In fantasy football, there’s never a shortage of sleepers at the wide receiver position.
There are, at the very least, 64 starting wideouts in the NFL but around just 36 starters at the position in most standard fantasy leagues. That means there are going to be a lot of players either on your bench or on the waiver wire with the opportunity to put up numbers, and that means there are going to be a bevy of WRs who provide immense value late in drafts.
Note that average draft position is from Fantasy Football Calculator and based on 12-team PPR leagues.
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
ADP: 117 (10.06) Overall; WR 47
Davis is a Top-5 pick coming off a highly productive collegiate career–331 catches, 5,278 yards and 52 touchdowns in four years in college–and entering an offense with an emerging star at QB and no real dominant No. 1 receiver.
In most cases, the hype behind a player in a similar situation leads to an ADP somewhere around the seventh round.
But Davis has sat out most of training camp with a hamstring injury band hasn’t had a chance to really build any buzz around his game. As a result, his ADP sits in the middle of the 10th round, where he’s being drafted as a low-end WR4. As ESPN’s Mike Clay noted, he’s in a similar position as last year’s breakout rookie WR:
Most importantly, Davis is progressing from his injury and is on track to play before the preseason is over. His stock should rise once that happens, but if you draft while he’s still sidelined, you can get real value if you take advantage of the fact that the hype behind Davis is likely at the lowest point it will be all season.
There are some risks–this is still an offense that focuses on the running game, and Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker are legitimate threats to targets. But the upside here is a No. 1 wideout–a team doesn’t spend a Top-5 pick on someone without the intention of ultimately making him the X receiver–on an improving offense that has a real chance to finish in the Top 10 in the NFL in scoring.
Ted Ginn, New Orleans Saints
ADP: 146 (12.08) Overall; WR 56
Stat No. 1: In the last two seasons, Ginn has tallied 98 receptions, 1,491 yards and 14 touchdowns on 192 targets. In PPR leagues, he has averaged 1.807 fantasy points per target.
Stat No. 2: The New Orleans Saints have 144 targets from last year to replace, with 117 of those coming from Brandin Cooks’ departure.
With Ginn set to fill Cooks’ role as the team’s primary deep-play threat (he’s even listed as No. 2 on the depth chart ahead of Willie Snead, for whatever that’s worth), he has a good chance to see at least 110 targets. If he maintains the same efficiency from the last two years, which is completely reasonable now that he’s playing on one of the most high-octane offenses with one of the league’s best quarterbacks, that equates to 198.77 PPR points, which would have ranked 27th among wide receivers last year.
He’s being drafted 29 wide receiver spots lower than that.
Ginn may not be a sexy name, and he’s probably going to drop a 70-yard touchdown at some point during that season and make you throw your computer through the window, but he’s a strong bet to provide value at his current ADP.
Jaron Brown, Arizona Cardinals
With the sickle-cell trait still being an issue for John Brown, who is battling a quad injury and has had his spot on the team questioned by head coach Bruce Arians, Jaron has taken advantage and climbed to No. 2 on the depth chart.
That’s a highly valuable role in a fantasy-friendly offense.
In the last two seasons, Carson Palmer has per-16-game averages of 585 attempts, 4,596 yards and 31 touchdowns. Even with David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald producing at a high rate, there’s easily room for a third player to have fantasy value. And Brown, who has game-breaking speed and looks healthy after tearing his ACL last October, appears to be the front-runner for that position.
There’s still plenty of unknown when it comes to the Cardinals’ WR depth chart, but Brown’s price is either free in a standard league or a late-round pick in a deep league. The upside of getting steady snaps in this offense well out-weighs that minimal risk.