For the fourth and final edition of our Fantasy Football Rankings series, we focus on wideouts. Draft strategy and importance of WR varies by league, as standard formats sometimes have 2 WR, 2 RB, and a flex. Hopefully the Point Per Game average at the right can be of some assistance when deciding to flex a WR or a RB. Obviously WR are more valuable in 3 WR formats, and as always our ranks below are formatted for standard 10-to-14 team leagues:
In our evaluation of wideouts, we prefer those who consistently receive targets over those who have big game potential, or are touchdown dependent since those are rather fluky for WR. Outside of the first tier of stud WR’s, mostly our strategy focuses on RB-RB in the first two rounds, however if a stud WR falls to you (have seen Marshall fall to late 2nd often) don’t be afraid to pounce.
Tier 1: Megatron, Green, Marshall, Dez
Tier 2: Demaryius, Julio, Roddy, Cobb, Fitzgerald, Cruz
Tier 3: Colston, Andre Johnson, V-Jax, Dwayne Bowe, Danny Amendola
Tier 4: Reggie Wayne, Nicks, Jordy, Antonio Brown, Steve Smith, Torrey Smith, Mike Wallace
Tier 5: Decker, Shorts, D-Jax, Hilton, Austin
Tier 6: J. Jones, Mike Williams, Stevie Johnson, L. Moore, Josh Gordon, T. Austin, Britt, Jennings
Tier 7: Broyles, Givens, Kenbrell Thompkins, Boldin, Blackmon
Tier 8: Vincent Brown, Golden Tate, Sidney Rice, K. Wright, D. Moore
Tier 9: C. Patterson, Jeffery, D. Hopkins, Randle, Michael Floyd, Hartline, Sanu, Kerley
Tier 10 : Streater, Dobson, Malcom Floyd, Heyward-Bey, A. Roberts, Avery, Boyce, Lafell
Overvalued: Julio Jones, Andre Johnson, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Anquan Boldin, Michael Floyd.
Julio is being drafted 10 spot higher than Roddy White, despite having less receptions, less targets, and less receiving yards. Yes, he has upside, but teams can and have taken Julio or Roddy out of the gameplan. Julio will not justify a top 20 draft position. Andre Johnson with a 3rd round ADP (29) is absolutely insane. This is an extremely risky, injury prone player in an offense that is committed to the run. I can’t understand Andre Johnson being taken as a top 10 wideout. I do believe that Welker and Decker will have solid WR2/WR3 seasons, but I think their upside is limited with three solid wideouts and an emerging TE in Thomas, and they are being selected alongside players who possess greater potential. On over 100 targets each of the past three seasons, Anquan Boldin has averaged less than 900 yards. He is a low upside WR4, who is going way too early. I am still a strong believer in Andre Roberts, I expect him to be sort of like Nate Burleson last year, an older WR who produces servicable numbers in deeper leagues and takes away from Michael Floyd’s value.
Undervalued: Brandon Marshall, Steve Smith, Miles Austin, Kenbrell Thompkins, Ryan Broyles, Chris Givens, Jeremy Kerley, Brian Hartline, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders.
Marshall comes off a season where he received 192(!) targets, 1500+ yards and double digit touchdowns. There is absolutely no reason Julio Jones should go ahead of him in drafts. Steve Smith is not a sexy pick, but Cam will get him the ball and he will receive consistent targets and justify selecting him before his ADP. The hate has gone too far on Miles Austin, he has solid WR2 upside and is currently the 35th WR coming off the board in drafts. The Steelers will pass the ball often, and the fantasy beneficiaries will be Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. Look for the both to be 1000 yard receivers. Thompkins and Broyles can be an electric WR2 in their passing offenses and each have significant upside in the mid-to-late rounds. Although we prefer wideouts who receive consistent targets, explosive Chris Givens makes this list. The addition of Tavon Austin should help Givens’ big play potential as the receivers are great complements of each other. Givens has significant upside and his ADP continues to rise. Hartline and Kerley are two players who were more than adequate last season, especially in deeper leagues, and are being drafted too late. They are both great depth additions with limited upside.
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