There really isn't a position quite like the WR position in college fantasy. Unlike the NFL, may WRs possess extra rolls that may see them running or even throwing the football. Additionally, no other position in fantasy is quite as unstable, year to year, than the recievers. Who knows who will repeat last year's feats? Additionally, your scoring system could make these guys worthy of first round draft picks or completely undraftable. Read more about that on:
I covered it in both of the articles listed above, but when I rank players at the WR position, I go in the opposite direction of most.
- Those with any chance at playing extended duty at QB are a first priority.
- Then, any that see heavy use in the ground game.
- Next, I feature those with heavy reception volume.
- My next priority is yardage volume
- Last are those with heavy touchdown totals.
I do this because I don't place enough value on the position to be my gamebreaker. Instead, I expect consistency out of this position. Sure, if they have a 30 point game, that's great and it most likely ends in a blow out win for me. However, players that fit into the first two positions of priority are extremely rare and typically don't emerge until after the draft. These players are also my secret weapons, so sorry, but I won't be talking about them today.
In case you missed it, there is a significant difference in value between WRs in standard vs PPR leagues and you can see the differential in the following graph.
Let's assume that you are in a PPR league. We do that because most leagues are PPR and there isn't enough value otherwise to even really discuss players.
Let's talk about some players.
Taywan Taylor (WKU)- Ranked first in both standard and PPR leagues, he had the benefit of playing for the most prolific QB in a while, Branden Doughty. They were easily the best Teammate Double Up on the game last season. Don't misunderstand, Taylor will still get a ton of opportunity. The Hilltoppers are picked to win the conference. But, they have a major question mark at QB. While the new QB may be good, he isn't going to be an NFL player like Doughty. WKU have an incredibly experienced offensive line and very deep backfield. Don't be surprised if a WKU player is a top fantasy guy, but don't be surprised if it's a RB instead of Taylor. Worth drafting? Sure. But, take caution.
Richie James (MTSU)- Staying in conference, the Blue Raiders surprised a lot of people when the incumbent starter at QB was replaced by Brent Stockstill, the freshman son of coach Rock Stockstill. Stockstill was amazing, and not just for freshman. James, a fellow freshman, made the most of that by being one of only a handful of WRs to eclipse 100+ receptions. I don't normally like sophomores after big years, but with new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin coming to town and a veteran offensive line, it seems unlikely that Stockstill and James won't have at least three-quarters of the season last year. That's still pretty dang good. I love his reception volume.
Artavis Scott (Clemson)-No, he wasn't a top 10 or even top 20 scored. He checked in at 32nd. Yet, he posted 93 total catches for 900 yards. But, he didn't catch but six TDs, which really hurt him. Here's the thing: Deshaun Watson has to take care of himself this year with the NFL considering him first over all. He has a VERY young offensive line with just two upperclassmen. Scott slides in as the best option on the outside. His TD count is going to go way up this year making him one of, if not the biggest, mover.
Josh Atkinson (Tulsa)- Aside from a handful of other QBs, Tulsa has one of the most prolific guys coming back in Dane Evans. Atkinson is the best option for Evans and last year that produced 76 catches for 1,071 yards. But, again, the lack of TDs hampered his over-all value. One would be quick to select him for that kind of volume and upside as well as the value at a double up. Not so fast, though. Keevan Lucas is clearly the top target after a stellar 2014 season where he caught 100 balls for 1,200 yards in 2014 before he was out for the season after four games in 2015. Before that injury, Lucas was already on pace to destroy those 2014 numbers and be perhaps the best WR in the game. Atkinson will undoubtedly get some looks with his 6-2 size. But it is the shifty Lucas in the slot that will score the points. Don't burn a high pick on this guy, but stash him.
Calvin Ridley (Alabama)- Though it pains me to say it, Ridley will be one of the better picks in this year's draft unless something goes wrong in a hurry. Yes, Alabama is breaking in another new QB. Yes, offensive line may be an issue. But Ridley is poised to have a 100 catch year after an 89 catch year last year. Keep in mind that Alabama is in rougher shape at RB than any time in the Saban era. Ridley is almost assured to be a 100 catch, 1,000 yards for 10 TDs this year. He is as safe a pick as any.
Zay Jones (ECU)- This is a hard pass for me. After being the number two option for Shane Carden's record setting 2014, Jones responded in 2015 with almost 100 catches. However, ECU could not score TDs and that killed Jones value, though he still ranked 12th in PPR. ECU is in worse shape than last year and play some decent defense.
Quincy Adeboyejo (Ole Miss) - I wouldn't say to take him real early, but Adeboyejo has incredible upside after being one of the better daily fantasy picks. His 600 yards on 37 catches isn't anything to write home about, but the focus on Treadwell and Engram meant easy TDs catches, for which he racked up seven. He will be playing with one of the best QBs in the country and is one of two returning WR for Chad Kelly.
Gabe Marks (Washington State), Thomas Sperbeck (Boise State)- These guys are easy picks that I didn't spend time talking about. It isn't worth the effort. Just look at their stats.