While every player has their price in fantasy football where they offer potential value, most drafts will center around 40-50 target players and key avoid players on an owner's draft board. These strong takes for the upcoming season based on average draft position (ADP) sculpt a draft plan. Here is the early draft plan for the wide receiver position by myfantasyleague.com ADP through early June on Footballguys.com.
wide receiverS TO TARGET
devante Parker, wr23
Parker saw just eight targets prior to Week 12, but saw at least 50 snaps in 5-of-6 games down the stretch, plus four games of at least 80 yards. In short, Parker was heating up. Miami added Leonte Carroo, shed Lamar Miller in free agency, and all signs point to building around Ryan Tannehill by the franchise for 2016. Jarvis Landry has had the perfect storm of opportunity and a glut of targets (see his write-up below in the 'Avoid' section) but Parker has no challengers for his outside receiver snaps or targets going forward. Parker is one of the few potential league-changers in the WR20-40 range of ADP.
donte moncrief, wr27
Moncrief was one of the most efficient wide receivers in the NFL with Andrew Luck under center early in 2015. Andre Johnson was needlessly soaking up snaps and then Andrew Luck missed the rest of the year with an injury. Without those circumstances, Moncrief would be far more expensive in 2016 drafts. However, the discount on his talent, situation, and opportunity continue for one more summer. Moncrief has WR1 upside and comes with a WR3 price tag.
dorial green-beckham, wr36
Green-Beckham (DGB) was one of the players I sat down and examined all of their targets from 2015 this offseason. I saw a physically dominant target who was featured down the field and in the red zone. Remember, DGB was a year removed from football leading up to 2015. There are no challengers to DGB on the Tennessee wide receiver depth chart. A healthy and progressing Marcus Mariota is the only question mark to Green-Beckham taking a significant step forward this season.
breshad perriman, wr43
Perriman, like Kevin White, had a redshirt rookie season. The depth chart in Baltimore's passing game is wide open and Perriman was a standout in early offseason work before an injury last year. His vertical chops merge well with Joe Flacco's arm strength and Perriman is the ideal upside play down fantasy receiver depth charts for 2016. Instead of conservative (betting on their floor) selections, selecting Perriman is shooting for upside and impact. If he flames out, most league depths offer waiver wire options to add depth.
sammie coates, wr52
With Martavis Bryant out for the year, there is value to be had in the Pittsburgh passing game. Ladarius Green has been dinged up this offseason and is a high-upside question mark. Markus Wheaton is a stopgap type of NFL talent. If there is a breakout fantasy performer for the Steelers, it is Sammie Coates. In my prospect projection model, Coates' +56% Athleticism Score is higher than all but two 2016 wide receivers (Corey Coleman, Moritz Boehringer) and one of just 18 wide receivers to post +50% Athleticism or better along with positive Size and Production Scores dating back to 1999. Of the subset to have two NFL seasons in their rearview mirror, half of them hit 10+ PPG in PPR scoring in Year 2. Bet on Sammie Coates at WR5 prices.
wide receiverS TO AVOID
dez bryant, wr6
Back in April, I wrote about Dez Bryant's 'Lost Year' in 2015. Bryant has been the frustrating stud wide receiver to own among the league's elite over the past few seasons. He disappears for quarters at a time, especially when he does not get early game targets. The Cowboys have a quality offensive line and added Ezekiel Elliott - all signs point to a run-heavy attack in 2016, attempting to keep Tony Romo taped together as an oft-injured older quarterback. There is far more risk than reward with Dez Bryant in general for 2016 and at WR6 he is a clear wide receiver to fade.
jarvis Landry, wr16
Wes Welker is historical wide receiver name compared to Jarvis Landry's last two seasons in terms of volume and low yards-per-catch. Landry had a free run of the Miami passing game. Welker was the perfect storm of slot volume and longevity, along with having some guy named Tom Brady over the years. Now, the Dolphins added Leonte Carroo on Day 2 and DeVante Parker enters Year 2 after heating up late in the season. Unless Ryan Tannehill in an elite fantasy option OR Landry really is Wes Welker 2.0, a high-to-mid WR2 price is buying the low-probability ceiling of Jarvis Landry instead of the middle ground or closer to his floor.
malcolm mitchell, wr61
The Patriots drafting wide receivers have been a running joke for years, yet many are projecting Malcolm Mitchell being a different story. Mitchell is a slightly above athlete in the projection model (+7%) but a non-producer by nearly every account in his Georgia collegiate career (-48% in the model). Since 2000, Aaron Dobson's 37-519-4 stat line was the best rookie wide receiver season for the Patriots. In fact, only three New England rookie receivers had hit even 400 yards in their first year. Bet on Chris Hogan emerging from off-the-radar, who the Patriots hand selected and has above-average NFL tape on his profile already, instead of Mitchell in fantasy drafts.