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.
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Player Receiving 6 Votes
Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis
Alexander: Andrew Luck's extended absence has apparently made people forget Donte Moncrief was on his way to a breakout last year. The soon-to-be 23-year-old averaged 14 PPR fantasy points per game in Luck's seven starts. All told, he turned in one of the better statistical seasons in the last 15 years for a 22-year-old wide receiver. With Andre Johnson and Coby Fleener leaving behind a combined 161 targets, Moncrief will have every opportunity to take a huge step forward in his third season. Despite a recent bump in his ADP, he's still being drafted behind at least eight wide receivers he shouldn't be.
Bloom: Moncrief should get a huge target load as the #2 wide receiver in a pass-happy offense, and he's only turning 23 heading into his third year. He has a high ceiling, especially if Dwayne Allen continues his injury-prone ways and leaves Moncrief as the clear #1 target in the red zone. He is going as high as the fourth round, and even late third in "expert' drafts, so feel lucky if you get Moncrief in the sixth or seventh round.
Howe: Many are sleeping on Donte Moncrief, and it's hard to see why. There should be gobs and gobs of opportunity in a Colts offense that should improve markedly on its 2015, yet lacks the receiving depth to keep Moncrief from catching 70+ balls. An absolutely freakish athlete with some of the best weight-adjusted measurables in years, Moncrief should stick closely to T.Y. Hilton in targets in 2016 and turn them into ultra-efficient numbers.
Ingel: This offense was a disaster last year with the injury to Andrew Luck and the inexplicable usage of Andre Johnson. With Johnson and Coby Fleener out of the mix, Moncrief will be locked and loaded as Luck's primary target along with TY Hilton. It should be noted that he is still just 22 years old, younger than players like Josh Doctson, Sammy Watkins, Devante Parker, Kevin White, Jarvis Landry, Kelvin Benjamin, and Dorial Green-Beckham.
Parsons: Moncrief would be far more expensive than WR33 in ADP if Andrew Luck had not missed time in 2015. Moncrief had a glaring difference in efficiency with Andrew Luck compared to Matt Hasselbeck under center and now enters Year 3 without Andre Johnson soaking up perimeter wide receiver snaps. Moncrief is the ideal WR3/4 on fantasy depth charts.
Simpkins: It was extremely encouraging to see Moncrief growing in a year during which the Colts offense was a disaster. In his 2015 play, he displayed the size-speed-body control combination that makes fantasy owners drool. Luck is back under center and the Colts made every effort to improve his protection. Those two things should put the offense back on track so that the young wideout can continue to make strides. He's going in the late-sixth to early-seventh round range and has a chance to solidify himself as a low-end WR1.
Players Receiving 4 Votes
Marvin Jones Jr, Detroit
Haseley: People are quick to focus on Golden Tate as the Lions top receiver in 2016 however, Marvin Jones Jr isn't far behind and he can be had 15 wide receiver picks later. Jones has 14 touchdowns in 106 receptions over the last two years. That's a score every 7.5 catches. If Detroit continues to be a pass-dominant offense, we could see Jones developing into a weekly flex option or WR3. Not bad, considering his ADP of WR38.
Hindery: Jones should not be going off the board 40 picks behind Golden Tate. The two receivers look poised to share the job of Matthew Stafford's top receiver. Jones has a well-earned reputation as a dangerous deep threat. But there is more to his game than that. He has also proven dangerous after the catch and has excelled on quick screens. His ability to make guys miss makes him a great fit for Detroit's new offense and Jones will see more targets than most are expecting. He has WR2 upside and is being seriously undervalued with an ADP in the eighth round.
Pasquino: With the retirement of Calvin Johnson, both Marvin Jones Jr and Golden Tate will be competing to both fill the void and become the primary target for Detroit. Matthew Stafford will need all the help he can get in the passing game, and Jones should fill a large part of that gap. Jones produced solid numbers last year in Cincinnati (65-816-4) on just 103 targets – a number he could easily surpass this year with the Lions. Jones has 1,000-yard upside and could perform as a fantasy WR2, but it available long after 35+ wide receivers go off the board. That screams value to me.
Waldman: Statistically, Jones has only earned one WR2 season as a fantasy option. But it's a mistake link this fact to his upside. Jones, like Donald Driver, has big-play speed and leaping ability but began his career as his team's secondary option. The Lions made Jones its replacement to Calvin Johnson because scouts noted Jones' skill after the catch, his route running prowess, and athletic ability. Jones doesn't match Johnson or A.J. Green's upside but Driver was a top-13 fantasy option 4 times during a 5 season stretch when called upon and Jones is a close comparison to the former Packer. Look for Jones to approach WR1 production at the cost of a WR4.
Players Receiving 3 Votes
Tavon Austin, Los Angeles
Hindery: When Jeff Fisher professed that Austin could catch 100 passes in 2016, his ADP should have shot up. But it has not. Austin is still going off the board in the 11th round of 12-team leagues. It's at least three rounds too late. Despite awful quarterback play in 2015, Austin scored nine times and produced 907 rushing/receiving yards (in large part due to his exceptional production as a runer). Bigger receiving numbers seem guaranteed in 2016. Jared Goff will be the best thing to happen to Austin's career. Goff's accuracy and quick release are reminiscent of Tom Brady and Fisher has indicated a desire to model the Rams passing game off of New England's quick release model. Austin could have a breakout season in the Julian Edelman role and represents the most enticing risk/reward proposition of any player going after the 10th round.
Magaw: Austin set a career high in TDs with 10 in a breakout 2015 season. While record breaking Pac-12 conference QB and first overall pick Jared Goff will undoubtedly suffer growing pains during his on the job training as an NFL signal caller, his composure, pocket sense and awareness, decisiveness, compact delivery, quick release, underrated arm strength and accuracy hold out the hope of ultimately emerging as the most skilled QB during Austin's tenure with the Rams. Replacement/new OC Rob Boras was starting to figure out how to deploy rookie All-Pro RB Todd Gurley and Austin as complementary threats. Fisher is conservative, but has acknowledged the need to get the ball in Austin's hands a lot more, and hired former CHI WR coach Mike Groh as passing game coordinator.
Wood: Austin is a controversial choice, but I'm going to plant a flag on the mercurial Los Angeles Ram. If you look at Austin's receiving numbers, it's easy to be underwhelmed. Last year he set "career" marks with 52 receptions, 473 yards and 5 touchdowns. Those numbers alone would've ranked WR53 last year – which jives with his ADP (WR48). But Austin isn't just a receiver; the Rams use him as a runner liberally. He ran for 434 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. Combined, Austin had 907 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns and finished as the 25th ranked receiver. I don't see why his role will be diminished this year; yet I DO see an improvement in the team's quarterback with the selection of Jared Goff 1st overall. To me, Austin is a great end game choice that will deliver low-end WR3 value.
Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina
Hicks: Presuming he returns to full fitness, and all indications are that he will, Kelvin Benjamin will be a better player that the one who looked so promising in his rookie year. The Panthers and Cam Newton got starting production from Ted Ginn Jr, so even at this stage of his career Benjamin is simply a better all-round player, especially in the red zone. The Panthers have little to challenge Benjamin for targets and he is almost certain to outperform the draft slot he currently is in.
Pasquino: Cam Newton had a stellar year in 2015, and he did all of it without the receiver that was supposed to have been his primary target in Kelvin Benjamin. Starting with a baseline of Benjamin's 2014 numbers (73-1,008-9) as his floor, Benjamin is a 1,000-yard receiver and WR1 on a team that went to the Super Bowl last season. Newton can easily improve once again and should have both Benjamin and TE Greg Olsen as his top two targets. Benjamin offers WR1 upside at a WR2 ADP.
Wimer: Ted Ginn Jr caught 10 TDs from Cam Newton during 2015 as an 'emergency' #1 wide receiver - and Kelvin Benjamin has A) much better hands B) a clear path back to being Newton's number one target and C) all reports indicate his recovery from a 2015 training camp injury (ACL) is going well. Benjamin should EASILY surpass Ginn's 44 receptions and 739 receiving yards from last year, too. He should finish among the top-ten fantasy wide receivers come January 1, 2017.
Michael Crabtree, Oakland
Kuczynski: Crabtree was a forgotten man last off season. He was labeled as a diva and thought to be declining especially coming off a down season after an Achilles injury and playing for a dysfunctional 49ers offense. He finally found a suitor in the Oakland Raiders paired with a talented young QB in Derek Carr and playing opposite the top WR in the 2015 draft Amari Cooper. Once Crabtree didn't have to carry the load as a number 1 receiver, he seemed to find his place in the offense. He was able to put up 85/922/9 even though the Raiders offense struggled toward the end of the season and he was rewarded with a long extension. Being in year two of the same offensive scheme with an improving Carr and Cooper should allow Crabtree to match these numbers, if not surpass his yardage total.
Magaw: Like the Raiders in general, former top 10 overall WR Crabtree is enjoying a Renaissance, signing a four year, $34 million extension ($16.5 million guaranteed) late in the 2015 season. The savvy and experienced veteran intermediate threat makes a perfect complement to the younger, more explosive downfield threat Amari Cooper. Oakland is building a dangerous passing attack, with third year franchise QB Derek Carr and also including record setting second year TE Clive Walford from TE U (otherwise known as Miami). For various reasons Crabtree never attained NFL stardom some expected based on a historically prolific collegiate career as a Texas Tech underclassman, but he has top 15-20 WR ability and scoring potential in the right circumstances.
Wood: Amari Cooper is being drafted as a Top 10 receiver this year. I'm not going to argue against Cooper; he's an exciting young player. But, if you're excited about Cooper you need to also see value in Michael Crabtree. Last season, Michael Crabtree had the better catch rate (58% vs 55%). He had more targets (146 vs 130). He had more receptions (85 vs 72). He scored more touchdowns (9 vs 6). I have no issue with projecting Cooper for better numbers (he's the young, ascendant player) but why would Crabtree's numbers fall off precipitously? He'll be no worse than a low end WR2 this year (he was WR19 in 2015).
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
Hicks: Look at the draft slot for Larry Fitzgerald and you would be forgiven for thinking 2015 never happened. He posted a career high for receptions and almost reached double digit touchdowns. As long as he can still gain separation his other skills exceed that of the majority of other receivers. I do expect a slight regression to the phenomenal numbers he posted last year, but feel that others on the offense will suffer more. Fitzgerald is a reliable pro who will once again outperform his draft slot.
Holloway: Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer have a great connection. Before the 2015 season, I pro-rated Fitzgerald's six games with Palmer in 2014. That 2015 projection for a full 16-game season equated to Fitzgerald making 85 catches for 1,288 yards and 5 touchdowns. He mostly outdid those projections with 109 catches for 1,215 yards and 9 touchdowns. Fitzgerald at age 33 should again out-produce expectations with a healthy Palmer in 2016.
Waldman: Those predicting Fitzgerald becoming the third wheel in this passing offense cite the fact that he only had three huge fantasy games last year and they all came early in the season while Michael Floyd was nursing an injury. But Fitzgerald had 10 games where he earned at least 16 fantasy points, which was the average points per game for the No.12 fantasy receiver's total in 2015. Five of those games happened after Week 10. In fact, 13 of Fitzgerald's games were good enough for no worse than fantasy WR3 production. Fitzgerald's big-play acumen was never based on his speed and moving him to the slot in 2015 didn't diminish his opportunities to earn deep targets and red zone action. Without a top receiver at tight end, look for Fitzgerald, to continue earning double-digit touchdowns and approach 100 catches in this offense that has the quarterback and surrounding skill talent to support multiple, high-end fantasy options.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis
Bloom: Hilton was a strong WR1 placing well inside the top 10 in 2014 before getting dinged in December, and just staying fantasy relevant in a flaccid Colts offense in 2015 was a heroic effort. Andrew Luck is back and Hilton will be a true WR1 in what should be a pass happy once again. He is a luxury as a WR2, and a good enough WR1 to make it not very scary to start RB-RB.
Hester: There is always plenty of talk about regression this time of year. Some positive regression talk is based on opportunity, while some is based on return from injury or simply being part of a better team. For Hilton, both types are in play. Hilton should get more opportunity this season as 41.6% of the targets accumulated the team's top-seven targeted players have left town. And the quality of Hilton's opportunities should increase as well assuming a full season of a healthy Andrew Luck. Hilton offers a great floor with the anticipated volume to go along with the high ceiling that his always-electric playmaking ability provides. I prefer him to Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks, and Amari Cooper, all of whom are being drafted earlier.
Wood: Fantasy owners always overvalue TDs. As a result, fantasy owners are undervaluing T.Y. Hilton. In four seasons, Hilton has "only" caught 24 scores, with a career high of 7 (2012 and 2014). If you think something about Hilton's game precludes him from having 10+ TD seasons, then you're probably right to let him fall to his current ADP. If you're like me, however, you see a guy that is the clear cut number one target on a team that has a healthy Andrew Luck back under center. You see a guy that has averaged 15.6 yards per catch and has average 1,200+ yards over the last two seasons. I'm of the mind that Hilton has a high floor (70+ catches and 1,100+ yards) and is just a bit of natural luck/regression away from a 9-12 TD output. He does that and you're looking at a possible Top 5 player.
Willie Snead IV, New Orleans
Bloom: Snead was a solid WR3 in PPR leagues last year as a second-year UDFA breaking into a Saints offense that was lacking at wide receiver. He has received offseason kudos entering his third year, and Snead's role should grow from the modest 102 targets he got last year. At the current ninth or tenth round price, he allows you to have a solid WR3 at worst for a WR4 or WR5 price.
Haseley: Last year there were 32 wide receivers who had 100+ targets. Only two failed to score four touchdowns or more. One was Mike Evans and the other was Willie Snead IV. We hear about touchdown regression often, but in this case with Snead (and Evans for that matter), touchdown progression is imminent. Snead performed well between the 20's and was an above average route runner, he just failed to reel in the catches in the end zone in his rookie season. Had he done so we wouldn't be talking about him as a value play - he'd be a player you'd have to rely on to meet expectations. This year, you can still get Snead at a draft price discount and reap the benefits when he earns a weekly spot in your lineup.
Hester: Snead is a Drew Brees target, which is always attention-grabbing. But he's also someone in the New Orleans offense who doesn't have to share his preferred part of the field with anyone. Brandin Cooks is the more vertical threat; Coby Fleener and rookie Michael Thomas will be used in the seams; but Snead excels as a short-to-intermediate perimeter threat. Snead got six or more targets 11 times last season (eight or more six times) but only scored three touchdowns all season. In fact, Snead failed to score on his final 54 targets of 2015. There's likely some positive regression to be had with him, even if he is the kind of small-stature player who doesn't profile as a high-touchdown receiver. I prefer Snead to a number of players being taken ahead of him, including Markus Wheaton, Steve Smith, Travis Benjamin, and Stefon Diggs.
Players Receiving 2 Votes
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay
Holloway: Evans will continue to dominate the targets in the Tampa Bay passing game. Even missing a game each season, Evans has totaled 271 targets and 142 catches in his two seasons. He is an excellent red zone target, but in his rookie quarterback's initial season, Evans touchdowns dropped from 12 to 3. Expect his touchdown numbers to climb drastically, possibly into double digits again. Evans averages 15.9 YPC and that number should be considered near the floor for him.
Magaw: Evans makes the list partly due to being in a battery with up and coming QB Jameis Winston (and vice verce, they enhance each other, and have both put up historic numbers early in their respective careers). Despite an "off" year plagued by drops, the WR counterpart prodigy became just the second player at his position ever to already have two seasons of 1,000 receiving yards before the age of 22 - with Randy Moss. Evans suffered a precipitous drop to 3 scores last year, but his 12 TD outburst in 2014 was among the most for a rookie WR in league history (matched by fellow star class of '14 WR Odell Beckham). He has outstanding wheels to press his advantages of power forward size, attitude, positioning ability and aerial skills.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay
Kuczynski: Jackson was derailed by injuries last season, but he is firmly entrenched as the number 2 option behind Mike Evans with very little competition behind him, and he will be getting much less attention from the defense than the 3rd year wide receiver. This will be year two playing with promising young QB Jameis Winston, and year two in Dirk Koetter's offensive system, so the group is continuing to build more chemistry. Jackson might not put up the huge stats he used to as a team's number 1 target, but at his draft position, he can be a late bargain as a WR3/flex pick.
Pasquino: Jamies Winston enters his second season as an NFL quarterback, and he will be relying on his two top wide receivers in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Evans stole all of the thunder last year (74-1,206-3) thanks in part to Jackson only dressing for 10 contests, but Jackson has had 1,000-yard seasons in six of his last eight campaigns. While I cannot guarantee that he tops that mark again in 2016, he offers great value (ADP WR52) at the low price you can pay to get him in drafts this year.
Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City
Feery: Jeremy Maclin is a legitimate threat to finish the season with Top 15 WR production, but he's simply not being treated as one on draft day. The limitations of the Kansas City Chiefs offense are often noted when discounting Maclin's potential output, but the facts tell a very different story. He appeared in 15 games last season and finished in the Top 25 for targets at the position. If he was able to suit up for a 16th game, he easily pushes into the mid-teens in terms of targets. He had 14 gains of 20+ yards in 2015, finished tied for 12th in receptions, and is the clear top target of Alex Smith. The Chiefs offense will not be confused with a high-octane attack any time soon, but it operates efficiently and Maclin's overall production will make him seem like a steal when we put a bow on 2016.
Wimer: As the clear-cut #1 wide receiver for Alex Smith, Maclin should dominate the stable of wideouts in targets and receptions this year, making him a valuable fantasy commodity. He's a solid #2 fantasy wide receiver, and may flirt with #1 wide receiver production if all goes well in K.C. this year.
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver
Hicks: With the departure of Peyton Manning it is expected that Demaryius Thomas will have a little bit of a drop off, but Emmanuel Sanders a big decline. Why? Demaryius Thomas, for a variety of reasons, did not look the same receiver as before he signed his contract extension. With Mark Sanchez or Trevor Siemian under center, I expect Sanders to be the more productive receiver as he can play a greater variety of routes, especially of the shorter variety. With the Broncos expecting to run it more as well, the big play that Thomas brings may be severely diminished. If Paxton Lynch starts, all bets are off.
Kuczynski: Despite the uncertainty at the quarterback position, Sanders seems to be the most reliable target for whoever is under center in 2016 for the Denver Broncos. He has shown better hands and consistently gets more open than Demaryius Thomas- not to mention he lines up in the slot or avoids the attention of the opposing defenses' top cornerback. Last year even with poor QB play, Sanders was able to rack up over 70 catches and 1100+ yards and should be the short route safety blanket that gets open quickly and gets the QB out of trouble. He can serve as a solid WR2 with a reasonable floor and good upside.
Kevin White, Chicago
Fahey: Jay Cutler is a polarizing quarterback, but he's also an aggressive quarterback who is one of the best fade route passers in the NFL. With opposing defenses focused on Alshon Jeffery and obvious questions about the Bears running game, that could push the redzone offense towards Kevin White. White is a phenomenal talent with the size and ball skills to dominate receivers. He can also make plays in the open field with his explosiveness, giving him huge potential to produce big numbers. The second-year receiver is expected to be fully healthy ahead of training camp so it's only fear of the unknown that has him ranked so low.
Simpkins: Considering that he could break into high-end WR2 territory this year, being able to pick up Kevin White in the early seventh round is criminal. White lost his rookie year due to injury, but he was already a very complete receiver coming out of college. He has the prototypical build, excellent speed, and is a monster at the catch point. We've heard reports that he has been diligently studying film, so he should be ahead of schedule in that respect when he finally takes to the field for his first game.
Players Receiving 1 Vote
Keenan Allen, San Diego
Ingel: Allen was on pace for a 134/1,450/8 line before he went down in Week 8 last season with a lacerated kidney. I preached last pre-season that he had Antonio Brown upside and he was proving me right. The only reason he isn't considered great yet and the only reason he was drafted in the third round in the NFL draft is because he ran a 4.71 forty at his pro day after not being able to run the forty at the combine due to a broken ankle. Trust me when I tell you he plays much faster than that and only had such a poor forty due to his broken ankle. He has a shot to finish as a Top 5 wide receiver this year.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle
Wimer: Assuming that the Seahawks allow Russell Wilson to stay the focal point of this offense, Baldwin is one of the top-15 fantasy wide receivers in the land by default as Wilson's top target. Jimmy Graham is returning from a devastating patellar tendon injury, and I am dubious about his future in Seattle (and the league). Baldwin should return good value to his fantasy owners this season. He's likely to be on the cusp of top-12 production this year.
Travis Benjamin, San Diego
Fahey: Travis Benjamin's breakout season couldn't be attributed to anyone but Travis Benjamin. He produced respectable numbers while getting atrocious service from his quarterbacks. In San Diego, Philip Rivers' arm strength appears to be declining but he will still be a huge upgrade for Benjamin's fantasy outlook. Rivers will be able to throw Benjamin open in a way that Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel couldn't Benjamin isn't just a deep threat either, he can beat press coverage and get open on short and underneath routes to consistently produce in a crowded offense.
John Brown, Arizona
Howe: Brown is being approached with more trepidation than the Cardinals' other starters, though he projects to rival, if not exceed, both Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Brown and Floyd actually both out-targeted Fitzgerald over the second half of 2015, suggesting at least a partial changing of the guard, and Brown's early-career efficiency has been remarkable. With Floyd used more sporadically, Brown could be the key cog in Arizona's 2016 pass game, and a 75-catch, 1,200-yard line is within reach.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay
Simpkins: He is going near the end of the third round in 12-team leagues. Cobb struggled without Jordy Nelson and proved not to be a true number one option in the passing game. So what? The situation is reverting back to normal as the injury-stricken Packers get healthy. Nelson is now running at full speed and ready to participate in the upcoming training camp. Cobb can once again benefit from Nelson drawing away the best coverage and post the WR2-with-upside numbers to which owners have been accustomed.
Eric Decker, NY Jets
Alexander: It seems like we go through this every year, but Eric Decker's ADP is downright disrespectful. Decker is one of only 18 wide receivers in league history to accumulate 50 touchdowns through his first six seasons. He was the most heavily targeted red zone receiver in the NFL last year, which helped him finish with seven weekly WR1 performances (tied for sixth most at wide receiver). It's a safe assumption we'll see a bump in Decker's ADP if and when Ryan Fitzpatrick re-signs, but Decker was the WR28 with Geno Smith as his quarterback in 2014 -- before the Jets had Chan Gailey calling plays, or any other offensive weapons to draw away defensive attention. At his current ADP, Decker is being drafted at his absolute floor. You're stealing him in the late fifth or early sixth round of drafts.
Stefon Diggs, Minnesota
Fahey: Although all of the excitement in Minnesota surrounds first-round pick Laquon Treadwell, it will be difficult for the former Ole Miss product to immediately supplant Stefon Diggs as Teddy Bridgewater's favorite target. Diggs showed off precise routes, consistent ball skills and enough explosiveness to evade defenders in space downfield. With a better offensive line, Bridgewater should have more time to deliver the intermediate throws that show off his greatest strengths. Bridgewater was accurate on over 86 percent of his throws that travelled fewer than 20 yards past the line of scrimmage in 2015. Diggs thrives running the intermediate routes that he Bridgewater excels on.
Michael Floyd, Arizona
Wood: Michael Floyd is going to be the best receiver on the Cardinals. How does 72 receptions for 1,272 yards and 8 touchdowns sound for a receiver with a 5th round price tag? That's the 16-game pro ration of Floyd's final 8 games of the season. Why am I cherry-picking the final 8 games? Because Floyd wasn't healthy until mid-season. He badly dislocated his hand in the preseason to the point that bones were protruding from the skin. It shouldn't have surprised anyone if he missed the entire 2015 season. Yet, he was back on the field quickly and played his way back into health. Once he rounded back into shape, he out produced both Fitzgerald and Brown. I expect that to continue for the entirety of the 2016 season.
Allen Hurns, Jacksonville
Waldman: The second-year receiver played most of the 2015 season with a sports hernia but managed to increase his yards per catch to 16.1 despite only catching 13 more passes than his rookie season. Hurns also improved his rapport with Blake Bortles as a red zone weapon while only dropping two passes all year. The yards per catch average and red zone prowess indicate what's notable on tape: the former University of Miami receiver is not your typical possession option. Hurns has the speed to stretch the field in addition to winning tough targets against tight, physical coverage. Hurns caught 10 TDs last year--6 in the red zone and 4 from 30 yards and beyond.The common thought is that a healthy and acclimated Julius Thomas will diminish Hurns' opportunities but Bortles only completed 58 percent of his passes last year, which leaves room for gains in efficiency without a significant change in passing game volume. Thomas also lacks the same toughness at the catch point and range as Hurns. Unless the Jaguars defense shows dramatic improvement, expect continued reliance on the passing game and more WR2-caliber production from Hurns.
DeSean Jackson, Washington
Hester: Too often, preseason prognostications and rankings are based on last season's events. Savvy owners can take advantage by seeing proven players who are ranked low due to injury or fluky under-performance. Both are the case for Jackson this season. He missed six full games and the majority of a seventh as he suffered a hamstring injury early in Week 1 last year. A hamstring for a player of Jackson's explosiveness can still impact him even after he returns. Jackson's first two games back were slow, but after that, he scored four times in a five-game stretch and had no fewer than 66 yards in any of the four games in which he scored. Washington's offense should be more open and vertical this season, mostly because of Jackson himself offering the skill set to execute deep passes. I prefer Jackson to all three of the receivers being taken just ahead of him – Tyler Lockett, Michael Crabtree, and Kevin White.
Jarvis Landry, Miami
Hicks: Jarvis Landry lifted his paltry yards per catch number above 10 last year and looks the clear number one target for Ryan Tannehill. While DeVante Parker may be the flashy guy that everyone wants to get, it is Landry who will get the targets and receptions by the dozen. The biggest addition however is Adam Gase, who can produce an explosive passing game. If there is any chance that Landry improves on his average touchdown numbers, he will be well undervalued. He already has the receptions and targets.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle
Hindery: Expect Lockett's seventh-round ADP to rise as the season approaches, but as long as he doesn't rise into the fourth/fifth round, he will remain a bargain. The Seattle coaching staff cannot stop raving about Lockett this offseason. Pete Carroll recently stated that Lockett is "right in the middle of all our planning and preparation…he is going to be moved around a lot…he can do everything." He noted that Seattle is going to "use the heck our of him." Heavy usage seems nearly guaranteed and Lockett averaged ~10 yards per target as a rookie. With 100+ targets likely, Lockett is a good bet to emerge as one of the NFL's most prolific young receivers.
Brandon Marshall, NY Jets
Hester: It could be argued that Marshall's ADP is this low due to the lack of clarity at the quarterback position for the Jets. If (when) Ryan Fitzpatrick signs, Marshall's price will likely rise. However, even if he moves up two or three positions among receivers, he may still be a bargain. After all, Marshall's quarterback has been largely irrelevant to his production throughout his multiple NFL stops. A bigger value case could be made for Marshall if the Jets don't sign Fitzpatrick and, instead, his quarterback is Geno Smith. In that instance, Marshall's ADP would likely fall – and potentially more than two or three spots. At that point, he would be a great bargain because if he can do it with Chad Henne and Dan Henning as his coordinator, he can do it with Smith and Chan Gailey at the controls.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay
Wimer: Aaron Rodgers needs Jordy Nelson - Randall Cobb was exposed as not-a-#1 last season and everyone knows it now. Nelson will rival Antonio Brown and Julio Jones in targets during 2016, in my estimation. Nelson is said to be well ahead of the curve rehabbing his knee injury and looks as if he was never hurt according to early reports. Draft him with confidence that he should out-perform his current ADP.
DeVante Parker, Miami
Simpkins: To acquire Parker, you'll need to spend an early sixth-round pick in 12-team formats. However, he's going to generate an excellent return on your investment. He has exceptional speed, concentration, body control, ball tracking, and hands. Miami has already made it known they will move Parker to the X position, an opportunity that historically portends fantasy greatness in an Adam Gase offense. Signs are pointing to a breakout season for Parker.
Steve Smith, Baltimore
Pasquino: I am always a sucker for veteran wide receivers, but Steve Smith has all the signs of putting up another 1,000-yard season in 2016. The Ravens are going to throw the ball some of the time, even if they focus on the run first, and Joe Flacco loves to trust savvy veteran targets. Smith can get open and produce against any coverage – something he has been doing since he was in Carolina. With questions at the second wide receiver spot for Baltimore and a mix of talent at tight end, Smith will certainly be the primary target for Flacco in 2016. If he gets 80% of his 2014 numbers (79-1,065-6) he will represent excellent value as a WR4 in most fantasy drafts.
Torrey Smith, San Francisco
Alexander: Prior to last year when he saw a career low 61 targets, Smith had never finished worse than WR23 in any of his three previous seasons as a pro. The combination of Chip Kelly's paced-up offense and the 49ers lousy defense (on paper anyway) should result in nearly twice as many targets for Smith in his second season with San Fransisco. As long as he can maintain something close to his career per target efficiency, a 60-1000-6 season (borderline top-25 most years) is well within Smith's reach.
Golden Tate, Detroit
Parsons: At WR23, Tate offers immense upside. Calvin Johnson's retirement leaves 150 targets up for grabs. In the three games without Johnson in the lineup the last two seasons, Tate has more than 70 PPR points in those games and a 16-game pace of more than 1,800 yards with 11 touchdowns. Tate offers WR1 upside for the price of a low WR2.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver
Holloway: Despite sub-standard play, particularly in the playoffs last year, Demaryius Thomas has averaged 100 receptions per year over the past four seasons. He caught 105 last year for 1,304 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Broncos' quarterback play is a concern, but expect Thomas who has led the team in targets, receptions and receiving yardage for four consecutive seasons to do that again this year.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans
Bloom: Marques Colston was 1000-yard receiver with eight scores as a seventh-round rookie in the same role Thomas will occupy this year. The Saints liked Thomas so much that they used a second-round pick on him despite needing help everywhere else in the defense. Thomas riffed immediately with Drew Brees and multiple beat writers spent ink on describing their budding connection. This is a no brainer pick in the second half of your drafts.
Laquon Treadwell, Minnesota
Haseley: I'm not a huge fan of the Vikings passing offense, but that doesn't mean Laquon Treadwell won't be a factor on offense and be a legitimate fantasy threat this year. He is expected to be the team's primary receiving target by default and should see a lot of end zone targets. I see a ceiling equivalent to Kelvin Benjamin's rookie season that saw him reach 73-1008-9.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo
Magaw: Watkins is on the threshold of stardom and wider recognition. The fourth overall pick and first WR from the historic class of 2014, he just missed being the fourth rookie to crack the 1,000 receiving yard plateau (with the unprecedented trio of Odell Beckham, Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin) by less than 20 yards. He was a on an even better pace in 2015, with 1,000+ receiving yards, a 17.5 yard average reception and 9 TDs in just 13 games. Already rehabbing a broken foot in the offseason, if (and it is a big if) he can avoid nagging, lingering injuries, Watkins has the kind of natural talent and elite skills to go with his blue chip pedigree to crack the top 10 WRs.
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