Wide Receiver Sleepers, Values and Targets
I’d argue that the receiver position is more affected by the scoring system (PPR vs. standard) and roster settings (two WRs vs. three-plus WRs) than any other position. Take the top 24 players in Relative Value in two different formats:
In a top-200 rankings list for a 12-team standard scoring league with a 1/2/2/1 roster, six WRs are in the top 24.
In a top-200 rankings list for a 12-team PPR league with a 1/2/3/1 roster, 12 WRs are in the top 24. Seven are in the top 12.
My point? Be sure that you enter your league’s settings into the 4for4 customizable tools to ensure that you have an understanding of how scoring affects positional value in your particular league. It may affect the way you want to approach your draft.
Note: It’s important to remember that our Top 200 rankings are derived via a formula and do not necessarily represent the optimal way to approach any given draft. We’re confident that owners who draft straight from the custom Top 200 rankings will field a competitive team, but there are other factors (positional dependability, using ADP to your advantage, etc.) that can help owners gain an extra edge and win their league. Be sure to read our ongoing and upcoming draft strategy articles; they should help you formulate a strategy for your specific draft(s).
Below are four sections:
Values (5th–9th round targets)
Sleepers (10th–15th round targets)
Deep Sleepers (16th round or later targets)
Targets (players I’m actively trying to get in every draft)
For the purpose of this article, I’m using half-PPR ADP from DRAFT best ball leagues.
^Denotes a player added after the original publication of this article.
Wide Receiver Values
In his last four seasons, Cooks has racked up at least 65 passes, 1,082 yards and five touchdowns. That production would be good enough for low-end WR2 numbers, and Cooks is currently the No. 17 receiver off the board, so he’s being drafted just above his floor. His three-year average would make him a high-end WR2, which is where he finished 2018, his first season with the Rams. If you’re worried about Cooper Kupp’s return--don’t. Cooks was actually significantly more productive (5.5-90-0.25 on 7.4 targets per game) in the eight games with Kupp in the lineup last year. Cooks is a safe pick in the 4th round this year.
Over the past two seasons, Woods has been a mainstay in the Rams’ offense, averaging 5.1 catches for 71 yards and 0.39 touchdowns per game. Last year, those numbers rose to 5.4-76-0.38 and he was actually more productive with Cooper Kupp in the lineup than without, so Kupp’s return shouldn’t convince drafters to shy away from Woods.
In the seven games where Kupp played at least half the snaps, he averaged 5.7 catches for 81 yards and 0.86 touchdowns on 7.9 targets. That’s a 91-1294-13.7 pace. Fantasy-wise, that’s about what Adam Thielen scored as last year’s No. 7 receiver. Since entering the league, he has played at a high-end WR2 pace. If his knee is good to go, he’s going to be a good value in 2019.
Moore began his rookie season playing about 25% to 50% of the snaps, but once the Panthers gave him starter snaps (70%+), his production spiked to 4.2-60-.10 or 9.7 PPG in half-PPR scoring, which are low-end fantasy WR2 numbers. Since 2000, Moore was the 13th rookie receiver who posted at least 700 receiving yards at 21-years-old. The other 12 receivers saw an average per game increase of 30% in targets, a 33% increase in receptions, a 28% increase in yards and a 19% increase in touchdowns in their sophomore seasons. When these increases are applied to Moore’s rookie numbers, he’s looking at a 73-catch, 1004-yard, 2.4-touchdown season as a sophomore. That’s about what he averaged in the final 10 games from a fantasy points standpoint, so he probably has some room to grow from there, especially if his touchdowns regress positively to the mean for someone getting his sort of usage. If he’s able to score 7-8 touchdowns and keep up that production, he’s looking at a midrange WR2 season.
As a rookie, Ridley finished as the No. 19 receiver in half-PPR formats behind a strong 64-821-10 line on 90 targets. He admitted to being worn out on Sundays due to the way he practices—he only knows one speed, apparently—and that may have resulted in a bit of a fade down the stretch. He fared very well as a rookie in Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception charting and should see an uptick in targets with Mohamed Sanu taking more of a backseat in Ridley’s second season.
In the seven games where Kupp played at least half the snaps, he averaged 5.7 catches for 81 yards and 0.86 touchdowns on 7.9 targets. That’s a 91-1294-13.7 pace. Fantasy-wise, that’s about what Adam Thielen scored as last year’s No. 7 receiver. Since entering the league, he has played at a high-end WR2 pace. If his knee is good to go, and all indications are that it is, he’s going to be a good value in 2019.
Davis finished as the No. 27 receiver in his sophomore season, catching 65 passes for 891 yards and four touchdowns on 112 targets. He’s one of 12 receivers since 2000 who have posted 800-to-1,000 yards in their age 23 sophomore season. The other 11 receivers increased their per game targets by 10%, their receptions by 8%, their yards by 5% and their touchdowns by 11%. Applying those increases to Davis’s sophomore production results in a 70-catch, 936-yard, 4.4-touchdown season. That sort of production would have resulted in a high-end WR3/low-end WR2 finish in each of the last two years. On the negative side, the Titans added quite a bit to their passing game this offseason, signing Adam Humphries and drafting A.J. Brown. Delanie Walker is also returning, so Davis’s targets could get pinched. The good news is that the beat writers have been effusive in their praise of his performance in camp.
Through Week 10 (before his knee injury), Jones was the No. 26 fantasy receiver, and that was mostly prior to the Golden Tate trade. Early drafters have pegged Kenny Golladay as the WR1 for the Lions, but there’s a decent chance that Jones leads this receiving corps in fantasy points. In 25 games over the past two seasons, Jones is averaging 3.9 catches for 64 yards and 0.56 touchdowns. The biggest threat to Jones’s production is probably head coach Matt Patricia’s insistence on establishing the run. Jones looks like a steal in the early-eighth round.
Williams finished his second season with 43-664-10, which made him the No. 24 fantasy receiver in half-PPR formats thanks in large part to the 10 touchdowns. He managed that production on just 4.1 targets per game, and his usage is bound to rise with the departure of Tyrell Williams, who posted 41-653-5 on 4.0 targets per game. Even if Williams’ FP/T regresses to the average of both players (Mike and Tyrell), and he sees half of Tyrell’s targets, he’s looking at a fantasy finish in the teens.
Continue reading for eight more WR values, seven WR sleepers, eight WR deep sleepers and 10 WRs John is targeting regularly in drafts...
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