Top 3 Wide Receiver Sleepers

The key to any successful dynasty draft is grabbing value late that could turn into a decent bye week replacement or better yet, a starting asset. You always hear how leagues aren’t won at the draft but they can certainly be lost there! Acquiring assets is the name of the game in fantasy football and I have identified my Top 3 value wide receiver options to target in a Dynasty Startup (with some Honorable Mentions of course because why not).

For the purposes of this article, I will be using the latest DFF ADP to uncover players that present a best possible return on investment for 2017 and beyond. Each wide receiver referenced in this article is currently being drafted, on average, outside the top 120 picks (10th round in 12-team leagues). We are talking about bench depth save for those Late Round QB enthusiasts who may still have a spot to fill in their starting lineup through round 10.

 

John Brown – Arizona Cardinals (ADP 124, WR48)

How quickly we forget the budding star that was John Brown before he was diagnosed with the Sickle Cell trait that spoiled his 2016 season. Prior to that, “Smokey” Brown was an ascending talent that was even earning comps to a certain wide receiver who shares his last name (Hint: Antonio). The 4.34 speedster out of Pittsburg State brought a tantalizing combination of speed and big play ability to the Cardinals in 2014. 2015 was dubbed a breakout season for Brown as he became a much more reliable target (his catch rate increased from 47% to 64%) which resulted in an increase per catch average and touchdown total. Then 2016 happened. Brown may have been listed as active for 15 games in 2016 but he was far from involved as the Cardinals were still figuring out how to best manage his Sickle Cell situation. Of the 15 games that he “played” in 2016, Brown saw 4 or fewer targets in 11 (73%) of them. Not exactly a recipe for fantasy production but it sure helped David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald owners as they racked up the targets.

SEASON TEAM GP REC TGTS YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2014 ARI 16 48 103 696 14.5 75 5 0 0
2015 ARI 15 65 101 1,003 15.4 68 7 1 1
2016 ARI 15 39 72 517 13.3 30 2 0 0
Career 46 152 276 2,216 14.6 75 14 1 1

Early reports have the 27-year-old Brown living with Carson Palmer again this past offseason in order to build chemistry and bulking up to 185 pounds (I guess bulking up is all relative because I would have to bulk down to 185) while retaining his trademark speed with Brown quoted as saying “I’ll never lose that”.

There is justifiable cause for concern from a Dynasty perspective given Brown’s soft tissue issues and Carson Palmer’s shelf life (by all accounts 2017 will be his final season) but that’s also likely led to his depressed value. For reference, FantasyPros Consensus Dynasty Rankings lists John Brown at WR48 and Larry Fitzgerald at WR58. John Brown has the t alent and opportunity to post low-end WR2 numbers in Arizona and is currently being valued at a WR4. Larry Fitzgerald (DFF ADP 82) is being drafted some 4 rounds earlier in startup drafts and may well be in his swan song season.

Give me the value of Brown 7 days a week and twice on Sunday.

Kenny Britt – Cleveland Browns (ADP 139, WR57)

Kenny Britt was the WR29 in PPR leagues last year while playing for the Jeff Fisher led Los Angeles Rams. Let that sink in for a minute. One could easily argue that the 28-year old former first round pick has found himself in a better situation this year in Cleveland. Sure the Browns still need to figure out their quarterback situation but Hue Jackson is an offensive mastermind who force fed Terrelle Pryor 140 targets last year that resulted in a receiving statline eerily similar to what Britt produced on far less targets.

PLAYERS RECEIVING
PLAYER, TEAM POS REC YDS TD TAR
Terrelle Pryor Sr., Wsh WR 77 1007 4 140
Kenny Britt, Cle WR 68 1002 5 111

Sporting a shiny career 15.8 yds/rec, Britt (4.56 40-yd dash) may not possess the freaky speed of Pryor (4.38 40-yd dash) he is still fast for his size and is deceptively quick in and out of his breaks. The 6’3”, 223 pound Britt also casts a dominant shadow on the field and he uses his large frame extremely well to wall off defenders.

In a world where targets equal fantasy value (Tyreek Hill was the only WR in the top 21 with < 120 targets in 2016), Britt is poised to absorb upwards of 130 targets in Cleveland. Based on volume only Britt should again end up in that high-end WR3 territory but he comes with a bargain basement WR5 price tag. Buy Britt in the double digit rounds and thank me later.

Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams (ADP 182, WR73)

Kupp finished his college career as the most prolific pass catcher in FCS history (428-6,464-73). And while there’s no denying his college production it will always be followed with the level of competition caveat even though he produced when matched up against FBS defenses. Then came the combine and his 4.62 40 time stuck out like a sore thumb when compared against his contemporaries. Instead, what I focused on was a sterling 6.75 three cone time which supports what you see on Kupp’s tape and that’s an advanced route runner who possesses the ability to quickly get in and out of his breaks. Couple that with his fearless nature and natural pass catching ability and Kupp has the makings of a quality big slot receiver in the NFL. The Rams signed Robert Woods this offseason and I think that he will lead the team in receptions in 2017 but Kupp will not be far behind. Rams QB Jared Goff will quickly find Kupp to be a highly dependable target in Coach McVay’s scheme. I can easily see Kupp absorbing north of 100 targets in his rookie season and producing a statline in the ballpark of 60-750-3. Seeing him drafted as a WR6 in 12 team leagues just screams value to me both immediate and long term.

Honorable Mention

Kenny Golladay (ADP 153 WR64) – Golladay has the inside track on the #3 wide receiver spot in Detroit where Anquan Boldin caught 67 passes and scored 8 touchdowns last season. I believe Ebron will be much more involved in the red zone in 2017 which depresses Golladay’s value in year 1 but his unique blend of size and speed will see him ascend to the #2 wide receiver spot as soon as 2018.

Cole Beasley (ADP 180 WR72) – Beasley established career highs in targets (98), receptions (75), yards (833) and tied his career high in touchdowns (5).  This is important because those stats all came in Dak Prescott’s rookie season where he quickly developed a rapport with Beasley as a chain moving slot receiver in Dallas’ quick hitting offense.  Obvious concern is that Dallas drafted Ryan Switzer to replace Beasley but I’ll bank on another year of solid WR3 production and deal with 2018 in 2018.

Devin Funchess (ADP 202 WR80) – Kelvin Benjamin is currently being drafted as WR33 which is 47 position slots higher than Funchess. Like I said at the beginning of the article I’m looking for value in my late round wide receivers. I believe that Funchess is miscast on the outside and would present problems in Carolina if they used him in the big slot role that’s becoming popular across the NFL. What we do know is times they are a changin’ in Carolina with the drafting of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. I’m interested to see what the 2017 Carolina Panthers look like and Funchess is the cheapest way to get a piece of that offense. He’s being drafted outside of the top 200 overall and well worth the risk at the end of your bench.

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mwalker

Diehard Eagles fan, World's Okayest Dad and Dynasty / IDP Writer for the Dynasty Football Factory.

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