Wide receivers are dropping like flies already around the league. I guess you can’t be surprised by injuries during the preseason but they are always disappointing. Let’s hope by discussing some wide receivers in this article, we aren’t jinxing anyone here.
By now, you are deep into your research for the upcoming season. Some of you might have already drafted your team for the year and are just trying to avoid the before-mentioned, injury bug. For the rest of you, you need to know a few guys to target in those drafts. I’ve already covered the quarterback and running back position in this series on http://teamriseorfall.com.
The wide receiver position is deeper than any other position. There’s value all over the place during your drafts. Whether your strategy is to grab an elite receiver early or grab your running backs first and wait, you’re going to be able to draft a solid wide receiving core. There are a few guys that stand out to me when looking at the ADP data. These guys are available a little later in your draft but will outperform the other receivers in their tier.
So enough of the small talk, let’s get into the nitty-gritty!
I can’t believe I’m saying this in 2021. Prior to last season, I was out on Antonio Brown. It’s clear that he and Brady have a connection. This year he’s being drafted as the 41st receiver off the board. That’s a WR4 for those that don’t want to do the math. So this year, I’m sucked back in.
Brown only played 8 games last year. Just a year removed from playing in one game the entire year of 2019. Even with being out of action for almost two full years, Brown was 24th amongst wide receivers on a point per game basis. Sure, he had a huge game in week 17 but he’s got some games under his belt.
Brown’s ADP is a little low because there’s a lot of guys that can catch the ball in Tampa. That doesn’t concern me. Brady will throw the ball 625 plus times. When he does guess what? He looks for Brown. He had a 17.78% target share compared to Mike Evans with a 17.73%. Are we fading Evans? Probably not!
So, when you are taking guys in the 7th and 8th round, depending on roster construction, you’ll need guys with upside. Brown will give you that upside but has a high enough floor too.
Boyd is my favorite Bengals wide receiver. In PPR formats, Boyd is a solid starter. He’s not being drafted as such. Right now, he’s listed as WR35. I get it. He’s not the sexy pick. There are two younger receivers in Cincy that are far more attractive than good ol’ Boyd. So let your league mates drool over the new options while you take the value later on.
Boyd was having a great season until the team lost Burrow for the year. They played 10 games together. During that span, Boyd had 163 fantasy points in PPR leagues. That is good for 16.3 points per game. That puts Boyd as WR14.
The Bengals are a team that has to throw a lot. They’re not projected to have a winning record so game script comes into play. AJ Green is now an Arizona Cardinal but yes, the team drafted Chase. Cincinnati reminds me of Tampa Bay. They will throw over 600 times and have three solid wide receivers. Boyd led the team in target share at 20.87%. Green and Higgins each had over 18%. They spread the ball around fairly evenly which gives everyone 100 plus targets for the year.
Boyd caught a career-high, 71.8% of his targets. Boyd gets the volume and he’s efficient. He’s not going to set the world on fire with touchdowns but he’s good for 5-6. There’s a lot to love here. Don’t be distracted by shiny new toys.
Here’s another guy being drafted as a WR4. Cooks is currently being drafted as the 45th wide receiver off the board. He’s being taken in the 8th round of drafts. I don’t know what is happening here. He’s finished as a top 16 wide receiver in five of the last six seasons.
Cooks hasn’t found himself a place to call home for long during his career. Houston is his 4th home. But even though he’s moved around, he’s always found success. Cooks received 23.5% of the teams’ targets last year. That number may go up. The team is bad and the quarterback situation is a mess. Also, the top competitor for targets, Will Fuller, is now in Miami. So on a team that will have to throw a lot, the volume is there for Cooks.
More on the departure of Fuller. This is a small sample size but Cooks played 4 games without Fuller last year. In those four games, he averaged over 20 fantasy points per game in PPR formats. He averaged seven catches, 100 yards, and a score each week.
What is most likely to happen? The team is worse. They will throw a ton. Cooks is the main attraction. It may take more volume to repeat his usual numbers but it’s coming. People are sleeping on Cooks this year.
Check out the 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit by Team Rise or Fall to get the edge over your opponents this season!