- With so many wide receivers to choose from, it's important to know who to target when.
The strategy in building the wide receiver position in fantasy football depends on starting lineup requirements, flex spots and your draft position. Most hope to land a three-down running back early in drafts, and it pushes the best wide receivers down the draft board.
Several elite receivers are going at the end of the first round and beginning of the second round. The first few picks are running backs, and those with an early pick in the draft could only have one wide receiver in the first three picks. If picking at the end, a start of Julio Jones and Michael Thomas is realistic, and it could mean three receivers in your first four picks. Several wide receivers are going in rounds 4-6 with breakout potential. Every draft is different, so don't go in with a set blueprint. Adjust to what the draft presents you. Capitalize on other people's mistakes.
While there is depth at wide receiver, there is a drop off in the middle-to-later rounds as more teams spread the ball out more. As NFL offenses become more pass-heavy, more receivers become viable. This means the receivers with a high target share are valuable.
Six wide receivers had at least 150 targets last season, and all of them are going in the first two rounds in most drafts. The only one who could slip to the third round is Adam Thielen. Eight receivers had at least 1,373 yards, and 12 had at least 1,204 yards. Seven receivers scored double-digit touchdowns. Only two reached that mark in 2017.
Fifteen wide receivers received at least 120 targets, and 28 wide receivers had at least 100 targets in 2018. Eight wide receivers had at least 102 receptions.
A common mistake people make in drafts is getting sucked into a run at one particular position. Don't panic. If the running backs are going fast and furious, take the wide receiver value. Don't reach on a player because a run is going on. It means value is being presented to you, so take it and figure it out later in the draft. There are always players to acquire on the waiver wire and through trades.
The general plan for wide receivers this year is to be flexible. It also depends on your scoring format. In a high-stakes league like the Fantasy Football World Championships (FFWC), the starting lineup consists of three wide receivers and two flex spots and is a PPR format. The focus on wide receivers increases here and starting with one running back, and four wide receivers is a feasible strategy. It's why the ADP's below are so high. In home leagues, these receivers will be cheaper.
Here are some wide receivers to target.
Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP: 36)
Everything sets up for Godwin to break out. The Buccaneers defense is terrible, and this will force the offense to pass often. The target share for Godwin will increase significantly as he's expected to play in the slot. Last season, Godwin had to compete for targets with Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson. Both are gone and Godwin will benefit. In six games without Jackson last season, Godwin had at least 90 receiving yards in four of the games and scored four touchdowns. Godwin had 59 catches for 842 yards with seven touchdowns last season as a part-time player.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (ADP: 42)
Lockett was extremely efficient last season, but he didn't get enough volume. He made the most of it, considering he only had 70 targets. He caught 81.4% of his targets. The receiver had 57 catches for 957 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 16.9 yards per catch. Lockett produced those stats without more than six targets or more than five receptions in any game. Lockett averaged 13.79 yards per target, while Mike Evans was second with 11.04. Doug Baldwin retired, and Lockett has to get an increase in targets. The efficiency will likely decrease, but the uptick in targets will help offset that.
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (ADP: 45)
Moore finished his rookie season with 55 receptions for 788 yards and two touchdowns and didn't play more than 50% of the snaps until Week 7. Over the last seven games of the season, Moore was 12th in receiving yards with 464. In five of the final seven games, Moore had at least eight targets. In seven of the final nine games, he played at least 85 percent of the snaps. Moore ranked 13th among wide receivers in yards after the catch, and that’s with not being a starting receiver the whole season. Moore was second in yards after the catch per receptions among wide receivers. He’s 5'11" and 215 pounds, but plays bigger than his size and is difficult to tackle. He averaged 14.3 yards per catch, 9.6 yards per target and had a 67.1% catch rate.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (ADP: 49)
Boyd was excellent in college at Pittsburgh, flashed in his rookie season and struggled in his second season. Boyd was one of the better values last season with 76 catches on 108 targets for 1,028 yards and seven touchdowns. His stats weren't as good without A.J. Green, who will miss some time at the beginning of the season, but starting quarterback Andy Dalton missed some time with injury in 2018.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (ADP:51)
Williams didn't get heavy volume in his rookie year, but he did earn red-zone targets. Williams is a big target at 6'4" and 220 pounds, and he can get down the field. He only had 66 targets but caught 43 passes for 664 yards and 10 touchdowns. The departure of Tyrell Williams will open up more targets for Williams and the receiving corps is thin. Travis Benjamin is the third receiver. Keenan Allen and tight end Hunter Henry will get their targets, but Williams will get a big uptick as well. Look for Williams to be a threat to score double-digit touchdowns again.
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (ADP:52)
Robinson didn't have a great year following his ACL tear that caused him to miss all of the 2017 season. He missed three games in 2018 and caught 55 of 94 targets for 754 yards and four touchdowns. Robinson averaged 7.2 targets per game and had 21.6% of the target share. He's entering his age-26 season, and the Bears offense should be willing to pass more due to the continued development of Mitch Trubisky. The talent of Robinson was on display in the playoffs against the Eagles went he caught 10 of 13 targets for 143 yards and a touchdown. Don't forget, Robinson had 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns with Blake Bortles. Another year removed from his ACL injury may open the door for him to return to that high-level of production.
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (ADP:61)
If Kyler Murray lives up to the lofty expectations surrounding him and Kliff Kingsbury's air raid offense excels, Kirk will be a big beneficiary. The Cardinals hope to run a lot of plays, and the volume will be there for Kirk. Arizona's offense was terrible last season, and Kirk still had his moments, shown by his 8.7 yards per target. The stats don't tell the complete story for Kirk's rookie season. He had 43 catches for 590 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. He missed the final four games with a foot injury. The offense can only improve, and the increased play volume will turn Kirk's second year into something memorable.
Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (ADP: 73)
Every day there are rave reviews in Panthers camp about Samuel. He missed the first month of the season last year due to a medical procedure to fix an irregular heartbeat. It took some time for him to carve out a role in the offense. From Week 12 until the end of the season, including a few games without Cam Newton, Samuel began to play more than half the snaps. He provided a glimpse of his upside with 40 targets over the final five games, catching 20 passes for 298 yards with a touchdown. Samuel will play a big role in the offense.
Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP: 78)
Westbrook enters his third season in the NFL and gets an upgrade in quarterback going from Blake Bortles to Nick Foles, who excels in the intermediate part of the field, an area where Westbrook excels. He led Jacksonville last season with 101 targets, including 13 red-zone targets and finished with 66 catches for 717 yards and five touchdowns. Almost 50% of the targets from last season are no longer there, which could lead to more targets for Westbrook.
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (ADP: 98)
Gallup came on strong to finish his rookie year. He reached double-digit points in three of his final five games. In the playoffs, he scored a touchdown against the Seahawks and had six catches for 119 yards against the Rams. Gallup is a big-play threat with 10 of his 33 catches going for 20-plus yards. There were several plays where Gallup was open deep, and Dak Prescott couldn't connect with him. Some might believe that Amari Cooper hurts Gallup, but he saw more targets when Cooper came to Dallas as the offense got better. Gallup averaged 3.1 targets in seven games without Cooper and 5.1 in nine games with Cooper.
All ADP courtesy of FullTimeFantasy.
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