DraftKings Best Ball: Exploiting Wide Receiver ADP

Jul 03, 2024
DraftKings Best Ball: Exploiting Wide Receiver ADP

In DraftKings’ ever-growing best ball tournament options, wide receivers are king. Through the first 36 picks (the first three rounds), 23 WRs are coming off the board, primarily due to the site’s full-PPR scoring and +3 bonus points for 100+ yard receiving games.

With so many wideouts being aggressively targeted, it’s important that you don’t: a.) get left behind and/or b.) start reaching for options far above average draft position (ADP) for fear of missing out. Below, we are going to look at some ADP inefficiencies across the position to help you find some targets throughout the draft that could be slipping through the cracks or, contrarily, options that we should be avoiding.

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Wide Receivers to Avoid at ADP

Adonai Mitchell, Colts

DraftKings ADP: WR59, 11.01

4for4 Full-PPR Ranking: WR96

While the 4for4 ranking may seem on the low end of outcomes for the rookie wideout, there are many reasons to wonder what exactly Adonai Mitchell’s ceiling looks like in Year 1.

Mitchell was a four-star recruit heading into the Todd Monken offense of Georgia for his freshman season, finishing the year with the team’s second-most routes and targets. After finishing with a 4-84-2 line in the Bulldogs’ two playoff games, he missed most of his second season before transferring to Texas for 2023. In his new offense, he was primarily relegated to deep targets, finishing with only 55 receptions, by far the statistical precipice of his collegiate career.

His lack of heavy usage was further exasperated by an inability to produce yards after the catch. Mitchell finished the ‘23 season with 3.2 YAC/rec., 52nd among 57 qualifying wide receivers in the 2024 draft class. This wasn’t a blip on the radar either, as he had a lowly 2.5 YAC/rec during his time at Georgia.

The outlook with the Indianapolis Colts doesn’t bode well as a high-target option, either. The team spent basically the exact same draft capital on Alec Pierce last year (53rd overall) and could envision a rotational role with the two of them and Josh Downs, as Michael Pittman continues as the driving force of the passing attack.

Mitchell’s ADP is more or less the same across best ball offerings at this point in the offseason, but it makes even less sense on DraftKings, where we should be boosting players we expect to be targeted at a high rate. The +3 bonus for 100-yard performances is also sure to miss the rookie after he only hit that mark on three occasions in his collegiate career.

Romeo Doubs, Packers

DraftKings ADP: WR50, 9.08

4for4 Full-PPR Ranking: WR68

During the second half of last season, the Green Bay Packers turned into one of the best passing offenses in the NFL. Throughout the year, the Packers finished third in EPA gained on dropbacks, thanks in part to leading the league in that category from Week 13 through the playoffs. The increased efficiency helped Romeo Doubs to a sophomore breakout, racking up a 59-674-8 stat line on 93 targets.

As with many of the Packers pass-catchers, the loss of Christian Watson for nearly half of the year allowed Doubs to ascend to a more prominent role in the offense. According to 4for4’s Market Share Splits App, Doubs earned 0.7 more PPR points with Watson off the field, earning ~ 13 more air yards per game. While teammates Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks hinted at becoming next-level players with more playing time, Doubs struggled to make a considerate mark with his heightened usage.

Packers Secondary Receivers Efficiency, 2023
Player Yards/Rec. YAC/Rec YPRR vs. Man YPRR vs. Zone
Romeo Doubs 11.4 2.3 0.33 1.79
Jayden Reed 12.4 5.4 1.91 2.39
Dontayvion Wicks 14.9 5.6 1.56 2.39

With the return of Watson to a down-field, defense-stretching role in 2024, we could very well see Reed and Wicks absorb a massive amount of the underneath targets. This could leave Doubs on the outside looking in, relegated to a rotational role in 11-personnel. And we haven’t even mentioned Bo Melton, who registered the team’s first 100-yard receiving game in Week 17.

To be clear, best ball leagues are where we should target Packers receivers, but taking Doubs in the ninth round is too expensive.

Cooper Kupp, Rams

DraftKings ADP: WR17, 3.03

4for4 Full-PPR Ranking: WR25

There is potential upside for Cooper Kupp, and he makes sense in many builds, but the beginning of the third round is pricey. Kupp entered the league as an older prospect, which might be why it's so hard to believe he’s already entering his age-31 season. Whether we’d like to believe it or not, the dreaded age cliff turned its head on the former Offensive Player of the Year, as he has now missed 13 games over these last two seasons.

The more obvious concern for a high-end 2024 outcome for Kupp is the rapid emergence of Puka Nacua. The rookie’s electric play allowed the team to ease off of their veteran receiver, translating into a 23.4% target share and only two games with double-digit targets. Those numbers were 29.9% and five, respectively, in the year prior.

The ungodly touchdown equity might also be a thing of the past after the team leaned on Kupp so heavily from within the opponents’ 10-yard-line back in his monstrous 2021 season. After being targeted 18 times around the goal line in ‘21, he only has 14 such targets in the 21 regular season games since then.

Wide Receivers to Target at ADP

Diontae Johnson

DraftKings ADP: WR45, 7.12

4for4 Full-PPR Ranking: WR31

In nearly every account, the Carolina Panthers were a trainwreck last season, particularly on offense. By Week 13, the team was 1-10, hadn’t scored more than 15 points in five games, and had just fired head coach Frank Reich. From that point on, the team failed to score 10 points on four separate occasions and wrapped up the year getting shutout in back-to-back weeks, a nearly impossible feat in modern-day football. It makes sense why drafters are avoiding the offense in Year 2 of Bryce Young’s teetering career.

The team has made strides between then and now, though, bringing in quarterback whisperer Dave Canales (of Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield resurgence fame) and two solid guards to lighten the amount of pressure Young faced up the middle of the formation. Given what he offers his new quarterback, Diontae Johnson might be an even more significant addition.

Per Matt Harmon of Reception Perception,

“Overall, Johnson is an excellent separator who can win against any coverage and thrive on the perimeter. He can play X-receiver but also took his game to a new level when moved around more last season.”

Getting Johnson to move around the formation will help to get a stagnant group of receivers in spots where they can win and loosen the load of Adam Thielen, who is years past his prime. Simply injecting some type of motion into the offense would be a good start, as Carolina ranked dead last in yardage gained on passing plays with motion (809) while ranking 29th in dropbacks with motion (189).

With Jonathan Mingo operating as more of a slot option and Xavier Legette adding more versatility, we should look at a situation that can get more out of Bryce Young. Johnson is the biggest piece of that puzzle. He should be the bona fide WR1 on what looks to be a better offense heading into 2024, making him a more valuable target than the low-end WR4 he is currently being drafted as.

Keenan Allen

DraftKings ADP: WR33, 5.10

4for4 Full-PPR Ranking: WR26

As Keenan Allen heads into his age-32 season, we should probably assume he will not be available for all 17 games. Nonetheless, he finds himself in a situation where he should be the clear-cut underneath option for a growing offense. Though he has missed 11 games in ‘22-’23, he’s coming off of his second-highest yardage season (1,243) while ranking as the WR3 in half-PPR points per game (17.3). While his late-career slot usage has continued to float around the 60% mark, the Larry Fitzgerald-esque “Big Slot” route has served him well in these later years, and his efficiency has actually gone up as Justin Herbert continued to grow.

The move to the slot has paid dividends as the aging receiver loses a touch of his top-end speed: Allen had 88 targets from the slot in 2023 alone, turning them into 59 receptions (5th), 710 yards (7th), and 21.99 EPA (15th), each in the top-15 among the position. Though he finds himself in a more crowded WR room than he’s used to, his late-career transition should insulate him from being too threatened by D.J. Moore and Rome Odunze.

Allen’s explosiveness may not be what it used to be—though he did notch a 175- and 215-yard performance last year— his technical ability will make him an easy option at the beginning of Caleb Williams’ career. For at least one last year, Allen is being undervalued in PPR formats.

Brian Thomas Jr.

DraftKingsADP: WR46, 8.04

4for4 Full-PPR Ranking: WR41

Brian Thomas Jr. would take a couple of years to carve out a significant role in the LSU passing attack, but by the 2023 season, he and No. 6 overall pick Malik Nabers had a great thing going. With Heisman-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels feeding them, they combined for 215 targets last season, accounting for a whopping 52.2% of the team’s target share. Even though Nabers put up an astounding 89-1,568-14 stat line, Thomas outperformed him in the touchdown department, leading the entire FBS with 17 scores.

The Jaguars let Jamal Agnew, Calvin Ridley, and Zay Jones leave this offseason. As such, they are missing the second-highest percentage of air yards (67.6%) and the highest percentage of targets from inside the opponent’s 10-yard line from last season. Even with the team adding Gabe Davis, Thomas should slide immediately into the “X” role in this new-look Jaguars pass-catching group and be on the field for nearly 100% of the snaps.

We should expect Thomas to garner at least the third-most targets on this team, depending on what we think about the likelihood of a repeat of Engram’s huge 2023 target share, but the rookie could (should) lead this team in touchdowns. Ridley had the fourth-most targets from the opponent’s 10-yard line last season (13), and we should expect the Jaguars to dial up plenty of those looks for their new alpha. The disappointing output from Ridley on such a huge swath of targets is forcing people to leave Thomas on the board too long.

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