Today we’re going to look at several top fantasy wide receivers who I don’t think are going to justify their current average draft position (ADP). Keep in mind that I don’t necessarily dislike any of these guys – my stance is simply that you can get better value elsewhere in your draft. The 2014 fantasy football mock draft season is still young, but enough overall trends have emerged that we can begin to speculate on overall player value. All references to ADP are provided via 12-team results from FantasyFootballCalculator.com.
Over his career, Andre Johnson has been a complete stud. He’s been over 1100 yards in every full season he’s played since his rookie year. He’s been one of those rock-solid WR1’s you could always count on. Well, until this year. He’s already said that he wants out of Houston, and there are rumors of a holdout. And who can blame him? The Texans have, in short order, gone from a team on the brink of being a major playoff contender to a ghost ship. Arian Foster is still around to run the ball, and DeAndre Hopkins could be an emerging stud at WR. The issue is QB play. The QBs currently on the Houston roster are Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage, and Case Keenum. As erratic as Matt Schaub was, he sure does look good compared to those bargain bin options. Unless the Texans come up with a solid QB not currently on their roster, it looks to be a long year for pass-catchers in Houston. At his current 4th round ADP value, 33 year-old Johnson simply isn’t well positioned to return even value or upside.
I don’t really have a massive issue with Brown, his supporting cast, or the pass-first offense in place in Pittsburgh. I actually believe that the addition of a more experienced Le’Veon Bell can only help the prospects of the Steeler offense. I have issue with Browns value with respect to his ADP. He’s being drafted currently at 3.01, which means he’s a virtual lock to be off the board in the third round. Here are the other WRs being drafted in the second / third rounds: Alshon Jeffrey, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Keenan Allen, Vincent Jackson. Maybe I’m a hater, but I’d rather have all those guys than Antonio Brown. Non-WR players being taken right around Brown? Julius Thomas, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Zac Stacy, Gronk, Andre Ellington. Again, I think the upside is much higher for all those players than Antonio. I just think he’s going too early. He’s going to have to produce at least last year’s breakout line to justify his very expectant price, leaving very little room for upside.
I really can’t understand why Edelman is being so highly regarded in fantasy circles. He caught 105 passes on 151 targets in an offense that clearly had virtually nobody else to throw to. It’s so obviously a career year that I’m shocked his ADP is still in the 6th round. The Pats are going to be much more of a running team this year (rather, we’re expecting them to be), Danny Amendola is expected to be back and healthy, and Aaron Dobson / Gronk are expected to take a large bite out of Edelman’s targets as well. I think that Edelman should be a useful WR3 / WR4, but no more than that. He’s not a big play guy and the now-healthy Patriots will be focusing on their more explosive options. For similar draft-day money I’d rather grab Terrance Williams, Marques Colston, Kendall Wright, or Golden Tate.
You could almost copy this prose from my analysis of why Russell Wilson will disappoint. A quick review: The Seahawks are a run-first, ball-control, lockdown defensive team. They just won a Super Bowl with exactly that formula, destroying the Denver offensive juggernaut in the process. Can you really expect them to deviate that much from that formula this year? The leading Seattle wideout last year, Golden Tate, caught 64 balls for under 1000 yards. Now, Harvin is a much more electric player than Tate, but he’s also ten times the injury risk, having missed 22 of the last 25 games. He’s liable to be injured while playing WR or returning kickoffs, and at an ADP of 4.10 I just can’t see where the upside really is here. Percy seems like a high-risk, low-reward type player and I’ll be bypassing him on draft day.
I think Sanders is a useful WR, and I think he’ll be pretty decent in Denver. But if you’re expecting Sanders to match Eric Decker’s 1200+ yards and 11 TD’s, keep dreaming. Sanders is a good fit for the Broncos offense, but he doesn’t have the physical presence that Decker did, and it’s a lock that Peyton Manning isn’t going to distribute another 55 TD’s this season. With the TD regression to mean will come some yardage regression as well, and you additionally have to consider that Sanders hasn’t ever played a single regular-season snap with Manning. He’s being drafted in the 6th round, around WRs like Floyd, Hilton, Maclin, Torrey Smith, and Mike Wallace. The price seems awful expectant for a guy who hasn’t ever eclipsed 750 yards receiving in his career.
Is Watkins going to be the most physically talented WR on the Bills roster? Probably, and my guess is that eventually he’ll be a stud in the NFL. But I don’t believe this is the year for that ascension to greatness. WRs generally have a tough time adjusting to the NFL’s speed and physical play, and I doubt that Watkins will buck this trend. Industry pundits are lining up Watkins’ projected output with A.J. Green’s rookie year, which ended up as a 65/1,057/7 line. I don’t think Watkins reaches those numbers – E.J. Manuel is a project of an NFL passer at this point, and the Bills offense projects to be very run-heavy once again behind the dual threats of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. The Bills leading wideout caught 53 balls for 597 yards and 3 TD’s last year (Stevie Johnson). Even if you add a bit to this line, you’re still nowhere close to the A.J. Green comparison. Let’s talk about Watkins again in 2015, when both Manuel and Watkins have had a season to mature together.