Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers, Values and Targets
I’d argue that the WR position is more affected by scoring system (PPR vs. standard) and roster settings (two WRs vs. three-plus WR) 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, seven 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, 11 WRs are in the top 24. Moreover, there are six WRs in the first round, including four of the top eight players.
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 advantage, etc.) that can help owners to 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:
- Targets (players I’m actively trying to get in every draft)
- Values (5th–9th round)
- Sleepers (10th–15th round)
- Deep Sleepers (16th round or later)
For the purposes of this article, I’ll use 4for4’s multi-site ADP (12-team). Readers who have been active in MFL10 drafts will notice some eyebrow-raising ADP numbers below. MFL10 ADP tends to be much sharper and ahead of the curve than major-site ADP, so it’s a good indication of where that major-site ADP is probably headed.
Michael Crabtree, Raiders (in the 4th round)
Crabtree signed with the Raiders in 2015 after a disappointing finish to his stint with the 49ers. He finished as the No. 17 WR in PPR formats even though he was the 48th receiver off the board. Last year, he was the 36th WR taken and and finished the season as the No. 12 fantasy WR. Among wide receivers over the past two seasons, Crabtree is 11th in targets (291), 9th in total receptions (174), 17th in receiving yards (1,925) and 7th in total touchdowns (17). In 31 games with Derek Carr, Crabtree is averaging 5.5 catches for 61 yards and 0.55 touchdowns (on 9.1 targets per game). Currently, he’s the 24th WR off the board, in the fourth round, thanks to the conventional wisdom that this is the year that Amari Cooper will truly break into the upper echelon of NFL receivers. I’m expecting more of the same from Crabtree.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (5th)
After a No. 7 PPR finish in 2015, Fitzgerald finished the 2016 season as the No. 11 WR. He averaged just 13 fantasy points over the final eight games after averaging 17.9 PPG in the first half of the season. His lower production in the last half of the season still extrapolates to low-end fantasy WR2 numbers, and he’s going a bit lower than that (28th WR off the board), so it appears that he’s being drafted at his floor. He should be a good value again in 2017.
Pierre Garcon, 49ers (6th)
Garcon turns 31 in August, but is coming off a season where he caught 79 passes for 1,041 yards and 3 touchdowns. Currently the 34th WR off the board, Garcon was the No. 22 WR in PPR formats last year, and No. 31 the year before. In fact, he has turned in six top-40 seasons in the last eight years. In San Francisco, he has been reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan. In Shanahan’s last year in Washington (2013), Garcon caught 113 passes for 1,346 yards and 5 touchdowns; he was the No. 11 PPR WR that year. He’s four years older now, but should still see heavy volume playing for his old coach, especially considering the lack of competition for targets and the likelihood that the 49ers will often face a negative game script. Owners drafting in less competitive leagues may be able to get Garcon in the seventh round.
Continue reading for 22 more Targets, Sleepers, and Values...