It’s one of the best feelings in a draft when a player that you wanted falls past their ADP or rankings and you can scoop them up at great value, but you can’t always rely on that happening. Sometimes you need to ignore ADP and reach to take your player, you may not get that immediate draft day validation of getting ‘a great value’ on the player, but I assure you its just as sweet when you reach and take a player that hits after your league mates questioned your decision to draft them so high.
Here are 5 wide receivers I am willing to reach a round above their ADP to make sure I get them on my team.
(All ADP and stats are based on 10-man standard scoring redraft leagues)
Jordy Nelson - ADP 2.02, WR6
Jordy Nelson is one of the most consistent wide receivers in fantasy football, yet people still don't want to take him as a top 5 wide receiver in drafts. Maybe people are so scared of his age and the 2015 ACL injury in the preseason that they forgot that he was the WR2 overall in fantasy last year after missing the whole offseason rehabbing his knee. Despite this, Jordy Nelson averaged 12.98 Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) making him not only the 2nd best overall wide receiver, but also the 2nd best in FPPG (he was more productive than Julio and A.J. even when injury was accounted for). In the last 4 full seasons that Jordy Nelson has played he hasn't had a single season with less the 1,200 receiving yards. He is Aaron Rodgers favorite target, and the rapport they have is hard to duplicate. We did finally see the beginning of Davante Adams emergence, but Jordy will still be the main passing option for that team, and Aaron Rodgers is more than capable of creating two fantasy must-start wide receivers as we’ve seen in previous seasons. Last year Jordy Nelson only scored less than 9 fantasy points twice, and both were before Week 8 making Nelson incredibly valuable down the stretch. I am targeting Jordy Nelson in the back half of the 1st round of drafts.
Demaryius Thomas - ADP 4.08, WR16
Last year was the first time in 5 seasons that Demaryius Thomas failed to eclipse 1,300 receiving yards, but still produced a respectable 1,083 yard and 5 TD stat line. I expect those numbers to increase this year. Yes, the quarterback position in Denver is far from ideal on paper. It sounds like Trevor Siemian is going to start over Paxton Lynch, and although neither are great passers at this point in their career, Siemian is a better fit for Demaryius Thomas. Siemian is a conservative quarterback that doesn't take too many shots down field. This may seem like it hurts Demaryius’ outlook, but with Mike McCoy back as the offensive coordinator this will actually help Demaryius. Demaryius’ rise to NFL stardom was helped immensely by Thomas’ ability to turn tunnel and bubble screens into long TDs. The last few seasons this play was all but taken out of the offense with Kubiak’s zone-running scheme, but I expect this play to become a staple of the offense again. Mike McCoy was the offensive coordinator in Denver from 2009-2012 when he became the Head Coach of the Chargers. When he left Adam Gase took over the Offensive Coordinator role before going to Chicago and eventually ending up as the Head Coach of Miami along with Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph; the new head coach of the Denver Broncos. Starting to see the connections? Both McCoy and Gase used Demaryius heavily in the screen game. Especially with a quarterback that isn't a great deep ball thrower, wide receiver screens will be Denver’s best chance at picking up chunk yardage in the passing game. I have no problem reaching to take Demaryius in the mid-3rd of draft.
Davante Adams - ADP 5.04, WR19
Davante Adams finished as the WR9 in FPPG last year averaging 10.73 points per game. That was more than guys like Brandin Cooks, Dez Bryant, Doug Baldwin, and Amari Cooper to name a few; all players that are getting taken 2-3 rounds before Adams. For the life of me I don’t understand why he's going so late. The situation hasn't changed and I don’t see any reason why Davante Adams cant replicate his 2016 season, or maybe even build off of it. It is true that Adams in the 2nd target in the offense and most wide receivers going in this range are the focal point of their offense, but as I touched on when talking about Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers is more than capable of supporting two top fantasy assets. Over the past 8 seasons where Rodgers played at least 15 games he's only thrown for less than 4,000 yards twice (3,821 in 2015 and 3,922 in 2010) and thrown for less that 30 TDs twice (28 in 2010 and 28 in 2008). He is the model of elite consistency. Reach and take Adams in the 4th and enjoy the fruits of his value.
DeVante Parker - ADP 7.02, WR26
Where the first three of the players on the list have established themselves as fantasy starters, DeVante Parker on the other hand is pure projection, but I don’t think I’m alone on this one. After Tannehill got injured and the Dolphins signed Cutler, Parker has been a hot name in fantasy circles. And for good reason, the 2015 14th overall pick in the draft from Louisville has flashed his potential since coming into the league, but has been unable to string together consistent performances. Last season it was clear that Adam Gase was extremely frustrated with Parker’s lack of discipline taking care of his body leading to many nagging injuries. By all accounts Parker came into camp this year in the best shape of his life and Adam Gase was quick to praise his work ethic. One other factor that made it difficult for Parker to fully emerge was the chemistry that Ryan Tannehill and Jarvis Landry had which made it difficult for Parker to increase his target share. Now that Cutler is the quarterback I expect Parker to finally produce up to his potential. Parker’s comp coming out of college was Brandon Marshall, a player both Cutler and Gase have extensive experience working with. Cutler even just referred to Parker as, “a faster Alshon Jeffery.” With a strong running game on the back of Jay Ajayi defenses will have to start crowding the box which will open up big gains in the play-action passing game, a staple of the Gase offense. I see Parker being the X wide receiver outside that will benefit most from the running game and change in quarterback. I have no problem taking Parker in the early 6th round of fantasy drafts.
Sammy Watkins - ADP 7.09, WR29
Oh Sammy Watkins… We all know the talent is there, but its a question of if he can stay healthy and whether the Rams offense will be stable enough to support a consistent fantasy wide reciever. The Rams did add Robert Woods and Cooper Krupp this year, but Watkins is clearly in another tier from those players. Sammy Watkins was disappointing for fantasy owners last year in 6 of the 8 the games he played in, and even more disappointing in the 8 games he didn't even suit up for. I understand people’s reluctance to draft Sammy Watkins, especially if you owned him last year. In 2015 however Sammy Watkins had at least 10 points in 8 of the 12 games he played in and eclipsed 20 points 3 times. I would make the argument that the Bills additionally had a terrible offense, but with him going to the Rams I’m not sure it’s much of an improvement. Even still, if Watkins can just stay healthy he should cover his draft cost and if Watkins and Goff can establish a rapport and Gurley can make defenses respect the run Watkins has the chance to be a steal. Watkins has the widest range of outcomes on this list of wide recievers, but with a mid-late 6th round pick why not take a shot on him? Not many other players in this range have WR1 upside.
Software and Rankings available on www.TheHateful8FF.com
Follow @ryandcal and @thehateful8ff on Twitter
Be sure to listen, review, and subscribe to The Hateful 8 FF podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Fantrax Radio Network!