The sexiest position in Fantasy football in 2016 was clearly the WR position, especially in the World Championships. The 12 teams in this format have the opportunity to start a minimum of 36 WRs and a maximum of 60 WRs by filling their two Flex positions with wide receivers.
Over the last two seasons, the RB position regained the top draft positions in the first round due to developing talent and depth. Here’s a look at the first 12 WR drafted this year:
Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins have separated themselves from the top WR options in 2018. Odell Beckham is a nice runner-up prize at the end of the first round if his ankle issues are a thing of the past.
A holdout by Julio Jones and strength at RB pushes his draft value to the second round for the first time in many years. He has a high floor with explosive upside with a healthy season and especially if the Falcons finally figure out how to get him the ball in the end zone.
There’s something to be said for a high-volume catch WR, and Keenan Allen has grown into that profile even with only one elite season on his resume. His next step is pushing his TD value to the next level.
I have strong feelings on the upside and growth of Michael Thomas, but he needs New Orleans to push their passing attempts closer to 600 to be worthy of being drafted in front of Julio and Keenan. Thomas does have more scoring upside than both players, which is a plus.
The number one WR for the Packers has to be a player of interest. Davante Adams should have a huge jump in opportunity while already owning double-digit scoring ability. He’ll be an excellent pairing for a team that starts with an elite RB1.
Both A.J. Green and Mike Evans have special talents with double-digit scoring ability. Evans is getting discounted due to the suspension of Jameis Winston. He’s a great buy if he falls into the third round. His ability to score leads to some explosive games.
Of the next three option to fill out the back end of the WR1, Tyreek Hill is the player I’m backing the most. He has explosiveness with a high floor. His one red mark is the change at QB, but I expect it to be positive after a full season of games.
I’d prefer both Doug Baldwin and T.Y. Hilton as a WR2.
The second group of WRs have upside and depth. Both Josh Gordon and Amari Cooper have WR1 upside. Cooper will move up in drafts as we get closer to the live draft season. Gordon remains a wild card after his recent news (tune-up in a rehab).
Larry Fitzgerald has a long career success, but age may be catching up to him while still commanding a high draft position. Allen Robinson is coming off a major injury, which invites some risk on his full season of value in 2018. I like the overall skill set of Alshon Jeffery while still having questions about his overall opportunity in the Eagles’ offense due to depth in receiving options.
Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen will be a coin toss for most Fantasy owners. Just a step behind them will be Demaryius Thomas and Golden Tate based on their long resumes in the NFL.
Jarvis Landry is a high-volume catch WR, but his role is yet to be determined in his new offense in Cleveland. On the reverse side, Brandin Cooks may have stepped into a dynamic opportunity in the Rams’ offense while losing some draft value based on his previous success.
Juju Smith-Schuster sure looked good last year, and his role in the Steelers’ offense will improve in 2018. His big question is: how many chances are left over after Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown?
The steadiness of the WR2 position will add more fuel to teams wanting to be RB strong in the first round of the 2018 drafts. In most drafts, 24 WRs will be drafted over the first 51 picks.
I fear another WR will get in the way of Marvin Jones, Devin Funchess, Emmanuel Sanders, and Robert Woods in 2018. Jones will contend with the upside talent of Kenny Golladay. Funchess has talent at RB and TE this season along with newly added D.J. Moore. Sanders should maintain most of his value with the Broncos having a weak option at TE, but they did add Courtland Sutton to add length to the WR position. The addition of Brandin Cooks is going to be a problem for Robert Woods. He played great last year even with some missed games, but his opportunity will take a step back in 2018.
Cooper Kupp is a borderline WR1 for me while expecting a bump in targets and TDs. He’s a high-volume WR in a developing offense. I expect him to lead the Rams in receiving TDs. Kupp is a great buy as a WR3.
I expect both Corey Davis and Jameson Crowder to make pushes to much higher levels. Davis is a future first-round WR with do-it-all ability. Crowder falls into the high-volume category with some scoring ability. He underachieved last year, which will lead to a wide range of opinions in 2018.
There’s no way I’m buying Chris Hogan as a WR3. He’s 29 while never catching over 41 balls in a season. I know he was on a career-high pace in 2017, but Hogan can’t be trusted as a starting WR in PPR leagues over a long NFL season.
As much as I like a rebound season from Sammy Watkins, he’ll still be the 3rd/4th option in the Chiefs’ passing game behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. He would have to fall to the low end of his range for me to own him in 2018.
Pierre Garcon works as a WR3 with questions regarding his upside in scoring ability. The upgrade at QB should be a positive.
Julian Edelman will miss the first four games in 2018, which may be positive in his recovery from his knee injury. His best value should come later in the year, which will force a Fantasy owner to be created when adding other WRs around him if deciding to invest a sixth or seventh round draft pick.
By looking at each group of WRs, a Fantasy owner can get a feel for player flow and possible targets within the draft. The key is to know the drop downs at each position in the draft once you know your starting draft slot.
If you review each group of WRs, a Fantasy owner will be able to see where he may leave himself with a tough decision in the draft leading to a possible weak link in the starting lineup if taking the wrong path with his roster development.
ADPs are great tools to get a feel for player flow, but a Fantasy owner needs to be able to think quickly if a targeted player is drafted ahead of schedule. WRs win overall championships, so the goal is to find the right players with TD ability and high-volume opportunities.
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