Target-Avoid Fantasy Football Wide Receivers - Footballguys

Outlining the wide receivers to target and avoid in fantasy football drafts in 2018

The NFL Draft is two months old and the 2018 fantasy football season is right around the corner. One of the big advantages of is a large database of staff rankings. This series looks at the difference between the collaborative Footballguys staff rankings and positional ADP (Average Draft Position) at the skill positions. In this edition: wide receivers.

wide receiverS TO TARGET

Doug Baldwin

  • WR11 Ranking
  • WR15 ADP
  • Why: While Seattle's dominance has eroded in full force as an organization, the passing game looks to be prominent in 2018 as their defense recalibrates. Baldwin has a string of three straight strong seasons, but 2017 was the down one of the bunch at 13.8 PPR PPG. However, Baldwin's role as the top target for Seattle is without question and Jimmy Graham and his 10 touchdowns are departed from a year ago.

Larry Fitzgerald

  • WR12 Ranking
  • WR23 ADP
  • Why: Death, taxes, and Larry Fitzgerald collecting more than 100 targets in a season during his career. Fitzgerald has missed only six games in his 14-year career and has surpassed 100 receptions in each of the last three years. While he has transitioned to the slot and slowed of late, his hands are still at the top of the NFL and he is the centerpiece of Arizona's passing game. Sam Bradford is among the most accurate passers in the NFL and even if Bradford misses time with injury, Josh Rosen was deemed of the more pro-ready pocket passers as a prospect in recent classes.

Michael Crabtree

  • WR26 Ranking
  • WR36 ADP
  • Why: The three Baltimore players with the most targets from 2017 (Mike Wallace, Ben Watson, Jeremy Maclin) are all gone, leaving 243 targets unaccounted for heading into 2018. Crabtree enters a thin depth where John Brown is a high-variance bet as the WR2 with little behind him. Crabtree projects as a sturdy PPR play for 120+ targets and his ADP close to his floor outcome. 

Pierre Garcon

  • WR27 Ranking
  • WR46 ADP
  • Why: Garcon is another veteran with little name cache but a strong depth-chart projection. Jimmy Garoppolo offers a rising tide benefit to the 49ers passing game, and San Francisco did little to address the WR1 role on the depth chart, instead just returning Garcon and Marquise Goodwin and drafting ancillary receivers to fill in the gaps. In half of 2017 before an injury, Garcon was on pace for more than 130 targets and had double-digit looks in more than half his active games. That target volume would lock Garcon into the top-25 receivers in PPR with upside from there.

Emmanuel Sanders

  • WR29 Ranking
  • WR53 ADP
  • Why: Sanders mired through a WR54 PPR PPG finish last season as Denver was a dreadful offense overall. Enter Case Keenum as a significant quarterback upgrade and Royce Freeman to the backfield and the Broncos are a candidate to be one of the bigger turnaround offenses in 2018. The tight end position is questionable at best, projecting the passing game to flow through veterans Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders yet again. Sanders is priced at his floor (last year) where he logged 555 yards and a paltry two scores, his worst output since 2012.

wide receiverS TO AVOID

Allen Robinson

  • WR20 Ranking
  • WR13 ADP
  • Why: Historically changing teams is a losing proposition for a wide receiver comparing their year before to the current season. Robinson played in only one game before his ACL injury in 2017 but does change teams to Chicago, who pins their uptick hopes on passing game additions (including Robinson), a new offensive system, and Year 2 development from Mitch Trubisky. While possible, there are plenty of variables to Robinson justifying his fringe WR1 positional ADP. Add in Robinson's history to-date with 'one big year' back in 2015 on a Jacksonville offense in constant garbage time mode.

Corey Davis

  • WR31 Ranking
  • WR21 ADP
  • Why: Davis flashed in 2017 as a rookie, but with injuries and a lackluster passing game in Tennessee, Davis was a disappointment on paper in Year 1. Eric Decker is the notable departure on the Titans depth chart, leaving 83 targets. However, Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews are underrated pieces and a full Corey Davis breakout hinges on a sizeable uptick from Marcus Mariota as well.

D.J. Moore

  • WR52 Ranking
  • WR30 ADP
  • Why: Devin Funchess finished in the top-30 of PPR PPG last year, largely fueled by the trade of Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen missing a chunk of the season. Moore has an uphill climb to justify his ADP considering Olsen enters the season healthy, Funchess is coming off his best season to date, and Christian McCaffrey projects as one of the most targeted running backs in the NFL. Moore seeing more than 75 targets will be a challenge.

Courtland Sutton

  • WR83 Ranking
  • WR39 ADP
  • Why: Rookie receivers with a solid depth chart in front of them are dicey Year 1 bets for fantasy production. Even passing Emmanuel Sanders for the WR2 will keep Sutton's production at bay with Demaryius Thomas atop of the pecking order. Sutton is more likely to finish outside the top-60 than inside the top-40.

Mike Williams

  • WR59 Ranking
  • WR44 ADP
  • Why: Williams enters Year 2 after an injury-filled and lackluster rookie season. While Hunter Henry out of the season thins the Chargers passing game of one solid target, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin offer quality WR2/3 options to Keenan Allen's WR1 role as hurdles for Williams to see decent volume. For a low purchase price, Williams has less overt upside to hit big as an auto-start weekly than is ideal for the draft range.