moncrief IND @LAR Scott Tolzien.
47 Randall Cobb GB SEA Many believe this will be Cobb's bounce-back year. I'll believe it when I see it. Won't begin vs. SEA defense.
48 Ted Ginn Jr. NO @MIN With Snead out, Ginn will be a starter. The matchup, on the road, is not an easy task.
49 Paul Richardson SEA @GB The starter opposite Baldwin, Richardson is a big play waiting to happen with a great QB.
50 Sterling Shepard NYG @DAL Considering Beckham/Marshall injuries, wouldn't be a shock if Shepard is their leading WR vs. DAL.
Fake Teams Matias Wodner