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.
5. Torrey Smith
After going as the WR54 in February, Smith has constantly risen in value since the middle of March, and he is now going as WR43 and a top 100 pick. After such a drastic rise in ADP, why am I still touting him as a target?
Because it’s still way too low.
|Year||Pass Attempts||Rank||WR1||WR1 Rank|
What you are looking at is the pass attempts, pass attempts rank, and WR1 rank under Chip Kelly in his time with the Eagles.1 That’s right, Kelly’s top target has a low finish of WR16 in PPR leagues. WR16! And before you try and tell me Smith isn’t the same quality of player as those other WRs, take a look at the chart below.
Smith is just as athletic as the rest of the Chip Kelly WR1’s, and the only player who outproduced him in college was Jordan Matthews. Not only that, but he is entering his age 27 season, the same age DeSean Jackson was during his massive season under Chip, and just a year older than Jeremy Maclin was in 2014. And no matter who wins the San Francisco QB battle, he will probably be at least as good as Sam Bradford and Nick Foles.
If Smith were being drafted at is floor, he’d be a terrific value. As it stands, he is going well below it right now, making him a must-draft everywhere. He’s probably my favorite player on this entire list.
4. Laquon Treadwell
Before the NFL Draft, I presented a very simple case that Treadwell would be a buy in rookie drafts simply due to his age and expected draft position. The draft came and went, and Treadwell went in the first round to the Minnesota Vikings. I already explained in the last installment of this series why the Vikings could throw more in 2016, but I also want to further emphasize my age point using the new RotoViz Screener App.
As you can see, there is a very clear relationship between rookie age and rookie PPR points. Put simply, the younger the better. To further that point, 21 percent of 21 year old, first round WRs since 2000 have finished as a WR2 or better in their rookie seasons, and 50 percent have finished as a WR3 or better. These very simple reasons make Treadwell an easy target in 2016.
3. Dorial Green-Beckham
Lots of people don’t realize that DGB was the Titans’ best WR last season.
He could obviously stand to catch a higher percentage of his passes, but the rookie, who hadn’t played football in two years, went out and destroyed his competition in yards per target, while also being their best TD scorer at the WR position. He shockingly isn’t a starter right now, but head coach Mike Mularkey has already admitted to it being a motivational tactic.
Meanwhile, Jacob Meyers has already constructed a brilliant piece explaining just how high DGB’s upside is this season in which he provided the following range of outcomes based on Mularkey’s love for his top WR target.
|msTRGT||Targets||Receptions||Yards||TDs||PPR FPs||2015 WR Rank|
I may tempter expectation a little bit since Rishard Matthews is a breakout candidate himself, but Green-Beckham is a player who was arguably the best SEC WR prospect of the past 15 years. Especially since we have already seen him be productive, I’m willing to gamble on his upside.
2. Marvin Jones
What if I told you that Jones was already producing at a level similar to what Calvin Johnson did for the Lions last season?
The all-time great WR retired after last season, and his production had been declining for four seasons straight in terms of yards per target. Jones’ boost of youth could be a nice boon for this Detroit offense, and it is very possible that he ends up as the WR1 for this team.
Even if he isnt the WR1, both Johnson and Golden Tate received more that 20 percent of the team’s targets once Jim Bob Cooter took over the Lions offense in Week 8. They were also extremely pass-heavy under Cooter, passing on 62.3 percent of plays, well ahead of the league average pass percent of 59. This makes Jones a pretty easy bet for 120 targets in 2016, and he is someone who already has a 10 TD season under his belt in the pros.
1. Corey Coleman
Speaking of targets, Coleman should be seeing a ton of them in 2016.
|Year||Pass Attempts||WR1||WR 1 Tar MS|
Jackson has worked with some terrific WRs in his time as an offensive coordinator or head coach, but even the likes of Darrius Heyward-Bey has seen 25 percent of the team targets. In fact, the only top target to see less than 25 percent of targets was Louis Murphy, and he is on his fourth different team since that 2010 season with Oakland. Coleman, meanwhile, was 2016’s top WR prospect, and is comparable to Odell Beckham. And you can be sure that Jackson will get the most out of his young WR. Take a look at how Jackson’s top WRs have performed with and without him in their careers.
|Year||Team||WR1||YPT w/Hue||YPT w/o Hue|
There is no question that Coleman will have every opportunity to show his explosiveness in 2016, and he is a fantastic selection this season.
All of today’s targets are going at about pick 70 or later, and are some of the first WRs you should be looking at if you are using a Robust RB strategy.
- I don’t think I need to explain that Smith is the easy WR1 playing alongside Bruce Ellington, DeAndre Smelter, and Quinton Patton. (back)