Dynasty: Second Year WR Rankings (Fantasy Football)
The 2017 NFL Draft will be known as one of the best classes for running backs. In PPR scoring, there ended up being four rookies in the top 12. Alvin Kamara (3rd), Kareem Hunt (4th), Christian McCaffrey (8th), and Leonard Fournette (9th). On the other hand, there was just one rookie WR who finished inside the top 24, JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was the number 23 WR in PPR scoring. The next highest rookie WR was Cooper Kupp (25th) and outside of that, no rookie WR even finished as a WR3. There are definitely some receivers from this class that could breakout in 2018, but for the most part, it was a fairly disappointing season for these receivers. I’ll break down my top five receivers from this class moving forward. Some of these prospects offer upside in 2018, and some offer more upside from a long-term dynasty aspect.
I’ve been an advocate that the dynasty community has been somewhat spoiled by the 2014 WR class. Historically, it takes longer for WRs to develop in the NFL and ultimately, produce fantasy points. The WR is much different from the RB position, where rookies can jump right into a backfield with some opportunity, and produce immediately. With WRs it takes more patience and research to find the best prospects and determine when is the right time to buy.
1. Corey Davis (TEN)
To start this off, I’ll acknowledge that there is a very good chance that most people won’t agree. More than likely you’ve got Smith-Schuster ranked higher and while I like Davis better, I won’t fault anyone for switching these two. I’ll explain later just why I’m not as high on Smith-Schuster as most. Davis came into the 2017 season as really the only rookie WR going very early in rookie drafts. There was a fairly long period of time where he was the consensus number one rookie off the board. His season was hindered by hamstring injuries, and he finished playing just 11 games, and had four games where he had two or fewer targets. The most yards he put up in one game was in week 16 where he had 91 yards. He also finished the season with zero TDs, his only TDs came in the playoffs against the New England Patriots. Including a crazy one-handed grab over Malcolm Butler.
The bottom line for me with Davis is the talent and the situation. I like his situation more than any other receiver out of this class, as I expect the Titans to continue to trend up, with Marcus Mariota being a fantasy stud for years to come. Davis should be the number one option in this offense and assuming he can keep his hamstring issues in check, I expect him to take a big step forward in 2018. In dynasty leagues, he’s still my favorite WR in this class, and there’s a good chance you can get him for cheaper than the next name in this group.
2. JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)
It’s always a good idea to grab the number two WR on the opposite side of the field from a stud like Antonio Brown. Smith-Schuster shocked the fantasy world breaking out and putting up some very nice fantasy performances. He finished the year with 49 grabs on 69 targets, for 774 yards and six TDs. A notable stat for him was finishing with just nine 20+ yard receptions, which was roughly in the 30s for all WRs. He was very efficient with his targets, completing 71% of the passes that were thrown his way. The only reason he isn’t first in this class for me is the uncertainty about the Steelers future. As much as I like Ben Roethlisberger, I believe this could be his last season, potentially a few more at most. The uncertainty around Le’Veon Bell is also concerning, which if he did leave after 2018, could let defenses focus much more on the Steelers passing game than the run.
3. Cooper Kupp (LAR)
Finishing as the second highest WR in this class isn’t saying too much, as Kupp finished as the number 23 WR in PPR scoring. Having said that, a low-end WR2 was a nice finish out of someone that didn’t cost much as far as rookie picks go. Kupp wasn’t the highest ranked prospect but was seen as someone who could thrive in a PPR format. Landing in this Rams offense worked out very nicely for him, and Kupp has a pretty safe floor moving forward. Losing Sammy Watkins to the Kansas City Chiefs hurt at first, but signing Brandin Cooks is just as good, if not better. Cooks is a weapon on the outside, and Kupp should have a chance to continue as a security blanket for Jared Goff in that offense and get peppered with targets.
One notable stat for Kupp is that he finished the season tied for second with Jarvis Landry and Davante Adams for red zone targets to WRs with 23. Only Keenan Allen finished with more at 24 targets in the red zone. This was actually a fairly surprising number to see, as many owners saw his 94 targets as the most appealing stat with Kupp. This is a number that on top of his PPR upside, offers an excellent floor for Kupp for years to come.
4. Chris Godwin (TB)
Godwin is one of my favorite receivers in this class and is a guy I’m targeting as a deep sleeper in redraft leagues. His price is also fairly cheap and is someone I’ve been out making offers for. Jameis Winston at first glance, had a poor season in 2017 and Mike Evans took a step back in his TD production as well. When you look closer at Winston’s numbers and factor in how much time he missed due to injuries, you’ll see what he was on pace for, and that was to damn-near lead the league in passing with roughly 4,900 yards. That offense is headed in the right direction and hopefully will finally have a running game. DeSean Jackson will more than likely be out of Tampa after 2018 due to how much he will be owed, and Godwin should step in if not this year, then next. He’s a very talented receiver and was knocked due to his landing spot. He has excellent combine numbers and metrics, PlayerProfiler.com actually had his comparison to veteran WR Pierre Garcon.
5. Kenny Golladay (DET)
Golladay took the dynasty community by storm last year during the pre-season. He put up two TDs in his first pre-season game last year, and the dynasty community was all on the hype train of Golladay. With the always safe option of Golden Tate out of the slot, the uncertainty around Marvin Jones, and the lack of a running game, it only made sense that he’d be the next young WR to breakout in that offense. Unfortunately for those who invested an early rookie draft pick on him, it didn’t exactly work out. Jones shocked the fantasy world last year, and Golladay took a back seat as the third option in that offense. He finished the season with just 28 receptions for 477 yards (~17 YPR) and three TDs. Golladay is a nice buy-low candidate right now, and I still like the upside he offers a lot.
These aren’t the only WRs from this class with a chance to make something happen in 2018, but they’re my favorites and the guys I think have either the best chance to break out or have the most upside.