It’s common knowledge at this point, but worth bringing up again. The 2017 season was a disappointing year for wide receivers as a whole. This year is shaping up to be the season for wide receiver value. The first two rounds of this year’s draft are heavily focused on running backs, and some great wide receiver talent is slipping to a fantastic draft price as a result. This is how leagues are won. By drafting the right players at a value who will outperform their ADP. It’s extremely simple on paper, but there are about a thousand things that can go wrong. So, that’s the purpose of this article. To highlight some fantastic wide receiver talent that you will be getting at a value (as of now) on your Draft Days.
For this article I based all players’ ADP from FantasyPros.com in PPR scoring. The rounds assigned to each player is according to a 12 team league breakdown to provide a bit of an average between your smaller 10-man leagues and your deeper 14 man leagues. If you like the content check out my top 100 wide receivers after reading my ADP gems. 1-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80, 81-100.
EARLY ROUNDS 1-4:
Doug Baldwin (ADP 35.4/3rd Round)
Russell Wilson is one of the top rated QBs for the upcoming season. The Seahwaks’ defense is now more Singular than Legion, and the offensive line, and by extension the running game, is no more improved than it was last season. So why, still, is Wilson being ranked as one of the top QBs to draft this season? Because he’s going to throw….A LOT! Doug Baldwin will continue to be to be the primary beneficiary of this high volume passing game, and this makes him my early rounds value target. He is currently being drafted as the 15th WR off the board, and toward the middle-to-end of the Third Round now. I love the value Baldwin presents. His knee soreness is keeping him out of preseason activities, and causing his draft price to fall. Meaning, you can focus on getting a stud RB with your first pick, and get a consistent, stud WR in your second, maybe even third pick in your draft. Baldwin has finished within the top 12 at the position for the past three years, and is in store for even more production this season than in years past. His absence from training camp and preseason games may cause him to have a slow start, but barring injury, I expect him to far outperform his current ADP and finish as a top-10 WR.
Jarvis Landry (ADP 39.6/3rd Round)
Are the Browns going to be good this year? That’s a question I’ve heard basically every single year since I came into this world. The beauty of that question in the context of fantasy football is that it doesn’t really matter for our guy, Jarvis Landry. If they’re good, then he will be heavily involved. If they’re bad, he will still be heavily involved. With the additions of Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield, the signs all point to a revitalized passing game for the hopeful Browns. Yes, it will be tough for Jarvis to reach the target numbers he was seeing in Miami (160 in 2017), but he will still be a key piece of the Browns’ passing game. If their first preseason game was any indicator, the Browns plan to utilize Jarvis in an entirely different way than the Dolphins have been for the past three season. Currently, Landry and Gordon are bouncing back and forth on the draft boards. Gordon’s absence being the primary reason his draft position is dropping, and the Hard Knocks bias has been kicking in for Landry. The moment Gordon returns to the team and makes a stellar play his draft position will spring right back to ahead of Jarvis. Landry is a player who’s finished within the top-13 at the position for the past three years, and is stepping into a major leadership role on the Browns. They rely on him, and I will do the same.
MID ROUNDS 5-8:
These mid-rounds are the sweet spot for finding your value wide receivers. The first few rounds, by nature, have less value as your draft price is much steeper. The middle rounds have wide receivers with the best chance of breaking into the top-24, if not the top-12 at the position at a much more reasonable price on Draft Day.
Chris Hogan (ADP 66.4/5th Round):
Chris Hogan is someone who is in a position to make a big leap this season on the Patriots and on our rosters. Danny Amendola is gone, Brandin Cooks is gone, and Julian Edelman is suspended for the first four games of the season. What does that spell? Targets! Hogan will be stepping into the role Cooks carved out on the Patriots which saw him finish as the WR #15 last season. I don’t know if projecting for a WR #15 finish is realistic considering that Julian Edelman will be the WR1 upon his return, but it’s within reason to expect Hogan will finish within the top-20 at the position. If anything should happen to Edelman, who hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2016 and is injury prone, then Hogan will be the primary beneficiary. It’s never a good idea to project injuries, but it’s something to consider. At the price of a 6th or 7th round draft pick Hogan is worth the investment.
Cooper Kupp (ADP 90.4/7th Round)
Cooper Kupp is being drafted as the 37th wide receiver off the board. He finished last season as the WR #25 as a rookie! He’s only going to improve, too. He was heavily involved in the redzone last season, and now his primary competition in that department has left for Kansas City. On top of increased involvement in the redzone, he has had a year to develop his skills at the position and further strengthen his rapport with Jared Goff. The arrival of Brandin Cooks doesn’t shy me away from Kupp. If anything it will lead to more favorable coverage. He’s an easy wide receiver to target in Rounds 7 and 8.
Robby Anderson (ADP 93.4/7th Round)
I’ll be honest with you. I had initially created this slot for Marquise Goodwin. After I had written my piece on him, he shot up past Pierre Garcon on the draft boards no longer making him a value. Robby Anderson is a more than apt replacement, and a rather appropriate comp. Robby Anderson being very disrespected coming into the draft season as the 93rd overall pick, and the 41st wide receiver off the board! For reference, he was the WR #18 in PPR & WR #16 in Standard. Anderson is able to get behind defenses with ease, and because of Enunwa’s injury, has vastly improved his route running ability making him well rounded at the position. He is a risk, yes, with some off the field issues that may come back and bite him in his ass and with the return of Quincy Enunwa. Anderson’s skill is there, and I expect him to retain the title as WR1 on the Jets. Not the most glamorous title on paper, I’ll admit, but the Jets look like they could be a revamped offense this season.
Kelvin Benjamin (ADP 105.4/8th Round)
This is not a reaction to Kelvin’s good performance in last week’s preseason game. It’s just common sense. He is the Bills’ only “reliable” wide receiver. When you compare Kelvin to the likes of Zay Jones, who had the worst catch rate at the position last season, and Corey Coleman, who also must be sponsored by Butterball, then yeah, he can be viewed as a reliable wide receiver. He’s going to be a favorite target by whoever is under center for the Bills, and his large frame has always made him a redzone threat. It’s not pretty; it will require a leap of faith. But Kelvin is someone to seriously consider in your drafts. Last season Benjamin finished as the WR #47, and is being drafted as the WR #43 this season. Now reports are coming out that Benjamin is “dinged up”, and has ice on his knee. Ice! Can you believe it? An NFL player needing to put ice on his body after practice. Given Benjamin’s injury history it wouldn’t surprise me if his draft stock drops because of this “report”, and him sitting out tonight’s game against Cleveland. This would only make him a more enticing, value pick.
LATE ROUNDS 9-12:
Kenny Stills (ADP 123.6/10th Round):
I said this before in my wide receiving rankings article, and I’ll say it again. Stills is going to be the wide receiver to own on the Dolphins. While fantasy experts and analysts alike have been predicting DeVante Parker’s breakout season for the past two-three years, Stills has actually been putting up decent numbers. Landry is gone, and 160 targets are leaving with him. Stills will get a portion of those vacated targets increasing his target total this year to around 120 (he ended 2017 with 105). Stills is currently being taken as the WR #47 off the board, and finished last season within the top-30. Oh yeah…and he did that with freaking Smokin’ Jay Cutty throwing him the ball. With the improved quarterback play and increase in targets, Stills will be finishing within the top-30 again this season with a lot of upside.
Marqise Lee (ADP 131.8/10th Round) :
I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention or not, but apparently, every single wide receiver on the Jags’ offense is elite. Or at least they are according to their coach. Dede Westbrook is their WR1, Keelan Cole is unstoppable, and D.J. Clark is blowing people away. Enough of all that nonsense. Marqise Lee is the Jags wide receiver you want to own to start you season. Jacksonville did away with Allen Robinson & Allen Hurns, yet retained Lee and payed him handsomely. Marqise Lee stepped up last season when Robinson and Hurns were out with injuries, and was serviceable. I’m expecting a larger, more defined role for Lee this season with over 100 targets. Finding that kind of value in the 10th is something worth targeting.
Cameron Meredith (ADP 136.4/ 11th Round):
Did I own Cameron Meredith in 2016? Yes, I did. Did I fall in love with Meredith that season. Unequivocally so. Now Meredith is coming back from a devastating knee injury that cost him the 2017 season, and seems to be haunting him still this preseason. Nevertheless, he is a very talented wide receiver, coming to a high powered offense, with a Hall of Fame quarterback under center. Yes, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara will command their target shares, but that’s not enough to shy me away from drafting a player who I think, if healthy, is capable of putting up WR2 numbers. If he continues to miss time this preseason (the injury has reportedly nothing to do with last year’s blown out knee), then he will come at an even greater value from falling further down the draft boards.
Mike Williams (ADP 140.6/11th Round):
Have you seen how big Mike Williams is? No? Well he’s a freaking monster of a man at 6-foot-4 and 220 lbs. Follow up question: Do the Chargers have a tight end? Yes, his name is Mike Williams. Williams will be that big body, redzone threat for the Chargers that they so desperately need after the loss of Hunter Henry. It’s rather simple really. Rivers targeted his tight ends a whopping 32% within the redzone. Those targets and that production will need to go somewhere, and Mike Williams currently stands to be the primary beneficiary of that target vacuum. I would honestly not be surprised if Williams reaches the double digit touchdown benchmark this season, which easily makes him worthy of an easy draft pick.
BONUS DEEP SLEEPERS/PREDICTIONS:
The buck doesn’t stop at the end of your draft. Players will emerge as the season gets underway, and they’ll become top priority on your waiver wires. I’ll list a few of the players who I think will make a statement in the first few weeks of the season, because it’s fun and the regular season is right around the corner! D.J. Moore & Michael Gallup are two rookie receivers who jump out as high sleeper potential. Gallup is on a team where the #1 pass catching option is Terrence Williams. Something tells me he’s not gonna be able to handle the heat, and Gallup will quickly become Dak’s go-to receiver. Same thing goes for D.J. Moore. Funchess’ performance was admirable last season, but he’s just not as well rounded of a receiver as Moore. Moore will show his versatility at the position, and become Cam’s primary receiver by season’s end.
Don’t forget about some veteran pieces that have moved around or are coming off of down seasons. Martavis Bryant checks both of those boxes. He’s obviously risky, but you can’t deny the kind of difference he can make on your roster if he clicks in Oakland. Another similar player, who makes me gag just typing this out, is Brandon Marshall. He’s a veteran receiver on a team depleted of solid receivers. If he’s healthy and gels with Wilson, then he’ll end up being useful for fantasy purposes. There’s a lot of “ifs” with Marshall, but he’s worth consideration. The last player I’ll leave you with is Quincy Enunwa. Before his neck injury cost him his 2017 season he was being hyped up as the WR1 for the Jets. Now Anderson has that role. Though I doubt he’ll relinquish that role to his teammate, I think that they form a WR 1a/1b duo, which will make Enunwa worth owning.
As I said at the start of this article, there’s a lot of value at the position this season. Narratives will continue to build players up or knock them down at this stage in the game, but these are the players I’m putting my money on, when I’m looking for value on Draft Day. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week!
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday August 12th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #132 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Kevin Bzdek. Kevin is a writer and editor with majorleaguefantasysports.com. His articles publish every Friday morning and his focus is on bullpens.
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts live August 16th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #89 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will take a close look at some possible ADP steals in our drafts this season.
My guest this week is Andy Macuga. He is the former Head Football and Baseball Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. out in the San Diego area. Andy is also a 6 year veteran of Major League Fantasy Sports leagues and a frequent radio guest.