Fantasy Football Drafting 101: Wait on Wide Receivers

Unless you can grab a top five WR, don't burn an early draft pick

Unless you grab a Top-5 WR, don’t burn any early round draft picks on one

A starting fantasy RB obviously has the potential to rack up yards both on the ground and through the air on nearly every offensive play. However, when it comes to a fantasy WR, the window for scoring top fantasy points is much smaller. There’s no denying that there is an ELITE TIER of wide receivers that stands tall above the crowd, but after the top 5, there’s no reason BURN a pick when you should be concentrating on other players.

After the crème de la crème of wideouts, there is a massive logjam of wide receivers that can help you round out a fantasy team without wasting any high picks on average point producers. 21 wide receivers and two tight ends cracked the 1,000 yard mark last season while 13 WRs and 2 TEs scored at least ten touchdowns.

There’s no debate that every team needs wide receivers, but the list of elite players is very short.

  • Antonio Brown
  • Demaryius Thomas
  • Dez Bryant
  • Calvin Johnson
  • OBJ

This list of players all grabbed consistent points and lived up to the hype of their high ADPs. However, after this list of elite players, things begin to get interesting. Take Alshon Jeffery as an example. Last season Jeffery averaged only 10.4 points (in standard leagues) during the weeks he was active. He also hovered around the 25th pick in most leagues, as a late third round, early fourth round selection. That’s a bust for fantasy owners considering that 33 wide receivers averaged more than 7 points per week. Of these 33, 13 were available after the 100th pick.

Look at the numbers for the two rookie receiving phenoms that broke out last year: Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin. Evans performed slightly better than Jeffery, averaging 10.5 points with an ADP of 101; Benjamin had an average of 9 points per week and was selected around the 106th pick. In most leagues, these rookies were still available in the 12th round in eight-team leagues. For an upside of one fantasy point per week (comparing Jeffery and Benjamin), Jeffery owners sacrificed the prospect of drafting a premier player like Le’Veon Bell or Rob Gronkowski.

Fantasy numbers can be unpredictable; players may explode for dozens of points per week, or underwhelm and disappoint a majority of their owners. Injuries can strike unexpectedly and deliver a swift end of the season to an unfortunate player. But the consensus is this: after the elite tier, receivers and tight ends are just a dime a dozen; consider carefully before you waste high picks for little upside.




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