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DRAFT NFL: WR Thoughts

Mario Puig

Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.

The NFL Draft usually doesn't rattle the wide receiver market the same way it does the running backs, and the same applies to the most recent seven rounds of rookie selections. Nick Chubb screwed things up for Carlos Hyde owners while Rashaad Penny laid likely claim to a starting role out of nowhere, holding drastic repercussions for the first four rounds. The needle didn't move similarly at receiver, where first-round selections D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley did basically nothing to change the calculus.

So that this article endeavors to identify necessary wide receiver ADP adjustments isn't to say it's entirely in response to the rookies, but enough has changed in the past couple weeks that a recalibration is in order all the same. Listed in no particular order, here are some players I'm buying and fading at their current prices in best ball leagues.


DeVante Parker (100.2 DRAFT ADP) and Kenny Stills (137.0 DRAFT ADP), MIA

I think Albert Wilson is a nice enough player, and Danny Amendola can catch a slant or whatever, but Parker and Stills are priced almost as if Jarvis Landry is still around. He isn't, and the combo of Wilson and Amendola is unlikely to present an equal sum.

Parker and Stills respectively averaged 91.5 and 93 targets per season over the last two years, a span in which Landry averaged 146 targets per year. Wilson and Amendola both play the slot, so they'll have to cannibalize each other over whatever share of targets is available from the slot position. Adam Gase did not rotate his receivers much last year when Wilson is on the field Amendola will likely be off of it, and vice versa.

If we conflate Landry to the slot position generally, a reasonable thing to do, we can think of the slot position demanding 27.1 percent of Miami's targets over the last two years. If you reduce that percentage to 22.5 and project 550 pass attempts, that would leave 123 targets for the slot, versus 149 by the 27.1 percent figure. I think there's reason to project a slot share percentage closer to 20 percent, but even if we stick with 22.5 percent, then at least one of Parker or Stills should outproduce their current price tag. Both would conservatively project for over 100 targets in such a scenario, which would likely slot into the top 30 among receivers. Parker and Stills respectively rank 41st and 55th in WR ADP on DRAFT.

Rishard Matthews, TEN (136.6 DRAFT ADP)

I'm probably as big of a Corey Davis fan as anyone, but the ADP distinction between Davis (87.8) and Matthews objectively makes no sense. Matthews has been one of the league's most efficient receivers on a per-target basis over the last three years, averaging 9.4 yards per target over that span, and his projected usage for 2018 stabilized due to the release of Eric Decker and the addition of offense coordinator Matt LaFleur, who should raise both the tempo and the effectiveness of the Tennessee offense.

In my own unscientific projections, Matthews and Davis come out with roughly the same numbers, though Davis with negligibly greater projected fantasy point total. If a player is only slightly better than another but with an acquisition cost four rounds apart, you take the cheaper player.

Anthony Miller, CHI (212.6 DRAFT ADP)

Miller is the only rookie receiver I have any interest in as a redraft asset. Although he was the sixth receiver selected, it's easy to argue that Miller is the most polished player in this year's receiver class, and Chicago has a real opportunity up for grabs with Cameron Meredith now in New Orleans. Shortly before the draft I was recommending Taylor Gabriel as a final-round selection following Meredith's exit, but with Miller around I'm probably off Gabriel, more or less replacing him in my rankings with Miller.

But that wouldn't be fully accurate, because I project Miller for more now than I ever did for Gabriel. Miller is a complete receiver, whereas Gabriel would always have been limited by his tiny frame, even in the best-case scenarios. Because I expect the Bears to run their offense at a Chip Kelly-like velocity, I'm optimistic for basically every projected contributor to outproduce their acquisition costs. When one of those projected contributors is a player with 2,896 yards and 32 touchdowns over his last 26 games, things could get quite interesting indeed.

In my personal projections for the Chicago offense, Miller comes out with a baseline in the range of 700 yards and five touchdowns. I think he could push more for 850 yards and seven touchdowns in a nearly ideal scenario, and his usage could really take off in the (knock on wood) event of an injury to one of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, or Tarik Cohen.


Tyreek Hill, KC (28.0 DRAFT ADP)

The draft didn't change anything for Hill, but I feel the need to talk about his current price tag all the same.

He's a really good player and he'll perhaps be the most productive pass catcher in what should be one of the league's most explosive offenses, but he still costs too much. Based on DRAFT's ADP numbers, Hill is going, on average, as the WR9. That puts him ahead of players like Aaron Rodgers WR1 Davante Adams (29.4 ADP), as well as Doug Baldwin (36.9), who suddenly has zero target competition in Seattle.

Whereas the team contexts for Adams and Baldwin shriek of favorable usage, Hill's price tag presumes unsustainable peripheral numbers in order to offset his comparatively modest usage. If you're buying Hill now you either think he ups his target rate (seven per game), or you think he'll manage to repeat his average of over 11 yards per target. The truth is neither outcome is likely, and the former is almost out of the question after the Chiefs paid $16 million per year to reel in Sammy Watkins.

Hill should be the slot and motion receiver, which should lend itself to the highest target count on the Chiefs, but his per-target production ought to lag behind the more downfield-oriented Watkins, and the greater target count isn't a guarantee to make up the difference. Hill is currently a late-second, early-third sort of target in most best ball drafts, whereas Watkins is around the seventh round on I think the better valuation would be something like Hill in the late-third/early-fourth, and Watkins the late fifth.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Mario Puig plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: rotwireyasiel, FanDuel: rotowireyasiel, FantasyDraft: rwyasiel, DRAFT: rwyasiel.