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Wide Receiver Risers: 2022 Fantasy Football ADP Analysis - Van Jefferson, Jakobi Meyers, Marquez Valdes-Scantling

As you may know, the Average Draft Position (ADP) indicates the average position where a player is drafted over more than one fantasy football draft. You can consider it as the price you have to pay to draft and get a player on your team. A high ADP (that is actually a low-numbered ADP) means that a player is getting off draft boards early, and thus you'll need to draft him in the first rounds if you truly want him.

Low or high ADP values, though, are not gospel. Each of us fantasy GMs have our strategies and value players differently depending on what we think is the most important for them to have in terms of abilities. No matter what, though, ADPs are good to know how the value of the "average GM" you'll be drafting against is for each asset (in this case, the players). By now, with the free agency and the draft well finalized and just a few players left to be signed, it makes sense to go look at how ADPs are varying during the last month as we get closer to peak draft season.

In this series, I’ll highlight players at each skill position seeing significant fluctuation from mid-May to mid-June using data from FFPC drafts. Today, it's time to look at three wide receiver risers.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best NFL Series, MLB Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Wide Receivers - ADP Risers

Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams

While still available at cheap/reasonable 185th-ish ADP overall, Van Jefferson keeps rising by the day and has done so for the past few weeks to fill three-full draft rounds in 12-team leagues with a 37+ pick ascension. Jefferson was barely used as a rookie in 2020 (31 targets) and obviously didn't have the chance to put up numbers and become fantasy relevant. He was able to change that last year with a bulky workload next to Cooper Kupp getting a much healthier 89 targets and hauling in 50 of those for 802 yards and six TDs.

The ADP is getting higher and higher but there is a very solid ceiling to be hit sooner than later. That comes down to Jefferson's role and position in the Rams' WRs depth chart (from WR3 last year to... WR3 this year after the addition of Allen Robinson following the departure of Robert Woods), and some serious issues with both his catch (56.2%) and drop (6.7%) rates. Those marks ranked in the first quartile among NFL receivers: in other words, he was worst at catching targets and avoiding drops than 75% of all NFL wideouts. Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Allen Robinson are all veterans that will click and connect with each other from Day One. Jefferson will most probably be the one left out in terms of targets. Is that great? No. Is it bad? No, considering his hella cheap ADP. With a projection for a WR54 finish in 2022 (per PFF), Jefferson is currently the 10th-best WR in terms of potential ROI when comparing the expectations to his ADP. Pounce on the chance of stealing a great lineup filler for your WR3/Flex slot.

 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kansas City Chiefs

With Tyreek Hill getting out of town and down to Miami, the talk about Kansas City Chiefs wide receivers surely got a bit quieter than in the past few seasons. KC signed different players to bolster the Hill-less WR corps adding JuJu Smith-Schuster and rookie Skyy Moore to the squad. Of course, because one has always been in the spotlight in Pittsburgh and the other is the flashy new toy, both of those men have grabbed more attention and grabbed more offseason headlines than Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was an afterthought for the casual NFL fan outside of Green Bay. Which doesn't make any sense.

MVS might have not been a terrific performer for the Packers, but it is not that he had ample chance to do anything remarkable either. With Davante Adams getting 169, 127, 149, and 169 targets in the past four seasons, all MVS had to work with were 73, 56, 63, and 55 targets, respectively. Last year, he didn't finish as GB's WR2 on that front, either, with Allen Lazard's 60 targets five above his tally--MVS missed six games, though. MVS is a little bit undervalued in my eyes.

Yes, he's not a bonafide top-tier receiver, but playing under perennial MVP-contender Aaron Rodgers he averaged 8.6 and 7.9 FPPG in the past two seasons with his only woes to be found in the catch-rate department (52.4% and 47.3% in those two years). That is something nobody can help MVS fix, of course, but he is moving from Rodgers to another unstoppable, mind-bending quarterback in Patrick Mahomes. No downgrade there and a potential upgrade in terms of role/targets will definitely boost MVS' fantasy value next season. In other words, draft MVS at his ADP (around 130th overall) and keep on doing until that figure goes all the way up to a price of around the 90th pick. We're talking about a lock for a WR3 finish with upside for a mid-level WR2 season if the MVS-Mahomes connection clicks.

 

Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots

When is the last time the Patriots had a legit WR1 on their roster? Back in 2019, Julian Edelman finished WR9 in PPR leagues, but prior to that, he was just a top-20 receiver in 2018, and nobody (other than Brandin Cooks and Edelman) reached a top-15 finish for the Pats at the position going all the way back to 2012 when Wes Welker finished WR7. That's nearly 10 years "struggling" at the WR position--not that Tom Brady cared that much, I guess--and things are looking to stay on the same path going forward. The main beneficiary and WR in the Pats depth chart? Jakobi Meyers.

Meyers is the only player with 40+ targets in the past three years among New England wideouts. He got 41 as a rookie, then 81 as a sophomore, and a career-high 126 last season playing under debuting-QB Mac Jones. He's turned himself into the bonafide WR1 of the team and, most importantly, he's playing to that role as he's been the top-scorer of the team for two years in a row (he finished as the WR53 in 2020 and the WR29 last year). If the target volume stays the same (no reason for that to not happen as NE only added DeVante Parker, who will most probably eat from the WR2-WR4 target-pie more than Meyers') and Meyers keeps developing, (the touchdown count must positively regress at some point, come on) then we're looking straight at a legit low-end WR2 with upside for more. He's not made it to that realm yet, I know, but Meyers is about to enter his prime and should keep raising the bar.

The 170th pick is surely a fantastic, steal-like price to pay for the production Meyers can give you. Don't hesitate if he's still available so late in any of your drafts, and don't let him slip past the 11th/12th round if you don't want to miss on a weekly WR3/Flex set-it-and-forget-it player with a huge potential ROI.



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