AFC Wide Receiver 1 Battles – Fantasy Football
When it comes to fantasy football, finding as many number 1 wide receivers on your roster can be a great way to win. Even on weaker teams, WR1’s are typically pretty viable in fantasy. This is even more important for Best Ball Fantasy as you are trying to predict volume over the course of the season. There is no waiver wire or trades to make up for making the wrong choice. For a number of teams there is no debate as the top wide receiver is locked in to the role.
Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase (ADP: 5.3) Tee Higgins (ADP 23)
While there is no question that Ja’Marr Chase is the top option in the Bengals offense, this team situation feels like a 1.A and 1.B ranking. Chase finished last year with 15.5 .5 PPR points per game and Tee Higgins was at 13.0 PPG. That’s a sizable gap, but a lot of that was due to the TD differential 13 to 6. If the TDs even out or go the other way, Higgins could end up the highest scoring WR on the team.
Overall its likely you will be quite happy with either Bengals receiver on your roster, but you can land Higgins almost 20 spots after Chase. That is some interesting value if Higgins could outscore him this season.
Miami Dolphins: Tyreek Hill (ADP: 22.1) Jaylen Waddle (ADP: 38.8)
This is similar to the Bengals situation where Hill is the clear top WR on the team, but Waddle is so talented and carries so much upside that it’s at least worth considering if he ends up the highest scoring one.
Waddle dominated the Dolphins in targets last year, but Hill figures to take over the lead role. This situation though could be closer in terms of target share, which could actually hurt the ADP value of both players. Even if the targets end up pretty close, it’s hard to imagine Waddle getting more yards and TDs than Hill.
From a pure talent standpoint its tough to imagine two more talented receivers on one team. Drafters should be confident in Hill being more in line with his ADP. Waddle could be tougher to pay off his ADP, unless he can maintain a similar target share to Hill.
New York Jets: Elijah Moore (ADP: 69.2) Garrett Wilson (ADP: 110.9)
Moore was very impressive down the stretch for the Jets last season, and prior to the NFL draft he seemed like a breakout option. With New York selecting Garrett Wilson with the 10th overall pick, things are less clear as to who will be the New York’s top WR.
Moore is clearly talented, and if he were to be the top pass catcher on the team he will pay off his ADP. With Wilson though the ceiling is higher, and he’s more likely to be on the field in 2 WR sets. Top 10 picks usually aren’t selected to be the 2nd option on the team.
With the 40 pick differential in ADP Wilson will probably pay off even being the 2nd guy in this offense. The reality is though it’s at least a 50-50 proposition that he’s the top option (likely higher odds), making this an obvious value selection.
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New England Patriots: Jakobi Meyers (ADP: 129.4) DeVante Parker (ADP: 141.2)
-Meyers led the Patriots in targets by 50 last season and also paced the team in yards and catches. His fantasy production was limited due to his low TD number. While he’s still likely to be involved in the Patriots passing offense, New England traded for DeVante Parker.
Parker gives the Patriots a true X receiver, and a guy who could be the number 1 target in this offense. Even if Meyers ends up with more targets, it won’t be the large split there was a year ago. Parker also should be a bigger end zone threat, which will help give him the edge in fantasy points.
Meyers should have a decent floor, but Parker is the better best ball option with his big play ability. For 12th round draft capital, Parker is fantastic value if he can be the number 1 WR on this team. He’s going behind some team’s 3rd options, which makes him a steal with his upside.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Kirk (ADP: 84.8) Marvin Jones (ADP: 160.6)
-This one probably isn’t really close as Kirk was signed to a mega deal this offseason. All indications are that he will replace Marvin Jones as the top option for Trevor Lawrence. Kirk has never truly been a number 1 receiver for a full season, and Jones is coming off a 120 target season for Jacksonville.
Every indication is that Kirk will be the top target and given the potential target amount he could be a steal at his ADP. Jones has a reasonable ADP for a number 2 option, but doesn’t seem likely to be much of a threat to Kirk. This should be an easy call for drafters, and a player going under the radar.
Tennessee Titans: Treylon Burks (ADP: 94) Robert Woods (ADP: 102.3)
-The Titans traded away A.J. Brown this offseason and made two major additions to their WR corps to try to replace him. Burks was selected with the pick Tennessee got in return for Brown. Most early commentary points to the rookie as the top replacement, but it doesn’t seem to be as clear cut as that.
Burks has some really impressive after the catch skills, but he needed a lot of manufactured touches in college. He came into the the draft as a high ceiling, but low floor type of player. Since being drafted he’s dealt with conditioning/asthma issues that has prevented him from getting on the field.
Woods on the other hand has been one of the more consistent veteran WRs in the league the last 6 years. He’s coming off a major knee injury, but looks like he’s fully healthy. Given his track record and early signs of recovery he should be thought of as the Titans top option.
The ADP gap has closed considerably over the past few weeks, the fact that it still remains is shocking. Woods seems all but certain to be the top target in this offense. Burks might not even start the year as the 2nd WR, and could struggle to produce as a rookie. He has some big play potential, but even in best ball it’s tough to get excited about him at this price.
Denver Broncos: Courtland Sutton (ADP 36.6) Jerry Jeudy (ADP 47.5) Tim Patrick (ADP: 115.6)
-Courtland Sutton led the Broncos in total receiving stats last season, his first year back from a major injury. On a per game basis though Jerry Jeudy produced more fantasy production as he dealt with his own injuries. Lurking in the background of the debate is Tim Patrick, who for the last two seasons has simply produced every time the Broncos have called upon him. While it’s likely a two man race, there is a chance that Patrick stays on the field in 2 WR sets, and with a new coaching staff and QB you don’t know how the chips will fall.
Heading into camp though it is expected that both Sutton and Jeudy are the beneficiaries of the more aggressive offense and Russell Wilson throwing the football. Sutton is the more complete WR and is guaranteed to be on the field in 2 WR sets. He also profiles as more the outside, downfield threat that Wilson has thrived with in his career. With his size he’s more likely to lead the team in end zone targets as well. Jeudy is a talented receiver as well, and he has shown flashes, so this could be his breakout year. Still Sutton is the safer bet for WR1 on this team.
Sutton is the guy you should be targeting on your best ball teams, but Jeudy and even Patrick can pay off their ADP as well.
Kansas City Chiefs: JuJu Smith-Schuster (ADP: 55) Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ADP: 89.9) Skyy Moore (ADP: 99.5)
-With Tyreek Hill leaving the big question this offseason is who will be Patrick Mahome’s number 1 WR. Even if Travis Kelce leads the team in fantasy points, whichever WR finishes number 1 is still likely a major scorer. The Chiefs signed Smith-Schuster and Valdes-Scantling this offseason, and drafted Moore in the 2nd round. All three are interesting candidates for the top role.
Smith-Schuster has the best track record with end of season .5 PPR finishes of 22nd in 2017, 8th in 2018 and 18th in 2020. When he’s been healthy he’s been productive for the most part. Even though this is his 6th NFL season, he won’t turn 26 until November. Valdes-Scantling has never had the total season fantasy production, but he has shown the ability to be a big play threat in Green Bay. Kansas City could look to utilize him even more in this role, and perhaps give him additional targets as well. Moore had a breakout season at Western Michigan. Though not a power 5 school, he displays a nice combination of route-running and big play upside.
Smith-Schuster is the safest option here as he could lead the team in targets and catches, but he probably doesn’t have the same big play/TD equity of MVS or Moore. For best ball, all three of these WRs will likely give you viable weeks. MVS might be the most interesting at his price and given the money the team paid him this offseason. Overall though JuJu is still the most likely option to lead this team in fantasy scoring among WRs. Despite the ADP difference, he’s still worth investing in with his track record and upside.