Unlike running backs, the incoming wide receiver class doesn’t have the potential to cause complete chaos on depth charts around the league. We’re simply not going to see the same disruption at WR that we are at RB. It’s the nature of the position that it’s much harder for rookies to come in and take a starter’s job in year one, so we’re listing these players with more of a long-term/dynasty outlook in mind.
While the top-end talent may not be there this year, it’s a deep field of contenders, and a few WRs who are sitting pretty today may soon find themselves falling down the depth chart.
The current No. 1 WR on an ascendant offense, Pierre Garçon is in a great spot to pay off on his seventh-round ADP in MFL10 best ball drafts. In his first year with the 49ers, Garçon was on a 1,000-yard pace with Brian Hoyer as his quarterback before going down with a mid-season neck injury.
Garçon is an even better value considering he’s going behind teammate Marquise Goodwin in drafts. I’m not sure why we’re suddenly treating Goodwin as the No. 1 WR, given Garçon got the clear edge in work when the two were in the lineup.
The 49ers are extremely unlikely to go WR with their ninth-overall pick, but they do have two picks in the second round — 43rd and 59th overall. There will be plenty of WR options on the board there, guys like Equanimeous St. Brown, Auden Tate, D.J. Chark, James Washington, and maybe even Christian Kirk or Courtland Sutton.
Perhaps none of them can push Garçon in year one, but then again, bringing on someone like Kirk or Sutton would make me awfully nervous if I was holding the 31-year-old Garçon in dynasty leagues.
Allen Hurns isn’t in a phenomenal spot in 2018, but he is the de facto No. 1 WR after Dallas turfed Dez Bryant. He’s the youngest WR of the bunch and the only one with a 1,000-yard season to his name. However, none of the Cowboys WR corps was very good in 2017, which is why the team continues to be linked to the top WR prospects.
Last year, the Cowboys targeted their WRs 311 times. If Hurns can command around a third of those, he should have no problem breaking 800 yards and blowing his current 14th-round ADP out of the water.
However, if the they use their first-round pick on D.J. Moore or Calvin Ridley, most of Hurns’ redraft and dynasty value evaporates. He’s a guy you’d be drafting in the hopes of high volume, but obviously bringing a first-round WR prospect can change all that.
Even if they wait until their 50th-overall pick to grab a WR, that player will be given every opportunity to climb the camp depth chart and put some pressure on a ragtag cast of pass catchers.
Ridley is an older prospect, and after playing in a pro-style offense at Alabama, he’s poised to make an instant impact if given the chance. Moore is younger, and perhaps less NFL ready, but he has the highest Phenom Index score we’ve ever recorded. Seeing him step in and have a JuJu Smith-Schuster-like impact as a rookie wouldn’t be a shock to anyone at RotoViz.
That would hurt all the rest of the Dallas WRs, but no one more so than Hurns.
Tyler Lockett represents another WR who is currently a great value in MFL10s but could find himself hurting for targets before long.
The Seahawks have a valuable passing game — their WRs had the 10th-most expected points in 2017, and Russell Wilson was the QB1. Yet with Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson all gone, they don’t have many pass catchers left.
Doug Baldwin could be in for a ton of targets in 2018, and a rookie WR won’t be a threat to his role.
That leaves Lockett to handle much of the load left behind by the departed Graham and Richardson, the latter of whom had 80 targets in 2017.
Someone’s got to take advantage of those 175 total targets that have been vacated, and Lockett is in the best position to do it. He looks like phenomenal value with an ADP of 162nd overall. And at just 25-years old, he’s a dynasty bargain too.
But like Hurns, the shine could wear off in a hurry if Seattle spends significant draft capital at WR. They pick 20th overall and then don’t pick again until the fourth round. The Seahawks have needs on defense and the offensive line, but we can’t rule out them getting some help for Wilson. Kirk has been part of their pre-draft visits and profiles as a player who can line up just about anywhere and make an impact right away. With so many needs, perhaps they trade back from 20th and target a receiver in Kirk’s tier.
Or perhaps they just can’t pass if someone like Moore or Ridley is available at their 20th pick. Any one of those three has the pedigree to make Lockett an afterthought.