“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson
Going into your fantasy draft with a strategy can be good if things break down the way you were hoping they would. If your plan for whatever strange reason was the zero rb “strategy”, and the rest of your league goes on an early WR run you’re going to have to change your plan. Being able to find value throughout the draft is the best plan you can have, it’s the only one your league mates can’t get in the way of. This isn’t a list of the best players on every team, but the best at their current adp’s whether that’s round one or seventeen.
SF: Deebo Samuel – Currently an 8th round pick on ESPN Deebo brings tremendous value to anyone that can pick him up and stash him on the bench until he can show he is fully healthy. From week 10 to 17 Deebo was the WR9 overall and that kind of upside is hard to find in this part of the draft.
SEA: Will Dissly – The tightend for the Seahawks is going pretty much undrafted in fantasy leagues at the moment. After being injured for most of his first two seasons it’s pretty easy to forget about him, but what we shouldn’t forget is that he led the team in TD catches (4), was second in receptions (23), and third in yards (262) with the Seahawks in their first four games last season.
LAR: Jared Goff – Even during a down season last year Goff still managed to put up seven top 10 fantasy weeks (fifth most in the NFL) so the flashes are still there. With all of the Rams weapons either being ranked high or flying up draft boards like Higbee it’s hard to imagine their QB won’t be able to out produce his 13th round adp.
ARI: Christian Kirk – The former second round draft pick Kirk saw a 24% target share in the games he was active last season. The addition of Hopkins seems to be scaring people off Kirk, but I have to believe Kirk will be the second WR over the ancient Larry Fitz.
CHI: Anthony Miller – As we get closer to draft season Miller is a name I think we’ll be seeing rise up draft boards. After being injured then losing the trust of the coaching staff it took Miller some time to get involved in the Bears offense. However when he was finally firmly set as the Bears second wide receiver he was the 15th most targeted WR in the NFL. If Foles can win the starting QB spot and MIller can keep that target share there’s no way he doesnt out perform his 13th round adp.
MIN: Justin Jefferson – The rookie wide receiver that might be walking into the best situation isn’t being drafted as such. Almost a lock to inherit Stefon Diggs’ targets, and he doesn’t have to be leaned on as the teams number one option right out of the gate. The 11th round is a real nice spot to grab a WR3 with very strong upside.
DET: T.J. Hockenson – After all the hype Hockenson had going into last years fantasy season Hockenson was a pretty big disappointment. Most rookie tightends are though. With a full season under his belt and a healthy Stafford, Hockenson should see a big uptick in targets and value. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re talking about Hockenson as a top 5 TE going into next year’s draft.
GB: Davante Adams – The almost unanimous WR2 overall is still the best value on this Packers team I could find. Adams is the only Wide Receiver not named Michael Thomas I can see myself drafting over a Running Back in the first round. I could tell you to draft one of the seven options they have that might wind up as their second option, or I could tell you to draft a strong contender for the WR1 in the entire NFL.
NO: Emmanuel Sanders – One of the big arguments against Sanders this season is the lack of production of the Saints second wide receiver over the last few seasons. The flaw in that argument is they haven’t had a wide receiver as talented as Sanders across from Thomas over that time. Sanders can easily see enough targets to put up very strong flex numbers every week.
CAR: Curtis Samuel – Currently being drafted as the WR55 Samuel is an absolute steal in the later rounds. 27 of Samuel’s 103 targets last season were over 20 yards but only 5 of those targets were considered catchable passes. With Bridgewater at QB now and Joe Brady wanting to use Samuel all over the field there is no way he doesn’t massively outproduce his current draft value.
ATL: Russel Gage – With 258 targets now up for grabs in the Falcons offense the biggest beneficiary is Gage. With the Falcons running three wide receiver sets at one of the highest rates in the NFL Gage will see plenty of opportunity. Don’t tell the Ridley hype train that Gage has more YAC yards, and had SIX more red zone targets than Ridley last season.
TB: Ronald Jones – After a rough rookie season Jones saw a nice bounce back in his sophomore gaining over 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns. Now with Peyton Barber gone Jones looks to be the lead man in the backfield. The rookie Vaughn is being drafted over him right now but I find it hard to believe the Bucs are going to let a rookie be on the field to pass block for Brady a majority of the game.
DAL: Michael Gallup – With the addition of CeeDee Lamb in this years draft the Gallup hype hasn’t been able to get rolling like it should have. Assuming Gallup will be the one losing targets might be a mistake. Gallup actually saw more targets per game than Amari Cooper, and had more yards per reception. If Gallup finishes the season ranked higher than Cooper I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
WAS: Derrius Guice – Definitely the riskiest pick on this list, the upside of Guice is too much to pass up. Being drafted after Darrell Henderson, and James White, Guice is the only RB in this range that has a shot at finishing in the top 12 at his position. If Guice can stay healthy he’ll be talked about as one of this seasons league winners if he stays at this adp.
NYG: Golden Tate – Tate might not be an exciting pick and he might not win you your league but he definitely still has value. Tate still has the chance to be the target hog he used to be with a young QB that will look to his veteran WR to bail him out and make plays after the catch. Let someone else draft Shepherd while you take the real number one on the Giants.
PHI: Alshon Jeffery – Jeffery might have more injury problems than Guice, but picking him doesn’t come with as much of the risk. Would you rather gamble on Jeffery staying healthy or Antonio Brown finding a team and not going psycho again? When Jeffery is healthy his production is undeniable, posting WR11 numbers through 8 games last season.
TENN: A.J. Brown – The assumed lack of targets is what is keeping fantasy drafters away from Brown. However in Corey Davis’ only healthy season as the Titans top WR he saw 112 targets. Now if we give those targets to Brown and even keep his catch rate at 62% Brown would have had 1,388 yards last season. Now if you don’t believe the Titans will want Brown more involved than Davis was I don’t know what to tell you.
HOU: Brandin Cooks – Possibly the easiest choice on this list, Cooks is being drafted as the WR37, after finishing four of the last five seasons WR15 or better. Cooks still only 26 years old, and going to an offense that just lost one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, AND seeing a massive upgrade at the QB position his upside is huge. Expect to see Cooks take over as Watson’s top option early.
IND: Jack Doyle – With Ebron gone Doyle is once again the top TE in an offense that targets the position on 23% of their passes. Add in Rivers who heavily used the position in Gates and Henry and we could see Doyle be a top 10 TE.
JAX: Leonard Fournette – We finally saw Fournette fulfill his draft stock last season and finish as the RB7, but going into this season he’s being drafted as the RB16. With the assumed improvement to the Jaguars offense Fournette is almost guaranteed to score more touchdowns than last season (3!). Getting Fournette in the third round almost feels criminal.
KC: Mecole Hardman – Going into this season as Mahomes’ second option at wide receiver Hardman is going after guys like Kirk, Sanders, and Sterling Shepherd. The Chiefs clearly want to get him more involved on the offensive side of the ball after signing UDFA Justice Shelton-Mosley to take over punt and kick returns.
LAC: Keenan Allen – Seeing Allen being ranked at WR20 just doesn’t seem right to me. A new QB coming into a new system will most likely rely on his best WR and feed him targets. If Allen can find the endzone more often this season he can stay more consistent than last season and still repeat his WR6 overall campaign from last year.
OAK: Henry Ruggs – After debating between Ruggs and Jacobs (who could easily finish as a top 5 RB) I decided on Ruggs who should easily be the first rookie wide receiver off the board. Ruggs was drafted to be the Raiders top target right away and people should not be writing him off as strictly a deep threat. With the lack of competition for targets Ruggs can outperform his current rank of WR38 on volume alone.
DEN: Phillip Lindsay – Lindsay has now posted two 1,000+ yard rushing seasons since entering the league, and is somehow being ranked 18 spots behind the newly added Melvin Gordon. Gordon may see more action than Lindsay but I don’t believe the gap will be that large.
PITT: Diontae Johnson – After a rookie season dealing with some of the worst QB play in the NFL Johnson still flashed. Johnson led the team in targets and the entire NFL in yards of separation per target. Even if he is only the second option for Big Ben he’ll still put up at least flex numbers, remember JuJu’s first season behind A.B.?
CLE: Odell Beckham Jr. – One down season where he was dealing with an injury and not being able to get on the same page as Baker and everyone seems to forget just how good Odell really is. Being able to get a possible top 5-10 WR in the 4th round is tremendous upside and pairing him with another top WR in your lineup could be almost unfair.
CIN: Joe Burrow – The obvious pick here would be A.J. Green who’s going as WR29 at the moment but I believe that’s right about where he should be. With the Bengals adding weapons and improving the offensive line Burrow could be inheriting a powerful offense that was built for him. Take Burrow in the last few rounds and he may wind up as your starting QB by the middle of the season.
BAL: Mark Ingram II – With the Ravens offense being so powerful and so run oriented Ingram was able to finish as RB11 while only handling 37% of the teams carries. Now that the Ravens drafted Dobbins, Ingram is being drafted as RB26. Dobbins may be the future on the Ravens but I still believe Ingram will be the present. Draft Ingram and have one of the strongest flex plays in your league.
MIA – Jordan Howard – Here’s a list of running backs with more rushing yards than Howard over the last four seasons: Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley. Now being drafted behind Tarik Cohen, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and Darrell Henderson, Howard provides some really nice value. He might not be the flashiest pick of the draft but Howard can put up some consistent flex numbers all season long.
NE – Julian Edelman – Last seasons WR7 and key piece of Bill Belichick’s offense is now being valued as WR33. The loss of Brady definitely hurts Edelman’s stock but whether it be Cam or Stidham at QB, Edelman will still be seeing the same insane amount of targets he always does. Finishing last season top five in both targets and receptions, I don’t see that changing yet.
NYJ; Jamison Crowder – Much like Edelman, Crowder will be a target hog for the Jets, and with what should be an improved offense the quality of those targets should be improved as well. A full season of Darnold, an improved offensive line, Bell a full season back after a holdout, and the addition of Mims can really open things up for Crowder. If he can maintain 122 targets this season expect Crowder to be a strong flex option and a borderline WR2 in PPR formats.
BUF: John Brown – Going from WR20 last season to being ranked as WR50 going into this year due to the addition of Diggs is way too far of a drop. Josh Allen’s poor QB play will be the reason people shy away from Brown, but I believe Allen isn’t as bad as everyone seems to believe. When Allen targeted Brown on passes 20 yards or more his passer rating was 109, when targeting all his other receivers it dropped to 21.5! There’s enough work on this team for two wide receivers to thrive.