5 Fantasy WR’s You’ll Overlook for a Rookie
Many of you are now deep into developing a strategy on how you will attack your re-draft fantasy leagues. The team who has the most successful draft will be the team that can find the best value throughout. Knowing when to jump on your late round targets can be a huge asset, which is why so many study average draft position (ADP). There are a few situations that stand out to me, players that should significantly outperform where they are currently going in 12-team drafts, yet most fantasy owners often take a chance on an unknown rookie in hopes of finding a huge payoff. Those who regularly have their names added to their leagues fantasy trophy at the end of the year, usually are owners who have a great understanding of value and production. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take a shot on a rookie that could have a huge season, I’m saying one needs to be realistic with expectations and recognize fallen talent.
The following are five wide receivers that are bargains at their current ADP.
ADP (WR 39) – 9.01
His last 1,000 yard season was in 2011. He is no-longer used as a downfield threat but rather as a possession receiver who earns targets by running short inside routes. Although unhappy with his usage, he did restructure his contract instead of forcing his way out of Arizona. I don’t believe this to be a sign Fitzgerald is merely content in a complementary role. His poor statistical 2014 can be most attributed to Arizona’s quarterback issues. As bad as things were, he still tied for the team lead in targets at 103. Fitzgerald’s three best games of last season came with Carson Palmer behind center. In all 6 games Palmer played, Fitzgerald averaged 5.3 catches for 81 yards and 0.33 TD. Don’t expect the elite level of production we came to love from Fitzgerald early in his career, but 85 catches for 800 yards and 7 touchdowns wouldn’t surprise me.
ADP (WR 47) – 10.05
Admittedly less upside, but I would actually prefer Ryan Fitzpatrick’s accuracy and ability to deliver a football quickly to an inconsistent Geno Smith. Unfortunately at the moment Smith looks to have the edge on Fitzpatrick for the starting quarterback job. That being said, I still like Eric Decker this season at his current ADP. Last season, aside from touchdown production, Decker’s stats didn’t fall off a cliff like many expected after leaving Payton Manning. I absolutely attribute part of the lack of touchdowns to his poor quarterback situation. However, I believe the lack of a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver was a bigger factor for Decker and the Jets offense. His skill-set has always been more complementary to that of a WR2 in the NFL. The increase in value Brandon Marshall will bring Decker this season by pulling defenders away from him cannot be overstated.
ADP (WR 50) – 10.12
Some guys seem to make my roster every year because their ADP represents too much value to pass up. The chemistry between Anquan Boldin and Colin Kaepernick makes him a safe bet for volume in this offense. Although his yard totals have dipped in recent years, he has averaged 84 receptions and finished as the #15 and #23 receiver respectively in his two seasons in San Francisco. This past offseason they acquired Torrey Smith as a deep threat but I don’t expect that to impact his role over the middle. He has always been a physical competitor, red-zone threat, and the kind of receiver a quarterback can rely on. I believe this offense will struggle a bit this year, but it will be good enough for Boldin to hold value outside PPR leagues especially at his current ADP.
ADP (WR 53)- 11.08
The New Orleans offense will look significantly different this season without Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills, and Pierre Thomas. A combined 263 targets in the receiving game will need to be replaced. Even with the addition of CJ Spiller, I believe most of these targets will end up in Cooks hands. That being said, the Saints are going to need to rely on Marques Colston as well and there is a trust factor with him and Drew Brees. One thing to keep in mind is that Colston was still the #32 receiver last year with Graham and Stills in the lineup. Colston is 32 years old, admittedly in decline, but his ADP at WR 53 this year is going too far. The Saints failed to add any playmakers in the draft and the trio of Josh Hill, Nick Toon, and Josh Morgan is still largely unproven. It seems the Saints are finally moving towards relying more heavily on the run but I still see value this season for the veteran Marques Colston and he is a bargain at his current ADP.
ADP (WR 71) – 13.11
In his third season, Rueben Randle was the beneficiary of Victor Cruz missing 13 games with a torn patellar tendon. He set career highs in targets (127), receptions (71), and yards (938) opposite offensive rookie of the year Odell Beckham Jr. in 2015. Randle had 9 games last season with 9 or more targets and in the last 5 weeks was a WR2 in 12 team standard leagues. I am a huge fan of Victor Cruz. I hope his recovery allows him to come back the same player but this is an extremely tough injury to completely rebound from. This is especially true for someone like Cruz who relies so heavily on his explosiveness. Its possible, if not probable early on, that Cruz moves to the slot exclusively. Randle could then again find himself opposite Beckham on the outside. The thought process here is not at all dependent on Rueben Randle being an upper echelon talent. He represents a player with a potential opportunity you could regret passing on in the 13th round.
Joey Holka is from Phoenix, Arizona and an avid Arizona Cardinals fan. He played Division I Hockey at St. Cloud State University where he graduated with a degree in Finance in just three years. Recently completed his first pro hockey season for the New York Rangers minor league affiliate, the Greenville Road Warriors of the ECHL.
NFL and fantasy football enthusiast that is a self-proclaimed sore loser and an overly competitive person by nature.