When to Draft a Wide Receiver in Your Fantasy Football League
Despite the best efforts of analytics Twitter, workhorse running backs simply will not go quietly into the night. The remaining studs are topping fantasy drafts again, with many of the first five picks (if not all of them) being comprised of the likes of Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, and David Johnson. No one is really arguing with this either, as each of these backs is a dual-threat, and most are in exciting, talent-rich offenses (looking at you, Giants).
However, this article isn’t about running backs. It’s about their offensive brethren who form a crucial part of any championship fantasy roster: wide receivers. The top tier has welcomed some new faces in recent years, while many of the old guard are still hanging around. Below, I’ll dive into all of that and more as I look at various strategies and approaches to drafting wide receivers in 2019.
This article will operate on the idea of a 12-team, snake draft, and I’ll pull ADP rankings from 4for4’s Multi-site ADP tool. Following the lead of the 2018 iteration of the same name, I’ll break the article down into three parts based on where in the draft you might be picking. Now, let’s get to it.
Early-Round WR Strategy
While I wouldn’t outright recommend avoiding the workhorse running backs at the top of the draft, there certainly could be situations where you’d rather zig while others are zagging and go with a wideout. If that’s the case, there’s really only one option and that’s DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has notched a target share of over 32% in each of the last two years, averaging 105 receptions, 1,475 yards, and 12 touchdowns in that span. Nothing is changing for Nuk offensively. The Texans promoted former tight ends coach Tim Kelly to offensive coordinator, though head coach Bill O’Brien will continue to call plays. Deshaun Watson looks like a true superstar in the making, while Will Fuller should be back and healthy by Week 1 after suffering a midseason ACL tear in 2018. Hopkins offers both relative safety (barring injury) and an insane ceiling. He’s the lone reasonable exception to drafting a running back at the top of Round 1.
Rounds 2 and 3
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