Upside WRs: Late-Round Difference-Makers

When choosing late-round wide receivers in fantasy football, seek those with a path to multiple WR1 weeks.

This article is about a 4-minute read.

After releasing articles on the strategy of late-round quarterbacks and tight ends a couple of weeks ago and running backs earlier this week, the "upside" series concludes with wide receivers. This article will be similar to the one on running backs, which varied from the format for quarterbacks and tight ends due to positional scarcity in fantasy football. If the optimal strategy is to draft quarterbacks and tight ends late, fantasy GMs would be filling their rosters with running backs and wide receivers in the early rounds.

Therefore, this article will focus on late-round wide receivers. These players will always be backups on our fantasy team, but unlike running backs, they may not be backups on their NFL team.

Because we've spent at least seven rounds filling our roster with backs and receivers, we have a true WR1 and at least two additional starter-quality receivers. The goal with a late-round receiver is similar to the goal of late-round running backs. We want top-12 production. But at running back, we looked for players who needed injuries ahead of them to get on the field consistently.

At wide receiver, we're seeking a combination of players who would benefit from an injury ahead of them and players who may already be on the field but could command more opportunities with high-end play. Either way, we want WR1 upside late in the draft.

Signals of WR1 Potential

In fantasy football, the offensive unit as a whole has a significant impact on the production of a player. For wide receivers, this is especially true as they are dependent on quarterback play. There are also additional factors that can point to WR1 potential:

  • Offense: how good is the unit and its quarterback?
  • Big Play Ability: can the player score 10+ fantasy points with one touch?
  • Red Zone Prowess and Usage: a tall receiver targeted on fades and jump balls has more touchdown potential than a smaller player
  • Depth Chart Situation: how close is he to getting (and staying) on the field?

Here are a few late-round selections (WR30 or later as of this writing) and their current situations.

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