Sleepers and Value Plays: Wide Receivers FINAL

Sleepers and Value Plays: Wide Receivers FINAL

Fantasy Football Sleepers and Undervalued Picks

Sleepers and Value Plays: Wide Receivers FINAL


A sleeper wide receiver 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  using only real drafts conducted after August 15.

Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Average Draft order shows a general picture of how your draft will unfold 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.

Average Draft order – Value plays

ADP Value Tm Player Analysis
1 HOU DeAndre Hopkins #1 WR for the last two years. Why not make it three?
2 GB Davante Adams Broke out in 2018 with 111-1386-13 and just got better as the season progressed. Packers did not bring in anyone new to pair with Adams.
3 ATL Julio Jones Five straight years of over 1,400 yards. I’d bet on six.
4 NO Michael Thomas 125 catches were the #5 best in NFL history. And he just got paid.
5 CLE Odell Beckham  Could be the #1 WR with Baker Mayfield throwing passes to him. Drop him a couple though since he lasted 16 games in only one of five seasons. The upside is here to be sure. I’d just want to get him a few picks later… which likely won’t ever happen.
6 KC Tyreek Hill 87-1479-12 was good enough to be #3 in fantasy. Not like Mahomes is going to get worse in his second season.
7 PIT JuJu Smith-Schuster 111 catches in his second season and now Antonio Brown leaves a ton of targets behind. He’ll get the volume of passes. Slight risk since he’s never been the #1 guy before.
8 TB Mike Evans Comes off 86-1524-8 last year. A new offense under Bruce Arians should keep him productive.
9 OAK Antonio Brown Brown was a lock for top-five if not #1 for the last five years but a new team, new QB and a problem foot. And apparently cannot wear the only helmet that can fit his head. He could be gold but lot’s of other less dramatic options. He got into an altercation with the GM. He’s just getting worse with his antics.
10 MIN Adam Thielen Thielen was in the top-eight the past two years and was on fire with Kirk Cousins there last year until the final five games. Bothersome to see his dip in stats the final month or so but still a great value as a WR2. Safe pick in a PPR league.
11 LAC Keenan Allen Two straight 16 game seasons means his durability issues are behind him. Not big on TDs but topped 1250 yards for the last two years.
12 MIN Stefon Diggs Finally managed to crest 1,000 yards in his fourth NFL season but 102 catches only gained 1,021 yards and half his games were under 50 yards. If MIN can run the ball better, Diggs seems most likely to see a decrease.
13 IND T.Y. Hilton Hilton only managed 57-966-4 playing with Jacoby Brissett in 2017.
14 DAL Amari Cooper Contract year with everything to gain for Cooper in his first full season with the Cowboys. Hasn’t scored more than 7 TDs in any year but managed six in DAL in just the final eight weeks.
15 LAR Brandin Cooks First season in LAR was career-best at 80-1204-6. Final two playoff games both 100+ yards and Rams may not run as well this year.
16 NE Julian Edelman His 2018 stats were depressed thanks to missing first four weeks suspended. Has 90-catch potential and maybe more with Rob Gronkowski gone. At least this good and likely better with reception points.
17 LAR Robert Woods His 86-1219-6 was #10 last year for fantasy WR. He’s in his prime and could easily repeat 2018.
18 TB Chris Godwin  Godwin turned up the production last year with three 100-yard games in the second half of the season. He takes over for the departed DeSean Jackson and has been praised by new HC Bruce Arians as having 100-catch potential. That might be hard with Mike Evans and O.J. Howard there, but Godwin should be at least this good.
19 SEA Tyler Lockett Stepped up to a career-best 57-967-10 last year and he’ll move from deep threat to #1 WR for the Seahawks. Would gladly take Russell Wilson’s BFF a bit earlier than this.
20 DET Kenny Golladay Hard to say exactly what the new offense by OC Darrell Bevell will look like other than the intent is to run the ball more. But Golladay clearly the best bet as a receiver when Matt Stafford passes.
21 ATL Calvin Ridley Not a terrible pick at all and he is entering his second season. Would prefer him a bit later. His 2018 stats were stacked thanks to the first three games with six TDs but only scored four over last 12.
22 CIN Tyler Boyd Boyd already broke 1,000 yards last year and now A.J. Green looks iffy all over again. Has risen in ADP this summer.
23 LAR Cooper Kupp Tore his ACL in Week 10 last year. Is reported to be better than he was before he was injured. Kupp makes the entire LAR passing offense work.
24 LAC Mike Williams Great spot for Williams who finally takes over as the #2 WR since Tyrell Williams left. First-round pick in 2017 scored ten TDs last year but only caught 43 passes for 664 yards. Will increase those receptions.
25 CAR D.J. Moore Ended with 55 catches for 788 yards and two scores as a rookie on a team learning a new offense. The former first-round pick should make a second-year leap but Curtis Samuel has been the more hyped so far.
26 CLE Jarvis Landry Not a bad pick and maybe better than this. But Odell Beckham’s arrival changes a lot and how much Landry is needed in the slot will be lower. I’d let someone else take him.
27 CIN A.J. Green He’s dropping much further than this with news about his ankle requiring surgery and extended recovery. Would not touch anywhere personally. Same age as Doug Baldwin… just saying…
28 PHI Alshon Jeffery Only totaled 843 yards last year but missed three games.  Often misses a few weeks and only two 100-yard efforts since joining PHI in 2017.
29 CHI Allen Robinson The first year in CHI with Mitchell Trubisky had three missed games but still ended with 55-754-4. Was as good as 1,400 yards back in 2015 and gets second season with QB. Upside for WR2 here.
30 NYJ Robby Anderson New HC Adam Gase said he wants Anderson more involved and the fourth-year WR was as good as 63-941-7 before switching to the rookie QB last year. Anderson scored in three of final four games of 2018 and posted 9-140 in his final home game. Love this WR2 at a WR3 price.


Sleepers and over-valued players

ADP Value Tm Player Analysis
31 TEN Corey Davis Been years since TEN produced a decent fantasy WR and that’s probably still true. But Davis almost hit 1,000 yards last year. Cannot fault the pick even if I’d never make it.
32 HOU Will Fuller And speaking of injured players, Fuller only gets worse missing 2, then 6 and then 9 games over the last three years. Great scorer when on the field. Opened 2018 with two 100-yard efforts and scored in first three. Just cannot stay healthy. Great WR3 whenever you can actually start him. Better as a best ball guy than relying on him as a weekly starter.
33 NE Josh Gordon How scary is this pick? It has been SIX years since he had a big season. And yet, he joined NE starting Week 4 and gained over 70 yards in five of final seven games including two 100-yard games. Worked out with Tommy Terrific in the spring. Yeah, I’d take this all day even knowing I would be scared each time I read the daily news.
34 NYG Sterling Shepard Yeah, he fractured his thumb but is still expected to ready to play. The Giants have a major hole to fill with Odell Beckham gone and Golden Tate suspended for four games.  The Giants need him to be better than this.
35 ARI Christian Kirk Kirk has tons of talent and will be the Cards #1 WR whenever Larry Fitzgerald finally breaks a hip. Little cooler on him with a whole new offense and a rookie QB. Concerned that so far Kyler Murray appears to be mortal and not yet a superhero.
36 ARI Larry Fitzgerald This is a good spot for the aged star that only managed to be the #29 WR last season. New offense, new rookie QB doesn’t sound promising for the declining 36-year-old WR already locked down  #2 in NFL history in receiving yards but still 6,000 yards short of Jerry Rice. Needs 12 TD to bump Marvin Harrison from #5 and that’s really unlikely. He’s playing mainly because he does not know how not to play.
37 KC Sammy Watkins Hard to fault the effort when healthy but, um, never healthy. Missed six games in first season in KC. Played with Mahomes and only ended with 40-519-3. Hard to buy into someone who missed 18 games over last four seasons. Or that caught just three of Mahome’s FIFTY TDs.
38 DEN Courtland Sutton Up and comer was 2.08 pick last year and ended 42-704-4 but Joe Flacco doesn’t hold a ton of promise for making an elite WR and eventually rookie QB takes over. Good spot for Sutton who has a  bright future.
39 DET Marvin Jones Knee injury cut 2018 short in Week 10 and rumors he would be cut did not happen. Jones is the clear #2 WR in an offense that doesn’t throw as much anymore. Sat out the spring because of his knee.
40 SF Dante Pettis Was held to only 27 catches for 467 yards but scored five times as a rookie on a terrible offense with no QB. Upside as the #1 WR in SF with Garoppolo back but hasn’t looked likely to take a big step up in Year 2.
41 CAR Curtis Samuel Third season for a WR that hasn’t met past expectations. Only 578 total yards last year but scored seven times.  Did end 2018 with three of final five games over 70 yards and was the MVP of training camp. Samuel has looked great so far this summer.
42 DEN Emmanuel Sanders I won’t take him but this is an appropriate spot. 32-year-old WR comes off an Achilles injury and may not play at all in the preseason. Two straight seasons of sub-par performance and injuries not likely to improve with Joe Flacco.
43 JAC Dede Westbrook Probably not great that a team’s #1 WR is only the #43 taken in ADP but he caught 66 passes for 717 yards and five scores and was tops for the punchless Jags. Switching to Nick Foles can only be a positive and Jags get a much better schedule for 2018. Likely to offer WR3 stats at a WR4 price.
44 GB Geronimo Allison Has generated a bit of hype – obvious with this ADP since he’s never had more than 303 yards in any of his three seasons. Will man the slot for the Packers but HC Matt LaFleur did not use the position much in TEN nor OC Nathaniel Hackett from JAC.
45 PIT Donte Moncrief Antonio Brown is gone and so far, Moncrief is the replacement. Maybe that doesn’t mean he’ll suddenly have 1,500 yards and 15 TDs but he’s bound to produce more than 600 yards which is what this level would suggest. Have to think he could end up with several WR3 quality games.
46 GB Marquez Valdes-Scantling Rookie year had 38 catches for 581 and two scores but a new offense should help him a lot. Worked out with Randy Moss in offseason and has Aaron Rodgers talking him up. I don’t need to hear much else.
47 BUF John Brown Brown has been their best option since joining the team in the offseason. Should be the WR1 for BUF and yet costs about like a WR5.
48 PHI DeSean Jackson The Eagles are very diverse in their offense which is another way of saying they have a bunch of good but no great fantasy players. Jackson has drawn positive reviews in his return to PHI and as a WR5 ADP is worth taking. He is 33-years-old but Carson Wentz has been impressed so far.
49 SEA DK Metcalf Physical freak fell to 2.32 pick as a surprise but steps into a chance to be the #2 WR for Russell Wilson. Not sure that a rookie in SEA can be this productive though and he was already dinged up in the preseason. He has all the tools but his durability is why he fell in the NFL draft.
50 PIT James Washington Kind of flopped as a rookie with only 16 catches and one TD. The depth chart is open with Antonio Brown gone but Donte Moncrief has been the better #2 WR so far. Preseason games have suggested that he’s likely to improve for 2019.
51 HOU Keke Coutee Probably will miss some weeks. Could not stay healthy as a rookie but his seven games played produced two 100-yard efforts. Could be a great value but has to stay healthy to reach it. Jury still out.  Already hurt his ankle in Week 1 of the preseason.
52 NE N’Keal Harry For some reason, Tom Brady getting a WR at 1.32 spawned optimism that he’ll post big stats but the Pats like to throw to their RBs and Harry is still just a rookie. Name a #2 WR that the Pats have favored in recent years. Between Edelman and Gordon, Harry should be very quiet as a rookie.
53 CHI Anthony Miller Rookie year already posted seven TDs on just 33 catches for 423 yards. Had shoulder issues in final five games and torn labrum surgery in January. Scored in six of his first nine games.
54 NYG Golden Tate Suspended for the first four games, on a new team that may end up changing QBs to the rookie at some point. Nope. But cheap enough here.
55 OAK Tyrell Williams I love this deep pick. He was as good as 1,059 yards and seven TDs while in LAC and now lines up across from Antonio Brown. If Williams isn’t better than the #60 WR, Jon Gruden will go all Chucky on him.
56 DAL Michael Gallup Seems a bit high for the #3 WR in Dallas but if Elliott doesn’t return, then DAL will be throwing more.
57 NYJ Jamison Crowder Look, we’re throwing darts at this point but Crowder has potential in the Jets new offense since HC Adam Gase loved his slot receivers in Miami.
58 IND Devin Funchess The loss of Andrew Luck removes Funchess from fantasy consideration.
59 ATL Mohamed Sanu Sanu turned in 66-838-4 as a career-high last year. He’s a solid 700-yard kind of guy that covers bye weeks.
60 KC Mecole Hardman This deeply, making spec picks are fine and he plays with Patrick Mahomes which automatically makes him interesting. Better best ball guy than a reliable fantasy starter but Sammy Watkins is often injured.

Best of the Rest

Trey Quinn (WAS) – He wasn’t just the last pick of the Skins last year. He was the last pick by anyone in the 2018 NFL draft (7.38). But Mr. Irrelevant is actually relevant. He’s taking the slot in WAS where the position was popular in the past.

Tre’quan Smith (NO) – Rookie year scored five times and broke 100-yards twice. Maybe not much else but definitely merits a depth pick.

Zay Jones (BUF) – Starter in BUF that scored six times over final seven games with Josh Allen learning the ropes. He’s a lock to be taken from the waiver wire at some point.

Deebo Samuel (SF) – Third WR from the NFL draft this season, has impressed HC Kyle Shanahan and is earning a starting role with his aggressive play.

Preston Williams (MIA) – Undrafted due to off-field history, Williams has turning heads and dropping jaws in training camp and the first preseason game. He’s still a long-shot but worth holding to see if anything develops and he can make use of his physical skills without involving his less-impressive decision-making traits.

Marquise Brown (BAL) – Haven’t seen him much thanks to his lingering foot issues but the first WR drafted in any draft demands attention. Little guy that no one could catch when Oklahoma played.

Robert Foster (BUF) – Pretty evident that few fantasy drafters are looking forward to the BUF passing game, but Foster only played in the final seven weeks of 2018 and yet posted three 100-yard games and scored three times. Zay Jones is still there and even Cole Beasley was added for the slot. But I was still impressed by Foster’s production at the end of 2018 even if apparently no one else was.

Jakobi Meyers (NE) – The undrafted rookie was the talk of training camp and then scored twice in Week 1 preseason game. The Pats depth chart is wide open and Meyers is making his move.

 Terry McLaurin (WAS) – 3.12 pick this year is another rookie that impressed in camp and preseason games. And he played with QB Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State. Another one to stash and see what happens.

Jalen Hurd (SF) – Final pick in a fantasy draft knowing you’re going to hunt free agents after Week 1. He was a quarterback at Alabama and Oklahoma, he was a running back along the way and now he is a wideout. A vastly talented guy that just has to figure out where he fits in. Played in three national championships and was SEC offensive player of the year in 2016.


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