Fantasy Football Debate: It's Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase in WR rankings — but who's third?

Fantasy football draft season usually comes with a fair amount of questions. One thing that's already for sure is that the top-two wide receivers available for drafters in 2023 are Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase.

So who should be number three? Fantasy analysts Dan Titus and Kate Magdziuk offer up their picks.

The Case for Tyreek Hill

If you're on the clock and want to select a wide receiver after Jefferson and Chase, which way do you go? I could make the case for Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, AJ Brown and even Amon-Ra St. Brown (if I'm feeling spicy).

However, the correct answer is Tyreek Hill.

People can hate on Tua Tagovailoa all they want, but he knows how to get the ball to his playmakers. In his first year with the Dolphins, Hill became the 11th player in NFL history to eclipse 1,700 receiving yards in a season. Hill drew the third-most targets while commanding the second-highest target share among WRs last year at 33.6%.

And he turned all of those targets into 119 receptions (second-best in the league) and eight touchdowns across 17 games.

Now, most of that production was tied to his QB1 — posting 94 receptions for 1,408 receiving yards and eight TDs in 13 games with Tua at the helm. But, even if Tagovailoa's health remains a question mark, Hill still averaged 6.3 receptions (on 7.5 targets) and 75.5 receiving yards per game in the four games Tua was on the sidelines in 2022.

Hill's QB-proof, has a talented head coach who creatively schemes ways to get him the ball and has a strong track record of performance. Outside of Hill's rookie season and a nagging hamstring injury in 2019, he's finished no less than WR7 and has been a consistent top-20 player in fantasy football. Add in PPR scoring and he's been a top-three receiver in two of the last three seasons.

Whether you're looking for reliability, consistency or upside, Cheetah checks all boxes for production and opportunity. He's the most explosive target hog in the league, and don't be surprised when the Dolphins (an ascending team) finish the season ranked within the top 10 in passing attempts per game. And when that happens, Hill will be the primary benefactor with fantasy points to follow. — Titus

The Case for Stefon Diggs

Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill has been hyping himself up all offseason, making it known that he plans to break the single-season receiving record to become the first NFL wide receiver to surpass the 2,000-yard mark. If he does get the job done, the case I’m about to make for Stefon Diggs to be the WR3 off the board in fantasy football drafts will look silly in retrospect.

I promise, though — Diggs is the receiver you can’t leave your drafts without.

Though Hill has his own merits, Diggs has one thing he doesn’t: Josh Allen at quarterback. Tua Tagovailoa remains one of the bigger question marks for fantasy managers in 2023, having seen flashes anywhere between NFL MVP candidate to backup quarterback, depending on the week (and whether or not he was actually healthy).

Undoubtedly, the concerns regarding his potential for another concussion (and potential fallout if he did suffer one) are very real, both for fantasy and his future as an NFL quarterback. In Hill’s four games played without Tagovailoa, he didn't have a receiving touchdown (one came on the ground) and averaged 15.7 PPR points per game in comparison to the 21.4 he scored in games with him.

Now, this isn’t just an article about why you shouldn’t draft Hill after Jefferson and Chase. It’s about why you should be all-in on Diggs.

Over the past three seasons, Diggs has totaled 338 receptions (tied to lead the league alongside Raiders WR Davante Adams), while also currently holding the longest active streak of 1,000+ receiving yard seasons (4) among receivers. It’s been the Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs show since the moment he arrived in Buffalo. The Allen-Diggs combo ranks first among all QB-WR duos in targets (484) and receptions (338) while ranking second in receiving yards (4,189) and fourth in receiving touchdowns (29). Together, these two are unstoppable.

Hill might have the edge on Diggs in terms of total upside, but Diggs takes the cake when you consider the safety he offers in comparison. Diggs finished just over 56% of games in 2022 as a top-12 WR, compared to Hill’s 41%, without elite competition for targets at the No. 2 slot. Sure, the team drafted Dalton Kincaid as the presumed slot man and has Gabe Davis returning once again, but this is the Diggs show, baby. Enjoy the upside and safer floor. Get you a receiver who can do both.

Draft. Stefon. Diggs. — Magdziuk