Best Ball Wide Receiver Situations to Watch
With the season 2 months away Best Ball drafts are filling up. Which best ball wide receiver should you be drafting based on these situations?:
What do we do with the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles WR groups?:
– The Dolphins and Eagles are in a remarkably similar situation as we try to value their top receivers. Both teams have young 3rd year quarterbacks, who have been pretty questionable throwing the football. Both teams also added an early 1st round WR in 2021 who produced despite the offense question marks. Philly and Miami also both have a young athletic tight end who should command targets. Finally both teams traded for an established young stud wide receiver as well. This leaves us with plenty of questions, can these offenses support two star talented receivers? Will a clear Alpha emerge or will the receivers limit each other on their respective teams? Are these receivers going to have value at their current ADP?
Miami Dolphins: Tyreek Hill: ADP- Underdog- 21 | Draftkings – 23 | Jaylen Waddle: ADP- Underdog – 37 | Draftkings- 39
– The Dolphins actually finished 8th in passing attempts last season, but a poor yards per attempt and lower TD% capped value for this offense. With Mike McDaniel as the new Head Coach, it’s unclear how much stock we should put into last years passing attempts. Given though that they not only retained their franchise TE in Mike Gesicki and signed Cedrick Wilson in addition to trading for Hill, you have to imagine they could be a top 10 team again.
Now the question is can Tua Tagovailoa improve enough to allow one or both Hill and Waddle to return value? On the positive side Tagovailoa’s completion %, TD% and yards per attempt were all higher than the team’s averages in his 13 games. On the downside Tua’s pass attempts per game in his 11 full games were 33.7, which over the course of a 17 game season would have finished 19th in the league (573). While metrics have been questionable on Tua and the eyeball test inconclusive, I think there is a lot of hope for this offense to make big strides. Between McDaniel supporting him, adding more weapons and most importantly drastically improving the line, Tua could make a jump in 2022.
This will be key for both Hill and Waddle to return value on their current ADP’s. The Dolphins will need to produce more TDs and more yards per attempt, while maintaining around 600 targets if they are to produce as expected. Hill seems like a good value for a best ball receiver if you are getting him at the end of the 2nd round. Yes his QB play will go down, but he’s simply too talented to ignore at this range. His targets should still be 120 plus, and his ability to stretch the field is second to none.
Waddle’s ADP concerns me a bit more, as it could be tough for him to get much over 100 targets. This is a major drop-off from the 140 he got a year ago. His yards per catch should definitely increase, but it could be tough to replace 30 or more targets. He is still a good best ball wide receiver, but he probably should be drafted a round or two later.
Philadelphia Eagles: A.J. Brown: ADP- Underdog- 27 | Draftkings – 28 | DeVonta Smith: ADP- Underdog- 81 | Draftkings- 73
– The Eagles finished dead last in pass attempts in 2021 with 494. The addition of A.J. Brown should help some, but it wasn’t just lack of weapons that kept Philly from passing. They started the year being more aggressive throwing the ball attempting 34.6 attempts in the first 7 games. After that their pass rate collapsed to 25 per games over their final 10 games. Only two of those games went over 30 passing attempts (31 and 33) versus 5 games over 30 (34, 35, 37, 39 and 48) in the first 7 weeks. The reason was simple the passing offense was struggling and with it so were the Eagles. Philly went 2-5 to start the year and finished 7-3 over the final 10.
Even more troubling than the lack of passing attempts was how little they produced. Jalen Hurts finished with a 61.3% completion rate and 3.7% TD rate. His 7.3 yards per attempt were more of a positive, but the whole picture is pretty bleak. Hurts has plenty of stand alone fantasy value given his rushing ability, but will he be able to bring along one or both of his receivers is a very concerning question. The Eagles had success as a running team, they might not end the year last in pass attempts, but it’s tough to imagine them even in the top 2/3 of the league.
Without a major target and/or accuracy increase its tough to get excited about A.J. Brown at his current best ball ADP. Brown has had an incredible career so far in a low target offense, but Ryan Tannehill was a highly efficient and accurate quarterback. That helped Brown have the success that he’s had. That might not be the case with Jalen Hurts, which will make it tough for Brown to pay off a top 30 ADP. Also concerning for Brown is he only really competed with Corey Davis for targets in 2019 and 2020. In Philly not only is DeVonta Smith commanding targets, but Dallas Goedert is one of the more talented TEs in the league. Philadelphia also had 21.5% of the market share of targets go to RBs last season, the Titans were 13.8%, 11.1% and 18.8% over the last three seasons.
For Smith the concerns are even greater as he was WR 30 in PPR last year as the clear number 1. Even with some moderate improvements to the total targets and Hurts accuracy it’s tough to see him producing like that again if he’s clearly 2nd behind Brown. Currently he’s going off the board around WR 35-37, but even that could be a push. I don’t hate taking him in this range incase he does command a greater market share, but there is risk here.
Who are some WR 1’s that are being drafted too low?:
Not all team’s WR1 are created equal, but if you can find a WR1 in the 7th-11th rounds even from a bad offense you will likely find value. Here are some of the key names of guys being drafted 80th or later that could return serious value:
Drake London: ADP- Underdog- 86 | Draftkings- 83
- London is clearly the alpha receiver in Atlanta and even if Kyle Pitts edges him out for total target share, London should easily get 20-25% of the team’s targets. He’s also a big body guy who could be effective in the red zone. These both mitigate any concerns about the Falcons overall offense. There will be inconsistent weeks for London, but he makes a great best ball wide receiver. He will have some WR1 worthy weeks, but should typically be a solid WR2 or WR3 option for you.
Allen Lazard: ADP- Underdog- 108 | Draftkings – 84
- Unlike a number of guys on this list there isn’t a question about injury, chemistry or the quarterback. In fact Lazard clearly has the best QB on this list by a mile. Yes he will be competing with rookie Christian Watson for the WR1 spot, but even if he ends up WR2 he’s a steal at this ADP. With Aaron Rodgers at QB he could end up as a top 20 scoring WR and you are getting him in the WR 40ish range.
Christian Kirk: ADP – Underdog – 97 | Draftkings – 92
- Kirk clearly becomes the Jaguars top receiver and adds deep threat ability to an offense that totally lacked it. He should see between 115-130 targets, with a pretty good yards per catch. Yes this offense was poor a year ago, but Trevor Lawrence played better than the numbers suggest. A new coach and new weapons like Kirk could make this a mid-tier offense. At worse Kirk is a solid bye week fill in who can give a couple spike weeks, but if he hits Kirk could be a top 20-30 WR.
Robert Woods: ADP – Underdog – 104 | Draftkings – 108
- Woods is coming off an injury but it sounds like he will be ready to play week 1. He finished as the WR 11th, 14th and 14th (in PPR) from 2018-2020 with the Rams. While the offensive scheme was more favorable remember he was sharing targets with the Rams and Jared Goff was his QB. He will actually see an improved QB situation with Ryan Tannehill. Yes he has to hold off rookie Treylon Burks, but that might not be as difficult as people think. To land him in the 9th round that is a steal for a best ball wide receiver.
Garrett Wilson: ADP- Underdog – 118 | Draftkings – 117
- Wilson is one of the first round picks that is not getting enough respect (see below) based on his ADP. Yes Elijah Moore looked productive last season, but the Jets drafted Garrett Wilson to be the top option on this team. Also it’s worth noting that Zach Wilson favored his outside WRs more than Moore last season (though that could obviously change). A guy who you can get in the 10th or 11th round with this potential target share is very interesting.
Kenny Golladay: ADP- Underdog – 131 | Draftkings – 127
- A lot of people are assuming Kadarius Toney will be the Giants top target, but it might be Golladay who is the more complete player. Toney has had some off the field questions and there are some concerns about his work ethic. It wouldn’t be surprising for the team to favor Golladay as a more of the number 1 role. Now unfortunately this is an offense I’d typically avoid, but if Golladay is lurking there late he’s worth taking a shot on.
DeVante Parker: ADP- Underdog – 154 | Draftkings – 144
- This is the one that is the most surprising as Parker is getting totally forgotten about in drafts this year. Parker seems likely to surpass Jakobi Myers as the Patriots top WR option, and Mac Jones top target. Parker finished top 12 in the league in PPR scoring in 2019 and could could have the best QB play he’s ever had this season. Parker also has a lot of TD equity making him a better best ball wide receiver anyways. To get him in the 12 round feels like a steal and even taking him earlier doesn’t seem that risky. The only real concern is his injury history, but even if you land him in the 10th round he should offer plenty of spike weeks when healthy.
What rookies are over/under valued?:
I broke down both the 1st round rookie receivers and the other fantasy viable options from the rest of the draft in more detail. There are some clear guys being over and under valued in the market at this time.
Treylon Burks, Jameson Williams and Chris Olave are all a bit overvalued from the first round. Burks is being treated like he will step in and take over all of A.J. Brown’s role. That seems dangerous given that Robert Woods is on the roster and Burks was probably the least ready 1st round rookie in the class. Williams risk for missing maybe half the season due to injury is not being weighed appropriately. Even when he’s back will he be getting a 100% work, or will the rebuilding Lions be cautious with him. Olave is being drafted higher than Jarvis Landry which feels like their ADPs should be flipped. Also the whole Michael Thomas situation looms large. If Thomas is back and healthy Olave could be the 3rd option on a team that probably won’t be among the league leaders in pass attempts.
Though it’s later in Best Ball drafts both David Bell and John Metchie are going too high. Both are going before another young receiver on their roster with currently more upside for 2022 (see below). Also Metchie like Williams is expected to be a candidate to start the year on the PUP list. At best these guys are final round fliers for me, but both are going a couple rounds earlier.
Garrett Wilson and Jahan Dotson are the first round receivers that look like clear value options from the 1st round. Wilson is currently 3rd in ADP among 1st rd rookies and even behind a couple 2nd rounders. This is despite the fact that he’s probably the most well rounded receiver and comes in as the team’s clear top outside receiver. Yes he’s got a questionable QB in Zach Wilson, but the 100-125 targets should easily be there. If Zach Wilson makes some strides Garrett Wilson could finish at the 1st or 2nd rookie WR in fantasy points. Dotson is going later in like the 11th-14th round, and is too low. Washington is excited for him to be the number 2 option opposite Terry McLaurin, and he should have at least okay QB play with Carson Wentz.
Alec Pierce and Jalen Tolbert are two day 2 receivers that are not getting enough buzz. Pierce is clearly the number 2 option on this team behind Michael Pittman, and it’s expected the Colts will pass more this season with Matt Ryan. Pierce also offers size and speed, and should profile as a nice spike week player even if the targets aren’t as strong. For a guy going in the 14th or 15th round of drafts this is valuable. Tolbert goes to one of the best offenses in the league, and a team that lost Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson this offseason. Add in Michael Gallup missing time early in the season, and Tolbert has a tremendous chance ahead of him. Even when Gallup comes back, if Tolbert is the 3rd option this offense can still have enough volume for him to be a decent play.
What deep sleepers are worth taking?:
Devin Duvernay: ADP: Underdog – 261 | Draftkings – 202
- Duvernay is starting to get on radar’s as a best ball wide receiver to watch, but his ADP is still too low. With the Ravens trading away Marquise Brown there is an opening for a number 2 WR and number 3 option on this team. Duvernay is by far the clear leader among the current roster. There is a concern that the Ravens could sign a free agent, but even then Duvernay could still pay off this ADP. The Ravens total passing volume will likely go back down with Lamar Jackson and the running backs getting healthy, but there is still room here for Duvernay to have best ball value. Unlike many late round options you are able to tie him with a top QB, so that could lead to some big spike weeks when he hits.
Nico Collins: ADP: Underdog – 213 | Draftkings – 208
- Collins is heading into camp as the clear cut number two outside receiver on the Texans. Though Houston drafted Metchie in the 2nd round, he’s more of a slot guy and is probably starting the year on the PUP list. Even when healthy I think Collins is a better option than Metchie, and yet Collins is going behind him in drafts. Collins had a solid rookie season with 33 catches on 60 targets for 446 yards and a TD. With Mills likely better this year at QB and if Collins takes a step he absolutely could be a solid number 2 in this offense. As a very late round pick there is nice value here if he pushes the 80-100 target range.
A.J. Green: ADP: Underdog- 212 | Draftkings – 181
- For a player coming off a 92 catch 848 yard and 3 TD season, Green is getting almost zero interest. Yes Green is slowing down, but he can still move the chains and have a couple decent weeks as he did a year ago. He will be challenging Rondale Moore for the WR3 role on the team, but Green’s size and ability to run any route could give him the edge. Also with DeAndre Hopkins suspended the first 6 games, there is a good chance that Green will have a couple WR3 or Flex quality weeks in that time. Even when Hopkins is back he can help fill in on weeks where you have multiple byes. For a guy going this late, and a pretty clear role on the offense this is a strong value play.
Donovan Peoples-Jones: ADP: Underdog- 193 | Draftkings – 201
- Peoples-Jones is rightly seeing his ADP fall as the situation with DeShaun Watson looks worse and worse. I think it’s falling to the point that its a real value, given his upside. On just 58 targets last season (with a clearly injured QB) Peoples-Jones had 597 yards and 3 TDs. He should now be the clear number 2 opposite Amari Cooper and remain on the field even when they go with 2 TEs or a FB. David Bell is getting drafted ahead of him, even though he’s limited to the slot and won’t play as much. Yes there are concerns at QB now, but DPJ can offer late spike week value in the 16th round or later.
Bryan Edwards: ADP: Underdog – 233 | Draftkings – 216
- Edwards is being ignored as a viable best ball wide receiver. Though Atlanta has both Pitts and London as their top targets, Edwards should have a strong opportunity to be the 3rd option in this offense. He also has shown some big play ability in his career averaging 17 yards per catch, and could have some spike weeks in best ball. There are concerns about him not consistently getting open and the downgrade at QB will be noticeable. That is all more than baked into his ADP here. For a guy who should have 75-90 targets taking him in the final rounds could be a steal.