WR is the position I feel the most confident in year over year, and generally we know the hierarchy for most teams. That said, a day before I really set about writing this Enunwa went down, unofficial depth charts came out, and rampant speculation continues to make rankings after the top few tiers terrifying, but that’s what makes it so much fun.
Player (Team | My Pos. Rank | Overall ADP | Positional ADP | Difference)
Note: The Watkins and Matthews trades happened while I was writing this. Watkins drops from 18 to 27, Jones as the only outside receiver worth a damn in Buffalo moves from 64 to 57, Matthews moves from 38 to 42, Austin drops from 54 to 58, Boldin moves up to 47 from 48, and Agholor moves up to 88 from 133. I think that covers every move of note.
Very Good Tier
Nothing to see at the top as I’m within 3 spots on every player I have in my top 12.
Man, There Are a Lot of Good Receivers Right Now Tier
The “This is where it could all go wrong” Tier
You’re going to hear this a lot this pre-season, but receiver is ridiculously deep. I mean I have two tiers here that contain all of my WR2s and WR3s. That said, I do have some disagreements with ADP. I’ll skip Sanders whom I’ve talked about a bunch this off-season and don’t have much new to say about his situation. I’m relative optimistic on the Crabtree and Bryant upsides, but not enough that I think I need to rant about it. Which brings us to a topic that I have a strong opinion on rankings-wise but could possibly be talked out of. I think the addition of Brandin Cooks makes the Patriots passing game better in real life but makes it a nightmare for fantasy. Cooks was already a high peak low valley player and now we add him to a QB and offense that spreads the ball around in a way not many teams can, have, or will. I get why people are hyped on Cooks, but I’m not sold the volatility won’t kill you week to week. We hit Coleman, and I’m in the minority here who prefers him to Britt. Britt broke out last year in a bad situation, and I’m not necessarily skeptical of what he did, but I think they have similar skillsets and Coleman is more talented. I’m taking a leap having Coleman as solid WR3, but as long as I get a low variance option at the start of the draft, Coleman gives me a huge upside play. Finally, Mike Wallace. Yes, I know that Maclin is there but Wallace is the big play threat and all he needs is 1 big play a week to win you that week. He’s my last WR3 and as such is a flex option on a team in which you need upside at WR.
A Tier-full Dichotomy of Age
John Brown (ARI | 53 | 114 | 44)
The Tavon Austin Tier
John Ross (CIN | 72 | 162 | 57 | +15)
I’m super high on Lockett and maybe I shouldn’t be with him coming off a broken leg, but a healthy Russell Wilson is a huge boon for whomever gets on the field in that receiving corps and think Lockett is by far the most talented after Baldwin. With Shepard, it’s as simple as I don’t think Marshall kills Shepard’s value. I think Marshall is the WR3 on that team and allows Shepard to move around the field more being a Swiss Army Knife for a Giants offense that needs a spark. Boyd’s value took a nose dive with the addition of John Ross in the draft, but Ross is an outside receiver and Boyd is a slot receiver. The wideout in Cincinnati who’s going to take a hit with Ross’ addition is Lafell. Richardson is a hedge on Lockett’s health and a Seattle offense that should run through Wilson and the passing game more than it did last season while he was injured. Wilson is the third in KC and I don’t think anyone knows exactly how that offense is going to use Hill. I may be too high on Wilson, but this is where WR starts to fall off and that KC offense intrigues me. With Adam Thielen consider me skeptical. I’m probably a bit too low, but I think a better o-line (it can’t get much worse) allows Bradford to look deeper on targets and that favors Treadwell over Thielen. I could be completely wrong though both in my faith in Treadwell’s talent and in the direction of that offense as a whole. As for the bottom of this tier, well they fall into two categories: 1) lottery ticket players in underrated offenses, 2) 2nd or 3rd options I have less faith in. We’ll start with the latter, Ginn & Ross are similar cases to me. Both are speedsters with the ability to threaten the defense at any time vertically. Where they differ is I wonder if Brees gets tired of Ginn’s drops on deep routes where he’s wide open, and with Ross I wonder if injuries this off-season leave him playing catch up this year before going gangbusters next season. As for the lottery tickets, Jaron Brown is a bet on that Arizona offense returning to form and the health of that receiving corps. Miller & Ellington are the belief that someone has to play slot and/or second receiver in Houston and they’re both talented fellows. And Kearse is just more of the same with regards to Seattle’s offense.
The “Hey man why he so low?” Tier
I threw one more tier down here to get you through WR7s in my ranking. It’s an insanely deep year at WR and that means that you can get some very good options late in your draft. I’ll talk more about what that means when we look at my big board. As for WR, well opportunity matters and it’s the best predictor from year to year and at the top that makes sense, but lottery tickets are just that. There’s always turnover so watch what happens with depth charts the next couple of weeks, because that’s where you’ll find opportunity at the receiver position.
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