By David Owen Cymerman of TheFantasyGeek.com
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – This week, I’m splitting out wide to cover the receivers in my Fave Five fantasy football draft prep series.
Previously, we tackled quarterbacks and running backs. With the other main skills position, the wide receivers run deeeeeep this season.
If there’s a position you can wait on at your draft and still come out OK, it’s wide receiver (obviously, in addition to defense and kicker).
The first wide receiver adhered to just about every draft board will be Calvin Johnson. He’s in a tier by himself. Immediately after Megatron, you have talented guys who come with a little bit of baggage. Larry Fitzgerald relies on a subpar quarterback. Andre Johnson can’t stay on the field. Julio Jones and Roddy White could split the targets in Atlanta, limiting (albeit slightly) each from unseating Calvin Johnson as the top wide receiver.
Looking down the average draft position list, the talent doesn’t thin out dramatically until you hit the late 20s. You can wait on wide receivers, fill up your QB and RB slots, and still salvage a solid receiving corps. But if you should hit the snooze button and wait a little too long, check out The Geek’s Fave Five Wide Receiver values.
(Average Draft Position rankings from Mock Draft Central, based on a 12-team league)
Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots, ADP: 74, (#27 WR, seventh round) – Lloyd has received the official “looks great in camp” tag. Doesn’t mean much. What does matter is that two seasons ago, this guy was a beast … with Kyle Orton throwing to him. Now, Lloyd has Tom Brady pitching him the ball. Along with several other pass-catching weapons that will detract attention. Lloyd has the chops to be a top 20 wide receiver, so getting him at 27 would be a solid bargain.
Eric Decker, Denver Broncos, 95, (#34 RB, eighth round) – Same drill with Decker. He goes from Tim Tebow’s noodle arm to Peyton Manning’s Hall of Fame- caliber accuracy. Decker showed flashes of brilliance early on in 2011, but then couldn’t shake the injury bug. Now, he’s ready to break out. Most owners will set their sites on Demaryius Thomas, still picturing that long overtime touchdown in the playoffs versus Pittsburgh. Smart owners will wait a few rounds, grab Decker and enjoy more consistency from a solid route-runner who has already built a nice rapport with Manning.
Titus Young, Detroit Lions, ADP: 126 (#46 RB, 11th round) – Funny thing happens when you triple-team a wide receiver. Other guys get left wide open. This season, defenses will be determined to stop Calvin Johnson. That will leave the door ajar for Young to sneak in as a helpful WR2. Few offenses are as pass- happy as Detroit’s. None of their running backs can stay healthy, so you can bet Matt Stafford will be chucking it again. And when he does, Young will be grabbing a bigger chunk of the pie.
Austin Collie, Indianapolis Colts, ADP: 132 (#49 WR, 11th round) – Concussions blurred Collie’s 2011 season. Fantasy owners are staying far away. You can’t blame them with the injury history and a rookie QB lining up behind center. Just don’t be surprised when Andrew Luck takes a liking to this speedy, sure- handed wideout. He can certainly retain enough value to help you as a WR3. Collie may have sustained another concussion this past weekend, so keep an eye on this situation. If it’s serious, consider drafting Reggie Wayne, who could now become Luck’s security blanket.
Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans, ADP: 202 (#71 WR, 16th round) – Had to have one rookie on the list. Usually rookie wide receivers are crushed under the weight of the learning curve. Then, last year happened. A.J. Green and Julio Jones far exceeded expectations. Wright isn’t in the same league of elite talent as those guys, but he should have ample opportunity to make catches. Though only 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, the speedy slot receiver could emerge as Jake Locker’s security blanket when the pressure comes. At Baylor, Wright made a career of torching overmatched defensive backs over the middle. Look for that trend to continue in the NFL once the kid learns a thing or two.
David Owen Cymerman also is known as The Fantasy Geek. He runs a fantasy sports web site appropriately named TheFantasyGeek.com. Stop by for more observations, advice and absurdity from the world of fantasy sports, including articles, live chats and podcasts.
08/22 10:04:35 ET