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Late-Round WRs to Target in Fantasy Drafts


I’ve been vocal about the fact that there is a lot of value to be found at WR late in fantasy drafts this year. I wrote an article already about my favorite late-round picks in general, but it’s time to take a look at some of my favorite wide receivers across various ADP ranges in case you decide to follow my advice and wait on your WR depth.

First, just to be clear, all of these guys are players I feel comfortable taking a shot on as my end of roster WRs. None of them would be on my team as anything higher than a WR4, so keep that in mind when building your roster around this advice.

NOTE: All ADP numbers are taken from the FantasyPros list of ADPs for Half-PPR drafts.

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ADP Range: 150-175

John Brown, Buffalo Bills | ADP: 161

As an elite deep threat, Brown is one of my favorite Best Ball targets, but one that is really worth a roster spot in all leagues. For starters, John Brown is not simply a deep ball threat, as Matt Harmon has been trying to point out for years. When he was healthy in 2014 and 2015, many viewed him as one of the best young WRs in football. Injuries and a diagnosis of being a carrier for Sickle Cell Disease caused uneven production for two years, but he was showing the skills again last year with Joe Flacco under center. In fact, 78% of his total receiving yards for the year came in the first seven games, before Lamar Jackson took over under center.

For all of the concerns about Josh Allen’s accuracy, he is not afraid to throw deep, and he uncorked some beautiful throws to Robert Foster in the final weeks of the season last year on routes that are similar to the ones Brown will be running. He and John Brown are apparently on the same page in the preseason, and I think they could be a solid big play combo. You may never be fully confident in what week he’s going to hit big, but I think it will happen often enough to make you want him on your team.

 

ADP Range: 176-200

Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys | ADP: 176

Randall Cobb is not the dynamic playmaker he was years ago. However, he may have found himself in a situation where he can still be a usable fantasy asset. The biggest factor is that Ezekiel Elliott still hasn’t been signed. Tony Pollard has looked good in preseason, but if Zeke misses any time, the Cowboys will likely rely on Dak Prescott and the passing game more. Their WR1, Amari Cooper, is also battling a foot issue which may be a sprain or may be plantar fasciitis. Whatever the diagnosis is, it’s an injury that is likely to linger through the season and could cause him to miss games. That’s part of the reason I love Michael Gallup this year, but it would also elevate Cobb to the number two option in the passing game.

Perhaps more specifically for Cobb, Cole Beasley, now with the Buffalo Bills, was one of Prescott’s favorite targets. He led the Cowboys WRs in targets last year and was second on the team in receptions. Jason Witten may have come out of retirement, but he can’t be counted on for consistent production, which makes Cobb the most likely option to fill Beasley’s safety blanket role. All of that makes him a player with a relatively safe floor who could have untapped upside if a few of the Cowboys question marks aren’t resolved.

Ted Ginn, New Orleans Saints | ADP: 182

No, I didn’t mean to type Tre’Quan Smith. Everybody is in love with the Saints second-year wide receiver because of his athleticism and big play ability. However, he’s still playing behind Ginn, who has the proven big play ability that Smith is trying to show. We tend to always prefer trading in the old stalwart for the new guy, but Ginn hasn’t given any indication that he’s ready to pass the torch, and Brees hasn’t forgotten about him. He was the Saints' number two receiving option in the playoffs, and I expect that to continue early on this season. The Saints are a more run-heavy team than they once were, but you still want exposure to their passing game. Grabbing Ginn is an underrated way to do that.

Kenny Stills, Houston Texans | ADP: 191

At first blush, Kenny Stills' fantasy value seemed to take a major hit after Saturday's trade after moving from a starting job with the Dolphins to a crowded Texans receiver room. For week one purposes, that's probably true. However, he's now on a much better team, in a much better offense, with a much better quarterback. He'll start the year as the Texans number four wide receiver, but the two guys immediately ahead of him, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee, both ended the team on the injured list. If either one of them were to get hurt again, or simply not be as effective coming back from injury, Stills would find himself in a great situation catching passes from Deshaun Watson. He does have a track record of success. He was second on the Dolphins in receiving last year, behind the departed Danny Amendola, and led the starters in yards per catch with 14.9. I expect his ADP to keep falling, and I'll take my shot on him in deep leagues as a stash.

Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers | ADP: 198

You want pieces of a Kyle Shanahan offense. Everybody seems to know that, which is why Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Dante Pettis are attracting a lot of attention. Even Deebo Samuel is becoming a trendy sleeper. However, I think Marquise Goodwin is being overlooked. He played five games with Jimmy Garoppolo before both got hurt last year, and he finished with yardage totals of 99, 106, 114, 37, and 28. An Olympic sprinter, Goodwin has been a big-play threat throughout his NFL career and has already been back to running with the starters in San Francisco. With questions about how Shanahan will deploy Pettis and both Samuel and Jalen Hurd being rookies in a complicated offensive system, it’s foolish to lose track of Goodwin.

 

ADP Range: 201-250

Devante Parker, Miami Dolphins | ADP: 224

Listen, somebody is going to have fantasy value in the Dolphins passing game. I don’t expect the them to be good. Their offensive line is enough of a mess that they may never have a consistent running game. Josh Rosen also hasn’t shown the ability to beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting quarterback job, but all of this actually helps Parker. If the Dolphins are down and can’t establish a running game, they are going to need to throw. If Fitz is throwing passes, he is going to take chances, and those passes are going to have to go to somebody. At a certain point, it just becomes picking your favorite guy. Perhaps nobody needed a fresh start more than DeVante Parker, so why can’t this be the year he breaks out?

Adam Gase and the previous Dolphins' coaching staff clearly didn’t believe in him, and Ryan Tannehill didn’t seem to like throwing to him. With new coaches in town and two new quarterbacks on the roster, Parker has a new lease on life. He’s always been talented and produced when given the opportunity in college, so maybe this is the year those skills translate.

Trey Quinn, Washington Redskins | ADP: 254

The Redskins offense is one that almost nobody wants a piece of. Case Keenum flopped with the Broncos last year, Derrius Guice is still working his way back from an ACL tear, and the offensive line is a mess, especially considering many people think Trent Williams has played his last down in Washington. While this all makes many of their players questionable, I actually think it helps Trey Quinn. The second-year slot receiver has impressed in practices and seems to have the slot job to himself with Jamison Crowder gone and Josh Doctson released.

As a junior at SMU, Quinn showed impressive open-field ability and strong hands, finishing with 114 catches for 1,236 yards and 13 TDs. With Washington’s quarterbacks likely not to have much time to throw this year, that could lead to a bunch of receptions for Quinn over the middle and some sneaky fantasy numbers.

 

ADP Range: 251 - 300

Demaryius Thomas, New England Patriots | ADP: 258

This pick is probably more “gut call” than verifiable evidence. The 32-year-old is coming off his worst season as a professional and also tore his achilles tendon in the second to last game of the season – ironically the same injury suffered by former teammate Emmanuel Sanders. While Sanders has wowed observers with his recovery, Demaryius Thomas has largely flown under the radar. However, he’s back at practice and on track for Week 1, which means we need to start thinking about his role with the Patriots.

With Rob Gronkowski gone, Tom Brady needs a new target in the red zone. Newly reinstated Josh Gordon could fill that void, but he’s also battled a number of issues over the years and is no lock to be on the field for the whole season. Thomas is a big body (6’3” 225) and had five straight 1,000-yard seasons between 2012 and 2016. Even in a down 2017, he had 949 yards and five TDs while catching passes from Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler on a bad Broncos team. It’s entirely possible that we’re making too much of him being “done,” and he could carve out a valuable role as a red zone threat for Brady on a high-powered Patriots offense. It’s worth a spot on the end of your bench to find out. While Thomas was released on Saturday, there is chatter that it was a procedural move, and the Patriots will try to bring him back.

Miles Boykin, Baltimore Ravens | ADP: 266

Miles Boykin might honestly be my favorite option on this list. It starts with Boykin himself, an imposing 6’4” 220-pound specimen, who can also run a 4.40-second 40-yard dash. On top of that, he’s been incredibly impressive during the preseason and has been getting consistent reps with the starters.  While more was expected of first-round pick Marquise Brown, a Lisfranc injury in February led to surgery and has given Boykin the opportunity to build chemistry with Jackson and learn the offensive system, which will now likely take Brown more time.

The system itself also gives me some confidence. New offensive coordinator Greg Roman created successful offenses around the skillsets of Tyrod Taylor and Colin Kaepernick, so I feel confident in his ability to do the same for Lamar Jackson. Part of that means passing the ball more than last year. Jackson is a better passer than people give him credit for, but he’s certainly not elite. He is, however, an elite playmaker and that means this offense has the opportunity for some strong Sundays. If one wide receiver is going to benefit from that, I believe Boykin is the guy.

 

ADP Range: 300+

Jaron Brown – (ADP: 332) - So, I don’t think Jaron Brown is great at football, but, in fantasy football, opportunity is everything. With the Seahawks receiving core banged up beyond belief, Brown is a starter. Yes, I know the Seahawks won’t pass the ball that often and Tyler Lockett is a trendy breakout candidate, but I just can’t fully buy into those narratives. First, I’m not so sure the defense will allow the Seahawks to run and run and run. They just don’t look that great during the preseason, and if the team gets down, they’re going to need to throw. Quarterback Russell Wilson is likely their best player anyways, so putting the ball in his hands isn’t a bad thing. I’m also not sold on Lockett taking the next step. First of all, Wilson had a perfect QB rating when throwing to Lockett last year. The only way to go is down. I also don’t think Lockett will ever be a red zone guy. Last year, when Seattle needed to replace Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson’s 2017 red zone targets (they accounted for over 50%), the team turned to David Moore – 9 targets - and not Lockett – 6 targets (the same number he had the year before). With Baldwin – the team leader with 13 – retired, and Moore hurt, somebody will need to take those opportunities. The Seahawks already turned to somebody over Lockett last year, so why not this year? Take a stab on Brown and see if he becomes that guy while he has the chance. He’ll be an easy cut after the first few weeks if he doesn’t and the team gets healthy.

Breshad Perriman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers | ADP: 347

This is all about system. Perriman was signed by the Bucs to take the spot in the WR room that Adam Humphries occupied last year. With Bruce Arians in town, that makes him intriguing. Arians’ offenses throw the ball about 61% of the time, and wide receivers account for 62% of those targets. Right now, only Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are ahead of Perriman. Perriman has had a long list of injuries since entering the NFL in 2015, but the Browns took a shot on him last year, and he had some solid games as a deep threat at the end of the season. He could be an intriguing option in the Bucs passing game and would have immense value if either of the guys above him got injured.

Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins | ADP: 399

At this point in the draft, you take a shot on upside. Terry McLaurin has that. A speedy wideout, McLaurin has impressed the Redskins all offseason and finds himself in the middle of a depth chart with plenty of question marks. The Redskins are apparently shopping supposed WR1 Josh Doctson, and Paul Richardson was a disappointment in his first year with the team last year. Trey Quinn is pretty much limited to a slot role, which means that McLaurin has a great chance to sneak into one of the outside WR spots in the starting lineup. The Redskins aren’t likely to be a good team and could turn to their young players in the second half of the season. One of those young players is first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was the starting quarterback for Ohio State last year and threw 11 touchdowns to McLaurin. It all adds up.

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