As the calendar flips to August and you begin to research for your upcoming fantasy drafts, it’s important to go in with a plan. If you read my article last week, you know that I’m a fan of ZeroRB but that doesn’t mean that’s the only way I’ll draft. You have to let the draft come to you and see how the draft flows. Being able to exploit values that open up and avoid landmines throughout different parts of the draft will help you be successful. This week, I’m going to go through different parts of the draft and discuss who you should be avoiding based on ADP. The long and short is that some wide receivers are being drafted at their absolute ceiling and may disappoint at their price. It doesn’t mean that the wide receivers I mention below are complete busts and won’t have good weeks here and there.
(ADP Data is for 12 Team PPR leagues and is pulled from Fantasy Football Calculator)
This or That: Tyreek Hill (4.05) or Michael Crabtree (4.10)
My feelings on Tyreek Hill are well documented. There’s no denying his talents, he’s the fastest person on the field every time he steps on it and is a more polished route runner than people give him credit for. Hill has almost every tool that you want in a wide receiver to be successful. Unfortunately, he’s on the Chiefs. At this point in the draft, I’m not willing to take Hill at 4.05, he’s going off the board as the WR20 which is at or near his ceiling given the limitations of the offense he’s in. He would have to see the bump in usage that everyone’s projecting and still be as efficient as he was last year in order to pay off his price and beat his ADP.
Michael Crabtree is being drafted as WR23 this year. He finished ahead of Hill in PPR last year and is going 5 picks later in drafts this season. Full disclosure, I’m a huge Amari Cooper fan and believe he takes a jump forward this year, but his ascension will be more about his efficiency than some dramatic jump in volume. Crabtree has been incredibly consistent over the past two seasons in Oakland. Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown, and Brandin Cooks were the only wide receivers to post more fantasy starter (WR3 or Better) weeks than Crabtree last season. Crabtree’s role is secure and he has played well since becoming a Raider.
This or That: Donte Moncrief (7.09) or Jeremy Maclin (7.11)
Donte Moncrief is being drafted as the WR35 in PPR drafts so far this season. This may be in part due to the fact that at this point no one is truly sure what is going on with Andrew Luck, will he play week 1? Will he be on the PUP list? Right now that uncertainty exists. Moncrief is a TD reliant receiver that has never seen more than a 17% market share (2015). Even in 2015, with his highest career target share and a full complement of games, he finished outside of the Top 40 in PPR scoring. There are too many “ifs” in Moncrief’s range of outcomes for me to feel confident about him finishing the season as a WR3.
Jeremy Maclin, on the other hand, is going criminally low in my estimation. There is some concern because of Joe Flacco’s back injury, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has reported that the team feels Flacco is on track for Week 1. Before the injuries that have decimated pass catchers in Baltimore, they had the 2nd most available air yards behind the LA Rams. Now they have even more targets and air yards available. The Ravens led the league in pass attempts last year. Maclin should have a nice piece of the pie in Baltimore and is being drafted at his floor.
This or That: John Brown (9.02) or Marvin Jones (9.12)
John Brown was one of my favorite receivers in 2015 where he finished as WR24 in PPR leagues. He’s currently going as WR43, which would seemingly make him attractive from a value perspective. 2016, however, was a very different year for Brown. He struggled through leg problems due to his sickle cell trait for much of last season. Most of the news about Brown is claiming the issues are behind him. He has a history of soft tissue injuries and a quad issue has already taken him to the sideline this August. Brown is an athletic talent but if he can’t stay on the field he won’t do much for your fantasy team.
Marvin Jones, on the other hand, is currently going as the WR44 in PPR drafts and I’m not entirely sure why he’s that low. Jones just turned 27 last March even though it seems like he’s been around forever. Josh Hermsmeyer’s RACR metric is very simple, it’s the relationship between air yards and actual receiving yards. Air yards measure the depth of target for every throw that comes a receiver’s way. RACR takes the amount of actual receiving yards and divides it by the amount of air yards a player sees. (Quick example: If a WR sees 100 air yards across their targets and finishes the game with 90 actual receiving yards, their RACR is .9.) As you can see in the chart below, Jones is at or above average in RACR at most depths of target. He has the potential to smash his current ADP and win you your PPR league. It is rare to find a player with his upside in the 9th round.
The process of going through ADP and determining inefficiencies is extremely important to fantasy success. Pay attention to the ADP on the particular site you’re drafting on (ESPN, Yahoo, etc.). ADP can vary wildly from site to site. Take advantage of those discrepancies in the rankings by finding value. It’s a solid be that at least some owners in your league will be going directly from the site’s cheat sheet.