The Wide Receiver position is very deep and shallow at the same time. Breaking the position into tiers is extremely important this year as there is a ton of top talent but the drop off happens quite quickly and it is noticeable. If you have read the other draft day outlooks you know that waiting on a quarterback and tight end is the name of the game. The fact that there is so much depth at those positions mixed with the fact that the top wide receivers (and running backs) disappear quickly is the reason why. Any championship team will get a few of the top wide receivers early.
Draft Day Outlook
The best of the bunch is Megatron a.k.a. Calvin Johnson. He averaged 122 yards a game – that is just insane and the scary thing is he has upside on those numbers. Calvin Johnson only had 5 touchdowns last year, we expect similar (not quite as high) receiving yards with closer to, if not over, 10 touchdowns. Now, only one team can own Johnson so if you are not that lucky team (we do suggest taking many running backs over him) then do not worry too much. Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, and Julio Jones are all worthy of WR1 on any team.
If you do wait on the other positions you should be able to obtain a top back and wideout but in your third and fourth round there is still a good amount of wide receivers to choose from. Andre Johnson is a prime example of someone being undervalued. He had a couple of injury years in a row but last season he was the Andre Johnson of old averaging 99 yards a game. Randall Cobb is another player being undervalued that will produce WR1 numbers. With Greg Jennings gone, Cobb is the favorite target for the NFL’s best quarterback.
Once the top ten wideouts are gone there are another eight receivers that we would still be very excited to have on our fantasy teams and this is where it is important to have them broken down into tiers. (which we have done for you in our rankings). You must keep an eye on when players like Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson, Wes Welker are being drafted. Don’t wait too long to get your WR2.
If you do wait there are still penalty of players that we would be happy with but just not as excited for them for one reason or another. Pierre Garcon is a great example of this, sure, he should Robert Griffin III’s favorite target but injury concerns are an issue. Same goes for Danny Amendola, I love him in a points per reception league, but even I must admit it is a very long shot for him to actually play 16 games. Still the upside is there but that is why they are great WR3 and little bit nerve racking WR2.
In the late middle rounds we stand by our favorite statement when drafting “draft young with upside over old and boring”. Fantasy Championships are won with finding those gems so we have players like Cecil Shorts, Torrey Smith, and Eric Decker all ranked over the elder statesmen of Greg Jennings, Miles Austin, and Jeremy Maclin. (crazy they are the elder statemen all of sudden). We know the ceiling of the older guys so no reason to reach on them at any point. Furthermore, if you listen and get studs early then your bench wide receivers can be high risk/high reward players.
In the late rounds, of course, we are really shooting for the stars. Go with young players such as Aaron Dobson the rookie for New England. He has to be starting and Brady has to throw the deep ball to someone. Another player might be Justin Blackmon, he is suspended the first four games but has the build and the talent to be a freak of nature wide receiver like Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant. Clearly, the quarterback play is a hindrance for him and since he is out the first 4 games we only suggest grabbing him in leagues that have a deep bench. Overall, just go young with breakout potential late in drafts.
Draft Day Advice
Just like the running backs it is important to get a stud wide receiver early but it is also important not to wait too long to draft your second wideout. There is a clear drop off so wait on the other positions and get your backs and receivers early. Then in the later rounds shoot for the stars and grab as many upside guys as you can. I feel extremely confident with this strategy, just be discipline and see it through, as they should yield great results.