VALUES N’ SHOTS
PART 3: WIDE RECEIVERS
“VALUES N’ SHOTS” is about evaluating current ADP and finding value in players relevant to where they are being drafted.
- Positional “VALUES” is in reference to solid players, generally veterans, with relatively stable floors who offer value at their current ADP. Most of these guys are weekly starters or flex plays but are being drafted later than other players who they could or should very easily outperform.
- Positional “SHOTS” is exactly what it sounds like, guys you take a shot on. These are guys who generally have low floors for various reasons (i.e. – they are unproven, have an unclear role, buried on the depth chart, etc.). However, these guys offer high ceilings relative to ADP and/or they have the potential to break out and can be game-changers (e.g. Allen Robinson last season).
*ADPs are presented as an average range from FPC, FF Calculator and MFL.
WIDE RECEIVER VALUES:
Brandin Cooks: Current ADP: 22-24
Cooks finished as the #13 WR in PPR formats last year. As I mentioned with Brees in “QB Values”, the Saints passing game took time to get going last season with Brees nursing through a shoulder injury. However, over the last 10 weeks of the 2015 season, Cooks averaged the 7th most points per game at WR in PPR formats.
Cooks was on pace for over 90 receptions, 1,300+ yards and 14 TDs during the Saints final 9 games of the 2015 season, which included a streak of catching at least 1 TD pass over the Saints final 5 home games. Speaking of those final 5 home games, in PPR formats Cooks scored: 26.5 / 17.1 / 22.4 / 28.4 / 24.3. If you miss or pass on WR in round 1, Cooks is a player you can grab at the end of the 2nd round who will probably score as a top 5 WR during his home games and should produce at or very close to a top 10 level among WRs for the season.
TY Hilton: Current ADP: 27-30
Hilton finished as the #12 overall WR in 2014 despite missing 2 games. He averaged about as many points per game as Emanuel Sanders, who finished 5th at WR that season. Hilton was on pace for: 94/1537/8 in 2014, which would have been good enough to finish 6th at WR, slightly edging out Odell Beckham Jr. Last year, Andrew Luck played injured when he was on the field and missed the majority of the season. The Colts weren’t quite the same team without their pro bowl QB, but Luck is healthy now and Hilton enters the 2016 season as the Colts #1 WR.
Hilton took a step back in 2015 along with the rest of the Colts offense, which why he is currently being drafted as the #15 WR off the board. Take advantage of an “off” year from the entire Colts offense and grab Hilton (a 2nd round player) at his current 3rd round ADP with confidence he has the upside to pick up where he left off in 2014. Hilton should finish 2016 as a solid WR1, likely in or very close to the top 10 at WR.
Demaryius Thomas: Current ADP: 28-30
Thomas is much like Brandon Marshall in the sense that he has been able to put up numbers no matter who is playing QB, and he finished last year with over 100 receptions despite the up and down season by the Denver QBs. Thomas is currently the #16 WR being drafted. His #1 finish in 2013 and #2 finish in 2014 seem long gone and forgotten by many.
Denver is still going to have to throw to someone, and Thomas is going to be the primary guy. The Broncos might not be able to support 2 top 10 WRs and a top tier TE anymore, but I don’t expect Thomas to take too big of a hit in receptions or yards. I doubt we see him score 14 TDs again anytime soon, but there is no reason not to expect his reception total to be over 90, with 1,200ish yards and 7-8 TDs, which should be good enough for a top 10 finish in PPR formats. Grab Thomas with confidence that he will outplay his current mid-3rd round ADP.
Golden Tate: Current ADP: 37-40
With Calvin Johnson retired, there are 146 targets unaccounted for in Detroit and Golden Tate should pick up some of those. In 2014 when Calvin was shelved for 4 games, Tate stepped up as the #1 WR and put up huge numbers. With Calvin on the shelf, Tate caught at least 7 passes in all 4 games, posted 132+ yards in 3 of 4 games and was the #3 WR during that 4 week span in PPR formats.
The signing of Marvin Jones has been the big headline in Detroit, but flying under the radar a bit is the possibility that Golden Tate has a chance to push for WR1 status. 2 years in a row now, Tate has hauled in 90+ passes in Detroit with Calvin Johnson being the go-to guy. Now, Tate has a chance to step into that go-to role much like he did when Calvin missed time in 2014. Tate only caught 6 TDs last year, but 5 of those came after Jim Bob Cooter took over play calling. Tate was the #31 WR through his first 8 games, however when Cooter took over play calling, Tate finished his last 8 games averaging 16-ppg and ranked 16th at WR, and he should improve on that with Calvin Johnson retired. Being drafted as the #22 WR, Tate should be considered a value at his current ADP and should finish the year inside the top 15 at WR, with a shot to crack top 10.
Eric Decker: Current ADP: 49-60
Talk about value, Decker not only offers value at his current ADP, he is one of the most consistent WRs in the NFL. Decker scored double digit points in PPR formats in every game he played in last year (15), and he scored 15+ points in 11 of those 15 games.
Decker doesn’t get the credit he deserves because he isn’t flashy or the “sexy” pick at WR, he doesn’t have those “huge” weeks with 150 yards and 3-TDs, yet still finishes as a low-end WR1 or high-end WR2. He is the ideal high-end WR2 to add to your receiving corps. Decker will give you consistent week-to-week points and has a chance to finish in the top 12 at WR for the season, and he offers maybe the most stable weekly floor of any low-end 1 or high-end 2 player in the NFL. Decker has the numbers to justify being a late 2nd round draft pick in many fantasy leagues and should be a rock solid 3rd round draft pick in all formats. Currently carrying a 5th round cost, Decker offers value that is hard to find in players of his caliber early in the draft.
Michael Floyd: Current ADP: 51-61
Michael Floyd has been a bit of a letdown thus far in his career, but he’s had his moments. As Arizona came in to their own last season, finding their identity when David Johnson took over down the stretch, Floyd was the WR who benefited most. Dinged up and slow to start, Floyd only posted 849 receiving yards and 6 TDs last season, but most of that came over his last 7 games.
When Floyd got fully healthy, he played his best football over a 7 game stretch in weeks 8 through 16, hitting 100+ yards 5 times, scoring 4 TDs and totaling 620 receiving yards. With Floyd healthy and David Johnson featured at RB over the last quarter of the season; Floyd’s pace would extrapolate out to 100 receptions and almost 1600 yards over 16 games. I don’t think this was a coincidence and I expect Floyd to emerge as the #1 WR in ARZ, particularly in PPR formats. Another likely high-end WR2 with a 5th round price tag, Floyd offers great value at his current ADP.
Jordan Matthews: Current ADP: 50-60
Jordan Matthews went into the 2015 season with a 2nd round ADP as the 11th WR off the board. After a somewhat disappointing season in 2015, Matthews’ ADP has dropped into the 5th round and he is currently around the 30th WR falling off the board this year in fantasy drafts.
Matthews has an unparalleled work ethic that can’t be overlooked, and when Bradford came on strong over the final 3 games of 2015, Matthews benefited most, finishing the last 3 games of the season as the #3 fantasy WR league-wide. It’s a small sample size, but Matthews and the Philly offense had an up and down season in 2015, so maybe we need to take a detailed look at what Bradford and Matthews can do, especially considering Chip Kelly is gone and the Eagles will get back to a more traditional NFL offense. I’m not as sold on Matthews as I am Floyd or Decker in the short-term, but he has a higher ceiling and a real chance to produce as a solid WR2 with a 5th round ADP. Matthews’ stock is low right now, and if you’re a believer, this is the time to grab him…while he can still be had as low as the 5th round.
Michael Crabtree: Current ADP: 78-84
Michael Crabtree was almost a forgotten player. A slow start to his career hurt, and after finding himself lost in the mess S.F. created over the past 2 seasons, Crabtree seemed like a player who may have been in a tailspin along with the rest of the 49ers. Rewind 3-4 years, and after having a breakout season in 2012 and playing a major role in the 49ers road to Super Bowl XLVII (47), Crabtree appeared to be a player on the rise. But after losing the 2013 season to injury and then suffering through a somewhat lost 2014 season in San Francisco, Crabtree once again was labeled a question mark.
Enter 2015, Crabtree makes the move to Oakland and instantly becomes a vital part of the Raiders passing offense, leading the team in catches and TD receptions and ranking 2nd in receiving yards only to rookie Amari Cooper. Crabtree finished the 2015 season as the #16 WR in PPR formats making him a mid-range WR2. The Oakland offense is improving and Crabtree should continue to put up solid numbers, with 80+ receptions 900-1000 yds and 7-8 TDs a likely floor, so feel confident grabbing Crabtree as a solid WR2/strong WR3. Currently the 36th WR off the board in redraft leagues, Crabtree is a good bet to finish top 20 again and is a steal at his 7th round ADP, particularly in PPR formats.
Tyler Lockett: Current ADP: 64-74
Tyler Lockett had a somewhat slow start to his rookie year, but as the Seahawks transitioned into more of a passing offense without Marshawn Lynch, Lockett came on strong over his last 7 games, finishing that stretch as the #18 WR in PPR formats.
A talented prospect who showed flashes last year and played a strong 2nd half, look for Lockett to continue to improve as he evolves into what should be a WR1A/1B role along with veteran Doug Baldwin. Lockett is the most talented WR on the Seahawks roster and will rise to the top sooner than later. Look for him to pick up where he left off last season with the upside to finish 2016 as a strong WR2 or better and a floor of a likely strong WR3. What should amount to a top-20-25 season at WR, and the upside to outplay Baldwin, take advantage of targeting Lockett at his current 6th-7th round price tag in re-draft leagues.
Marvin Jones: Current ADP: 83-91
Marvin Jones had a breakout season of sorts during his sophomore campaign in 2013, catching 51 balls for 712 yards and 10 TDs on 79 targets while only seeing the field for about 47% of the Bengals offensive snaps. He was seemingly on his way to a larger role in 2014 before injuries derailed him in the preseason, ultimately leading to surgery and missing the entire 2014 season. Jones’ 2015 season saw him take a back seat to AJ Green and Tyler Eifert as the #1 and #2 receiving options on a run-heavy team that wasn’t going to generously support 3 receivers. Still, he posted a respectable stat line of: 65/816/4-TDs.
A new beginning in Detroit is exactly what Jones needed. He will immediately step in as a starting WR (the 1B to Golden Tate’s 1A) and should be on the field for virtually every play in an offense that likes to throw with a strong-armed QB who finished the 2015 season on the hottest streak of his NFL career. The 6’2” 200+ pound WR with 4.45 wheels should step right in and carve out a key role in the Lion offense with a very good chance to be a solid WR2 for fantasy. Jones has a real shot to become the #1 WR in this offense, and at the very least, he will be the #2 WR on a strong passing team with the size to draw plenty of red-zone looks. The addition of Anquan Boldin shouldn’t hurt too much, but Boldin could cap Jones’ upside this season. Still, Jones should put up very strong WR3 numbers at the least and looks more likely to put up solid WR2 numbers. Jones is a bargain as a current 8th rounder for teams looking to add upside to their receiving corps.
WIDE RECEIVER SHOTS:
Donte Moncrief: Current ADP: 41-49
Coming off the heels of a solid 2nd half rookie campaign, Moncrief started the 2015 season catching a TD pass from Andrew Luck in each of the 1st three games of the season before Luck went down with injury. Moncrief was averaging almost 6 catches and 70 yards per game with Luck at QB to start the season, but his overall efficiency numbers fell last year once Luck went down with an injury. Moncrief still showed flashes, finishing the season with 733 yards receiving and 6 TDs, which isn’t bad considering he began the year as the #3 WR and #4 receiving option on a Colts team missing their star QB for half the games.
The 6’2” 222 pound burner will begin 2016 as the Colts #2 WR behind only TY Hilton, and Luck returns 100% healthy from a lost 2015 campaign. Just turning 23 years old in August, the sky is the limit for Moncrief. He should emerge as the “big-bodied” target for Luck and it’s tempting to say he will be the possession receiver, but with 4.40 flat wheels, Moncrief has the chance to be the total package. I expect Moncrief to become the co-WR #1 in Indy at some point, and with Luck at QB, he should be looking at solid WR2 numbers with upside to post WR1 numbers. Currently being drafted as the 25th WR off the board, Moncrief is very likely to crack the top 20 at WR this season with upside to be a top 10 guy. If your league makes a deep WR run early in your draft and you find yourself in need of a WR who can produce with upside, Moncrief is worth a shot at his current mid-late 4th round price tag.
DeVante Parker: Current ADP: 56-69
Parker is a guy we’ve heard a lot about since being drafted 14th overall in the 2015 NFL draft by the Dolphins. He was injured early and struggled to get on the field. Coming on down the stretch last season, Parker finished top 20 at WR over the final 6 weeks.
With Rishard Matthews off to Tennessee, Parker will start as the “big” WR in new Dolphins head coach Adam Gase’s offense. This role was previously filled by WRs Demarius Thomas and Alshon Jeffery at Gase’s last 2 stops in Denver and Chicago, and those were very successful seasons in each case. Parker has a great shot at a breakout season in 2016, and while more question marks surround a guy like Parker than say a Donte Moncrief, Parker still offers a ton of upside for a player being drafted as the #35 WR off the board. If you are looking to move on a WR with upside fairly early, Parker could be worth a shot at his current 6th-7th round price tag.
Kevin White: Current ADP: 63-78
A little over a year ago, many were talking about the possibility of Kevin White being a better prospect than Amari Cooper. Cooper was of course the #4 overall pick in the 2015 draft, but not far behind at #7 overall, the Bears scooped up Kevin White, a player that offers an extremely rare combination of size (6’3” / 215 lbs) and speed (4.35 40-yd dash). White’s measurables are very similar to that of Julio Jones. Injuries kept White off the field in 2015, but he is healthy and ready to go in 2016.
I don’t expect a strong start to the 2016 season for White as he still is very raw and could end up being more of a long-term prospect, but don’t think he didn’t learn anything just because he didn’t play last season. White should at least be in a position to game plan for, and with Alshon Jeffery drawing attention on the other side, White will get his opportunities. White is likely going to be a special player in the NFL, but he does have work to do. This isn’t a guy you want to target much earlier than his current ADP as there is very much a raw element to his game. With that said, Kevin White is the kind of player I have in mind when I am talking about “Shots”. It might not be this year, but he has the size and skillset to explode onto the scene much like Allen Robinson in 2015. We may still be a season away, but at his current 7th round price tag, White is a guy worth taking a shot on if you need help at WR.
Phillip Dorsett: Current ADP: 131-141
Phillip Dorsett opened his rookie campaign with a pair of catches for 45 yards in his first NFL game. Not a bad start especially considering he was the #4 WR and only received 17 snaps. Unfortunately, that was his best game as a rookie, though he added 43 yards and a TD on 2 receptions in week 3 playing only 14 snaps. With Luck at QB, Dorsett began the 1st three games of his rookie year with 5 receptions for 113 yards and 1 TD in what amounts to about 2 quarters of playing time. Clearly Dorsett was getting open and making plays when he was on the field.
Fast forward one year, no Colby Fleener and no Andre Johnson means Dorsett is the #3 WR on an offense that looks to feature a lot of 3 WR sets, thus Dorsett should see a lot more of the field in 2016. Dorsett is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL with the kind of rare speed and athleticism that coaches game plan for, and with Rob Chudzinski the new OC for the Colts, I expect them to do just that. Dorsett won’t see a ton of targets, but he could be a guy much like Mike Wallace was early in his career who averages 12+ yards per target and catches 7-8 TDs. 50-ish receptions for close to 900 yards and 7 TDs is not unrealistic to expect, and those numbers would land Dorsett as a top 25 WR, meaning a solid WR3 or flex play with enormous upside should Hilton or Moncrief get injured. Taking a shot on Dorsett at his current 12th round ADP is a no brainer.
Sammie Coates: Current ADP: 111-120
With Martavis Bryant suspended for the 2016 season, there is a great opportunity for a Steeler WR/TE to step up in the passing game. Markus Wheaton has likely won the WR2 role in Pittsburgh, but with TE Heath Miller retiring, the Steelers are lacking a red-zone threat. Signing Ladarius Green in the offseason was supposed to help, but Green can’t get healthy and backup TE Jesse James is a question mark.
Enter Sammie Coates – standing over 6’1” and 212lbs, Coates is an athletic freak, posting a 41” vertical and 10’ 11” broad jump at the combine to go along with 4.4 speed, it’s just a matter of time before Coates carves out a role for himself. He has been running with the 1st team offense in camp and offers more upside than Wheaton. Even as the #3 WR, Coates projects to be a better replacement for Bryant than Wheaton and should have a role if he can hold of Darius Heyward-Bey. Coates has breakout potential if something should happen to Wheaton or he manages to beat him out at some point this season, especially in this offense with Roethlisberger playing the best football of his career. Coates is definitely worth a shot as an upside WR in the 9th or 10th round of your draft.