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Draft Analysis

Talking Top 45 Receivers with Big Rigg

Each year, certain receivers will raise their game to elite levels, certain receivers fall from the ranks of the elite, and certain players start to emerge as legit NFL players.  In 2015, Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins exploded, commanding high draft picks in 2016.  However, due to poor quarterback play, neither Hopkins nor Robinson returned on the 1st or 2nd round investment used to acquire them, and they fell from fantasy graces.  In 2016, Mike Evans established himself as a top 5 fantasy WR and TY Hilton solidified his spot as an early 2nd round pick.  Will TY Hilton be 2017’s DeAndre Hopkins if Andrew Luck misses time? Will Mike Evans see the volume necessary to repeat as a top 5 fantasy WR now that OJ Howard and DeSean Jackson are in Tampa to steal targets? Will Allen Robinson or DeAndre Hopkins bounce back because they get better quarterback play this season? There are a lot of questions heading into the 2017 season, and there are a lot of players who have breakout potential to be that next Julio Jones like superstar.  Hopefully we can sort through all the noise and identify 2017’s studs and potential duds.

Draft Day Advice – Sometimes it’s difficult to decide who to draft between similarly ranked players.  For example, if you have Michael Thomas and Jordy Nelson similarly ranked and cannot decide who to draft, you need to decide on factors that will make the decision for you.  When I have a tough time deciding between receivers, I tend to go with the player with the better QB.  In this case, both Nelson and Thomas have great QB’s.  When all else is equal, I go with youth and upside.  Thomas is 9 years younger than Nelson and we don’t yet know what his ceiling is, where with Nelson, his end is near, and it’s scary that you might spend your 2nd round pick on a guy who could fall off a cliff.  Based on those factors, the tie breaker goes to Michael Thomas.

All ADP information is based on 12 team standard leagues from Fantasy Football Calculator.

Rank – ADP – Player (Age as of August 4, 2017) Height – Targets – Catches – Yards – Touchdowns

#1 – 1.6 – Odell Beckham Jr. (24) 5’11” – 169 – 101 – 1,367 – 10 TD – Beckham is an elite receiver in the prime of his career.  The Giants now have a legitimate option opposite of Beckham in Brandon Marshall which should make it difficult for defenses to roll coverage Beckham’s way.  Beckham gets the slight edge over Antonio Brown because Big Ben has a lengthy injury history and I don’t like the idea of Landry Jones throwing the ball to my first round draft pick.  Eli is as durable as it gets as a starter.  In my view, because of target share, talent and age, Beckham is the #1 player to own in dynasty leagues.

#2 – 1.4 – Antonio Brown (29) 5’10” – 154 – 106 – 1,284 – 12 TD – AB is a lock for 100 catches at least 1,200 yards and he will flirt with double-digit touchdowns.  Brown is a sure-fire top 6 selection.  The only concern surrounding Brown is Big Ben’s injury history.

#3 – 1.11 – AJ Green (29) 6’4″ – 100 – 66 – 964 – 4 TD – I was at Bengals training camp the other day and AJ Green looked like a thoroughbred horse running by defensive backs in practice.  I would say he’s back from his 2016 hamstring injury.  AJ Green has played in 39 out of 48 regular season games over the last 3 seasons, missing 3 in 2014 with a foot/toe problem and 6 in 2016 with a freak hamstring injury.  In 2015, Green’s target numbers were down a little bit in the 130 range, but last year, he was on track to top 160 targets before going down in week 10.  In my view, Green is likely to have one or two more seasons in the 160 target range as John Ross acclimates to the NFL.  But honestly, he is so efficient with his targets, catching over 60% of passes thrown his way, that even if he is in the 130 target range he’s still a high-end WR1.  The Bengals offensive line is a concern, but as I said before in my QB rankings, Andy Dalton is a rhythm passer and gets the ball out of his hand very quickly after he hits the top of his drop back, which means he throws the ball before the pass rush gets to him most of the time.

#4 – 1.10 – Mike Evans (23) 6’5″ – 173 – 96 – 1,321 – 12 TD – Evans is likely to see some regression in the target department this season.  Through 8 games last season, Evans was getting 12.875 targets per game and was on pace for 206 targets which was absurd.  Over the final 8 games, he saw 4 fewer targets a game, 8.75, and ended up with 173 on the season.  The target share Evans saw over the last 8 games is much more realistic than the way he started the season.  Therefore, I still view Evans as an elite top 5 receiver, but I cannot rank him any higher than 4th.  Jameis Winston having another year of experience under his belt should bode well for Evans as well.

#5 – 1.6 – Julio Jones (28) 6’3″ – 129 – 83 – 1,409 – 6 TD – I am a little nervous about Julio’s foot.  I am also a little nervous about Julio’s production without Kyle Shanahan calling the plays.  Julio Jones is a stud no matter how you slice it, but in 2015 and 2016 he had the best play caller in the league dialing it up for him, and that needs to account for something.  It should be noted, however, that even before Shanahan arrived in ATL, Julio averaged more than 100 yards per game in both 2013 and 2014, so you need to wonder if Shanahan’s absence will really have that much of an impact.  To me, the most telling stat you need to evaluate before your draft is that he has only played 16 games twice in his career, 2012 and 2015, and that’s an issue when deciding whether to use a top 6 pick on a player.

#6 – 2.8 – TY Hilton (27) 5’9″ – 155 – 91 – 1,448 – 6 TD – The QB situation in Indy makes this ranking a little dicey.  I am betting on Luck returning and not missing any time, so TY should be just fine, playing in the prime of his career.  Hilton is a poor man’s Antonio Brown, he can run great routes and offers DeSean Jackson-like big play ability.  The only thing holding TY back are his low touchdown numbers.  If it comes out later in the preseason that Luck will miss time, Hilton will dip in my rankings.  Stay tuned, this is a situation we need to monitor throughout the preseason.

#7 – 2.4 – Michael Thomas (23) 6’3″ – 121 – 92 – 1,137 – 9 TD – Thomas should see an increase in target share with Brandin Cooks gone which bodes well for his 2017 outlook.  Reports out of Saints camp are positive, so at a minimum he should repeat his 2016 numbers.  Thomas is a high upside pick with one of the best QB’s in NFL history throwing him the rock.

#8 – 2.1 – Jordy Nelson (32) 6’3″ – 152 – 97 – 1,257 – 14 TD – I don’t like hitching my wagon to players on the wrong side of 30, but Jordy did what he did in 2016 just one year removed from ACL surgery.  Even though he’s another year older, you have to wonder if he will do even better than last year being another year removed from the ACL injury.  I will draft Nelson this year, but not proactively.  I will only draft Nelson if he falls to me in the middle to late 2nd round.  In dynasty leagues, Nelson is not a great pick because age will catch up with him eventually.

#9 – 2.11 – Amari Cooper (23) 6’1″ – 132 – 83 – 1,153 – 5 TD – Amari Cooper is extremely frustrating to own because he just doesn’t put up big touchdown numbers.  That being said, touchdowns vary greatly from year to year, and you generally don’t want to rely on touchdown dependent players because they offer very little when they don’t score, i.e. Jeremy Hill at the running back position.  If Cooper can reach the 9-10 TD range in 2017 he will give you a great return on his late 2nd round ADP and will be a sure-fire 1st round pick in 2018.  Amari Cooper is extremely valuable in PPR leagues and should be one of the first players off the board in dynasty leagues at the age of 23 with an ascending QB throwing him the ball.

#10 – 3.4 – Brandin Cooks (23) 5’10” – 117 – 78 – 1,173 – 8 TD – So far this offseason, the biggest knock I have heard on Brandin Cooks is that his stats aren’t as good outside of domed facilities.  In 2016, 55% of Cooks’ yardage came at home.  You can look at that number and take it at its face, or you could look deeper and see that 316 (49%) of his 642 yards at home came in 2 games against the brutal Panthers and Raiders secondaries.  You can read into his production and pin it all on the dome, or you can pin it on the matchups.  I am willing to put my money on the latter, teams either game plan to take Cooks away or they don’t, and when they don’t, he gets his.  The Patriots have a lot of mouths to feed but they don’t trade 1st round picks for fun, they are going to use him, and his 2016 stats will be his floor with a tremendous upside to exceed those numbers.

#11 – 2.7 – Dez Bryant (28) 6’2″ – 96 – 50 – 796 – 8 TD – I am a little bearish on Dez Bryant this year.  He’s only played in 22 of 36 possible games over the last 2 seasons, but putting injury problems aside, his catch rate was only 43.1% in 2015 and 52.1% in 2016.  Prior to 2015 his catch rate was great, above 60%.  I have to wonder if his lack of efficiency has to do with his injuries or playing with backup or rookie QB’s, but the fact is that he takes care of business when he is on the field, scores TD’s and puts up yards.  His injury history and lack of efficiency are just two reasons I am likely to pass on Dez in drafts.  Even though Bryant is much more heavily utilized in the redzone than Amari Cooper, I am likely to take Cooper over Dez for the upside.  Dez would need to slide in drafts in order for me to take him.

#12 – 3.5 – DeAndre Hopkins (25) 6’1″ – 151 – 78 – 954 – 4 TD – DeAndre Hopkins is a stud who fell victim to Brock Osweiller in 2016.  If Hopkins falls into the middle of the 2nd round I will be all over it.  The one knock on Hopkins is his catch rate, but he will see enough volume where his catch rate shouldn’t matter so much.  Will Fuller just went down with a broken collarbone so depending on how much time he misses, Hopkins may see even less competition for targets than he did last year.

#13 – 3.10 – Sammy Watkins (24) 6’1″ – 52 – 28 – 430 2 TD – If Watkins can’t put it together in 2017 to get a big contract this offseason then I give up.  To be fair, the Bills have horribly mismanaged his injuries since he’s entered the league.  I am pulling the trigger on Watkins at his late 3rd round ADP every chance I get.  Watkins owns a career 16.1 yards per catch and is one of the truly elite athletes in the NFL.  Think of Sammy Watkins as a high-end DeSean Jackson who gets more volume and can be a red zone threat.  If Sammy Watkins can stay healthy, Tyrod Taylor will be a QB1, and Watkins will be a top 5 wide receiver.  Hopefully year four is the year Sammy figures it out and puts it all together.  In dynasty leagues, if owners are wary of his health, buy low now while you still can.

#14 – 3.2 – Doug Baldwin (28) 5’10” – 125 – 94 – 1,128 – 7 TD – Baldwin isn’t a high volume option but he’s incredibly efficient with his opportunities.  Baldwin had a career high 125 targets in 2016 and since 2013, his lowest catch rate is 67.3% which is fantastic.  Baldwin’s upside is somewhat capped because his target numbers will never be in the 150-160 range, but he’s so efficient he will always be a consistent low-end WR1 or high-end WR2.

#15 – 3.11 – Demaryius Thomas (29) 6’3″ – 144 – 90 – 1,083 – 5 TD – DT had some of his best seasons with Mike McCoy calling the plays.  I know he had a guy named Manning throwing him the ball those years, but I look forward to Thomas being utilized more in the short passing screen game this year.  DT should remain in the 150-170 target range, will flirt with 100 catches and will surely go over 1,000 yards.  In dynasty leagues DT only has another year or two left in his prime and you should consider moving him if somebody is willing to pay.

#16 – 4.4 – Allen Robinson (23) 6’3″ – 151 – 73 – 883 – 6 TD – Allen Robinson is a stud.  I am really hoping Blake Bortles cleans up his mechanics.  He cannot continue to bring the ball down to his hip when he throws similar to the way Tim Tebow did.  If Bortles looks ok in the preseason and cleans up his mechanics a little bit, Robinson could shoot up draft boards.  If Bortles looks bad in the preseason, then I will bury Robinson in my rankings, and won’t touch him until the price is right.  Stay tuned.  Allen Robinson is a buy low candidate in dynasty leagues, because if Blake Bortles struggles, he won’t put up great numbers.  However, if Bortles does struggle, the Jaguars will either move on from him or Robinson will eventually sign with another team once he hits free agency which would improve his lot in life.  Robinson is still young, only 23, so hold tight in dynasty leagues and draft him as a WR1.

#17 – 4.7 – Davante Adams (24) 6’1″ – 121 – 75 – 997 – 12 TD – Adams enjoyed a breakout last year playing second fiddle to Jordy Nelson.  He should see similar numbers in 2017 but his touchdown total may regress a little due to the presence of Martellus Bennett.  In dynasty leagues, Davante Adams is the Packers receiver to own.

#18 – 3.12 – Alshon Jeffery (27) 6’3″ – 94 – 52 – 821 – 2 TD – The question on Jeffery isn’t whether he will perform at an elite level, but rather it’s whether he will play 14-16 games.  These soft tissue injuries have plagued his career, but if he can get over them, watch out.  I am personally unwilling to invest in a player like Jeffery unless he really slips in the draft.

#19 – 3.7 – Terrelle Pryor Sr. (28) 6’4″ – 140 – 77 – 1,007 – 4 TD – Terrelle Pryor is one of the most intriguing players in 2017 fantasy drafts.  When Pryor was drafted by Oakland in the 2011 Supplemental Draft, his athletic ability wasn’t disputed.  Pryor opted to take the opposite route of Tim Tebow and did what he had to do to stay in the league, switching positions and doing fairly well in the process.  Pryor’s catch rate wasn’t the greatest last year, but he heads into 2017 with another year under his belt at the WR position and a much better QB throwing him the ball.  With his big play ability and Cousins throwing him the ball, Pryor could blow away his 2016 totals, but the small body of work at the position will keep him in the 3rd or 4th round.

#20 – 6.2 – Kelvin Benjamin (26) 6’5″ – 118 – 63 – 941 – 7 TD – The Panthers have an incredibly easy strength of schedule in 2017, they don’t play a single elite ranked pass defense from the 2016 season.  The strength of schedule coupled with the fact that it looks like the Panthers want to throw more in 2017 means the arrow is pointing up for Benjamin this year.  Kelvin reported to camp at 243, so he should be able to move alright.  Cam Newton is not the most accurate pocket passer, so a bump in passing volume should help.

#21 – 5.4 – Jarvis Landry (24) 5’11” – 131 – 94 – 1,136 – 4 TD – Landy is a PPR machine.  In standard leagues, however, he cannot be trusted as anything more than a WR3 because he doesn’t score a lot of touchdowns, only 4 in 2016, 13 in his career.  Even if DeVante Parker ascends this year, Landry has been Ryan Tannehill’s safety valve and is a lock for 90+ catches and over 1,000 yards.  In PPR leagues I would take Landry in the 3rd round.

#22 – 4.5 – Keenan Allen (25) 6’2″ – 7 – 6 – 63 – 0 TD – Keenan Allen is a high volume receiver who simply cannot stay healthy.  If you think 2017 is the year that Allen will reverse that trend, then you will get a tremendous value for him at his middle of the 4th round ADP.  Disclaimer – you might be wasting your 4th round pick if you draft him.  At this point in his career, I would be more surprised if he stayed healthy than if he suffered a season ending injury.

#23 – 4.7 – Tyreek Hill (23) 5’10” – 83 – 61 – 593 – 6 TD – Is Tyreek Hill another Tavon Austin gadget player or a Brandin Cooks? I am leaning towards the latter.  At his current 4th round ADP, Hill could be a league winner with his home run ability.  If you are in a dynasty league, this may be the last year you can draft Hill at any sort of value.  If Hill goes over 1,000 yards receiving he will be a high upside 2nd round pick in 2018.

#24 – 4.10 – Martavis Bryant (25) 6’4″ – Did Not Participate – Martavis Bryant is a home run ready to happen, we just need to hope Roger Goodell stops messing around and reinstates him soon.  With Antonio Brown on the other side, Bryant will never draw the opposition’s #1 corner unless the Steelers play a team whose corners only play one side of the field.  If Bryant stays out of trouble he could be a league winner for you.  His current late 4th round ADP is a decent value.  In dynasty leagues, similar to Tyreek Hill, this may be the last year where you can draft Bryant at any sort of value as his discipline history is still the most recent memory people have of him.  As soon as he hits the field week 1 and tears it up, his 2018 draft stock will shoot through the roof.

#25 – 6.2 – Golden Tate (28) 5’10” – 135 – 91 – 1,077 – 4 TD – Golden Tate is an older Jarvis Landry.  If you draft Tate, he won’t be exciting, he won’t score a lot of touchdowns, but he will provide consistent catches and yards.  Tate is much more valuable in a PPR and should be drafted in the late 3rd or 4th round in PPR formats.  Tate is not a player I am actively looking to draft this year, but if he falls, I will snag him and draft for upside later.

#26 – 8.5 – Pierre Garcon (30) 6’0″ – 114 – 79 – 1,041 – 3 TD – The 49ers don’t look to be very good in 2017.  The one thing going for Garcon is that he’s familiar with Kyle Shanahan’s offense and he will be the featured receiver.  Under Shanahan in 2013, Garcon stayed healthy the entire season, saw 181 targets, hauled in 113 of them for 1,346 yards and 5 TD’s.  Garcon is a little older now, but he’s still competent, and even if he puts up 80% of his 2013 numbers he will return great value on his 8th round ADP.  On a final note, he may get some serious garbage time production this year, which count the same as stats from winning teams.

#27 – 5.11 – Julian Edelman (31) 5’10” – 159 – 98 – 1,106 – 3 TD – Similar to Jarvis Landry and Golden Tate, Julian Edelman is a PPR machine.  I

This is a 2011 Photo of Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots NFL football team. This image reflects the active roster as of July 29, 2011 when this image was taken.

understand the Patriots added Brandin Cooks, but Edelman is still Brady’s safety blanket.  The way I see it, teams are either going to make an effort to take Cooks out of the game or they’re not.  If teams do make the focus of their game plan to remove Cooks from the game, then Gronk and Edelman will tear it up underneath.  In my view, Edelman is a low upside WR2 who may be extremely volatile this year with the presence of Cooks and Gronk.  If Edelman starts out slow because he’s not seeing the targets, he may be a solid buy low guy on the trade market because eventually he will get his.

#28 – 7.11 – Emmanuel Sanders (30) 5’11” – 137 – 79 – 1,032 – 5 TD – Emmanuel Sanders is Denver’s home run threat, a higher end DeSean Jackson if you will.  Sanders is a good bet to go over 1,000 yards receiving for the 4th consecutive year, but he is likely to slide in drafts because he is the #2 target in the Denver passing game and isn’t a big red zone threat.  Sanders is not a player I am targeting in drafts, but if he falls to the 7th round, I will take him as my WR3 or WR4 all day long.

#29 – 5.2 – Michael Crabtree (29) 6’1″ – 145 – 89 – 1,003 – 8 TD – Michael Crabtree gets no love because of Amari Cooper.  In his 2 years with Oakland, Crabtree has 17 touchdowns and is their main red zone receiving threat, more so than Cooper.  Crabtree does not offer much upside because he isn’t really a big play threat, averaging only 11.3 yards per catch last year, but as your WR3, he is a solid option.  One thing going in Crabtree’s favor is that the Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in football so Derek Carr, an ascending NFL talent, will have a clean pocket to distribute the ball.

#30 – 6.11 – Donte Moncrief (23) 6’2″ – 56 – 30 – 307 – 7 TD – Moncrief will turn 24 years old on August 6th.  The reason I point that out is because he was extremely young when he entered the league in 2014.  Donte had injury problems in 2016, but his broken shoulder blade was kind of a fluky injury.  Moncrief has received an “injury prone” tag and I think that is somewhat unfair to this point.  In 2015, if you recall, Moncrief was supposed to assume the starting role opposite TY Hilton, but then the brilliant Colts front office signed Andre Johnson on the tail end of his career which more or less derailed his 2015 season.  The Colts lost Dwayne Allen this offseason who was a competent red zone target, and Moncrief is more than capable of filling that void.  Moncrief has 126 catches in his career and 16 of them have gone for touchdowns.  I equate Moncrief to a Davante Adams or Keenan Allen who hasn’t broken out yet.  You really need to monitor the Colts QB situation this preseason though, because if Andrew Luck doesn’t play, I don’t care what Moncrief’s ADP is, he won’t return on the investment.

#31 – 8.8 – DeVante Parker (24) – 6’3″ – 88 – 56 – 744 – 4 TD – I love DeVante Parker this year.  It looks like he finally started to figure things out in the 2016 season and hopefully 2017 is the year he finally breaks out.  Kenny Stills is a boom or bust DeSean Jackson-like player and won’t command many targets.  Jarvis Landry is not a red zone threat and isn’t much of a deep threat.  DeVante Parker is Miami’s best all around receiver and is the best bet to be a WR1 this year.  I am going to reach on DeVante Parker this year.  At his current 8th round ADP, he is a steal because of his upside.  Tannehill isn’t known for having the best deep ball, but he’s good enough to get the ball to Parker.  Buy Parker NOW in dynasty leagues, because this is the last year you will be able to get him with any sort of value.  In 2018, he may be a 2nd round pick.  Keep this in mind, Julio Jones, AJ Green and Antonio Brown are flirting with age 30.  You need to think about who that next crop of stud receivers is going to be, and I think Parker is in that conversation.

#32 – 9.10 – Cameron Meredith (24) 6’3″ – 97 – 66 – 888 – 4 TD – Cam Meredith has great measurables and passes the eyeball test.  With Alshon Jeffery completely out of the picture in Chicago, he will have a great opportunity to go over 1,000 yards receiving.  I know his quarterback situation isn’t the greatest but it wasn’t good last year either and he still borderline broke out.  At this time, Meredith’s ADP is suppressed because he doesn’t have a large body of work, but what he lacks in body of work, he makes up for in opportunity.

#33 – 11.6 – Kenny Britt (28) 6’3″ – 111 – 68 – 1,002 – 5 TD – Kenny Britt stayed relatively healthy in 2016, saw over 100 targets for the first time in his career, had his second best catch rate of his career and in the process posted his first ever 1,000 yard season.  In 2016, Jared Goff and crew were throwing him the ball, and now he will have the likes of Cody Kessler and Deshone Kizer slinging him the rock.  If anything, Britt’s quarterback situation may have seen a slight upgrade.  I am not willing to invest a high pick in Britt because he has such a large sample size and last year was the first time he was able to put it together.  Was 2016 an outlier, a sign or things to come, or a player doing what he has to do to get paid? We won’t know until a few weeks go by, but I think he’s more than capable of posting 1,000 yards again if the volume is there.  Please keep in mind, he has never had a 1,000 yard season before 2016, but 2016 was also the first time he’s ever seen 100 targets in a season as well.

#34 – 6.9 – Jamison Crowder (24) 5’9″ – 99 – 67 – 847 – 7 TD – I have Britt ranked over Crowder for one reason, and that’s because I think Britt has more big play upside than Crowder.  The hype train on Jamison Crowder has been out of control this offseason.  Jamison Crowder is another Jarvis Landry, Golden Tate or Julian Edelman.  I feel as if people are over blowing the hype on this guy because he is the only starting receiver the Redskins have returning this year so it’s implied that his numbers will go up.  I think that is true, but how much higher can his numbers go up? Crowder is a volume dependent slot receiver and nothing more.  Yes, he does have a solid QB throwing him the ball in Kirk Cousins, but he should be equated to a Jarvis Landry or Golden Tate.  One thing to keep in mind is that the Redskins have Josh Doctson back healthy and Terrelle Pryor who they signed to be their #1 receiver.  Even though the Redskins lost DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon it’s not like they were left with scrubs.  I think Crowder’s ceiling is 90 catches for 1,150 yards and 9 TD’s which would be a great season for him.

#35 – 9.5 – John Brown (27) 5’11” – 72 – 39 – 517 – 2 TD – John Brown has been looking good all offseason but as soon as training camp started his quad started bothering him.  This is problematic for a player who relies on his speed to do damage.  Brown has not shown to be very durable over the years which is a legitimate concern.  If he can stay healthy, look for him to be in the 65-70 catch range with 1,000 – 1,100 yards receiving.  Brown will most likely post similar yardage and touchdown totals as Jarvis Landry and Golden Tate, but Brown’s production will come in huge chunks where Tate and Landry will not have a very high ceiling but offer more consistent week to week production.  If you draft a player like Brown, you need to be willing to accept the good with the bad or try to pick and chose your spots when you play him.  One positive is that Carson Palmer looks to be fully healthy and the Cardinals are likely to manage his practice reps throughout the season to keep him fresh.  I would draft John Brown over Larry Fitzgerald in standard leagues because of upside, but in a PPR league, Larry Fitzgerald should go before John Brown every day of the week.

#36 – 6.8 – Larry Fitzgerald (33) 6’3″ – 150 – 107 – 1,023 – 6 TD – Even into his 30’s Larry Fitzgerald continues to get it done.  In PPR leagues Fitzgerald will continue to be a monster as he will surely lead the team in passing targets.  Fitzgerald is really the only possession receiver the Cardinals have on their roster, all of their other receivers are burners.  The problem with Fitzgerald is that his upside is somewhat capped because his yards per catch has really dropped off the last few years and older players tend to fade later in the season.  If I draft Fitzgerald, I will look to trade him around week 7 or 8 so I sell high before he fades.  At his current 6th round ADP, I am more likely to take a chance on an unproven player than take Fitzgerald and his low ceiling.  I am not trying to bury Larry Fitzgerald, it is simply my preference to lean more on younger players with higher upside.

#37 – 7.2 – Willie Snead (24) 5’11” – 104 – 72 – 895 – 4 TD – Brandin Cooks has vacated over 100 targets from the Saints roster and Snead should benefit from his departure.  Snead is not a burner, he won’t post huge touchdown numbers, but he will get it done.  In PPR leagues Willie Snead makes a solid WR3.  If you are trying to make a decision between Snead and a player like Stefon Diggs, you could always ask yourself which QB you like better, Drew Brees or Sam Bradford.

#38 – 8.1 – DeSean Jackson (30) 5’10” – 100 – 56 – 1,005 – 4 TD – Jameis Winston loves throwing the deep ball and it just so happens catching the deep ball is the only thing DeSean Jackson knows how to do.  Don’t get all crazy thinking Jackson will blow up this year because he’s in Tampa and paired with Winston.  He had a solid QB in Kirk Cousins throwing him the ball the last few years but DeSean dealt with nagging injuries which seemed to slow him down.  If you draft DeSean, you need to be prepared for 2 games with a 3 catch 21 yard stat line for every 1 game where he goes for 6 grabs and 141 yards and a touch.  Jackson isn’t very useful in a PPR and I am unwilling to draft him as anything but a WR4 bye week or injury filler.

#39 – 9.8 – Tyrell Williams (25) 6’4″ – 119 – 69 – 1,059 – 7 TD – Reports out of San Diego are that the Chargers drafted Mike Williams in first round of the draft because Tyrell Williams has issues separating down field.  To me, if he’s having trouble separating down field, he must not be struggling too bad because he went over 1,000 yards receiving last year.  I don’t think Williams’ ADP is going to stay in the 9th round, it is sure to climb as the season approaches and might climb sooner rather than later if Mike Williams is sent to IR with his back problems.  In my view, drafting Tyrell Williams in the 6th round is where things might settle in at by the time late August rolls around.

#40 – 7.6 – Stefon Diggs (23) 6’0″ – 112 – 84 – 903 – 3 TD – Stefon Diggs is explosive and efficient with his catches but he has Alex Smith Jr. throwing him the ball aka Sam Bradford.  Sam Bradford is extremely conservative with the ball and he caps Diggs’ upside.  With the addition of Dalvin Cook and the emergence of Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell and Kyle Rudolph, I just don’t know if Diggs will get the volume necessary to put up over 1,000 yards.

#41 –  12.3 – Mike Wallace (31) 6’0″ – 117 – 72 – 1,017 – 4 TD – If Breshad Perriman misses time with his hamstring injury then Wallace should have another 1,000 yard season.  However, the Ravens are already dealing with injuries this year, most notably Joe Flacco and his back.  If the Ravens don’t have Flacco, then Mike Wallace simply can’t be trusted.  Mike Wallace at his 12th round ADP is like a free pick and well worth it.

#42 – 5.9 – Brandon Marshall (33) 6’5″ – 128 – 59 – 788 – 3 TD – Even if Brandon Marshall loses a step, he should be a legitimate red zone target this year.  Eli Manning hasn’t had a tall receiver with Marshall’s talent since Plaxico Burress and he will know how to use him.  Brandon Marshall is a low upside, volume and touchdown dependent pick.  At his current ADP in the late 5th round, however, I am not touching him.  At that point in the draft, I am more likely to take a player like Golden Tate, Paul Perkins or Kelvin Benjamin looking for upside.

#43 – 9.2 – Randall Cobb (26) 5’10” – 84 – 60 – 610 – 4 TD – Pretty much everybody has left Randall Cobb for dead this year, which means he will most likely bounce back with vengeance.  I have no data to back this up other than a gut feeling.  The bottom line is that Cobb has had problems staying healthy, but if he is able to keep it together, he has one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game throwing him the ball.  Cobb has huge upside potential, but he simply cannot stay healthy.  At his current 9th round ADP, I am going to be all over him in both PPR and standard leagues if he falls that far.

#44 – 13.4 – Josh Doctson (24) 6’4″ – 6 – 2- 66 – 0 TD – Doctson was a stud coming out of TCU in 2016 but unfortunately his rookie season was derailed due to achilles soreness.  I bet on talent, and at his current ADP, Doctson has huge upside.  When you combine Doctson’s size, talent and his QB situation, things are setting up for a breakout season.  Kirk Cousins has never had receivers with Doctson and Pryor’s height before, so it will be interesting to see if Cousins’ TD total skyrockets this year.

#45 – 14.9 – Robert Woods (25) 6’0″ – 76 – 51 – 613 – 1 TD – Robert Woods has shown flashes of ability in Buffalo but he simply wasn’t given the opportunity to shine because of Buffalo’s reliance on the run versus the pass, averaging about 85 targets per season over his first 4 years.  Jared Goff is not a better NFL quarterback than Tyrod Taylor, but Woods should see a serious uptick in production due to volume.  The only pass catcher in STL who could rival Woods for targets is Tavon Austin, but he has proven to be nothing more than a boom or bust gadget player.  Woods is a very intriguing pick heading into this year and may be a league winner.

 

Big Rigg Wrap Up

The top few wide receivers are obvious.  Honestly, even if you don’t agree with my rankings, you can’t really go wrong taking somebody like Julio Jones over Mike Evans.  When deciding between players like Evans and Jones, it’s almost like you need to manufacture reasons to draft one stud over the other stud.  In my view, leagues will be won and lost in 2017 based on the middle rounds.  Players like DeVante Parker, Donte Moncrief and Cameron Meredith are either going to be wasted draft picks or league winners.  Next week we are going to be digging deep, really looking for the sleepers at the wide receiver position in this year’s fantasy drafts.

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join guest host Andrea LaMont, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday July 30th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #96 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.

Our guest this week is Joe IannoneJoe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com and he focuses on spot starting low owned pitchers. His articles publish every Sunday morning.

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I've been coaching lacrosse since 2002 and playing fantasy football since 2006. I've racked up several championships over the years including a 4th place finish in the Kentucky Fantasy Football State Championship in 2016. I started drafting running backs late before it was cool.

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  1. Pingback: “Big Rigg” Digging Deep at Wide Receiver 2017

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