Fantasy Football 101: WR Strategies

You love candy (Even if you don’t, work with me here). Let’s say your favorite flavor is grape (it’s my favorite so that’s what we’ll go with alright?). You love grape Jolly Ranchers, grape Starburst, grape Skittles, grape Now & Laters. I think you get the point. However, even though grape is your absolute favorite of each candy you still enjoy other flavors of said candies. Because at the end of the day, you love candy! Now let’s go back a decade or two when you were in high school and your friend pulled out some candy.

Of course, you’re expecting him/her to offer you some. They open up their backpack and it’s a splattered rainbow of the deliciousness of all sorts of candies. Obviously, if your friend knows you at all, they know you’re going to get some grape flavors of each kind. Here’s the thing; You know your friend loves grape-flavored candy too. So as a good friend, you won’t get ALL the grapes, probably one or two of each, and then be content with the others.

“Well, what’s this got to do with fantasy football sir?” That’s you right now irritated because you didn’t have good friends in high school who shared their candy with you so you don’t fully relate to the analogy. The point, however, is that when it comes to drafting your wide receivers, if you want a good team then you can’t have all the “grape candy” and by “grape”, I mean your favorites. The top-tier, the really good ones. And yes in this article they are “grape” and you will just have to accept that. After that, you will have to learn to be content with the other assorted flavors. First off, who are the grape-flavored fantasy wide receivers? Glad you asked. Let’s get to it.

Number One: Davante Adams

Whatever your actual favorite candy is, you should rename it, Davante Adams. Seriously, what else do you want from a WR? Dominant target hog who was thrown at 149 times this past season (ranked 4th) and that’s with him missing 2 games to injury. Tied for second in receptions with 115 and led the league in TD receptions with 18. He is Aaron Rodgers‘ “Man Crush Monday”, just a day early, and they have a clear connection. Sometimes they even share the same Twitter posts.

Rodgers would rename whatever his favorite candy is to Davante if he could and secretly puts him on all of his fantasy football teams where he uses an alias. If you can, get Adams if all of the top-tier RB’s are gone even if it means using a first-round pick.

Number Two: Tyreek Hill

The guy is nicknamed “cheetah” so this seems pretty self-explanatory. What happens when you take the fastest WR in the league and team him up with the overall most talented QB in the league? Two AFC Championships and a Superbowl victory and the story is still being told. Hill was targeted 135 times over 15 games last season, an average of 9 targets per game.

Tyreek Hill was second in the league in touchdowns (15) only behind Davante Adams. Arguably still the fastest WR in the league and a primary target in one of the most potent offenses in the league, he is once again poised to finish the season as a top 5 fantasy WR. Your fantasy taste buds will thank me later.

Number Three: DeAndre Hopkins

His mama calls him DeAndre Hopkins but in the fantasy world we call him “Nuk”. The man is literally QB-proof. He would pull in 100 receptions if YOU were his QB. He’s just that good. Tied with Davante Adams for second in the league in receptions (115) and third in receiving yards with 1,407 (which is a bit deceptive because Travis Kelce, a TE, is actually second), he has probably been the most consistent and durable WR over the past 3 seasons while playing all 16 games last year.

Still under the age of 30 and still has no viable threats around him to take away from his massive target share, unless you want to count A.J. Green who’s basically taking over the Larry Fitzgerald role of the offense, “Nuk” will be ready to produce for your fantasy team once again this year.

Number Four: Stefon Diggs

Stefon Diggs is definitely a grape but he’s a Now & Later, my least favorite of all the multiflavored candies. It’s really weird to have Diggs here at number four admittedly. Diggs had an unprecedented breakout season in his first year with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. Most people knew he was good and somewhat underappreciated in Minnesota but nobody, not even Bills Mafia, saw THIS coming. Diggs led all pass catchers in receptions (127), targets (166), and receiving yards (1,535). The eight TD’s should hopefully rise this year (his former teammate, Adam Thielen, had the third-most in the league with 14), and maybe Josh Allen connects with him a bit more in the red zone this season instead of running it in all the time and being a ball hog. Is that even a real thing in football?

The only hold-up with Diggs and the reason he’s four is that he probably just had his best season and it’s highly unlikely he leads all pass catchers in the aforementioned categories again but that doesn’t mean you won’t be happy with second or third in each. Unwrap and enjoy.

Number Five: Justin Jefferson

Jefferson, despite barely playing the first two games of his rookie season (who else was an idiot like me and dropped him after Week 2?), still finished fourth in the league in receiving yards with 1,400. It’s one of the most incredible rookie seasons by a wide receiver in modern history. It’s very reminiscent of another rookie Vikings wide receiver from 23 years ago, namely Randy Moss. In Randy Moss’ rookie season, in which he played all 16 but only started 11, he hauled in 69 receptions for 1,313 yards and an NFL rookie record of 17 touchdowns.

By comparison, Justin Jefferson hauled in 88 receptions along the aforementioned 1,400 yards and had seven touchdown receptions. He likely won’t reach 17 but as mentioned earlier, the guy on the other side of him brought in 14 so if the dynamic shifts this season, and we should assume it will, some of those will come Jefferson’s way. Cousins won’t make the same mistake he made with Diggs and leave his young star disgruntled in favor of an aging vet. Jefferson is Now & Later for me but he’s Jolly Ranchers for Kirk Cousins. “YOU LIKE THAT?!!!”

Get one of these guys in the late first-round or early second. If there’s a chance you can get two then by all means do it please. Why suffer through Sweet Tarts and Warheads later in the draft if you don’t have to? One of these guys can carry a team. Two can win your league.

Other Assorted flavors you’ll also be happy with:

If you miss out on these five there are a few other not so flashy but highly consistent guys you’ll be perfectly content with. For starters look no further than my home town Atlanta Falcons and Calvin Ridley. Yes, I remember all the bemoaning about how old Ridley was as a rookie and how he only benefitted because Julio Jones drew so much attention away from him. Then Jones got injured and decided mid-season he’d played his last game for the Falcons although he didn’t tell the team until March (YES I’M BITTER!!!). Calvin Ridley, with no one else but Hayden Hurst, still caught 90 passes for 1,374 and nine touchdowns. Make no mistake, Julio will always be Jolly Ranchers for Matt Ryan, but he will still gladly enjoy his Skittles in the form of Calvin Ridley.

Allen Robinson is DeAndre Hopkins lite. I mean seriously, why can’t this guy just have a good quarterback to play with for once in his career? It’s not a stretch to say Andy Dalton will be the best quarterback he’s ever played with and that’s strictly based on his career resume. Hopefully, we won’t have to say it too long though as former Georgia Bulldog, Justin Fields, is waiting in the wings. I’m from Athens, GA so what team did you think I was going to reference? GO DAWGS!!! Back to Robinson, 100+ catches for 1200 yards and six to eight touchdowns are not only repeatable but very likely. Take him and Ridley in the second rounds if possible because they may not make it to the third.

Other honorable mentions you should try to get between rounds 3-5 (unless you like salted gum drops): Terry McLaurin, A.J. Brown, Keenan Allen, Julio Jones, D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett.

All of these guys will be solid starters if you decide to go heavy at running back or prefer to take one of the top-tier tight ends early. You could probably get many of them in the same range but name value may cause them to be picked up quickly so don’t wait too long. Now if you ignored my advice and decided to bypass all these guys and now you’re panicked and desperate there MAY be a few sneaky picks that will be available late but if these guys are your starters you better have the best RB/TE combo in the league or this season won’t be so sweet for you.

Desperation picks with upside in the late rounds: Corey Davis, Cole Beasley, William Fuller V., Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, Tyler Boyd.

Unless you just have a thing against drafting WR’s you should end up with some combination of a Grape or two and an assortment of the other guys. If for some inexplicable reason you don’t, you need to do one of two things:

  1. Trade from whatever position you over drafted at.
  2. Quit fantasy football altogether because clearly you’re a Peppermint Patty kind of person.

Hope this was helpful and look forward to hearing how I helped you dominate your league this year. You’re welcome in advance.

P.S. – If grape-flavored candy isn’t your favorite then we can’t play fantasy football together.

Be sure to give me a follow on Twitter (@DevekkioCarter) and check out more content on The Fantasy’s Phinest website and don’t be afraid to leave us some comments

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