Welcome back to Wide Receiver Week! Let’s get into some bold predictions for the wide receiver position in your 2021 fantasy football leagues!
1.) Stefon Diggs ends the year 1st in receiving yards by 100+ yards and is 1st in receiving TDs.
Justification: The schedule is ripe for the taking, and he will be in his 2nd year of syncing up with Josh Allen. The biggest question mark for me is the offensive line for Buffalo, which is average. He’s maintained health with 13+ games started in each of the six years of his career and he is clearly utilized better in Buffalo than he ever was in Minnesota. I have him as my 1B option in our wide receiver rankings, but with a higher ceiling of potential.
2.) DeAndre Hopkins doubles his receiving TDs this year (12 receiving TDs).
Justification: The Cardinals targeted their wide receivers on 69% of their passes last season, the 6th highest percentage in the NFL. Hopkins had a catch rate of 71.9%, the highest of his career. The stars are aligning, but the issue was they chose to rush 44% of the time and pass 56% of the time, which was the 7th highest run rate in the NFL. If they alter that a bit more to passing, Hopkins stands to have a very productive TD year.
3.) Keenan Allen doubles his 20+ yard catches (20).
Justification: Last season he had 10, which was respectable. But the Chargers schedule is much more favorable for deep balls this season. Justin Herbert was 11th in 20+ yard passes last season as a rookie. One season under his belt coupled with new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi—who showed a few years back when Brees could sling the ball that he would put him among the deep ball leaders each year—I think we see Herbert really open up his passing this year.
4.) Mike Evans is top five in receiving yards for the first time since 2018.
Justification: Bruce Arians is not letting Tampa coast this year. On the contrary, he is riding them hard, and a combination of an amazing offensive line, a GOAT at QB who refuses to lose to father time, and a favorable schedule for receiving yards has me buying in on Mike Evans having a solid bounce-back campaign. Not that his 1,006 yards last season were bad, but I foresee him having a 1,500-yard season.
5.) For the first time in over 15 years, the 49ers have a top 10 WR (not TE) in receiving yards.
Justification: The obvious answer will be Deebo Samuel, but I’m not ruling out Brandon Aiyuk. 2012 showed a promising campaign for Michael Crabtree (12th) but by and large the 49ers have struggled to really bring about an elite WR over the last 15 years. I’ve mentioned before that I think the pieces click, the injuries are minimized, and we see San Francisco live up to the hype that has been derailed over the last few years by injuries and other fluke catastrophes.