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Which Half of These 2016 Wide Receiver Duos Should You Target? Part 2


NFL teams with two or more fantasy-worthy receivers present an interesting dilemma. How high do you value one player over another, relative to his ADP? It may be clear who is the better player and #1 receiver, but if the difference between the two is not significant, often #2 represents a better value. With receivers being drafted higher than ever before, grabbing that workhorse RB early and waiting a couple of rounds for a comparable receiver can help you build a more well-rounded team. In this article, we'll evaluate teammates in the receiving corps to determine who is a better value on draft day.

Note: all rankings are taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Football standard leagues with .5 PPR scoring. ADP values were obtained from Yahoo! Experts May Mock Draft.

Green Bay Packers: Jordy Nelson (2.03) or Randall Cobb (4.11)

The absence of Jordy Nelson last year had an obvious impact on the Green Bay offense. Nelson averages over 15 yards per catch for his career, as well as surpassing 1,250 yards in each of the last three seasons in which he played all 16 games. There is little doubt he deserves to be a WR1 in all leagues. It is always a little nerve-wracking to spend a second round pick on a player who missed the entire season, but Nelson has bounced back well from injury before. Cobb had a career year in 2014 with a line of 91 catches for 1,287 receiving yards and 12 touchdown, but he struggled when used as the top option in Green Bay with Nelson out in 2015.  Cobb is a solid WR2, but not the game-breaker Nelson has proven to be year after year. With Aaron Rodgers at QB, you can't go wrong with either pick, but one clearly has a better rapport with the former MVP.

The choice is Jordy Nelson

New York Jets: Brandon Marshall (2.06) or Eric Decker (4.05)

Disclaimer: this situation could change drastically if Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets ever decide to kiss and make up and agree to a contract. With no Fitzpatrick, we're looking at either Geno Smith or Christian Hackenberg starting at quarterback. Needless to say, this drops both receivers down a couple notches in projections and rankings. Marshall had one of his best seasons with 1,502 yards - just six shy of his career high. He also scored a career high 14 touchdowns in his first season with the Jets. Meanwhile, with Fitzpatrick at the helm in 2015, Decker hauled in 80 catches for 1,027 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, improving on his line of 74-962-5 in his first season in New York with Geno Smith at quarterback in 2014. With It's hard to predict where Marshall's numbers will fall with Smith at QB, but Marshall's yearly fantasy floor has proven to be higher than Decker's. Only once since 2007 has Marshall failed to reach 1,000 yards and that was an injury-hampered 2014 in which he missed three games and wasn't 100% for several others. In an instance like this with a rough QB situation, I prefer stick with the better talent. Even if Fitzpatrick does find himself back with the Jets, the choice for me remains the same.

The choice is Brandon Marshall

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans (2.12) or Vincent Jackson (10.11)

If catching 74 passes for 1,206 yards is considered a sophomore slump, imagine what a rebound year three will look like for Evans in 2016. It would be fair to say Evans' fantasy value was slightly lower due to the decline in touchdowns, from 12 to 3. Even with growing pains from rookie QB Jameis Winston, Evans showed he can produce like a #1 receiver with anyone at quarterback . I believe that a positive regression to the mean will put Evans somewhere between 12 and 3 and he will return to being a top fantasy wide receiver. Vincent Jackson, the other 6'5", 230 lb receiver in Tampa, has been trending downward ever since Evans arrived in Florida's Gulf Coast. His receiving yardage totals the last four seasons made him fantasy-worthy until last year with a significant drop-off: 1,384, 1,224, 1,002, 543. Jackson only played 10 games due to a knee injury in 2015, and at 33 years old, Jackson's upside remains limited even when he is fully healthy.

The choice is Mike Evans

Seattle Seahawks: Doug Baldwin (4.06) or Tyler Lockett (7.11)

Undoubtedly, Baldwin qualified as a candidate for breakout player of the year in 2015. After four seasons in the NFL, Baldwin had a career high of five touchdowns, he doubled that total in weeks 12-15 alone last year. After hitting pay dirt 14 times, Baldwin jumps up to high-WR2 territory on draft boards for 2016. Seattle is no longer a ground-and-pound team and Baldwin seems to be Russell Wilson's favorite target in the red zone. Tyler Lockett was slated to be a return man and fourth receiver to start the season, however, after Seattle's bye week in week 9, his targets saw a significant uptick and reception totals increased along with that. Lockett finished his rookie campaign with 664 yards and six TD, but only produced one 100-yard receiving game. Lockett serves as the deep threat, but Baldwin is the clear end zone threat in Seattle. As a fantasy player, I prefer know to target the more consistent production.

The choice is Doug Baldwin

Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd (4.09) or Larry Fitzgerald (6.05) or John Brown (6.07)

Let's end with an unique scenario. The Cardinals have three fantasy relevant receivers in different situations that require further analysis. Floyd, who will likely be the first off the board in most drafts, began 2015 with three broken fingers in the preseason that led to a slow start. After a slow start to the first 6 weeks of the season, Floyd scored six touchdowns and posted five 100-yard performances in 10 games played. Larry Fitzgerald, a player many have called "done" in the past, proved in 2015 that he still has plenty left in the tank with another season over 100 receptions, 1,219 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. One thing of note, five of his nine touchdowns and two of his three biggest yardage totals came in weeks 2 and 3 with Floyd not playing at 100%. John Brown is the wildcard in the wide receiver corp, he showed promise in 2015 finishing with just over 1,000 yards, but he had more of a fluctuation in his weekly totals than the other two receivers. Brown's production did slow down toward the end of the season, totaling 186 yards in the last four games. If Arizona's offense can recreate the magic of last year, all three will be valuable. However, the best value of the trio, as usual, is the one with the highest upside.

The choice is Michael Floyd

Every draft plays out differently, but if you miss out on the top tier of wide receivers in rounds 1-3, now you know there may be just as good of an alternative around the corner. Of course, when it comes down to it, as Dres from Black Sheep says, the choice is yours.

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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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