A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look through the top 150 players and identify players that should outperform their draft position.
Player Receiving 6 Votes
James Brimacombe: Rookie wide receivers made a huge impact last season all over the league and with many talented ones coming again this year the trend could very well continue. Agholor found the perfect landing spot with the Eagles as they lost DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin the past two seasons and were looking for speed and good hands to replace them. Agholor is a Pac12 guy and what that means is that he is a Chip Kelly guy. Kelly loves his Pac12 players and drafting Agholor in the 1st round means that he will be immediately inserted into the offense for a major role to start his rookie season.
Cian Fahey: Nelson Agholor is a pro-ready wide receiver with the explosiveness and dynamism to immediately flourish in Chip Kelly's offense. Whether he lines up in the slot or out wide, Agholor should be a constant big play threat who can also work as a possession receiver for Sam Bradford. His overall athleticism and elusiveness with the ball should allow him to be productive even if he doesn't get great service from his quarterback.
Christopher Feery: First-round draft choice Nelson Agholor steps into the Chip Kelly offense and is expected to slide into the No.1 WR role. A physically gifted runner with great hands out of USC, Agholor has the potential to pick-up where the departed Jeremy Maclin left off. An intriguing offseason for the Eagles to say the least, we will see how the pieces shakeout through training camp, but the versatile Agholor should have a huge role this year and easily outperform his draft position.
Jeff Haseley: The Eagles receiving corps is going to be led by a combination of Jordan Matthews and rookie Nelson Agholor. The expected statistical breakdown between the two is close, but Matthews is going in the fourth round, while Agholor is coming off the board in round seven or eight. I'll take the later round pick every time if production is too close to determine the better receiver.
Bob Magaw: Agholor has the talent and pedigree to become the #1 WR in Chip Kelly’s vaunted, prolific, star making passing attack. Opposing defenses will be heavily distracted by running backs DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, creating the kind of space where the former USC punt returner can operate and work his RAC, open field magic. The 2014 second round wide receiver Jordan Matthews finished #24 (just ahead of fellow rookie Sammy Watkins), and Agholor is more sudden, explosive and elusive. He is Kelly’s hand picked successor to the departed Jeremy Maclin (who finished #9 last year).
Mark Wimer: Nelson Agholor lands in the best situation of any rookie receiver, and will be asked to replace Jeremy Maclin's volume in the wide-open, hurry-up Philadelphia offense. He'll work with strong-armed Sam Bradford and as Bradford is also new to the offense, there are no entrenched favorites for Agholor to overcome/surpass - Agholor should wind up with numbers on the cusp of the fantasy WR1/WR2 break by season's end, especially in leagues with PPR scoring. He's an incredible value at his ADP of 34th wide receiver off the board.
Players Receiving 5 Votes
Jeff Haseley: The main reason why I like Steve Smith this year is simple - opportunity. The Ravens let Torrey Smith go in the off season (to San Francisco) and the tight end position is up for grabs. This leaves Smith and rookie Breshad Perriman as the main options for Joe Flacco and the Ravens passing game. Smith may be up there in age (36) but he can still be a force, as evidenced by his Top 20 performance last year. Smith clearly has the most experience in the receiving corps. His hard work and drive will result in another productive season. The lack of experience of Flacco's alternative receiving options will lead to more and more targets to Smith. Plug him in as a WR3 or at absolute worse, a flex option and reap the benefits.
Ryan Hester: Smith isn’t the only Baltimore receiver who is being undervalued right now. He and rookie BreshadPerriman may be polar opposites physically, but their respective fantasy outlooks have a major component in common. Both have significant opportunity. The team’s wide receiver depth chart is littered with inexperienced and/or talent-lacking players. They have no experience at the tight end position either. Even the most run-heavy offenses in the league still pass the ball nearly 50% of the time, and new Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman isn’t a run-first play-caller. Smith will be peppered with targets as Joe Flacco’s only experienced weapon other than running back Justin Forsett. This draft position is an indication that many are remembering how he fizzled out at the end of last season. Despite that, Smith still finished as the #18 wide receiver in PPR scoring, making his current draft position far too low.
Andy Hicks: Steve Smith started 2014 like his vintage form from 2005, but reverted back to expectations for the remainder of the season. I would not be surprised if the same were to occur in 2015. There is no doubt that at his age he will be a significant risk, but Baltimore allowed Torrey Smith to move on and will be hoping BreshadPerriman is ready from day 1. We know that rookies generally aren’t though and Smith will have value way above his price to start the year. Get what you can out of him early and then see if someone will take him off your hands later.
Jeff Pasquino: Another veteran wide receiver makes my value list here as I have Steve Smith Jr. as a solid WR3 once again this year. Quite often people are put off by age, but Steve Smith remains a very productive and viable fantasy option. Joe Flacco loves to use him, especially as a possession receiver, but also to stretch the field. With rookie BreshadPerriman likely to open the secondary up for Smith in complementary routes, both players should be great values. Smith is available as a WR4 (or even WR5) but will have WR3/flex appeal most weeks this year.
Kyle Wachtel: Not once, but twice has Smith Sr.’s career been revived. The first was in Cam Newton’s rookie season and then the second time being last year. While he may be 36 years old, the arrival of Marc Trestman presents too much opportunity for him to fade. The receiving corps is full of questions to the point where rookie, Breshad Perriman, will likely be thrust into an every-down role. The only two sure-thing skill players are Justin Forsett and Smith Sr. – both of whom should get all they can handle. Another 70+ catches and near 1,000 yards is in store, making him a high-end WR3 in any format.
Phil Alexander: Last season was only the second since 2007 a Norv Turner offense failed to finish inside the Top-9 in pass attempts of 20+ yards. After Teddy Bridgewater flashed an accurate deep ball as a rookie (48% completion rate), it’s fair to expect Norv to loosen the reigns in 2015, and get back to spreading defenses vertically. Enter Mike Wallace, who averaged 17.5 yards per catch through his first four seasons in a similar offense with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wallace was never a great fit for Miami’s quick hitting West Coast scheme, in which Ryan Tannehill had the lowest rate of deep pass attempts per drop back of any qualifying starter last season. He should get back to WR2 numbers with the Vikings, leaving plenty of room for him to outperform his current WR34 price tag.
Andy Hicks: The Mike Wallace to Miami move was considered a bit of a flop for both parties. Fortunately the Dolphins loss is the Vikings gain. Even though Wallace was seen as disappointing he finished as a WR2 for both his years in Miami and has WR1 upside if Minnesota can use him effectively. The presence of Adrian Peterson will significantly help in this goal. Of course he can be patchy and if things don’t work out he could be a bust, but for his current asking price the risk is well worth it.
Stephen Holloway: Mike Wallace did not have the success that was expected in Miamiafter he signed a five-year $60 Million contract with the Dolphins and after two years there, he moves on to Minnesota. Even with multiple issues in Miami, Wallace averaged 70 receptions, 921 yards and 7.5 TDs for the Dolphins. He fits the Vikings’ vertical system much better and with Adrian Peterson back, the passing game should have improved opportunities.
Bob Magaw: Wallace was generally viewed as a failure in Miami, yet he finished #18 and #25 (FBG scoring) in 2014 and 2103, respectively. Prior to that, the former PIT speed merchant was #24, #9, #5 in Steel Town during the 2012, 2011 and 2010 seasons. Wallace turns just 29 in 2015, hardly a geezer in WR years. Adrian Peterson will easily be the top RB he has worked with, meaning a steady diet of single coverage. Look for the play calling of OC Norv Turner “Effect” to exploit that, he made stars of deep threats Vincent Jackson and Josh Gordon in previous stops with the Chargers and Browns.
Matt Waldman: The Vikings’ new receiver has a value outside the top 30 at his position. Wallace is coming off a fantasy season where he was inside the top-20 at his position. The perception of lower value must be a combination of the Teddy Bridgewater’s current ADP, the return of Adrian Peterson, and lingering confusion about which receiver between Wallace and Charles Johnson will be the primary option. The quick answers to these three dilemmas: Don’t be concerned about the receiver pecking order, Peterson’s presence will help the big-play element of the passing game, and Bridgewater was sixth in yards per attempt and fourth in completion percentage during the final seven weeks of the season when he was fantasy football’s QB11. I expect no worse than top-20 fantasy production from Wallace at his position, making him at least a round undervalued—likely two.
Players Receiving 4 Votes
Sigmund Bloom: For the second straight offseason, Brown is the talk of the Cardinals wide receiver corps. He performed like a bigger and more experienced player in the deep passing game last year, and better health from Carson Palmer should only improve the quality of his increasing opportunity there. Rumors of trade availability dogged Michael Floyd this spring, and the writing is on the wall that this offense will favor Brown over Floyd after Brown out-targeted Floyd in his rookie year.
James Brimacombe: John Brown was one of the many talented rookie WR's from last season but often was a name that was overlooked. A 48/696/5 statline is pretty impressive and all the rave reviews he is receiving this offseason make him inline for strong season especially if Carson Palmer can stay healthy and play a full 16 game season.
Michael Brown: I love Brown’s talent, and jumped the gun a bit on rostering him in several leagues prior to last season. Despite playing “behind” Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, Brown had an excellent rookie season a year ago. He showed a real talent to stretch the field, had a knack for finding the end zone, and managed to do all this despite some spotty quarterback play after the injury to Carson Palmer. In the six games Palmer played, Brown put up stats that would project out to 53-840-8. In the ten games without Palmer, Brown’s stats project to 45-610-3. Well, Palmer is back. Brown has had a terrific offseason. And there’s no reason to think that 53-840-8 isn’t an relatively easily attainable floor.
Kyle Wachtel: As a rookie, Brown posted a respectable 48-696-5 line. And this was despite playing the majority of the season without Carson Palmer and as the No. 3 receiving option. We’ve seen receivers of similar size to Brown (Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, and T.Y. Hilton) produce under Bruce Arians. Larry Fitzgerald is another year older and Michael Floyd has failed to progress to-date. This is a fluid situation at receiver where I would not be surprised at any order in which the three receivers finish. Brown comes at a lowest price and sits at the WR3/4 border.
Michael Brown: Johnson was able to sustain excellent numbers in Houston, despite some of the worst and least-inspiring quarterback play over the last few decades. The yards per reception have been trending in the wrong direction for four years, but I’m not of the belief that it is all on Johnson. He’s done as much as humanly possible in his position, and he probably would have put up yet another 1,000-yard campaign in 2014 had he played a full1 6 games. He joins a team loaded with talent at the skill spots, so even if there is more competition for touches, none of them brings the Hall of Fame pedigree that Johnson does – and the quality of his touches is going to be higher than it has ever been in his career. The Indianapolis offense is going to be an even bigger juggernaut than it already was. Go get him.
Cian Fahey: Andre Johnson is still a very effective wide receiver. He has all the athleticism, ball skills and route running ability to consistently get open for Andrew Luck. In 2014, he struggled some with drops but part of that was trying to cover playing with a quarterback who lacked accuracy and timing. Towards the end of his career, he is going to get to play with the best quarterback he has ever played with in an offense that won't limit his end zone targets by design.
Jeff Haseley: Andre Johnson has never had a quarterback in the caliber of Andrew Luck and it's arguable that Luck hasn't had a wide receiver as capable as future Hall of Famer, Andre Johnson. The combination of Luck and Johnson has the potential to be as good as Luck to Reggie Wayne in 2012 when Wayne eclipsed 100 receptions and 1,300 yards at age 34. Johnson will be 34 in training camp this July. T.Y. Hilton has been a big contributor for the Colts and I don't see that diminishing, however I can see Johnson being the receiver Luck targets most. His experience, attitude, drive and ability will be center stage for the Colts in 2015. The opportunity for a ring is within reach, which is one of the biggest reasons why I like Johnson to finish his career on a high point.
Ari Ingel: Three years ago noted NFL analyst, Greg Cosell, called Johnson an “incredibly special” talent and rated him the number one receiver in the league, ahead of Calvin Johnson. He noted that Johnson was smooth and fluid, with outstanding lateral explosion, had excellent ground and body control and could change direction with one step and get in-and-out of breaks with precision and quickness. And more importantly, he noted that he did notgive away his routes off the line of scrimmage, which is what makes him extremely difficult to cover. Fast-forward three years and a number of horrible quarterbacks later. Yes, Johnson is now 33 years old, but he is playing with one of the top two quarterbacks in the league on a team that is going to throw the ball a ton. More importantly, as I noted above, Johnson is an extremely gifted receiver that will get it done even if he has lost a stepped. If you snag him as your WR2 or WR3 you will be thrilled. For reference, when Reggie Wayne was 33 years old, he went 106/1,355/5 in Luck's rookie season. It would not surprise me if Johnsonreached those numbers.
Players Receiving 3 Votes
James Brimacombe: Much like Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin also landed in a less than ideal fantasy situation with the Kansas City Chiefs. The fact that Alex Smith did not throw one touchdown to a WR last season is mind blowing and you mix that in with Maclin having his best season in the NFL last year. Maclin is one that if he would have stayed in Philadelphia he would have been a borderline WR1 for fantasy. Now that he is on the Chiefs we want him to be more of a WR4 type. Maclin is worth taking a shot on at his current ADP and could be that go to WR Alex Smith has been waiting for in Kansas City.
Christopher Feery: Maclin provides a significant upgrade to the Chiefs WR corps, a unit that failed to produce a single touchdown last year. He re-unites with Andy Reid, who he played under for four seasons with the Eagles. Maclin will give the Chiefs and Alex Smith the deep threat that they sorely lacked last year, as he outperformed the entire group of Chiefs’ WRs from last year in downfield catches of 20 yards or more. While Smith is not exactly known to stretch the field, reports indicate that the Chiefs want him to be more aggressive this year. The explosive Jamaal Charles and the emerging Travis Kelce provide balance to an offense that should improve in 2015, Maclin could surprise and emerge as a top 20 WR when all is said and done.
Stephen Holloway: In the two seasons that Maclin has been able to play every game, he has finished WR13 and WR9. He is two years removed from his torn ACL and proved last year to be fully recovered. Even though quarterback Alex Smith has a well deserved reputation as limiting wide receiver production, Maclin is a great fit in Kansas City. He has played previously for Coach Andy Reid and knows the offensive system. He is a great route runner and should be targeted often on short routes that he can use his run after the catch abilities. Furthermore, he will be excited to return close to his native Missouri.
Sigmund Bloom: When you put Robinson’s situation side-by-side with DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, or even Kelvin Benjamin, they don’t look that different. Yet you can get Robinson four or five rounds around the price it take to buy a ticket for any of those other young #1s. Robinson was quickly developing into Blake Bortles’ most trusted receiver before going down last year, and he will have every opportunity to grow into that role this year. Even in a modest pass offense with a minimally functional QB, Robinson should be a terrific WR3 or Flex this season.
Chad Parsons: With an injury and forgettable Jacksonville team overall around him in 2014, Allen Robinson’s promising rookie season got lost in the shuffle a year ago. Robinson has a prototypical profile of size, athleticism, and collegiate production. Jacksonville has little to challenge Robinson for targets on the depth chart. Plus T.J. Yeldon is poised to provide much needed balance to the offense. At WR4 prices, Robinson offers a quality blend of WR2+ upside and a flex-worthy weekly floor in 2015.
Daniel Simpkins: Owners would be more excited about Robinson if he had not been overshadowed by other '14 wide receiver class standouts. The offense looked much improved with Bortles at the helm and should only get better with the addition of T.J. Yeldon in the draft. Robinson is a physical specimen and the clear lead option in that passing game. The word from OTAs is that Robinson is looking dominant, and that’s the type of buzz owners want to continue to hear as the team progresses through the offseason. Expect Robinson to post WR2 numbers for fantasy squads on most weeks.
Players Receiving 2 Votes
Andy Hicks: It’s always easy to write off the veteran receiver, especially when an expensive free agent arrives in the form of Torrey Smith. Smith proved though that he has one of the lowest pass completion percentages in the NFL, which combined with Kaepernicks accuracy is a problem. On the other hand Anquan Boldin is one of the more dependable receivers in the league and at age 34 still has a good year or 2 left. If you need a 49ers receiver, get the one that offers guaranteed week to week production and while his upside won’t be above WR2, his downside is WR3 at worst. Way better than his asking price.
Kyle Wachtel: At 33 years old, Boldin walked into San Francisco and solidified himself as the No. 1 receiver, averaging 84 receptions, 1,121 receiving yards and 6 receiving touchdowns over the past two years. He may be 35 years old now, but remains Kaepernick’s blanket. Torrey Smith should be less a threat to Boldin’s market share than Michael Crabtree was as well. Don’t overthink this one – he’s a solid WR3.
Kyle Wachtel: Injuries have tried their best to slow Colston over the years, but he’s continued to fight through them and produce. In what was his “worst” season in a 9-year NFL career, Colston still caught 59 passes for 902 yards and 5 touchdowns. The departure of Jimmy Graham and New Orleans’ unwillingness to bring in additional receivers, solidifies Colston’s role in the offense. You can peg him in for WR3 production for as long as he has a heartbeat.
Matt Waldman: Another year, another preseason where Colston gets less love than he deserves. The knees are creakier, Brandin Cooks has another year of experience, and Colston finished as WR33 in 2014. To clarify, Colston finished the final seven weeks as WR17. Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills were traded in the offseason and Josh Hill is good, but not Graham-good. With a value of WR52 in the 10th round for a 12-team league, Colston is a low-risk, high-reward pick in light of fantasy owners overreacting to his age and discussion of Drew Brees’ demise.
Stephen Holloway: Larry Fitzgerald missed a couple of games last season with an MCL injury and played several others at less than 100%. Consider that in the team’s first nine game, he caught 44 passes for 625 yards and 2 TDs compared with only 19 catches, 159 yards and no TDs in the final five games where he was hampered by the knee and also missing his quarterback Carson Palmer. Expect Fitzgerald to bounce back strongly as long as Palmer can stay healthy.
Ari Ingel: With an ADP of 95, Fitzgerald provides great value for a player that is still the number one receiver on a team that believes in passing the ball a lot. I love John Brown just as much as the next guy, but that does not mean he is ready to supplant Ftiz as the teams top dog, at least as long as Carson Palmer stays healthy. Is Fitzgerald still a WR1 in Fantasy, absolutely not, but as noted player analyst Greg Cosell mentioned: “He understands the subtle nuances of alignment, splits, and route running, against both man and zone, better than any receiver in the NFL. Fitzgerald is a maestro at utilizing splits and releases to gain an advantage, and most important, to make certain that he is where he needs to be when he needs to be there.” At 32 years old he is a risk, but at this point in the draft, he’s a risk with little downside.
Jeff Pasquino: There is a reason that both Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald (another receiver I considered) are depressed in value – Arizona had terrible quarterback play last year after Carson Palmer was injured. Palmer is going to be back and ready for training camp, and the Cardinals are going to go to a faster paced attack. That all leads to bigger days and games for Floyd, who should be back to a Top 24 wideout again in 2015.
Daniel Simpkins: Injuries to key pieces of the Cardinals offense (Ellington, Palmer, etc.) were a major blow to Floyd’s value last year. Floyd also struggled with minor injuries of his own. Even with everything breaking against him, Floyd managed to finish within the top 35 at the position. The team did retain Fitzgerald, but Fitz is obviously slowing down and is more of a tertiary option at this point in his career. John Brown is coming on as a nice secondary option, but he doesn’t possess the physical tools to be the lead man. The team will need Floyd to step up and become the number one wideout they drafted him to be. In a contract year, Floyd will have every incentive to perform his best so he can land his biggest contract, whether that be with the Cardinals or another suitor. Expect WR2 production with weeks of WR1 upside in 2015 for Micheal Floyd. In the late fifth round of 12-team drafts, that kind of production is an absolute steal.
Stephen Holloway: Washington’s offense finished 13th a year ago in yards per game, but could only manage 31 offensive TDs and finished 26th in offensive scoring. Robert Griffin III showed some improvement over his disastrous first year back from his injury and expectations are for him and the entire offense to again improve production. Garcon’s reduced production generally matched the entire team, but he did lead the team in targets and receptions and finished 2nd to DeSean Jackson in receiving yards and TDs.
Jeff Pasquino: The Washington offense was a mess last year, with Robert Griffin III having his worst year and the entire passing game sinking with him in 2014. Garcon had a terrible 2014 (68-752-3), a reflection of his targets plummeting from 181 in 2013 down to only 105 last season. I expect the offense in Washington to rebound this year and Garcon to have numbers between his 2013 (113-1,346-5) and 2014 numbers, which makes him a great value draft pick later in fantasy drafts.
Sigmund Bloom: The Buccaneers have the look of an offense that will have to move the ball through the air when their strengths and weaknesses are weighed against each other, and that should lead to a much better opportunity for Vincent Jackson this year. Defenses will be more preoccupied with his running mate Mike Evans, and Jackson has gained an aggressive passer in Jameis Winston who should give him chances to win 50/50 balls downfield in single coverage. Jackson can still play, and his numbers should better reflect that this year.
Jeff Pasquino: Tampa Bay is revamping their offense, but they do have two strong wide recievers to support rookie quarterback Jamies Winston. While everyone is enamored with Mike Evans as their young and new WR1, veteran Vincent Jackson is nothing to sneeze at, either. Jackson was the WR1 entering 2014, and he is even more dangerous against the weaker cornerbacks in the NFL on a weekly basis. Jackson had 70 catches and over 1,000 yards receiving last year. His only downside was snaring only two touchdowns, a number that should go up to the 5-7 range this season. I consider him a strong WR3 with solid WR2 upside.
Jeff Haseley: Miami upgraded their receiving corps in the off season adding Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings and drafting rookie standout DeVante Parker. People are concerned that Jarvis Landry will take a step back, to compensate for all of the receiver talent. Landry is the glue of the receiving unit and will continue to be peppered with passes, especially in clutch time and third down situations. He should once again approach 80-90 catches and be Ryan Tannehill's top target. For him to be the 26th wide receiver off the board is criminal. I will gladly take Landry as my WR3 this year.
Ari Ingel: I have no doubt that DeVante Parker will eventually be the Dolphins top dog at receiver, but until that day comes, Landry is going to be the man in Miami. Landry is an incredibly smart receiver and does well with the ball in his hands. While he may not score a ton of TDs, in PPR leagues, he is going to be a great WR2. I would be shocked if he didn’t catch at least 85 passes.
James Brimacombe: When a successful player switches teams from a good offensive situation to a bad offensive situation it is easy to just forget about them moving forward. Marshall is in this exact situation as he has all the talent in the world as one of the best WR's in the game and has had 5 out of 9 seasons in the league catching 100+ passes in a season. The Jets QB situation isn't the best in the league but a large part of that goes along with the fact that they haven't had much to work with on offense. Marshall's ADP is a steal right now as you can draft him as a WR3/WR4 just based on situation alone.
Cian Fahey: Brandon Marshall didn't appear to be fully healthy last season and that notably affected his play. He had many more failures at the catch point than you would typically expect. With the New York Jets, Marshall should be Geno Smith's favorite receiver. He will receive a huge number of targets and run routes to every area of the field in Chan Gailey's offense. Geno Smith may not be a great quarterback, but he played much better after being reinserted into the starting lineup last season. He is aggressive enough to let Marshall prosper down the field.
Ryan Hester: Nelson is the top pass-catcher in an elite offense, finished last season #3 at the position in PPR scoring, and will have nearly the same offensive unit around him in 2015 as he had in 2014. But his price tag is still similar to what it was heading into last season – before he tallied 98 receptions, 1,519 yards, and 13 touchdowns. He’s an ideal candidate for top-five production but is being drafted later than that.
Mark Wimer: Number one wide receiver and most trusted red-zone option on an elite passing offense - what's not to like? Nelson should shine for fantasy owners again this season. He's a great value at seventh wide receiver off the board.
Ryan Hester: Despite what their current depth chart might suggest, some players will catch passes for Baltimore season. First-round pick Perriman is the favorite to start opposite Steve Smith, who is aging quickly, as evidenced by the lackluster end to his 2014 season after a very hot start. Perriman isn’t likely to ever be a high-volume receiver, but his deep speed and ability to win “50-50” balls in the air suggest that he’ll make high-leverage plays – the kind that are important for fantasy football.Perriman’s skills align nicely with those of Joe Flacco, who throws one of the best deep balls in the NFL. It might be an up-and-down 2015 for Perriman, but his skill and opportunity dictate that he should finish the season ranked higher among wide receivers than his current draft position would indicate.
Daniel Simpkins: Perriman may not be as refined as some of his fellow rookies, but he landed in one of the best situations of any of them. The passing game is wide open with the exit of Torrey Smith to San Francisco. Perriman was taken in the first round and will likely have the inside track to the starting job opposite Steve Smith. He'll have one of the best veterans to learn the trade from in Smith, too. With the strong-armed Flacco at QB, and Smith getting most of the attention in coverage, expect Perriman to surprise and post WR2 numbers this year.
Players Receiving 1 Vote
Chad Parsons: Plenty of air flew out of the Davante Adams breakout balloon when Randall Cobb was resigned by Green Bay in the offseason. However, elite passing games have historically supported three top-40, or higher, wide receiver in the same season. Adams is priced at his floor in the mid-WR40s area with WR2, or better, upside if Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb were to miss time.
Daniel Simpkins: Allen had an awful 2014, which was marred by Rivers’ injury and Allen's own injury woes. With a healthier Allen, a healthier Rivers under center, and Melvin Gordon to jump-start the running game, Allen is slated to bounce back and post 2015 totals closer to those of his rookie season. He’s the clear number one option in the passing game and everyone knows how much Rivers likes to sling it. Currently going in the mid-third round in 12-team leagues, bet on Allen being a WR2 that will possess WR1 upside on some weeks.
Michael Brown: The offseason personnel moves have left a lot less weaponry for Drew Brees, but one guy who is still in town is Cooks. Seemingly on his way to a big rookie year prior to suffering an injury, Cooks has the kind of game that can translate to seemingly any offensive system. He was on his way to nearly 1,000 total yards from scrimmage before the thumb injury, and now enters a season without WR Kenny Stills or TE Jimmy Graham to hog targets. He won’t be hurt by the added attention, because he’s not lining up on the outside flying down the field like Stills, nor is he boxing out defenders in the red zone like the touchdown-reliant Graham. Cooks will do his thing on tons of intermediate routes, and the first rounder has a very good chance to finish in the high top-10 receiver rankings.
Sigmund Bloom: Chan Gailey’s offenses tend lean towards the pass, and the group of passcatchers combined with QBs who are never gunshy fit that modus operandi. Decker battled through a hamstring injury and ended up showing that he can still be a consistently productive wide receiver on a team with a head coach that is hostile to the passing game last year. Brandon Marshall will draw some targets, but he’ll also draw some attention from the defense. Decker’s numbers might not lag behind Marshall’s much if at all, but he is still coming at a multi-round discount from Marshall’s name brand early fifth-round price tag.
Andy Hicks: The Seattle Seahawks could not find a way to make Percy Harvin fit into their offense and the Jets struggled to get consistent production from him as well. Rex Ryan must have seen enough to trust him to be an integral part of the Bills offense though. Harvin will be a bargain in fantasy drafts this year and has WR1 potential as displayed in his Viking days. As he gets significant use out of the backfield he is that rare dual threat from the wide receiver position and despite the flaws of the Buffalo offense Harvin will produce above his draft slot.
Cian Fahey: The departure of Andre Johnson should shift the focus of the Houston Texans passing game towards DeAndre Hopkins. Even with the additions of a few veterans and Jaelen Strong in the draft. Hopkins will still be suffering from poor quarterback play, but he only needs competent service to consistently produce. He didn't always get competent service last season, with the final four or five games in particular seeing him lose yardage and scoring opportunities because of incompetence elsewhere. Brian Hoyer and/or Ryan Mallett should at least allow Hopkins to get closer to his potential than he did last year. His potential is up there with the very best receivers in the NFL.
Mark Wimer: Jackson is a great value at his current ADP of 23rd receiver off the board. Jackson should benefit from entering his second season in Washington now fully comfortable in the Washington offense. He's also a clear-cut #1 wide receiver in the Capitol City. Also, Robert Griffin III enters this season healthy and ready to play, something he wasn't for most of 2014.
Bob Magaw: Jeffery has some parallels with A.J. Green of the Bengals. Jeffery is 1” shorter (6’3”), about 5 lbs. heavier (215 lbs.), and has similar field speed (ran a 4.45 at his pro day). Both have the elite body control and agility of much smaller players, and have been highly productive despite sub-optimal QB play. Green, for instance, has an NFL record 260 receptions in his first three seasons (2011-2013). Since 2013, though, Jefferey has quietly put up superior overall receiving numbers (174-2,554-17 compared to 167-2,467-17, albeit in three more games). In 2015, he enters the season for the first time, what is familiar territory for Green - #1 WR, and has upside on that situational basis. The Bears have a rebuilding defense and play in a division with serious offensive firepower (Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson), which could be a recipe for frequent shootouts and boosted production.
Ryan Hester: Johnson showed flashes of being a true “number one” receiver last season – only his second season in the NFL. He and Teddy Bridgewater appeared to have nice chemistry as Johnson saw seven or more targets three times in a five-game stretch. With Minnesota’s acquisition of Mike Wallace, Johnson should rarely have a safety over the top on his side of the field due to Wallace’s ability to attack deep. He’s also a more complete receiver than Wallace in that he can run more routes, which meshes well with Bridgewater’s skills as a very accurate short-to-intermediate passer. Minnesota will also gain back Adrian Peterson, which will make them a more efficient offense overall and present each player in that unit with more chances to accumulate stats.
Michael Brown: Several FBGs whose opinions I value highly have been singing the praises of Latimer since before last season. Here’s a guy with all the talent to be a top-flight receiver in the league, and all he was lacking was the opportunity. With Denver scaling back the passing offense a bit, there won’t automatically be touches galore for Latimer to really break out. But with Wes Welker and Julius Thomas both out of the fold, there is an opportunity for some other players to put up nice numbers alongside Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Latimer is by far the best bet from that group, and the great thing is that it all it costs you is a 10th round lottery ticket to find out if he will.
Mark Wimer: Smith is a great value at his current ADP of 34th wide receiver selected. Smith's speed compliments Anquan Boldin's steady chain-moving presence - Smith should have plentiful opportunities to score as the 49ers' main deep threat. He should crush his current ADP.
Matt Waldman: DeVante Parker won’t be ready until Week 1 due to a foot injury, Greg Jennings is more of a possession-plus option than an every-down deep threat, and Jarvis Landry is a slot option. Miami’s offense had two top-25 fantasy receivers during the final 7 weeks of 2014. The Dolphins didn’t trade for Stills for depth. The former Saints starter is a bona fide vertical threat with flashes of developing into a complete option that can work the middle, the short zones, and the red zone. Stills will likely see time as the flanker and occasional slot option. Parker saw time at all three receiver spots, but I expect he’ll see most of his reps at split end. It means Parker will probably be in a rotation with Jennings and Stills will be the every-down option opposite them. Stills is a ninth-round value in 12-team and barely inside the top-50. I expect top-30 production from Stills and top-20 upside.
Bob Magaw: Watkins was overshadowed and largely forgotten, lost in the shuffle of a historically good 2014 WR class, especially the unprecedented 1,000 yard receiving trio of Odell Beckham, Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin. Yet Watkins only missed that threshold by 18 yards. He doesn’t have the elite athleticism of Beckham or the Sleestak height of Evans and Benjamin, but he is faster than the latter two and bigger than the former (who, like Watkins, ran an identical 4.43 40 at the combine). If the Bills can somehow scrape together more competent QB play, they have an improved array of skill position talent to deflect attention away from the former #4 overall pick, in the form of traded PHI RB LeSean McCoy (3 X Pro Bowl, 2 X All-Pro), ex-MIN/SEA/NYJ WR Percy Harvin (1 X All-Pro) and former MIA TE Charles Clay.