Matthew Freedman’s High-Risk WRs to Avoid (2022 Fantasy Football)
Every year, wide receivers break out and lead fantasy managers to championships. See: Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson. Especially in PPR and Half-PPR formats, being right about some high-performing wide receivers in the early and middle rounds can carry your fantasy squads even if you miss on some other picks in your draft.
However, the opposite can also be true. Being wrong about wideouts in the early rounds can sink your fantasy football season. The top half of your drafts is not the time for taking risks, especially at a premium position like wide receiver.
See below for the high-risk wide receivers Matthew Freedman is avoiding in fantasy football drafts this season.
Davante Adams (LV)
ADP: 11 | Freedman: 16
Adams gets a downgrade at QB, Derek Carr is not Aaron Rodgers, and he has more target competition than he’s ever had as a No. 1 receiver. Although he played with Carr in college, he doesn’t have the recent rapport with Carr that Renfrow and Waller do. Adams might not be used across the formation the same way he was in Green Bay. The offense likely won’t be as good, so fewer TD opportunities. And HC Josh McDaniels has had mixed results without Tom Brady and outside New England. McDaniels is probably good, the Raiders will probably have a good offense, but it’s not a certainty, so all of the unknowns surrounding Adams make him, I think, a risky pick in Round 1. This has nothing to do with his talent, it’s the new circumstances.
I think he should go in the middle of Round 2. Floor: High-end WR2. Stefon Diggs is going right after him at an ADP of 12, I’d take him before Adams.
I feel like I’m cheating because Godwin’s ADP doesn’t reflect the fact that Julio Jones has signed with the Bucs. But even before that his ADP was too high. He has been cleared for training camp, but that’s not a guarantee that he’ll be ready for Week 1, and we shouldn’t expect him to be as efficient the season after an ACL tear, which he suffered in December. In Round 5, a lack of upside basically equals downside — if you’re not drafting to win you’re drafting to lose — and I don’t see the upside this year for Godwin because of the injury and the increased target competition with Julio Jones as well as Russell Gage.
Allen Robinson (LAR)
ADP: 69 | Freedman: 88
I’ve been vocal about my distrust of Allen Robinson. Robinson’s second NFL season (1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns) was transcendent. It was also seven years ago, and since then he has been more of an accumulator than a playmaker … and last year the accumulation stopped.
His 2021 season is like the joke about two women at a Catskills Resort talking about the food. One woman says, “This food is really bad.” And the other one says, “I know, and such small portions.”
Allen Robinson got almost no targets last year — and when he did, he did almost nothing with them. When that happens with a WR who is getting older, we should be very skeptical, and Robinson’s age should be a concern. Especially for a guy with an ACL injury in his past and a guy who wins through physicality more than technique, he is right on the cusp of when we could reasonably attribute a decline in efficiency to age, and not to randomness, not solely to quarterback play or coaching incompetence or lack of motivation, or whatever random excuse people always use to explain the declining production of an aging player they like.
For years, Allen Robinson has been a volume-hyped receiver — and then in 2021 the bottom fell out.
410 yards, 1 TD, 66 targets in 12 games.
And now people are ranking him as a high-end WR3?
Find someone who loves you as much as the average fantasy expert loves A-Rob.
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) June 1, 2022
Let’s Occum’s Razor this thing. Allen Robinson played badly last year because there’s a very real chance that he is no longer the player he used to be.
People are acting as if the fact that the Rams gave Robinson a lucrative multi-year contract means something, as if teams always make rational decisions when they’re in a championship window. They’re a great organization, but they just drafted Tutu Atwell in the second round last year. We’re not still talking about that investment in a WR. A year from now, this contract could look horrible.
People seem to assume that Robinson will automatically see 120-plus targets in 2022 — but that’s what they assumed last year, and Robinson has a hard cap on his ceiling given that he will play behind Cooper Kupp and has averaged just 7.7 yards per target since his 2017 ACL tear.
Even with 120 targets, I doubt he’ll be efficient as a yardage accumulator, and I think his TD potential is being overstated, given that QB Matthew Stafford has an established connection with Kupp and that the Rams offense will likely regress in passing TDs.
Mike Clay of ESPN has Robinson projected for 71-920-6. We have him a little more optimistically projected for 73.5, 937.4, and 6.5. And I think we’re high on him. At DraftKings, his receiving prop is 825.5. I’m just very skeptical of his upside.
If he outperforms ADP, I think he’ll barely do it. If he underperforms ADP, he could be a disaster.
Hunter Renfrow (LV)
ADP: 79 | Freedman: 106
A lot of what I said earlier about Davante Adams applies to Hunter Renfrow. More target competition, both overall and in the red zone. And a new coaching staff, so uncertainty about the specifics of how he’ll be used.
The problem with Renfrow isn’t really his floor. He has the floor of a WR4. His problem is ceiling, and that makes him risky, because especially this late in the draft we should be targeting upside. I’d prefer JuJu Smith-Schuster (83), DeVonta Smith (87) and Kadarius Toney (117).
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