Sleepers and Value Plays: Wide Receivers

Sleepers and Value Plays: Wide Receivers


Sleepers and Value Plays: Wide Receivers

Below are players ranked by the current Average Draft Position (ADP) as found on considering all scoring systems as a general basis. I’m assuming a league of 12 teams where most would take two quarterbacks and start one.

Green Players are the values/sleepers I like while Red Players are the ones I do not value high enough to ever draft. If not red or green, the player is slotted pretty close to where I see him.

Average Draft Positions taken from using only real drafts conducted after August 15th.

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Starters – Value Plays

ADP Player Team Analysis
1 Antonio Brown PIT Just pick him.
2 Odell Beckham NYG Just pick him next.
3 Julio Jones ATL Just pick him next.
4 DeAndre Hopkins HOU Just pick him next.
5 A.J. Green CIN Just pick him unless Gurley is still there.
6 Dez Bryant DAL Just pick him next.
7 Allen Robinson JAC Just pick him next.
8 Keenan Allen SD I like Allen but as 8th best when he’s never been more than 71-1046-8 as a rookie? Has never played all 16 games in three years. This just seems aggressively high. In fact, I would need to be aggressively high to make this pick.
9 Brandon Marshall NYJ With Fitzpatrick back in the fold, Marshall still looks appealing. He comes off a career best season with 109-1502-14 but the schedule is a bit tougher. He was going ten spots back before Fitzpatrick returned. Now just an appropriate value.
10 Mike Evans TB This could be his spot but he only caught 3 TDs last year and dropped a lot of passes. Not liking the Bucs schedule at all either. A bit too high for my liking but rest assured – he goes around this spot.
11 Amari Cooper OAK Had 1070 yards and six scores as a rookie. Should make another big step in his second year since the 22-year-old has all the marks of an elite WR. He’ll remain in the top 10 for years to come. Was reported he played most of last year with plantar fasciitis. What can he do in his second season all healthy? Going to find out on my team, amigo.
12 Jordy Nelson GB This is a steal if Nelson is healthy. His torn ACL is healed but tendinitis has been an issue. Came off PUP on August 20th. Conditioning could be an issue. There are so many other great healthy WRs, that I am holding off from Nelson. Lot’s of upside here. But the risk is real as well.
13 Alshon Jeffery CHI ‘d make this pick and he has a great schedule. Has Top 10 and maybe Top 5 talent and potential but needs to stay healthy to get there. Have to like that he is playing under a one-year contract.
14 Brandin Cooks NO Ended with 84-1138-9 last year but has a tough schedule and the Saints should have better targets with Michael Thomas and Coby Fleener added to the roster. No higher than this makes sense. His ceiling looks lower this year but he’s going to be consistent every week and that matters.
15 T.Y. Hilton IND Even in last year’s disaster, Hilton ended with 1124 yards and 5 TDs. But he also turned in 82-1345-7 in his last full season with Andrew Luck. He’ll offer consistently good weekly stats with the occasional monster game.
16 Sammy Watkins BUF Big fan of Watkins on a team with very few other targets besides him. Love how he was on fire in the second half of 2015 when he scored seven of his nine TDs and had all five of his 100 yard games. Great spot and has a bit of upside as well.
17 Demaryius Thomas DEN The question marks at quarterback drop him here and that makes some sense. But Thomas is one of the more talented WRs in the NFL and even Mark Sanchez/Trevor Siemian/Paxton Lynch can keep Thomas racking up fantasy points – if no other receiver. With all the transition last year, he still ended as the #9 WR. So far he’s been on nearly every Team Dorey I have drafted.
18 Jarvis Landry MIA Have to love any WR that hauls in 110 catches in one season. His TDs are light – never more than five – and his average catch is only about 10 yards. But he so far he’s averaged 97 catches per season and now plays in a Adam Gase offense. Offers great consistency in a reception points league.
19 Randall Cobb GB Cobb was a huge disappointment last year as the #1 WR with Jordy Nelson out. While he had a big 2014 season, that was his only big year after five seasons. He’s probably fine at this spot but I’m not interested. His flop last year is hard to ignore.
20 Kelvin Benjamin CAR His torn ACL had a full year to mend and he already broke 1000 yards as a rookie. A tougher schedule is concerning for the Panthers and his conditioning has been questioned after a year off. And Devin Funchess has looked much improved so Benjamin won’t be the only WR to throw to like he was in his rookie season.
21 Julian Edelman NE The smaller guy over the middle for the Pats should be a good pick here though he is returning from a foot injury and was on PUP to start training camp. Adding Martellus Bennett could eat into Edelman’s usual bounty of targets. Not liking that he’s only played in one healthy year of the seven he’s had at NE. Had a scare about his foot in the preseason but seems okay… for now. Just not feeling it but he is a reception point maven when healthy.
22 Golden Tate DET I want to like him this much and it is probably okay. But all of last year he never had more than 80 yards in any game and turned into a short yardage specialist with just a 9.0 YPC. He’s worth this in a reception points league and he scored five times in the second half of 2015 with OC Jim Bob Cooter around. But the Lions are going to spread it around more and defenses are going to primarily key on him with Megatron gone. Marvin Jones is getting all the press lately.
23 Jeremy Maclin KC Endorsing any KC WR makes me feel dirty but the reality is that Maclin’s 87-1088-8 featured a few monster games and had only a few down games which were almost always in bad road venues. As the first WR3 drafted, he’ll likely perform as a WR2 in most games.
24 Donte Moncrief IND Like his third year appeal with a healthy Andrew Luck back and a clear ownership of the #2 role for the Colts who don’t look likely to rush that well this year anyway. Caught five of his six TDs last year during the seven games that Luck played. Maybe not much higher than this but a strong buy here.
25 Doug Baldwin SEA This does feel cheap for the #10 WR from last year who scored 14 times and who blew up down the stretch of 2015. But that held 10 scores in a four game stretch and the rest of his work is much less spectacular. SEA will throw more for 2016 but Baldwin should remain merely good and down from scorching. Still not a bad WR3 at all.
26 Eric Decker NYJ This feels like a really good spot for a guy that had 1027 yards and 12 TDs last year but at least a slight decline seems likely with a tougher schedule and adding Matt Forte as a target sponge to the offense. I’d be really happy landing a 12 TD guy from last year with my WR3 pick.
27 Michael Floyd ARI Love this pick but with Floyd you have to accept that he does disappear from time to time. But he also had five 100 yard games in the second half of 2015 when his finger was completely healed. I’d take him earlier than this because Carson Palmer has at least one more big year left in him.
28 Larry Fitzgerald ARI Seems really, really cheap here for the guy who was the #7 WR last year. But he faded after a blistering start to the season. This is an appropriate place to balance the upside of playing with Carson Palmer with the advancing age and diminishing production.
29 Jordan Matthews PHI Have to love a WR3 that had around 1000 yards and 8 TDs last year. Some question marks about QB means anything much higher than this is risky but Matthews should remain solid even in the new offense that last year saw Maclin in KC spawn the same sort of production in HC Doug Pederson’s final year as OC in KC. Safe bet here or even a bit higher but his ceiling is not much higher.
30 Emmanuel Sanders DEN Wait… I can get a WR that topped 1000 yards and at least six TDs for the last two seasons here at the end of the WR3 run? Really? He was still 18th best last year. He’ll see a decrease in targets… probably. He’s just a great value pick here where he’ll do no worse and likely better.
31 DeVante Parker MIA Have to like the upside of this pick. Parker had a relatively quiet rookie year but then again he barely played until Week 12. Scored three times over the final six games and topped 80 yards in four of those. New offense from HC Adam Gase should keep the sky dark with passes. The more I think about it, the more I love this pick.
32 Tyler Lockett SEA Don’t speak loudly. Lockett is a sleeper type and there may still be three or four people in the country that don’t realize it yet. He has a ton of upside and flashed enough last year to merit this early of a pick on a 51-664-5 player from last year. And yes, we realize he is a better value than Baldwin.
33 Allen Hurns JAC I do love this grouping of 24th to 36th ranked ADP WR. Lots of upside or oddly disrespected studs from 2015. Hurns had 1031 yards and 10 TDs last year. He scored in nine games. Had five 100 yard games. Schedule is a bit tougher but the 19th best WR from 2015 is in the same offense with the same personnel and I can get him here? Thank you.
34 John Brown ARI Brown topped 1000 yards last year but a 196 yard game in Pittsburgh helped a lot. Not a terrible pick but I just cannot take a teams #3 WR over so many talented #2 guys still left on the draft board.
35 Josh Gordon CLE This seems early to take the plunge and it will likely never be me. Suspended four games and then he tries to recapture his form from THREE YEARS AGO. He was a stud in 2013. He was a dud for the last two years. I hope to like him in 2017. But someone with big eyes and a long memory is going to draft him too early this year. He hardly knows anyone on the Browns team anymore.
36 Kevin White CHI I really want to like White who missed his rookie year with a stress fracture to his shin. But he is rusty and has been deemed "still raw" this summer in his first camp. Maybe next year but his name will get him drafted too early for 2016. Love to have him as a depth WR but he’s going to be taken as a starter. I want to see him play first before taking the plunge.

After the Starters are taken, look for sleepers and avoid bad values for your backup

ADP Player Team Analysis
37 Marvin Jones DET Adding Anquan Boldin doesn’t make Jones look any better and he didn’t top 820 yards during his four seasons in CIN. But he scored 10 times in 2013 and the depth chart is wide open in DET after Megatron left. He’s a great pick at this point that at worse should be a solid bye week cover but has some upside as well. Jones is getting rave reviews on his new team and could become the #1 in DET if Golden Tate doesn’t step up.
38 Michael Crabtree OAK He had 900 yards and 9 TDs last year and he’s just a WR4 now? The Raiders offense will get better in the second year of the offense with the same players returning. I can live with Crabtree as a WR3 and love him as a WR4.
39 Sterling Shepard NYG Shepard has been outstanding so far and fills the spot that gave Reuben Randle 800 yards and 8 TDs just last year. He is a mature four-year starter from OU that will never get doubled thanks to Odell Beckham. He is on all but one of my teams. I still grieve that draft.
40 DeSean Jackson WAS Jackson could see less playing time this year with other WRs now in the fold and he’s been a feast or famine sort of player who either catches the long TD or turns in a bad game. This deeply he is a great value and he oddly has his best games when the Redskins face their toughest opponents. He’s broken 1000 yards in all six of his full seasons played.
41 Corey Coleman CLE This is the only rookie WR that has a #1 WR role waiting for him. The Browns may not be an offensive juggernaut and Coleman is a rookie. But he’s greatly talented in an offense that has to throw and just gushes with upside. So yeah, rookie me up if I can get Coleman anywhere near this late. He was the first WR taken in the NFL draft and the only #1 WR. Why wouldn’t he be the first rookie WR taken?
42 Stefon Diggs MIN Diggs contributed a whole lot of nothing last year after a fast start through week 8. His final 10 games averaged just 33 yards each and he scored only once in that time. Add in the effect of Laquon Treadwell and Diggs won’t be on any of my teams.
43 Willie Snead NO I wish I liked him more than this but Snead only scored in two games last year and was inconsistent at best. But he had two 100 yard games and half topped 70 yards. The Saints throw a little less every year lately and the additions of Michael Thomas and Coby Fleener probably not going to help get Snead any more work.
44 Michael Thomas NO Swing for the fence with a rookie. The new Marques Colston was a second round pick and at 6-3, he’s a mighty big target over the middle. He’s been wowing coaches with one-handed catches in training camp. I’d take him here just because of his upside but he is getting enough hype that he keeps moving up draft boards.
45 Tavon Austin LA Granted Austin is another guy I never own and probably won’t. But the QB play should be better this year and all totaled he scored nine times last year. He even rushed for 434 yards. He should out perform this spot though when he has a bad game, it is really bad. So upside and production I cannot deny even if I will never own him.
46 Laquon Treadwell MIN I think this could surprise. Sure, Treadwell lands in MIN where they sported one of the worst passing offenses in 2015. And Adrian Peterson ensures that the passing effort only gets so much use. But Treadwell is that physical, possession-style WR that could be a tremendous fit in that offense and the Vikings schedule goes from catastrophic in 2015 to merely slightly bad this year. This is a great spot for him and one that carries upside.
47 Torrey Smith SFO Smith is one of a handful of players I think is overrated every year and that I will simply never own. He’s never been more than a long-baller that is miscast as an every-down WR. Last year he had just 4 TDs and 663 yards but owned a 20.1 YPC. Now Chip Kelly brings in his dink-n-dunk.
48 Devin Funchess CAR Granted Kelvin Benjamin returns and that cuts into everyone’s workload but Funchess should easily outplay this draft spot in his second season while the Panthers are saddled with a tough schedule that will force them to throw more this year. He has a lot of upside for a WR5 and needs to continue to learn how to make his 6-4 frame work to his advantage. He’s been the most impressive WR in the preseason and has already jumped up seven spots in ADP over the last two weeks. Worth the pick here for sure.
49 Travis Benjamin SD This is one of my favorite sleepers. Look – he costs almost nothing. He gained 68-966-5 in CLE last year and is only 27 years old. He should be a great complement to Keenan Allen who draws more of the coverage. As a WR5, he should be a great bye week filler with upside to become a weekly WR3 sort of starter. He is smaller at 5-10/175 but is more than that little guy over the middle with no YAC. He has a career mark of 17.3 YPC.
50 Kamar Aiken BAL Maybe this isn’t the sexiest pick you could make but Aiken comes off a season with 75-944-5 and gets back a healthy Joe Flacco and a very nice schedule. There will be more hands in the pie this year with Mike Wallace added and that could decrease Aiken’s totals. but he’s still a solid pick here and suddenly becomes very interesting should Steve Smith become injured again.
51 Markus Wheaton PIT Imagine if Wheaton could play like he apparently practices each summer. There is always talk about how he is meshing with Ben Roethlisberger and this is his year. And then he’s just mediocre in an offense that throws about as well as any out there. Not interested. No upside.
52 Sammie Coates PIT This is where I take the PIT plunge for a non-Brown WR. He’ll likely rise in ADP this summer. With Martavis Bryant out, there is a void that Coates seems most likely to fill. He has good size and blazing speed and has plenty of upside this year. He did only have one catch as a rookie so the risk is there but this deep in the draft? Worried about Eli Rogers cutting into his action though.
53 Vincent Jackson TB I’ll agree that Jackson falls after a bad 2015 season but he had six straight 1000 yard seasons before and he had to suffer with a rookie QB. His glory days are over and the schedule is murderous but falling to WR5 seems excessive. His shoulder injury limited him to just 10 games last year. He should be no worse and likely better at least incrementally.
54 Tyler Boyd CIN The departure of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones left a void that Boyd looks to be likely to fill as the slot receiver. He’s getting positive press and already rose in ADP. But Brandon LaFell will figure in regardless of the hype that Boyd has been getting.
55 Steve Smith BAL All you need to know is that Smith wants 39 catches to become the 14th NFL player with over 1000 career receptions. That will absolutely happen if he can somehow remain healthy at the age of 37 and coming off a ruptured Achilles. But I would have trouble relying on him catching more than 40.
56 Mohamed Sanu ATL He topped out at 56-790-7 in CIN and now he plays second fiddle to Julio Jones instead of A.J. Green. The new "Roddy White" has far more upside than this position. He won’t be another Julio Jones of course but he should easily outplay this spot. Julio cannot catch them all though he tries.
57 Rishard Matthews TEN Mathews is going to man the slot in Tennessee and is expected to challenge for #1 WR stats there. This deep he is a great upside pick and no worse than a good bye week filler.
58 Phillip Dorsett IND It would be easy to call Dorsett a sleeper and he probably is at least of sorts. I can see him with several big games this year but as the #3 WR he cannot possibly have the consistency to make him a no-brainer starter. He should have a nice leap in production but it is easy to get lost in his potential when reality says he’s not likely to see more than 40 or 50 receptions.
59 Dorial Green-Beckham PHI Getting traded in his second season for a mediocre lineman doesn’t speak much about his outlook. He’s off my radar for now.
60 Josh Doctson WAS I love Doctson as a dynasty play. But he is the #3 WR in WAS this year and #4 in targets thanks to Jordan Reed. His Achilles injury has really dug into valuable time he should be practicing and learning the offense. He has missed nearly all the preseason but there is still hope for Week 1. He could become a factor later in the year. He’s a talented, high-character guy with a ton of potential. But he’s just a roster stash for now with fingers crossed for the second half of the season.

Undrafted – Best Value

Mike Wallace (BAL) – Wallace has been impressing with his chemistry with Joe Flacco in camp and the preseason. Love to take the upside of the Ravens passing schedule with the chance that Wallace rekindles his career. Deep sleeper picks are what your final WR choices should be all about.

Anquan Boldin (DET) – No way he rekindles his career here but his swan song should provide at least enough to cover your bye weeks.

Bruce Ellington (SF) – Has some appeal as your final WR pick and is getting talked up in SF in the new Chip Kelly offense.

Tajae Sharpe (TEN) – The rookie has done well enough to land a starting role for the Titans Worth a deep pick.

More Sleepers and Value Plays:  Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers  |  Tight Ends

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