When I released my blueprint for dominating your league by going Robust RB, I mentioned that one of its strengths was the ability to load up on wide receiver talent after an RBx5 start. While you can have a roster that is still heavily comprised of WRs, taking them later in the draft necessitates being able to identify players who could outperform their ADP. Here are some guidelines I like to use when trying to find such players:
- Target rookies
- Target WRs in high-volume passing attacks
- Target WRs that play with top quarterbacks
- Target WRs with terrific collegiate production
These guidelines are not exclusive, and will not always result in landing on a player who will hit. However, if we can acquire even a couple of boons in this fashion, we will be set up for a great fantasy season. I pruned down my list of WRs for the Robust RB drafter to 15 players. I will list them in reverse order of ADP.
Having already covered WRs 11 to 15, today I will go through numbers six to 10.
10. Tyler Boyd
Boyd kicks off a trio of rookies that I will cover today, and he is someone we have already produced a ton of content about here at RotoViz. I was first turned onto Boyd by the great Jon Moore, who showed his absurd level of production as a receiver, runner, and returner. Jon then followed that up with his Phenom Index scores, which had Boyd slotted in third. His 2.75 PI score was above both the median and average for last year’s top 12 WRs.
Then the draft happened, and Boyd ended up with the Bengals, a team with a very welcoming opportunity score per Kevin Cole. He also checked all the boxes for RotoDoc, who raced1 to his computer to talk about Boyd’s awesome production, age, comps, and opportunity. Finally, Shawn Siegele blew the top off of potential Boyd outcomes with the following comp group.
Boyd shares a lot of similar traits as the incumbent top PPR WR, and could be very useful this season after the departures of Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones. Then there’s this.
On the show, @ColeyHarvey said that he does NOT expect Tyler Eifert to play in Week 1.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) June 17, 2016
If Tyler Eifert misses any time this year, that only increases the opportunity for Boyd, who is still going outside of the top 65 WRs in drafts.
9. Will Fuller
Fuller was a player I hypothesized could be a first round pick in December as he looked a lot like Brandin Cooks, Nelson Agholor, and Phillip Dorsett. Fuller was then the runner-up in our RotoViz WR Prospect Championship to Corey Coleman. Then, just before the draft, Justin Winn showed that he looks a lot like the best small WRs of the last decade.
In the NFL Draft, the Texans selected Fuller in the first round, 21st overall. This prompted fantasy owners to draft him…well, not very high. Fuller is going after five other rookie WRs, and just before Boyd. I struggled to figure out why just a short time ago.
Why? It can’t be Houston’s top 10 pass volume from a year ago. It can’t be the solidification of the QB position with Brock Osweiler. It can’t be his outstanding collegiate production, or his prodigious comparable players. It certainly can’t be his drops. Is it his competition?
With Fuller only having to compete with the now lighter Jaelen Strong, newly turned WR Braxton Miller, and underwhelming veteran Cecil Shorts, there really is no reason to be passing on Fuller at his current ADP.
8. Terrance Williams
Williams had the best fantasy season of his career, but he may have enjoyed a true third year breakout had Tony Romo been able to stay healthy. First, from the AYA App.
No, you aren’t seeing things. Williams has been Romo’s most efficient target, including Dez Bryant. Check out his fantasy numbers with and without the veteran QB.
Williams is averaging a ridiculous 10 yards per target and 0.096 TD rate with Romo on the field, so why hasn’t he had a true breakout yet? The answer is volume, as he has never had more than the 94 targets he absorbed as a rookie.
But will that improve? The Cowboys have averaged less than a 500 attempt season-long pace the last two seasons with a healthy Romo and Scott Linehan calling the plays. But the Cowboys were a middling defense last season, ranking just 19th in overall Football Outsiders DVOA, and 29th against the run. They also will be without Greg Hardy this season, and sophomore defensive end Randy Gregory for the first four games due to suspension. Not a good start for a team that was only 25th in sacks last season. The team drafted high-profile linebacker Jaylon Smith, but is recovering from a terrible knee injury and should miss the entire 2016 season.
The point here is that if the Dallas defense regresses, or Bryant struggles to return from his foot injury, there could be a lot more targets to come for Williams. We already got a glimpse of what he could do with that last season, even with Romo mostly out of the picture.
7. Michael Thomas
If we use the six year catch rate for the WR3 of 0.66, we can expect the Saints’ WR3 to accumulate 141 fantasy points in 2016, which would have been good for WR49 last season. That means you are drafting Thomas at about his floor right now (unless you think Brandon Coleman gets in his way).
Wait, what’s that? Coleman’s roster spot isn’t secure? Looks like Thomas has that WR3 job secured at the very least for 2016. But if he is going to truly do a lot of what Marques Colston used to do for the offense, perhaps that means the WR2 job is his for the taking. Fortunately, he’s a bigger school, more athletic version of Willie Snead.
Snead has the upper hand in experience with the Saints, but he is also being drafted earlier than the Ohio State rookie. Buy.
6. Stefon Diggs
Many people are assuming that with the draft pick of Laquon Treadwell, Diggs will be automatically relegated to the WR2 in Minnesota. But is this potentially flawed?
Diggs has a sizable advantage over Treadwell in both career and final year market share of yards. This is important since production may be all that matters in assessing WR prospects. Diggs also had a Football Outsiders Playmaker score that was 20 percent higher than that of Treadwell’s. Oh, and he was really good as a rookie
Much like Williams, Diggs’ biggest issue, even if he ends up running as the WR1, is volume. This was much less of an issue when Adrian Peterson was suspended in 2014.
But even with AP out, Minnesota’s pass attempts were not particularly impressive, though they were much higher.
But what if the reason for this isn’t the presence of an all-time great RB in Peterson? After all, Norv Turner’s Chargers threw the ball 548 times in 2001 with LaDainian Tomlinson at RB and Doug Flutie at QB. What if it is instead due to the WRs he’s had?
Outside of Diggs, the best WRs in the Turner regime have been a 31 year-old Greg Jennings and a 5-foot 10-inch slot player with a 0.19 career market share of collegiate receiving yards. Cordarrelle Patterson has been a train wreck and Mike Wallace, well, he went full Wallace. Isn’t it possible that with Treadwell in tow the Vikings throw the ball more? Even likely? I think so, and with Diggs priced as a WR2 in a low-volume offense, that makes it a good time to buy.
Today’s targets can really be separated into two groups in terms of cost, with the first three players going between picks 15o and 200, and the last two hovering around 100.
Stay on the lookout for more WRs for the Robust RB drafter!
- See what I did there? (back)