Ranking the most underrated WRs in the NFL heading into the 2023 season
0 out of 7
Chief WR Richie JamesAP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Most years there is a debate about the best wide receivers in the NFL. As the 2023 season begins, the arguments for wideouts like Justin Jefferson, Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams and A.J. to be viewed. Brown and Ja'Marr Chase, who each averaged more than 80 yards per game last season.
While it can be difficult to determine exactly who is at the top of the list, identifying an elite recipient is usually a simple process. Players who rank high in stats like yards per game and touchdown receptions while also earning Pro Bowl or All-Pro honors generally fit in well.
Picking the most underrated receivers in the league can be much more difficult. However, that's exactly what we're going to do here, focusing on factors like past production, consistency, potential upside and supporting cast.
To get an idea of how these receivers "rate," let's also look at the latest consensus points-per-invoice rankings fromFantasyPros.
These seven wide receivers may not be in contention for the title of the league's best in 2023, but they shouldn't be overlooked in either the fantasy or real world.
7. Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
1 van 7
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Fantasy-Ranking: Αρ. 14
We'll start with a player who hasn't exactly been overlooked.
New Orleans Saints tight end Chris Olave was a standout rookie last season, recording 72 receptions, 1,042 yards and four touchdowns in just 15 games. He also ranked in the top 30 for yards per target, punts per play and yards per play.
However, these numbers don't fully show how efficient and effective Olave has been over the past year. ConsideringFocus on professional football, the Ohio State product, ranked seventh in the NFL in yards per pass rusher (2.42).
The fact that Olave accomplished all of this while playing with the frustrating duo of quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston should not be overlooked. Neither is the fact that he's now playing with four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carr.
Olave already had the potential going into year two and his production could really take off with Carr under the belt. If Michael Thomas doesn't return to Pro Bowl form — his last 1,000-yard campaign was in 2019 — the Saints' offense could turn to Olave.
Although the 23-year-old is highly regarded in the fantasy world, he is still underrated. If Carr delivers the quarterback upgrade the Saints are waiting for, Olave's floor could be a top-10 fantasy receiver.
6. Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns
2 out of 7
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images über Getty Images
Fantasy-Ranking: Αρ. 17
Although the Cleveland Browns are considered one of the top 20 fantasy receivers along with Amari Cooper, we may not be underestimating his consistency enough. Although his last Pro Bowl was in 2019, Cooper has gained over 1,100 yards in three of his last four seasons.
Last year, Cooper did just that in his first season in Cleveland and with journeyman Jacoby Brissett playing quarterback for most of the season. For the last six games, Cooper has played with Deshaun Watson, who hasn't played in the regular season since 2020.
Cooper still finished the 2022 season 12th in receiving yards, sixth in receiving touchdowns (9) and 19th in yards per game (68.2).
The 29-year-old is Cleveland's clear-cut No. 1 receiver, and if Watson returns to Pro Bowl form, he could be a top-10 or even top-5 fantasy producer. The excitement at the start of the offseason at Watson is promising.
"He's rocking it," David Djokovic said, per The Athletic'sJack Jackson. “It's stuck. The energy is there. So far every ball he's thrown has hit the spot and hit the money in my opinion."
With a full offseason together, Watson and Cooper have the potential to develop elite chemistry this year. As Cooper showed last year, even with average quarterback play, he's a top-15 receiver at worst. If Watson plays at even an above-average level, Cooper could have another Pro Bowl nomination ahead of him.
5. Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders
3 out of 7
Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images
Fantasy-Ranking: Αρ. 22
As in Cooper's case, along with Terry McLaurin, the Washington Governors don't get enough credit for his consistency and reliability. While he finally secured a Pro Bowl nomination in 2022, he has been playing at a high level since entering the league in 2019.
McLaurin recorded 58 catches for 919 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie. He's racked up 75 receptions and 1,000 yards every season since, and it's not like the 27-year-old has played with an elite group of quarterbacks.
Last year, Washington had a combination of Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke and then-rookie Sam Howell under center. McLaurin still had 1,191 yards and five touchdowns on 77 receptions. He also ranked 10th in rushing yards, 16th in rushing yards and sixth in rushing yards - one spot ahead of Justin Jefferson.
Howell is set to take the lead this year. He will be joined by new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who has overseen the Kansas City Chiefs' productive offensive line for the past five seasons.
Much will depend on Howell's ability to perform well in his first full season as Washington's starter, but Bieniemy should help build the offense. That means we may not have seen the best of McLaurin yet.
Based on his past production with a mediocre supporting cast, there's no reason to rank McLaurin outside of the top 20 receivers in fantasy, even with 2022 freshman Jahan Dotson on the team.
4. George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers
4 out of 7
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Fantasy-Ranking: Αρ. 37
The Pittsburgh Steelers are undoubtedly on the rise next to George Pickens. His fantasy rating is encouraging for a second-year receiver, though still incredibly low in his case.
As a rookie, the Georgia native caught 52 passes for 802 yards and four touchdowns and ranked 13th in the league in yards per carry (9.5). He did this while playing with a rookie quarterback in Kenny Pickett and playing in a conservative and scrappy offense from Matt Canada.
If Pickett makes the jump to the sophomore -- which seems logical given his strong play in 2022 -- Pickens could explode.
Canada adding a few facets to the offense will certainly help.
"I'm not going to say we're revolutionizing our offense and everything is changing, but there are some new things that could make us a lot better," backup quarterback Mason Rudolph said.In a nutshell: Popejoyvan Steelers Wire.
Pickens still has to compete for goals with the likes of Deonda Johnson and Pat Fryermuth, but he has the potential to be targeted by Pickett in 2023.
It would be a surprise if Pickens didn't have a 1,000-yard season, and it wouldn't be an absolute surprise if he went top 10 in fantasy production.
3. California Raymond, Detroit Lions
5 out of 7
Mike Mulholland/Getty Images
Fantasy-Ranking: Αρ. 133
The towering Kalif Raymond may never be a top fantasy producer, not in a Detroit Lions offense that will soon feature Amon-Ra St. Brown, Marvin Jones, Josh Reynolds, Jahmyr Gibbs and Jameson Williams - after six were suspended - Williams for violating the league's gambling guidelines.
Even though Raymond is a wide receiver in Detroit, that doesn't mean he isn't underrated. Even if I was playing alone49 percentIn the Lions' offensive snaps last season, he ranked second on the team with 616 receiving yards and third on the team with 47 receiving yards.
The 28-year-old has found success with his efficiency. Raymond ranked 12th in the league in yards per carry (9.6) and ranked first in Pro Football Focus' sack metrics, according to PFFprogress of Judah.
"This is a man who is among the elite in our divorce statistics," Fortgang said at the eventPFF prediction pod(u/tJeremy Raismanthe SB Nation). “Look at the names: Stefon Diggs and Cooper Kupp and Garrett Wilson and Justin Jefferson, Tyreek Hill, CeeDee Lamb. Directly above stands Caliph Raymond.'
Due to Detroit's stacked roster of qualifying spots, Raymond may not have a chance to make his current roster. However, his potential to succeed in a bigger role is huge. It wouldn't be right to compile a list of underrated receivers without mentioning him.
2. Richie James, Kansas City Chiefs
6 out of 7
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Fantasy-Ranking: Αρ. 100
The Kansas City Chiefs proved last year that they don't need an elite to win the Super Bowl. They replaced Tyreek Hill with JuJu Smith-Schuster in the 2022 offseason, but Smith-Schuster's performance (78 catches, 933 yards, 3 touchdowns) paled in comparison to Hills'.
Kansas City could bounce back after losing Smith-Schuster in free agency and signing Richie James to the New York Giants. James could become one of the most underrated signings of the season.
While James hasn't garnered much attention since being a seventh-round pick in 2018, he's a player the Chiefs thought highly of coming out of college.
"(He's) a versatile player, you can move him around a lot, (he's) a guy from Middle Tennessee State that we liked," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said, perKarel Goodmanfrom Chief's Wire.
James' production in 2022 was quite strong. He had 57 catches for 569 yards and four touchdowns in a Giants offense that ranked 25th in passing attempts. He was a top 50 player in yards per carry (8.1) and was an excellent punter119,6Bystander assessment when specifically addressed.
In a Kansas City offense that ranked fifth in passing attempts last season, and with Patrick Mahomes on the other end of his passes, James has real 1,000-yard potential. He's highly underrated in fantasy and sadly overlooked on the way to training camp.
1. Darius Slayton, New York Giants
7 out of 7
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Fantasy-Ranking: Αρ. 75
The New York Giants have developed a potent offense and are not consistently relying on the arm of quarterback Daniel Jones. This has and will limit Darius Slayton's overall production.
However, the 26-year-old's fantasy ranking appears low.
Outside of fantasy, Slayton remains underrated, and offseason newcomers Darren Waller and rookie Jalen Hyatt will likely be overlooked in New York. But even with the Giants' inconsistent offense, he has passed for 700+ yards in three of his four seasons and has a 100+ yard rating96,0in two of them.
What really impresses about Slayton is its efficiency. Last season he ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (10.2), trailing only A.J. Brown, Jaylen Waddle and Dallas Goedert - and one spot ahead of Tyreek Hill.
Slayton has a lot going for him as well, with good size (6'1", 190 pounds) and4.39Speed. The key to unlocking that potential is allowing Jones to expand the scope of what could be possible this season.
"Compared to last season, we needed more explosive stuff (of play), so I think there's been a conscious effort this spring to drive the ball around the field," Slayton said, according to SNY .Alex Smith.
If Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka are ready to open up the Giants offense this year, Slayton could finally shine.
His extensive statisticsProfessional football reportunless otherwise stated.
Ranking top 10 NFL wide receivers for 2023: Vikings' Justin Jefferson No. 1; AFC contender boasts two on list. Wide receiver is one of the most important positions in the game of football these days.Who is the number 1 WR in 2023? ›
1. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders.Who is the NFL's best wide receiver? ›
- Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams. ...
- Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins. ...
- A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles. ...
- Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills. ...
- Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals. ...
- Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders. ...
- Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins. ...
- Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings.
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Yes, a wide receiver has been drafted first overall before. It's happened three times, actually, but not in almost 30 years. The last wideout to be the No. 1 pick was Keyshawn Johnson, who was taken by the New York Jets out of USC in 1996.Who is the number 2 receiver in the nation? ›
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Draft Picks 2023: All the Results From the First Round. The Carolina Panthers selected Bryce Young, the Alabama quarterback, at No. 1 overall.Who are the top five best wide receivers in the NFL? ›
- #5 – Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills.
- #4 – Justin Jefferson – Minnesota Vikings.
- #3 – Davante Adams – Las Vegas Raiders.
- #2 – Amon-Ra St. Brown – Detroit Lions.
- #1 – Tyreek Hill – Miami Dolphins.
1. Sauce Gardner, New York Jets. Gardner hit the ground running in the NFL and was the best cornerback in the game during his rookie season. He allowed a 53.9 passer rating, and just 45.9% of passes thrown into his coverage were caught by their intended receiver.What wide receivers has the most touchdowns? ›
Updated through the 2022 regular season.
Jerry Rice played 303 games as a wide receiver, an NFL record.
Jerry Rice is the only player in NFL history with more than 20,000 receiving yards – the wide receiver racked up 22,895 receiving yards in a career spanning from 1985 to 2004. With an unrivalled number of receiving yards to his name, it is no wonder that Jerry Rice is considered a legend of the game.Who are the 5 star football prospects? ›
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Now, almost all of the dust has settled on the 2023 college football recruiting cycle. In particular, of the 39 players who earned 5-star designation in the 247 Sports Composite rankings, all but one have signed.Has any WR reached 2,000 yards in a season? ›
No player has ever finished with over 2,000 receiving yards in a season; the current record is 1,964 yards, set by Calvin Johnson during the 2012 season. Wes Chandler, who led the league with 1,032 yards in the strike-shortened 1982 season, averaged 129 yards receiving per game, an NFL record.What is the most receiving yards by a WR in one year? ›
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Aaron is the top ranked WR in the 2026 class on our Elite101 Rankings.
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- Georgia. NFL Draft picks: 371. ...
- Florida. NFL Draft picks: 372. ...
- LSU. NFL Draft picks: 375. ...
- Penn State. NFL Draft picks: 381. ...
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- Ohio State. NFL Draft picks: 485. ...
- USC. NFL Draft picks: 523. ...
- Notre Dame. NFL Draft picks: 525.
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- Who is the fastest wide receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft?
- 1st – Shedrick Jackson, Auburn. 40 Time: 4.31. ...
- 2nd – Trey Palmer, Nebraska. 40 Time: 4.33. ...
- 3rd – Charles Hall IV, Arizona State. 40 Time: 4.33. ...
- 4th – Xavier Malone, Henderson State. ...
- 5th – Derius Davis, TCU. ...
- 6th – Matt Landers, Arkansas. ...
- 7th – Marvin Mims, Oklahoma.
Jerry Rice has scored the most career total touchdowns when gaining 75+ all-purpose yards, with 208 touchdowns.What QB has thrown to the most receivers? ›
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- Kansas City Chiefs. ...
- San Francisco 49ers. ...
- Cincinnati Bengals. ...
- Dallas Cowboys. ...
- Buffalo Bills. ...
- Baltimore Ravens. ...
- New York Jets.
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|1||Christian McCaffrey (RB - SF)||1|
|2||Austin Ekeler (RB - LAC)||1|
|3||Saquon Barkley (RB - NYG)||2|
|4||Bijan Robinson (RB - ATL)||2|
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1. Kansas City Chiefs (14–3) In five years since Mahomes took over as QB1, the Chiefs have five home AFC title games, three Super Bowl appearances and two rings. He has two regular-season MVPs and two Super Bowl MVPs.
One of the greatest ever to grace the sport, Lionel Messi has made a massive impact on any team he has donned the jersey for and his dribbling skill is the major reason for it. Whether playing for the Argentina national football team or Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Messi produces brilliance in every match.Who is the god of speed in football? ›
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According to the Establish The Run's NFL Draft Prospect Database, the youngest player in the 2023 NFL Draft is Pittsburgh running back Israel Abanikanda. Abanikanda was born on October 5, 2002. This year at Pitt, Abanikanda had a great year rushing for 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns on 239 carries.Who is the top rookie RB in the NFL 2023? ›
1) Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons
There should be zero surprises about this one. Bijan Robinson has been sitting on top of my 2023 rookie RB rankings for about three years now. Heck, Robinson is the RB1 in overall dynasty rankings and is a top-three startup selection, along with Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase.
Madden would also produce the famous Madden video games, and he also did promotions for other big name companies. Cris Collinsworth will replace Madden in the booth.Who is the number 1 QB draft prospect 2023? ›
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