Fantasy Football WR Draft Rankings
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What is a WR in Fantasy Football?
In the NFL a wide receiver is a player who is generally split out wide prior to the snap. Their primary task is catching the football whereas tight ends are sometimes asked to block on passing downs. This is not the responsibility of the receivers. There are three different types of receivers – the X receiver, the Z, and the slot. The X receiver is what is generally known as the No. 1 or the alpha. They’re typically bigger and stronger because they line up directly on the line of scrimmage which invites more contact at the snap. The slot receiver is typically lined up behind the line of scrimmage and is generally aligned close to the offensive line. This enables the slot receiver more field to work with as opposed to the X receiver who has a sideline next to them. By lining up behind the line of scrimmage, it limits how much press coverage they’re typically forced to deal with. They generally have a lower average depth of target. The Z receiver or flanker also generally lines up behind the line of scrimmage, affording them with more of a cushion between them and their defender at the snap.
Who is the best fantasy wide receiver?
Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson are the two favorites to finish as the No. 1 receiver in 2022 based on consensus rankings. Kupp receives a slight boost in any PPR formats after racking up 145 receptions last season. However, Kupp’s old offensive coordinator is the new head coach in Minnesota, which could lead to a career year for Jefferson. With expected regression from Kupp and Jefferson getting to play what is being described as a more up-tempo, pass-centric offense, it’s very possible Jefferson finishes the season as the best receiver in fantasy football.
Drafting a WR in Fantasy Football
Fantasy managers don’t need to be too concerned with the scoring format inside the top 20 of receiver rankings. These players are generally viewed as the best players and there’s generally more consensus on these receivers. Outside of the top 20, fantasy managers should be paying attention to what kind of format their league is operating under. If you are playing in any kind of PPR-scoring league, slot receivers who may not rack up as much yardage will have more value. This includes players like Hunter Renfrow, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. In standard scoring leagues where there are no bonuses for receptions, players such as Gabriel Davis and Allen Lazard will receive a boost since they have high touchdown potential being connected to explosive offenses and a defined red zone role. There are several criteria fantasy managers should look for when drafting a receiver. The first is their volume. Fantasy managers should want to envision a potential pathway to 115+ targets for WR2 viability. The next is what kind of offense they play on. If it’s a run-based offense like the Eagles or Seahawks, the volume could become a concern. Targeting receivers on pass-heavy systems with strong quarterback play is always a good bet.
How many Fantasy Football Wide Receivers should I have?
The answer to this question depends on your roster format. Some leagues only require two starting receivers and a flex. Others require three receivers and a flex. In any PPR-scoring league, with the league continuing to focus more and more on the pass and with the injury concerns at running back, it makes sense for fantasy managers to target receivers with their flex positions. Depending on how large your bench is, fantasy managers should be planning on filling up their reserves with mostly running backs and wide receivers. It makes sense to have a bench tight end or quarterback if your bench is large enough, but for the most part, your bench should be focused on running backs and receivers, since they make up the majority of our starting roster. Each fantasy manager should have at least five receivers on your team based on starting requirements and bench sizes and upwards of eight on the higher end.
How do different scoring formats affect a wide receiver in fantasy football?
The scoring format can impact not only how fantasy managers rank certain receivers, but also how valuable a given position is. In regard to receivers, in standard scoring leagues, receivers take a sizable hit to their value. This is because they’re no longer being awarded for each reception, which has been used to create a more even playing field between receivers and running backs. In full-PPR leagues, the value shifts to the receivers and it’s the running back position that takes a hit in value because there are so few true three-down backs anymore. The scoring format helps inform each player which players are more beneficial. Focusing on just the receiver position, slot receivers tend to have more value in PPR leagues. This is because although they may not generally finish with as much yardage, the number of receptions they have can help in making up the difference. In years past, fantasy managers have seen players like Keenan Allen and JuJu Smith-Schuster be incredibly valuable PPR assets because they caught so many passes. Deep threat receivers and those who generally have a high average depth of target lose value in PPR leagues because they often finish with lower reception totals. This may include guys like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and DeSean Jackson.
What should I look for in Drafting Wide Receivers?
Some of the most important things to look at when drafting receivers are their target share, the average depth of their targets, and their red zone utilization. The more targets, the better. The average depth of target is important because it can be a way to predict upside and consistency. If a player has an average depth of target that’s lower than most, their upside is likely to be limited. If it’s too high, their consistency might wane because those targets have a lower rate of success. Red zone utilization is also very important because it also provides important information in determining what kind of upside a particular player has. Players like Adam Thielen and Mike Evans are regularly used by their teams in the red zone and this increases their value. Fantasy managers should also pay attention to the kind of offense they’re playing. Look at Stefon Diggs when he was in Minnesota. That offense was primarily based around the running game and Dalvin Cook. It was a slower-paced offense and even though Diggs was very efficient, he never truly broke out. In just year one in Buffalo with a very pass-heavy system and an up-tempo offense, he became a top-five fantasy receiver. Players like AJ Brown and DK Metcalf are negatively impacted by their team’s offensive style, while Mike Williams and CeeDee Lamb are boosted by theirs.
M/U = 4for4 matchup ranking (Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed). 1 = Worst Matchup, 32 = Best Matchup