Late Round Draft Targets: WR (Fantasy Football)
Fantasy football has always made RBs king. The value of a stud, workhorse RB1 on your roster can never be overstated. However, every decision made in fantasy football has an opportunity cost and prioritizing RB means your WR corps may take a backseat.
Fear not, as the value pool is deep for WRs this year. Here we will examine a few options with a primer for your top WRs with ADPs landing them in Round 10 and later.
Rishard Matthews (TEN)
Through all of 2017, Matthews was an efficient (though incredibly unsexy) producer in fantasy football. He led Tennessee’s WRs in yardage and TDs and finished as WR36 in PPR scoring, despite only playing in 14 games and being featured in the anemic experiment that was: “exotic smashmouth.” Everyone sees that Corey Davis is the upside play; the highly touted sophomore is supposedly healthy and ready for this Matt LaFleur-led offense.
However, Matthews has the rapport with Mariota and should see a starting role on the outside. At WR57 (31 spots lower than WR26 Corey Davis), Matthews has my vote every step of the way. His value is hard to pass up in the 11th or 12th round of most drafts,
Kelvin Benjamin (BUF)
There’s an age-old battle that all fantasy footballers have to deal with at some point in every draft. How do I reconcile opportunity against talent in finding the best values? The answer is still heavily debated, and Benjamin is a great example of this quandary in action. The Bills offense is not expected to be very good at all this year.
However, Benjamin is a WR1 and appears to be healthy. Those qualifications alone make his WR46 ADP an interesting spot. The fantasy value of garbage time can occasionally go overlooked to most new fantasy football GMs, and guys like Benjamin have an opportunity to add late-round value to your fantasy team.
Buffalo will likely need to throw the ball frequently, as they’re expected to be trailing, late in games. Even with two huge question marks at QB, if Benjamin is slipping into the 12th round (and later), he’s still absolutely worth your consideration.
Tyrell Williams (LAC)
Tyrell “The Gazelle” Williams has never been a first choice when looking at the Chargers’ offense. Keenan Allen is solidly in the WR1 role and Mike Williams appears to be back from injury and ready to ascend. However, with Hunter Henry going down early in OTAs, Williams has a shot to retain a decent role within this offense.
After his 2017 performance netted him a WR45 ranking, seeing him at WR75 this pre-season is a bit of a surprise. Mike Williams will get his shot to be the WR2 across from Allen, however, Tyrell is sure to get his targets as it is hard to see an outcome where Henry and Gates’ 115 targets don’t matriculate their way into his additional usage.
Cameron Meredith (NO)
After his impressive breakthrough in 2017, it’s baffling to many why Chicago did not place a higher tender on Meredith as a restricted free agent. However, their loss is New Orleans’ gain. Still rehabbing his knee, Meredith seems to be poised for an opportunity to attack in the Saints’ slot position, cutting into targets that may have previously gone to Coleman, Snead, and Ginn.
It’s never been a secret that buying into the Saints’ offense is usually a worthy investment and seeing that a starting WR on the team could be going in the 12th round and later should raise some eyebrows. Prior to the injury, Meredith was on pace for a 1,000-yard receiving year and was the bright spot in an otherwise bland John Fox offense. Bringing him into the Coors Field of spots (being the fast-track of the Superdome), his potential for resurgence could mean an even more impressive showing in 2017.
Meredith’s circumstance (coming off of injury) is the perfect alignment of stars — a talented player coming from a lackluster offense into playing with one of the greatest QBs of this era and a coach who knows how to use players to their fullest. It’s all happening right in front of our eyes and likely will be in front of yours late in your league’s draft.
Cole Beasley (DAL)
Only 213/485 targets are returning to Dallas this year. This means 56% of last year’s targets will need to be allocated to other receivers. On top of this, Terrance Williams could be facing a suspension and is “on the hot seat” to be cut if he does not show improvement in training camp/preseason, (without Williams, the Cowboys would be replacing 72% of their 2017 targets).
All of this correlates greatly with Beasley’s stock. Beasley has raved about new WR coach Sanjay Lal and seems to be adapting well to more hands-on coaching concerning routes and fundamentals. It’s easy to see how Beasley might thrive in this new offense, particularly over the middle, in a Witten-sized hole. I expect to see Beasley’s third-down and redzone usage rise and help solidify a solid floor in PPR leagues.
At his current ADP (WR96), he’s not even being drafted and yet guys like Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup see their current ADPs at WR49 and WR58, respectively. With an overhaul in the WR room, I don’t think it’s outlandish to see Beasley return to his 2016 form. If he’s out there in one of the last two rounds, I think he’s an instant buy.
These options are strong values later in the draft and one of them may even be a league-winner. It’s okay to try a few different strategies and get a feel for the right one. Using the Draft Assistant Tool is a great way to see just how stacked your team can be with the bargain of WRs like these. Don’t be afraid to wait a few rounds and snag these pass-catchers for your lineup.