Sleepers and Value Plays (Final): Wide Receivers

Sleepers and Value Plays (Final): Wide Receivers

Sleepers

Sleepers and Value Plays (Final): Wide Receivers

A sleeper is a player taken as a backup who ends up worthy of being a starter or at least far outplays the draft slot where you selected him.  Average Draft Positions (ADP) are taken from MyFantasyLeague.com using only real drafts conducted after August 25.

The Average Draft order shows a general picture of how your draft will happen and where values/sleepers and bad values/busts likely exist. Any green check means the player is a good value that could be taken earlier. A red “X” signifies an overvalued player that is a bad value or just too high of a risk for that spot.

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Average draft order – value plays

ADP Value Player Team Analysis
1 Antonio Brown PIT Future HOF’er
2 Odell Beckham NYG Future HOF’er but with a sore ankle that may or may not be healed by Week 1.
3 Julio Jones ATL Future HOF’er who is expected to score more this year.
4 Mike Evans TBB  Great pick, was #3 last year. TB has a few more weapons this year but Evans remains the first read on pass plays. No risk here.
5 A.J. Green CIN  Would prefer a few slots back since he tends to mix monster games with complete flops. Always a Top 10 when healthy.
6 Jordy Nelson GBP A bit of a surprise drop for a guy that turned in a Top-3 in the last two seasons that he played (2015 was a lost year to a knee injury). The BFF of the best fantasy QB is about all I need to know.
7 Michael Thomas NOS Not since Randy Moss has a rookie WR done so well. Drew Brees still there but Brandin Cooks is not. Big Easy Money.
8 Amari Cooper OAK A bit high for a guy that never ranked better than #16 in his two seasons. Tons of talent but tends to fade down the stretch and disappear in a few games.
9 Dez Bryant DAL Willing to take one more stab at Bryant who hasn’t been himself since 2014.  But three straight years as a Top 7 gets him one more chance to return to form. Has to get over injury issues.
10 Brandin Cooks NEP Trades Drew Brees for Tom Brady. Turned in  this good the last two years. Cannot expect Cooks to become the new Randy Moss in New England. But you can hope it happens. Loss of Edelman only makes this even more attractive.  Love this pick.
11 T.Y. Hilton IND Could be a little high if Andrew Luck is not 100% healthy. But then again Luck wasn’t last year and Hilton still ended up as the #5 WR. A safe bet for high receptions. But easy to ignore since the Luck situation is just more risk.
12 Doug Baldwin SEA Baldwin never seems flashy or has many big games. But he consistently puts food on the table every week and remains the #1 option in SEA where the rushing offense is not going to win games.
13 DeAndre Hopkins HOU He plummeted to #27 last year but was #4 in 2015 with an ever-changing cast of mediocre QBs. Now that he has been de-Osweilered, should be a lock for at least this good and likely better.
14 Demaryius Thomas DEN Thomas took an understandable hit once Peyton Manning left. He still ended #15 last year and has the potential for much more. Mike McCoy is back as OC and that has to help. But remains limited by the QB play.
15 Terrelle Pryor WAS Oddly, he was the #21 WR last year going as the #21 this year. But he’s playing with Kirk Cousins instead of Cody Kessler, Josh McCown and RGIII. Problem is that he is no longer the only viable receiver for his team and has not looked good in preseason games.
16 Keenan Allen LAC Four years into his career and never a 16-game season. Never more than eight in a year since 2014. He has potential  but this spot is already higher than he’s ever finished as a WR. Not willing to fabricate confidence for the third straight year.
17 Alshon Jeffery PHI Had two big years in CHI but mostly injured since 2014. Carson Wentz on the way up to be sure and Jeffery may help him get there.  Already banged up his shoulder to start camp. The departure of Jordan Matthews helps but new to team and old to injuries.
18 Davante Adams GBP Love, love getting Adams here. All he did last year was to score 12 TDs and gain 997 yards. He is in the final year of his rookie contract. All receivers should enter their contract year after scoring 12 times with Aaron Rodgers as the QB. Would easily take him a few spots earlier.
19 Tyreek Hill KCC Even with Jeremy Maclin gone, there’s not a ton of opportunities to move up on this admittedly pass-starved offense.  Not ready to reach for any KC receiver outside of Travis Kelce. But Hill is worth the risk at this spot. He won’t return kicks to focus more on offense.
20 Michael Crabtree OAK  #12 and #17 best WR in two seasons with Derek Carr. This seems an unjustifiable drop based mostly on the fact he doesn’t have any monster games. But he catches 8+ TDs per year and offers solid yardage each week. Love to get a solid WR2 type as the 25th WR taken.
21 Allen Robinson JAC Perhaps this is a leap of faith but Robinson was the #6 WR in 2015 when the Jags schedule looks like it does this year. The offense gets a rushing threat finally and Robinson faced almost every shutdown corner in 2016. He went 80-1400-14 two seasons ago. There is a concern about the QB even though Bortles was named the starter again.
22 Kelvin Benjamin CAR  Started the summer about ten or 15 spots back since he showed up fat. But looked great in camp and preseason games and is rising in drafts. The addition of Christian McCaffrey could be a factor and  Greg Olsen takes his 75 catches.  Loved him last month at 33, still like him here.
23 Golden Tate DET Took over post-Megatron last year and had a credible 91-1,077-4 season. But that seems his ceiling as the #1 for DET with no Calvin Johnson around to worry anyone. Solid pick, maybe no upside but not much risk. Not a terrible WR2.
24 Jarvis Landry MIA Playing with Cutler now and he may, or may not, be trade bait depending on who is talking.  Landry is a great possession receiver and Cutler can maintain Landry’s place in the offense. Not likely to bring Landry to the next level though. If he left, it all depends on where he landed as to his value.
25 Larry Fitzgerald ARI  No arguing that Fitzgerald is one of the best WR of the last decade. And he even topped 1,000 yards last year. But he faded badly  and is already 34. During the three fantasy playoff weeks last year, Fitz totaled 14 catches for 100 yards and no scores. He only had one touchdown in his final 11 games.
26 Martavis Bryant PIT  I like this pick. The reality is that Bryant was a #3 wideout in the past and now becomes the #2. He only played in 24 games over his first two seasons with six monster 100+ yard games and 14 low-yardage flops. Bryant could still struggle with his health and he’s one slip-up from disappearing again. But undeniable upside makes this pick worth the risk.
27 Sammy Watkins LAR He’s been an injury waiting to happen for the last two years. No question as to his talent when healthy. But he cannot stay on the field and already hurt his ankle in practice this summer. He killed fantasy owners last season. Not on my team. Was traded to the Rams on Aug. 11. He’ll end up either far more valuable than this but more likely no better and maybe worse if he gets hurt trying to catch a Jared Goff pass.
28 Stefon Diggs MIN  Good spot for a WR that might reach 1,000 yards this year for the first time. Diggs started hot in 2016 but faded badly. And he only scored three times. But the second season with Sam Bradford should allow the #1 WR in MIN to become worth a weekly WR3 fantasy starter.
29 Jamison Crowder WAS  Crowder already produced at this level last year and WAS lost their other two starting WR. That leaves possession-receiver Crowder to improve on his 67-847-7 from last year. His reception totals are certain to increase and depending on Terrelle Pryor, Crowder could surprise. Throw in a Jordan Reed who never stays healthy and I love Crowder here or even earlier.
30 Emmanuel Sanders DEN  The QB situation is a factor but Sanders remains good for around 1,000 yards every year. TDs are down and may stay there but he’s a rock-solid WR3 pick this late.  Even last year he still managed 79 catches.

Sleepers and over-valued players

ADP Value Player Team Analysis
31 Brandon Marshall NYG  This is another pick I would love to make. Granted, Marshall flamed out last year and maybe didn’t exactly try too hard as the season got worse and worse for the Jets. But he’s with the Giants now and playing with Eli Manning. While he no longer gets the primary coverage by the secondary. Marshall may be on the back nine and the clubhouse is in sight. But he’s in a spot to shine for one last time.
32 DeVante Parker MIA  This is a risky one but with a lot of upside even with the change in QB to Jay Cutler. He’s caused coaches to say “he finally gets it” during the offseason and looks every bit like the third-year breakout waiting to happen. As a final WR3 pick, I’m all over the potential here even without Ryan Tannehill.
33 Willie Snead NOS  Brandin Cooks took his 78 catches to New England and Snead already flirted with 1,000 yards in each of his two seasons.  The Saints typically produce fantasy-relevant stats from their #2 WR and Michael Thomas takes the bigger focus of the defense. This deep is a great pick so long as Drew Brees remains on the other end of the pass.  Not liking the three-game suspension.
34 DeSean Jackson TBB  The downside is that Jackson tends to be more inconsistent as the long-ball receiver. And he is 31 years old on a new team. But he’s been worth 1,000 yards in healthy years and will turn in a few big games. Love him in best ball format and still makes a great depth pick for a fantasy team that may end up as a starter.
35 Randall Cobb GBP He was replaced by Davante Adams as the starting wideout last year and really only has the 2014 season to hang his hat on. Even when GB needed him to help replace the injured Jordy Nelson, Cobb was not up to the task and had a worse season. Last year he was only the #54 WR and missed three games. He needs to have at least one more decent season to generate any confidence.
36 Pierre Garcon SFO Garcon is a starting WR1 on an NFL team and that alone should make him worth #36.  But the 49ers are in a complete rebuild, installing a new offense and the QB situation is the worst that Garcon has ever experienced.
37   Donte Moncrief IND I would not take him since he’s just never met catch and yardage expectations while playing with Andrew Luck for three years. He did catch a score in seven of nine games played last year though with minimal yardage in each. And he injured his AC joint in camp. Have to hope he can remain healthy to catch TDs but he just has yet to develop into a well-used target.
38 Jeremy Maclin BAL The Ravens passing game is in some question due to  Joe Flacco’s health. And there are two other viable WR in Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman.  But Maclin was a 1,000-yard receiver until last year in KC and that should not count against him. Love this pick this deep. Maybe not a ton of upside but bound to be at least this good.
39 Eric Decker TEN  The Titans are a run-first team and have Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker in line ahead of Decker. Maybe he can surprise but that’s a lot of targets for a team that prefers to run. This deep is probably not a terrible pick but just no faith in  this situation.
40 Tyrell Williams LAC Like this pick more since Mike Williams did a disappearing act at least until the season is underway. Williams came out of nowhere to turn in 69-1,059-7 last year and not only is the WR2 for LAC, but Keenan Allen is hardly an even-money bet to remain healthy.  Not a lot of downside here and Williams could surprise yet again this year.
41 Corey Davis TEN I am a sucker for rookies. And Davis will be a great WR eventually. But TEN ranked #30 in pass completions last year and #4 in RB carries. I want to wait a year to see what Davis does. Pulled a hamstring and missed almost the entire training camp.
42 Chris Hogan NEP Great pick at this spot since Julian Edelman was lost. He’s a solid first-line backup to see if he develops into anything you can reliably start.
43 Corey Coleman CLE Troublesome that he has injury issues out of the gate last year and then again pulled a hammy in OTAs. But Coleman runs a 4.37/40 and was the first WR taken in the NFL draft last year. His potential alone says he should be higher than this. There is an obvious risk, but I’m a buyer as a WR3, let alone as a WR4.
44 Marvin Jones DET Fair spot for the  50-60 catch player for a handful of TDs. Always gets you something, never gets you a lot.
45 Jordan Matthews BUF  Fell back to 73-804-3 in Carson Wentz’s first year but usually about 900 yards and eight scores per season. Zero problems with this pick. Solid enough to start though won’t ever win you any games. Traded to Bills on Aug. 11. Less competition for targets helps.
46 Adam Thielen MIN Thielen was a big surprise when he ended with 69-967-5 for the Vikes last year. That was good enough to rank #29 overall so dropping this far is unwarranted. Thielen already has chemistry with Sam Bradford and he improved as the season progressed.
47 Rishard Matthews TEN Was the 19th best WR last year and falls this far? I am all over this pick. No reason for this free-fall drop. Corey Davis has been out with a hamstring instead of learning the offense anyway.
48 John Brown ARI With Larry Fitzgerald sticking around for his final “stats extender” year, the Cards need a viable #2 and Brown should be the guy. He battled hamstrings and his sickle cell trait last year.  Brown went 65-1003-7 as the third option in 2015.  Has some upside but also has s a quad injury and is slow to heal due to the sickle cell trait. But has a ton of upside if he  can stay healthy.
49 Mike Wallace BAL Love this pick. First year in BAL and he had 72-1017-4.  Adding Maclin sort of hurt and Breshad Perriman may emerge from the busts Class of 2015.  As WR depth? I’m loving it.
50 Kenny Britt CLE He’s probably slotted right but it is hard enough to buy into Corey Coleman and he was the best receiver in the 2016 draft. Britt is on his third NFL team with a career average of 39 catches per season. I’d never make this pick but others will. Thankfully.
51 Sterling Shepard NYG Not racing to get the #3 guy for NYG. Brandon Marshall kind of killed the Shepard hype. But probably worth the pick in case Marshall or Beckham were injured.
52 Zay Jones BUF Liking Zay probably more than I should. But has been a standout of training camp. So yeah, Jones is one of my favorites for most productive rookie WR. The Bills are going to have to throw this year.
53 Cole Beasley DAL No upside here and likely a regress from the 75-833-5 last year. Played with a hurt hamstring in 2016 and it still is not 100%.
54 Josh Doctson WAS I rank him much lower than this since he too is the fourth best target for WAS. Love the long-term appeal of the 2016 first-rounder who was robbed of his rookie season because of an Achilles injury. It will take him a year to make any waves and in a dynasty league, I want him. Redraft – this is probably optimistic barring injuries to other starting receivers.
55 Cooper Kupp LAR Rising on draft boards all summer. Used to get him with my 20th round pick in June and July. Now he is going as a WR5 and should be worth it as an outlet for Jared Goff. Kupp is on most of my teams and all of them if I could have. Not a bad risk for a backup WR.
56 Mohamed Sanu ATL Solid pick here for covering a bye week but likely not much upside.
57 Robby Anderson NYJ This pick makes sense thinking someone has to catch the ball for the Jets and Anderson is now the #1 WR on what may be a scary bad offense. Then again, maybe no one has to catch the ball for the Jets.
58 Kenny Golladay DET He’s a popular sleeper but at best he’ll be the #3 WR in DET this year. 3.32 pick has potential but more likely next year. No problem with this deep of a pick but I would much rather accept the risk of several other rookie WR.
59 John Ross CIN Not liking that he already missed time with a shoulder injury and he had medical issues in college. Too many hands wanting the ball and Ross is too raw. Yes, he ran a 4.22/40 at the Combine. But he only started one season for the Huskies. No thanks. Not as high even in a dynasty league.
60 Taylor Gabriel ATL Not a terrible bye week filler. Inconsistent but will turn in at least a few good games.

Best undrafted value

Kendall Wright (CHI) – Loss of Cameron Meredith like benefits Wright the most.

Marqise Lee (JAC) – Shaky QB situation drops Lee but there is still plenty of upside here.  Already went 63-851-3 last year as the #3 and now plays as the #2.

Nelson Agholor (PHI) – Third-year player that has a chance to take the next step up since Carson Wentz has experience now and Agholor is the favorite for slot work.

Devin Funchess (CAR) – Like the chance that he could have a third-year leap in an improving CAR offense. Earned a starting role for 2017.

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